Embattled California Coastal Commission Executive Director Charles Lester released a twenty-page memo (pdf) detailing his accomplishments and reasons for remaining in his position. Several commissioners have called for Lester's removal, citing poor job Over 17,000 letters have been received from the public, letter with 153 signatures from staff of the agency, and numerous comments from political representatives of the state in favor of Lester as director. Environmentalists and supporters of the current leader of the agency say the ousting has little to do with Lester personally, but is instead a move by pro-development groups to gain control of the Commission. The commission is expected to discuss Lester's possible ouster at its Feb. 10 meeting in Morro Bay.
SGC and HCD Post Notice of Funding Availability for AHSC Program
The Strategic Growth Council and the Department of Housing and Community Development announced the 2015-16 Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) and Application for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program. A copy of the NOFA is available here (pdf). Application access is available through the Financial Application Assistance Statewide Tool (FAAST); search for 2015-16 Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program. Concept proposals are due via the FAAST system by 5:00 p.m., Weds., March 16. SGC is holding three remaining statewide workshops this week in Riverside, Los Angeles, and San Diego to assist applicants interested in applying for the 2015-16 Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program. Small group or one-on-one consultations will also be offered to interested applicants on a first come, first served basis. For more information click here. Agenda, presentation materials, and additional guidance are also available on the AHSC website. AHSC Program Staff will respond to questions sent to [email protected], with answers to frequently asked questions posted on both the SGC and AHSC websites on a regular basis.
Inland Empire Highway Project Faces Lawsuit
The Federal Highway Administration is facing a second lawsuit trying to block construction of a 16-mile, six-lane freeway connecting Perris and San Jacinto. Last May, County Transportation Commission brought the initial lawsuit, which was dismissed. The new claim is brought on by a coalition of environmental groups including Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club. The proposed project will cost $1.7 billion and environmentalists argue it will increase sprawl, traffic, increase air pollution and threaten wildlife.
S.F., Sacramento Rent Increases Tied for Second Nationally
San Francisco and Sacramento are tied for the second-highest rent increases in the country last year. Their 10 percent increases rank second, beyond only Portland, with 14 percent. The analysis from Yardi Matrix, shows in Sacramento "renter by necessity" appreciated 0.8 percent in the last three months while "lifestyle" renters dropped by 0.5 percent in the same time period. The difference between the two groups is those who cannot afford to own, such as younger adults or lower middle-income groups, and those that choose to rent because of location or preference. Sacramento's rise in rental prices is a result of the limited supply of available units, the ratio of new units to overall is 0.7 percent, lowest among the top 30 markets.
High Speed Rail Commission Names New Members
The nine-member board of directors for the California High-Speed Rail Authority has gained two new members. Lorraine Paskett, a Glendale attorney and CEO of Cambridge LCF Group is a consultant on energy, water and environmental issues. She replaces James Hartnett of Redwood City who became general manager of Caltrain in March 2015. Assembly Member Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) replaces authority vice chairwoman Thea Selby. Lowenthal was a member of the Long Beach Unified School District and City Council before her election to the state Assembly in 2008. Gov. Jerry Brown will appoint the final member.