L.A. and the $1 billion housing dream

May 25, 2016

Two L.A. councilmen are eyeballing $1 billion-plus in bond money to help house the homeless around the city. 


LAT's Peter Jamison writes: "Two key members of the Los Angeles City Council say they have decided to push for a November ballot measure authorizing a bond of at least $1 billion to build housing for the city's growing homeless population."


"Councilmen Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Jose Huizar, the chairman and vice-chairman of the council's homelessness and poverty committee, made their announcement Tuesday armed with a new poll suggesting that such an initiative would enjoy broad support among city voters. Their statements mark the first time city officials have committed to a specific plan for generating most or all of the money needed to carry out their adopted strategy for reducing homelessness over the next decade."


"Voters are prepared to make an investment," Harris-Dawson said in an interview with The Times. "What's different now than what I think it's been in the past is that there's no part of the city that doesn't experience homelessness."


Gov. Brown may be in a tough fight if he wants to finalize his Affordable Housing plan--a plan that some powerful political players in California don't want to see realized.


Liam Dillon reports in LAT: "Powerful opponents have emerged to fight Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to streamline affordable housing development — and their main reason isn’t about building homes."


"A coalition of labor and environmental organizations has come out against the proposal, arguing that the governor’s plan would harm public health because it allows housing projects to sidestep the state’s premier environmental law."


“It would be a disaster for local government, local communities, the environment and the citizens of California,” said a May 18 letter to state lawmakers from the State Building & Construction Trades Council, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other labor and environmental groups."


Gov. Brown's endorsement of Kamala Harris for U.S. Senate has sparked gossip of a powerplay in which Gov. Brown may plan to fill the empty Attorney General's seat by nominating his wife for the position.


Politico: "With his endorsement of California Attorney General Kamala Harris in the U.S. Senate race on Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown will likely fuel the growing buzz in Sacramento about a “musical chairs” scenario: will Brown consider appointing his wife and chief counsel, Anne B. Gust, to fill Harris’ shoes?"


"Evan Westrup, communications director for Brown, told POLITICO California via email that it's "totally premature at this point to be discussing any appointment, let alone who could be appointed."


"But the scenario isn’t impossible if Harris — a Democratic frontrunner who’s been enthusiastically endorsed by her party — is elected to retiring U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer’s seat in November. The election, in the middle of Harris’ second term, would give Brown the go-ahead to appoint an AG to fill the post, and that would give his appointee a considerable advantage to run as incumbent two years later."


As the season heats up and water and energy come to the forefront of the political spectrum, lawmakers prepare for the start of this year's water wars


Sarah D. Wire reports in LAT: "House Republicans are making another push for a bill addressing California's drought, adding the text of a measure by Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) to two pieces of legislation headed to the Senate."


"The House passed Valadao's bill almost a year ago, but the Senate has refused to take it up. His legislation focuses on funneling more water to San Joaquin Valley growers by reducing the amount used to support endangered fish populations."


"The Senate is reviewing a bill proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) as part of a broad package of water bills for Western states."


SEE ALSO: Get ready to save energy like you save water -- Martha C. Daniel in KPCC

Attracting voters to the polls for local issues has always been a challenge, but some creative cartoons just may change that


Capitol Weekly's Alex Matthews writes: "For the next six months, California voters will be bombarded with election images."


"Not just soundbites, mailers, and ads for and against presidential candidates, but also campaigns for ballot initiatives: Eight have already been approved and many more are circulating."


"Among the sinister attack-ad voice-overs and the political arguments engulfing social media, voters may catch a glimpse of ”Birdee,” a plump, twinkly eyed red bird, one of several animated characters in California’s political wars."


Ex-politico Rod Wright's perjury appeal fell short Tuesday before a judge who upheld the former senator's conviction.


Sac Bee's Alexei Koseff: "A Los Angeles County appeals court on Tuesday upheld former state Sen. Rod Wright’s conviction on charges of perjury and voter fraud."


"In 2014, a jury found Wright guilty of eight felonies for registering to vote at a home he owned in Inglewood, even though he actually lived several miles away in the upscale neighborhood of Baldwin Hills, just outside the district where he ran for office in 2008."


"Wright, a Democrat, has argued that he fulfilled all legal requirements to use the Inglewood home as his official address. Claiming prosecutor misconduct, errors in delivering jury instructions and misapplication of the law, he sought a new trial, but the three-member appeals panel roundly rejected his challenge."


Speaking of ex-senators, Ron Calderon's nephew, Ian Calderon, is funding the Proposition 50 bill in an effort to promote transparency amid the aftermath of his uncle's (and other state senators) corruption scandal. 


Sac Bee's Jeremy B. White reports: "Offering the ingredients for some awkward family conversations, a California lawmaker is backing an anti-corruption ballot measure that flowed from a federal case against his uncle."


"Proposition 50 would amend the state constitution to allow lawmakers to suspend their colleagues without pay or benefits. Legislators advanced the measure to the ballot in 2014 after voting to suspend three senators who were facing criminal investigations."


"It resonates personally for Assemblyman Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, scion of a political dynasty. One of the suspended senators was Ron Calderon, his uncle facing corruption charges stemming from a federal investigation alleging pay-to-play bribes."


A woman at Caltech has just earned the prestige of being the first-ever female recipient of the Millenium Technology Prize -- a $1.1 million award for her revolutionary biological breakthrough of 'directed evolution,' a research effort that began in the 1990's.


San Gabriel Valley Tribunes' Jason Henry writes: "A bioengineer at Caltech has become the first woman to win a $1.1 million international technology prize for her pioneering work on directed evolution, a method of creating specific traits in enzymes."


"With her selection, Frances Arnold is the fourth U.S. Citizen to win the prestigious Millennium Technology Prize from the Technology Academy Finland. Directed evolution was first pioneered in the 1990s."


“Awarding Frances Arnold’s innovation is indeed very timely, as a number of countries, including Finland, are aiming at clean technology and green growth,” said Marja Makarow, the chair of the Technology Academy Finland (TAF), in an announcement for the award."


San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer  says he will not try for the gubernatorial seat in 2018 if he is re-elected in San Diego for a second term. 


KPCC: "Kevin Faulconer said Tuesday that he won't run for governor of California in 2018 if re-elected mayor of San Diego, depriving Republicans of one of its better-known names in a potentially crowded Democratic field."


"Faulconer said he was committed to serving a full term as leader of the nation's eighth-largest city."


"I am here for four years as mayor," he told The Associated Press."


This week's podcast from Capitol Weekly has been released, with guest speaker Jim Muldavin giving us a history lesson on the annual California Roast. 


Capitol Weekly: "The annual California Roast is nearly upon us and Roast head honcho Jim Muldavin stops by to talk about the history of the event (34 years!) and the Capitol Focus youth programs the Roast supports. Jim arrived loaded with plenty of anecdotes, including a story about the time he was placed under arrest by then Attorney General Bill Lockyer. Unlike the Roast, this podcast is SFW"


And now from our "Homefield Advantage" file..


A father deployed to Japan in the US Marines, along with the help of his wife over a couple-months period, used his son's baseball game to set up a nice surprise


MSN: "A Marine returned home to California from deployment in Japan, and gave his children the ultimate surprise at his son’s baseball game."


"U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Randy Brock had been stationed in Japan over the last six months and didn’t tell his kids he was coming home."


“I was excited. I miss my kids,” Master Sgt. Brock, choking up, told InsideEdition.com."

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