Last Thursday, the often-nerdy Barack Obama erased all remaining doubt that he is positioning himself as America’s “Planner In Chief”.
The Petaluma City Council voted April 13 night to eliminate the city’s planning staff because of a lack of development activity and a $4.5 million budget deficit.
Elimination of a planning department would be a remarkable turn of events anywhere in California, but the fact that this is occurring in Petaluma is downright shocking.
Read more about the Petaluma situation in this month's Local Watch story.
Oakland civic leaders hope that a proposed new zoning code might help downtown turn the corner. Let’s hope they are right.
Last week, driving north from San Diego through Orange County, I engaged in a secret and somewhat twisted pleasure – I ponied up my four-bucks-and-change to get off I-5 and I-405 and traverse the 15 miles from San Juan Capistrano to Costa Mesa on California State Route 73, otherwise known as the San Joaquin Hills Toll Road.
Where the burgeoning renewable energy industry sees empty spaces and piles of sand, environmentalists see scenic vistas and fragile habitat for rare flora and fauna. These different views of California’s vast deserts are leading to a clash over how to use lands owned by the federal government.
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court has given power plant operators in California and around the nation an important victory by upholding the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to use cost-benefit analyses in deciding whether to require expensive retrofitting to minimize fish-kills.
Environmental groups, however, say they hope the Obama administration EPA will shift policy and take a stricter view of what existing power plants must do to reduce the impact on aquatic life from using ocean or river waters to cool the facilities.
Significant reductions in general fund revenues and building activity have caused many cities and counties in California to reduce planning department staffs. Numerous jurisdictions have shrunk staff sizes by one-quarter to one-half, and more cuts may be coming during the 2009-10 fiscal year.
The tough economy is also hitting private consulting firms. Consultants that typically work for private developers are seeking public-sector jobs, and large outfits are bidding on ever-smaller projects, creating a high level of competition.
Wilshire Boulevard is the Main Street of Los Angeles, and the Ambassador Hotel (1921-2006) was its biggest, swankiest, classiest address. The hotel is but a memory these days. Now, after nearly two decades of false starts and lawsuits, construction has finally started on the scheme to convert the Ambassador Hotel property into an education center.
Our friends over at Planetizen are having too much fun today, which happens to be April 1.