Index
Sunday
Jul262015

SACRAMENTO: Uber, regulatory challenges, Sacramento $$lobbying: "Facing regulatory roadblocks, Uber ramps up its lobbying effort in California" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Facing regulatory roadblocks, Uber ramps up its lobbying effort in California" - From the LAT:

Uber now spends more on lobbyists in California than Wal-Mart, Bank of America or Wells Fargo. And for good reason: The 6-year-old ride-hailing company needs powerful friends as it faces two serious regulatory challenges in the state — a move to reclassify its drivers as employees, not independent contractors, and a demand to turn over to state officials data on every Uber ride.

Those are only the latest public fights threatening to slow the firm's lightning-quick international expansion. But the home-state problems pose a key test of Uber's increasingly well-oiled political machine, whose spending on Sacramento lobbyists puts it in the top 3% of companies and organizations.

The stakes for Uber are high ............................

Sunday
Jul262015

LOCAL GOVERNMENT/ENVIRONMENT (Bay Area): Oakland, Oakland Army Base property, cargo facility, coal shipiments?: Commentary (Matier & Ross, "Opponents of Oakland coal shipping target governor's pal" ....

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):  "Opponents of Oakland coal shipping target governor's pal" - From the Chronicle:

While Gov. Jerry Brown was busy at the Vatican warning of possible human extinction from global warming, his business partner and friend Phil Tagami was treading hot water with environmentalists and civic leaders over a plan to ship millions of tons of coal from city docks in Oakland. At issue: a proposal to ship Utah coal through an $820 million cargo facility that Tagami is building at the old Oakland Army Base — a big chunk of which is being paid for by public money.

“The governor just told the pope that we need to leave 90 percent of the world’s coal in the ground or face an environmental catastrophe,” said Jess Dervin-Ackerman, conservation program coordinator for the San Francisco Bay chapter of the Sierra Club. “If he is serious about doing something, he could and should start with his own hometown and with his own friend.”

Coal is the issue where two powerful forces in Oakland run straight into each other. One is the city’s longtime dream of turning the old Army base into an economic engine. The other is the desire to adopt an environmentally progressive stance that can change the city’s hardscrabble image ........................

Sunday
Jul262015

POLITICS (National, State, Local /Maryland): "Friendliest Town" in Maryland, firing of black police chief, cancellation of municipal election, misuse of federal grant funds?: "Justice Department scrutinizes firing of black police chief in Pocomoke City, Md." ....

***Following up on earlier item noted here (racial turmoil in "Friendliest Town" in Maryland, firing of black police chief)....

* Washington Post:  "Justice Department scrutinzes firing of black police chief in Pocomoke City, Md." - From the WP:

A month after a black police chief was fired amid allegations of racism, Justice Department officials traveled to Pocomoke City, Md., to meet with local leaders about the chief’s termination. Justice representatives also talked with residents last week about two other issues roiling the community: accusations that a 2011 federal police grant was misused and allegations of irregularities in a recent city council election.

“We are looking at the chief’s termination,” Charles Phillips, a mediator for the department’s community relations service, told dozens of residents Wednesday night at New Macedonia Baptist Church, according to a video recorded by the Real News Network. “We are looking at some of the other issues — voter irregularities — that were mentioned.”

Pocomoke, a community of 4,000 that bills itself as “The Friendliest Town on the Eastern Shore,” has been divided since the majority-white city council fired Kelvin Sewell, the town’s first black police chief.

In a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Sewell alleged that he was ousted because he refused to dismiss two black officers who complained about working in a racially hostile environment. On Friday evening, Sewell’s mostly African American supporters held a rally and called for the resignation of Pocomoke City Mayor Bruce Morrison.

   ****

Residents at the meeting also raised concerns about other issues that they said show a pattern of abuse of power by city leaders. Those issues included the alleged misuse of a $212,000 DOJ grant designated for new police hiring and the cancellation of a recent municipal election ....................

Sunday
Jul262015

POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION (Aviation): Southern California Association of Governments, Regional Transportation Plan, aviation growth projections: "LAX could see more than 100 million travelers a year by 2040" ....  

* Los Angeles Times:  "LAX could see more than 100 million travelers a year by 2040" - From the LAT:

New aviation forecasts predict that Los Angeles International Airport, already straining under a record number of passengers, could have more than 100 million travelers annually by 2040, far more than the ceiling set by a 2006 court settlement that will soon expire.

According to projections released last week, the Southern California Assn. of Governments estimates that between 78.9 million and 100.7 million passengers a year will eventually pass through the nation's second-busiest commercial airport. LAX, the leading international gateway on the West Coast, had 70.7 million passengers last year. Overall, the regional planning agency predicts that a dozen commercial airports within its six-county jurisdiction will handle between 136 million and 138 million travelers annually by 2040.

The forecast represents at least a 55% increase in air travelers since 2013, but the estimate is significantly less than the prediction of 170 million annual passengers by 2030 that the association made more than a decade ago. Researchers said the downward revisions stemmed from slowing population growth and events since 9/11 such as sharp increases in fuel costs and the worst economic recession since World War II.

The projections for other major airports in the region indicate that . . . . . . . .

    ****

SCAG is using the new projections to prepare the aviation element of the association's 2016-2040 Regional Transportation Plan, which includes airports in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Officials said the forecasts could vary between the high and low estimates depending on future planning and policy decisions by local governments, economic conditions, new constraints on airport capacity and population growth ....................

Saturday
Jul252015

POLITICS (National): 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump: "Here's how long Donald Trump can run, with the cash he has on hand" ....

* Washington Post ("The Fix"):  "Here's how long Donald Trump can run, with the cash he has on hand" - From the WP:

Donald Trump is very adamant that he should be president in part because he is not financially beholden to anyone. "I’m using my own money," he said during his campaign announcement speech. "I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich." To prove his point, he held up a sheet of paper detailing his assets. Billions in real estate and stocks! Rich guy. Doesn't need donors.

It didn't take long, though, for people to point out the obvious. Entrepreneur Mark Cuban -- himself so rich that he has his own social network -- pointed out that there's a big difference between being worth billions of dollars because you own office buildings and being able to spend billions on a campaign. "Let’s say you own a painting that gets appraised at $10 billion," Cuban said on "Cyber Dust" (his social network). "That gives you a net worth of 10 billion. But that does not mean you have a lot of cash. How much cash does Donald have? We don’t know for sure."

Even after Trump provided details of his finances to the Federal Election Commission, we still don't know for sure. Bloomberg tallied up his assets and figured he had $70,000,000 on-hand. An expert contacted by Politico put the number higher, at $250,000,000 -- once he liquidizes some securities.

So how much of a campaign does that get you? To answer that question, we need to answer a bunch of other questions .........................