Index
Friday
Sep182015

POLITICS/ENVIRONMENT: AllenCo. Energy, resumption of operations in South Los Angeles?: "Oil field operator settles air quality violations, moves closer to reopening" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Oil field operator settles air quality violations, moves closer to reopening" - From the LAT:

An oil field linked to chronic respiratory illnesses in South Los Angeles has moved a step closer to resuming operations by paying $144,250 to settle air quality violations. Announcement of the settlement with AllenCo Energy Inc. earlier this week was unwelcome news for University Park residents who had filed hundreds of complaints in 2010 about emissions they believe caused ailments including headaches, chronic fatigue, asthma and nosebleeds in children.

The complaints led to investigations and subsequent citations from state and federal regulatory agencies. But none of them took additional steps, such as going to court, to stop residents from being sickened by repeated releases of noxious compounds.

The settlement with the South Coast Air Quality Management District capped a two-year investigation into AllenCo, which the agency cited for four violations in 2013. Those violations included . . . . . . . .

The company voluntarily halted operation on the two-acre oil field in 2013 at the request of U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), pending completion of investigations by agencies including the air quality district, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources. Since operations ceased, formal complaints of respiratory ailments and nosebleeds in the area have all but stopped.

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Among the hurdles AllenCo must clear before resuming operations is a lawsuit filed a year ago by the Los Angeles city attorney's office ...................

Friday
Sep182015

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Orange County): Santa Ana, budget surplus: "What to do with Santa Ana's sudden surplus?" ....

* Voice of OC:  "What to do with Santa Ana's sudden surplus?" - From Voice of OC:

It’s a situation that would have been unheard of just a few years ago -- the city of Santa Ana with millions in extra cash.

In 2011 and 2012, city leaders disbanded the century-old fire department and made a host of other cuts to stave off bankruptcy and close a $30-million budget hole. Fast-forward to this year, and the city has more than $13 million in extra cash at its disposal thanks to an $11-million budget surplus and $2 million from selling property on Bristol St.

Now, residents, community activists, city staff and council members have the pleasant challenge of figuring out what to do with this cash infusion. Two major proposals have emerged ..................

Friday
Sep182015

POLITICS/URBAN AFFAIRS: American Homes 4 Rent, U.S. Department of Labor: "Home rental firm agrees to pay more than $400,000 in back overtime wages" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Home rental firm agrees to pay more than $400,000 in back overtime wages" - From the LAT:

American Homes 4 Rent, one of the biggest players in the burgeoning industry of renting single-family homes, failed to pay workers legally required overtime, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday. The Agoura Hills real estate investment trust agreed to pay more than 100 workers a combined total of $414,455 in back overtime wages after an investigation by the department's Wage and Hour Division.

American Homes 4 Rent owns more than 37,000 homes in 22 states that have been renovated and offered as rental properties. 

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The violations occurred when American Homes improperly classified more than 100 property inspectors as exempt from overtime after changing their titles to field superintendent, the Wage and Hour office said. After the change in titles, the workers' duties remained the same, but they no longer received overtime after working an average of 55 hours a week.

Job titles do not determine exempt status, and simply paying an employee a salary does not necessarily mean the employee is not eligible for overtime, the agency said ................

Friday
Sep182015

POLITICS/EDUCATION (State, Local/Inglewood): Inglewood Unified School District, announcement, new state-appointed trustee: "Former San Jose schools chief tapped to run Inglewood Unified for state"; also, "State appoints new leader for Inglewood Unified" ....

* Daily Breeze:  "Former San Jose schools chief tapped to run Inglewood Unified for state" - From the DB:

A former superintendent of the San Jose school system has been tapped by the state to lead the Inglewood Unified School District out of financial disaster, officials announced Thursday. Vincent Matthews will take over next month as the fourth state-appointed trustee of the troubled district. He replaces Don Brann, who announced his sudden resignation in June.

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Matthews previously led the Oakland Unified School District as state-appointed administrator and served as an area superintendent of San Diego Unified School District, the second largest district in California. He will report to Inglewood on Oct. 19.

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In July 2013, the Department of Education appointed Brann to lead IUSD out of financial turmoil after the district sought a loan from the state to avoid bankruptcy . . . . . . . .

Brann led the district for more than two years, and touted a balanced district budget in June as part of a three-year plan to decrease spending before announcing his “transition” out of Inglewood.  Brann has declined to publicly discuss his departure from the Inglewood post, but on Thursday said, “The record will show that I did not resign. I did not retire. All I said that night was that I would be transitioning out and working with (Torlakson) to make a smooth path from my work to the next trustee,” he said.

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The announcement of Brann’s departure surprised IUSD union members, who said ...................

***ALSO:

* Los Angeles Times:  "State appoints new leader for Inglewood Unified"

Friday
Sep182015

L.A. CITY HALL: Campaign finance, Councilman David Ryu, Los Angeles City Ethics Commission: "New L.A. councilman eyes ban on business, union donations to candidates" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "New L.A. councilman eyes ban on business, union donations to candidates" - From the LAT:

A Los Angeles lawmaker wants the Ethics Commission to explore banning campaign contributions from businesses, unions and other groups, arguing that it would prevent hard-to-trace donations from flowing to city candidates. But it's not clear whether the plan will even receive a full hearing at City Hall, where City Councilman David Ryu needs at least one other council member to sign on to introduce the proposed changes for consideration. 

Ryu won his seat this year campaigning as a City Hall outsider committed to upending the status quo. His push to ban businesses, labor unions and other groups from donating to city candidates is a bold and controversial idea that could test his ability to forge alliances with other lawmakers. 

Earlier this week, Ryu planned to introduce a proposal to change city law to restrict the kinds of donations that campaign committees controlled by candidates could receive, only allowing them to take money from individuals. That would prohibit candidates from taking money from . . . . . . .

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But the plan was never introduced. So far, it appears that none of his colleagues have agreed to sign on to the proposal, though it is unclear how many have reviewed it. City Council President Herb Wesson had not yet seen the proposal, his spokeswoman Vanessa Rodriguez said Thursday. Instead, Ryu on Thursday sent a letter to the head of the Ethics Commission, requesting that the panel explore ways to limit campaign contributions to individuals ........................