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California Commute Lack of parking drives many away from mass transit
Los Angeles County has funneled billions of dollars over the last two decades into new rail lines to lure commuters out of their cars and off the region's overcrowded freeways. But many would-be train riders are struggling with how to start. One of the biggest barriers to attracting new riders to Metropolitan Transportation Authority trains is not the price of fares or the frequency of service. It's the lack of parking. Half of Metro's 80 rail stations have no parking. And at the stops where there are spaces, riders frequently complain that there aren't nearly enough. In North Hollywood, where the Red Line subway ends, the MTA estimates that it loses as many as 1,500 riders a day because the parking lot fills up by 7:30 a.m. "Today I got lucky," said Ashley Scott, 30, as she waited for her train to Hollywood on a recent Thursday morning. "I was this close to just getting on the 101." Scott's daily dilemma illustrates an often overlooked but significant choke point in the ambitious growth of L.A.'s light-rail system. Metro's six-line network, which has seen steady ridership gains over the last five years, now carries about 350,000 people on work days. Parking shortages could complicate Metro's goal of shifting hundreds of thousands more drivers to public transit in coming decades. [Article]
by LAURA J. NELSON, Los Angeles Times. 2014-10-21
Ban on GMO plants advances at L.A. City Hall
Citing environmental and health concerns, a panel of Los Angeles lawmakers Monday threw their support behind a citywide ban on growing genetically modified crops. The ban would be "largely symbolic," said Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, who co-authored the proposal, because there's limited agriculture in the city. But it would send a "clear signal that in Los Angeles we want to return to GMO-free food," he said in an interview. The proposal by O'Farrell and Councilman Paul Koretz seeks to ban the sale and planting of genetically modified crop seeds, in addition to the sale of genetically modified fruit trees and plants. A City Council committee agreed to draft an ordinance imposing the ban. The full council will consider the matter Tuesday. Genetically modified organisms, known as GMOs, are plants or animals whose genetic material has been altered. Unlike crops grown through selective breeding to be bigger or firmer, the DNA of GMOs has been altered in a laboratory. [Article]
by SOUMYA KARLAMANGLA, Los Angeles Times. 2014-10-21
Trade group lifts production hold on adult film industry
A trade association for the adult film industry on Monday lifted a production hold that had been prompted by concerns that a performer had been exposed to HIV on an out-of-state film set. The Free Speech Coalition said tests revealed that the "performer pool has not been compromised." The group had called for a three-day hold Wednesday, but later extended it to Monday. The performer who was thought to have been exposed, as well as anyone that person had performed with, were tested, Dian Duke, executive director of the coalition, said in a statement. Duke acknowledged that production holds and moratoriums are difficult for the industry, but they are integral to the safety of the performers. [Article]
by ADOLFO FLORES, HAILEY BRANSON-POTTS, Los Angeles Times. 2014-10-21
California drought: Gov. Jerry Brown touts water bond measure at Stanford summit
STANFORD -- Gov. Jerry Brown pitched his plan Monday for a water bond and a rainy-day fund at a Stanford University water conference. The two policy measures are the cornerstone of his record fourth term re-election campaign. "We have a management challenge that is going to take money, it will take brains, it will take innovation and the magic of the marketplace to bring out the best of our creativity," Brown said at the forum called New Directions for U.S. Water Policy, co-sponsored by The Hamilton Project and Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. He called his water plan a "four-term effort." In his first two terms as governor, he set the table and made the proposals, he said. Another two terms are needed, he said, "to finally carry the ball across the finish line." More than 70 percent of the western United States is in the grip of an ongoing drought that shows no signs of ending. California is experiencing its third year of historic drought conditions, with losses to the agricultural sector totaling about 2.2 bln in 2014 alone. [Article]
by LISA M. KRIEGER, San Jose Mercury News. 2014-10-21
Final EIR released for Devil’s Gate Reservoir Sediment Removal Project
PASADENA >> The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works plans to remove 2.4 mln cubic yards of sediment from behind the Devil’s Gate Dam over the next five years, according to the final environmental impact report (EIR) for the project released Monday. DPW officials said they chose to remove 2.4 mln cubic yards - the lowest amount studied - from a 71 acre footprint, down from the originally proposed 120 acres, behind the dam in an effort to reduce impacts on the natural resources and neighborhoods nearby. Officials said they received 250 comments on the draft EIR and made changes to the final project based on those suggestions. [Article]
by LAUREN GOLD, Pasadena Star News. 2014-10-21
DA’s Investigation of Santa Ana Mayor Faces Scrutiny
Orange County District Attorney's Office investigators haven’t once tried to contact key Santa Ana City Hall officials during their months-long investigation into Mayor Miguel Pulido’s property swap with a city contractor, multiple sources confirmed during interviews with Voice of OC. [Article]
by ADAM ELMAHREK, Voice of OC. 2014-10-21
Editorial: Pick-and-choose tax breaks fail California
Sacramento has yet to show any serious efforts at facilitating job creation. While politicians can tout their giving wealthy producers sizeable tax credits to keep their film and television projects in the state, it is obvious that picking and choosing industries with the best lobbying teams will not bring the state out of its long, protracted slump. [Article]
by EDITORIAL, Orange County Register. 2014-10-21
Ballot measure would overhaul rainy day fund
SACRAMENTO – California would revamp its little-used rainy day fund to pay down billions in pension obligations and other debt and to provide a larger cushion against future economic downturns under a measure voters will decide in November. Lawmakers of both parties and Gov. Jerry Brown compromised last May to send Proposition 2 to voters. It’s a result of years of negotiations about how to address California’s volatile budgeting process, which features big spending during boom years and multibln dollar deficits during recessions. [Article]
by FENIT NIRAPPIL / ASSOCIATED PRESS, Orange County Register. 2014-10-21
Orange storm-drain project to get rid of runoff
An Orange storm drain is one of 18 projects across the county getting funds from the Orange County Transportation Authority. The agency recently announced 2.8 mln in funding for environmental cleanup projects. The funds come from the half-cent sales tax known as Measure M. [Article]
by REBECCA KHEEL, Orange County Register. 2014-10-21
GUEST EDITORIAL: For managing coyotes, follow the lead of Huntington Beach
Communities in Orange County would be wise to follow the lead of Huntington Beach in managing conflicts with coyotes. Rather than engaging in an expensive and futile program to trap and kill coyotes as they recently started doing in nearby Seal Beach, Huntington Beach officials are tackling the root causes of conflicts among coyotes, people and pets by educating city residents to remove food attractants, take precautions with pets, and stand up to, or haze, bold coyotes. This approach is more humane and more effective in both the short and long term. [Article]
by EDITORIAL, OC Metro. 2014-10-21
Summer Power Stayed on Despite Drought, Fires, Closed Nuke
The agency that operates California's power grid is reporting that this past summer saw no major outages in the state despite frequent heat waves that boosted power consumption during peak periods. The hot summer was the third in which the state has been deprived of power from the shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant, leaving Southern California with about 2,200 fewer megawatts of power generating capacity. According to the California Independent System Operators (CaISO), which operates the power grid in most of California and a portion of southern Nevada, California's record drought cut output from the state's hydroelectric plants by another 1,628 megawatts. But despite those shortfalls and wildfires that threatened transmission lines near San Diego, California stayed powered up this summer -- and much of the credit goes to the state's increased renewable energy capacity, which set output records this summer. [Article]
by CHRIS CLARKE, KCET (SoCal Public TV). 2014-10-21
SD adopts mandatory water limits
San Diego is cracking down on water waste, after the city council voted unanimously Monday to invoke mandatory water restrictions. The shift from Stage 1 “drought watch” conditions to Stage 2 “drought alert” restrictions transforms voluntary water conservation measures into legal requirements, and stiffens some existing restrictions, such as those on ornamental fountains. The heightened measures mark the city’s response to three years of drought, and are designed to reduce city water use by 20 percent and forestall deeper cuts in the future, according to the city staff report. [Article]
by DEBORAH SULLIVAN BRENNAN, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2014-10-21
Foreclosures fall to post-recession low
In a sign of health for San Diego County’s housing market, the number of foreclosures in the region fell to a post-Great Recession low in September. Last month, lenders foreclosed on 121 properties in San Diego County, the fewest since 109 homes were repossessed in June 2006, the midst of the housing bubble that led to the economic downturn, CoreLogic DataQuick reports. “To me the fact that we’re hitting a low in foreclosures is consistent with being in a very strong market,” said Mark Goldman, a loan officer and real-estate lecturer at San Diego State University. [Article]
by JONATHAN HORN, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2014-10-21
California Coughs Up 18 bln In Smoking-Related Costs
Despite California's tobacco control program, smoking extracts a heavy toll in the state. A new study from UC San Francisco offers some stark details on the impact of tobacco use in California. The study reveals more than 34K Californians died from smoking-related causes in 2009, the latest figures available for the research. That includes deaths from cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses. [Article]
by KENNY GOLDBERG, KPBS Radio News / San Diego. 2014-10-21
New Investors Resurrect Gregory Canyon Landfill Plans In North County
After 20 years, two ballot measures and 60 mln of investor money, plans to build a landfill in North County's Gregory Canyon appeared to be dead. Permits, still in the works, were rescinded because of unpaid fees earlier this year. There were reports of a possible bankruptcy filing. But Nancy Chase, spokeswoman for Gregory Canyon Ltd., said a new investor, Sovereign Capital, has stepped in to replace the original East Coast investors. “I think it’s interesting that it’s a San Diego-based capital company,” Chase said. “We have submitted a budget to them of what it’s going to cost to complete the project. I think we are back on track.” [Article]
by ALISON St JOHN, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2014-10-21
County to consider next step in consolidating fire districts
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors this week will consider taking the third step of a plan developed in 2008 that consolidated several rural fire agencies under the San Diego County Fire Authority. That plan, known as the Hybrid Plan from the Fire and Life Safety Reorganization Report, began with bringing six volunteer fire companies under the San Diego County Fire Authority. It also provided fire and emergency medical services within County Service Area 135, or CSA 135. [Article]
by JAMES PALEN, San Diego News Network. 2014-10-21
Capital improvement plan on agenda
BARSTOW — The approval of the city’s five-year capital improvement program is on the council’s agenda when it meets Monday. In 1989, Measure I was approved by the voters of San Bernardino County to establish a half-cent sales tax increase for a 20-year period, with the revenue to be used toward street and road maintenance. In 2004, voters renewed the Measure I sales tax with 80.03 percent of voters in support of extending the measure through 2040. Measure I revenues are distributed in the following manner: 68 percent local; 25 percent major local highway projects; 5 percent for seniors, handicapped and transit; and 2 percent shall be reserved in each sub area by SANBAG for project development and traffic management systems. [Article]
by MIKE LAMB, Desert Dispatch. 2014-10-21
Successful rancher turned out to be a pretty good sheriff, too
It only took a moment, but a casual glance at the crime scene gave Sheriff Anson Van Leuven just the clue he would need to catch the bad guys. Van Leuven was no trained lawman but that day more than 150 years ago, he noticed an odd print, made by a horse with a distinctive hoof. That horse was ridden by one of a band of rustlers who took off with a number of horses. The story about Van Leuven, in the “History of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties,” written by John Brown Jr. in 1922, told how the sheriff of San Bernardino County went about taking care of justice about 1860. [Article]
by JOE BLACKSTOCK, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. 2014-10-21
Business leaders say labor is pushing rail car plant from L.A. County
Los Angeles County officials and business leaders rose to the defense of a Japanese company Monday that has all but given up plans to build a 60 mln manufacturing facility in the Antelope Valley because of a dispute with local labor leaders. Two years ago, Osaka-based Kinkisharyo International won an 890 mln contract to build 175 light-rail cars for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Most of the parts will be built in Japan, but the firm agreed to perform final assembly, including painting and wiring the cars, in Los Angeles County. It has been doing that from a temporary facility in Palmdale. Kinkisharyo leaders said they hoped to build a permanent plant that would allow them to also move some heavy rail car manufacturing from Japan to the United States. [Article]
by LAURA J. NELSON, Los Angeles Times. 2014-10-21
Palmdale, county officials blast union in fight over manufacturing plant in Palmdale
Los Angeles government and business leaders held a press conference Monday to condemn a local labor union on Monday, accusing the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers of killing a deal to bring a manufacturing plant to Palmdale. The impasse involves Japanese company Kinkisharyo International, which already assembles light rail cars under a contract with L.A. Metro at a plant in Palmdale. Kinkisharyo wanted to expand, moving the entire manufacturing process to Palmdale from Japan - and bringing hundreds of jobs with it. The union and Kinkisharyo disagreed about the way workers could unionize in the future when the plant was built. The union wanted the company to agree to a "card check" method, where employees would sign a card saying they wanted to join the union. The company wanted to hold an election, which it has a right to by law. [Article]
by ANDREA GARDNER, KPCC Southern CA Public Radio. 2014-10-21
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