Index
Friday
Sep192014

SACRAMENTO: California Coastal Commission, unusual situation, decision on filling vacancy: "Deal struck over Coastal Commission vacancy" .... 

***Following up on earlier item noted here (AB 1759, California Coastal Commission, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia)....

* Capitol Weekly:  "Deal struck over Coastal Commission vacancy" - From Capitol Weekly:

In a rare move, a seat on the state’s powerful Coastal Commission will remain vacant for weeks following an unsuccessful effort in the Capitol to allow the newly elected mayor of Long Beach to serve on the 12-member panel. The position officially became vacant this week.

The position, the South Coast local government seat, requires an elected official selected from the city councils or boards of supervisors in Los Angeles or Orange counties. A decision on who will fill that seat could be made as early as December, when state lawmakers return to Sacramento for a brief procedural session. That session will be the first at which newly named Senate Leader Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, will preside after he formally takes over on Oct. 15 from Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. As Senate leader, De Leon will chair the five-member Senate Rules Committee, which is responsible for making the appointment.

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The new vacancy stems from an 11th-hour political move in the Capitol, in which allies of Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia sought to rewrite state law to allow Garcia to serve on the commission. As an elected member of the Long Beach City Council, had been a member of the Coastal Commission.

But when he was elected mayor, he was no longer an elected member of the city council under the city’s charter form of government, according to the state attorney general’s office, which said the “plain language” of the rule was clear. Garcia and the Coastal Commission were made aware of the conflict earlier this year, before Garcia was elected mayor.

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The bill that failed would have allowed Garcia to serve both as mayor of a charter city and commission member simultaneously – a move that drew fire from some environmentalists, who pointed to campaign donations he had received from lobbyists, land-use experts, developers and others..................

Friday
Sep192014

POLITICS (State, Local/Bay Area): California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E, continuing controversy: "Pols want AG to probe CPUC's ties with PG&E" ....

***Following up on most recent earlier items noted here (California Public Utilitiels Commission, PG&E, "improper communications," lobbying, judge-shopping, ouster of officials, etc.)....

* San Jose Mercury News (Political Blotter):  "Pols want AG to probe CPUC's ties with PG&E" - From the MN:

Peninsula politicians want state Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate possible crimes involving the California Public Utilities Commission’s shockingly cozy relationship with PG&E during the agency’s probe of the utility after the deadly 2010 gas explosion in San Bruno.

State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo; Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco; and San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane will hold a news conference Friday morning in San Francisco to deliver a letter to Harris.

The latest revelation of emails between CPUC staff and PG&E executives led to the outser of officials at both this week. . . . . . . . .

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“The letter from Hill, Mullin and Ruane also cites what appear to have been a series of illegal interventions on PG&E’s behalf in the penalty case against PG&E for the explosion in San Bruno. . . . .,” according to a news release from Hill’s office.

Gov. Jerry Brown offered full-throated support for CPUC President Michael Peevey last month even after an initial disclosure of e-mails related to the San Bruno case............

Friday
Sep192014

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Los Angeles): Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, TV show bus ads, "Scary Bitch": "Metro yanks Fox TV show bus ads branded as racist, offensive to women" .... 

* Los Angeles Times:  "Metro yanks Fox TV show bus ads branded as racist, offensive to women" - From the LAT:

An advertisement for the new Fox television show “Red Band Society” was abruptly pulled from Los Angeles Metro buses Thursday after activists complained it was racist and offensive.

The ads for the series that premiered this week show actress Octavia Spencer next to the words “Scary Bitch.” Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Marc Littman said the agency decided to remove the ad because that label “denigrates women.” “That speaks for itself,” Littman said. “That was not acceptable.”

The ads, which have been up for five weeks, will be removed from 190 Metro buses as soon as possible, said Metro spokesman Dave Sotero. The announcement was made Thursday at a Metro committee meeting where a few dozen protesters showed up to speak against the ads. Among them was Jasmyne Cannick, who said the nickname perpetuates negative stereotypes about black women.

“I don’t know if I find it more offensive because I’m black, or more offensive because I’m a woman,” said Cannick, 36. “I sometimes think our city forgets that there are black people that still live here and call Los Angeles home.”

A Fox spokeswoman said in a statement that network executives were notified Thursday morning of the concerns around the ads and “immediately offered to remove the language.”

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who also serves on the Metro board, said at the Thursday meeting that he wanted the ads taken down, and that the agency needs to tighten its advertising policy. Garcetti requested that Metro staff report back to the board on ways to avoid a similar situation in the future, said Jeff Millman, Garcetti's spokesman.

Friday
Sep192014

POLITICS/LEGAL: Los Angeles attorney, proposed State Bar suspension, doctored celebrity photos: "Suspension proposed for L.A. attorney over doctored celebrity photos" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Suspension proposed for L.A. attorney over doctored celebrity photos" - From the LAT:

A Los Angeles attorney faces a possible six-month suspension for posting doctored photos on her firm's website that implied she mingled with high-profile politicians and celebrities, including President Obama, George Clooney and Kim Kardashian.

The photos -- more than 50 -- are published on lawyer Svitlana Sangary's website under a tab titled "publicity." They appear to show Sangary with dozens of politicians and celebrities, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Leonardo DiCaprio and Dr. Phil. But during a July trial, experts testified that "many, and perhaps all" of the photos were Photoshopped "to make it appear as though [Sangary] was in the presence of a celebrity," according to a report by a judge of the State Bar Court of California who recommended the six-month suspension.

In his 18-page decision, which was first reported in the legal newspaper The Recorder, Judge Donald F. Miles said Sangary had committed four counts of misconduct. . . . . . . .

In his decision, the judge described "grave concerns" about Sangary's "demonstrated lack of insight and her contemptuous conduct during these proceedings."

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Sangary said in an email Thursday that she had "a lot to say" about the recommendation and was "working on it," but did not elaborate. She said she had a 30-day window to request a review of the recommendation, and would provide a comment before then.

The photos remained online even after the bar began its inquiry and later filed charges, Miles wrote. They were still on Sangary's website as of Thursday afternoon.....................

Friday
Sep192014

POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION (Los Angeles): Approval, new express bus service, UCLA to Orange Line: "Valley-Westside express bus service is a go" ....

* Zev Yaroslavsky's weekly blog:  "Valley-Westside express bus service is a go" - From Zev's blog:

Taking advantage of those brand-new 405 carpool lanes, Metro later this year will launch an express bus through the Sepulveda Pass, offering transit riders on both sides of the hill a speedier way through one of L.A.’s gnarliest commuting challenges.

On December 15, Line 788 will begin offering express nonstop service from UCLA in Westwood to the Orange Line in the San Fernando Valley. It then will continue north on Van Nuys Boulevard, stopping at major intersections on its way to Panorama City. Because it will connect to the Orange Line rapid transit busway, the line will give people in places like North Hollywood, Woodland Hills and Chatsworth a faster path to the Westside.

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Service through the Sepulveda Pass currently is offered via Line 761, but the buses are infamously slow, having to navigate traffic and wait for stoplights along Sepulveda Boulevard. It currently takes more than an hour to get from one side of the hill to the other in normal traffic.

Initially, express buses will depart every 20 minutes on weekdays during peak traffic periods—from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. . . . . . . . .

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Further down the road, Metro plans to extend the express line south to the Sepulveda station of the Expo Line when the final phase of the light rail project opens in January, 2016...................

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