Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

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What We're Reading and Watching (Aside from Game of Thrones)

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Oakland A's plan to build a new stadium along the waterfront and leave the Coliseum got a big boost Monday from Commissioners who oversee the Port of Oakland. Commissioners signed off on a deal that would let the ball club perform environmental studies and seek permits to build the privately financed ballpark at Howard Terminal. Story Assemblyman Rob Bonta is author of  AB 1191 that would facilitate a land swap to allow the project. His bill authorizes the State Lands Commission (SLC) to enter into a land exchange for the Howard Terminal Property in the City of Oakland. This bill declares provisions do not limit the authority of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) to review any project at the Howard Terminal Property.

Sacramento County supervisors approved a fee plan that would allow development on thousands of acres to get underway. The proposed fee structure, which would require two Board of Supervisors approvals, would charge $26,625 for each housing unit built in a zoned density of five per acre, $17,889 for units built in a zoned density of 20 units per acres, and $29.55 per square foot for commercial developments. Story

Newsom Budget Includes Bold Spending, Fiscal Guardrails Five months into his first term as California governor, and a week ahead of schedule, Governor Gavin Newsom rolled out his "May Revise" budget. The May Revise reflects state revenue projections based on tax receipts and spending adjustments from the governor's January budget proposal, taking into account projected revenues. While the May Revise proposes an expansion of funding in many areas, including education, healthcare and public safety, Governor Newsom strikes a cautionary tone and a mindful approach to the likelihood of a potential recession. More

Repair of Fractured Girders Complete at Shuttered Salesforce Transit Center The repair of two fractured girders spanning Fremont Street and the reinforcement of twin girders spanning First Street are complete at the beleaguered Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco. More

Weakling or bully? The battle over CEQA, the state's iconic environmental law Inside the Capitol's corridors and pro-development quarters around the state, CEQA is increasingly disparaged as a villain in the state's housing crisis. It's characterized as a litigation lever that allows citizens-and even labor unions and business rivals-to sue or threaten to sue, obstructing direly needed housing projects on thin environmental pretenses. The Legislature is considering a handful of bills to loosen CEQA's rules, something former Gov. Jerry Brown-often stymied in his modest efforts to do so-labeled "the Lord's work." New Gov. Gavin Newsom, to fulfill his hyper-ambitious quota of new housing construction, has called for fast-tracking judicial CEQA review of housing, similar to that granted sports teams building stadiums. The politically potent State Building and Construction Trades Council signed a January letter defending CEQA, although it's been negotiating on a housing plan that could include CEQA relaxations. More

Former manager of $3.3B school construction bond in California files whistleblower complaint The fired manager of the Los Angeles Community College District's $3.3 billion construction bond program has filed a whistleblower complaint, claiming that he was let go in retaliation for publicly raising questions about management and other problems with the program, the Los Angeles Times reported. More

Equal Protection Eight home health care workers sued the Trump administration in the Northern District of California to block a new rule that bars their union, SEIU, from deducting dues from their Medicaid paychecks automatically. The lawsuit follows another challenge Monday by five Democratic attorneys general. The rule is set to take effect in July. The workers in the case argue that the new federal rule violates their First Amendment right to free association and the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause. "It's outrageous that home care workers like me are being singled out," said Camille Christian, a home care worker from Alameda, California. "This rule tries to prevent us from using payroll deduction for any purpose, even to contribute to our healthcare or for transportation costs or to support our union. How would you feel if the government told you how to spend your wages?" I wonder if SEIU would side with us on our suit alleging an equal protection claim against SB 954?