The San Diego City Council is expected to approve Southeastern San Diego's first comprehensive set of zoning changes since 1987 with the goal of encouraging more development near mass transit.  Community leaders often complain that the area's lack of high-paying jobs discourages developers from building quality retail and housing projects, even though much of southeastern San Diego is less than 10 minutes from downtown. The changes aim to spur development by rezoning 6,740 acres in the area, where there is more vacant and under utilized land than anywhere else in the city. City officials have decided to split the area into two parts - Southeastern San Diego west of Interstate 805 and Encanto east of the freeway - and to adopt separate community plans for each. The number of multifamily housing units would triple from 4,000 to 12,000 in Encanto and increase 37 percent in Southeastern San Diego, from 9,400 to 12,900, while then umber of single family homes would stay about the same.  The new housing is restricted to targeted areas along trolley lines and in high-potential commercial spots such as Euclid Avenue, Market Street, Imperial Avenue and Commercial Street.

Bay Area Group Threatens to -Sue the Suburbs'
The San Francisco Bay Area Renters Foundation, a pro-development group, says that it will fulfill its promise to "sue the suburbs," saying it will file a lawsuit next week against the city of Lafayette, saying that it is failing to construct its fair share of housing. At issue in Lafayette is a development approved by the City Council containing 44 single-family homes, a steep reduction in density from the originally proposed 315 units of middle-income housing that garnered protests. With the Bay Area permitting just about half of the housing it needed from 2007 to 2014, and permitting only about 28 percent of low to moderate income units, the renters' group is using Lafayette as a starting point for its plans to sue other Bay Area suburbs. The suit would finds its base on the state's 1982 Housing Accountability Act, which prohibits cities from blocking higher density affordable housing without a specific findings that it threatens health and safety in an unfixable way.

SCAG Releases Draft EIR for Sustainable Communities Strategy
The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) has prepared a Draft Program Environmental Impact Report for its proposed 2016-2040 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy. The Draft PEIR is available for a 60-day public review and comment period from Dec. 4-Feb. 1. Two public workshops, each providing the same information, will take place at SCAG's Los Angeles office. The Draft PEIR is available for review on SCAG's website at:

S.F. Supervisors Support EIR for Warriors Arena 
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to support the Environmental Impact Report for the Golden State Warriors' 18,500-seat, $1 billion Mission Bay arena project. Rejecting an appeal from opposition group Mission Bay Alliance saying that the project would have unmitigable impacts on traffic and the UCSF Hospital at Mission Bay, the supervisors found that plans for beefed-up public transit traffic control officers could handle the thousands of basketball fans flooding the neighborhood for games. They also voted 9-1 -- with Supervisor John Avalos voting against -- to establish a Mission Bay transportation fund dedicated to paying for $55 million in transit infrastructure, including four new light-rail vehicles, upgraded Muni power, new signals and signage and an expanded T-Third line platform next to the arena and UCSF. However, Warriors officials fully expect that the project will face its final battle in court, as the Mission Bay Alliance has said that it will file a lawsuit to block the arena.

LAO Report: Real Estate Taxes Lag Home Price Increases
California's median home prices have increased by about 10 percent a year since bottoming out in 2011, but property taxes are likely to increase by only 1.5 percent next year, according to reports from two state agencies. The Legislative Analyst's Office first reported that median housing prices have increased by 45 percent in four years, reaching about $450,000 in September 2015. Topping the increases, San Francisco has seen a 15 percent increase to $1.1 million in the past year, and Santa Clara has seen a 13 percent increase to $926,000. However, with home prices and rents climbing far faster than incomes, the LAO study said those increases "could suggest that the housing market is somewhat overheated." The Board of Equalization said in a separate report that the 10 percent-per-year increases will not reflect next year's property tax bills because inflation has remained remarkably low, and the board's property tax overseer, Dean Kinnee, dispatched a letter to county assessors Friday, instructing them to raise taxable values by 1.525 percent in accordance with Proposition 13, the 1978 property tax limit.

San Jose May Allow Tent City for Homeless
The San Jose City Council is deliberating the creation of a tent city to quickly house a small portion of the roughly 4,000 homeless people in the city for the winter. Following the lead of Santa Clara County, which allocated $200,000 to a nonprofit to run a tent city, the San Jose Council voted 9-1 to ask staff to analyze the price tag and feasibility of a legal encampment and find potential locations. The staff report lists 11 public 2-acre sites for a potential tent cluster, ranging from Monterey Highway and Bernal Road near a freeway offramp to a vacant facility near the Hillview Library. Mayor Sam Liccardo has objected to the tent cities, saying that sanctioned encampments have not worked in other cities and finding a site will take too long to address the immediate needs of the homeless.

Klamath River Dam Removal in Jeopardy
After stalling for several years in Congress, a settlement between the state, environmentalists, tribes, and farmers to remove four dams along the Klamath River in both Oregon and California may fizzle out, causing a relicensing process to begin. The river basin has long been the site of intense political fights over the sharing of scarce water between farms and fish, and the compromise to remove the dams would restore the river for imperiled salmon and steelhead, and give farmers greater certainty about irrigation water. However, fearing it would set a precedent for dam removal, House Republicans have blocked the removal proposal for years. If there's no legislation by the end of the year, when the agreements expire, several parties indicated they might abandon the settlement. "It's not the end," Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), whose congressional district includes the lower Klamath, told the LA Times. "If anything it may be the beginning of a new and potentially more productive push to get these dams out by way of the [dam relicensing] process and the Clean Water Act authority the state of California has." Relicensing of the dams would go through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which licenses hydropower projects for 30 to 50 years.

Groups Present Restoration Plan for Carrizo Plain
Two environmental groups have teamed up on a plan to restore nearly 8,000 acres of degraded wildlife habitat in the Carrizo Plain area of southeastern San Luis Obispo County as a result of several lawsuits requiring two solar companies to conserve the land as environmental mitigation. The two environmental groups, Carrizo Plain Conservancy and the Sequoia Riverlands Trust, plan to replant the land, which has been converted to grassland through centuries of farming and grazing, with 15 percent brush cover. That land serves as habitat for pronghorn antelope, San Joaquin kit foxes, giant kangaroo rats, blunt-nosed leopard lizards and birds. The sprawling 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farm was required to conserve 5,400 acres under a settlement worth several million dollars, and the nearby 250-megawatt California Valley Solar Ranch was required to conserve 2,500 acres.

Lompoc Purchases Site for Transit Center
The Lompoc City Council approved an initiative to purchase $550,000 worth of land, marking the first step in the city's attempts to build a $13 million Old Town Transit Center. Funding for the center will partially come from the voter-approved Prop. 1B, which has already provided $2.3 million of an anticipated $3.1 million for the project. It will also rely on a yearly $1 million redirected from funds for streets and roads. The new facility will include 15,446 square feet in fleet maintenance bay space and 5,900 square feet in transit maintenance bay space, along with updated parking facilities.

California Cities Among -Best Performing'
Six California cities landed in the Top 25 spots of the Milken Institute's annual "Best-Performing Cities" index, with San Jose and San Francisco securing the first and second spots, respectively, on the list. "San Jose's tech boom continues unabated," says Ross DeVol, Milken Institute chief research officer and one of the report's authors. "Its economy has the densest concentration of high-tech manufacturing in the nation." The index finds that technology continues to power America's most dynamic cities, with diversified economies showing resiliency amid the plunge in oil prices.

High Speed Rail Loses Key Supporter; Deal for Fresno Maintenance Facility Stalls
The state high speed rail project hit another speed bump as Democratic Assemblywoman Patty Lopez (D-San Fernando) withdrew her support for the project, saying that five other Democrats in the Legislature are also reviewing their positions. Support for the project amongst Democrats had previously been nearly unanimous, but Lopez told the LA Times that the project would damage her low-income, mostly Latino community, which has been hurt historically by the construction of three freeways, garbage dumps and other decisions by political power brokers in the state. In other high speed rail news, Fresno's plans to win the bid for a heavy maintenance facility have hit a hitch as the financial plan to build the 700-acre facility changed. Developer Tim Jones had offered to front $750,00 for the facility if Fresno County was chosen for the project. His funds would be supplemented by $25 million in Measure C funds. The Fresno County Transportation Authority had agreed to reimburse Jones. Jones, however, recently proposed new terms, putting the deal in jeopardy.

Court Gives Powers to S.F. Rent Board
A state appeals court ruled that the San Francisco Rent Board can apply its own safeguards to protect tenants against eviction in lieu of contrasting state laws. The case arises as various landlords in the city seek to evict tenants to raise rents on the next occupants. The landlord in this case, John Britton, relied on a 2000 state law that allows landlords to change the terms of month-to-month leases with 30 days' notice, announcing new rules for tenants and saying those who couldn't comply would have to leave. San Francisco's Rent Board, which enforces the city's 1979 rent control law, passed regulations in 2012 that restrict landlords' authority to enforce new lease terms by evicting tenants or forcing them to move out. Ruling in favor of the rent board, Justice Maria Rivera said in a 3-0 decision that under the Supreme Court rulings from 1976 onward, "a municipality has the authority to limit the substantive grounds for eviction."