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Revitalization Bills Roundup

20 Mar

While California, as a whole, may be on the path to economic recovery, certain regions of the State look to be in for a much longer and difficult road. Take Imperial County, which has the State’s highest unemployment rate [PDF] at 25% and a poverty rate [PDF] of 23%; or the counties of Merced, Fresno, Madera, Tulare, Kings, and Stanislaus, each of which have unemployment rates higher than the state average and poverty rates between 20-25%.  What new tools can be created at the state level to spur equitable economic development to some of our hardest hit communities? Continue reading

Global Air Quality

19 Mar

When it comes to air quality, high profile cities such as Beijing often get a bad reputation for having some of the worst air quality in the world. This is not without good reason – recent appalling figures and international pressure have forced Chinese officials to institute strategies to curb pollution in the city. However, when looking at pollution levels globally, sadly China’s capital is not the city that consistently endures that worst pollution levels in the world. Surprisingly, it’s nowhere near the top. Continue reading

LA Clean Trucks Program Update

15 Feb

The 2008 passage of the Clean Trucks Program at the Port of Los Angeles generated significant public health benefits for residents of the surrounding communities by reducing their exposure to dangerous diesel fuel emissions. The program which, imposes environmental, safety, and security requirements on diesel trucks that enter the Port, also sparked a lengthy legal battle between the Port of LA and the American Trucking Association (ATA). That battle has made its way up to the US Supreme Court. Continue reading

Post-Election Day Roundup

16 Nov

Last month we took a look at some local and state ballot measures in our pre-election rundown. Now we’re happy to report on the outcomes for Proposition C in San Francisco, Measure J in Los Angeles, and the shifting political landscape in the Inland Empire. Continue reading

Governor Brown Puts a Hold on Redevelopment Redo

17 Oct

The Governor has put the brakes on the Legislature’s attempts to develop new economic development tools in the wake of redevelopment’s dissolution. Continue reading

It’s Voting Season: A Rundown of Select State and Local Ballot Measures

17 Oct

Election day is upon us once again. While the theatrics of the presidential race have garnered much of the nation’s attention, our friends at Ballotpedia are promising another “high-drama ballot proposition year in California.” Voters in the Golden State are facing a barrage of initiatives, measures, and propositions. We don’t have space to go over all of them here, but we’ve cherry-picked some ballot measures that may shape sustainable development outcomes statewide. This article series will start with local ballot measures for San Francisco and Los Angeles counties, then move on to a state proposition.

San Francisco: Proposition C – Affordable Housing Trust Fund

17 Oct

THE PROPOSAL: If approved, this measure would create the San Francisco Housing Trust Fund by dedicating a portion of the City’s general fund revenues “to create, acquire and rehabilitate affordable housing and promote affordable home ownership programs” [PDF]. The bill also calls for a 20 percent reduction in the City’s affordable housing requirements for most projects. Continue reading

Los Angeles: Measure J – Accelerate Traffic Relief and Job Creation

17 Oct

We’ve covered this measure before, so this will be brief.

THE PROPOSAL: If approved, this bill would extend the half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2008. By extending the sales tax, the local transportation authority will be able to qualify for new financing options and can accelerate the timeline for completing a series of transit projects. Continue reading

California: Proposition 39 – “Clean Energy Jobs Act”

17 Oct

THE PROPOSAL: If passed, Prop. 39 will require out-of-state businesses to calculate their California tax liability based on the percentage of their sales in California. The law would repeal an existing law that gives out-of-state businesses “favorable tax treatment,” and would dedicate $500 million annually to fund projects that create energy efficiency and clean energy jobs in California. The revenue to fund these projects will come from the anticipated tax revenues from the out-of-state companies. Continue reading

Bond Insurer Sues to Undo Redevelopment Dissolution

21 Aug

Wall Street has weighed in on the dissolution of California’s former redevelopment agencies. Earlier this month, bond insurer Syncora Guarantee sued the state, claiming that the shuttering of 400-odd redevelopment agencies unfairly deprives bondholders of the money that they are owed. The insurer claims that the law violates both the California and U.S. constitutions, which each contain provisions that prohibit states from imposing laws that impair contractual rights. Continue reading