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Wednesday
Mar222017

POLITICS/LEGAL (National, Local/Philadelphia): Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams, indictment, bribery, fraud charges: "Philadelphia Prosecutor Indicted on Corruption Charges" ....

* New York Times:  "Philadelphia Prosecutor Indicted on Corruption Charges" - From the NYT:

R. Seth Williams, the embattled district attorney for Philadelphia, was indicted Tuesday on bribery and fraud charges, a remarkable turn for the city’s top prosecutor, who was considered a rising Democratic star before he became embroiled in scandal and ethics violations.

A 50-page, 23-count indictment accused Mr. Williams of accepting lavish gifts — including trips to a Dominican resort, Burberry accessories, checks for thousands of dollars and a custom sofa worth $3,212 — from businessmen for whom he was willing to do favors. The indictment also accused Mr. Williams of diverting money from a relative’s pension and Social Security for his personal use. “Mr. Williams was willing to compromise his position of public trust in exchange for private financial gain,” said William E. Fitzpatrick, the acting United States attorney for New Jersey, who announced the charges.

A spokesman for Mr. Williams, Cameron Kline, declined to comment on the indictment. “The D.A. is not in the office today because he is spending time with his family,” Mr. Kline said.

Mayor Jim Kenney called on Mr. Williams to resign. “It is disheartening to see yet another elected official give the public a reason not to trust us,” Mr. Kenney said.

Mr. Williams has already paid a $62,000 fine to the city’s Board of Ethics after failing to disclose more than $160,000 in gifts. Last month, he told reporters he had ended his run for a third term. “My decision to accept gifts and fail to report them brought much embarrassment, shame and adverse publicity to me and, unfortunately, to the office for which I love,” Mr. Williams, 50, said last month. “For this, I will always hold deep regret in my heart.”

But according to federal prosecutors, Mr. Williams’s problems went beyond a failure to disclose. The indictment said he had ..................

Wednesday
Mar222017

POLITICS (National, International): President Donald Trump, U.S.-Mexico border wall?: "Trump's 'big, beautiful wall' will require him to take big swaths of other people's land"; also, "Trump's budget proves that U.S. will pay for border wall, Mexican governor says" .... 

* Washington Post (Tracy Jan):  "Trump's 'big, beautiful wall' will require him to take big swaths of other people's land" - From the WP:

The order has been issued for the immediate construction of a Mexico border wall. The specs have been outlined: 30 feet high and “aesthetically pleasing.” The next thing on President Trump's to-do list for building his “big, beautiful wall”: Hire more lawyers  for a long and expensive battle over private land.  

The wall will cost a lot more — politically and economically — than Trump has publicly acknowledged. To build the wall along the nearly 2,000-mile border — and fulfill a key campaign promise — Trump will need to wield the power of government to forcibly take private properties, including those belonging to his supporters.

Much of the border, especially in Texas, snakes through farms, ranches, orchards, golf courses, and other private property dating back to centuries-old Spanish land grants. As a signpost to the troubles ahead, the government has still not finished the process from the last such undertaking a decade ago.

“It's going to be time consuming and costly,” said Tony Martinez, an attorney who is mayor of the border town of Brownsville, Tex. “From a political perspective, you have a lot of rich landowners who were his supporters.”

Trump, in his recent budget proposal, is calling for the addition of 20 Justice Department attorneys to “pursue federal efforts to obtain the land and holdings necessary to secure the southwest border.” The Justice Department would not expand upon the details. Of the department's 11,000 attorneys, fewer than 20 currently work in land acquisition. Trump's budget would double that.

The battle has been fought before . . . . . . . .

The U.S. government has already spent ...................

***ALSO, Related (U.S.-Mexico, border wall):

* Washington Post (Maria Sacchetti):  "Trump's budget proves that U.S. will pay for border wall, Mexican governor says"

Wednesday
Mar222017

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: San Francisco, "Anti-Ed Lee recall effort fizzles"; San Diego, "San Diego may change sidewalk policy in wake of $5M injury settlement"; Oakland, "'There may be no stopping' the Raiders move to Las Vegas"; Long Beachm "One way to save Long Beach's Queen Mary: A $250 million development called 'Queen Mary Island'" .... 

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

* San Diego Union-Tribune:  "San Diego may change sidewalk policy in wake of $5M injury settlement"

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):  "Anti-Ed Lee recall effort fizzles

* Long Beach Press-Telegram:  "One way to save Long Beach's Queen Mary: A $250 million development called 'Queen Mary Island'"

* Business Insider:  "'There may be no stopping' the Raiders move to Las Vegas"

Wednesday
Mar222017

POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION (National, State, Local/Bay Area): California high-speed rail project, funding, Caltrain electrification?: "Jerry Brown meets with Republicans, 'cautiously optimistic' about Caltrain approval"; also, "Brown 'cautiously optimistic' about federal Caltrain funding" .... 

***California high-speed rail project, funding, Caltrain electrification -- Gov. Jerry Brown....

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Brown 'cautiously optimistic' about federal Caltrain funding"

* Sacramento Bee:  "Jerry Brown meets with Republicans, 'cautiously optimistic' about Caltrain approval"

Wednesday
Mar222017

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: L.A. County, "As L.A. rents rise, leaders seek to help residents avoid evictions"; Sacramento, "Miners win $100 million from Sacramento County in political influence case"; L.A., "Los Angeles debating size of 'granny flats' and where to allow them"; Bay Area, "Under fire, Oakland officials scrap pot residency requirement" ....

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

* Sacramento Bee:  "Miners win $100 million from Sacramento County in political influence case"

* Daily News:  "As L.A. rents rise, leaders seek to help residents avoid evictions"

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Under fire, Oakland officials scrap pot residency requirement"

* KPCC:  "Los Angeles debating size of 'granny flats' and where to allow them"