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New hope for salmon: 500,000 released into Klamath River
California wildlife officials last week released more than 500,000 young salmon in the Klamath River in an effort to help restore dwindling numbers of the iconic fish. The newly freed salmon, which were raised in captivity at the state’s new Fall Creek Fish Hatchery in Siskiyou County, come as part of an ambitious dam-removal project on the Klamath. Four hydroelectric dams are being taken down to rewild the river. The hope is that the salmon, once they swim to the Pacific Ocean and grow, will return to the Klamath to spawn in areas where the dams have blocked fish passage for a century. The salmon release was celebrated by California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials, as well as leaders from several tribes, including the Yurok Tribe, Karuk Tribe, Shasta Indian Nation and the Quartz Valley Indian Rancheria. [Article]
by , San Francisco Chronicle. 2024-04-22
 
Politics Report: County Won't Interview Labor's Preferred Staff Leader | Voice of San Diego
Labor leaders have taken a major interest in the drawn-out choice of the county of San Diego’s new chief administration officer and many of them were furious Friday when news leaked that supervisors had decided not to advance the candidacy of Cindy Chavez, a supervisor on the board of Santa Clara County and the former leader of the South Bay Labor Council. [Article]
by , . 2024-04-22
 
37% more Southern California workers added in March than average – Daily News
Southern California’s bosses added 27,800 workers in March — a hiring pace 37% above the region’s pre-pandemic job growth for the month. My trusty spreadsheet, filled with state job figures released Friday, April 19, found 7.95 million at work in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties in March – up 27,800 in a month and up 76,900 in 12 months. Local hiring averaged 20,220 in March in 2015-19. February 2024 saw 36,400 employees added. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Daily News. 2024-04-22
 
Does Prop 1 Mean More Group Homes for Orange County?
A statewide ballot measure is kicking up a host of concerns across Orange County – chiefly whether it will spike the number of problematic group homes – an issue cities throughout the county are already grappling with.  [Article]
by , Voice of OC. 2024-04-22
 
Nancy Magee: SB 976 is a common sense approach to addressing a grave problem – Daily News
As San Mateo County superintendent of schools and a lifetime educator, I have a special window into schools and the lives of students. Far too often, I see the destructive impacts of social media on students and schools. Students are more often distracted, overly tired and anxious, and forgo opportunities for in-person connections. Schools, meanwhile, struggling to compete with social media for their students’ attention, manage increased incidents of online bullying and threats to the school community. These harms are not caused by happenstance. For years now, social media companies have purposely designed their platforms to addict users to maximize profits. The longer a user is on their platform, the more these companies can monetize the online activity. Social media companies use psychologically manipulative algorithms, which are particularly harmful to youth, to seduce users to spend more time on their platforms.  [Article]
by , Los Angeles Daily News. 2024-04-22
 
California is building fewer homes. The state could get even more expensive - Los Angeles Times
Ken Kahan makes a living building homes. A specialty? Luxury apartment complexes in Los Angeles neighborhoods such as Palms and Silver Lake filled with mostly market rate units, but with a handful of income-restricted affordable ones as well. It can be a good business, but lately less so. “We have pulled back,” said Kahan, the president of California Landmark Group. “The metrics don’t work.” Across California and the nation, developers moved to start fewer homes in 2023, a decline some experts say could eventually send home prices and rents even higher as supply shortages worsen. Developers cite several reasons for delaying new projects. There’s high labor and material costs, as well as new local regulations that together make it harder to turn a profit. Perhaps the biggest factor — and one hitting across the country — is the high cost of borrowing. Rising interest rates not only make it more expensive for Americans to buy a home, but they add additional costs for developers who must shell out more money to build and manage their projects. As a result, fewer projects make financial sense to build and fewer homes are built. “More than anything it is debt costs,” said Ryan Patap, an analyst for real estate research firm CoStar. In all, preliminary data from the US. Census Bureau show building permits for new homes nationwide fell 12% in 2023 from the prior year and 7% in California. Drops were recorded in both single-family homes — most of which tend to be for sale — as well as multifamily homes — which are chiefly rentals. Dan Dunmoyer, president of the California Building Industry Assn., said one major reason for the decline is that many for-sale home builders foresaw “a massive downturn” and stopped buying lots to develop when mortgage rates soared in 2022. Then a funny thing happened. Demand for their product didn’t crater as much as expected, in large part because existing homeowners didn’t want to sell and rid themselves of ultra-low mortgage rates. “Builders kind of woke up and realized ‘Oh, it’s just us [selling homes],‘” Dunmoyer said. “But we don’t turn on a dime.” As for-sale builders restart their engines to take advantage of a shortage of listings, there are signs of improvement. During the first two months of this year, builders in California pulled 35% more permits for single-family homes than during the same period a year earlier, according to census data. Permits for multifamily continued to decline — dropping 33%. The diverging paths are probably due to several factors, said Rick Palacios Jr., director of research for John Burns Research and Consulting. On a whole, single-family home builders have access to a wider source of debt that isn’t as vulnerable to rising interest rates. In the single-family market, the supply shortage has also worsened and home prices are climbing. Meanwhile, rents in many places — including Los Angeles — have dropped slightly as vacancies have risen, in part because apartment construction has been relatively robust in recent years. “Single-family solid, multifamily weak is a pretty consistent theme across most of the country,” Palacios said. “You’re hard pressed to find a market where developers and investors are gung ho on apartments.” In the city of Los Angeles, developers must contend with another factor — Measure ULA. The citywide property transfer tax took effect last year to fund affordable housing and has drawn the ire of the real estate industry. Though it’s known as the “mansion tax,” except for rare exceptions it applies to all properties sold for more than $5 million, no matter if they are gas stations, strip malls, apartment buildings or actual mansions. Under the measure, a seller is charged 4% of the sales price for properties sold above $5 million and below $10 million. At $10 million and above, the tax is 5.5%. Apartment developers and real estate brokers said additional costs from ULA make it even harder to earn a reasonable profit in what can be a risky business. That’s because when building apartments, developers often sell their finished product, which would probably trigger the ULA tax for any building over 15 units, according to Greg Harris, a real estate broker with Marcus and Millichap. Even developers who hold onto their properties typically need to take out a mortgage on the finished building — and Harris said lenders are willing to give less because they too would need to pay the tax if they foreclose and sell the property. “ULA is like the last nail in the coffin,” said Robert Green, a Los Angeles developer. “It couldn’t have come at a worse time.” Many apartment projects got their start under different economic circumstances and have opened in recent years or will soon. That supply should help keep rents down for a while, but not forever, said Richard Green, executive director of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate. In two or three years, as fewer apartments are finished “we will see rent start to go up again,” he said. That would be a hit for Californians struggling to find housing in an expensive state where thousands sleep on the streets. Economic cycles, of course, ebb and flow and construction may rebound. The Federal Reserve plans to cut interest rates later this year, which may help more projects make sense financially, as could rising rents. Land sellers could also drop their asking prices to adjust for rising developer costs, including ULA in Los Angeles. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2024-04-22
 
Santa Ana Continues Battling Needle Exchange Program
After a nearly year-long fight against the reopening of a needle exchange program in Orange County, Santa Ana City Council solidified their stance on Tuesday in opposition to a local substance abuse clinic’s pending application. [Article]
by , Voice of OC. 2024-04-22
 
Mojave desert tortoise officially joins California's endangered list - Los Angeles Times
The California Fish and Game Commission has formally recognized the Mojave desert tortoise as endangered. The designation, granted Thursday, is the latest in a long series of steps to try to protect the dwindling population of the desert creature, which biologists say is heading toward extinction. The tortoise was designated as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act in 1989 and as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1990. In 2020, Defenders of Wildlife, Desert Tortoise Council and Desert Tortoise Preserve petitioned to change the tortoise’s status to endangered, which would give it higher priority and funding for conservation measures such as habitat protection and recovery efforts. The commission then granted temporary endangered species to the desert tortoise while it considered adding it permanently to the list. A recovery plan was created in 1994, and then revised in 2011 after there were issues implementing the recovery strategies. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2024-04-22
 
Proposed budget would deny help to many autistic Californians - Los Angeles Times
Kate Movius knew it would be challenging when her son Aidan, who experiences profound autism, turned 22 and aged out of the programs and services provided through his school. What she didn’t anticipate was the two years she would spend in a fruitless search for an adult program that fit her son. Ultimately, the family ditched the wait lists and created their own form of weekly programming for Aidan and others in the community. Finding an open space in a program that fit Aidan was made even more difficult by a staffing shortage among service providers, which couldn’t keep up with the demand from the growing developmentally disabled community. That shortage, Movius said, stemmed from the providers’ inability to offer competitive wages. Pushed by the Lanterman Coalition and other advocates, the state moved in 2021 to phase in higher reimbursement rates for the services provided to the developmentally disabled. This year, however, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed to delay the final increase to help reduce the state’s budget deficit. Advocates and families say such a delay would only leave essential services further out of families’ reach. The Moviuses’ recent experiences with Aidan, a now-23-year-old who loves to paint, make music on his Casio keyboard and play sports, illustrates the challenge faced by families with young developmentally disabled adults. A year before Aidan turned 22, the family started looking for day programs in their Highland Park community, to no avail. Through its 21 regional centers across California, the Department of Developmental Services evaluates young adults and then refers families to providers who can assist with their specific needs. Movius’ regional center recommended four programs in her area, but none were feasible because they did not have enough staff to provide one-on-one support. Aidan needs such support because he’s wandered away from his caregivers several times over the years. “We were told by three of these programs that, while they did serve adults with autism, they wouldn’t accept individuals ‘with behaviors,’” Movius said. There was one program that seemed promising, but it was right next to a busy street and it didn’t have a security system. Movius didn’t enroll him there out of fear that he would run into the street. The Moviuses’ solution was to enter the department’s self-determination program, in which a regional center gives money to an eligible adult and their family to spend on programming instead of paying a service provider for it. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2024-04-22
 
Opinion: New Bill by David Alvarez Will Help Rebuild California Communities Split by Highways - Times of San Diego
Over a decade ago, the Legislature dissolved California’s Redevelopment Agencies. Although some RDAs were poorly managed, their abolition deprived cities of important tools that had often been successfully used to stimulate business, create new housing and revitalize blighted areas, especially in older cities   [Article]
by , Times of San Diego. 2024-04-22
 
What's 420 mean? How '70s teens popularized the weed slang - Los Angeles Times
What do the Point Reyes lighthouse, French chemist Louis Pasteur and the Grateful Dead all have in common? Well, they’re all part of the origin story of how 420 methodically worked its way from a secret code to mainstream weed lingo. In 1971, five San Rafael High School students were tired of Friday night football games and searching for parties. The five students called themselves the “Waldos,” referencing the wall they would sit on at their school. The wall, located in the main courtyard in front of the cafeteria, was the perfect spot for the Waldos to work on impressions of their fellow classmates and teachers. They began occupying their time with adventures called “safaris,” after Steve Capper took them to what is now Silicon Valley in search of a holographic city that he read about in Rolling Stone. Safaris were a way for the Waldos to challenge one another to come up with something out of the box to do. Most took place in the Bay Area, but sometimes they traveled farther afield in California. There were two rules to safaris: They had to go somewhere new, and participants had to be stoned. One day, the Waldos met at 4:20 p.m. for a “safari” and smoked all the Panama Red and Acapulco Gold — marijuana strains popular at the time for their potency and energizing qualities — they could get their hands on. The mission of this particular safari was to find an abandoned patch of weed. The meeting time stuck, as did the weed choice and their constant soundtrack of New Riders of the Purple Sage, Grateful Dead and Santana. Eventually, “420” became a secret code for the Waldos whenever they wanted to smoke. A secret no more, 420 has become a representation of cannabis culture — love it or hate it — and a day and time that is observed by cannabis enthusiasts around the world. It was even a recent “Jeopardy!” clue. The Waldos are Capper, Dave Reddix, Jeffrey Noel, Larry Schwartz and Mark Gravitch. They have thoroughly documented the term’s origins with postmarked letters, high school newspaper clippings and U.S. military records to corroborate their first 4:20 p.m. safari. In 2002, Capper and Noel spoke to The Times about their role in coining the famous weed slang but wouldn’t reveal their names in print due to the stigma surrounding cannabis back then. Twenty years on and the Waldos are anonymous no more in The Times as cannabis legalization sweeps the country on a state level (it’s still illegal federally). Capper and Reddix, who have been open about discussing 420 in recent years, spoke by phone to explain what it was like to see the term take on a life of its own and their views on the future of weed. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2024-04-22
 
LA County Unemployment Rate Unchanged in March – Pasadena Now
Los Angeles County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 5.4% in March, the same rate as February, according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department. The 5.4% rate was above the rate of 4.9% rate from March 2023. [Article]
by , . 2024-04-22
 
Opinion: Antiabortion absolutists could drag California back to the 19th century - Los Angeles Times
In his entertaining 2019 book, “How to Become a Federal Criminal,” the criminal defense attorney Mike Chase offers dozens of examples of inane or outdated laws that somehow have remained in force over the decades, at least technically. For instance, did you know that unless you are an actor playing a postal worker, it is a federal crime to dress up as a mail carrier? Or to paint your vehicle to look like a postal truck? It’s also a federal crime to reuse a postage stamp. Or clog a toilet in a national forest. And the problem of so-called zombie laws isn’t just a federal one. States also have outdated laws. Rarely do their dumb prohibitions rise from the dead to wreak havoc on our lives. But it’s happening now with a vengeance. And we have our current ultraconservative, ultrareligious U.S. Supreme Court majority to thank for this dispiriting state of affairs. In 2022, the new-but-definitely-not-improved Supreme Court overturned nearly 50 years of reproductive rights in its disastrous 2022 Dobbs ruling, enabling the resuscitation of laws and court decisions that would strip Americans of all kinds of reproductive rights, including possibly, as we’ve recently seen, the right to conceive children outside the uterus. As never before, women in this country are being traumatized by retrograde forces determined to impose their specific religious views on everyone else. The goal, as always, is to force women to bear children they don’t wish to have by elevating the rights of embryos and fetuses above those of living, breathing adult human beings. Exhibit A, of course, is the 19th century, long-dormant Arizona antiabortion law, which was revived recently by that state’s Supreme Court. The law, which outlaws abortion even in the case of rape or incest, was enacted in 1864. It became moot in 1973, but now, the federal right to abortion, as they say, is no longer operative. Earlier this month, the Republican-dominated Arizona House refused to even consider the question of whether to overturn the state’s antiquated law, prompting cries of “Shame!” from Democrats on the floor. Last week, however, two Republicans joined Democrats in the Arizona Senate to vote to bring the proposed repeal to a vote; the House is still blocking it. “Radical legislators protected a Civil War-era total abortion ban that jails doctors, strips women of our bodily autonomy and puts our lives at risk,” said Arizona’s Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs. Which brings us to the Comstock Act, an 1873 federal law that banned anything related to contraception or abortion (or pornography or even love letters that described sex acts) from being transported through the U.S. mails. It came as no surprise to me that Mike Chase begins his compendium of silly federal laws with a mention of this law. Currently, the Supreme Court is considering whether the Food and Drug Administration overstepped its authority by allowing abortion medications to be sent through the mail. The drug at issue, mifepristone, is part of a two-drug regimen that is not only extremely safe but accounts for more than half of all abortions in America. The man who inspired the law, Anthony Comstock, was born in 1844. He was a crusading Christian moralist of the fire-and-brimstone variety who fought on the Union side during the Civil War. After the war, he moved to New York City and was appalled by what he saw: prostitution, pornography, advertisements for contraception and abortifacients, which he believed promoted lust and lewdness. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2024-04-22
 
Orange County case shows immigration system can bend toward justice - Los Angeles Times
On a sunny January morning, in the windowless office of a nondescript government building, Jose Franco Gonzalez was sworn in as a United States citizen. There is not a lot of good news in immigration these days, with President Biden doubling down on proposals that would gut remaining asylum protections and former President Trump threatening mass deportations. But Franco’s story is a reminder that a better immigration system remains possible. His experience points toward a path for getting there. Fourteen years ago, I met Franco in another windowless room. That room, less than a mile from where he would one day naturalize, was in an immigration jail. At the time, Franco had been imprisoned for nearly four and a half years after a judge found him incompetent to move forward in removal proceedings. I was a young lawyer providing free legal orientations at the jail. But Franco couldn’t sign up to attend; he couldn’t write his name. Instead, an immigration officer alerted me to his case. At our first meeting, Franco’s skin was pale, nearly translucent, from years behind bars. He was almost nonverbal. Although 29 years old, because of a lifelong intellectual disability, he had the mental capacity of a young child, by some measures as young as 2 years old. We sat for nearly an hour together that day. I tried to draw out what information I could about his story: The arrest that landed him there? A rock thrown in a neighborhood fight led to a criminal sentence, after which federal authorities took him to an immigration jail. Who was his family? A tight clan of his parents and 12 siblings, most of whom were permanent residents and U.S. citizens. What was his legal status? He did not yet have papers, although his brother had filed a petition on his behalf years before. What was it that he hoped for? To get out and eat carnitas. At the time, Franco was among hundreds, if not thousands, of people with serious mental disabilities detained in immigration custody, according to a report released by Human Rights Watch and the ACLU. Yet immigration authorities had no system for identifying people with such disabilities, and immigration courts had no process for providing them legal representation. Unlike in criminal cases, in which defendants have a right to an attorney, most people are forced to represent themselves in immigration courts against a trained government attorney. Most individuals in Franco’s position were pushed through the system and deported without any recognition of their unique needs. In his case, an immigration judge recognized she couldn’t provide a fair hearing because of his disability. But instead of appointing him counsel or ordering his release, she simply closed his case and sent him back to his jail cell, where he sat — without seeing a judge — for four and a half years. Franco’s immigration incarceration lasted nearly five times the length of his criminal sentence, cost more than $250,000 in taxpayer money, and wreaked immeasurable harm on a man who could not recall his birthday, much less understand what had happened to him. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2024-04-22
 
Hacking The Sun
Iseman says he's motivated by an urgency to act on climate change. World governments agreed to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100. But temperatures have already risen about 1.2 degrees Celsius, and many scientists think the world will blow past 1.5 Celsius. Passing it would mean more catastrophic impacts like lethal heat waves and flooding, coral die-offs and melting ice. "What we have done has not worked," Iseman says about current efforts to address global warming. "And we need to try many more broad approaches." Iseman and other solar geoengineering advocates reject the idea of a so-called "moral hazard" with this technology. That's the idea that solar geoengineering will distract from the difficult - and scientifically necessary - work of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and will give fossil fuel polluters continued license to pollute. "I think we need to do solar geoengineering – hard stop – because the world is too hot. We need to cool it off," Iseman says. "I wouldn't say we should only do that after we start dropping global greenhouse [gas] emissions. 'Cause, frankly, I don't know when we're gonna do that." [Article]
by , . 2024-04-22
 
Larry Wilson: A kid in a cell with no light in California – Pasadena Star News
I was visiting with outgoing Assemblyman Chris Holden on the phone the other day. He happened to mention that not only is he needing to leave the Legislature because of term limits — a California politician can stay 12 years in Sacramento — but this is his 36th consecutive year of being in elective office. That’s because before his dozen in the state Capitol he was on the Pasadena City Council for 24 years, including a term as mayor, and I have been covering him as a reporter, an editorial page editor, the editor of the local paper and now a columnist and editorial writer all those decades. Bit of a wow moment for the both of us. Chris is a super-sweet guy, a great father and husband, a real mensch, with almost an absence of annoying ego — not something I would say of your average pol. He was born into the family biz, too, as his father, now in his 90s, is Nate Holden, the retired L.A. councilman and state senator. And the reason we were talking is that I wanted to check in with him about the progress of what may be his final passion project in the Legislature, the California Mandela Act, AB 280, which aims to greatly cut down on the use of cruel solitary confinement in California prisons, especially for youth and women. “I see my work on this as more of a vehicle for the activists who have educated me about it,” Chris says. “But we’ve been working on it since 2015, and twice passed it through the Legislature,” only to see it vetoed over objections from the CDCR — the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. “But the system we have in our state, the UN defines it as torture, and I’d like to think California can rise above that. “You hear stories of a pregnant woman in solitary screaming, and they don’t respond — or at least not until they hear a baby screaming, too.” [Article]
by , . 2024-04-22
 
Riverside County sheriff blames Prop. 47 for a crisis of his own making – Orange County Register
Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco has been among the harshest critics of California’s criminal justice reforms, especially Proposition 47 passed in 2014, which he calls a “twisted, sick experiment” to blame for today’s alleged “public safety…crisis.”  Sheriff Bianco is wrong about crime – in fact, California Department of Justice figures show crime rates are much lower today than before major criminal justice reforms began in the early 2010s. He’s even more wrong about what’s behind public and legislative concerns about crime, including an initiative proposal falsely blaming Prop. 47’s reforms for retail crimes like shoplifting. Prop. 47 and other reforms are not the problem. The problem is the wholesale tanking of law enforcement efficiency in solving crimes and making arrests (a trend that began long before reforms took effect), led by Sheriff Bianco’s extraordinarily inefficient sheriff’s department. Sheriff Bianco and other outspoken critics are scapegoating Prop. 47 for their own costly incompetence. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is leaving most serious crimes unsolved despite its ballooning budget, which topped half a billion dollars in 2022. During that time, the department’s staff grew by 2,000 personnel, costing county residents twice as much per person compared to 1990 (in constant, inflation-adjusted 2022 dollars).  Yet in 2022, the Riverside County sheriff cleared (solved) just 8.3% of the felony violent and property crimes reported to it. This is less than half its 1990 solve rate (17.7%) and well below most other California sheriffs’ rates today (15.9%).  The Riverside County Sheriff’s department’s dismal history: [Article]
by , Orange County Register. 2024-04-22
 
California home sales dropped 7.8% in March, prices up 6% – Daily News
California home sales dropped in March, while prices continued to increase, according to figures released by the California Association of Realtors. Sales decreased on a year-over-year basis in all major regions except the Central Coast, and sales in Southern California experienced the second-biggest drop from a year ago, declining 7.8%. Statewide, existing, single-family home sales totaled 267,470 in March on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, down 7.8% from 290,020 in February and down 4.4% from 279,700 a year ago. The statewide decline followed increases in January and February. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Daily News. 2024-04-22
 
Mayor Bass' ambitious housing program calls on L.A.'s wealthy. Can she pull it off? - Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles has always been a city of extremes, but the homelessness crisis is exposing the divide between rich and poor in startling ways. A-listers in designer gowns and million-dollar jewels parade down the red carpet, blocks from tents where people live in unsanitary conditions. Private jets take off at Van Nuys Airport, soaring over streets lined with RVs and crowded apartment complexes. Rising housing prices are turbocharging the finances of homeowners while leaving others unable to afford a roof over their heads. Now, Mayor Karen Bass is calling on L.A.’s wealthy residents to help narrow that economic chasm with a new initiative that will rely on private donations and loans to buy apartments for the city’s unhoused, who at last count numbered more than 46,000. Philanthropic and real estate leaders reacted with hope and skepticism to the initiative, LA4LA, which Bass unveiled Monday during her State of the City address. LA4LA will target corporations and foundations as well as individuals. While Bass’ allies applauded her work on homelessness, others privately questioned how far the donations raised by LA4LA would go, arguing that billions are ultimately needed to fix the problem. Bass’ campaign comes as wealthy Democratic donors in Los Angeles — some of the same people the mayor is counting on to open their wallets — are hyperfocused on raising money for President Biden’s reelection campaign. And city taxpayers of all income levels have already funded billions of dollars in spending to reduce homelessness, even as the population on the streets and in temporary housing has continued to increase. Donna Bojarsky, co-founder of a nonprofit dedicated to building civic culture in L.A., predicts that Bass’ deep commitment to alleviating homelessness will spur people to give to LA4LA. “People are a little less cynical, because she has shown that things can be done,” said Bojarsky, pointing to Bass’ executive order speeding up affordable housing construction and other programs led by her office. LA4LA leaders said the initiative will target a specific need amid the much larger homelessness crisis. Bass’ signature homelessness program, Inside Safe, has cleared some encampments and moved some unhoused Angelenos into hotel and motel rooms. But many people remain in those rooms with nowhere else to go. Bass has said that she initially expected Inside Safe participants to spend three to six months in temporary housing, only to realize that, for many, those stays would last one to two years because of a dearth of affordable housing. LA4LA will target financially distressed multifamily properties that are approved but not yet constructed, properties that are close to opening or properties struggling with high vacancies, with the goal of turning them into affordable housing. Because LA4LA is a philanthropic venture — overseen by the California Community Foundation, a charitable group — it will be able to offer financing at lower interest rates than a bank, LA4LA leaders said. In certain scenarios, according to LA4LA lead strategist Sarah Dusseault, investors will be offered a small return. Creating more apartments will also allow the city to take advantage of federal housing vouchers that are now going unused because there is nowhere to house people. The city has had to return some voucher money to the federal government, frustrating officials. Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, one of LA4LA’s leaders, has already donated $300,000. He told The Times in a written statement that the initiative uses “the flexibility of philanthropy to activate housing units fast, for those who need it now.” So far, LA4LA has raised more than $10 million, Dusseault said. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2024-04-22
 
With public pressure mounting, state legislators get serious about stopping shoplifting surge – Daily News
Tackling retail crime is top of mind for many state lawmakers, as evidenced by the flurry of new bills taking aim at shoplifting, smash-and-grabs and retail theft. Why the intense attention this legislative cycle? California politicians are facing new and mounting pressures to deliver solutions on rising rates of retail crime. Shoplifting jumped by 81% in the city of Los Angeles last year — from around 6,600 reports in 2022 to almost 12,000 in 2023. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Daily News. 2024-04-22
 
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