Index
Tuesday
Aug302016

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Santa Monica): Santa Monica City Council, Santa Monica Airport: "FAA threatens to take legal action against Santa Monica for its effort to shut down the city airport in 2018" ....

***Following up on most recent earlier item noted here (Santa Monica City Council vote, closure, Santa Monica Airport)....

* Los Angeles Times:  "FAA threatens to take legal action against Santa Monica for its effort to shut down the city airport in 2018" - From the LAT:

The Federal Aviation Administration has threatened legal action against Santa Monica over its effort to reduce flight operations at the city’s airport, force out aeronautical tenants and close the historic facility within two years.

In a strongly worded letter Monday, the FAA reminded Mayor Tony Vazquez of what it termed as the city’s obligations under federal agreements to keep the airport open at least until 2023 and treat aviation tenants and aircraft owners fairly. “The FAA is prepared to pursue all legal remedies at its disposal if the City Council takes concrete actions to restrict leases or operations without complying with applicable federal law,” wrote Kevin C. Willis, the agency’s director of airport compliance.

In a statement, Vazquez said Tuesday that city officials were not surprised by the FAA’s letter. The agency “has consistently maintained their support for aviation interests despite their mandate to also protect public health and safety,” the mayor said. “We will respond respectfully but vigorously to defend our rights to local control of land owned by the citizens of Santa Monica since 1926.”

Supporters of closing the airport say they are concerned about noise, air pollution and the risk of a plane crashing into nearby neighborhoods ..............

Tuesday
Aug302016

POLITICS/ENVIRONMENT: California Coastal Commission, proposed Banning Ranch development: "Banning Ranch project in Newport Beach in limbo after report riles developer" ....

***Following up on most recent earlier item noted here (California Coastal Commission, proposed Banning Ranch development)....

* Orange County Register:  "Banning Ranch project in Newport Beach in limbo after report riles developer" - From the Register

NEWPORT BEACH – Developers working to build Banning Ranch, a cluster of homes, hotels and retail on a strip of land that touches coastal Newport Beach, said Monday that the project might be killed if the California Coastal Commission follows the advice of its environmental scientists. The move comes after the release of a report from commission staff recommending approval of a project roughly half the size of the plan most recently requested by the developer, Newport Banning Ranch.

Company officials wouldn’t rule out filing a lawsuit against the state commission if the board doesn’t overrule staff. A vote on the project – the biggest coastal development underway in Orange County – is expected Sept. 7 at a commission hearing in Newport Beach. “We believe it’s draconian and it’s based upon false assumptions which were provided by project opponents to the Coastal Commission staff,” said company spokesman Sam Singer about the recommendation.

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Environmental groups that have opposed the area’s development for decades saw the report as a move toward preserving a unique habitat. “The staff is moving certainly in the right direction. They have started to look at the science again and realize the valuable habitat out there has to be preserved,” said Steve Ray, executive director at Banning Ranch Conservancy, which is advocating for the land’s restoration and preservation ..........

Tuesday
Aug302016

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Education, "L.A. County prosecutors investigate alleged Brown Act violations at ABC Unified School District"; Bay Area, "Oakland begins national search for police chief"; L.A. County, "Judge wants to know if 'mental defect' could affect Lee Baca's trial"; Bay Area, "Santa Clara ex-Mayor Patricia Mahan accused of lobbying law breach" ....  

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

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Oakland begins national search for police chief"

* Los Angeles Times:  "L.A. County prosecutors investigate alleged Brown Act violations at ABC Unified School District"

* Mercury News:  "Santa Clara ex-Mayor Patricia Mahan accused of lobbying law breach"

* Daily News (City News Service):  "Judge wants to know if 'mental defect' could affect Lee Baca's trial"

Tuesday
Aug302016

SACRAMENTO: Fair Political Practices Commission, AB 700, "dark money" disclosure: Commentary (Dan Walters), "Political reformers agree sunshine is needed, but squabble over details" ....

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "Political reformers agree sunshine is needed, but squabble over details" - From the Bee:

A large coalition of “goo-goos” – Capitol jargon for reform groups such as Common Cause and the League of Women Voters – wants the Legislature to shine the light of disclosure on those who provide “dark money” for political campaigns. The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission also wants the Legislature to crack down on those who contribute, or launder, money through misleadingly named “committees” that cloak their identities.

Nevertheless, as a decisive state Senate vote looms in the final days of the legislative session on a long-pending, oft-amended disclosure bill sponsored by the goo-goo groups, they find themselves in a war of words with the FPPC over details that could derail the measure. Because Assembly Bill 700 amends the state’s Political Reform Act, it requires two-thirds votes of both legislative houses, and the squabble over details could make that difficult, if not impossible.

The clash arose after AB 700, which had passed the Assembly on a bipartisan, 60-15 vote, underwent a secretive overhaul in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Aug. 11, although the amendments weren’t posted until Aug. 17.

Appropriations committees are funnels which allow legislative leaders to kill or amend pending bills behind closed doors, without providing any reasons for what occurs. In this case, AB 700 was extensively amended in ways the FPPC says could make it more difficult than the original bill to pinpoint those who secretly provide campaign money. One change requires . . . . . . . .

“We think these are fatal flaws,” FPPC’s lobbyist, Phillip Ung, says of those and other amendments obviously drafted by someone, identity unknown, familiar with how arcane political disclosure laws are enforced.

Who was behind the changes is a mystery that Senate leaders are not about to clear up in public. That’s what the secretive appropriations committee process is all about – doing things without leaving any fingerprints to identify the perpetrators.

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Despite the changes, sponsors say that AB 700 still would provide ...............

Tuesday
Aug302016

SACRAMENTO: SB 1190, California Coastal Commission, ex parte communications: "Bill to ban behind-the-scenes communications by coastal commissioners heads to the full Assembly for a vote" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Bill to ban behind-the-scenes communications by coastal commissioners heads to the full Assembly for a vote" - From the LAT:

With this year’s legislative session about to end, a bill to ban behind-the-scenes communications by members of the California Coastal Commission has survived opposition from business and labor interests and is headed to the full Assembly on Tuesday for consideration.

The measure by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) calls for a ban on so-called ex-parte contacts that occur outside official public meetings between coastal commissioners and developers, lobbyists, environmentalists and other parties with a stake in commission business. These meetings can involve telephone calls, face-to-face meetings, e-mails or other written material. Commissioners must publicly disclose such contacts within a week of their occurrence, either in writing or orally at a public hearing.

Coastal commissioners in recent months have been subjected to scrutiny by courts and the media for failing to report these meetings or reporting them late or with little detail.

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Jackson’s bill survived in the Appropriations Committee despite opposition from groups often aligned with development interests, including the California Chamber of Commerce, the Western States Petroleum Assn., and the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. The California League of United Latin American Citizens also weighed in against the bill.

The bill’s critics argue that . . . . . . . .

The bill’s supporters became concerned earlier this month that amendments added by the Appropriations Committee would continue to allow private communications between commissioners and developers at the expense of the other parties. But Jackson and supporters of the bill said that subsequent refinements of the amendments have left the ban basically intact.

The legislation also would prevent commissioners from . . . . . . . .

The measure is scheduled for a vote on Wednesday, the last day of  the legislative session for the year. If assembly members defeat the bill or take no action, Jackson or another legislator would have to reintroduce a new bill next year.