|I kind of thought so|
Colored Water? (City of Sierra Madre link): Several Sierra Madre water customers have contacted the City with questions and concerns regarding water coming from their taps that is yellow or orange in color. Although the discolored water does not pose health concerns, it is perfectly understandable that our customers do not want to drink that or use it for cooking. The water is safe for use, but aesthetically unappealing.
The discoloration of the water is a direct result of the change from our deep well water treated with free chlorine to the use of MWD chloraminated water. The difference in chemistry between the two sources has caused a scouring effect on our distribution system. While the imported water has zero iron and manganese when it leaves the MWD treatment plant, the discoloration is caused by iron precipitating from the City’s older steel pipelines and the galvanized plumbing of many of the city’s residences and businesses. The iron is what gives the water its coloration.
Buildings and homes with galvanized steel plumbing are more likely to see water discoloration. Moreover, within those buildings, a little-used bathroom or faucet is more likely to produce red-tinged water. If this happens, please be patient and allow your cold water to run for a few minutes at full velocity. After a few minutes the water should clear. In addition when running laundry allow for whites to be laundered last as discolored water may stain whites.
Until the City’s water system acclimates to the “new” water, incidents of discoloration will continue. Water Department staff has estimated that these incidents may continue for as long as 6 months, particularly in low flow areas where water system circulation is minimal. In order to reduce the acclimation time, water department staff is “flushing” the water system frequently, by opening fire hydrants to rapidly move water through the system.
The City is dedicated and committed to water conservation. We understand water is a limited resource that must be carefully managed. Since flushing is critical to maintain high-quality drinking water, an efficient flushing program is also essential. The flushing program is monitored to ensure the least amount of water is used. Whenever possible, flushed water is captured in a water tanker and released at the spreading grounds so that it does not go to waste.
(Mod: No matter how awful things seem to get, City of Sierra Madre news releases always sport a certain "it's nowhere near as bad as you think" kind of flair. Sure your water is looking a little bit like the rainbow lately, but that's OK. And perhaps you should be paying extra for all those pretty colors? Hmm? Of course, if one day you turn on your tap and little snakes come out, that would be a bad thing. At least until the City's email blast arrives. I'm sure they would have a comforting and logical explanation.)
RED Closes Seniors Housing Balance Sheet Construction Loan for $20.6 million in Sierra Madre, CA (DigitalJournal.com link): Red Capital Partners, LLC, the proprietary banking arm of RED CAPITAL GROUP, LLC, announced today that it closed a $20.6 million seniors housing balance sheet construction loan. Kensington of Sierra Madre will be a 75 unit, 90 bed assisted living and memory care facility. The two story building will be situated in a premier location in Sierra Madre, California. This will be the first purpose-built assisted living facility constructed in the close-knit and highly desirable Los Angeles-area community in approximately 10 years. The property will be developed, owned and operated by affiliates of Kensington Senior Living, LLC.
The non-recourse construction loan will finance the completion and stabilization of the project over an initial five year term. Following successful lease-up, RED CAPITAL GROUP, LLC anticipates providing a permanent loan refinance through Red Mortgage Capital, LLC, its mortgage banking arm. The transaction illustrates RED’s ability to support its clients with a comprehensive set of debt financial solutions, which can be applied to high quality seniors housing assets throughout their life cycle, from ground-up development through stabilization.
RED’s expertise and access to balance sheet capital allows us to provide customized capital to seniors housing and long term care projects in the form of first mortgage, subordinated, gap and bridge loans, participating debt, first loss debt and residual debt. Each transaction financed is project specific and as such each negotiated structure is a customized solution.
“Senior housing debt deals remain difficult to source and RED’s solution orientation combined with exceptional terms provided the ideal capital for us.” said Dan Gorham, Finance Partner at Kensington Senior Living.
“RED is proud to partner with Kensington, led by a top tier management team with extensive seniors housing development experience and a modern, progressive approach to providing high quality of care to seniors in thoughtfully designed settings.” said Adam B. Sherman, Managing Director of Red Mortgage Capital, LLC and lead banker on the transaction. “The transaction demonstrates the capabilities of RED’s powerful financing platform and our ability to provide comprehensive debt capital solutions to our seniors housing clientele.”
(Mod: This is worrisome. Not that the Kensington will begin its existence here awash in $20.6 million dollars in debt, but rather this fine lending institution thinks the place will have 75 units. That is not true, they're suites. Everybody knows that. Danny Castro needs to call these guys up on Monday and straighten them out. I hope it doesn't kill the loan.)
Opponents of transgender rights law say signature-gathering efforts to repeal are “exploding” (SFGate.com link): Republican Frank Schubert, the veteran strategist behind Prop. 8, says the signature-gathering effort to repeal a controversial law regarding transgender student services is “exploding” around California.
Schubert, who is in charge of the referendum effort to repeal the transgender bill, said in an email Thursday that 300 churches have been added to the signature-gathering drive in the last week alone. That brings the total to 750 statewide now engaged in the effort by a coalition called Privacy for All Students that’s circulating petitions to repeal AB 1266, he said.
The law sponsored by San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano and signed by Governor Jerry Brown mandates that schools allow transgender students to use services, including bathrooms and sports teams, with which they sexually identify.
The bill passed with Democratic support, and not a single GOP vote. Proponents like Equality California and the Transgender Law Center have argued the law will guard transgender students from bullying and better protect their rights. But it’s become a lightening rod for evangelical and conservative groups, who say it’s unnecessary and an example of more government intervention in California families’ lives.
Though Schubert couldn’t provide us with figures of total signatures collected Thursday, he confirmed that — with donations of at least $250,000 and paid signature-gathering at work — some 320,000 petitions are currently in circulation with a potential of gathering 2.5 million signatures by the deadline.
(Mod: Now that is a blast from the past. Frank Schubert used to run a political consulting firm called Schubert/Flint, which was the company hired by the "No On Measure V" campaign here a few years back. You know, the guys with the hundreds of really stupid postcards? Frank has gone on to find political glory as the sultan of gay negative ballot initiatives such as Prop 8. So why would the people who wanted to defeat Measure V here in Sierra Madre have hired such a fellow? Maybe they're homophobes? Oh, and the next time you see Josh Moran around town, ask him why he had a former Schubert/Flint operative working on his 2010 City Council campaign. My bet is he'll deny ever having met him.)
The iPad Goes to School (Business Week link): In September, the Los Angeles Unified School District began carrying out a $50 million plan to equip 30,000 students in 47 schools from kindergarten through 12th grade with an iPad. Giving kids iPads sounds like installing candy machines on every desk, or worse, Xboxes. The educators naturally disagree. They spent $678 per iPad, loading them up with software from the Pearson (PSO) educational group and locking them down so that students couldn’t wander around the Internet unchaperoned.
It took only a few days for students at Westchester High School, in southwestern Los Angeles, to bypass the filtering software so they could update their Facebook (FB) pages and stream music from Pandora (P). “It was predictable that people were going to find a way,” says Dominique Daniels, a 16-year-old at Westchester. “It wasn’t that hard.”
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) treated the security breach as a crisis. At Westchester High and two other schools where students managed to liberate their iPads, it ordered that all tablets be returned.
In a confidential memo intercepted by the Los Angeles Times, LAUSD Police Chief Steven Zipperman warned of a larger student hackathon and suggested the district was moving too quickly. “I’m guessing this is just a sample of what will likely occur on other campuses once this hits Twitter, YouTube, or other social media sites explaining to our students how to breach or compromise the security of these devices,” wrote Zipperman. “I want to prevent a runaway train scenario when we may have the ability to put a hold on the rollout.”
(Mod: I am always thankful that God made children strong enough to survive the knuckleheads who run some of our area Unified School Districts. Too bad the taxpayers don't have that same level of protection.)
L.A. County audit finds failures in oversight of drug rehab clinics (The Center for Investigative Reporting link): Los Angeles County authorities have let problem drug rehabilitation providers run away with millions of dollars in public money and failed to follow through on threats to stop funding errant clinics, according to a new report by the county auditor-controller.
County and state officials should communicate better, crack down on deadbeat clinics, set higher standards for approving new ones and conduct criminal background checks of clinic operators, the report stated.
The report, released late Friday, was commissioned by the county Board of Supervisors after The Center for Investigative Reporting and CNN revealed pervasive and unchecked fraud in the Drug Medi-Cal system, which provides addiction counseling for the poor. A state audit ordered in response to the investigation is due next year.
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who called for the Los Angeles review, said in an interview that he’d like to see the county get clear and strong authority to cut off fraudulent providers.
“Some of these contractors who are fly-by-night operations are certified by the state originally, got funding and then weren’t held accountable by the state or county,” he said. “That’s a troubling situation. It needs to be corrected.”
(Mod: Isn't that a bit presumptuous of the Zevster? I mean, why should drug rehab facilities be operating any better than the rest of the vast bureaucracy he and his fellow L.A. County Board of Supervisors pals are supposed to be running? Maybe they were distracted with other things, like raising sales taxes and extorting money out of cities like Sierra Madre over storm water runoff.)
Support for Weed Legalization Outpacing Support for Gay Marriage (New York Magazine link): Andrew Sullivan wrote something about the marriage-equality effort a couple of years ago that stuck with us, not because he was expressing a particularly new or novel thought, but simply owing to the succinct way he put it: "I'm proud to say it must represent one of the most successful political, social and cultural movements in history," Sullivan said.
Sullivan was obviously right, as anyone who has kept an eye on those swiftly "evolving" marriage-equality polling graphs would agree. However, a new Gallup poll today pegging support for marijuana legalization at an all-time high of 58 percent is a reminder that the stoner-rights movement has been just as successful over the past two decades — if not in terms of material changes to the law, then at least in shaping beliefs. We plotted both Gallup poll trends together on a single graph, and they're nearly identical. Who will hit 60 first? 70?
(Mod: Apparently Frank Schubert is now working for the potheads as well.)
Critics howl over lobbyist walking governor's dog (SFGate.com link): Does the hand that holds the leash of California's "first dog," cuddly corgi Sutter Brown, also have a hand in guiding policy with the dog's master, Gov. Jerry Brown?
That's the question being raised about Jennifer Fearing, the senior state director for the Humane Society of the United States, who critics suggest has turned her role as regular walker of the governor's dog into a cannily effective way to lobby the state's chief executive on animal rights issues.
Fearing scored a perfect 6-for-6 record this legislative season in getting bills signed by Brown, placing her in the ranks of Sacramento's most effective lobbyists.
Among the coups for the Humane Society was legislation banning lead ammunition that Fearing said endangered as many as 130 species in California. It was one of 11 bills signed by Brown out of the 18 that the Legislature passed to restrict guns or ammunition.
"The question needs to be asked," said Jennifer Kerns, spokeswoman for Free California, a gun-rights group that opposed the lead ammunition ban. "Is there a conflict of interest with such a close relationship between a lobbyist and a governor" - and his popular pet?
(Mod: Dog walking is fine. But will she also give Sutter a bath?)
That should do it for this week.