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Monday
Apr242017

L.A. CITY HALL: Measure C, May 16 ballot, police reform?: Editorial, "Measure C pretends to be about police reform. Instead, it's a noxious sleight of hand. Vote no." ....

***Following up on earlier item noted here (Los Angeles Police Department, office discipline for misconduct, ballot measure)....

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "Measure C pretends to be about police reform. Instead, it's a noxious sleight of hand. Vote no." - From the LAT:

Seldom has an effort to alter Los Angeles’ governing blueprint been as clever and underhanded as Charter Amendment C, a little-noticed measure on the little-noticed May 16 city ballot that would change how police officers are disciplined for misconduct. Seldom have city officials been so sly in their effort to slip something so noxious past L.A. voters.

After the November presidential election, the March city election and an April special election to fill a key congressional seat, Los Angeles is election-weary, and voters may be prone to let this one go by (and that was surely the City Council’s point in scheduling this vote when it did). But it’s important. Voters should request their vote-by-mail ballots or plan to show up at the polls in three weeks and vote No on Charter Amendment C.

The subject matter is the three-member panels, called Boards of Rights, that determine whether LAPD officers have committed serious misconduct and ought to be fired or otherwise disciplined. A little down in the weeds at first blush, perhaps, but the structure of those panels goes to the heart of how police should be held accountable for dishonesty, bad shootings or other improper behavior — a subject of nationwide interest with a particularly difficult history in Los Angeles.

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The charter amendment would leave the selection of civilians — who is eligible, how the pool is chosen — to the City Council. Will the pool be stocked with retired police officers? We don’t know. Will it be filled by police reformers or critics from Black Lives Matter? We don’t know — although the police union seems confident that the council will craft the selection process to its satisfaction.

That’s why, despite assertions in campaign brochures that Charter Amendment C would create a “civilian review board,” implying that it would operate like those in other cities and which reform advocates here have long sought, it would do no such thing. That’s why most reform advocates strongly oppose the measure. They see it for what it is: a sleight of hand that gives the appearance of civilian oversight while actually giving the union just what it wants.

But the sneakiest part of the measure is the .............

Monday
Apr242017

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: San Francisco, "Muni looks at ending cash fares on cable cars"; San Diego, "Water authority members meet more in private than public"; Sacramento, "California's Deluge of Rain Washes Away a Homeless Colony"; Los Angeles, "The battle between hotels and Airbnb continues to heat up" ....

***Various items relating to local issues/local government -- Northern California, Southern California....

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):  "Muni looks at ending cash fares on cable cars"

* San Diego Union-Tribune:  "Water authority members meet more in private than public"

* New York Times (Adam Nagourney):  "California's Deluge of Rain Washes Away a Homeless Colony"

* Los Angeles Times:  "The battle between hotels and Airbnb continues to heat up"

Monday
Apr242017

POLITICS (National): President Donald Trump, tax law overhaul, elimination, tax deduction, real estate, interest payments by businesses?: Report/analysis, "Trump's Industry, Real Estate, Poses Hurdle to Tax Overhaul" ....  

***President Donald Trump, tax law overhaul, real estate, elimination, interest payments by businesses?

* New York Times (James Stewart):  "Trump's Industry, Real Estate, Poses Hurdle to Tax Overhaul" - From the NYT:

President Trump has promised a sweeping tax plan, arriving in the days ahead, that will be “bigger, I believe, than any tax cut ever.” It will aim to bring down individual and corporate rates, simplify the overall tax code and unleash economic growth.

Many tax experts say a key element to any fundamental overhaul is getting rid of certain deductions for businesses — the “special-interest giveaways that are masked as tax breaks,” as House Republicans describe many of them in their own proposal. That is the only way tax rates for much of the country can go down without starving the Treasury, the experts say. But there is a major roadblock to that fundamental change, and it comes from a sector well known to the president: the real estate industry.

As the nation’s first real estate developer-president — one who has refused to divest his holdings while occupying the Oval Office and has declined to release his past tax returns — Mr. Trump brings his career perspective to the tax question, as well as a substantial financial stake in the outcome. His interest will be shared by small builders, brokers and contractors in congressional districts across the country. And as they showed in rolling back previous changes that had taken away advantages, their lobbying prowess is formidable.

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Much of the attention will focus on the tax deduction for interest payments by businesses, a provision that Mr. Trump has used to great advantage in what little has been seen of his past tax returns. The House Republican plan calls for eliminating the deduction as part of an overall plan, helping offset lower tax rates. The nonpartisan, conservative-leaning Tax Foundation says the provision could be a $1.5 trillion proposition over the next decade.

The National Multifamily Housing Council, a trade association of apartment owners, managers, developers and lenders, has come to the defense of the interest deduction and other provisions favorable to the real estate industry, describing them as “core principles” and promising a fight. So has the influential Real Estate Roundtable, whose board includes several of Mr. Trump’s fellow New York developers. ..................

Monday
Apr242017

L.A. CITY HALL: Council District 8, 84th and Vermont, undeveloped/ neglected (post-1992 riots) parcel: "A Beverly Hills Developer Has Held 3 Acres of South L.A. 'Hostage' For 25 Years, Critics Say" ....  

***Council District 8, 84th and Vermont, undeveloped/neglected (post-1992 riots), three-acre parcel....

* LA Weekly:  "A Beverly Hills Developer Has Held 3 Acres of South L.A. 'Hostage' For 25 Years, Critics Say" - From the Weekly:

No other part of Los Angeles burned hotter during the 1992 L.A. Riots than the commercial district near Vermont and Manchester. A Korean-owned swap meet at 84th and Vermont was among the first structures to go up in flames after a jury a­cquit­ted four LAPD officers of beating Rodney King. By the end of the violence days later, every business on the east side of Vermont Avenue on that stretch had been burned to the ground — and the ones on the west side didn't fare much better. In all, 22 buildings in the area of the Vermont Knolls neighborhood were gutted.

Today, 25 years later, the neighborhood is stricken by a legacy of neglect. Nowhere is that legacy more apparent than at a football field–sized vacant lot of prickly straw grass and litter on the 8400 block of Vermont. For nearly three decades, real estate developer Eli Sasson has owned the two city blocks where the swap meet burned. The land has lain dormant ever since the riots. An adjoining parcel that Sasson's commercial real estate firm purchased in 2006 is home only to a vacant retail complex.

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On the other side of Vermont from Sasson's South L.A. property is the district field office of City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson. The councilman calls the land a blight on the neighborhood ..................

Monday
Apr242017

POLITICS/RELIGION (National, International): Judaism, Anti-Semitism: "Anti-Semitic incidents have reached levels unseen in recent years, Anti-Defamation League report says"; also, commentary (Op-Ed: Mark Oppenheimer), "Reclaiming 'Jew'" ....  

****Politics/religion, Judaism, Anti-Semitism....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Anti-Semitic incidents have reached levels unseen in reent years, Anti- Demafamation League report says" - From the LAT:

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. skyrocketed by 86% in the first three months of the year, according to a new report released Monday by a prominent Jewish civil rights organization. The Anti-Defamation League's audit of anti-Semitic events counted 541 anti-Semitic attacks and threats against Americans in the first quarter of the year, a dramatic increase over the same period last year. The incidents followed an overall 34% increase in anti-Semitic assaults, vandalism and harassment last year when compared with 2015, according to the report.

The surge in anti-Semitic incidents in the United States came against an overall drop in such incidents worldwide, according to a report issued Sunday by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University.

The Kantor report, which surveyed approximately 40 countries, said incidents of anti-Semitism dropped 12% globally. In France, home to Europe’s largest Jewish community, reports of anti-Semitic acts dropped 61%. However, the English-speaking world in general bucked the trend, with increases in Britain, Australia and, especially, the United States. The report noted that anti-Semitic incidents on U.S. college campuses rose by 45%. While the trend line was down overall worldwide, the report pointed with alarm to a “continuation of the widespread increase, sometimes dramatic, in verbal and visual anti-Semitism on social media and during demonstrations … that cannot be quantified.”

According to the ADL report, this year's numbers in the U.S. were part of an uptick that began before the new year. Close to one-third of the 1,266 incidents logged last year happened in November and December .............

***ALSO:

* New York Times (Op-Ed: Mark Oppenheimer):  "Reclaiming 'Jew'"