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Monday
Mar202017

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: San Diego, "Amid affordable housing crisis, number of units falls"; San Francisco, "Parental discord after S.F. Girls Chorus cancels trip"; O.C., "Costa Mesa Police Union Private Investigator Sentenced to County Jail for Acts to Discredit Councilmen"; Contra Costa County, "County hired social worker with domestic violence history" ....

***Various items relating to local issues/local government -- Northern California, Southern California....

* San Diego Union-Tribune:  "Amid affordable housing crisis, number of units falls"

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):  "Parental discord after S.F. Girls Chorus cancels trip"

* Voice of OC:  "Costa Mesa Police Union Private Investigator Sentenced to County Jail for Acts to Discredit Councilmen"

* East Bay Times (Daniel Borenstein):  "County hired social worker with domestic violence history" - "Contra Costa official: 'We don't consider it relevant what's going on in their personal lives.'"

Monday
Mar202017

L.A. CITY HALL: Land use/ development/planning, a comprehensive vision for how Los Angeles should grow?: Editorial, "It's time for a new conversation about L.A.'s future" ....

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "It's time for a new conversation about L.A.'s future" - From the LAT:

For what may be a brief moment in Los Angeles, planning is hot. Measure S, the slow-growth, anti-development initiative, failed at the ballot box but succeeded in one very big way: It drew attention to the city’s broken land-use process and the need for a new comprehensive vision for how Los Angeles should grow.

Measure S forced city leaders and voters to confront the very real challenges facing Los Angeles, such as the lack of affordable apartments, homelessness, gentrification and how to manage the transformation of once-suburban Los Angeles into an increasingly urban city. There was near-universal agreement among proponents and opponents of “S” that the status quo isn’t working. Land-use rules are outdated and routinely ignored. Every new project is a political negotiation and a fight over height, density and community impact, making housing construction a high-stakes gamble and turning residents reflexively into NIMBYs.

Yet voters overwhelmingly rejected the solution offered by Measure S: a two-year construction moratorium on certain developments. Clearly, voters do not want to stop building. But what do they want built? Where do they want it built? And can Los Angeles finally fix this broken system that doesn’t produce enough housing, erodes public trust in government and doesn’t result in well-planned communities?

The answer is yes, but only if Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council embrace the opportunity created by the failure of Measure S. The initiative created a chance to ...................

Monday
Mar202017

SACRAMENTO: State legislation, funding mechanism before enactment?: Commentary (George Skelton), "Here's an idea for legislators: Figure out how to pay for a spending bill before proposing it" ....

* Los Angeles Times (George Skelton):  "Here's an idea for legislators: Figure out how to pay for a spending bill before proposing it" - From the LAT:

You’d think from reading some promoted legislation that the Capitol was a candy store handing out free goodies. A lot of appealing items are on display. The cost? Oh, that. We’ll worry about it later.

Here’s my suggestion for a new law — an old but scoffed-at idea: No spending bill can advance through the Legislature that doesn’t pinpoint precisely its source of money. We have that requirement in home mortgage lending. Also, before a developer can build a housing tract, the source of water must be identified. Too often in the Legislature, however, it’s buy now, find the money later.

This particularly came to mind last week when some Assembly Democrats proposed the most generous college aid program in the nation.

   ****

“At first blush, what’s not to like?” says H.D. Palmer, spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown’s Finance Department. “A debt-free college education is a laudable goal. But it comes with a significant price tag and lots of questions.”

Yes, the kind of nagging questions that too often don’t get answered forthrightly in the Legislature. They boil down to this: Where do you get the money? From raising taxes? From chopping other programs? .................

Sunday
Mar192017

POLITICS (National): Donald Trump presidency, Republicans/House, Senate -- Obamacare, new plan?: Report/analysis (Lisa Mascaro), "Here's why the GOP is struggling to come up with a new healthcare plan: That wasn't the goal" .... 

* Los Angeles Times (Lisa Mascaro):  "Here's why the GOP is struggling to come up with a new healthcare plan: That wasn't the goal" - From the LAT:

The House GOP effort to repeal and replace Obamacare appeared in deep trouble Tuesday, underscoring the limits of a party that has traditionally put a priority on cutting taxes and government spending over digging into the details of safeguarding Americans’ healthcare. Many Republicans in Congress remain in outright revolt over the bill, warning it does not have enough votes to pass the House or Senate against stiff Democratic resistance.

A few moderate Republicans emerged from a Senate lunch Tuesday optimistic that House leaders would amend the legislation to meet their concerns. They want to preserve coverage for the millions of Americans who are projected to be left without insurance. But conservatives were pulling the bill in the opposite direction, demanding deeper, faster cuts. Meanwhile, GOP defections continued, including Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who said the current bill would be too detrimental to her elderly constituents.

“Is there anyone left in the country who actually likes it?” asked Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), reading the lists of doctors, hospital organizations and others who have registered opposition.

The tribulations now facing Republicans are not hard to understand: The party never set out to revamp the nation’s healthcare system. That was always a Democratic pursuit. Republicans simply wanted to repeal Obamacare, which they saw as a costly government intrusion. Only after they took the White House and it became apparent that millions of Americans would lose their health coverage under a straightforward repeal did Republicans begin to take seriously the “replace” part of their campaign promise ................

Sunday
Mar192017

POLITICS/BUSINESS: Frontline Medical Associates, insurance fraud, $$$scam: "Prosecutors re-file charges in $150-million fraud case" .... 

* Los Angeles Times:  "Prosecutors re-file charges in $150-million fraud case" - From the LAT:

it was touted as a mega-bust: the successful end to a five-year investigation aimed at dismantling one of the largest insurance fraud schemes in California history. More than a dozen people associated with Frontline Medical Associates were accused in 2015 of taking part in a $150-million scam that involved unnecessary surgeries by non-surgeons, doling out kickbacks for illegal patient referrals and fraudulently billing insurance companies. But over the 18 months that followed, a judge dismissed most of the 132 counts laid out in two indictments. The most serious charges — for aggravated mayhem, carrying a potential life sentence — were dropped for a lack of evidence.

Now, prosecutors are taking a second stab at the case after acknowledging flaws in how they presented it to a grand jury. At their request, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy Thursday threw out pending charges in the two indictments against 13 defendants, except for two suspects who are fugitives. Prosecutors immediately brought new charges against a dozen people, filing three separate criminal complaints listing 194 counts, including ..................