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Wednesday
Mar302011

L.A. CITY HALL: Ad Hoc Stadium Committee, list of appointees....

* Los Angeles Times:  "L.A. Council group appointed to take closer look at downtown stadium plans" - From the LAT:

   Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti on Tuesday named a five-member “ad hoc” committee to scrutinize a private developer’s plan to build a National Football League stadium in downtown Los Angeles.

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    Chairing the committee will be City Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose district includes the proposed stadium site. Perry is also a declared candidate in the 2013 mayoral elections.

   Other members named to the ad hoc panel are Councilmen Bill Rosendahl, Tony Cardenas, Tom LaBonge and Ed Reyes. The committee is likely to have a high-profile presence, considering the substantial buzz already enveloping the stadium plan -- despite its still-uncertain status and the absence of any formal commitment from the National Football League.

   Anshutz Entertainment Group, the conglomerate that already owns the Staples Center and L.A. Live complex downtown, is proposing to build the $1-billion-plus “Farmers Field” stadium right next door. AEG officials have repeatedly vowed that no taxpayer money would be spent on the project, though some observers have questioned that assertion. 
  AEG wants to build the stadium on land currently occupied by the West Hall of the city-owned Los Angeles Convention Center. AEG is offering to lease the space for what it calls a fair market value once the West Hall is torn down. However, AEG's proposal also envisions the city issuing some $350 million in municipal bonds to replace and upgrade the West Hall. The developer has estimated that new taxes and other revenues from the stadium project should covermost of the city's 30 years of debt service on the bonds. AEG says it would make up any shortfall.
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   Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has endorsed the concept of a downtown stadium and appointed a blue-ribbon panel to examine the proposal. That panel is expected to issue a report in the coming months........
Wednesday
Mar302011

MORNING MEMOS: Gavin Newsom, speculation, fundraising for campaign for governor; NFL stadium, Steve Lopez/Bill Rosendahl; Wilshire Grand Hotel; renewable energy legislation approved, sent to governor.... 

* Los Angeles Times:  "City Council extends LAX taxi management contract" - "The Los Angeles City Council voted on Tuesday to grant a new 10-year contract to a taxi management firm that was found in a 2007 city audit to have mismanaged funds and committed other irregularities while coordinating cab service at Los Angeles International Airport. As part of the deal, passengers catching cabs at the airport will see the per-trip surcharge jump from $2.50 to $4. That is on top of the fare."

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):  "Gavin Newsom reportedly eyeing a run for governor" - "Less than three months on the job, and already Gavin Newsom is prepping to run for governor again. A city insider who asked not to be named tells us the new lieutenant governor approached him at a charity fundraiser the other day with a request for help to start raising money for a renewed gubernatorial bid."

* Los Angeles Times (Steve Lopez):  "Bill Rosendahl's inquiring mind" - "Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl once hosted a TV show on the issues of the day, so he's used to being an interrogator. No surprise, then, that he's come up with 38 questions so far on the proposal to build a football stadium in the middle of downtown Los Angeles and fuse it to the Convention Center.

* Los Angeles Times:  "L.A. City Council OKs elaborate digital light zone at Wilshire Grand" - "The rebuilt 45-story Wilshire Grand Hotel and 65-story office tower can have digital ads, scrolling text and non-commercial graphics that the developer says 'are the wave of the future' and a councilman calls 'art.'"

* Sacramento Bee:  "Lawmakers send Jerry Brown bill on renewable energy requirements" - "California would vastly increase its commitment to wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable energy under legislation that cleared the Legislature on Tuesday and was sent to Gov. Jerry Brown. The measure would require public and private utilities to obtain 33 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020, a sizable increase over the 20 percent required now."

***ALSO, Los Angeles Times:  "California Assembly OKs increased renewable energy requirement"

Wednesday
Mar302011

POLITICS: State budget, Jerry Brown plan "dead", various reports....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Jerry Brown ends talks on bipartisan budget deal" - "The governor, who needs four GOP votes to place a tax extension on the June ballot, says Republicans are unwilling to back tax extensions and are asking for an 'ever-changing list of collateral demands.'"

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "Jerry Brown's state budget plan blows up" - "That explosion you heard in downtown Sacramento on Tuesday was the big blowup of Gov. Jerry Brown's plans to ask voters in June to extend billions of dollars in taxes to balance the deficit-riddled state budget. Brown terminated negotiations with Republican legislators, citing a lengthy list of GOP demands last week."

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Jerry Brown ends budget negotiations with GOP" - ". . . .Democrats were fuming over the ending of talks with Republicans, accusing their counterparts of undermining the ability of state voters to determine California's future. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said there would not be a June election and that Republicans 'appear to want to be irrelevant.'"

* Sacramento Bee:  "'More than one way to get to the goal'" - "Now that budget negotiations have blown up, what's next? . . . "There's more than one way to get to the goal," Brown said yesterday in a video message."

* Capitol Weekly:  "Brown: The budget talks are dead" - "After three months of budget negotiations, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered a halt to talks with the Legislature’s Republicans in his bipartisan attempt to resolve the state’s $26 billion deficit. The action leaves both Brown and Republicans in a political hot seat."

* New York Times:  "Budget Talks in California Break Down" - "Negotiations between California Republican leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown on a package to close the state’s huge budget deficit — including a proposal to ask residents to vote on an extension of about $12.5 billion in taxes this June — collapsed on Tuesday with each side accusing the other of intransigence."

Tuesday
Mar292011

SACRAMENTO: "Jerrry Brown declares budget talks dead"

***Big news this afternoon from Sacramento is that Gov. Jerry Brown announced that he has halted negotiations with legislative Republicans over a deal for a special June election.....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Jerry Brown declares budget talks dead" - From the Bee:

   Gov.Jerry Brown announced this afternoon he halted negotiations with legislative Republicans over a deal to place taxes on the ballot to help resolve California's remaining $15.4 billion deficit. A June election appears to be off the table entirely. Brown is no longer pursuing a two-thirds vote for a June tax election, while Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, told reporters he will not pursue a majority-vote option, either.

   "Yesterday, I stopped the discussions that I had been conducting with various members of the Republican party regarding our state's massive deficit," Brown said in a statement this afternoon. "The budget plan that I put forth is balanced between deep cuts and extensions of currently existing taxes and I believe it is in the best interest of California. Under our constitution, however, two Republicans from the Assembly and two from the Senate must agree before this matter can be put to the people." "Each and every Republican legislator I've spoken to believes that voters should not have this right to vote unless I agree to an ever changing list of collateral demands," the Democratic governor added.

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   Brown did not specify what he would do next.

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   The absence of a June election casts doubt on whether state leaders can resolve the budget before the next fiscal year starts in July. Democrats did not indicate how they would attempt to do so. "They've done a pretty good job of running out the clock here," Steinberg said, referring to legislative Republicans.

Tuesday
Mar292011

L.A. CITY HALL: Wilshire Grand project, Los Angeles City Council approval, package of lighting, graphic displays on proposed towers....

* Los Angeles Times:  "L.A. City Council approves array of lights, graphic displays on proposed downtown Wilshire Grand towers" - From the LAT:

   The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to throw its support behind an elaborate package of new flashing signs, illuminated graphics and moving text for two planned downtown skyscrapers, ignoring critics who warned that such brightly lighted images would degrade the look of the city. Councilman Bill Rosendahl submitted the lone voted against the plan.

   Minutes after the initial vote, the City Council reconsidered the sign district. During that second vote, Rosendahl agreed to stay out of the room, making the decision unanimous and avoiding the need for a vote next week. “They didn’t need to wait another week. It was a done deal,” he said.

   The council created a new one-block sign district for the planned 45-story reconstruction of the Wilshire Grand Hotel and accompanying 65-story office tower. The sign district will allow various kinds of digital signs on the first 10 floors of the two towers. The tops of the two skyscrapers will offer digital signs advertising the buildings’ owner and major tenants. And on dozens of stories in between, LED lights would display noncommercial images such as flowers and vines that would fade in and out.

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   The sign district is the first to be approved since the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal upheld the city’s ban on new billboards last year. That law allowed sections of the city to be carved out as exceptions to the citywide billboard ban, as long as the improvements helped to eliminate blight and address traffic safety.
   In casting the lone opposing vote, Rosendahl said the city should have found a way to share in the financial proceeds of the new digital advertising on the two buildings. “We don’t have a dime of revenue out of those, and those folks who put up those billboards are making money hand over fist,” he said.
 
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   Opponents of the sign district said they did not oppose the hotel’s redevelopment, but said new flashing signs and images would barrage the public and, in some cases, distract motorists. “Digital billboards do not solve the unemployment in the city. Digital billboards will not increase tourism in our city,” said Jan Book, a resident of Marina del Rey who voiced exasperation with the digital signs that are located near her home.
               
   The sign district for the Wilshire Grand project is so complicated that it is divided into four vertical levels and three geographic subsections. While some lighted signs will change every eight seconds, others will change every four minutes. Other sections will feature streaming text..........