Sunday, September 30, 2012
Jerry Brown vetoes package of local redevelopment bills (Sacramento Bee click here): Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a package of bills that could have let local governments retain some redevelopment money for affordable housing and other economic development projects following the dissolution of California's redevelopment agencies, his office announced this afternoon.
In his veto messages, the Democratic governor said the measures could distract from the winding down - and cost savings - of redevelopment.
Senate Bill 1156, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, would have allowed local agencies to establish "Sustainable Communities Investment Authority" to finance redevelopment-like projects. Assembly Bill 2144, by Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, D-Los Angeles, would have expanded the types of local projects that could be financed under existing infrastructure financing districts.
"Expanding the scope of infrastructure financing districts is premature," Brown said in a veto message. "This measure would likely cause cities to focus their efforts on using the new tools provided by the measure instead of winding down redevelopment."
Citing similar reasons, Brown also vetoed two other, similar bills: Senate Bill 214, by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, and Assembly Bill 2551, by Assemblyman Ben Hueso, D-San Diego.
(Mod: The redevelopment whack-a-moles keep popping up, and Jerry just keeps hammering them down. So is this what the so-called "Green Commission" was going to be all about? To become a redevelopment money funded "Sustainable Communities Investment Authority?" I guess we won't be needing them around after Jerry scuttled that little doozie.)
AOL's redesigned Patch websites make a play for neighborhood groups (Poynter.org click here): Patch's new site design went live in five Long Island, N.Y., towns (last) Sunday evening.
The new design is less newspapery, Patch creative director Abel Lenz told me Friday, when he, chief content officer Rachel Fedderson and Patch CEO Jon Brod gave Poynter a demonstration of the site design. There's an anchor spot up top for editor's picks, but all the rest of the content flows down a center column, much like Advance's sites in New Orleans, New Jersey and elsewhere.
But there's a key difference between a reverse-chronological blog view and Patch's new design. Patch readers will be able to follow certain topics - e.g., sports, government, businesses - and they'll also be able to create groups on Patch whose updates will feed in among the local news they're interested in: A blog, or a private group, or a public one for a kid's soccer team, in the example they showed me.
(Mod: In other words they're going social. You can see examples of the new Patch design by accessing the Poynter.org article. It struck me as being even more banal than what Patch offers now. Sierra Madre Patch will have this totally reworked design up in a few months. After having lost $140 million last year on Patch, with this year's losses projected at close to $100 million, you'd think AOL would have figured out what they want their hyperlocal sites to look like by now. One of the truly immense failures in Internet business history staggers on.)
Iranian News Agency Plagiarizes The Onion (New York Times click here): Apparently unaware of the unwritten rules of both ethical journalism and satire, an Iranian news agency published an edited copy of a report from The Onion on Friday, without crediting the original or acknowledging that it was fiction.
The Fars News Agency, which is close to Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, posted its version of the report on its English-language Web site under the same headline used by The Onion for the original four days earlier: "Gallup Poll: Rural Whites Prefer Ahmadinejad To Obama."
Although the dateline for the news brief says the reporting was done in Tehran by Fars, the first sentence is identical to the earlier Onion parody: "According to the results of a Gallup poll released Monday, the overwhelming majority of rural white Americans said they would rather vote for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than U.S. president Barack Obama.
The second sentence of the Fars report, however, changed "have a beer with Ahmadinejad" to "have a drink with Ahmadinejad," and entirely omitted The Onion's description of the Iranian president as "a man who has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and has had numerous political prisoners executed."
The final two sentences of the original Onion report, quoting a fictional voter in West Virginia who prefers Iran's president, were published unchanged by Fars:
"He takes national defense seriously, and he'd never let some gay protesters tell him how to run his country like Obama does." According to the same Gallup Poll, 60 percent of rural whites said they at least respected that Ahmadinejad doesn't try to hide the fact that he's a Muslim.
(Mod: Anyone know if Fars is looking to hire Hail Hamilton?)
Mortgage rates hit all-time low (Pasadena Star News click here): Average rates on fixed home mortgages dipped to record lows Thursday, hitting levels most industry experts figured they'd never see.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on a 30-year loan dropped to 3.40 percent. That's down from last week's rate of 3.49 percent, which was the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.
The average on a 15-year fixed mortgage also fell to 2.73 percent, down from its record low of 2.77 percent last week.
"Every time I tell people the rates won't go any lower they do," said Donna Baker, a Realtor with Podley Properties in Monrovia. "I don't know how the banks can loan money to people at these rates."
(Mod: And that is the catch. The people who need these kinds of loans the most, young parents, fixed income older peoples looking to refinance at these low rates, don't get approved. The restrictions on banks as to who they can lend money to, put in place after the housing collapse, cut off the very people who would be helped the most. Which is why this doggy mostly stays in the window.)
Poll finds Prop. 37 is likely to pass (Los Angeles Times click here): By more than a 2-to-1 margin, California voters favor an initiative to require food manufacturers and retailers to label fresh produce and processed foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients.
With less than six weeks until election day, Proposition 37 is supported by 61% of registered voters and opposed by 25%, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. An additional 14% were undecided or refused to answer.
If approved by voters Nov. 6, the labeling initiative would make California the first state in the nation to require labels on genetically engineered crops or processed foods, such as corn, soybeans, sugar beets and Hawaiian papayas. It would require labels on supermarket shelves or on food packages.
The California ballot issue is being watched closely by experts who say it could set the stage for battles in other states and perhaps thrust the issue of labeling genetically modified organisms to the forefront in Washington.
(Mod: This initiative has huge support in Sierra Madre. I have heard from many people who are hoping that this will pass. It looks like they will be happy on election day.)
Camden, N.J., city leaders say laying off all police will increase safety (Mercury News click here): Two gruesome killings of children last month - a toddler decapitated, a 6-year-old stabbed in his sleep - served as reminders of this city's reputation as the most dangerous in America. Others can be found along the blocks of row houses spray-painted "RIP," empty liquor bottles clustered on their porches in memorial to murder victims.
The police acknowledged that they have all but ceded these streets to crime, with homicides on track to break records this year. And now, in a desperate move to regain control, city officials are planning to disband the Police Department.
The reason, officials say, is that generous union contracts have made it financially impossible to keep enough officers on the street. So in November, Camden, which has already had substantial police layoffs, will begin terminating the remaining 273 officers and give control to a new county force.
The move, officials say, will free up millions to hire a larger, nonunionized force of 400 officers to safeguard the city, which is also the poorest in the nation.
(Mod: Sierra Madre, of course, cannot afford to fix water pipes, infrastructure or streets. Yet 53% of our General Fund goes to a Police Department that also appears to be outmatched by criminals. We too could bring in a County force, save $1.5 million, and in the process possibly not run out of water. )
Note: September marks the 8th month in a row that The Tattler has drawn over 50,000 hits. Not bad for a small city news site.
Posted by The Moderator at 5:00 AM