Index
Friday
Nov082013

POLITICS (National): Colorado municipal elections, approval, anti-fracking measures: "Colorado Cities' Rejection of Fracking Poses Political Test for Natural Gas"....

* New York Times:  "Colorado Cities' Rejection of Fracking Poses Political Test for Natural Gas Industry" - From the LAT:

With three Colorado cities approving bans or moratoriums on hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, the natural gas industry is being forced to re-examine its political strategy after a period of explosive growth and broad backing.

Voters in Boulder, Fort Collins and Lafayette approved antifracking initiatives by wide margins on Tuesday, ignoring an industry campaign against the measures that cost at least $875,000. A fourth city, Broomfield, narrowly defeated a proposal for a five-year moratorium on drilling that uses hydraulic fracturing.

More than 100 municipalities have approved similar measures, according to a nonprofit industry monitor, FracTracker, and political opposition to fracking has grown in some areas, like Pennsylvania, where drilling has boomed. But experts say the Colorado votes have added significance because the state has long been a major oil and gas producer and a place where drilling has been both common and tolerated.

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“It’s an important vote,” said Floyd Ciruli, a pollster and political analyst whose Denver firm advises clients on how to marshal public support for initiatives. “People here are concerned about the real impact of fracking — the effect on the air, the noise, the dust, contaminated groundwater.”

Voters may also have been influenced by flooding that swept fracking sites in north-central Colorado in September. Environmental damage was minimal, but the dramatic pictures of overturned tanks of drilling wastewater and inundated drilling pads amplified a continuing debate over the safety of fracking. . . . . . . .

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Mr. Ciruli said the approved measures were likely to prompt state legislators and [Governor John] Hickenlooper to consider tightening regulation of the shale gas industry, in part to blunt future efforts by antifracking groups to expand bans or moratoriums......................

Friday
Nov082013

POLITICS (Inland Empire): Riverside County, San Bernardino County "corruption derby," Moreno Valley, former Councilman Marcelo Co, FBI sting, editorial: "Moreno Valley sting shows a pricier brand of public corruption"....

* The Sun (editorial):  "Moreno Valley sting shows a pricier brand of public corruption" - From The Sun:

Riverside County stole some of San Bernardino County’s thunder Tuesday in the Inland Empire corruption derby. Quite a bit of thunder, actually.

Federal prosecutors announced Tuesday in Riverside that Marcelo Co, a former Moreno Valley city councilman, would plead guilty to accepting a $2.3 million bribe — believed to be the largest bribe ever accepted by a public official in a sting operation in the United States. Co was already a former councilman because he resigned in August due to a completely unrelated scandal. This guy, who was elected in 2010, is a piece of work indeed.

There’s an amazing, grainy surveillance photo of Co gazing at stacks and stacks of bills on a table in front of him at what appears to be a restaurant — just before FBI agents moved in to arrest him. According to authorities, Co thought it was a developer paying him off to vote to rezone a piece of land. But it was an undercover agent.

The magnitude of the bribe he allegedly thought he was getting is stunning.............................

Friday
Nov082013

L.A. CITY HALL: Street vending in Los Angeles, editorial: "Legalize L.A. street vendors"....

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "Legalize L.A. street vendors" - "Whether hawking hot dogs, T-shirts, sodas or fresh fruit, vending on sidewalks and parkways is illegal in the city of Los Angeles. That's shortsighted." - From the LAT:

The bacon-wrapped hot dog may be the iconic L.A. street food, but the guy selling it is a criminal.

Whether hawking hot dogs, T-shirts, sodas or fresh fruit, vending on sidewalks and parkways is illegal in the city of Los Angeles. This law, of course, is widely ignored, especially in neighborhoods such as MacArthur Park, Van Nuys and downtown, where vendors and their customers turn the public right of way into unregulated food courts and marketplaces. Occasionally, city police and inspectors will swoop in to ticket or arrest vendors and break up commerce, only to have it resume soon after.

It's an ineffective and unsafe system that ignores the opportunity to foster a vibrant street culture. So several years ago, community activists and immigrant rights groups began a campaign to bring vendors out of the shadows, and their work has begun to pay off. This week, City Councilmen Jose Huizar and Curren Price introduced a motion calling for a study of how L.A. can legalize vending on sidewalks.

There are an estimated 10,000 street vendors working in Los Angeles County, and advocates say a large percentage of them are within the city of Los Angeles. Given the significant economic and cultural impact of street vending in some communities, it's shocking that the city has waited so long to legitimize vendors. Worse, even food vendors who are eager to play by the rules — who get a health permit from the county's Street Vending Compliance Program — face fines, confiscated equipment or jail because the city bars them from selling their goods on the sidewalk.

Certainly, there are real issues to address before L.A. legalizes street vending. Here are a few things officials should consider.........................

Friday
Nov082013

SACRAMENTO: SCA 3, June 2014 ballot, tab for complying with Public Records Act, Brown Act: "Tensions Over PRA, Brown Act".... 

* Capitol Weekly:  "Tensions Over PRA, Brown Act" - From Capitol Weekly:

The question is simple: Should local governments pick up the tab for complying with California's laws requiring open meetings and access to public records?

But the answer is not so simple.

State and local governments are clearly divided. In the end, voters will decide when they confront a constitutional amendment next year on the ballot................................

Friday
Nov082013

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (San Bernardino): San Bernardino, recall election, mayoral election, various commentaries, city bankruptcy, "polarizing political figures"....

* The Sun (editorial):  "Voters take first step to clean up City Hall" - From The Sun:

With the surprising ouster of two of the city’s most polarizing political figures, San Bernardino has an opportunity now to build the kind of government and community its families deserve.

Voters on Tuesday kicked City Attorney James F. Penman and 7th Ward Councilwoman Wendy McCammack out of their seats to end what began as a sweeping campaign to recall 10 of the city’s elected officials. The recall, which was scaled back to target just three leaders — 3rd Ward Councilman John Valdivia was spared by voters — complicated Tuesday’s election, which included contests for mayor and three other council seats.

Yet despite the mess the recall made of the ballot, the campaign, set against the backdrop of the city’s bankruptcy, forced voters to take a careful look at those they’ve elected to lead their city. In the end, they didn’t like some of what they saw......................

***ALSO:

* The Sun (editorial):  "Voters recall Penman, McCammack and chart new course"

* The Sun (Los Angeles News Group - Opinion):  "Mixed message in San Bernardino: McCammack and Penman recalled, but McCammack in runoff for mayor"

***Also, Related:

* Los Angeles Times:  "San Bernardino voters oust city attorney, councilwoman in recall"