Index
Saturday
Mar222014

POLITICS (National, State, Local/Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach): Port truck drivers, unionization efforts: "String of actions strengthen the hand of truck drivers" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "String of actions strengthen the hand of truck drivers" - "Union officials calls the recognition that drivers are employees subject to federal labor law protections 'historic.'" - From the LAT:

A string of actions by state officials and the National Labor Relations Board has strengthened the hand of truck drivers who say they need union representation to improve pay and working conditions for the thousands who transport cargo out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

In a settlement this week, one major trucking company agreed to post notices acknowledging the workers' right to organize — not previously a given because drivers were treated as contract workers, who are not subject to unionization. The agreement comes after repeated victories at the state Labor Commissioner's office, where 30 drivers have won decisions against 11 port trucking firms, awarding them $3.6 million in wages and penalties.

"I am ecstatic. They dug into this situation and found there is a serious problem here," said Eric Tate, chief of Teamsters Local 848, which covers the harbor area. "We are trying to protect jobs and workers who are being mistreated." Union officials called the recognition that drivers were employees subject to federal labor law protections "historic."

A spokesman for Pacific 9 Transportation, the company that agreed to settle a dispute with the Teamsters, downplayed the action. Alex Cherin noted that the Carson-based company had not admitted wrongdoing or paid any fines. Cherin, also executive director of Harbor Trucking Assn., predicted that many of the state wage rulings against other companies could be overturned on appeal. He said that all of the recent actions were part of a Teamsters plan to force the union on drivers who are mostly happy with their jobs.

The long-running dispute centers on charges by "short-haul" drivers who deliver goods to warehouses and railway depots around Southern California.............................

Saturday
Mar222014

MORNING MEMOS: Pension reform, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, editorial, "Lost opportunity for pension reform"; 26th state Senate District, "Judge rules Beverly Hills mayor can be on ballot for state Senate"; special fire districts, editorial, "What's special about special fire districts? Extravagant pay"; medical malpractice limit, "Effort to avert malpractice cap ballot measure on the ropes" ....

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

* San Francisco Chronicle (editorial):  "Lost opportunity for pension reform"

* Los Angeles Times (PolitiCal):  "Judge rules Beverly Hills mayor can be on ballot for state Senate"

* Sacramento Bee (editorial):  "What's special about special fire districts? Extravagant pay"

* Los Angeles Times (PolitiCal):  "Effort to avert malpractice cap ballot measure on the ropes"

Saturday
Mar222014

POLITICS/EDUCATION: San Jose State University, response, discrimination, hate crimes on campus: "State Jose State discrimination: School needs to take stronger stand against hate crimes, panel says"; also, "San Jose State hate crime case: Black student files $5 million claim" ....

***Dealing with discrimination, hate crimes on San Jose State University campus....

* San Jose Mercury News:  "San Jose State discrimination: School needs to take stronger stand against hate crimes, panel says" - From the MN:

* San Jose Mercury News:  "San Jose State hate crime case: Black student files $5 million claim"

Saturday
Mar222014

L.A. CITY HALL: Airbnb, questions, legality of operations in Los Angeles neighborhoods, violation of zoning laws: "Is Airbnb legal in Los Angeles? Not in most places, according to city planning memo" ....  

* Daily Breeze:  "Is Airbnb legal in Los Angeles? Not in most places, according to city planning memo" - From the DB:

Airbnb, the popular online service that allows people to rent out their homes and apartments to strangers for short periods, violates zoning laws in many neighborhoods of Los Angeles, city officials say in a densely worded memo.

The memo, dated Wednesday, is not believed to represent a policy change for the city, and it’s written in such a complex manner that it’s not entirely clear in which city neighborhoods Airbnb is legal and in which it is not. But as a general rule, the memo states, city residents may not rent out their apartments and homes for fewer than 30 days if they live in what the planning department classifies as a purely residential neighborhood.

“Short-term rentals may be allowed in commercial zones,” as well as some multifamily residential zones, states the memo written by Deputy Director of Planning Alan Bell. But Bell said even apartments in those zones can’t necessarily be rented using the Web platform. “The rules governing short-term rentals in these zones are complex,” he writes.

   ****

The city’s zoning map is extraordinarily intricate, but the memo suggests that Airbnb is not allowed in any purely residential neighborhoods. It appears to be OK, however, in denser neighborhoods like downtown Los Angeles and parts of Hollywood. But enforcing laws against short-term rentals is not easy. And though politicians understand that quiet neighborhoods may not want short-term renters, officials also understand that Airbnb is extremely popular among renters. . . . . . . .

Nick Papas, a spokesman for Airbnb, said in an email that the company is seeking uniform rules for short-term rentals in Los Angeles.

   ****

For now, in a nod to the various short-term housing rules worldwide, Airbnb asks prospective renters to check on their own whether renting is allowed.............

Saturday
Mar222014

SACRAMENTO: 2014 elections, Jerry Brown fundraising: "Jerry Brown grows campaign war chest to nearly $20 million" ....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Jerry Brown grows campaign war chest to nearly $20 million" - From the Bee:

Gov. Jerry Brown has added to his dominant war chest in this year's gubernatorial race, reporting Friday that he has raised nearly $3 million since Jan. 1 and now has $19.7 million on hand.

The Democratic governor's donors include labor unions and a variety of business interests, including energy, tobacco and health care companies. Seven different members of the Fisher family, which owns Gap Inc., donated $54,400 each to Brown, the maximum allowed. The donations come after members of the family appeared to be included on a sloppily redacted list of donors working against Brown in California's initiative wars in 2012.

Brown reported receiving $8,200 from a campaign account held open by former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, and $5,000 from eBay Inc., the former company of Brown's Republican opponent in 2010, Meg Whitman.

Brown is the heavy favorite to win re-election in this Democratic-leaning state.................