Index
Wednesday
Jun252014

SACRAMENTO: Fundraising blackout legislation, ethics reform bill: SB 1101, "California fundraising blackout bill falters in committee"; SB 1379, "California Senate panel shelves GOP ethics bill" ....

***Seemingly much ado -- at least by way of conversation -- about legislative fundraising rules, ethics, etc....

* Sacramento Bee:  "California fundraising blackout bill falters in committee"

* Los Angeles Times (PolitiCal):  "California Senate panel shelves GOP ethics bill"

Wednesday
Jun252014

SACRAMENTO: June 3 election, California controller, continuing razor-thin margin between Betty Yee and John Perez: "Recount possibility looms in California controller's race after canvass" ....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Recount possibility looms in California controller's race after canvass" - From the Bee:

They’ve been counting votes for three weeks in the race for California controller, and Democrat Betty Yee has gone from second place to third place, to fourth place and back to third. As of Tuesday afternoon, she was again clinging to second place, ahead of former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez by a mere 865 votes. Whoever survives gets a spot in the Nov. 4 runoff against Republican Ashley Swearengin.

“I get text messages from people who’ve been following this much more closely than I am,” said Yee, a member of the state Board of Equalization, downplaying any anxiety as officials finish processing more than a million vote-by-mail, provisional and damaged ballots by next Tuesday’s canvassing deadline. But even then, the vote count could continue well into the summer. The razor-thin margin separating Yee and Pérez – representing just .02 percent of the more than 4 million votes cast in the controller’s contest – could prompt one or both candidates to launch a statewide recount – the first in the modern era – that could cost millions and upend preparations for the Nov. 4 general election.

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Experts, though, cautioned that recounts at any level of an election are filled with uncertainty, are potentially very expensive, and often lead to court challenges.

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Election lawyer Fredric D. Woocher called the controller’s race “extraordinarily close.” But the cost of doing hand recounts in the state’s 58 counties and the imminence of the November election – overseas and military ballots go out in 12 weeks – are “pretty daunting.”

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If there is a recount, the Pérez campaign would start with much more financial wherewithal. . . . . . . .

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But before any decisions are made on a possible recount, there are about 6,000 ballots to count in Lake County............................

Wednesday
Jun252014

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, nonprofit trusts, $4 million annual payment: LA Weekly, "Eric Garcetti's Hard Line Against DWP Union Slush Fund Appears to Waver" ....

* LA Weekly (Gene Maddaus):  "Eric Garcetti's Hard Line Against DWP Union Slush Fund Appears to Waver" - From the Weekly:

Mayor Eric Garcetti has taken a hard line against two ratepayer-funded training programs at the Department of Water and Power. Garcetti had threatened to withhold funding from the programs unless Brian D'Arcy, the head of the DWP union, agrees to reveal more information about how the money is spent. But with the deadline looming for an annual payment of $4 million to fund the programs, that hard line seems to be wavering. At a meeting last week, the city's lawyers advised Garcetti's DWP commissioners that they must hand over the money under the terms of the union contract.

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The controversy over the two programs - the Joint Training Institute and Joint Safety Institute - has been going on for nearly a year. The L.A. Times first reported on them last September, in a follow-up to a 2005 L.A. Weekly story, which first raised concerns about their secrecy. The Times report came in the wake of D'Arcy's failed effort to elect Wendy Greuel as mayor, which left him politically weakened.

After the Times story, Controller Ron Galperin and Garcetti both vowed to get to the bottom of how the programs spend their money. But the way the programs are set up has so far made that impossible. . . . . . . .

Galperin ultimately went to court and won a favorable ruling, but D'Arcy appealed and the issue remains in legal limbo. In frustration, Garcetti's commissioners last November voted to withhold all funding from the programs until the information is released. However, it was clear at the time that the funding was mandated under the union contract.

The $4 million payment is typically made in the first couple weeks of July. . . . . . . .

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Mel Levine, the chair of the commission, said that no decisions have been made on transferring the funds. "We're talking to our lawyers. We're trying to assess our options," he said.

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Joe Ramallo, the DWP spokesman, declined to comment Tuesday. The final decision rests with Garcetti. Doane Liu, the deputy mayor who oversees DWP, referred questions to the mayor's spokesman, Jeff Millman, who declined to state the mayor's position.

Wednesday
Jun252014

POLITICS/CULTURE (National; Local/Bay Area, Los Angeles): "George Lucas chooses Chicago for his planned museum"; also, "Chicago beats out S.F. for George Lucas' museum"; "Officials not surprised Lucas refused S.F.'s offer" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "George Lucas chooses Chicago for his planned museum" - From the LAT:

The Force is officially with the city of Chicago.

After months of deliberation, George Lucas has chosen the Windy City for his planned museum that will feature his personal art collection as well as exhibitions devoted to the digital arts and the movies. The choice was confirmed Tuesday by a Lucas spokesman as well as a spokeswoman for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The "Star Wars" director was considering San Francisco as a possible location for his museum. This month Los Angeles also threw its hat into the ring with a social media campaign spearheaded by Mayor Eric Garcetti. It remains unclear if Lucas ever considered L.A.

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The museum, which Lucas said he hopes will open in 2018, will be built on a site proposed by Chicago officials -- the city's lakefront museum campus that also serves as home to the Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum.

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The director had expressed interest in a San Francisco site across from Crissy Field. But earlier this year, the Presidio Trust rejected that site and instead offered the filmmaker a location near his Letterman Digital Arts Center. San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee later proposed a 2.3-acre lot across from the city's Embarcadero. L.A. had proposed a location near the University of Southern California, where Lucas studied filmmaking.....................

***ALSO:

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Chicago beats out S.F. for George Lucas' museum"

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):  "Officials not surprised Lucas refused S.F.'s offer"

Wednesday
Jun252014

L.A. CITY HALL: Coalition of City Unions, new city employee contracts: "Union officials, city leaders at stalemate over new contracts" ....

* Daily News (Sausage Factory):  "Union officials, city leaders at stalemate over new contracts" - From the DN:

With contracts for most city workers set to expire July 1, union leaders and city officials remain at odds over two key issues that could affect the city’s finances. Cheryl Parisi, head of the Coalition of City Unions, said that unions will not sign off on a plan for workers to contribute 10 percent towards their health care premium, a goal sought by city leaders. Most employees pay nothing toward their health care costs and officials, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, want the coalition to start contributing.

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In an interview Tuesday, Parisi said the unions found savings during the negotiation process to offset the city’s request for health care contributions. . . . . . . . .

Union members are also refusing to forgo salary increases in the new contracts, another goal sought by city leaders.

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Given the disagreements, city budget adviser Miguel Santana said it’s unlikely a new contract will emerge by July 1–next Tuesday. Parisi echoed that sentiment. Without a new contract, the unions will retain their current contract until a deal is reached. It isn’t uncommon for expiration dates to pass without a new contract and negotiations to continue. However, another deadline looms: January 1, 2015........................