Index
Friday
Dec132013

SACRAMENTO: California politics, family connections, commentary (Dan Walters): "Family connections loom large in California politics"....

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "Family connections loom large in California politics" - From the Bee:

Ralph Dills served in the California Legislature for 42 years, and during part of that time, his brother Clayton was also a legislator. Such a familial connection in the Capitol was very unusual until about two decades ago, when legislative term limits kicked in.

Term limits, coupled with the evolution of well-oiled political machines in metropolitan areas, had the unintended consequence of fostering political dynasties. Politicians staked out territorial franchises and when forced to vacate offices would often bequeath them to sons, daughters, brothers, spouses or other relatives. And the syndrome has not been confined to the Legislature.

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There’s nothing wrong, per se, with relatives of politicians seeking political office, but it’s also evident that in many cases. . . family connections are the beginning and end of qualifications.

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Anointed relatives get head starts in campaigns, enjoy tremendous advantages over their potential rivals and don’t really have to prove themselves worthy for office. They may turn out to be effective politicians, or not, but the outcomes are mere happenstance.

Friday
Dec132013

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (County of L.A.): Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, federal grand jury: "U.S. seeks to expand probe of L.A. County Sheriff's Department"....

* Los Angeles Times:  "U.S. seeks to expand probe of L.A. County Sheriff's Department" - "A federal grand jury is continuing to take testimony as some sheriff's officials cooperate with a federal inquiry into alleged assaults of inmates and obstruction of justice." - From the LAT:

Federal authorities are seeking to expand their jail misconduct investigation by convincing sheriff's deputies to provide evidence against colleagues and higher-level officials in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, according to interviews. Some sheriff's officials are already cooperating with federal investigators. . . . . . . .

Many of the 18 former and current deputies charged in the jail scandal face potentially lengthy prison sentences if they are convicted of crimes that include conspiracy to obstruct justice, lying to federal agents and beating inmates and writing false reports to cover up the assaults. The prospect of tough punishment gives deputies an incentive to help with the investigation in exchange for a deal, legal experts said.

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A federal grand jury has continued to take testimony after the indictments were sealed, according to sources who requested anonymity because the grand jury proceedings are secret. It is unclear what allegations the panel has been focusing on.

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It remains unclear how far up the Sheriff's Department chain of command the investigation could go.....................................

Friday
Dec132013

POLITICS/DEMOGRAPHICS: New Census Bureau report, wealthy communities, Washington, D.C. area vs. California: "California's household income trails Washington's suburbs"....

* Sacramento Bee:  "California's household income trails Washington's suburbs" - From the Bee:

California has local pockets of high wealth — Beverly Hills, Santa Barbara, Hillsborough, etc. — but none of its counties can compete with communities in the immediate vicinity of Washington, D.C., a new Census Bureau report indicates.

The bureau calculated that five counties or "county equivalents" in Northern Virginia had the nation's highest median household incomes in 2012, topped by $121,250 in Falls Church, Va. Meanwhile, residents of Maryland, on the other side of Washington, had the highest median incomes of any state, $71,169. California, at $58,322, was higher than the national median of $51,371, but was 10th overall.

In terms of income, Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley, was California's most affluent county in 2012 with a median income of $91,195 while Trinity County, at $35,162, was the poorest.

Friday
Dec132013

MORNING MEMOS: Orange County, Transportation Corridor Agencies, sale of $2.3 billion in bonds; San Francisco, construction boom, $110 million windfall, development impact fees to the city; AC Transit, cooling-off period nearing an end, labor dispute heating up; Urban Land Institute, plan to recreate redevelopment in California....

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

* Sacramento Bee:  "Urban Land Institute wants to recreate California redevelopment"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "$110 million windfall for San Francisco improvements"

* Contra Costa Times:  "AC Transit labor dispute heats up as cooling-off period nears end"

* Los Angeles Times:  "O.C.'s largest toll road network sells $2.3 billion in bonds" - "The Irvine-based Transportation Corridor Agencies will use the money to finance the Foothill-Eastern system."

Friday
Dec132013

POLITICS: Field Poll, public perception, labor unions: "Public opinion turns against labor unions in California"....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Public opinion turns against labor unions in California" - From the Bee:

Public support for labor unions has plunged in California, with more voters for the first time saying they do more harm than good, according to a new Field Poll. A plurality of registered voters – 45 percent – now feel that way, compared to 40 percent who say they do more good.

The poll registers a dramatic, 10 percentage point change in public opinion from two years ago, when voters rated labor unions far more positively. The measure follows heated controversies around public pensions, municipal bankruptcies and political campaigns involving organized labor – one of the most influential forces in California’s Democratic politics. “It seems like they keep winning the battles,” Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo said. “The question becomes, ‘Are they moving the public in the direction where they may lose the war?’”

DiCamillo attributed declining support for labor unions to growing concerns about public pension costs and, in the densely populated San Francisco Bay Area, frustration around recent transit strikes. “It’s percolating more at the local level,” he said.

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The public’s view of labor unions overall is highly partisan, with a majority of Democrats supportive of organized labor and a majority of Republicans opposed. But labor unions have lost support they once enjoyed among independent voters. While 48 percent of independent voters said in 2011 that labor unions do more good than harm, just 39 percent say so today. Among independent voters, a plurality – 44 percent – say labor unions do more harm.

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Californians’ view of public employee unions, in particular, is similar to their assessment of labor unions overall, according to the poll .............................

***ALSO, Related:

* Contra Costa Times:  "Poll: Bay Area residents support ban on public transit strikes"