Index
Sunday
Apr052015

POLITICS/URBAN AFFAIRS: Employment trends, housing, distance between jobs and homes, report/analysis: "When jobs in Southern California move farther away from homes" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "When jobs in Southern California move farther away from homes" - From the LAT:

Southern Californians are famous for fighting some of the worst gridlock in the United States. They know as well as anyone the benefits of living close to work. But that's becoming an increasingly difficult trick to pull off as the distance grows between where people live and where jobs are available.

That's the upshot of a new analysis the Brookings Institution conducted of employment trends in the nation's largest metropolitan areas. In Los Angeles and Orange counties, the typical resident lived within nine miles of 600,000 jobs in 2012, down 7% from 640,000 jobs in 2000. That decline was very similar to the average trend for all metro areas over the same period.

More time on the road is not the only downside to the widening geographical gap between people and jobs: There are tangible social and economic repercussions to this discrepancy. For starters .....................

Sunday
Apr052015

SACRAMENTO: California Legislature, "select committees," report/analysis: "Special committees boost lawmakers budget but do little"; also, "California select committee spending at a glance"  ....

* Sacramento Bee (AP):  "Special committees boost lawmakers budget but do little" - From the Bee:

SACRAMENTO - The California Assembly Select Committee on Community Colleges met just once in its two-year existence, but it provided its Democratic chairman 14 personal aides at a cost of $644,000. It was one of 68 special committees that were supposed to study issues such as wine, ports and community development in the 2013-2014 legislative session but also provided lawmakers $6.7 million worth of additional staffing, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

Democratic legislative leaders spread clout and funding for staff by appointing lawmakers to lead regular committees that consider bills. Not everyone can lead these committees, so leaders also create "select" committees that also carry staff funding but don't consider legislation. Some lawmakers use these assignments to develop expertise and inspire policy, but they are not required to hold hearings or issue reports.

An AP review of legislative records show more than half of staff expenses for select committees, or $3.8 million, went to panels that held no hearings or convened once. "Sometimes the only output is the press release announcing the committee. That's it," said Robert Stern, an ethics expert who led the nonprofit Center for Governmental Studies.

   ****

Even committees without taxpayer funding help lawmakers polish their image. They can raise their visibility with district hearings and gain media coverage for their largely ceremonial appointments.

The committees are another example of how the California Legislature obscures its true operating costs. The $6.7 million staff costs also include employees for select committees that weren't even active last session.

The Assembly and Senate blocked lawmaker spending from public view until news organizations successfully sued in 2011. But the budgets they now release conceal the true costs to run each lawmaker's office by classifying workers as employees of committees rather than aides to legislators dealing with constituents, researching bills and scheduling appointments. "We end up hiding the budget by making it look smaller," former state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier said of the system .......................

***ALSO, Related:

* Sacramento Bee (AP):  "California select committee spending at a glance"

Sunday
Apr052015

POLITICS (National, Local/Chicago): Chicago mayoral election: "Rahm Emanuel gaining steam for runoff, despite rival's change in tactics"; "Garcia presses to turn negatives into positives against Rahm Emanuel"; "How Rahm Emanuel flipped the script on liberal rebels in the Chicago runoff"; "Emanuel's campaign strategy a political three-step" ....

***Chicago mayoral election runoff coming up this week, various reports/analyses....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Rahm Emanuel gaining steam for runoff, despite rival's change in tactics"

* Chicago Tribune:  "Garcia presses to turn negatives into positives against Rahm Emanuel"

* Washington Post:  "How Rahm Emanuel flipped the script on liberal rebels in the Chicago runoff"

* Chicago Tribune:  "Emanuel's campaign strategy a political three-step"

 

Sunday
Apr052015

POLITICS/LEGAL: California Commission on Judicial Performance, judicial misconduct, annual report: "43 California judges were repimanded for misconduct last year" .... 

* Los Angeles Times:  "43 California judges were reprimanded for misconduct last year" - From the LAT:

Two judges had sex with women in their chambers, one with his former law students, the other with his court clerk.A traffic court judge delegated his job to his clerk. While the judge was in chambers, the clerk heard pleas and imposed sentences. A family law court judge excoriated two parents who appeared before him as "rotten" and the mother a "train wreck" and a "liar."

The judges, among 43 disciplined last year by California's Commission on Judicial Performance, received rebukes ranging from public censure or admonishment to a confidential "advisory" letter. The state watchdog agency documented the transgressions in an annual report that provides a behind-the-scenes look at errant behavior on the bench and how it is addressed ......................

Sunday
Apr052015

POLITICS/WATER: California drought: "As water runs dry, Californians brace for a new way of life"; also, "Wealthy cities lag behind in drought water conservation" .... 

***Califoria drought, a couple items....

* Washington Post:  "As water runs dry, Californians brace for a new way of life

* Los Angeles Times:  "Wealthy cities lag behindi in drought water conservation"