Index
Wednesday
Aug052015

POLITICS (National): Editorial, Super PACs, Citizens United decision, "social welfare" groups, tax-exempt status, accountability?: "A legal -- for now -- end-run around Citizens United" ....  

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "A legal -- for now -- end-run around Citizens United" - From the LAT:

With the 2016 election looming, Republicans in Congress want to make sure that the Internal Revenue Service won't crack down on tax-exempt "social welfare" groups that serve as conduits for untraceable political spending. And the commissioner of the IRS has indicated that, in any event, the agency won't adopt new regulations of these organizations in time for the rules to be applied to next year's election.

Without new rules, potentially hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent on election-related activities with no accountability because, unlike "super PACs," these so-called social welfare groups are not required to disclose their donors. That loophole makes a mockery of the Supreme Court's assurance in its Citizens United decision that transparency about the sources of political spending "enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages."

When Congress approved tax-exempt status for these groups, it provided that they would be engaged "exclusively" in social welfare activities. An IRS publication defining such groups offers as examples associations that build housing for the poor or provide financial planning. But in administering the law, the agency has redefined "exclusively" to mean "primarily," allowing these groups to spend huge sums on election-related activity so long as a bare majority of their spending goes for other purposes.

Unfortunately, more restrictive regulations have been a casualty of the continuing controversy over the IRS' treatment of tea party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status .....................

Wednesday
Aug052015

POLITICS (National; State; Local): Business/politics, "CEO pay-ratio rule likely to heat up debate on income inequality"; Bay Area, "SF Mayor Ed Lee: Allegations of bribery like reading a comic book"; Sacramento, "East Bay Senate special cost more than $12 million, final reports show" ....

***Politics and/or public policy -- nationa; state; local....

* Los Angeles Times:  "CEO pay-ratio rule likely to heat up debate on income inequality"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "SF Mayor Ed Lee: Allegations of bribery like reading a comic book"

* Sacramento Bee:  "East Bay Senate special cost more than $12 million, final reports show"

Wednesday
Aug052015

AFTERNOON MEMOS: California Public Employees' Retirement System, pension reform initiative, "CalPERS CEO says pension proposal full of problems"; Washington, D.C., "Firefighting consumes Forest Service budget, sparks political clash"; Sacramento/San Francisco, "New court skirmish erupts among California judges" .... 

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

* Sacramento Bee:  "CalPERS CEO says pension proposal full of problems"

* Sacramento Bee (McClatchy D.C.):  "Firefighting consumes Forest Service budget, sparks political clash"

* Sacramento Bee:  "New court skirmish erupts among California judges"

 

Wednesday
Aug052015

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles City Council, Uber, LAX pick-up service: "L.A. hits the brakes on plan to allow Uber at LAX" ....  

* Los Angeles Times:  "L.A. hits the brakes on plan to allow Uber at LAX" - From the LAT:

The Los Angeles City Council slammed the brakes Wednesday on a process that could allow Uber and Lyft to pick up passengers alongside taxis at Los Angeles International Airport, citing concerns about public safety and equity for passengers.

The City Council voted 11-2 to assert jurisdiction over a permit process approved last month by the Board of Airport Commissioners. Some council members were concerned that not enough attention was paid to ensuring that drivers for such app services as Uber and Lyft undergo the same background checks as permitted taxi operators.

   ****

"I could not care less if the vehicle picking up passengers has a checkered paint job or a pink mustache or numbers on the back," Councilman Paul Krekorian said during the meeting. "I don’t care. But it's our responsibility to make sure that person is safe and is treated with dignity."

Councilman Paul Koretz, who has been a vocal critic of transportation network companies, said Uber and Lyft will eventually end up operating legally at LAX.  "The real question is: Are we going to do any kind of regulation?" Koretz said. "And are we going to review this set of contracts, or are we just going to take a pass?”

Councilmembers Mike Bonin and David Ryu voted against the motion to assert jurisdiction, and Gil Cedillo and Joe Buscaino were absent.

Elected officials now have 20 days to discuss the regulations in a council committee. Then they will have the option to approve the permit process or send it back to airport officials for further changes .................

Wednesday
Aug052015

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Northern Calif.; Southern Calif.): Bay Area (San Francisco), "Lamp post destroyed by urine falls in street, just misses driver"; Los Angeles, "Proposal to replace Westchester homeless encampment with Chick-fil-A hits snags"; Anaheim,, "Disney buys Anaheim land, sparking expansion speculation"; L.A. City Hall, "Brentwood neighbors oppose $100 million Archer School for Girls" ....

***Various items relating to politics and/or public policy -- local government, Northern California, Southern California....

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Lamp post destroyed by urine falls in street, just misses driver"

* Los Angeles Times:  "Disney buys Anaheim land, sparking expansion speculation"

* Daily News (City News Service):  "Brentwood neighbors oppose $100 million Archer School for Girls' expansion"

* Daily Breeze:  "Proposal to replace Westchester homeless encampment with Chick-fil-A hits snags"