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For young California homeowners, a proposed 2018 initiative could make buying a new house a lot less expensive
Under a ballot measure filed Thursday, California's landmark Proposition 13 property tax breaks would be extended to young homeowners who sell their residence and buy a new one. The proposal, which aims for a spot on the November 2018 statewide ballot, would allow homeowners of any age to carry a portion of their existing property tax rate across county lines when they purchase a new house. Homeowners often are reluctant to switch houses, given that Proposition 13's cap on annual property taxes ends once they sell and move somewhere else. [Article]
by JOHN MYERS, Los Angeles Times. 2017-07-21
 
Gov. Brown's climate change deal was a lesson in compromise that should be studied in the White House
One particular message to the agriculture industry was simple: You want Gov. Jerry Brown to be a friend or an enemy the rest of his term? Friends will support his climate change legislation, it was made clear. To business leaders: This legislation provides tax and regulatory breaks that you’ve long sought. Grab them now or forget it. To agriculture and business: You don’t like this cap-and-trade program? Wait until you see what replaces it if it’s not extended. Brown’s hardball messages, his willingness to compromise and personal dealings with lawmakers were persuasive enough for him to win arguably his biggest legislative victory as governor. It was a model of how to finesse controversial bills through a Legislature. And it stood in stark contrast to the bumbling we’ve been watching in the White House and Congress, most notably the failed, humiliating efforts on healthcare. [Article]
by GEORGE SKELTON / COLUMNIST, Los Angeles Times. 2017-07-21
 
California is handling climate change all wrong
Gov. Jerry Brown has won praise for promising that California will live up to the Paris accord despite President Trump’s withdrawal from the treaty. He also signed a climate deal with China last month, and has unveiled plans for a global climate summit in San Francisco next year. Earlier this week, California lawmakers voted to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program for another 10 years. The message is clear: With a few other states, California is going it alone — an approach that is popular locally and resonates with much of the world. But, while Brown should be commended for showing leadership where Trump has not, the truth is that California’s plans for fulfilling the Paris accord and its carbon-cutting commitments will be expensive for the state while achieving slightly more than nothing for the planet. At the moment, California’s greenhouse gas emissions account for less than 1% of global emissions, and a little less than 7% of U.S. emissions. The state now plans to cut its emissions by the equivalent of 181.5 million tons of carbon dioxide by 2030 — to 40% below its 1990 levels. [Article]
by BJORN LOMBERG / OPINION, Los Angeles Times. 2017-07-21
 
East Coast hyperloop? Elon Musk claims 'verbal' approval; city officials know nothing about it
Elon Musk said Thursday that he has received “verbal government approval” — but not a formal go-ahead — for his newest, tunnel-digging venture to build an underground, high-speed transportation system connecting New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Less than two hours after his first tweets announcing the verbal approval, the billionaire entrepreneur qualified his statements, tweeting: “Still a lot of work needed to receive formal approval, but am optimistic that will occur rapidly.” A Boring Co. spokesman later said in a statement that the company expected to secure the formal approvals necessary to break ground later this year. A White House spokesman said there have been “promising conversations” with “Musk/Boring Co. executives” and that it was "committed to transformative infrastructure projects." [Article]
by SAMANTHA MASUNAGA, Los Angeles Times. 2017-07-21
 
Get ready, LA County homeowners: Property taxes are going up again
Property taxes will rise again in Los Angeles County, thanks to a brisk real estate market and construction boom. The assessed value of all taxable property in the county jumped by 6.03 percent in 2017, which was slightly higher than last year, figures released Thursday show. It was the seventh straight year that an increase was marked, and every city in the county saw property values rise this year, said Los Angeles County Assessor Jeffrey Prang. [Article]
by SUSAN ABRAM, Los Angeles Daily News. 2017-07-21
 
How Cool is This: A Chance to Become a Habitat Hero
DEEGAN ON LA-Movie producer Michael Costigan (“Brokeback Mountain,” “A Bigger Splash”) and his wife Linda are about to give Los Angeles County $98,241 -- but for what? The County’s Notice of Public Hearing says it’s for 3,275 square feet of mostly unusable, steep mountainside land adjacent to the Costigan’s Outpost Canyon home. The County operates on a $30 billion annual budget and doesn’t really need the money.  [Article]
by TIM DEEGAN, CityWatchLA. 2017-07-21
 
Supervisors Want More Diversity Among County Doctors
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to diversify the pool of doctors working at county hospitals, trauma centers and health care facilities. Supervisor Hilda Solis proposed coordinating with labor unions to recruit more “culturally and linguistically competent physicians” to staff the second largest municipal health care system in the nation. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, LA Weekly. 2017-07-21
 
Hillcrest Residents, Castaic Town Council Hears From County On Landscaping Concerns
Residents of the Hillcrest Parkway area, which the county calls Zone 37, voiced questions and concerns about a potential update of the fees for Zone 37. Residents in favor of the assessment increase — which the county has said is necessary if there’s going to be any increase in the landscaping efforts for that area — noted that a no vote would decrease property values, affect home insurance rates and make it difficult for residents to sell their home. [Article]
by RYNE WILLIAMS, KABC Los Angeles ABC 7 News. 2017-07-21
 
County Sets Its Sights On Updated, ‘Secure’ Voting System
As Los Angeles County prepares for the procurement and manufacturing stage of its nationally-recognized Voting Systems Assessment Project (VSAP), Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan is focusing resources on election security. [Article]
by JESSY HOLEN, KABC Los Angeles ABC 7 News. 2017-07-21
 
The upside of visible homelessness in Orange County: We can't pretend we're better than everyone
Whenever I see homeless people somewhere in Orange County where I’ve never noticed them before — say, inside a tent at the Tustin Civic Center, begging for money off the 5 Freeway in Mission Viejo or washing themselves in a bathroom sink at the Westminster Mall — I applaud. Don’t get me wrong: Their plight is a tragedy. Southern California’s housing shortage, the ravages of the opioid epidemic and personal demons have left too many people battered, beat, reviled and without a permanent, safe place to stay the night. In truth, Orange County’s homeless population is relatively modest: 4,792, per this year’s census by Point-in-Time, an organization that conducts such surveys biannually. (Los Angeles County’s number, by comparison, is 57,794, per the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.) Yet you’d think by reading comments on local Facebook pages or local newspapers that an army of bums has descended upon Orange County to intentionally sully our fair land. OCers complain about declining property values, whine that nonprofits that feed and bathe homeless people just enable them, rant that politicians and police should forcefully drive them away from us. [Article]
by GUSTAVO ARELLANO, Los Angeles Times. 2017-07-21
 
Newhall Ranch project raises concerns among Santa Clarita residents
A long-debated project expected to bring new homes, schools and parks to the Santa Clarita Valley is one step closer to reality - but not everyone supports it. The board of supervisors approved the massive project, which would bring more than 20,000 new homes within Newhall Ranch. The Landmark Village and Mission Village communities will be developed on 293 acres. [Article]
by CARLOS GRANDA, KABC Los Angeles ABC 7 News. 2017-07-21
 
Fairview’s $2-million mystery is solved, and it doesn’t look promising
Last week I started to track down the parameters of the $2-million site survey the state is planning for closing the Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa by 2021. What prompted this was my column last month about Fairview and Sen. John Moorlach’s bill, SB 59, which would require the state to include the city and county in any decision regarding repurposing of the state-owned property. Currently, Sacramento doesn’t have to do that. I also talked about how Moorlach, a Costa Mesa resident, was working with a coalition from Hoag and St. Joseph hospitals, as well as county and Costa Mesa city officials, to address mental health issues and homelessness as part of a network. Included in this coalition’s scope is how a portion of Fairview could be used by such a network. [Article]
by BARBARA VENEZIA, Daily Pilot. 2017-07-21
 
Santa Ana River Trail walkers, cyclists fear homeless, give up outdoor ‘jewel’ – Orange County Register
Dozens of interviews, emails and online comments reveal that walkers and cyclists fear, or have fled, the 30-mile Santa Ana River Trail after being injured and scared off by the exploding homeless population. Designated a National Recreation Trail in 1977, even police, elected officials and homeless advocates have given up on salvaging the county’s longest cycling and walking trail. Once used by runners, birders and other outdoor aficionados, the 12-foot-wide ribbon of asphalt with views of the San Gabriel Mountains has become a place to be avoided. [Article]
by DAVID WHITING, Orange County Register. 2017-07-21
 
Why banning vaping products hurts public health
There’s a strange anti-vaping hysteria hitting governments. Unfortunately, it’s nothing new to Southern California. The Los Angeles City Council voted to ban vaping in public places years before state legislators opted for a statewide clampdown. In May, the Laguna Beach City Council included vaping in its all-out ban of tobacco use in public places. The Riverside cities of Norco and Hemet banned e-cigarettes from parks in 2016 and 2015, respectively. If vapers hadn’t quite gotten the message that they are to be ostracized just like smokers have been, last year Pasadena played host to a bizarre anti-vaping campaign that portrayed e-cigarette users as sheep-human hybrids and explicitly called vapers “stupid sheep.” [Article]
by GUY BENTLEY / OPINION, Orange County Register. 2017-07-21
 
Consulate of Mexico in Santa Ana launches hotline for direct access to immigration attorneys
SANTA ANA On the steps of the Old Orange County Courthouse Thursday afternoon, July 20, Consul of Mexico Mario Cuevas Zamora dialed 714-794-9494. Immediately, an immigration attorney answered. The consul’s call showed that the “LegalMex” toll-free hotline – connecting Mexican immigrants in Orange County directly to a lawyer for legal counseling – is up and running. It’s the latest effort by the Consulate of Mexico in Santa Ana to serve an increasingly fearful immigrant population since Donald Trump became president, and the only such hotline launched among the 50 Mexican consulates across the U.S. [Article]
by JESSICA KWONG, Orange County Register. 2017-07-21
 
District Attorney talks human trafficking at Laguna Woods council meeting
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas made a presentation about human trafficking to Laguna Woods City Council on Wednesday, July 19, discussing the prevalence of the crime in the county and how community awareness is vital to diminishing it. Rackauckas said that since the District Attorney’s Office created the Human Exploitation and Trafficking unit to join the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force in 2013, they have seen quite a bit of activity and have been able to prosecute 223 pimps and traffickers. [Article]
by EMILY RASMUSSEN, Orange County Register. 2017-07-21
 
Lessons learned from 1994 county bankruptcy
History will note that July 2017 closes the penultimate chapter of the Orange County bankruptcy. We have made the final bond payment for the bankruptcy debt. County taxpayers are no longer paying bondholders for the costs of the 1994 bankruptcy. At $2 billion, it was the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history up to that time. Orange County remains the nation’s third-largest bankruptcy, behind only the $4 billion bankruptcy of Jefferson County, Ala., in 2011 and the $20 billion bankruptcy of Detroit, Mich., in 2013. There is now only one chapter left in the bankruptcy: the closing payments to some internal county agencies, like the Orange County Flood Control District and the Orange County Public Library system, which will be completed within the next two years. In other words, all bankruptcy payments to outside entities are now complete while bankruptcy payments to internal county entities will be completed within two years. [Article]
by ERIC WOOLERY and SHARI FREIDENRICH / OPINION, Orange County Register. 2017-07-21
 
Proposed North County Housing Development Public Comment Meeting Draws A Crowd
More than 200 people showed up for a meeting Tuesday night to discuss plans to build more than 2,000 new homes in rural North County. It was the only public meeting scheduled by San Diego County staff to take public comment on the 8,000-page Environmental Impact Report for Newland Sierra. About 65 people signed up to speak, most of them in opposition. [Article]
by ALISON St. JOHN, KPBS - San Diego. 2017-07-21
 
Jennings Fire Could Be Beginning Of Difficult Fire Season In San Diego County
Just over a week ago, the Jennings fire in San Diego's East County led to an evacuation order for residents of threatened homes and shut down a portion of Interstate 8. The fire was extinguished after burning 400 acres. No injuries or structural damages resulted from the fire. Authorities are concerned the Jennings Fire may be the beginning of a difficult fire season in San Diego County. [Article]
by BROOKE RUTH, MAUREEN CAVANAUGH, KPBS - San Diego. 2017-07-21
 
READER’S EDITORIAL: SDG&E SHOULD UNDERGROUND HIGH-VOLTAGE LINES ALONG HIGHWAY 76 | East County Magazine
July 20, 2017 (Pauma Valley) -- Living in the peace and quiet of San Diego County rural lands has been a great joy since our retirement in 1997. It certainly is a different world from Point Loma. It is like being in heaven having 3-4 deer, within a flock of 20 wild turkeys, greet my wife, myself, our cat and dog in our yard. In my first summer after high school, my introduction to our forest lands was with the Laguna Hotshots, fighting forest fires in the 1950's. We were re-introduced to fire in the 2003 and 2007 fires near our home. Seeing the SDG&E steel poles, stacked in a field in Pauma Valley, caused me to reflect. Those wires are potentially dangerous and lethal; similar wires have caused ignition in other places including the 2007 firestorms. [Article]
by JERRY FISHER / OPINION, East County Magazine. 2017-07-21
 
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