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  • Fri, November 17, 2017 12:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Contact:

    Sandie Aguilar saguilar@ratkovich.com

    Job Description

    The Property Assistant - AP/AR is a key position to the overall performance and success of the Development and Property Management teams.  The position performs accounts payable and receivable duties, assists with various financial duties, handles tenant requests and dispatches the appropriate service members, as well assists the team in a variety of tasks including, but not limited to:

     

    Accounts Payable

    §  Process, batch, code and input operating and capital invoices weekly in YARDI; ensure appropriate backup is maintained and attached; submit batch with transmittal to the Property Manager for approval.

    §  Submit approved batch to the Property Accountant for approval and posting.

    §  Review invoices thoroughly to ensure billings are in accordance with contracts, purchase orders, work orders and packing slips; ensure prior balances are accurate and all invoices are paid timely.

    §  Process and print checks, attach checks to invoice with all back up and submit for various required signatures.

    §  Obtain and enter into YARDIW-9 for new vendors.

    §  Set up new vendor accounts as necessary.

    §  Responsible for producing monthly purchase order report and following up with vendor invoice collection.

     

    Accounts Receivable

    §  Responsible for timely tenant rent collections.

    §  Input cash receipts and apply to correct charges.

    §  Reconcile tenant accounts.

    §  Run and review aged receivable reports in accordance with the schedule established by the Property Manager.

    §  Prepare Monthly Late Fee schedule.

    §  Prepare Monthly Tenant Miscellaneous Billings (Electricity, After Hours HVAC, Conference Rooms, Above Standard Work Orders and Tenant Services).

    §  Update monthly sub meter readings report.

    §  Prepare quarterly invoices for intercompany billings.

     

    Financial

    §  Assist with the preparation of the monthly Financial Package and Executive Summary as well as the annual budget.

    §  Prepare monthly tenant billings.

    §  Prepare and review yearly 1099 reporting.

    §  Assist with the coordination of yearly audits.

    §  Assist with the coordination of tenant CAM audits.

    §  Coordinate financial updates.

    §  Review general and administrative general ledger accounts quarterly.

    §  Coordinate daily bank deposits.

     

    Administrative

    §  Clerical support to property management and on-site owner representatives.

    §  Answers and screens incoming phone calls providing assistance when possible and routing other calls to appropriate personnel.

    §  Create and maintain various filing systems in an accurate and organized manner. Review, purge and forward files to dead storage as appropriate.

    §  Order and maintain adequate supplies for AP and AR processes.

    §  Maintain HVAC log for tenants as required.

    §  Update and scan all Utility bills and maintain logs (telephone, electricity, water, gas) for monthly billings.

    §  Perform other duties as required.

     

    Vendor and Tenant Assistance

    §  Report customer service related issues to the appropriate Property Management staff as necessary.

    §  Assist in planning and implementation marketing programs, including Tenant Events, Monthly Newsletter and Tenant Concierge program.

     

    Other duties as required

    §  Receive and send all departmental packages.  Sort, organize and distribute mail for building personnel.

    §  Organize lunches and meetings, including conference room usage (including clean up).

    §  Distribute tenant memorandums and maintain the appropriate backup.

    §  Maintain and update as necessary all tenant contact information, after hour access lists and emergency contact information as well as a master tenant contact e-mail address listing.

    §  Attend construction and design meetings to take notes and distribute meeting minutes to attendees as required.

    §  Input incoming tenant work order requests and dispatch the work orders as well as providing accurate and timely updates to the project’s work order system, Yardi.

    §  Handle tenant, vendor and prospective tenant walk-ins.

    §  Assist tenants in obtaining key cards and assure they are given proper access.

    §  Maintain tenant and vendor insurance logs and efficiently updating the information.

    §  Inventory “toy box” items and check out as need to tenants.

     

     

     

    Salary


    Career Level Required

    Experienced (Non-Manager)

    Experience Required

    2+ to 5 Years

    Education Required

    Bachelor's Degree

    Job Type

    Employee

    Job Status

    Full Time

  • Fri, November 17, 2017 11:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program available through the County of Los Angeles was unveiled to a full capacity audience at yesterday’s Power Lunch 2.0 held in the Bank of America in the City of Industry. Commercial building owners and other interested parties received information from David White, Director of PACE Programs for the SGVEP, and well as Ben Dodge of CleanFund (a PACE lending institution), Brad Donnelly of TRANE (a clean energy building contractor), and ICF Program Director for LA County Commercial PACE Richard Jett. Benefits of PACE financing available to commercial building owners include:

    • 100% Financing for building upgrades related to energy efficiency, seismic renovation, water conservation and renewable energy, including replacement of roofs, HVAC systems, lighting, windows, etc.

    • Asset modernization leading to competitive advantage and increased property value

    • Lower operating costs resulting in net operating income (NOI) and profit enhancement

    • Semi-annual principal and interest paid on property tax bill as an assessment (with tax advantages)

    • Longer amortization periods (up to 30 years)

    • The PACE assessment (loan) is attached to and remains with the real property upon a future sale

    • Off-balance sheet transaction with no adverse impact to leverage

    • Preserves borrowing capacity for daily business operations and equipment needs

    PACE financing for energy, seismic retrofit and/or water conservation is available to any commercial property owner that pays a property tax bill including industrial buildings, office buildings, hotels, apartments (5+ units), etc. For information on the Commercial PACE program, contact David White at the Partnership offices at (626) 856-3400 or dwhite@sgvpartnership.org .

     

  • Fri, November 17, 2017 10:46 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Los Angeles Times: Most California GOP House members vote to pass tax bill, with some hoping the Senate will help fix it

    California’s House Republicans took another tough vote Thursday, opting to approve a tax overhaul expected to cost many Californians more in taxes. Several of the Republicans said they supported the bill because they think a compromise with the Senate will make it better.

    “I don’t know if they’re going to make it better, but we’ll see,” said Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale), who is among the Republicans considered vulnerable in next year’s election. “There are some things in the Senate bill I like, there are some things in there that I don’t like.”

    Supporting a bill in hopes that the Senate will improve it is similar to the tactic the Republicans tried in the spring when the GOP attempted to push through a controversial effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. But the Senate never mustered enough support to pass a healthcare bill, leaving all 14 California Republicans with a “yes” vote on their record and nothing to show for it.

    Three Republicans — Reps. Darrell Issa of Vista, Tom McClintock of Elk Grove and Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa — joined Democrats in opposing the tax plan, which passed227 to 205. The lawmakers said they couldn’t vote for a bill that raised taxes on Californians. Issa and Rohrabacher are considered to be among the most vulnerable House members in the country.

    Democrats, who are lambasting the GOP healthcare votes in ads, have warned vulnerable GOP members their “yes” tax votes will be used against them as Democrats work to regain power in the House.


    Los Angeles Business Journal: Foothill Gold Line Light-Rail Project Estimated to Provide $2.6 Billion Economic Boost

    Construction and operation of the 12-mile extension of the Foothill light rail line through the eastern San Gabriel Valley will provide a $2.6 billion economic boost to the region, according to a study released today.

    The $1.5 billion, 12.3-mile extension from Glendora to Montclair in San Bernardino County is slated to break ground next month; it will include six new stations. When completed around 2026, a trip from Montclair to downtown Pasadena will take just over 40 minutes. The trip to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles will take about 75 minutes.

    The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority is still in the process of selecting a general contractor; on Dec. 2, utility relocation work is set to begin.

    The study, by Los Angeles economic consulting firm Beacon Economics, estimated that the project will generate nearly 17,000 jobs, more than $2.6 billion in economic output, more than $1 billion in labor income and nearly $40 million in tax revenues for Los Angeles County. In addition, once passenger service begins, it will generate an annual benefit to the county of more than $52 million in economic output, $17 million in labor income and nearly $800,000 in tax revenues, while generating 277 jobs.

    The study also noted that the extension already has spurred $1 billion in private investments in residential and commercial development, including nearly 1,200 residential units near the future Montclair station alone and 1 million square feet of commercial development.



    Sacramento Bee: California Latino lawmakers shift focus on climate change: 'It's not about polar bears, it's about people.'

    State Sen. Ricardo Lara’s environmental awakening came when he left home and realized he didn’t have to shut his windows to avoid the dirty air.

    Lara said he learned that not everyone played in rail yards, or had trucks idling in their neighborhoods because of the heavy congestion. When he asked his parents why they lived so close to the freeway, they told him it was out of convenience.

    “The people that come from these communities are the ones that are having these discussions,” Lara said, reflecting on his upbringing this week at the UN climate talks in Germany. “There’s a been a big push for us to talk about how the policies are impacting people.”

    Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, whose past brush with environmentalism came when she formed a club with her sister in high school, said she was told early on in Sacramento by white environmentalists that her approach meant “you don’t get it.” It inspired her to talk about the stories of her neighbors as she began to prioritize climate change.

    “We’re dealing with real clean-air issues, real health issues tied to that (in) these communities that have been left behind,” said Garcia, also a Democrat from Bell Gardens. They are “communities of color, communities that are low-income and more importantly communities that do not have the resources ... to adjust and be ready for these events that are coming and their mitigation.”


    Sacramento Bee: California state government should have a budget surplus next year. Will lawmakers save it or spend it?

    The state budget is in good shape to weather a moderate recession, and lawmakers should be able to sock away more money in reserves next year, according to projections the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office issued Wednesday.

    The LAO’s outlook shows the state would finish its 2018-19 budget year with more than $19 billion in reserves – assuming lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown don’t make any more spending commitments. About $11 billion is obligated for the state’s rainy-day fund.

    Lawmakers could spend about $7.5 billion of the surplus, although analysts recommend that they save it to prepare for a recession. The Legislature also probably will have flexibility to spend several billion dollars in money that’s set aside for kindergarten through community college education, the report says.


    The Hill: Unemployment hits record lows in 13 states in 2017

    Thirteen states this year have seen their unemployment rates drop to the lowest levels ever recorded since the federal government began keeping track of state-level data more than four decades ago.

    Eight years after the bottom of the worst recession in modern history, the states seeing economic booms range from the bluest of the blue, like Hawaii and California, to the deepest shades of red, like Idaho and Texas.

    In October, the unemployment rates in Alabama, Hawaii, Maine, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Washington all met or beat their lowest rates ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), according to the agency’s monthly report issued Friday.

    California, Colorado, Idaho, North Dakota and Oregon also hit new lows earlier this year.


    Orange County Register: California is a national leader in outbound moves: Where do they go?

    California continues to see more folks moving elsewhere in the nation rather than relocating here, a sign the state looks relatively unappealing to others.

    Last year, California had 142,932 more residents exit to live in other states than arrive, according to an analysis of a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau, released Wednesday, Nov. 15. This “domestic net outmigration” was the second-largest outflow in the nation behind New York and just ahead of Illinois and New Jersey. And it was up 11 percent (13,699 net departures) vs. 2015.

    California’s net outmigration has been ongoing for two-decades-plus. Yet the state’s population continues to grow: By this count, up 108,301 in 2016 — or 0.3 percent — to 38.8 million.

    How? Primarily through foreign immigration — 332,197 new residents from other lands in 2016 — and more births than deaths. California’s population-growth challenge — and some folks think we’re crowded enough — is that the state has become a hard sell to folks from elsewhere.

    This census data shows how poorly California does at attracting U.S. residents. Yes,  514,758 move-ins from other states last year — virtually unchanged from 2015 — is the third-largest influx among nationally.


    The Wall Street Journal: Do States Have a Role in Making Climate Change Policy?

    When scientists from 13 U.S. federal agencies issued a report on climate change earlier this month that drew a direct connection between human activity and global warming, it was a reminder of the turmoil that has surrounded environmental issues since President Donald Trump took office.

    The Trump administration has rejected the international Paris climate accord, calling it a job-killing pact that impinges on U.S. sovereignty. It also has moved to repeal the domestic Clean Power Plan, following up on the president’s pledge to boost the energy industry by cutting regulation.

    In response, several state governors have pledged to take the initiative on climate change by crafting their own strict emissions standards and pursuing the development of renewable energy with renewed vigor.

    Supporters say such actions not only will benefit the environment but also will spur the development of the green-technology industry.

    But critics say that such state initiatives have a record of being ill conceived and ineffective, and that policies that run counter to the federal government’s stand on the climate in international talks are beyond the rightful scope of state governments.

  • Tue, November 14, 2017 10:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    City of Industry and Diamond Bar – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has scheduled a 55-hour closure of westbound Pomona Freeway (SR-60)/ Grand Avenue off-ramp and on-ramp, and Grand Avenue between Baker Parkway and SR-60, for street widening, ramp realignment and paving. The 55 hour ramp closures begin Friday, November 17 at 10 p.m. and continue through Monday, November 20 at 5 a.m. Detours will follow S. Brea Canyon Road and Golden Springs Road (see below). The eastbound SR-60 off and on-ramps at Grand Avenue will remain open. Motorists should expect delays and are strongly advised to use alternate routes.

    On Monday, November 20, the on-ramp to westbound SR-60 from Grand Avenue will remain closed until mid-February 2018 for widening of the freeway for an auxiliary lane and construction of a new on-ramp to westbound SR-60. Motorists will be directed to Valley Boulevard or Baker Parkway and S. Brea Canyon Road to reach westbound SR-60 (see map 2). Additionally, motorists will not be able to turn left onto southbound Grand Avenue from the existing westbound SR-60 off-ramp. Use northbound Grand Avenue and follow detour signs. Grand Avenue will have two lanes open each direction.

    The contractor on this $16 million project to construct a new westbound on-ramp and an auxiliary lane is Ortiz Enterprises Inc., of Irvine, California.

    For real time freeway traffic information please visit the Caltrans QuickMap quickmap.dot.ca.gov. Caltrans reminds you to “Be Work Zone Alert.”




  • Mon, November 13, 2017 4:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    The Ahmanson Foundation has awarded a major grant to Leadership Pasadena (LP) to launch a new 6-month Community Leadership Course for Veterans to re-mission our veterans to serve and lead again through community service and civic leadership. LP’s course will be unlike any others currently in place as is not a “crisis” program but instead a strength-based pro-active program for vets ready and willing to serve and lead again—but do not understand how to navigate in the civilian world.  It will complement the many great employment, health, housing and education programs offered to vets and allow our veterans to come “all the way home” to the San Gabriel Valley. And it will raise up a new generation of leaders for our non-profit and civic organizations and local governments to enhance our region. 

    So Cal Gas Company provided LP the funding to complete the design phase of this important new course.

  • Mon, November 13, 2017 4:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    The Partnership hosted a very successful event titled “Grow Your Own Skilled Workforce,” for K-12 Foothill Consortium. The Consortium is made up of Azusa, Duarte, Monrovia and Charter Oak Unified School Districts. The schools share a grant that funds the development of their Career Technical Education (CTE) academies for their students in Health, Engineering, IT and Business Entrepreneurship.

    The event brought out a very large crowd that included leaders in education, workforce development and industry such as City of Hope and Metro.

    Henry Custodia of the Delafield Corporation in Duarte shared how his company recently partnered with Duarte High School to create a welding summer boot camp. He was invited to be a Principal for the Day and on the tour of the campus he saw the old auto shop space. He thought that it would be a great space for a welding program. He spoke to his employer and that is how it got started. They went to Mt. SAC to help create the curriculum so the high school students received college-level training. This is a great example of how partnerships and pipelines are created.

    So why aren’t more businesses working with their local schools? Dr. Yanez lead a discussion to help the group identify the barriers that stop businesses from offering work based experiences to K-12 students. The following barriers were identified:

    1. Education and Business are two different worlds. Schools don’t realize how difficult it is for business to pause from work and engage with schools and business doesn’t understand that they can influence the curriculum
    2. Business may not have the right contact to be taken seriously by school staff
    3. Businesses is not convinced that their involvement is not just a “feel good” or that their investment is not just an activity “check-off” needed by the school administrator for their grant funding
    4. Investments may not pay off, may be unrelated to what business does
    5. Too many groups working in silos and tapping the same businesses
    6. Liability for K-12 students

    The Partnership is working to help eliminate these barriers and serve as a bridge between business and education. The number one complaint identified in business sector meetings is finding skilled workforce. Many high students will not go straight to a university and need the skills to fill the jobs in demand by employers. Those skills can be learned in high school and schools are now looking for employers that are willing to partner. If you are an employer that wants to partner with a school, please contact Dr. Michelle Yanez at (626) 856-3400 or myanez@sgvpartnership.org.

  • Mon, November 13, 2017 1:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Partnership backs corporate tax cut, opposes elimination of bond, mortgage interest deductions

    Irwindale, CA - The San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership has been strongly advocating with our representatives in Congress, urging them to support a significant cut in the corporate tax rate while retaining deductions that are critically important for the San Gabriel Valley.

    "A major cut in the corporate tax rate is desperately needed," said Partnership President and CEO Jeff Allred. "At a 35% corporate tax rate, the U.S. rate is significantly higher than most of our foreign competitors. Lowering the rate will allow companies to invest more in new equipment, more efficient production methods, and achieve higher growth rates here at home."

    The Partnership is very supportive of revising the federal business tax code which has grown outdated and overly burdensome for American companies. Lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, allowing the repatriation of foreign-made profits, and removing incentives to locate offshore are all positive steps in improving the tax climate for American business.

    On October 31st, the Partnership joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 296 trade associations, state business groups, and local chambers nationwide in signing a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to take this chance for a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make serious improvements to the tax code.

    While there is much to like in the tax reform package, the Partnership does have serious concerns about the House bill, H.R. 1. It opposes the elimination of the tax exemption for Private Activity Bonds (PABs) which are frequently issued by city governments on behalf of non-profit organizations that play key roles in their local communities. This is especially important in California, where affordable housing organizations rely on PABs to finance below-market rate housing construction.

    The limitation of the state and local tax deduction and the reduction in the mortgage interest deduction will harm first time home buyers in the San Gabriel Valley as well as Californians in other expensive housing markets in the state, costing them several thousand dollars a year that they could have saved under the existing deductions. One-fifth of all Americans claim the state and local tax deduction. Retaining this deduction is an important way to allow Americans to keep more of their income.

    In a letter sent on November 8th, the Partnership outlined our concerns to the entire San Gabriel Valley House delegation.

    For more information, contact Brad Jensen, Director of Public Policy - (626) 856-3400 or bjensen@sgvpartnership.org.

    ###

  • Mon, November 13, 2017 12:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Whittier Daily News: Montebello won't see a sales tax increase now that Measure S has been shot down

    Montebello voters overwhelmingly rejected Tuesday a proposed 0.75 percent sales tax increase its proponents had hoped would provide extra money to balance the city budget and provide additional services, such as hiring more police officers and firefighters.

    Measure S was defeated by a 2,213 to 1,349, or 62 to 38 percent, margin.

    Meanwhile, Measure T, which will impose term limits of 12 years, with a required four-year break between the second and third terms, was approved with 2,969 yes votes (85 percent) to 541 no votes (15 percent).

    Election Day ended a hard-fought campaign around Measure S, which would raise about $670,000 annually.

    “People didn’t believe them,” said former Councilman Ed Pizzorno, who spent $7,000 of his own money on fliers urging a no vote on the sales tax increase. “People would come up to me and say yes, they’re just going to waste it.”


    Los Angeles Times: As harassment allegations rock Sacramento, violence against women becomes a focus of state Senate campaign

    Baldwin Park Councilwoman Susan Rubio shook up the state Capitol last year when she went to court and obtained a domestic violence restraining order against her estranged husband, then-Democratic Assemblyman Roger Hernández.

    Now, as she runs for a state Senate seat in the San Gabriel Valley against former Assemblyman Mike Eng, her campaign is garnering attention at a time when women in politics are speaking out about sexual harassment and unwanted touching they’ve experienced in the Capitol.

    The race has divided Democrats. Rubio has been endorsed by the Democratic Legislative Women’s Caucus, but legislative leaders — including Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon — are supporting Eng for the seat.

    The caucus endorsement pits female legislators against several powerful male counterparts, including Sen. Ed Hernández (D-Azusa), who is not related to former Assemblyman Hernández. The senator picked Eng to replace him when term limits forced him to leave the 22nd Senate District seat.


    Politico: Jerry Brown, President of the Independent Republic of California

    On his way to the United Nations climate talks in Bonn, Germany, this week, Jerry Brown stopped over at the Vatican, where a doleful group of climate scientists, politicians and public health officials had convened to discuss calamities that might befall a warming world. The prospects were so dire—floods and fires, but also forced migration, famine and war—that some of the participants acknowledged difficulty staving off despair.

    California’s doomsayer governor did not express much optimism either. Seated between an economist and an Argentine bishop at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Brown leaned into his microphone and said, “It is despairing. Ending the world, ending all mammalian life. This is bad stuff. There’s nothing that I see out there that gives me any ground for optimism,” he went on. Still, he promised action: “I’m extremely excited about doing something about it."

    Even though President Donald Trump has abandoned the Paris climate agreement and called climate change a “hoax,” and even though he is proceeding to scrap the Obama-era Clean Power Plan and promoting the production of coal, Brown insisted to his audience at the Vatican that these policies do not reflect the true sensibilities of the United States.

    “This is not just a top-down structure that we have in the United States,” the governor said. The small crowd burst into applause when he added, “Over time, given the commitments that we’re seeing in this room today, and what we’re seeing around the world, the Trump factor is very small, very small indeed.”

    In the raw balance of power between a governor and a president, Brown has almost no standing abroad. What he does have is a platform, and a proposition: Crusading across Europe in his Fitbit and his dark, boxy suit, Brown advances California and its policies almost as an alternative to the United States—and his waning governorship, after a lifetime in politics, as a quixotic rejection of the provincial limits of the American governor. In the growing chasm between Trump’s Washington and California—principally on climate change, but also taxes, health care, gun control and immigration—Brown is functioning as the head of something closer to a country than a state.


    Pacific Standard: How California Became a Modern Democratic Stronghold

    As Democrats racked up a series of major victories in Tuesday's elections, the ensuing analysis is, to many Californians, a familiar one. The story coming from Washington has focused on how Tuesday's results reflected a full-blown rebuke of a Republican Party that, just a year ago, propped up one of the most politically polarizing presidential candidates in American history.

    California lived through a version of this narrative two decades ago. Some of the peripheral details are different—the California Republican in question, former Governor Pete Wilson, was not anything close to the disruptive force that Donald Trump has shown himself to be in the first year of his presidency. But Wilson's 1994 re-election did usher in a new era of California politics, and had long-term consequences for the California Republican Party.

    In the wake of Wilson's second term, Latinos moved overwhelmingly to the Democratic Party. Republicans also lost middle-class voters in the process, and the GOP has been relegated to the political sidelines of state politics ever since. Today, Republican Party registration in California has slipped to less than 26 percent statewide.

    If this week's election was a blast from the past for California, then the state's 2018 elections may provide a glimpse of America's future. More than 20 years after Wilson's re-election brought about the beginning of the end of the California Republican Party, California is essentially in a post-Republican phase. Next year's elections in California can offer a window into what comes next, not only for Republicans, but for Democrats.


    City Journal: Bellwether, or Stray? Republicans Must Heed the Lessons of 2017

    The recent gubernatorial election in Virginia is being touted as a surprise Democratic landslide. It shouldn’t be; the results simply reflect the changes that have occurred in national politics since Donald Trump’s emergence. That’s not great news for Republicans, but neither is it a death knell. Both parties still face the challenges their changing voter coalitions present.

    Democratic governor-elect Ralph Northam won largely because Virginia is a highly educated state with a sizable minority population—and both groups have been trending strongly toward Democrats for years. Exit polls show that he ran only slightly ahead of Hillary Clinton’s margins among college-educated whites, whites without a college degree, and non-whites. A combination of greater Democratic enthusiasm, and less GOP enthusiasm for nominee Ed Gillespie among non-college-educated whites, increased Northam’s margins slightly. But Virginia is now a strongly Democratic-leaning state, and Republicans can win statewide only if they run campaigns that appeal to non-conservative, college-educated voters.

    Nor should one take the Democratic gains in the Virginia House of Delegates as proof of a Democratic surge. The generally reliable Daily Kos elections team calculated presidential-level election returns for every Virginia House seat well before the election. Hillary Clinton carried 17 of the 66 seats the GOP held coming into the 2016 election; Barack Obama had carried 12. The fact is that the Republican super-majority was on shaky ground already. Thirteen of those shaky seats fell to Democratic challengers last night. Democrats lead in the race for two other seats by narrow margins, and Clinton won less than 50 percent for both of the two seats that Republicans either won or currently lead in. The Democrats picked up only one seat that Trump had carried, and he barely won it, by less than 1 percent. The surprise is not that Republicans lost most of these seats but that they had held the vast majority of them for so long.

  • Fri, November 03, 2017 10:21 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    San Gabriel Valley Tribune: Montebello residents go to the polls Tuesday to decide on critical sales tax measure

    Whether Montebello voters approve a 0.75 sales tax hike Tuesday may come down to trust: Do they believe the city will appropriately spend the $6.7 million the tax would raise annually?

    Montebello council members, city employees and the city’s Chamber of Commerce argue that the city needs the monetary boost from Measure S. This year’s city budget was $3.2 million in the red before dipping into reserves. Previous budgets have also relied on reserves — considered a rainy day fund — or one-time sources of income, such as the sale of city property, to pencil out in the black.

    “There is a budget crisis, and it’s similar to a lot of cities around us,” Councilwoman Vanessa Delgado said. “Folks already are paying this added tax in other cities. Why not support us?”


    The Hill: House Republicans unveil sweeping plan to slash tax rates

    House Republicans on Thursday released their long-awaited legislation to overhaul the tax code, proposing major cuts to corporate and individual tax rates.

    The 429-page bill, called the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” represents the opening salvo in the GOP's fight to rewrite the tax code for the first time in more than 30 years.

    "It's the beginning of the end of this horrible tax code," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said.

    The bill largely follows the parameters that GOP leaders and the White House outlined in September. It would reduce the number of individual tax brackets, slash rates for businesses and eliminate a number of tax breaks.

    In order to offset the costs of the legislation, Republicans are putting forward some proposals that are sure to be controversial.

    The bill would keep the mortgage-interest deduction, but only for interest on the first $500,000 of a newly purchased home; the cap is now set at $1 million. Homes bought in the past could keep the deduction regardless of price. The housing industry quickly blasted the changes.

    The legislation would also allow taxpayers to deduct their state and local property taxes, but only up to $10,000. It would not allow people to deduct state and local income or sales taxes.



    Sacramento Bee: Oroville Dam ready for winter rains, state says

    The Oroville Dam flood control spillway has been fixed.

    Eight and a half months after the gravest emergency in the dam’s history forced 188,000 residents to flee, state officials said Wednesday that Oroville’s structures have been largely rebuilt and can withstand a rainy Northern California winter. A second phase of work will be completed next year.

    “Lake Oroville’s main spillway is indeed ready to safely handle winter flows if needed,” said Grant Davis, director of the Department of Water Resources, in a conference call with reporters.

    Noting that a heavy storm could hit the watershed as early as Thursday, the DWR director spoke directly to the downstream residents who had to evacuate in February and remain mistrustful of the state’s operation of Oroville: “You indeed had a terrifying experience and we are working hard to ensure it never happens again.”


    Los Angeles Times: The early numbers don't look good for California Republicans

    There are far more challengers running for California’s House seats in 2018 than at this point in the last campaign, and there hasn’t been this much money raised for House elections this early in years, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of campaign finance reports.

    As Democrats work to regain power in the House, there are more than three times as many congressional challengers across the state today than there were before the 2016 election. With 80 challengers so far, the candidates have raised money more quickly than any group of challengers going back to 2003.

    That’s particularly true in the 13 races where Republican and Democratic incumbents are being targeted. Challengers there have raised more than five times more than the 2016 challengers had this far out from the election. Nearly 70% of the money raised by all congressional challengers has gone to the four Republican-held districts in Orange County that Democrats consider key to their chances.

    Money is not the only factor in a tough campaign and much could still change ahead of the June primary, in which the top two vote getters advance to the November election regardless of party. But the totals so far give a window into the viability of the field of candidates and the energy behind their campaigns.

    The numbers should give Republican incumbents plenty of reasons to worry.


    Capitol Weekly: Rent control may roil 2018 ballot

    So far, most of the sound and fury in California politics has revolved around candidates.  But there are increasing signs that ballot initiatives may trigger additional uproar in 2018. The latest November filing is an effort to remove a 20-year barrier to local rent control, the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

    Costa-Hawkins, passed in 1995, restricts the ability of local governments to impose rent control. Sponsors of the repeal initiative have dubbed their measure the “Affordable Housing Act.” The measure, if final approval is given to circulate petitions, needs 385,880 valid signatures of voters collected within a six-month window to qualify for the ballot.

    In documents filed with the state attorney general, backers of the proposed initiative argue that median rents in California are higher than anywhere else in the country. More than half of California renter households pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs and one-third of renter households pay more than 50 percent of their income on rent, proponents argue.

    “Three times as many Californians are living in overcrowded apartments as compared with the U. S. as a whole,” say the initiative backers.

    The California Apartment Association lost no time in voicing opposition. The initiative’s proponents filed on Oct. 23 and the Association was out with an opposition statement the same day, apparently within minutes.

    “If local rent control ordinances are allowed to regulate rents on new construction and single-family homes, new private investment into rental housing will come to a screeching halt,” said Tom Bannon, the Association’s chief executive officer. He said that in effect, California’s economic expansion “will come to a standstill” if Costa-Hawkins is repealed.

    New York Times Magazine: A Post-Obama Democratic Party In Search of Itself

    On Nov. 9, 2016, about 12 hours after Hillary Clinton conceded defeat to Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, convened a conference call with her fellow House Democrats. Most of them were still back home in their respective districts and still in shock. Not only would Trump be president, but the Senate remained in G.O.P. control, and — despite rosy predictions from Pelosi and her party’s pollsters — so did the House.

    Several members on the call later told me they expected their leader to offer some show of contrition, an inventory of mistakes made or, at minimum, an acknowledgment that responsibility for the previous night’s disaster began at the top. Already, Trump’s sweep of what had for years been Democratic strongholds in the Rust Belt had led to a fast-congealing belief that the party had lost touch with white working-class voters.

    But Pelosi sounded downright peppy on the call, noting a few vulnerable House seats that the Democrats had managed to hang onto. As for those working-class voters, “To say we don’t care about them is hard to believe,” Pelosi insisted, according to a transcript of the call I obtained. “I have to take issue and say I don’t think anybody was unaware of the anger.” The Democrats weren’t out of touch, she said. They just hadn’t made their case clearly enough to voters — or as she put it, “We have to get out there and say it in a different way.”

    “It reminded me of that scene at the end of ‘Animal House,’ where Kevin Bacon is standing in the middle of all this chaos, screaming: ‘Remain calm! All is well!’ ” Scott Peters, a congressman from California who was on the call, told me. “After telling us before that we were going to pick up 20 seats, and we end up with six, underlaid with Clinton losing, I had no use for that kind of happy talk.” During and after Pelosi’s monologue, Democratic representatives who were listening texted and called one another incredulously, but Peters was one of the few who spoke up on the line. “I think we’re missing something,” he told Pelosi. “We’re just not hearing what’s on people’s minds.”Claremont Review of Books: The Democrats' Dilemma

    The case that Democrats should try harder to win white working-class votes is virtually self-evident. In a closely divided democracy, writing off one third of the electorate seems suicidal. Even if Democrats never again receive majorities from this constituency, as they did during the New Deal, smaller margins of defeat, such as those suffered by Barack Obama, are manifestly preferable to those voters’ overwhelming repudiation of Hillary Clinton. The difference may plausibly account for Obama’s two victories as opposed to Clinton’s defeat.

    And yet, the “I’m With Her” theory of the case in 2016 was that Clinton’s disregard of the white working class was not only a plausible campaign strategy but her likeliest path to victory. Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg laments that the Clinton campaign’s “malpractice” led to emphasizing the “rainbow base” at “the expense of the working class.” The campaign’s “fatal conclusion,” he argues, was that “she could not win white working-class voters, and that the ‘rising electorate’ would make up the difference.” It is all too fitting, in this view, that Clinton “finished her campaign with rallies in inner cities and university towns.”

    By “rainbow base” and “rising electorate” Greenberg refers to a Democratic coalition of blacks, Hispanics, other minority groups, and whites with college degrees, especially with advanced or professional degrees. (According to CNN, voters of all races with a postgraduate education accounted for 18% of the 2016 electorate, and favored Clinton by a margin of 58% to 37%.) This rainbow coalition was constructed to secure Democratic electoral victories despite working-class whites’ growing estrangement from the party. Greenberg believes that the Clinton campaign bet, and lost, the presidency on rejecting class politics in favor of identity politics.

    Why can’t Democrats appeal to the rainbow base and the white working class? It depends on whether the latter are primarily working-class, or primarily white. If economics is central, then Democrats should be able to do much better with this electoral bloc by responding to its aspirations, anxieties, and resentments with a newer, post-industrial New Deal. Both former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s opponent for the 2016 nomination, have insisted that the white working-class voters who favored Donald Trump so decisively were not, by and large, bigots. Rather, Sanders said earlier this year, Trump understood “that there’s a lot of pain in this country.” Greenberg thinks Clinton could have defeated Trump if she had addressed that pain with the sort of economic populism that defined the Sanders campaign—by decrying, for example, “the special-interest and big-money influence that was keeping government from working for the middle class.” Instead, though a Clinton campaign ad showed her hugging the child of illegal immigrants, there was never an ad showing the nominee “with an autoworker’s daughter.”

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