April 25, 2014 |
State lawmakers have come up with a way to help California cities deal with a proliferation of massage parlors with suspected links to prostitution and human trafficking. New legislation is aimed at fixing an inadvertent loophole created by a 2008 law that created a state-sponsored council to oversee the regulation of legitimate massage therapy businesses, such as spas and clinics. The loophole led to an explosion of massage parlors in many cities. For example, their number grew by nearly 500% to 75 in the city of Huntington Beach between 2009 and 2013.
July 17, 2012 |
Now that three California cities have declared bankruptcy, perhaps it's time to consider the lessons of Wisconsin. One of the reasons Wisconsin Democrats couldn't unseat Republican Gov. Scott Walker in the state's recall election was that his challenger exemplified how Walker's narrowing of collective bargaining privileges for government workers benefited the state. As mayor of Milwaukee, Tom Barrett had relied on Walker's reforms to balance his city's budget. And Barrett wasn't alone among Wisconsin officials.
January 29, 2013 |
A leading measure of home prices in the biggest American cities posted strong year-over-year growth in November. The S&P/Case Shiller 20-city index rose 5.5% from the same month a year earlier, rising in 19 out of the 20 metro areas tracked by the gauge. According to the index, from October to November, prices declined 0.1% -- a normal seasonal slowdown. The data are the latest indication that home prices continued to rise through the end of last year as housing inventory dwindled and demand surged.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 2, 2000 |
After retiring from his post as police chief in Long Beach, Bill Ellis entered the world of temp workers. No, he's not in the typing pool. Ellis became temporary police chief of West Covina for several months in 1998 and then worked a similar stint last spring in Manhattan Beach. More temporary positions may be ahead for him, all arranged through an unusual agency that helps California cities and counties fill high-end, but short-term, vacancies with retired government executives.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 1, 2013 |
The city has taken practically every measure possible to save money: It owns no property and has no police force or fire department. The city government is run by a skeleton staff of contractors. Money is in such short supply, the mayor lamented, workers can't even offer a cup of coffee to visitors who come by the makeshift City Hall. Still, it might not be enough to save Jurupa Valley. City leaders in California's newest city, established in 2011, fear it could also be the first to disincorporate in decades.
December 7, 2013 |
For 34 years, Gwendolyn Beasley worked as a clerk at the Detroit Public Library and paid a portion of her salary into a fund that would someday help pay for her pension. Now retired, Beasley, 67, receives $1,500 a month from that pension. But she's cutting back on spending after a judge ruled last week that Detroit's pension funds, like other city creditors, may have to take a hit as the city reorganizes its finances under bankruptcy. "I think it's so very unfair," Beasley said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 7, 2014 |
A veteran Los Angeles building inspector sentenced last month to prison in an FBI corruption case will continue to receive a yearly pension of more than $72,000, according to a high-level retirement official. Samuel In, 66, pleaded guilty last year, admitting as part of a plea agreement that he took more than $30,000 in bribes while working as a senior inspector. He was sentenced last month to 2 1/2 years in prison after a federal prosecutor argued against leniency, mentioning his "substantial" pension.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 28, 1997
Laurann Cook is the mayor pro tem of Fountain Valley and current president of the Orange County chapter of the League of California Cities. In other words, she is a staunch supporter and propagandist for Orange County cities (Orange County Voices, Sept. 21). Cook says hundreds of millions of dollars in city revenues have been shifted to the state in recent years. And she's basically right. But what she conveniently fails to mention is why the state took the money. The fact is that most of the money shifted from the cities to the state ended up coming back to the same community from whence it came.
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 |
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.