Almost Daily Briefing
Local News Roundup for #Lafayette, California
Lafayette was recently ranked #26 in the nation for “Cities with the Smartest Residents.” Using data provided by Onboard Informatics, residents were broken down into six categories: those with a graduate’s degree, those with a bachelor’s degree, those with an associate’s degree, those with some college education or a high school diploma, those with some high school education, and those with some pre-9th grade education. Check out the report here.
Editorial: Onerous bill would cripple cities and counties
Union-driven bill would effectively prohibit most California local governments from contracting out for key services, forcing hiring of more public employees with their unaffordable high benefit costs.
Libby Schaaf will seek 2nd term as Oakland mayor," by SF Gate's Matier & Ross: "The election isn't for nearly 19 months, but Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is already up and running for re-election - with her official announcement set for Monday. 'I want to start early because I am about winning the election,' Schaaf told us. 'I don't take anything for granted.'" Story
SF’s effort to lead charge in promoting electric vehicles met with cost concerns
San Francisco Examiner
California Senate approves projects linked to gas tax hike
In another ruling allowing pension cuts.
Bay Area cities choosing mediation over rent control
As the divisive debate over rent control spread across the Bay Area last year, city leaders settled on mediation as a compromise between tenants seeking relief from soaring housing costs and landlords averse to capping rent increases.
There are 130 housing bills in the California Legislature. What will the state do? (The Sacramento Bee)
Restaurant workers, teachers, first responders – even doctors – are getting priced out of California, and home-ownership is beyond the reach of many, according to a nationwide housing survey from the real estate listing service Trulia. Trulia analyzed state and national housing trends comparing median salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to median home price. San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego ranked among the least affordable places across the state. In Sacramento, virtually no homes are affordable for restaurant workers, whose median annual income of roughly $24,000 per year compares to a median home listing price of $449,000. The percentage of homes available for service industry workers came in at about 1 percent. For teachers, roughly 32 percent of homes in Sacramento are considered affordable. Just over 42 percent of homes are considered affordable for first responders such as police officers and firefighters. For doctors, roughly 90 percent of homes are affordable. In San Francisco, 41.57 percent of homes were considered affordable for doctors. It was less than three percent for first responders and teachers, and zero for restaurant workers. The picture was just as bleak in Los Angeles.
Affordable housing bills hit California Legislature, but will they pass? (Southern California Public Radio)
California legislators will consider a towering stack of bills addressing the state's rising housing costs, a testament, they say, to their recognition of an emergency. It's unclear how many of the 130 bills will make it through the session. Past leaders such as Toni Atkins, the last speaker of the Assembly, had made housing affordability a priority, but she was unable to get key pieces of legislation passed. Assemblymember Laura Friedman, a Glendale Democrat, acknowledged the tough road ahead for her bill, AB 1350. She said under her proposal, wealthy cities that aren't building their share of housing for lower-income residents would have to pay into an affordable housing fund. Friedman's bill reflects the frustration that some legislators feel watching the housing crisis worsen. Another bill from Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) would let local governments approve funding for affordable housing with 55 percent of the vote instead of a two-thirds supermajority as required now.
Why do SF's new real estate developments look so similar?
San Francisco Chronicle
No progress seen on housing crunch for SF teachers
San Francisco Chronicle
Millennials are flocking to SF, but they may not stick around
San Francisco Chronicle
Assembly Democrats say addressing the housing affordability crisis is next, but hurdles loom (The Los Angeles Times)
Addressing California’s housing affordability crisis is the next priority of Assembly Democrats, nine lawmakers said at a Monday press conference at a downtown Sacramento low-income housing complex. Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) said that after legislators passed a major transportation funding package earlier this month, housing was the state’s most significant unresolved issue. But any major housing effort faces substantial hurdles in terms of prioritization and garnering support necessary for passage. Housing might not really be next. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) joined Chiu and his colleagues at the press conference. But afterward Rendon didn’t commit to putting housing issues ahead of re-authorizing the state’s main financial program to combat climate change, another major priority on legislative Democrats’ docket. Housing might not get addressed in upcoming budget negotiations. Last year, Assembly Democrats asked for more than $1 billion in low-income housing spending as part of budget talks. Gov. Jerry Brown whittled that number down to $400 million that would only be allocated if the Legislature agreed to his plan to loosen local rules for approving developments that included low-income housing. Lawmakers balked under intense pushback from labor and environmental groups, among others, and a deal never happened.
Democrats in state legislature turn attention to affordable housing issue (Capital Public Radio)
Democrats in the state Legislature are turning their attention to the issue of affordable housing in California. It’s their new focus, after passing a transportation bill earlier this month. Top Assembly Democrats announced their next big agenda item at an affordable housing unit in downtown Sacramento. Last year lawmakers failed to reach a deal with Governor Jerry Brown to fund new housing in the state. This year, instead of one high-stakes bill, they’re floating dozens of new proposals. Assembly Democrat Laura Friedman wants to target rich communities that aren’t adding affordable homes. It’s not clear how big a dent in the problem lawmakers can make. The state’s non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates it would take more than $10 billion to help every Californian in need afford a place to live.
Low-income San Diegans are getting pushed to Riverside (Voice of San Diego)
San Diego County’s population grew in 2016, but not by much, as the high cost of living in the county appears to be taking its toll. Housing costs have repelled many prospective migrants, and at the same time encouraged residents to relocate to Riverside County. Disproportionately, those leaving San Diego for Riverside are low-income people, not well-off homeowners chasing a bigger house. According to census estimates, from 2010 to 2015, San Diego County’s population grew 1.2 percent per year, faster than California’s average and almost twice as fast as the national average. From 2015 to 2016, though, the growth rate was much slower – just 0.8 percent, barely above average. Other coastal counties offer a potential warning: Los Angeles and Santa Clara grew even slower, perhaps showing where San Diego could be headed if current trends continue. But San Diego’s most worrying growth trend is in its migration patterns. Overall international migration remains healthy, but net domestic migration took a sharp negative turn last year. In 2016 alone, San Diego lost 8,300 people to the rest of the country; in the entire five-year period beginning in 2010, the census estimates the county only lost a total of 7,177 people. There’s a hint about what’s going on in a less-used dataset: IRS migration data. The IRS keeps county-level data on when people and households moved, tracking individuals using tax exemptions.
California Senate approves projects linked to gas tax hike (The Associated Press)
The California Senate on Monday approved more than $900 million worth of road and train projects that were promised to lawmakers in order to secure their support for a hike in gas taxes and vehicle fees. The promised funding for projects in the Central Valley and Riverside County was integral to the tax hike's razor-thin approval earlier this month. Four lawmakers agreed to vote for the tax increase only after Gov. Jerry Brown and top legislative leaders promised to push through legislation guaranteeing funding for their favored projects. Sens. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, and Adam Gray, D-Merced, won support for a $400 million extension of a commuter rail line to link their Central Valley districts to San Jose. They'll also get a $100 million parkway linking University of California, Merced to a major highway.
Bill would end sales tax on diapers, tampons in California (KPBS)
Nine states exempt diapers, tampons, or both from the sales tax. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, has introduced a bill that would to add California to that list. Gonzalez Fletcher believes women should not have to pay extra for necessities like feminine hygiene products. And she said for many families, the cost of diapers really adds up. To that end, the lawmaker's bill would exempt adult and baby diapers, and menstrual products from California's sales tax. Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill last year, saying it would be too expensive. This year's version would make up for lost revenue by raising the state alcohol tax on hard liquor by $1.20 per gallon. Wine and beer would not be included. California’s alcohol tax, at $3.30 per gallon of distilled spirits, has not been raised since 1991.
H-1B visa applications drop for first time in years,'' via SFChronicle's Trisha Thadani: "For the first time in years, the number of H-1B visa applications has decreased - a signal that President Trump's "America First" rhetoric is deterring employers from hiring foreign workers, experts say." Story.
Slow-motion collision course: California, Trump's feds headed to major clash on immigration," by Alternet's Steven Rosenfeld in Salon: "The federal government and bastions of opposition to President Donald Trump's anti-immigrant police state are on a slow-motion collision course. An 18-page memo by the Department of Homeland Security describes how the DHS and the Department of Justice are anticipating arresting, holding, processing and deporting large numbers of immigrants lacking visas. However, the memo also details how Trump's coming crackdown is moving slowly, is poorly coordinated and barely funded-even as it has taken high-profile first steps like soliciting construction bids to build a border wall and is planning to showcase demonstration sections by late July." Story
A $10-million fund will help immigrants fight deportations. But should it help those with violent criminal convictions?" by the Los Angeles Times' Dakota Smith: "Fearing mass deportations under President Trump, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and County Supervisor Hilda Solis stood together in December to unveil a $10-million fund to hire lawyers to defend local immigrants without legal status. Modeled after programs in other cities, the L.A. Justice Fund will use city and county money and private donations to help those facing deportation proceedings." Story
San Diego park mural critical of Trump's border wall called 'anti-American'," via San Diego Union Tribune's Kate Morrissey: "The mural shows a worker sending money back to his family in Mexico while being strangled by two hands. One hand represents U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement , which is responsible for deporting people from the U.S. The other hand represents Mexican government officials, whose corruption makes it necessary for Mexicans to migrate for work," the artist said. Story.
California Senate approves projects linked to gas tax hike,'' by AP's Jonathan J.Cooper and Sophia Bollag: "The promised funding for projects in the Central Valley and Riverside County was integral to the tax hike's razor-thin approval earlier this month. Four lawmakers agreed to vote for the tax increase only after Gov. Jerry Brown and top legislative leaders promised to push through legislation guaranteeing funding for their favored projects. Story.
Amid California's pot business boom, most banks run away from all that cash,'' by SacBee's Peter Hecht: Convening in the ballroom, CGA members shared stories about the problems they've had finding banks, credit unions or other institutions willing to take marijuana dollars, make loans to businesses and elevate the legal pot economy from a virtual cash-only industry to one with full access to the financial system. Story.
The Author of the "Calexit" Movement Calls It Quits On His Proposal for a 2018 Ballot Measure,'' by LATimes' John Myers: Marcus Ruiz Evans, the initiative's official proponent, sent an email Monday to the secretary of state's office asking to cancel his initiative." Story.
First California offshore oil platform in 20 years to be removed," by the Mercury News' Paul Rogers: "In a decision that was cheered by environmentalists, a Colorado oil company announced Monday that it will end operations on a prominent offshore oil platform near Santa Barbara, which will result in the first offshore platform removed from California's coast in more than 20 years." Story
California May Leapfrog Nevada with its Presidential Primary,'' by Debra J. Saunders, Las Vegas Review Journal: "The Democratic and Republican National Committees could try to prevent California from holding a primary before Nevada, but University of Nevada Las Vegas political science professor David Damore isn't certain that would happen. "It would be hard to say no to the biggest state that generates the most revenue," he said. As for Nevada, "Obviously, it would hurt us," Damore said. "There are so few delegates at stake here." Story.
A giant rabbit with a political committee wants to bug Rep. Hunter,'' via San Diego Union Tribune's Joshua Stewart: "Thumper will be the image of a political action committee, Bunny PAC, dedicated to focusing on Hunter's campaign finance issues. Thumper also has a Facebook page, Twitter account, and website (the latter of which some of Hunter's opponents in the 2018 election don't even have). Story.
Incumbents have big campaign money lead," by the San Diego Union-Tribune's: "Reps. Darrell Issa and Duncan Hunter had big financial advantages over their challengers' campaigns, finance reports from the first quarter of this year show. Issa received $320,830 in contributions, more than not only his challengers, but any other candidate in San Diego County." Story
California Group Home Liable for Millions in Case of Abused Boy,'' via ProPublica: A jury hit FamiliesFirst, one of California's largest mental health care providers, for neglect and fraud. Story.
UC Davis student leaders say American flag display should be optional at meetings,'' via SacBee's Diana Lambert: Story.
California utility launches first hybrid power systems," by the Associated Press in the Statesman: Story
Coachella festival goers use 'Find my iPhone' app to locate man with 100 stolen cellphones, police say," by the LA Times' Veronica Rocha: Story
'Caravan Against Fear' To Protest LA Sheriff Over ICE Collaboration," by the Hollywood Patch staff: Story
Students return to California school a week after shooting," by the Associated Press via ABC News: Story
What Is This Mystery Airplane Photographed At California Airport Last Week?" by The Drive's Tyler Rogoway: Story
Today's Your Last Day To Hike Favored Hollywood Sign Trail," by the Hollywood Patch staff: 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.
You can sign up to receive the Almost Daily Briefing by email here.
PHOTO OF THE DAY