SACRAMENTO: Former State Senator Ron Calderon, corruption/bribery case, prison sentence, 42 months: Various reports....

***Ron Calderon, prison sentence, 42 months, corruption/bribery case....

* Los Angeles Times:  "'My reputation is destroyed: Former state Sen. Ron Calderon sentenced to 42 months in prison in corruption case"

* Sacramento Bee:  "Ex-California lawmaker gets prison in bribe case"

* San Francisco Chronicle (AP):  "California politician shows little remorse, gets prison time"

* Whittier Daily News:  "Ron Calderon sentenced to 3-1/2 in prison for bribery"


POLITICS (National, State/New York): Regulation, home-rentals, Airbnb, federal lawsuit vs. new New York law: "Airbnb Sues Over New Law Regulating New York Rentals" ....  

* New York Times:  "Airbnb Sues Over New Law Regulating New York Rentals" - From the NYT:

Hours after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York signed a bill that would impose steep fines on Airbnb hosts who break local housing regulations, Airbnb filed a federal lawsuit contending the new law would cause it “irreparable harm.”

The heightened battle in New York follows lawsuits that Airbnb has filed against its hometown San Francisco and in Santa Monica, Calif., which have both moved to fine the company for illegal listings. The company, which operates in a regulatory gray area around the globe, is also fighting tough battles in Amsterdam and Barcelona, Spain, which penalizes hosts who list illegal rentals, and in Berlin, which has banned most short-term rentals.

The new law in New York allows authorities to fine hosts up to $7,500 if they are caught listing a property on a rental platform such as Airbnb. “New York is taking a bold step that will hopefully set a standard for the rest of the country and other countries in the world that are struggling with the impact of Airbnb on affordable housing,” said Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat who sponsored the bill.

Airbnb, which has tripled in value in just two years to $30 billion, is fighting hard against any regulation that would affect the number of hosts on its platform. The company cannot expand without a steadily increasing number of hosts, and its rental revenue growth could slow as more cities around the world move to push potential providers off the platform.

The New York law is particularly worrisome for Airbnb. New York City is the company’s largest market in the United States . . . . . . . .

In its lawsuit, filed Friday afternoon in Federal District Court in the Southern District of New York, the company contends that .....................


LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Beverly Hills): Measure HH, luxury hotel and condo project, November ballot: Commentary (Michael Hiltzik), "In Beverly Hills, real estate money is talking very loudly at the ballot box" ....

* Los Angeles Times (Michael Hiltzik):  "In Beverly Hills, real estate money is talking very loudly at the ballot box" - From the LAT:

Beverly Hills being what it is, and the luxury hotel and condo market being what it is, spending more than $6 million to pass a city ballot initiative to secure approval for a major project would seem like a bargain. Chump change, in fact, when weighed against the $700-million price tag on the project itself.

So one can imagine why developer Beny Alagem chose to bypass a prolonged, costly and possibly painful city planning review of his proposed record-breaking 26-story condo tower and bring the project directly to the voters. In doing so, however, Alagem has created a political maelstrom in Beverly Hills, while raising the prospect that developer-funded initiative campaigns will soon render obsolete the kind of professional municipal planning that keeps cities livable.

“This is not the way city planning should work,” laments David Abel, a Los Angeles land-use consultant and publisher of the Planning Report, a real estate development newsletter ....................


L.A. CITY HALL: Venice, homelessness, Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin: Commentary (Steve Lopez), "This Venice councilman, once on the verge of homelessness, is trying to help -- but he's getting heat from all sides" ....

* Los Angeles Times (Steve Lopez):  "This Venice councilman, once on the verge of homelessness, is trying to help -- but he's getting heat from all sides" - From the LAT:

For a while,” says L.A. Councilman Mike Bonin, “I was teetering on the edge of homelessness. There were a few nights when I slept on the beach, and more than a few nights when I slept in my car or bounced between friends’ couches. I have a sense of how easy it is to go from being housed to un-housed, and a sense of how easy it is to go from sort of teetering on the edge to falling into the abyss.”

Bonin says he was addicted to alcohol for many years, then crystal meth. About 22 years ago, he managed to push the poison away. The road to redemption, in his mind, required public service. Bonin became a council staffer and then launched his own political career almost four years ago. In that time, convoys of people living in RVs have parked in Venice. Homeless encampments have sprawled across L.A., spawning detailed strategies from city and county officials, along with a November ballot measure to build more than $1 billion worth of housing.

Bonin has been one of the more proactive elected officials, despite political risks. As reported last week by my colleague Gale Holland, he’s in the middle of raging controversy over his proposals to do something about street camps in Venice, home to about 1,000 of the city’s 28,000 homeless people ....................


POLITICS (State, Local): Pension reform, "California rule"?: Editorial, "More flexiblity over public worker pensions could help save them" ....

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "More flexibility over public worker pensions could help save them" - From the LAT:

Public employees in California are not only much more likely to receive a pension than their counterparts in the private sector, but their pensions have an unusual degree of protection under law. Thanks to a doctrine called the California rule, pension benefits for current public employees may not be reduced after they’ve started work. Any change that lowers the value of one aspect of a pension has to be offset by improvements elsewhere that are worth at least as much.

In other words, the pension elevator can go up (even retroactively), but it cannot go down. And as a result of this inflexibility, numerous local governments around the state have struggled to cover the growing cost of the pensions they’ve promised. 

At the California Public Employees Retirement System, for example . . . . . . . .

Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers responded four years ago with a pension reform law that reduced the maximum benefits for future state and local workers — those hired after Jan. 1, 2013. It also barred pension “spiking” — the practice of lumping unused sick leave and vacation time, hours spent on call and other forms of compensation into the pay on which a pension is based — for all employees.

After the financially troubled Marin County Employees’ Retirement Assn. implemented the ban on pension spiking, however, workers there sued, saying the new state law cut their benefits in violation of the state Constitution. A Superior Court judge upheld the ban, and in August a three-judge panel on the Court of Appeal agreed in a 40-page opinion that took direct aim at how courts have been interpreting the 1983 state Supreme Court decision that buttressed the California rule. The opinion, written by Justice James Richman, held that pension benefits that workers have not yet accrued can, in fact, be reduced. And those reductions do not have to be offset, Richman wrote, as long as the pensions are still “reasonable.”

This is a fair reading of the law . . . . . . . .

But it’s not clear just how much latitude Richman’s ruling gives governments. That's why the Supreme Court should agree to hear the Marin County employees’ appeal and clarify what a “reasonable” pension means .............