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May 12, 2002
Re "Thinking Outside Big-Box Zoning," April 29 Your article about the regional implications of city governments that use zoning powers to improve sales tax income touched the edges of the fiscal dilemma faced by California communities but did not address the underlying causes. All cities must have a general plan that balances residential, retail, manufacturing, office, recreation, schools and public uses. The plan reflects geographic and economic factors and community input. The point is, development is done with considerable forethought.
April 1, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- California businesses and other special interests quickly learn that playing politics in the ornate chambers of California's Capitol building is more like a barroom brawl than a civics lesson about how bills become laws. Most days, businesses large and small dispatch squads of hired-gun lobbyists to vie for lawmakers' attention and votes. And that lobbying doesn't come cheaply. Last year special interests reported spending $277.5 million on such advocacy, according to the Secretary of State's office.
September 19, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- California regulators have approved the nation's and state's first rules for fast-growing ride-sharing companies that connect passengers to drivers via smartphones. The Public Utilities Commission voted 5 to 0 to let the services -- such as Lyft Inc., Sidecar and Uber Technologies Inc. -- continue to operate, if they comply with basic safety and insurance requirements. The three companies provide transportation for a fee or donation, connecting paying passengers with drivers who use their own vehicles.
October 9, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- Bob Blumenfield left the state Assembly for the Los Angeles City Council more than three months ago, but he left behind some unfinished business. On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that Blumenfield introduced as a legislator that will help cities, including his own, crack down on unlawful mobile advertising displays. Cities including Los Angeles, Burbank, San Francisco and West Hollywood have banned mobile billboard advertising displays. Blumenfield's AB 1253 adds civil penalties to the list of punishments a local government can establish by ordinance on the illegal mobile billboards.
Two California cities that lost money that had been entrusted to Newport Beach investment adviser Steven D. Wymer have filed lawsuits in an effort to recover the funds, but Torrance has not yet decided whether to do the same to get back its missing $6 million. Torrance has hired the Los Angeles law firm of Hedges & Caldwell to investigate what happened to the city's money, which Wymer was supposed to have invested in U.S. Treasury notes.
August 8, 2010 | Abby Sewell and Sam Allen, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
The average pay of a city manager in Los Angeles County is about $209,000 -- far less than the compensation received by former Bell Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo, according to a Times analysis of compensation data. The total taxable compensation cities reported paying their administrators in 2009 -- including base salary and other routine, taxable components such as bonuses; housing, car and cellphone allowances; and cashed-out sick leave and vacation time -- ranged from $106,600 in tiny Bradbury to about $315,000 in Santa Monica.
August 31, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores and Marisa Gerber
Saturday was supposed to be a big day for Billy DePalma. He envisioned a ribbon cutting and then a steady stream of new customers perusing colorful, pen-shaped electronic cigarettes behind glass cases. They'd gawk at his impressive selection of liquid nicotine - flavors like Hubba Bubba Grape, Gummy Bear and Orange Cream Soda - as he fielded questions about the fast-growing trend of "vaping," so-called because users inhale the vapor produced when the liquid is heated. Instead, drywall litters the floor of his dark shop.
February 25, 2011 | Hector Tobar
Christina Cortez was once Miss Montebello. But the city won't be naming her Most Popular anytime soon. Now 38, a mother of two and a telephone company sales manager, Cortez is making a lot of enemies in her hometown. She's on the Montebello City Council now, and often on the losing end of 4-1 votes as the city spirals down a financial rabbit hole. She freely admits to making a pest of herself on the council dais, mostly by demanding answers to questions that don't have easy answers.
June 23, 2010 | By Ruben Vives, Jeff Gottlieb and Hector Becerra, Los Angeles Times
Maywood, a small working-class community south of downtown Los Angeles, plans to lay off all its employees, disband its Police Department and turn over its entire municipal operations to a neighbor — an action that appears to be without precedent among California cities. Several cities in the state have said that they are close to bankruptcy because of the sharp drop in sales and property tax revenues caused by the deepest recession in decades. But experts who track California cities say Maywood is the only case they know of in which a city has dismissed all top positions except for the city manager, city attorney and elected officials.
March 27, 2005
During lunch at The Times on Friday, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom uncorked such a righteous rant about what he sees as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's painful effect on California cities that Opinion decided to share a few words. Here's a lightly edited taste: -- The governor's policies -- and the direction the state is going -- are perilous. The tough choices are being delayed, being punted. Decisions are being based more on polling than on good public policy.
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