Almost Daily Briefing
Local News Roundup for #Lafayette, California
Burglars, Undaunted By Cameras, Return “With A Vengeance” To Lafayette
We noted the surge in auto burglaries and associated crimes last year, and documented the apparent effect city and citizen-owned surveillance cameras appeared to be having – but police in Lafayette say that downtrend was an anomaly and that the burglars are back – big time. Lafayette Police Chief Eric Christensen opened a recent neighborhood bulletin this way: “For the first quarter of 2017, we have seen a 100% increase in the number of auto burglaries when compared to 2016…”
Editorial: Lawmaker proposes stealing $10.5 million from East Bay Regional Park District
Assemblyman Jim Frazier's proposal to steal $10.5 million from the East Bay Regional Park District to fund a local fire agency ranks as one of the dumbest pieces of legislation we've seen.
Antenna permitting bill sparks clash between state, local officials (San Francisco Chronicle)
A resolution unanimously approved by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday may put the city on a collision course with Sacramento legislators over a bill that aims to shift the power to regulate the placement of wireless communications devices from local municipalities to the state. The resolution, introduced by Supervisor Mark Farrell, marks the city’s formal and forceful opposition to SB649, a bill introduced by state Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego. Should the bill pass in its current form, Farrell said, San Francisco would also lose out on “tens of millions of dollars” in fees for permitting or leasing the areas where small-cell infrastructure would be placed. The bill passed out of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee on April 4. It would give the state the ultimate authority to issue permits for devices known as small cells — compact antennas that can be placed atop telephone poles or lampposts to boost cell phone signals in densely populated areas. Some look like slim cylinders; others look like boxes.
California lets Apple test self-driving cars
San Francisco Chronicle
AAA to offer one-way hourly car rentals in East Bay
San Francisco Chronicle
California’s jammed highways hold hope as power source
San Francisco Chronicle
Marin IJ Editorial: Don’t price the public out of public transit
Marin Independent Journal
Report: Rising seas threaten Sonoma County as climate warms
Santa Rosa Press Democrat
California’s carbon market in the clear? Not so fast
Sacramento Bee $
California’s war on carbon: Is it winning?
Sacramento Bee $
This is where ideas like including affordable units in all new housing developments comes in.
Blueprint for Bay Area aims to ‘change the dynamics’ of housing crisis
San Francisco Chronicle
Marin grand jury: Coordinator needed to address affordable housing shortage
Marin Independent Journal
Here’s the No. 1 reason renters say they can’t buy a home (The Orange County Register)
You’d figure renters in the Los Angeles/Orange County area would have a tougher time than in many other places scraping together a down payment for a home. A new Zillow analysis shows how high that hurdle is: The Los Angeles/Orange County region came in third in the nation where coming up with a down payment was cited as the No. 1 barrier to home ownership. San Jose and San Diego came in first and second, respectively. Saving enough money for a down payment was a problem for more than two-thirds of renters Zillow surveyed across the U.S. It was cited more than any other issues, including job security or qualifying for a mortgage. In San Jose, 73.9 percent of renters surveyed said the down payment was the biggest barrier; that compares with 72.9 percent in San Diego and 72.2 percent in Orange County. Being able to afford a down payment was the top obstacle for 67.9 percent of those polled across the U.S.
CalPERS state rate doubles in decade to $6 billion (Fox & Hounds)
The annual cost of state worker pensions would increase to $6 billion in July in a recommendation from CalPERS actuaries, up $521 million from the current fiscal year and double the amount paid a decade ago.
School districts would pay $2 billion next year for the pensions of non-teaching employees, up $342 million from the current fiscal year and also double the amount paid a decade ago. California Public Employees Retirement System rates, already at an all-time high, will continue to climb for at least another half dozen years as the last of four rate increses enacted since 2012 are phased in. The nation’s largest public pension system is in a bind. As rates go up, the investment earnings expected to pay nearly two-thirds of future pension costs are expected to go down. In February, CalPERS lowered its long-term annual earnings forecast from 7.5 to 7 percent. The CalPERS investment fund was valued at $315.5 billion Monday. But like many pension systems, CalPERS has not recovered from huge investment losses during the financial crisis, when its fund plunged from $260 billion in 2007 to $160 billion in March 2009.
Chasing higher returns, public pension funds spent $10 billion on investment fees in 2014 (Sacramento Bee)
State pension funds across the nation shelled out more than $10 billion in fees in 2014 as they chased higher returns from increasingly complex and risky investments, according to a new report from the PEW Charitable Trusts. The report traces 10 years of performance at the 73 largest state-sponsored pension funds. Collectively, they manage more than $2.8 trillion in assets. Most of them, including California’s two major public employee pension funds, did not hit their target investment returns over the decade that PEW studied, 2006-2015. Both California plans, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, sought to earn an average return of 7.5 percent. CalPERS brought in 6.2 percent over the decade, while CalSTRS earned 7 percent. Both funds recently have dropped their target returns to 7 percent, acknowledging that they anticipate earning less money from investments in coming years. The report’s authors wrote that many funds increased their use of so-called alternative assets, such as private equity, hedge funds and real estate over the decade. As a result, spending on investment fees climbed by at least 30 percent.
California approves $91 million in tax breaks for 114 firms (Associated Press)
A state economic development board on Thursday approved an $8 million tax credit for General Motors as the company looks to expand its autonomous vehicle division in San Francisco. The GM tax credit was among more than $91 million in California Competes incentives for 114 companies approved at a board meeting in Sacramento of Gov. Jerry Brown's GO-Biz agency. The credits range from GM's $8 million to $20,000 for MinowCPA Corporation, an accounting firm that plans to hire eight people in Newport Beach and Santa Ana. GM promises to hire 1,163 workers at an average salary of $116,000. San Francisco is the hub for GM's autonomous vehicle research and development since the company acquired Cruise Automation last year, said Kevin Kelly, a GM spokesman. The new workers will include software designers, on-street vehicle testers and support functions like human resources, he said. The company is testing 50 autonomous vehicles on public roads in San Francisco, the Detroit metro area and Scottsdale, Arizona. Board member Madeline Janis said she was concerned that GM representatives, attending the meeting by phone, were unable to say how many of the company's California employees are women. Still, the tax credit was approved unanimously. The Bay Area has become a leading region for companies looking to build autonomous and alternative-fuel vehicles, including Uber and Tesla.
Who pays the most and the least income tax in California? (The Sacramento Bee)
Tax deadline day is Tuesday (yes, April 18) and the following weeks and months again will make clear that, when it comes income taxes, certain parts of California generate an outsized amount of revenue. Taxpayers in Los Angeles, Santa Clara, Orange, San Diego and San Francisco counties had the highest total federal tax liability – the amount of taxes owed – in 2014, the most recent data available, according to Internal Revenue Service statistics. In terms of average liability per return, seven Northern California counties – Marin, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Napa and Alameda – lead the state. Palo Alto’s 94301 ZIP code, meanwhile, had the highest state adjusted gross income in the 2015 tax year – more than $10 billion – and total state tax liability of almost $1.2 billion, according to Franchise Tax Board statistics. In the Sacramento region, Folsom’s 95630 had the highest adjusted gross income, $3.1 billion, and total state tax liability of almost $158 million.
Wireless legislation can lift businesses across U.S. (Daily Democrat)
Last month, The Latino Coalition hosted Vice President Mike Pence at our Make Small Business Great Again Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. In his remarks, the vice president championed the Trump administration’s honorable efforts to restart our country’s regulatory engine, create jobs and spur economic growth around the country. California’s Legislature has an opportunity to act on this call to action for Latinos throughout the state who depend on our rapidly growing digital economy. Senate Bill 649, by Sen. Ben Hueso, D-Chula Vista, would pave the way for next-generation wireless networks by helping to streamline the burdensome government permitting process. Internet connectivity is an essential driver for economic activity, and the development of new technologies promises even greater opportunities. State-of-the-art 5G wireless networks, in particular, offer Latino entrepreneurs immeasurable potential for growth through innovative business models. PG&E President and CEO Geisha Williams, for example, used smart grid technologies to make record-setting improvements to her company’s electric reliability across the state. Access to innovative tech also allowed her company restore power to communities in breakneck speed after the earthquake in Napa in 2014. As the first Latina to lead a Fortune 500 company and one of the many Latina business leaders leading the way in California’s economy, Williams’ efforts can serve as a model for how Latinos can effectively leverage connectivity to reach business success.
How Berkeley became epicenter of violent Trump clashes," by LATimes' Paige St. John and Shelby Grad: "Berkeley, long a hotbed of political protest, has emerged as a flashpoint in the Trump era. The latest example of this came Saturday, when clashes between backers and critics of the president resulted in 21 arrests. Berkeley is one of America's most liberal cities, with a long history of left-wing activism. Trump supporters used the city as a setting for a Patriots Day rally Saturday. But it goes beyond protests and counter-protests." Story
Trump is creating a void on climate change. Can California persuade other states to help fill it?" by LATimes' Chris Megerian: "California made no secret of its ambitions when it enacted a landmark law on global warming just over a decade ago. Progress here on slashing greenhouse gas emissions, the law said, would have 'far-reaching effects by encouraging other states, the federal government and other countries to act.' Now the goal has become more critical than ever as President Trump rolls back national environmental regulations. No matter how hard California pushes, the country will fall short of its obligations under the Paris agreement on climate change unless more states try to keep pace." Story
Thousands march in Los Angeles to demand release of Trump tax returns," by LATimes' Bettina Boxall: "Several thousand anti-Trump protesters marched through downtown Los Angeles on Saturday to demand the president release his tax returns. The peaceful demonstration was one of dozens of "tax marches," held in cities around the country on the traditional deadline for filing federal income tax returns." Story
California Democrats prepare to battle GOP over Endangered Species Act," by the PE's David Danelski: "With Trump now in the White House and Congressional Republicans taking aim at the act's costs and restrictions, an effort to roll back the landmark environmental law seems imminent." Story
Where Kamala Harris and Ronald Reagan would agree," by Dan Schnur in SFChronicle: "California's new U.S. senator possesses the agenda, the biography and the attitude to make the hearts of most progressive activists skip a beat. Harris won her election last fall running hard from the left and much of her work since arriving in Washington is more likely to excite Democratic loyalists than it is to appeal to more centrist voters. But there she was last week arguing that her party could not afford to abandon its colleagues who had voted for Gorsuch. 'We can't afford to be purists,' Harris said." Story
Democrats link party rivals to DeVos as 2018 fights emerge: Teachers unions and others are attacking charter supporters in California, New York and New Jersey for doing the administration's 'dirty work,'" by POLITICO California's David Siders: Story
Why Mike Pence Might Not Pardon Donald Trump," by Dave R. Jacobson and Maclen Zilber in HuffPo: Story
How the drought changed California forever" by the Merc's Paul Rogers: "California's historic five-year drought is officially over, washed away with the relentlessly drenching rains, floods and snowstorms of this winter. But just as tougher building codes and better emergency planning follow major earthquakes, the brutally dry years from 2012 to 2016 are already leaving a legacy, experts say, changing the way Californians use water for generations to come." Story
'Racial profiling'? Jaywalking tickets disproportionately given to black people in Sacramento," by SacBee's Anita Chabria, Nashelly Chavez and Phillip Reese: "Sacramento police issued 233 tickets for jaywalking last year in the police district that includes North Sacramento and Del Paso Heights - nearly triple the number handed out in the entire rest of the city. Black people received 111 of those citations, nearly 50 percent, but account for about 15 percent of the area's residents." Story
Bids for Oroville Dam repairs top state estimates; $275.4 million the lowest," by SacBee's Dale Kasler: "Blowing past state officials' financial projections, three construction contractors submitted bids for the Oroville Dam repairs that begin at $275 million, the Department of Water Resources said Saturday. DWR, in a brief announcement, said its engineers had estimated the repairs to the two damaged spillways would come in at $220 million." Story
California Democrats focus on normally safe GOP House seats," by SFChronicle's John Wildermuth: "Democratic plans to target half of California's 14 Republican members of Congress in the 2018 midterm elections represent a high-stakes bet that President Trump's continuing unpopularity in the state will filter down to even the strongest GOP candidates." Story
Incumbents have big campaign money lead," by the UT's Joshua Stewart: "It's called the power of incumbency for a reason. Sitting lawmakers have a campaign fundraising advantage over their opponents. In the two contested congressional races in San Diego, incumbents have amassed substantial leads. Reps. Darrell Issa and Duncan Hunter had big financial advantages over their challengers' campaigns, finance reports from the first quarter of this year show." Story
Which California legislative Republicans represent pro-Clinton districts?" by SacBee's Jim Miller: "Newly installed Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates has three GOP-held swing seats to defend next year. The Laguna Niguel lawmaker also may want to keep an eye on her own race. Bates and 16 other legislative Republicans represent districts where Democrat Hillary Clinton outpolled Republican Donald Trump for president, according to California's recently released supplement to the statement of vote for last fall's election." Story
San Diego Activist Disappears In Mexico After Begging For Help On Facebook Live," by KPBS' Jean Guerrero: Story
More rainstorms prompt the reopening of the damaged Oroville Dam spillway," by the LATimes' Michael Finnegan: Story
How to succeed in politics: Talk with other side, avoid FBI," by Willie Brown in the SFChronicle: Story
California's war on carbon: Is it winning?," by SacBee's Dale Kasler: Story
USGS finds vast reserves of salty water underground in California," by Devika G. Bansal in the Merc: Story
California tribes fear abysmal salmon run may trigger public health crisis," by SacBee's Ryan Sabalow: Story
AND FINALLY. . .
The Almost Daily Briefing is an aggregation of links to news articles from local and regional newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, and other internet sources. Its purpose is to alert readers to current issues and affairs that may impact Lafayette. The Almost Daily Briefing does not promote, favor, disfavor, support, reject, or endorse any position, candidate, campaign, or proposition, and nothing about the Daily Briefing, including the selection, presentation, arrangement, or content of the links presented should be construed as an advocacy position.
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