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Monday
Apr112016

POLITICS/ENVIRONMENT: California Coastal Commission, Public Records Act, email communications?: "Coastal Commission denies request for commissioners' emails" ....

* San Jose Mercury News:  "Coastal Commission denies request for commissioners' emails" - From the MN:

California residents are not allowed to see emails or texts between coastal commissioners and lobbyists under the state's public records law, attorneys for the commission claim.

The California Coastal Commission revealed its stance -- which mirrors that of a San Jose public records lawsuit now before the state Supreme Court -- in response to separate public records requests filed by this newspaper and an environmental group about the commission's Feb. 10 vote to oust Executive Director Charles Lester. The firing of Lester outraged coastal advocates who worry the commission is being tainted by powerful development interests. A majority of commissioners claimed Lester was simply a poor manager.  

 

Lawyers for the agency argue that its commissioners -- who do not have government email accounts -- are not required to turn over emails from their personal accounts or texts from their private phones under the Public Records Act, even when they are discussing government business. The commission regulates development along the California shoreline.

 

Louise Warren, a staff attorney for the commission, said in an email that the agency does "not have possession, ownership or control over electronic communications that are solely on the private devices of commissioners."

Peter Scheer, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, a San Rafael-based nonprofit dedicated to open government, said it does not matter whether an email is sent from a personal or government account. "If the email is about government business, and it was sent or received by a government official, it's a public record," Scheer said. "End of story. Full stop."

 

 

The coalition has joined Ted Smith, a San Jose resident, in his lawsuit against the city ................. 

 

Monday
Apr112016

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Bay Area): Oakland, "Clock is ticking as Oakland officials try to control skyrocketing rents"; transportation, "BART director got concealed gun permit, cites risk from activists"; San Francisco, "As D.A., ex-sheriff battle, their waves share center stage" ....

***Various items relating to local issues/local goverment in and around the Bay Area....

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "BART director got concealed gun permit, cites risk from activists"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Clock is ticking as Oakland officials try to control skyrocketing rents"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "As D.A., ex-sheriff battle, their wives share center stage"

Monday
Apr112016

SACRAMENTO: "Two checks: State lawmakers collect public pensions and legislator's salaries"; "California watchdog agency dismised 90% of complaints about judges' conduct in 2015"; "Driving while high? Lawmakers want police to be able to check" ....

***Various items relating to doings in and/or around the Capitol....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Two checks: State lawmakers collect public pensions and legislator's salaries"

* Los Angeles Times:  "California watchdog agency dismissed 90% of complaints about judges' conduct in 2015"

* Los Angeles Times:  "Driving while high? Lawmakers want police to be able to check"

Monday
Apr112016

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Bay Area): San Francisco, Transbay Transit Center, emergency bailout?: "$260 million bailout in works for troubled Transit Center project" ....

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "$260 million bailout in works for troubled Transit Center project" - From the Chronicle:

The city is proposing a $260 million emergency bailout of the struggling Transbay Transit Center construction project in downtown San Francisco, a loan that officials say is needed to prevent work on the $2.25 billion transportation hub from shutting down this summer.

The unusual loan, which would be paid back over the next five to 10 years with taxes collected from developers and property owners in the neighborhood’s burgeoning high-rise district, is proposed as projected costs on the transit center have climbed $360 million in the past two years alone. Since 2008, project costs have soared by $1 billion.

On Tuesday, city Controller Ben Rosenfield will introduce the proposed financing package to the Board of Supervisors, which must approve it along with the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The short-term financing will cover a projected shortfall of $149 million for fiscal year 2017 and $98.5 million in 2018. The city will borrow $160 million from Wells Fargo, and the MTC will provide $100 million.

The proposed financing comes just a week after sources say the Transbay Joint Powers Authority Board of Directors decided to oust Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan, the longtime executive director of the agency, which is responsible for the construction and oversight of the transit center . . . . . . . .

Mayor Ed Lee said the financing plan will keep the project on schedule while protecting taxpayers. “It is an investment in our infrastructure, in good-paying construction jobs and in the future of transportation in the San Francisco Bay Area,” Lee said.

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But others have questioned . . . . . . . .

Critics call it the “billion-dollar bus station” and question ..................

Monday
Apr112016

POLITICS/URBAN AFFAIRS: California Department of Motor Vehicles, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights (Bay Area), new report: "A disproportionate share of blacks and Latinos lose their driver's licenses because of unpaid tickets, study finds" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "A disproportionate share of blacks and Latinos lose their driver's licenses because of unpaid tickets, study finds" - From the LAT:

African Americans and Latinos in California are more likely than others to lose their driver's licenses because of unpaid tickets and then to be arrested for driving with suspended licenses, according to a report released Monday. The report, by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, examined U.S. Census Bureau data, records from the California Department of Motor Vehicles and information from 15 police and sheriff's departments in the state to document by race the impact of unpaid traffic fines.

"Individuals who cannot afford to pay an infraction citation are being arrested, jailed and prosecuted, and are losing their licenses and their livelihoods," the report said. "The communities impacted by these policies are disproportionately communities of color."

Black drivers were found to be arrested at higher rates than whites for driving with licenses suspended because of unpaid tickets, the report said. The highest suspension rates in 2014 were found in poor neighborhoods with large percentages of black and Latino residents. 

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Monday's report, based on data gathered in the last year, follows an earlier study by the group that found ...................