Fourth Appellate District Upholds City of San Diego’s Rejection of Subdivision Project and Related MND

By Donald Sobelman : jdsupra – excerpt

CEQA decisions usually arise in the context of a challenge to a lead agency’s approval of a project and a related CEQA document.  However, in a recent decision, Kutzke v. City of San Diego (2017) 11 Cal.App.5th 1034 (certified for publication on May 23, 2017), the Fourth Appellate District resolved a court action arising from a lead agency’s rejection of a project and its MND, and did so in favor of the lead agency… (more)

Key senator vows to block climate deal that would aid polluters

By Julie Cart : CalMatters – excerpt

An irritated chairman of a state Senate Budget subcommittee says he intends to thwart a recent move by the state Air Resources Board that could give California’s biggest polluters a cushion of more than $300 million.

In a sharp rebuke of the board, Sen. Bob Wieckowski said Thursday that he’ll insert language into next year’s budget bill instructing regulators to reduce the free compensation they’re giving oil refineries and other industries covered under cap and trade, California’s signature climate policy.

Addressing a hearing, the Fremont Democrat read aloud from last week’s CALmatters story detailing the air board’s July meeting, where it unanimously voted to consider abandoning a scheduled reduction in free pollution allowances given to state industries—against the advice of its own staff and outside experts.

The board’s move came on the heels of a much-celebrated deal the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown struck to pass legislation extending the state’s cap-and-trade program to the year 2030. The bill’s author acknowledged that the fight to get a two-thirds vote required a number of deals—and that the air board’s later move was one of them.

“It was part of the deal to make sure we could get a (two-thirds) vote to extend the cap-and-trade program,” Democratic Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia of Coachella told CALmatters... (more)

When do the California citizens get to vote come in on these tax deals that will raise the costs of transporting necessary products such as food. Now they want to tax our water? What next? A tax on all citizens who live in the state? A tax to come in and out of the state for releasing carbon dioxide into the air when we breathe?

The attempt to recall Democratic Sen. Josh Newman of Fullerton, backed by a consortium of voters critical of Newman’s vote this year to raise the gasoline tax,  raised the necessary signatures, but, is being threatened by a new bill being formulated to stop it. These are the same people who are removing local rights to determine how our cities and towns are developed by imposing state levels.

RELATED:
Last-minute water tax can’t be justified however worthy the cause
Opinion: Tax water to provide clean water to Californians whose supply is contaminated

Los Angeles arena bill targets CA environmental law

By : constructiondive – excerpt

The Battle of the Bills is raging in Sacramento with little notice or public discourse outside of legal circles.

Dive Brief:  

  • A proposed change to California state law could shorten the timeline for environmental approvals for construction of the Los Angeles Clippers’ new basketball arena complex in Inglewood, CA, according to the Los Angeles Times.
  • The draft bill would require that legal challenges to the proposed venue under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) be resolved in nine months and would also restrict the power of the courts to stop construction based on CEQA violations. The measure would grant the same benefits to a nearby transit hub that is expected to serve Clippers fans and those headed to see Los Angeles Rams and Chargers games at their forthcoming $2.6 billion Inglewood stadium.
  • The team said it will comply with CEQA standards if the arena project comes to fruition, but critics of the potential new law said the Clippers would use it to get around environmental regulations…

Dive Insight:

Another proposed California state law would close the so-called loophole that allowed the Rams’ development team to skirt CEQA during the stadium’s permitting process, according to the Times. Assembly Bill 890, which passed in the California Assembly in June and is making its way through the state Senate, would prevent local governments from allowing projects to skip the environmental review process if developers can collect enough signatures to put them on the ballot…(more)

Faceoff with Federal Government Possibly Looming Following California Supreme Court CEQA Ruling; Cal High Speed Rail Project Also Vulnerable

By Whitney Hodgesnatlawreview – excerpt

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 : In July 2017, the California Supreme Court determined the federal Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995 (49 U.S.C. § 10101 et seq.) (“ICCTA”) does not preempt the application of the California Environmental Quality Act of 1970 (Pub. Res. Code § 21000 et seq.) (“CEQA”), a state statute, to a state public entity railroad project on a rail line owned by that same entity, the North Coast Rail Authority (“NCRA”). Friends of the Eel River resolves a split among the California Courts of Appeal.[1] However, the decision may conflict with federal precedent and could eventually reach the Supreme Court. As the majority opinion and the dissent both emphasize, the decision creates a direct conflict with the federal Surface Transportation Board’s (“STB”) determination that ICCTA preempts any application of CEQA to California’s state-owned, high-speed rail project.[2] Thus, the dispute over CEQA’s application to High-Speed Rail may need to be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court. Additionally, Friends of the Eel River introduces more legal complications for the planned $64 billion bullet train between Los Angeles and San Francisco, as it appears to require that project to comply with CEQA, which could lead to additional litigation… (more)

Sacramento County sues to block Delta tunnels – and it’s not alone

: sacbee – excerpt

Sacramento County led a cascade of area governments suing the state in an effort to block the Delta tunnels, saying the $17 billion project would harm local farmers, endangered fish and low-income communities at the south end of the county.

The lawsuits come as the tunnels project, championed by Gov. Jerry Brown as a means of improving south state water supplies, makes headway with environmental regulators. In July, the state announced that the massive project complies with the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, and wouldn’t hurt fish, wildlife or human health in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Elected officials in the Sacramento area long have opposed the project and have formed an alliance, called the Delta Counties Coalition, dedicated to fighting the tunnels. Sacramento County filed its lawsuit Thursday, as did the Placer County Water Agency, the cities of Stockton and Antioch and a consortium of commercial fishermen’s groups. Additional lawsuits were expected to be filed by Monday, the legal deadline for attacking the tunnels project with a CEQA suit… (more)

Office of Planning and Research Releases Updated General Plan Guidelines

pillsbury : jdsupra – excerpt

On August 2, 2017, the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (“OPR”) released its first update to the General Plan Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) since 2003. The Guidelines provide guidance to cities and counties throughout California on the preparation and content of their General Plans, which govern land uses and zoning within their jurisdictions. The updated Guidelines contain new recommended policies, information resources, and  reflect recent legislation regarding General Plans.

Under Government Code section 65300, cities and counties must adopt and periodically update their General Plans. The process can be costly and time consuming, which tends to discourage frequent updates, especially by small municipalities with limited resources… (more)

Housing crisis: Will California force its cities to OK more building?

By Katy Murphy : mercurynews – excerpt

State lawmakers are desperate to address a statewide problem that has been decades in the making.

Amid a housing crisis that is displacing the poor and forcing millennials and countless others to look outside the Bay Area to live, all eyes turned this week to the tiny Peninsula town of Brisbane where a developer wants to build thousands of homes on a 684-acre swath of wasteland.

Powerful tech companies, state lawmakers and pro-growth activists from around the region implored the City Council on Monday to allow housing on land once used as a rail yard and a landfill ​— an idea many residents oppose. But after hearing passionate arguments from both sides, the City Council shelved the decision, prolonging a land-use debate that has dragged on since 2005….

In the nine-county Bay Area, the median price for a single-family home has topped $800,000. And nearly one-third of renters statewide — 1.5 million households — spend more than half their income on rent, according to state estimates

As soon as next week, lawmakers are expected to unveil a package of affordable-housing bills that will include new tools to prod cities and counties to add their share of housing — at least, in theory.

“I think that many of my colleagues understand that individual decisions by city councils and boards of supervisors are having an extremely negative and detrimental impact on our region,” said Assemblyman David Chiu, a former San Francisco supervisor who chairs the Assembly’s housing committee. “When you have so many decisions going the wrong way on proposed housing that meets all local laws and planning and zoning requirements we have to do something different.”

But none of the pending housing bills — as written — would immediately force the city of Brisbane’s hand. And some cities have flouted existing laws with similar goals….

A more controversial proposal, Senate Bill 35, by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would speed up the approval process for housing developments — limiting local reviews — in cities and counties that have failed to meet state goals for home-building.

Gov. Jerry Brown has made it clear that he will only sign a deal with money for affordable housing if it includes provisions to fast-track development — which, he argues, will make housing construction cheaper and quicker… (more)

A number of lawsuits are being waged by both sides of the density debate and a few of them are mentioned in this article for those who want to delve deeper. Interesting to note is the mention of the nine-county area that many recognize as the counties in the Plan Bay Area.

The argument is largely over local versus state jurisdiction. Our Governor and Lt. Governor are suing SF for the right to develop the city waterfront. What does this tell you about the pressure coming out of Sacramento? Perhaps we need to involve the citizens in a state-wide ballot over the loss of their rights.

Brown’s blunder down under

Editorials : Guest Opinion: By Andy Caldwell : capoliticalreview – excerpt
Please note the story originated on a site that is now a private site, so the linked version is coming from a secondary site. As net neutrality loses out we will see a lot more of these secondary stories. This one may be purchased for $2.50.

The biggest news story last week appeared in the classifieds. The legal notice declared a summons for all interested persons to appear in court in Sacramento as a defendant in a lawsuit. The lawsuit names the California Department of Water Resources vs. All Persons Interested in the matter of the Authorization of California Water Fix Revenue Bonds. That would be you.

Translation? Gov. Jerry Brown is trying to finance his Twin Tunnels project by way of a lawsuit. Each tunnel would be 150 feet below ground, 40 feet in diameter and 30 miles in length. The tunnel project would be as big a project as the English Channel tunnel and as big a boondoggle as Boston’s Big Dig…

Whereas most everyone agrees the Delta needs fixing, there is little agreement that the Twin Tunnels are the right fix. Hence, Mr. Brown is trying to move forward with this project by way of a lawsuit, which seeks to validate his authority to proceed without either voter, legislative or rate-payer approval…

I am very much afraid that Gov. Brown will actually make water less available due to the expense of this project, as it will make the state water unaffordable, leading to the cancellation of state water contracts. This will not just affect the parties that rely on state water directly. For instance, in Santa Maria, if state water becomes unaffordable, that means the city may end up using more groundwater than they do now. That will affect the water supply available to farmers.

Andy Caldwell is the executive director of COLAB and host of The Andy Caldwell Radio Show, weekdays from 3-5 p.m., on News-Press Radio AM 1290... (more)

This article is brought to you with the comments below based on our best knowledge of the situation. If anyone has better detailed information we will include that in a latter post.

All we know is that islands are being bought in the Delta by private corporations who may represent entities who want to claim riparian rights to the water in the Delta while farmers and others with water wells are being told their water rights may no longer hold for the water they are pumping on their land. If anyone has any other information on this subject, please let us know.

Meanwhile the city of San Francisco is starting to pump water to blend into the drinking water that they have been taking from Hetch Hetchy and residents are concerned about the quality and safety of this blended product.

People are switching to bottled water after recent attempts to make a big deal out of the great quality of the city’s Hetch Hetchy water supply, financial and legal constraints were enacted to convince people to drink tap water instead of bottled water. Now those constraints need to be removed since the water is no longer exclusively Hetch Hetchy, and some people with compromised health conditions will need to be careful with the blend.

This is especially important now that herbicides and other poisons are getting into our water system from such projects as the Beach Chalet. The voters approved the use of carcinogenic by-products that will leach into the soil near one of the aquifers on the west side.

 

Man Sues LA Over Parking Ticket, Gets 650,000 Payout

codecprime – excerpt

A man’s legal fight over a parking ticket he received three years ago ended successfully when the Los Angeles City Council approved a $650,000 payout to him on Wednesday, Aug. 2.

Cody Weiss sued the city back in 2014 after he got a parking ticket. He argued that the city unlawfully permits private for profit companies to process challenges to tickets, NBC4 reports.

Last year a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled in his favor and that decision was also upheld by the Second District Court of Appeal…

“The city and Xerox have been in violation of the law since 1995 when the law changed,” Marker added.

Mike Feur, an attorney for the city petitioned the California Supreme Court to review the decision over the parking ticket, but the state’s high court denied that petition in November, according to Fox News.

The high court upheld the lower court’s decision, which ordered LA to change its practice in allowing Xerox to handle all parking ticket challenges… (more)

One Oak’s OK Challenged

: sfweekly – excerpt

An appeal has been filed against an enormous Van Ness and Market housing development.

Last year, construction workers broke ground on a $316 million project to speed up the buses that run along Van Ness Avenue — the vital north-south corridor that serves the center of the city. Dedicated bus lanes, improved boarding stations, and new vehicles will make getting from Russian Hill to Civic Center smoother, faster, and safer, when the project is completed in 2019.

“This marks a significant step forward in making transit faster and more reliable on Van Ness Avenue,” said Mayor Ed Lee when the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit Project (BRT) launched. “We will be improving a crucial travel corridor in San Francisco. When this project is completed, everyone can enjoy a safer, better Van Ness Avenue.”.

The project sounds great. But several residential developments coming to Van Ness Avenue and Market Street could derail the millions of dollars the city, state, and taxpayers have committed to speeding up this transit corridor, thanks to the impending arrival of hundreds of privately owned vehicles, which threaten to clog up this transit-rich artery. Or so claims Jason Henderson, who last month filed an appeal of the city’s decision to allow One Oak, a 304-unit luxury apartment building, to begin construction without a thorough review of the traffic impacts its 136 parking spots will have on the neighborhood… (more)

 

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