Cops claim harassment for speaking up against alleged LAPD arrest quotas

By Dana Bartholomew : dailynews – excerpt

A $10 million payout to Los Angeles Police Department officers alleging they were pressured to meet illegal traffic ticket quotas may get pricier.

Two more LAPD officers filed suit Monday alleging they were victims of a backlash for not complying with and for speaking out against what they say were unlawful arrest and citation quotas.

North Hollywood Division Officers Michael Marciano and Andrew Cota filed the lawsuit Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging the LAPD violated state labor laws.

“Plaintiffs spoke out not only for the rights of themselves and their fellow officers, but also for the rights of the public, by speaking out against what they believed to be an unlawful citation and arrest quota as well as retaliation, harassment and/or intimidation for refusing to comply with and/or reporting such an illegal quota,” according to the officers’ complaint…(more)

Does trucking have to become a better job to end the driver shortage?

By Amanda Peacher : marketplace – excerpt

Supply chain slowdowns have underlined one thing we already knew: We need more truck drivers in this country. Trucking companies are trying to recruit with better pay and sign-on bonuses — some as high as $10,000.

Despite the incentives, not nearly enough people want to become truckers. Or if they do, they’re not in it for the long haul.

The bottom line is that driving a truck is hard, and the pandemic has only made it harder.

Unlike many truck drivers who have to spend weeks away from home, Josue Alvarez goes home every night. But lately because of the port slowdowns in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, he’s stuck in his truck a lot… (more)

Psychoanalyzing the Housing Frenzy With Redfin’s CEO

By Joshua Hunt : curbed – excerpt

The emotional and financial stakes of buying a home have never been higher.

In the first week of April 2020, Glenn Kelman made a bad decision that was still on his mind 15 months later, because, he told me, “I get paid a lot of money to make good decisions.” Like so many bad decisions, this one seemed at first like a good decision — perhaps even the only decision. COVID-19 was surging, home sales appeared to be plummeting, and Kelman, the CEO of the online real-estate brokerage Redfin, decided to gut his staff, laying off hundreds of workers and furloughing 41 percent of his agents. He figured: Who buys a house during a pandemic?

Before the month was out, new housing data showed how badly he’d misread the market. “I remember the analysts saying, ‘I’m not sure you want to hear this …’ — because once you’ve prepared the paperwork for a thousand people to go on furlough and set aside the severance money, you can’t really turn back,” Kelman said. His layoffs left Redfin in a weaker position to capitalize on the feverish demand for houses across America, and for the first time since its 2002 founding, the company started losing market share… (more)

Continue reading “Psychoanalyzing the Housing Frenzy With Redfin’s CEO”

Growing Crops Under Solar Panels? Now There’s a Bright Idea

By Matt Simon : wired – excerpt

In the new scientific (and literal) field of agrivoltaics, researchers are showing how panels can increase yields and reduce water use on a warming planet.

In Jack’s Solar Garden in Boulder County, Colorado, owner Byron Kominek has covered 4 of his 24 acres with solar panels. The farm is growing a huge array of crops underneath them—carrots, kale, tomatoes, garlic, beets, radishes, lettuce, and more. It’s also been generating enough electricity to power 300 homes. “We decided to go about this in terms of needing to figure out how to make more money for land that we thought should be doing more,” Kominek says…(more)

Are Reductions in Parking a CEQA Impact – Second District Finds Context is Key

jdsupra – excerpt

On August 19, 2021, in Save Our Access – San Gabriel Mountains vs. Watershed Conservation Authority, the Second District Court of Appeal, in reversing the lower court’s judgement, upheld an Environmental Impact Report’s (EIR’s) finding of less than significant impact under CEQA for an intentional reduction in parking meant to protect and restore the environment. The court found that a reduction in parking is usually a social and not an environmental impact. Because the petitioner failed to identify any secondary adverse physical effects on the environment resulting from the project’s impact on available parking, there was no CEQA impact here…(more)

The court found that a reduction in parking is usually a social and not an environmental impact. So that is the argument to make is that parking reduction is a social, or equity issue.

A Walk in the Park

By David Romano : westsideobserver – excerpt (map from westsideobserver) from June 2021

GG Park Map

A glance at the tourist map of Golden Gate Park indicates how little parkland is left

In truth, the chance for a quiet walk in the park is fast disappearing”

1. Kezar Stadium
2. Kezar Pavilion
3. Kezar Parking Lot
4. the considerable asphalt expanse of Kezar Drive
5. the Tennis Courts
6. the Horseshoe Pits
7. McLaren Lodge with its adjacent parking area
8. Racquetball Courts
9. Sharon Art Studio
10. JFK Drive
11. County Fair Building
12. MLK, Jr. Drive
13. Academy of Sciences
14. de Young Museum
15. Japanese Tea Garden
16. the Disc Golf Course
17. Golden Gate Park Golf Course
18. the Beach Chalet Soccer Fields (7 acres of artificial turf, concrete and asphalt)
19. the Dog Training Area (4 acres of artificial turf, sand, concrete and asphalt)
20. Route 1 – a six lane highway running more than the width of the Park
21. Crossover Drive – a four lane roadway
22. the Polo Fields and parking areas
23. the Horse Stables
24. the Bercut Equitation Field and adjacent area (now rented by a private vendor)
25. the Bison Paddock
26. the Casting Pools, and the Angler’s Lodge and grounds
27. the Archery Range
28. Middle Drive
29. Chain of Lakes Drive
30. 47th Avenue
31. the Park Chalet restaurant, backyard dining area and parking lot
32. various restrooms, playgrounds, maintenance yards, storage facilities, including a four acre yard south of the Soccer Fields
33. the Petanque Courts
34. Lawn Bowls Courts
35. the Richmond Senior Center and parking lot
36. the wood chipping facility and groundwater processing facility accessed by Overlook Drive

Why some people are fighting the to keep private/public enterprise zones from taking more pubic parklands in SF. and how the removal of cars form the parks plays into the struggle to keep people aware of what is going on inside the parks. The fewer people driving around and accessing the parks, the less aware we are of what is going on in the park. Keep all eyes on the park.

Fire Prevention

Saratoga is one of the 6 communities in Santa Clara County with zones designated as Very High Fire Hazard Severity by CAL FIRE. This page describes the City’s efforts to plan for and prevent wildfires. 

Wildland Urban Interface (WUI)

The Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) area of Saratoga is at the greatest risk for wildfire. The WUI covers roughly half the City, covering the western hillsides of Saratoga. This part of the City is subject to special regulations and requirements due to the fire risk. The City works closely with Santa Clara County Fire Department and the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council to help provide information and resources to property owners in the WUI.

Wildfire Risk Mitigation Policies

Given the potential for wildfire in Saratoga, the City has worked to identify fire-related hazards in the City of Saratoga and measures to mitigate these potential risks.   

The Safety Element helps guide development in the City of Saratoga in a manner that effectively addresses potential hazards, including wildfire, and includes strategies for reducing risks associated with specific hazards.

The CWPP identifies specific wildfire risks in the City of Saratoga and strategies for minimizing those dangers. Since Saratoga is served by two separate fire protection agencies that operate independently of the City, the CWPP calls for a collaborative that includes Santa Clara County Fire, the Saratoga Fire Protection District, other local fire agencies, the City, the County, and other local government organizations, and local non-profit partners… (more)

Wildfire Evacuation Fears in Colorado Springs Halt Housing Development

By Jim Carlton : wsj – excerpt (you need access to the ssj to read the article)

Fast-growing cities in the West need more housing, but residents fear that crowded roads could lead to Paradise, Calif.-style disaster when fires hit

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.—A plan to build more housing in this fast-growing city has been put on hold because of another pressing concern: wildfire evacuation routes.

A citizens’ group in this community of about half a million has successfully lobbied the city council to halt development of the 2424 Garden of the Gods apartment project on grounds that it would overload already congested roads in case of wildfire. In 2012, the Waldo Canyon Fire tore into the same neighborhood, destroying 346 homes and killing two as people trying to evacuate spent as long as two hours stuck in traffic.

“I just want to make sure I can get out,” said Dana Duggan, a resident who helped start the Westside Watch group earlier this year to push for a greater focus on evacuation scenarios, including computer modeling.

Developers trying to build more housing in fast-growing cities in the West are running into similar opposition. Worries about wildfire evacuation intensified after the Camp Fire destroyed Paradise, Calif., in 2018, killing 85 people—including some found in charred vehicles. An assessment afterward found three roads out of town were blocked, while traffic was backed up for miles on the fourth…

Bill Wysong was among those caught in a traffic bottleneck in 2012 as residents fled a fire in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“Evacuation is the critical issue,” said Dr. Louise Comfort, a professor of public and international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh who has studied the issue. “If people try to get to a freeway, everybody else is trying that same road. This is something that honestly needs to be planned ahead of time.”

Colorado is building more homes in flammable wild land areas at the same time a drought fueled by climate change has greatly elevated the fire danger. The three largest wildfires in Colorado history took place in 2020. “We have to do a better job learning how to grow in a safe way, including fire [escape] corridors,” Gov. Jared Polis said.

Other communities in the West are similarly dealing with how to balance calls for more housing with wildfire concerns.

A California appeals court in August blocked a planned expansion of a resort near Lake Tahoe after agreeing with some environmentalists’ concerns, including that plans underestimated wildfire evacuation needs. An analysis was remanded to a lower court for further review. “We are disappointed in the decision but we will respect the process,” said Dee Byrne, president and chief operating officer of the Palisades Tahoe resort



As Wildfire Threat Rises, At-Risk Communities Eye New Defenses

Is Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) the Concrete of the Future?

By Jose Tomas Franco : archdailey – excerpt (includes graphics)

Concrete, an essential building material, has for decades offered us the possibility of shaping our cities quickly and effectively, allowing them to rapidly expand into urban peripheries and reach heights previously unimagined by mankind. Today, new timber technologies are beginning to deliver similar opportunities – and even superior ones – through materials like Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT).

To better understand the properties and benefits of CLT, we talked with Jorge Calderón, Industrial Designer and CRULAMM Manager. He discusses some of the promising opportunities that CLT could provide architecture in the future…

What is the difference between laminated timber and CLT?

Laminated timber is the result of joining boards to form a single structural unit. While they can be curved or straight, the grains are always aligned in one direction. With CLT, however, the stacking of boards in perpendicular layers allows the manufacture of plates or surfaces – or walls. It’s a plywood made of boards that can reach enormous dimensions: between 2.40 m and 4.00 m high, and up to 12.00 meters long…

What is the environmental impact of CLT?

CLT was first manufactured in Austria with the aim of reusing lower value timber. Today, the use of wood is again becoming a relevant factor in the construction industry because of environmental factors.

We usually design and build with concrete, but concrete’s environmental footprint is enormous compared to that of wood. One ton of CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere for every cubic meter of concrete created. In contrast, CLT contains “sequestered carbon,” or carbon naturally stored in wood during tree growth. Thus, despite all the energy used in the extraction and manufacturing processes, emissions from wood construction will never match the amount of carbon that is kept “sequestered” in the CLT…

How does CLT behave structurally, compared to other materials?

CLT has been called “the concrete of the future,” and in a sense – it’s true. It delivers at minimum the same structural strength as reinforced concrete, but it’s a material with a high degree of flexibility that has to undergo great deformations to break and collapse – unlike concrete. Moreover, 1 m3 of concrete weighs approximately 2.7 tons, while 1 m3 of CLT weighs 400 kg and has the same resistance. The same goes for steel.…(more)

CEQA Is the Boogeyman, but with More Bark Than Bite in Terms of Impact on Housing

By David Greenwald : davisvanguard – excerpt

Toward the end of the recall election, CalMatters did a very good article on CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) and the housing crisis. In some sense the article is dated in that they were asking the mostly Republican recall candidates their opinion of the housing crisis and what they would fix.

Most of them blamed CEQA, had little other in the way of suggestions, and the overall analysis from the article is that CEQA was a small piece of a large puzzle and probably not even the most important piece.

When CalMatters asked candidates Larry Elder, John Cox, Kevin Kiley and Kevin Paffrath, all said they would reform CEQA…(more)

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