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Thursday
Apr252013

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles World Airports, LAX modernization, north runway reconfiguration/Westchester/Lincoln Boulevard; date set for L.A. City Council set to take up LAX modernization plan....

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

* The Argonaut:  "LAX study contradicts charge that runway move will shut down Lincoln"

And, in terms of timing regarding bringing the modernization issue to Los Angeles City Hall:

"The City Council is slated to vote Tuesday, April 30 on LAX’s modernization plan."

Thursday
Apr252013

POLITICS/EDUCATION: Jerry Brown education overhaul plan, shift of more funding to poorer school districts, Brown pledges opponents of his plan the "battle of their lives"....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Jerry Brown pledges foes 'battle of their lives' over education funding" - From the Bee:

Facing resistance at the Capitol and in suburban school districts to his effort to shift more education money to California's poor and English-learning students, Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday called his measure a civil rights issue and promised opponents "the battle of their lives." The education financing proposal is a central part of Brown's budget plan and an emerging source of division between the Democratic governor and lawmakers of his own party.

"This is a matter of equity and civil rights," Brown said at a news conference flanked by local school officials. "So if people are going to fight it, they're going to get the battle of their lives, because I'm not going to give up until the last hour, and I'm going to fight with everything I have, and whatever we have to bring to bear in this battle, we're bringing it."

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***ALSO:

* Los Angeles Times:  "Gov. Jerry Brown promises fight over education overhaul" - "Jerry Brown says lawmakers will 'get the battle of their lives' if they balk at his plan to give more funds to poor districts and more spending flexibility to all school districts."

Wednesday
Apr242013

POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION: 405 Freeway widening project, frustration expressed by motorists, area residents and local officials, traffic nightmares, cost overruns and delays, frustration express by Supervisor (and Metro board member) Zev Yaroslavsky, "This project has been horribly managed"....

* Los Angeles Times:  "405 project stuck in the slow lane" - "Plagued by cost overruns and delays, the widening will take at least a year longer than first anticipated. Pencil in June 2014, when officials aim to complete the bulk of the construction." - From the LAT:

Elon Musk quips that it's easier getting rockets into orbit than navigating his commute between home in Bel-Air and his Space Exploration Technologies factory in Hawthorne. "The 405 … varies from bad to horrendous," said Musk, who also co-founded PayPal and Tesla Motors. "It just seems people in Los Angeles are being tortured by this. … I don't know why they aren't marching in the streets."

The massive project to widen the 405 Freeway is not only causing traffic nightmares for motorists like Musk but has also been plagued by cost overruns and delays. Transportation officials say the project is now slated to take at least a year longer than first anticipated and cost about $100 million more than the originally budgeted $1 billion.

The companies handling the work won kudos when they were able to reopen the freeway ahead of schedule during the so-called Carmageddon events in 2011 and 2012. But that masked a larger problem for the main contractor, Kiewit, and the subcontractors. Officials now aim to complete the bulk of the project by June 2014. . . . . . . .

The delays and cost overruns are raising the ire of both residents and local officials, who say the project is causing major disruptions throughout the already traffic-clogged Westside. "This project has been horribly managed," said Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles County supervisor and board member of Metro, which is running the project. "The performance of contractors has left a lot to be desired. … They've shown a complete lack of sensitivity and empathy for the community in which they're doing the work."

Asked why he and other elected officials have not publicly prodded the contractor to enlist more workers and equipment to speed the project, Yaroslavsky said: "Where's the money going to come from? This project is over budget by a considerable amount, and Metro hasn't figured out how it's going to cover the cost overruns, let alone incur additional costs."

Several factors have driven the delays. . . . . . . .

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....Yaroslavsky said he empathizes with affected motorists and residents. "I totally understand the frustrations of people who live there and have to travel through there and get up in the middle of the night when jackhammers are going," he said. "It's just been a nightmare for everyone." As for who will bear fiscal responsibility for the cost overruns and delays, he said, "this is going to be fought out between the contractors and Metro for quite some time."

Wednesday
Apr242013

SACRAMENTO: California Coastal Commission, appointment of Mark Vargas to fill slot recently vacated by William Burke....

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

* Sacramento Bee:  "Mark Vargas fills California Coastal Commission vacancy" - From the Bee:

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez has named a green building specialist to the California Coastal Commission. Mark Vargas's appointment to the 12-member commission begins today. Vargas, an alumnus of the Gov. Gray Davis administration and the secretary of state's office, resigned from the Little Hoover Commission yesterday to take this new post.

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Vargas replaces former commissioner William Burke, who stepped down last week amid controversy over remarks he made about a proposal to ban beach bonfires and questions about whether it was proper for him to serve on both the Coastal Commission and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Wednesday
Apr242013

L.A. CITY HALL: Councilman-elect Mike Bonin, CD 11, announcement of key hires, Chad Molnar as chief of staff, Laura McLennan as deputy chief of staff

* Daily Breeze:  "Incoming Los Angeles Councilman Mike Bonin announces key hires" - From the DB:

Incoming Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin, who will represent the 11th District, announced the hiring Wednesday of two key staff members.

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When Bonin takes office on July 1, his chief of staff will be Chad Molnar, who has served since 2007 as LAX-community liaison for Rosendahl's district.

He also announced that Laura McLennan will work as his deputy chief of staff......