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Tuesday
Aug192014

L.A. CITY HALL: Broken sidewalks, whose responsibility to pay for repairs?: "Los Angeles council faces key question: Who pays to fix broken sidewalks" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Los Angeles council faces key question: Who pays to fix broken sidewalks?" - From the LAT:

As Los Angeles lawmakers again turn their focus to the buckled, broken sidewalks that line city streets, they face a key question: Who should pay to fix them?

State law is “crystal clear” in leaving property owners responsible for fixing and maintaining their sidewalks, City Councilman Paul Krekorian said at a committee meeting Monday. However, during the 1970s the city voluntarily took on responsibility for fixing sidewalks damaged by street trees -- even though the city did not necessarily plant those trees. Soon after, the city stopped that program. The sidewalks have since broken so badly so that the city now faces a lawsuit filed by residents with disabilities, who argue that the buckling sidewalks violate their rights to public access. It also routinely faces trip-and-fall claims from injured residents.

The problems that L.A. suffers today “happened as a result of the city taking responsibility but not putting in the resources,” City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said.

At the committee meeting Monday, lawmakers did not answer the question of who should pay. However, city officials are expected to report back soon on whether L.A. should steer away from taking responsibility for sidewalks damaged by street trees, as it does now. Santana said that one issue for city leaders to consider is how to "transition" responsibility, if they choose to do so. "How does it go from currently being the city's responsibility when a sidewalk is damaged by a tree ... transitioning to something else?" he asked the committee......................

Tuesday
Aug192014

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Bay Area): Oakland, update, controversy, waste hauling contract award: "Waste Management sues Oakland over $1 billion trash contract"; "Oakland garbage lawsuit could lead to higher rates"; commentary (Chipd Johnson), "Anger clouds Oakland council's judgment on garbage contract" .... 

***Controversy + litigation, Oakland garbage hauling contract award....

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Waste Management sues Oakland over $1 billion trash contract"

* Oakland Tribune:  "Oakland garbage lawsuit could lead to higher rates"

* San Francisco Chronicle (Chip Johnson):  "Anger clouds Oakland council's judgment on garbage contract"

Tuesday
Aug192014

SACRAMENTO: SCA 17, ability to withhold of pay from suspended legislators: "November ballot won't ask Californians about yanking pay of suspended lawmakers"; also, "Measure to withhold pay from suspended legislators misses 2014 ballot" ....

Monday
Aug182014

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Orange County): Trial date set, sexual harassment charges vs. former Orange County Public Works manager: "Judge Sets Date for Bustamante Trial" .... 

* Voice of OC: "Judge Sets Date for Bustamante Trial" - From VoiceofOC:

The trial of former Orange County Public Works executive Carlos Bustamante on felony charges he sexually abused women who worked under him was set Friday for Nov. 14 before Superior Court Judge John Conley.

   ****

Buatamante, a former Santa Ana city councilman and protégé of county Republican leaders, is accused of systematically targeting at least seven vulnerable women working for him at the county Public Works Department, stalking them and then sexually terrorizing them. He has pleaded not guilty and his lawyers have argued the sex was consensual. Attorney Gina Kershaw Friday told [Judge Gregg L.] Prickett the Bustamante team would file documents this fall seeking dismissal of the charges.

Monday
Aug182014

POLITICS/EDUCATION: State budget, school districts, limits on reserve accounts: "California Republicans want to reverse limits on school reserves" ....: 

* Los Angeles Times:  "California Republicans want to reverse limits on school reserves" - From the LAT:

California Republican lawmakers want to revisit one of the most controversial parts of this year's budget debate, proposing legislation on Monday to remove new limits on how much money school districts can keep in their reserve accounts.

The limits, proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown, were inserted into the budget in the closing days of negotiations in June. They would only take effect under a narrow set of circumstances -- voters would need to approve a ballot measure for a statewide rainy day fund in November, and lawmakers would need to fill a portion of the fund dedicated to schools.

Nonetheless, the limits have angered education officials, who say the state would be dangerously limiting schools' financial flexibility. . . . . . . .

Republicans could face an uphill battle in reversing the limits, which are strongly supported by the powerful California Teachers Assn.................