Index
Tuesday
Aug052014

POLITICS (National): Super PAC's, unwelcome unconventional advertising?: "Super PACs' spending isn't always welcomed by candidates they support" ....

* Washington Post:  "Super PACs' spending isn't always welcomed by candidates they support" - From the WP:

If you are a candidate in a close race, you might think it is a good thing when a big outside group starts spending millions on your behalf. And yet, Jeff Link, an adviser to Iowa’s Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, Rep. Bruce Braley, sounded ambivalent about an unconventional new ad that a liberal environmental super PAC has put up against Braley’s Republican opponent, Joni Ernst. “Time will tell,” Link said. “I don’t know. I don’t know if they tested it. I don’t know what’s coming next. I know as much as you do.”

The 60-second spot by former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate has a lot of people in Iowa scratching their heads. Is it edgy, or just weird?

The ad is the opening salvo in what NextGen says will be a $2.6 million effort — huge by Iowa standards. It looks as if it could be a trailer for next season’s “House of Cards,” with a little “Pulp Fiction” thrown in. Dimly lit, slow moving and shot with Hollywood-quality production values, the ad features two corporate bad guys chuckling over the fact that Ernst has taken a no-new-taxes pledge. Smoke fills the air. One of them opens a briefcase.

What does all of this mean? And does it have anything to do with the environment? The end of the ad promises, “To be continued . . .

“It’s billionaires fighting with billionaires — Tom Steyer fighting with the Koch brothers,” said David Kochel, a veteran Iowa political consultant who has informally advised Ernst. “People cannot relate to what they’re talking about in that ad. It’s drawn up by people who’ve spent their entire lives in Washington and just don’t get what the real experiences and lives of people are. It’s so completely out of touch and so far-fetched that it’ll never work. It’s a huge waste of money.”

That remains to be seen, but the frustration and confusion many campaigns are feeling about outside spending — even by their allies — are certain........................

Tuesday
Aug052014

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Bay Area): San Francisco, regulation, Airbnb rentals, editorial: "San Francisco debates how hard to curb Airbnb" ....

* San Francisco Chronicle (editorial):  "San Francisco debates how hard to curb Airbnb" - From the Chronicle:

San Francisco is bracing for another clash over scarce housing and the tech-flavored economy. A City Planning Department hearing on Thursday will consider how far to take a crackdown on thousands of short-term rentals offered by Airbnb and other casual-stay websites. The divide isn't over whether rules are warranted in the gray world of renting a spare bed or entire apartment for a short stay. City lawmakers, landlords and tenant groups are loosely united around the need for regulations that limit such rentals.

The changes are due if the city is serious about conserving housing in a place with sky-high rental costs. But the proposals can't be way out of step with an active and innovative market, one that has quickly developed much like the private taxis that have upended a traditional industry.

The future rules must be balanced and realistic, recognizing that the casual-stay business is popular and can't be banished. . . . . . . .

Two competing plans are on the table.....................

Tuesday
Aug052014

SACRAMENTO: Tobacco industry, campaign donations to Democrats, editorial: "Democrats choose tobacco money over public health" ....

***Following up on earlier item noted here (California Democrats, campaign cash from tobacco industry)....

* Sacramento Bee (editorial):  "Democrats choose tobacco money over public health" - From the Bee:

Democratic political consultant Garry South, hardly a starry-eyed idealist, offered an assessment for why Democrats in Sacramento are taking campaign donations from the tobacco industry. It is, he said, “simply baffling.” “We don’t grow tobacco here, so there are no farmers to protect. There are no cigarette factories here, so there are no jobs or workers to protect,” he told The Bee’s Laurel Rosenhall. “So what exactly are the interests in California that politicians can protect?”

Former Speaker John A. Pérez, who recently lost his run for state controller and must leave the Assembly because of term limits, took the most during the period Rosenhall analyzed, $95,600, followed by Gov. Jerry Brown, at $55,000.

Perhaps the switch is not all that baffling. Democrats’ acceptance of tobacco money comes as some of their consultants believe voters are less interested in the issue. Democrats took tobacco industry money as lawmakers killed numerous anti-tobacco bills, including one to ban smoking in apartments. Lawmakers also have failed to seriously regulate e-cigarettes and vaping.

And why? ..............................

 

Tuesday
Aug052014

SACRAMENTO: SB 270, new round of TV advertising, opposition to statewide ban, free plastic grocery bags: "Plastic industry hitting TV again to oppose bag ban" ....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Plastic industry hitting TV again to oppose bag ban" - From the Bee:

Plastic bag makers are hitting the airwaves again in their latest attempt to keep the California Legislature from passing a bill to ban free plastic grocery bags, launching new TV and radio ads scheduled to go live on Tuesday.

It’s part of the end-of-session lobbying campaign against Senate Bill 270, which would prohibit California grocery stores from providing flimsy plastic bags to customers at check-out, and instead require them to charge at least a dime for a paper bag or sturdier plastic sac. Lawmakers reconvened Monday and have until the end of the month to send bills to Gov. Jerry Brown.

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It’s the second round of ads the plastic industry has launched in California this year to oppose SB 270. The bill by Sen. Alex Padilla was supposed to represent a compromise between plastic bag makers and environmentalists, who pushed unsuccesfully for a bag ban last year. Last year’s version died in the Senate when a handful of Democrats said it would impact too many jobs in their districts or hurt working-class consumers. Padilla’s new version includes a $2 million subsidy to help factories change from making disposable plastic bags to re-usable plastic bags. That subsidy removed some industry opposition to the bill, but major bag makers remain opposed.

SB 270 is now in the Assembly appropriations committee...........

 

Tuesday
Aug052014

MISCELLANEOUS: Los Angeles area real estate, hottest neighborhoods, $1 million+ homes: "6 L.A. neighborhoods Where $1 Million Homes Are Selling Like Hotcakes" ....  

* LA Weekly:  "6 L.A. Neighborhoods Where $1 Million Homes Are Selling Like Hotcakes" - From the Weekly:

The rich have clearly gotten richer during the Great Recession and its aftermath.

And perhaps the greatest indicators of this unprecedented cash grab are the soaring real estate prices of the Golden State. Even as home values reach record levels, there are buyers out there making all-cash offers. (Who are these people?)

The real estate information service DataQuick says million-dollar-plus home sales reached a 7-year high in the second quarter of 2014. It recently broke down the California neighborhoods with the biggest share of those sales for the quarter. Here are L.A.'s top 6...........................