Index
Wednesday
Jan202016

POLITICS/ENVIRONMENT: California Coastal Commission, Executive Director Charles Lester: "Coastal Commission executive director under fire" ....

* Capitol Weekly:  "Coastal Commission executive director under fire" - From Capitol Weekly:

A move to oust the executive director of the California Coastal Commission is under way, an effort that marks the most significant attempt against the commission’s ranking administrator in two decades.

Commission Chair Steve Kinsey wrote a letter to Executive Director Charles Lester, saying the 12-member panel “will consider whether to dismiss you” at the commission’s February meeting. Kinsey’s Jan. 14 letter, reviewed by Capitol Weekly, emerged Tuesday after days of intense wrangling at the powerful agency.

A statement was posted Tuesday evening on the commission’s web site for the Feb. 10-12 meeting, saying that “two items regarding the executive director have been set for public hearing and/or closed session (and) the employment status of the executive director … and if necessary, consideration of the appointment of an interim executive director … ”

Lester invoked his right to a public hearing at the February meeting before the commission goes into an executive session to consider his dismissal, sources said. The commission staff was briefed late Tuesday morning about the pending action.

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Several people with knowledge of the commission's inner workings said the action reflected a long-standing division between environmentalists and conservationists on one hand, who generally support Lester, and pro-development forces on the other .................

Wednesday
Jan202016

POLITICS (National): 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton: "Film Shows Clinton Aide's Own Struggle With Anthony Weiner Scandal" ....

* New York Times:  "Film Shows Clinton Aide's Own Struggle With Anthony Weiner Scandal" - From the LAT:

In May 2013, Huma Abedin and Anthony D. Weiner allowed filmmakers full access to his mayoral campaign with the hopes that the result would document a spectacular political comeback, with Mr. Weiner being sworn in as mayor of New York having emerged from a scandal centered on explicit texting that forced him to resign from Congress. 

Things did not go quite according to plan. Instead, “Weiner,” a new documentary that The New York Times was allowed to view exclusively ahead of its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday, provides an unfettered look at the implosion of Mr. Weiner’s mayoral campaign and a wrenching inside account of the couple’s interactions in the aftermath of his second explicit texting scandal.

The film overflows with juicy moments about Mr. Weiner. As the second scandal unfolds in July 2013, Mr. Weiner is shown panicking, misleading the news media and, at one point, racing through the back halls of a McDonald’s to avoid a woman with whom he traded inappropriate texts, whom his campaign code-named “Pineapple.” But the footage also centers on Ms. Abedin, who is best known as the closest aide to Hillary Clinton, another woman who has endured public humiliation and political scandal.

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The film comes at an uncomfortable time for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign, as it grapples with attacks from both the Republican candidate Donald J. Trump and others reminding voters of sexual episodes of her husband’s past ...................

Wednesday
Jan202016

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles City Council: "L.A. to pay $24 million to two men imprisoned for decades after wrongful murder convictions"; "L.A. City Council Approves $24.3 Million Payouts For Wrongful Murder Convictions"; "L.A. Agrees to Pay Millions to 2 Men Who Spent Decades in Prison After Wrongful Murder Convictions" ....

Wednesday
Jan202016

L.A. CITY HALL: Panorama City, old Montgomery Ward site, redevelopment: "$150-million mixed-use project pitched for vacant Panorama City site" ....  

* Los Angeles Times:  "$150-million mixed-use project pitched for vacant Panorama City site" - From the LAT:

A Beverly Hills developer has bought the site of a long-vacant former Montgomery Ward in Panorama City, with plans to turn the nearly 9-acre location into a big apartment and shopping complex. The Icon Co. paid $18 million for the land at Roscoe Boulevard and Tobias Avenue, where the company wants to build 350 apartments and 250,000 square feet of entertainment and retail space. It would be one of the biggest developments in years in the working-class, largely Latino San Fernando Valley neighborhood.

Billy Ruvelson, an Icon principal, estimated that the project will cost $150 million. He hopes to have approvals and break ground by this time next year, with the project opening sometime in 2019. He said tenants could include a grocery store, movie theater or big-box retailers, as well as smaller shops . . . . . . . .

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The Montgomery Ward site, a block from Van Nuys Boulevard and adjacent to the Wal-Mart-anchored Panorama Mall, has been seen as prime for redevelopment since the department store closed in 2001, but a previous effort stalled.  In 2008, Indianapolis developer Mark Siffin proposed more than 500 condos and 450,000 square feet of retail, replete with Times Square-style billboards, but the project never materialized. 

Icon's proposal is relatively modest compared to Siffin's .............

Tuesday
Jan192016

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles City Council, body camera contract, bid process? award: "Firms left out of LAPD's body camera search decry 'piggybacking' bid process" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Firms left out of LAPD's body camera search decry 'piggybacking' bid process" - From the LAT:

Los Angeles leaders have described their plan for putting thousands of body cameras on police officers as transformative, a move that will set the standard for major law enforcement agencies across the nation.But that costly and sweeping initiative — expected to consume $57.6 million over five years — hinges on a little-watched contracting process that unfolded more than a hundred miles north.

LAPD officials are asking the City Council to purchase body cameras from Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taser International. They also want to avoid a time-consuming and potentially politically messy bidding process. So they've asked city lawmakers to let them "piggyback" on a competitive search carried out by officials in Kern County.

Kern County officials used a bidding process last year to buy 30 Taser Axon body cameras for $65,530. Weeks later, the LAPD announced that it planned to use the same search to make a bigger order: 6,140 cameras, plus replacements and upgrades, and 4,400 Tasers — all at a cost of $31.2 million over five years.

The city's practice of piggybacking on another government agency's bidding processes is legal and used regularly in L.A. and elsewhere, officials say. But in the LAPD deal, that maneuver has sparked complaints from competing technology companies, which say they were denied the chance to bid on the camera contract ...................