Index
Wednesday
Apr162014

POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION (Los Angeles): Downtown Regional Connector, update, plans for second entrance to subway station neat L.A. City Hall: "Metro drops entrance on proposed downtown subway station" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Metro drops entrance on proposed downtown subway station" - "Transportation officials shelve plan for a second entrance to regional connector subway station on Tribune property near LAPD headquarters and City Hall." - From the LAT:

Transportation officials have shelved plans for a second entrance to a downtown subway station across from L.A. police headquarters and the Los Angeles Times because the newspaper's parent company says it may develop the site, according to Metro documents published Tuesday.

The Tribune Co. property, a parking lot in downtown L.A.'s Historic Core, is the site of a future station along a $1.4-billion subway aimed at closing one of the most frustrating gaps in Los Angeles County's growing rail network. The Downtown Regional Connector will link two light-rail lines 1.9 miles apart, one near Staples Center and the other near Union Station. When the rail project is completed, scheduled for 2020, passengers will be able to travel across the county on one train, eliminating two transfers and $3 a trip in extra fares.

The only subway station entrance on Tribune property, at 2nd Street and Broadway, would face east, two blocks from Police Department headquarters and three blocks from Los Angeles City Hall.

Tribune Co. spokesman Gary Weitman declined to comment on any possible development at the site. Metro spokesman Rick Jager said a non-disclosure agreement with Tribune prevented him from discussing any details......................

Wednesday
Apr162014

L.A. CITY HALL: Downtown Los Angeles, update, proposed Jay Z concert, Grand Park: "Jay Z Grand Park Concert Is Official as Mayor Plans Announcement"; "Jay Z, Mayor Eric Garceetti expected to announce music festival"; "Jay Z to bring 'Made in America' festival to downtown Los Angeles over Labor Day weekend"; also, editorial, "A Very Crowded Grand Park" ....

***Update, City Hall wrangling (Mayor Eric Garcetti - Councilman Jose Huizar) regarding plans (street closures, community input, etc.) for a Jay Z concert at Grand park over Labor Day weekend....

* LA Weekly:  "Jay Z Grand Park Concert Is Official as Mayor Plans Announcement"

* Los Angeles Times:  "Jay Z, Mayor Eric Garcetti expected to announce music festival"

* Daily News:  "Jay Z to bring 'Made in America festival' to downtown Los Angeles over Labor Day weekend"

***ALSO, Related:

* Downtown News (editorial):  "A Very Crowded Grand Park"

Tuesday
Apr152014

AFTERNOON MEMOS: Compton, "Ex-Compton fire battalion chief pleads no contest to arson, embezzlement"; Long Beach, municipal elections, "With all votes counted, turnout on Long Beach election night increases"; San Francisco, proposed legislation, Airbnb, "S.F. Airbnb rules would pull short-term rentals from shadows" ....  

***Various items this afternoon from across the spectrum of politics and/or public policy....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Ex-Compton fire battalion chief pleads no contest to arson, embezzlement"

* Long Beach Press-Telegram:  "With all votes counted, turnout on Long Beach election night increases"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "S.F. Airbnb rules would pull short-term rentals from shadows"

Tuesday
Apr152014

POLITICS/EDUCATION (South Bay/Los Angeles County): New scrutiny, Centinela Valley Union High School District: "Superintendent Earns $1M Insurance Policy On School District's Tab In Addition To Inflated Salary" .... 

* CBS2/KCAL9:  "Superintendent Earns $1M Insurance Policy On School District's Tab In Addition To Inflated Salary" - From CBS2KCAL9:

A local school district is facing scrutiny once more after the board had paid for a whole-life insurance policy on its now-suspended superintendent, whose lavish salary was already inflated. 

Centinela Valley Union High School District Superintendent Jose Fernandez came under fire when it was revealed he brought in $663,000 in total compensation in 2013 — that’s more than the President of the United States makes annually. Documents from the school district, obtained by KCAL9 investigative reporter Dave Goldstein, suggest the district is paying an additional amount of over $50,000 each year for a $1,000,000 whole-life insurance policy in Fernandez’ name.

“From what I can tell, the cash benefit here, the cash value would revert entirely to the policy owner, Mr. Fernandez,” veteran insurance agency executive Raymond Arouesty told CBS2/KCAL9′s Dave Bryan.

As opposed to a more affordable term-life insurance policy, which most people have, a whole-life insurance policy allows Fernandez to cash the policy in for over $150,000, assuming the policy’s payments are made on time. “The insured person could at any time, even in the first year, give these policies — give one or both of them — back to the insurance company, and receive the cash value,” Arouesty said. “Those amounts are guaranteed in the policy.”

If the district were to make payments for the policy, which was taken out in 2010, over the next six years, Fernandez would then be able to cash the policy out for just under $500,000.

Also included in the school districts documents was the paperwork for an additional $750,000 whole-life policy with Fernandez listed as the insured owner. While it is not yet known whether the second policy was taken out as a replacement for the initial policy, or whether it was taken out as a separate, additional policy, the arrangements for the policy itself appear to be nearly identical....................

Tuesday
Apr152014

POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION (Los Angeles): Downtown Regional Connector, recommendation for construction contract award: "Metro recommends $927-million contract for downtown L.A. rail project" .... 

* Los Angeles Times:  "Metro recommends $927-million contract for downtown L.A. rail project" - From the LAT:

A nearly $1-billion contract to build a downtown subway that would close one of the most frustrating gaps in Los Angeles County's rail network should go to two companies with experience in local rail construction, according to a Metro report published Tuesday. The recommendation comes even though the firms were not the lowest bidders.

In the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority analysis, staff members recommended awarding a $927-million joint contract to Skanska USA and Traylor Bros., two firms now building other regional rail projects. 

   ****

The Skanska-Traylor proposal was $39 million higher than another bid the agency considered. But Skanska-Traylor's plan to finish construction 115 days early and its willingness to absorb the cost of any delays caused by Metro or subcontractors justified the higher price, agency staff members wrote.  

The project's total cost has risen from $1.39 billion, leaving the authority about $60.5 million short, according to the report. To close the gap, the agency hopes to pull $10.5 million from money set aside for rail cars and rail yards and $50 million from other revenue. Metro directors are slated to vote on the contract and the budget reallocations at their April 24 meeting. Another lucrative contract, for the $6.3-billion Westside subway extension to La Cienega Boulevard, will be awarded over the summer. 

The report highlighted one possible snag in the downtown connector's ambitious schedule...............