SACRAMENTO: AB 1401, measure to allow noncitizens to serve as jurors, commentary (George Skelton) - "Noncitizens as jurors? It's not a discrimination issue"; op-ed - "Governor must veto noncitizen juror bill"....

* Los Angeles Times (George Skelton):  "Noncitizens as jurors? It's not a discrimination issue" - "Assemblyman says the bill is a reform to include noncitizens in the process. But what is the next reform: letting noncitizens vote?" - From the LAT:

SACRAMENTO—Bills are cascading out of the Legislature in free-fall as lawmakers race to adjournment for the year, most measures headed for the governor with little debate. It's the annual sprint to "do something" — to make a mark, regardless of how faint. Not all the bills, however, are as innocuous as they're treated.

One such measure, granted final passage last week by the state Assembly, would substantially change California's court system by allowing noncitizen legal immigrants to serve on juries. Nowhere else in America is a noncitizen permitted to be a juror — not in any state, not in any federal court. The bill, AB 1401, was discussed on the Assembly floor for only seven minutes before being sent to Gov. Jerry Brown on a party-line vote, 48 to 28, with most Democrats in favor, all Republicans opposed. It often amazes me how issues that really shouldn't have a partisan hue wind up being voted on as if they're either blue or red.

There's no indication how the Democratic governor feels about opening up juries to noncitizens, or even if he has thought about it.

In the Assembly, the presiding Democrat initially called for the vote even before any opponent could speak. But freshman Assemblyman Rocky Chávez (R-Oceanside) insisted. "What is the problem that we're trying to solve?" Chávez asked. "Is there a shortage of people offering to serve on juries?" Couldn't be that, Chávez said, reporting that 6 million Californians showed up for jury duty last year and that 165,000 were chosen.

Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), chairman of the Judiciary Committee that sponsored the bill, said the measure was about making jury pools more inclusive. He said that noncitizen legal immigrants already can be judges.

But later I called a staffer, who couldn't tell me how many noncitizen judges there are. I can't imagine a governor appointing a noncitizen to the bench, or one getting elected over any citizen rival. After all, you must be a citizen to be eligible to serve in the Legislature and write the laws. You have to be a citizen to be a governor who signs the laws. And you have to be a citizen to vote and elect the lawmakers.

It seems incongruous to allow noncitizens to determine whether a defendant has broken a law......................


* Daily News (Op-ed - Ralph E. Shaffer):  "Governor must veto noncitizen juror bill"


L.A. CITY HALL: Millennium Hollywood, lawsuit filed vs. project developer and city of L.A. by coalition of local homeowners, similar to challenge filed by W Hotel and Residences: "Hollywood homeowners sue over Hollywood Millennium"....

* Daily News:  "Hollywood homeowners sue over Hollywood Millennium" - From the DN:

Marking another legal challenge to the Hollywood Millennium project, a coalition of local homeowners filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the city of Los Angeles and the developer, the group’s attorney said. The suit alleges the city failed to study the environmental impacts of the two-tower development and accuses city officials of hiding evidence of a possible earthquake fault near the site, coalition attorney Robert Silverstein said. The suit, filed in L.A. Superior Court, asks the court to revoke the city’s approvals.

“This is a fight to ensure that City Hall cannot throw inconvenient laws and facts to the wind,” Silverstein said in a statement, “just because such laws and facts may upset powerful special interests.”


The lawsuit comes days after the W Hotel and Residences filed a similar legal challenge over environmental concerns. Benjamin Reznik, attorney for the hotel, alleged the city approved a “generic, amorphous” development and didn’t force the developer to detail what it intends to build. Reznik’s suit alleges the city also failed to do adequate seismic studies.

Lawsuits over large-scale developments are common, although in the case of the Millennium, there are a number of disparate groups expressing concerns about the project.............


* Los Angeles Times:  "Opponents of Millennium Hollywood sue developer, city"


AFTERNOON MEMOS: Bell scandal, court ruling, rejection Robert Rizzo bid for change of venue; Sacramento, Secty. of State Debra Bowen, online availability of raw campaign finance data; Los Angeles City Hall, op-ed, former L.A. City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, "professional pols".... 

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

* Daily News (Op-ed - Ruth Galanter):  "L.A.'s professional pols know little about real life"

* Los Angeles Times:  "Bell scandal: Judge rejects Rizzo bid to move trial out of county"

* Sacramento Bee:  "Under pressure, Bowen puts California raw finance data online"


L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles City Council, preliminary approval, 13-2 vote, new regulatory scheme for murals: "Los Angeles moves to lift decade-old ban on murals"....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Los Angeles moves to lift decade-old ban on murals" - From the LAT:

Artists predicted a renaissance of public muraling across Los Angeles as the City Council voted 13-2 Wednesday to lift a decade-long ban on the large outdoor artworks. "We owe it to our next generation to reclaim our legacy as a mural capital of the world," said Isabel Rojas-Williams, executive director of the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles.

The action represents a culmination of years of hearings on a new regulatory scheme for murals. It seeks a balance between clashing interests: reviving the city's muralist tradition; protecting neighborhoods from unwanted intrusions of large, sometimes controversial artworks; and controlling a proliferation of advertising in the guise of art.

It was the latter objective that led to the ban a decade ago. . . . . . . .

In the years since, weak and arbitrary application of the mural ban created inconsistencies and problems................


MORNING MEMOS: International Union of Operating Engineers, dissidents defeated in union local's election; San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, old eastern span to be dismantled piece by piece; commentary (Dan Morain), North Fork Indian casino, opposition campaign, Wall Street financing; L.A. City Hall, Office of Immigrant Affairs, commentary (Opinion L.A.), criticism....

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

* Los Angeles Times:  "Dissidents defeated in L.A.-based union local's election" - "They had accused leaders of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 51 of fraud, racketeering and intimidation."

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Morain):  "Wall Street firms spend to block competing casino"

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):  "Old Bay Bridge east span to be dismantled from top"

* Los Angeles Times (Opinion L.A. - Paul Whitefield):  "An Office of Immigrant Affairs: Gee, just what L.A. Needs"