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Almost Daily Briefing

Post Date:05/10/2017 11:02 AM

Local News Roundup for #Lafayette, California



John Muir Doctor Arrested In Sexual Assault Case

Is this your doctor? Investigators believe there may be more victims.


City Center designed by world-famous architect kicks off construction in San Ramon

The new city center in San Ramon is expected to open in October 2018.


Editorial: Finally, freeway camera funding to stop deadly shootings

Since November 2015, there have been 87 freeway shootings stretching from San Jose to the East Bay. Thirty-nine people have been injured. Eight have been killed.




Help is on the way to fix our roads
East Bay Times


Dublin family seeks $3 million over BART teen mob robbery
San Francisco Chronicle


BART mob robbery: Pleasanton man to sue agency
East Bay Times


State pledges funds for freeway cameras in wake of shootings
East Bay Times


Time running out for new California redwoods license plate
Mercury News


BART police: Use-of-force policy beefed up by citizens’ committee
Mercury News


California DMV accused of violating federal voter registration law
San Francisco Chronicle


This Bay Area startup wants to eliminate your trip to the gas station
Mercury News


How the Humble Gas Tax Became an American Bogeyman




San Jose council considers immediate no-cause eviction policy (Mercury News)
One week after San Jose leaders approved a new law to stop landlords from ousting renters without cause, city records show nine people found eviction notices on their doors — and advocates say dozens more are at risk. Now, city lawmakers are considering immediate enforcement of the new policy against no-cause evictions. The City Council on Tuesday will decide whether to adopt an “urgency ordinance” to enact the rules right away — a move supported by Mayor Sam Liccardo, though he voted against the law last month. The measure appears to have the eight votes needed to pass. That’s what happened in Mountain View,  after voters approved Measure V in November to establish new rent controls and tie annual rent hikes to inflation. One landlord kicked everyone out of his building, according to Melissa Morris, a supervising attorney at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley. Under the just-cause policy that was narrowly approved by San Jose’s council April 18, landlords cannot evict tenants unless it’s for one of a dozen specific reasons, including criminal activity, not paying rent or property damage. Landlord groups, such as the California Apartment Association, said the measure limits their ability to remove problematic tenants.

Lawsuits’ end could spur other cities to try rent control (San Francisco Chronicle)
Grassroots efforts to establish rent control in more California cities could get a boost from the California Apartment Association’s decision to abandon its lawsuits seeking to overturn voter-approved rent-control laws in Richmond and Mountain View. The association, which represents landlords, posted on its website late Friday that it has “suspended its legal efforts” to overturn Measure V in Mountain View and Measure L in Richmond. Judges in Santa Clara and Contra Costa counties had previously ruled against the association’s motions for preliminary injunctions seeking to halt implementation of the measures approved by each city’s voters in November. A full hearing on the merits of the case in Richmond had been scheduled for May 24; that is now canceled. The association claimed, and still believes, that the laws constitute illegal takings under federal and state constitutions, but “made a business decision that we were going to focus our anti-rent-control efforts other places,” its chief executive, Tom Bannon, said. That includes trying to nip other grassroots efforts in the bud and “monitoring to make sure that regulations” implementing the Richmond and Mountain View measures are legal, Bannon said.

‘Housing crisis’ tops California’s legislative agenda this year (Los Angeles Daily News)
Rents are too high. Home prices are out of reach. Decent listings and rentals are hard to find. Homeless encampments are growing. And many residents are cutting back on food, clothing and medical care to keep a roof over their heads. Now, after years of inaction, Sacramento may be on the verge of doing something about the state’s “housing crisis.” More than 130 housing bills surfaced this year as of the last count, many of them aimed at addressing the state’s housing shortage, lack of affordable housing and protecting those at risk of losing their homes. Since some bills have been abandoned or delayed, there isn’t an exact count yet. But one policy advocate said he’s tracking 89 bills, well above the typical 20 to 40 housing bills introduced each year. High housing costs, a drastic undersupply of homes to buy or rent and the failure of cities and counties to adequately plan for growth is fueling this torrent of new statutes, policy advocates say. According to the state Housing and Community Development Department, California needed 180,000 new homes each year over the past decade but built on average just 80,000 a year. The state will need at least 1.8 million new homes by 2025. At 54 percent, California’s homeownership rate has dropped to the lowest point since the late 1940s. Overcrowding in the state is double the national rate. And while the state has 12 percent of the nation’s population, it has 22 percent of the nation’s homeless. Growing awareness of these issues is driving state leaders to take action.

San Jose: City Hall balks at landowner’s plan for affordable teacher housing
Mercury News


After contentious battle, council approves new South Berkeley housing


Protect San Francisco’s inclusionary housing
San Francisco Examiner


These Cities Are the 10 Biggest Comeback Stories in U.S. Real Estate
San Francisco Chronicle


The Real Cause of Gentrification
Oakland Magazine



After a bumpy tax report and unsettled politics, all eyes turn to Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget (Los Angeles Times)
The four months since Gov. Jerry Brown submitted his state budget plans to lawmakers have been some of the most unusual in recent Sacramento history. Rarely have a winter and spring been so politically unsettled, thanks to a jumble of thinly veiled threats over federal dollars and one crucial month of surprisingly weak tax revenue collections. The disruption has shifted much of the focus in the state Capitol away from traditional debates over taxes and spending — a distraction that will briefly fade starting on Thursday, as Brown sends the Legislature a revised spending plan. The odds seem low, lawmakers and advocacy group leaders say, that the governor will radically restructure his January blueprint, a $179.5-billion proposal for California’s fiscal year that begins July 1. On the most wide-ranging issue — the financial impact of major policy changes by President Trump — Brown has been steadfast that any state action should only be taken once there’s clarity about what actually will happen.



Cost pressures facing school districts are very real (Sacramento Bee)
In this new era of “fake news” and “alternative facts” challenging reality, one thing is very real: the cost pressures facing school districts from increased requirements to fund employee pensions and other benefits as well as maintain critical student programs. Let’s look at the facts. Until 2013, required district pension contributions on behalf of employees were very stable. Districts contributed relatively the same amount per employee year after year, and the state made up the difference if increases were needed. In 2013, the state decided that state pension funds were significantly underfunded, and they prescribed dramatic increases in required contributions to take care of the problem. The difference was that the state shifted the burden for paying these increased costs onto districts with no additional dollars to support them. That meant districts had to fund the added contributions out of funds that previously were available for student programs or employee wage or benefit hikes. State agencies did two other things that further added to local cost pressures. First, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System cut its expectations for interest and dividends earned from its investments, thus adding even more to districts’ obligations to contribute more to CalPERS’ bank account. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System is expected to follow CalPERS’ lead in the coming months.

Ventura adjusts CalPERS payments (Ventura County Star)
In 2014-15, Ventura paid $13.8 million to its retirement system for past and present employees. During the next budget cycle, which starts July 1, that bill will climb by more than $4 million – to just under $18 million. Those costs will rise even faster in the years ahead, according to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or CalPERS. The costs are being driven by growth in the unfunded accrued liability, which is retirement money the city owes employees for hours they’ve already worked. On Monday, the City Council voted to pay the annual bill in its entirety at the start of the year, rather than in monthly payments. The move will save $390,000 in interest in 2017-18, Finance and Technology Director Gilbert Garcia said. If the city does the same every year, the savings could “really add up over time,” he said. The council also voted to incorporate an update on the unfunded liability into the annual budget process and, where possible, to put extra money toward the annual pension bill due to CalPERS.

Increasing number of experts project “Meltdown” of California’s public pension system (Fox & Hounds Daily)
An increasing number of experts are projecting a “meltdown” of California’s public pension system, or similar catastrophic collapse of California’s system for financing public pensions for state and local public employees. Dan Walters, dean of the Capitol press corps, recently opined that the state’s growing unfunded pension liabilities appear to be approaching a “point of no return.” Moreover, the state is currently attempting a precarious balancing act between trying to stem the rapid acceleration of its unfunded pension liabilities “while simultaneously trying to prevent pension contributions from driving local governments and school districts into insolvency,” Walters wrote in a recent column. Walters concludes that a possible future court decision to overturn the “California rule,” “could be the only way to prevent a complete meltdown of California’s already precarious pension systems.”  The “California rule” is a legal interpretation of the state’s constitution, which opponents of pension reform say prevents the state from reducing public pension awards in any way regardless of the state’s ability to pay.

CalPERS pays $1.47 billion in portfolio management costs, in line with previous fiscal year (Pensions & Investments)
CalPERS paid $1.473 billion to manage its portfolio in the fiscal year ended June 30, a savings of $11 million from the previous fiscal year, shows an internal analysis to be presented at the pension fund's investment committee on May 15. The bulk of the money went to external managers but $65 million was for CalPERS' investment office operating expenses and equipment. The data come as the $318.9 billion pension fund is embarking on a plan to significantly reduce its number of external managers and its external management costs by 2020. The Sacramento-based system is also building its internal management capabilities. About 80% of its $150 billion equity portfolio and 90% of its $58 billion fixed-income portfolio are managed in-house. Chief Investment Officer Ted Eliopoulos wants around 100 external managers by 2020, less than half of the number of external managers in 2015. Performance fees to external managers were the largest overall expense for the California Public Employees' Retirement System.



California peace officers honor fallen comrades (Sacramento Bee)
Law enforcement agencies from across California converged Monday on the State Capitol for an annual ceremony at the California Peace Officer’s Memorial. Among those to honor officers killed in the of duty in 2016 were Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Chief Bryan Reyes of the Palm Springs Police Department, which lost two officers in October, delivered the ceremony’s keynote address, which drew prolonged applause from the hundreds of officers from across the state in attendance.



California Democrats wanted more tax money to spend, but it’s not working out (Sacramento Bee)
Democratic legislators have counted on a revenue surge to persuade Gov. Jerry Brown to loosen up on spending – but just the opposite is occurring. Advocates for expanded child care and kindergarten and other services were buoyed when Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor opined that Brown’s overall revenue estimates through the 2017-18 fiscal year were “probably too low.” However, revenue from April’s all-important income tax filings are counted, and they fell nearly $1 billion below Brown’s expectations for the month, dashing hopes for a windfall. With revenues for the current fiscal year now tracking the administration’s estimates almost precisely, it’s very doubtful that Brown will loosen up on spending when he reveals his revised 2017-18 budget in a few days. Rather, he’s likely to continue to dampen legislators’ spending plans, warn again about a long-term revenue decline and urge that reserves be fattened as hedge against recession and/or reductions in federal aid by a Republican White House and Congress.

A proposal to eliminate sales taxes on tampons and diapers in California fails (Los Angeles Times)
A closely watched proposal to eliminate sales taxes on tampons and diapers, which aimed to recoup the lost revenue by increasing taxes on hard liquor, failed at the Capitol on Monday. Democratic Assemblywomen Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher of San Diego and Cristina Garcia of Bell Gardens said their measure was a question of values, arguing that the state shouldn’t favor lower alcohol taxes over taxing necessities for women and children. The bill didn’t make it out of a Legislative committee Monday after the lawmakers’ colleagues expressed concern over raising taxes. The legislation, Assembly Bill 479, was an attempt by Garcia and Gonzales Fletcher to tap into a national movement to exempt tampons and other women’s health products from sales taxes. Lawmakers in dozens of other states have introduced similar proposals in recent years. The lawmakers brought a month’s worth of diapers to the committee hearing. While presenting their bill, they also took turns holding 7-month-old Sacramento resident Mariella Contreras, the daughter of Marie Contreras, who discussed the cost of diapers before the panel.




Legislature will keep Eric Holder as outside counsel for another month, but longer-term plans are unclear," by LATimes' Melanie Mason: "The initial three-month contract for former U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder to serve as outside counsel to the California Legislature is being extended for another month, legislative leaders said Monday. But long-term plans to keep Holder and his firm, Covington & Burling, on contract to provide additional legal firepower against the Trump administration are still to be determined." Story


Trump's travel ban faces crucial test in federal appeals court," by SFChronicle's Bob Egelko: "In the first federal appeals court test of President Trump's revised ban on immigration from overwhelmingly Muslim nations, a government lawyer argued Monday that courts should avoid engaging in 'psychoanalysis' to look for an underlying religious bias and instead defer to Trump's judgments on national security." Story


At a stop in Beverly Hills, Bernie Sanders vows Obamacare repeal bill 'is never going to pass' in Senate," by LATimes' Christine Mai-Duc: "Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday called the GOP-backed Obamacare repeal bill 'one of the most disgusting pieces of legislation ever passed,' and called it a 'death sentence for thousands' of Americans who may not seek medical care when they get sick. Speaking to a sold-out crowd of more than 1,500 people at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, Sanders vowed to help make sure that the bill, which passed the House on Thursday, is 'dead in its tracks.'" Story


What it's like to be a teen in L.A. with a parent in the U.S. illegally," by LATimes' Sonali Kohli: "It was hard not to eavesdrop in the tiny Pico-Union studio where Maria Garcia grew up. She was around 9 when her father came home one day from his low-wage job as a garment worker and told her mother about the immigration raid at his downtown L.A. factory. She could hear their relief that her father hadn't been found. She began to comprehend then that her parents were in constant danger. But it took her a few more years to understand why." Story


Mar-a-Lago, Dubai, Aspen: The bottom line on protecting Trumps in the first 100 days? More than $30 million," by LATimes' Barbara Demick: "How much does it cost to protect the Trump presidency? The Secret Service does not release information about the costs of protecting the first family. But some hints can be gleaned from publicly released budget data, documents obtained by watchdog groups and government databases. This tally by The Times does not include everyday security for the White House or for the president's official trips." Story


Gov. Brown to host fundraiser for senator facing possible recall to show 'he's got his back' after tax vote, aide says," by LATimes' Patrick McGreevy: "Gov. Jerry Brown is taking the unusual step of hosting a political fundraiser for state Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) because he thinks it is unfair that some activists are trying to recall Newman for his vote favoring an increase in gas taxes to pay for road repairs, Brown's top aide said Monday." Story


'Housing crisis' tops California's legislative agenda this year," by LA Daily News' Jeff Collins: "Rents are too high. Home prices are out of reach. Decent listings and rentals are hard to find. Homeless encampments are growing. And many residents are cutting back on food, clothing and medical care to keep a roof over their heads. Now, after years of inaction, Sacramento may be on the verge of doing something about the state's 'housing crisis.' More than 130 housing bills surfaced this year as of the last count, many of them aimed at addressing the state's housing shortage, lack of affordable housing and protecting those at risk of losing their homes." Story


'These fish are in a bad way.' How many more will die because of the Delta tunnels?" by SacBee's Matt Weiser: "California's ambitious plan to tunnel under the West's largest estuary has always had two primary goals: to restore imperiled native fish and to improve water deliveries to farms and cities. An early analysis by federal wildlife agencies, however, indicates the project might make life worse for fish. The so-called WaterFix project calls for building two giant tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a tidal estuary that nurtures the largest salmon run on the West Coast." Story


California state senator's bill requiring warning labels on sugary drinks is done for the year," by LATimes' Patrick McGreevy: "Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) has put a hold on his bill that would require warning labels on beverage containers for sugar-sweetened sodas and drinks, acknowledging he lacks the votes to get the measure out of committee. Monning has been trying for years to either tax or provide warnings on sugary drinks because of health risks they pose, including obesity and diabetes." Story


Climate change erodes thin safety margins at Calif. Dam," by E&E's Jeremy Jacobs: "As catastrophe loomed at Northern California's Oroville Dam in February, Tom Stokely's mind drifted 140 miles north to another troubled behemoth. Stokely watched as nearly 200,000 residents were evacuated below Oroville when the emergency spillway America's tallest dam began to erode, threatening to unleash a 30-foot wall of water. 'I thought, 'Boy, they are a lot better off than at Trinity!'' Stokely said, referring to Oroville's cousin to the north, Trinity Dam" Story


'Tyrannical' Cal Fire chief who 'yelled for effect' kept his post after critical investigation," by the SacBee's Adam Ashton: Story


Pressure grows to boost housing, opportunities for young homeless," by SFChronicle's Rachel Swan: Story


Teenage boy killed by San Diego police after pointing a BB gun at officers called 911 moments earlier," by the LATimes' Cindy Chang and Maya Lau: Story


CalSTRS rates are doubling, but is that enough?" by Calpensions' Ed Mendel: Story


Seeing a threat to Paris accord, CalPERS urges countries to commit to climate pact," by the SacBee's Adam Ashton: Story


Sacramento County tried to exclude black jurors, judge found. Now it's going to pay," by the SacBee's Andy Furillo: Story


California Asks Federal Taxpayers to Fund Repairs at Dam," by the Associated Press' Ellen Knickmeyer via U.S. News & World Report: Story


A proposal to eliminate sales taxes on tampons and diapers in California fails,'' by LATimes' Liam Dillon:. Story.


Bay Area flier says United canceled his ticket after he filmed altercation,'' via SFGate. Story.


Olympic Committee to Tour Los Angeles: "Olympic Committee in LA to evaluate 2024 bid," by the Los Angeles Daily News' Scott Reid: Story


New backers lure Steve Jobs opera to Seattle, San Francisco," by the Associated press' Morgan Lee via The Mercury News: Story


Mayor's Homelessness Czar Is Out," by the Voice of San Diego's Lisa Halverstadt: Story


Killer Whales Ambushing Gray Whales Off California Coast," by ABC 7: Story


Dublin family seeks $3 million over BART teen mob robbery," by SF Gate's Michael Bodley: Story





Daring deer licks barrel of Indiana turkey hunter's shotgun



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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