Index
Wednesday
Apr162014

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Owens Valley, opposition to proposed solar project: "Owens Valley mobilizes against proposed DWP solar project" .... 

* Los Angeles Times:  "Owens Valley mobilizes against proposed DWP solar project" - "Opponents say the project would destroy scenic vistas and ruin the sense of isolation at Manzanar National Historic Site." - From the LAT:

INDEPENDENCE, Calif. — One by one, a parade of Owens Valley residents rose at a public hearing Tuesday to assail the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's plan to meet its renewable energy goals by covering 2 square miles of high desert with 1 million solar panels.

"We believe in economic development — but this is not the kind we want," Jane McDonald, who helps run a farmer's market, said at the DWP's first public presentation of the project during an Inyo County Board of Supervisors hearing. "Protection of our livelihoods depends on protection of this landscape." It's a point frequently made as the DWP tries to smooth relations in rural eastern Sierra Nevada communities that are up in arms over the $680-million project, which would generate fewer than 10 permanent jobs and no property-tax revenue.

The Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch, on city-owned property, would produce enough power annually to serve about 75,000 homes. The electrical energy produced by its photovoltaic panels would be conveyed to the power grid from a 300,000-square-foot substation to a nearby DWP transmission line. It is the last facility needed to boost the city's use of wind, solar and other renewable energy sources to a third of total supply by 2020, officials said.

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Many speakers at the hearing said they would prefer to see solar projects on rooftops in Los Angeles, or on disturbed land.

The opposition is part of a larger struggle to prevent industrialization of Owens Valley's tableaus of streams, lava flows and cinder cones. . . . . . . .

Critics also contend that it would destroy a key element in understanding what Japanese American internees experienced a few miles away during World War II at what is now the Manzanar National Historic Site: a sense of isolation.

Inyo County has little say in the project...........................

Wednesday
Apr162014

POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION: San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, corrosion, new span: "Elected officials call for outside review of Bay Bridge corrosion" ....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Elected officials call for outside review of Bay Bridge corrosion" - From the Bee:

Elected officials called for an independent review of corrosion inside the new $6.5 billion San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. They said their concerns stemmed from a Sacramento Bee investigation published Sunday that identified rust inside a supposedly protected chamber where the new span’s main suspension cable is attached. The corrosion – confirmed by lab testing – affects strands of the cable and rods that secure it to the bridge. The problem apparently was caused in part by water leaking through holes in the bridge deck.

Independent engineering experts who examined corrosion residue and photos warned of potentially serious long-term implications for maintenance and structural stability.

“First and foremost we have to focus on the safety of the bridge. To make sure there is no question about that,” said San Francisco Supervisor David Campos, a member of the Bay Area Toll Authority. “Then we need to make sure that we are assessing whether or not taxpayers got their money’s worth, in terms of the lifespan of the bridge.”

Campos and state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, chairman of the Transportation and Housing Committee, called on the California Department of Transportation to support an independent examination of the corrosion issues.

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“We get it, we’re not in denial here,” said Randy Rentschler, who directs Legislation and Public Affairs for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which works closely with Caltrans on toll bridge matters.“We didn’t expect to have this kind of water seepage into the system. It’s being remediated.”

The commission operates the Toll Authority, comprising local elected officials who oversee bridge-toll spending. They are waiting for Caltrans to deliver a list of ongoing construction and maintenance issues for the new span, promised in February..........................

Wednesday
Apr162014

POLITICS (National, State, Local/Los Angeles): 33rd Congressional District, race to succeed Henry Waxman, fundraising, more than $3.6 million to date: "Big dollars raised in Congressional race to replace Henry Waxman"; also, "Race to succeed Waxman will be expensive, early report show" .... 

* KPCC:  "Big dollars raised in Congressional race to replace Henry Waxman" - From KPCC:

When the veteran Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman announced in late January he wouldn't seek re-election in the 33rd District, it set off a mad dash for the rare open seat on L.A.'s Westside and opened the floodgates for campaign contributions. Now, the contest to replace him is shaping up to be one of the most expensive races in California. The top five fundraisers in the race collected $3.6 million dollars in the first quarter of this year — and there's still a month-and-a-half before the June 3 primary. 

There are well-known politicians in the race, including State Senator Ted Lieu and former L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel. But their fundraising efforts from January-to-March were eclipsed by a little-known fellow Democrat. Attorney David Kanuth raised $798,453 without any support from political action committees and without lending or giving his campaign any of his own money. 

Greuel raised $672,214. Most of it came from individuals as opposed to businesses and political action committees. She did receive some funding from PACs including Emily's List and the Stonewall Young Democrats.

Right behind Greuel is popular New Age author Marianne Williamson, who raised $636,842 — all from individual donations. Williamson announced her candidacy before Waxman said he wouldn't run, so she has been raising money longer than the others. Running without a party designation, Williamson has raised about $1 million to date.

Lieu, whose state senate district overlaps with Waxman's, raised $621,762. Lieu has loaned his campaign $55,000.

Public radio host Matt Miller raised $517,822. Again, most is from individual contributions.

On the Republican side, Deputy District Attorney Elan Carr raised $358,624, most of it from individual donations.  He also lent his campaign $30,000......... 

***ALSO:

* Los Angeles Times (PolitiCal):  "Race to succeed Waxman will be expensive, early reports show"

Wednesday
Apr162014

SACRAMENTO: SB 239, "Medi-Cal Hospital Reimbursement Act," fundraising, $51 million to date, proposed ballot measure: "Hospitals pour money into California ballot campaign" ....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Hospitals pour money into California ballot campaign" - From the Bee:

In less than three months, healthcare networks and individual hospitals have pumped more than $51 million into a proposed ballot measure meant to lock up revenue from a Legislature-approved fee on acute-care hospitals.

The measure would limit lawmakers' ability to change or repeal the "Medi-Cal Hospital Reimbursement Act," which lawmakers passed last year as SB 239. With hospitals' backing, the law continued a hospital quality-assurance fee first passed in 2009 through 2016. The money helps pay for children's health coverage, Medi-Cal, and other programs. Even though hospitals pay the fee, matching federal money means a net benefit of $10 billion for the hospital industry from 2014 through 2016, according to a legislative analysis.

The proposed ballot measure would strip the Jan. 1, 2017 sunset date from the law. It also would require voter approval for any changes to it. And any attempt to repeal the law entirely would need a two-thirds vote of the Legislature. In addition, the proposed initiative declares that revenue from the law and interest doesn't count against the state's school-funding guarantee.

Proponents have until May 1 to submit 807,615 valid voter signatures to qualify the proposed constitutional amendment for the Nov. 4 ballot.

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The chart below shows the top donors to the initiative effort, through Monday......................

Wednesday
Apr162014

POLITICS/EDUCATION (South Bay/Los Angeles County): Continuing controversy, Centinela Valley Union High School District: "Centinela board ousts president, names interim superintendent"; also, "Top Centinela official says FBI probing superintendent's high salary" .... 

***Continuing controversy, Centinela Valley Union High School District....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Top Centinela official says FBI probing superintendent's high salary" - From the LAT:

A top Centinela schools official on Tuesday said the FBI has contacted the district regarding the high salary of Supt. Jose Fernandez, who was paid $674,559 last year. The official, newly elevated school board President Hugo M. Rojas, said he is prepared to cooperate fully with both the FBI and the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.  Rojas did not clarify whether the district attorney had actually contacted him or the Centinela Valley Union High School District -- he left quickly after the conclusion of the six-hour board meeting Tuesday, which took place at the Centinela Valley Center for the Arts in Lawndale.

Fernandez, who is on paid leave, did not attend.

Rojas made his comments just before adjourning, and they included harsh criticism of Fernandez. “Our superintendent was greedy,” Rojas said. “Our superintendent obviously has a questionable background.… Based on the fact that this is a personnel matter, I cannot speak further.”

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The embattled Board of Education took several steps Tuesday in an effort to rebuild public confidence. One step was to elect Rojas to succeed Maritza Molina as board president, but that measure failed to placate an audience that exceeded 200 at its peak. Speakers called instead for the entire board to resign rather than merely switch roles.

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The board also authorized district staff to begin a search for a company to investigate Fernandez’s salary.

In addition, the board voted to hire a law firm and gave it the goal of determining how to reduce the district’s legal fees. That may be a tall order in the short term: Fernandez has hired a lawyer. . . . . . . .

The Board of Education also chose Assistant Supt. Bob Cox as the interim superintendent ...................

***ALSO:

* Daily Breeze:  "Centinela school board ousts president, names interim superintendent"