Index
Monday
May202013

L.A. CITY HALL: Rick Orlov TIPOFF, Villaraigosa international travel, mayor heading to China next week to promote L.A. tourism, was in Dubai for a speech last week.... 

* Daily News (Rick Orlov TIPOFF):  "L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa heading to China" - From the DN:

As he prepares to leave office on June 30, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa seems intent on making sure every page of his passport has some foreign destination stamped on it.  Next Sunday, he is heading a trade and commerce delegation to China for a quick three-day visit to promote Los Angeles International Airport, the Port of Los Angeles and tourism to the city. It is his third trip to Asia in his eight years as mayor.

Part of the trip includes opening a second tourism office in Shanghai to work with the one that has been open in Beijing. Last year, China accounted for 460,000 tourists to Los Angeles and the country generated $159 billion worth of trade for the city.

Last week, the mayor was in Dubai with Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington where he delivered a commencement address at the American University. It was another quick trip, with him gone only over the weekend and returning on Tuesday. The Dubai trip was not on his official schedule as the mayor has taken to not disclosing such trips that do not directly involve the city. It came to light only when Huffington posted a picture of the two of them on her Facebook page.

While he's gone, his staff will be working on transition issues for whoever is elected to succeed him in Tuesday's election.............

Sunday
May192013

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles World Airports, LAX, Tom Bradley International Terminal, great hall of new terminal to be named for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa....

* Daily Breeze:  "Great hall at LAX's new Bradley terminal to be named for Antonio Villaraigosa" - From the DB:

The new international terminal championed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa won't be finished by the time he leaves office next month, but it will carry his name in a prominent place. The airport plans to call the great hall of the Tom Bradley International Terminal the Antonio R. Villaraigosa Pavilion - a name the city's Board of Airport Commissioners is expected to approve at its Tuesday meeting. The honor should allow Villaraigosa to take a victory lap before he leaves office on June 30.

The terminal, announced in late 2008, was expected to be mostly open by now. But officials say the construction schedule was always a bit aggressive, and now the building is not supposed to fully open for at least another year. At one point, officials had hoped to at least open a large chunk of the terminal before Villaraigosa leaves office, but that also appears impossible now.

The resolution honoring Villaraigosa estimates the cost of the building at $1.7 billion, or $200 million greater than most of the estimates given by airport officials during the past year. . . . . . . .

Airport Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey has said many of the delays were caused by unexpected work on utilities needed for the project................ 

 

Sunday
May192013

POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, congestion mitigation fee program, report, "Metro considers adding fees to every new home, store of office building to fight congestion"....

* San Gabriel Valley Tribune:  "Metro considers adding fees to every new home, store or office building to fight congestion" - "Costs could range up to $1,900 per home or $30,000 for a new retail store"

Developers in Los Angeles County are bracing themselves for a new layer of congestion fees that would add about $1,900 per new home and about $30,000 on a new Trader Joe's store, The added fees are being considered as part of a developing Congestion Mitigation Fee Program, 10 years in the making by the county's Metropolitan Transportation Authority or Metro.

After more than 50 businesses signed a letter opposing the measure, the program suddenly was withdrawn from Wednesday's Metro Planning and Programming Committee and placed on hold. "The Board and their staff felt that it being a complex issue, more time is needed by all to fully understand it. It will probably go back to the Board at a later date," wrote Metro spokesman Rick Jager. Though the May 23 date originally set for board approval also was withdrawn, Jager said the board had not set a new date for consideration.

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Cities have submitted wish lists containing numerous projects, from lane widenings and new freeway on- and off-ramps to traffic signalization to a $60 million grade separation proposed at a train-street intersection in Baldwin Park. If all 1,700 projects submitted by 88 cities were completed, it would cost $5.1 billion, create 60,200 jobs, and reduce the number of hours drivers sit in traffic by between 6 percent and 38 percent over 20 years, according to Metro.

Development fees are nothing new to many cities. Pasadena and Santa Monica, for example, have a sophisticated system for charging developers for roads, traffic signals, bikeways, etc. Some 22 cities in the county already impose transportation mitigation fees, while 66 cities do not, according to Metro. If the new program was adopted, Metro would work with each city in the county to adopt a separate congestion mitigation fee schedule. Though it's not totally clear, those cities with existing fees could receive credits if the fees are adequate, according to Metro..................

Sunday
May192013

POLITICS (Bay Area): Update, problems at San Francisco Housing Authority, money running low, new round of layoff notices.... 

* San Francisco Chronicle (City Insider):  "Housing Authority slashes jobs as money runs low, labor fight brews" - From the Chronicle:

When Housing Authority Commissioner Phil Arnold warned in March “there’s going to be a lot of pain,” this is the type of thing he was talking about.

The financially strapped public housing agency sent layoff notices to 30 employees on Friday — about 10 percent of its workforce — as it struggles to close a $6.4 million deficit and remain solvent. A city document shows the agency is projected to run out of cash in July, more than two months before it would get an infusion of federal funding with the start of a new fiscal year.

The layoffs are on top of 15 positions that were eliminated in April, many in middle and senior administrative posts. Friday’s layoffs in particular hit clerks who determine eligibility for low-income housing and unionized tradesmen like laborers, plumbers and carpenters who fix the units.......

Sunday
May192013

POLITICS/BUSINESS: Federal and state clearances, Tesoro Corp. purchase of BP's Carson refinery, Arco stations and other assets for $2.4 billion, Tesoro and Chevron will now control more than half of refining business in California, consumer advocates unhappy....

***Following up on earlier item noted here....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Tesoro is cleared to buy BP's Carson refinery, Arco stations" - "Tesoro won U.S. and state clearances to buy BP's Carson refinery, Arco stations and other assets for $2.4 billion. Consumer advocates object." - From the LAT:

Tesoro Corp. won federal and state clearance for its purchase of BP's Carson refinery, Arco stations and other assets for $2.4 billion, an acquisition that would further concentrate the state's fuel-making capacity into only two players — Tesoro and Chevron Corp.

The twin actions Friday were immediately blasted by consumer advocates as a disaster for California consumers, who already pay some of the nation's highest gasoline and diesel prices. Tesoro and Chevron would control more than half of the refining business in California, which the activist groups contend would allow the two companies to influence what customers pay at the pump.

That criticism came despite conditions laid down by California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris that sought to preserve the Arco brand's standing reputation as the low-price leader in the state's gasoline market. Harris also sought to preserve jobs and protect the environment in the agreement reached with Tesoro.

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The Federal Trade Commission also signed off on the deal, without conditions, saying that the continuing drop in gasoline demand in the state was leading to excess fuel-making capacity. That, in turn, constrained the ability of refiners to affect retail fuel prices. The FTC also noted that seven major refiners continue to supply the West Coast.

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The state's total refinery capacity for gasoline is just more than 1.9 million barrels a day. Once the deal is completed, Tesoro and Chevron Corp. of San Ramon, Calif., will control just more than 1 million barrels a day of the state's gasoline production, or 52.6%..............