first_imgThe Planning Department is reviewing Weiss’ proposal, which would likely require the city to hire and manage consultants when an environmental study is required and get reimbursed by the developer. That’s how most California cities handle environmental and traffic studies. “Very few cities any more have the developer prepare the reports,” said Larry Wiener, with the law firm Richards, Watson & Gershon, which represents smaller cities throughout the state. “The greatest benefit is perhaps increasing public confidence in the objectivity of the study.” Yet planners and even Weiss aren’t convinced the city’s system is broken. Weiss, who is facing a recall campaign driven by Westside residents angry with his support of developments, said he isn’t suspicious of applicant-paid reports, but added: “My proposal is aimed at the issue of public confidence.” Chief Zoning Administrator Michael LoGrande said the city could add safeguards to ensure studies are not influenced by the developer – consultants are supposed to file reports to the city, but they sometimes share the reports with developers and their attorneys first. But LoGrande doesn’t think the city needs to hire and manage consultants. “There’s a perception that the process could be abused, but the types of technical studies and analysis that go into (environmental impact reports) really don’t lend themselves to abuse,” LoGrande said. Consultants may do the work, but they use models approved by city planners and transportation engineers. “There’s no benefit in a developer jeopardizing their project and approval by trying to circumvent analysis.” But many Westside homeowners groups aren’t buying it. In perhaps the most congested area of the city, residents scrutinize the potential traffic effects of major projects along the Wilshire Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard corridor. So when a Century City developer’s traffic consultant found that a new 12-story twin high-rise would generate less traffic than two largely vacant eight-story buildings it was replacing, well, that was the last straw. “We realized the process they used was crazy,” said Barbara Broide, president of the Westwood South of Santa Monica Boulevard Homeowners Association. When builders redevelop a site, they only have to alleviate the traffic they create. They’re allowed to subtract the car trips associated with the current use from projected car trips the new use will create. Broide and her neighbors suspected the developer’s traffic consultant relied on national traffic counts that overestimated the daily car trips to the site currently. They decided to do a reality check. Clipboards in hand, they surveyed lunchtime diners at the building’s food court and found almost all had walked over from nearby office buildings. The traffic study estimated 1,433 car trips a day to a health club in the building, but the club validated parking for only 50 patrons a day. The rest walked from nearby offices or homes. The group is suing the developer and the city over the traffic study. And that’s the problem, Broide said. “The city can’t allow developers to conduct the traffic study and EIR. We end up being the enemies in the process, with the city and the developer working together. It’s not coming up with a good project in the end.” But some planners think having the city hire and manage consultants will be an administrative nightmare. Smaller cities may have one major project a year. L.A. has around 20 new projects each year that require a full environmental impact report that includes traffic, air quality and noise studies. Dozens of smaller projects each year require traffic studies. “Personally, I think it would be a bureaucratic challenge,” said LoGrande. “We’d end up with a lot of administrative staff in charge of billing and managing the consultants.” Planning and zoning consultant Robert Lamishaw said the process would delay projects and still wouldn’t satisfy groups opposed to development. “It takes months and months to get anything done. The city of Los Angeles already throws up more roadblocks to development,” Lamishaw said. “These are people who are just anti-development. Anything that doesn’t fit their preconceived prejudice is going to be suspect in their mind.” But homeowners groups said that as long as the developer hires the consultants, the process is suspect and that residents will have to be watchdogs. In Sherman Oaks, the local homeowners group was following a proposed 89-condo and 16,000-square foot mixed-use project on Ventura Boulevard. The developer agreed to update an old traffic study, and Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association board member Nancy Kaleel happened upon the consultant’s traffic counter sitting at the corner of Tyrone Avenue and Moorpark Street one morning. The intersection leads to Beverly Glen Boulevard, one of the few local streets that cross over the Santa Monica Mountains into the Westside and is an alternative to the congested San Diego (405) Freeway. As usual, cars were gridlocked at the Tyrone/Moorpark and Tyrone/Ventura Boulevard crossings, and only one or two cars could traverse the intersection in a light cycle. Kaleel snapped a few photos. Yet when the traffic study came out a few months later the intersection was graded an A. “It was beyond belief. It’s completely gridlocked. How is this getting a passing grade?” Kaleel recalled. “It was my ah-ha moment.” She ended up going out to the intersection with her video camera and filming the morning backup. The homeowners association submitted that as evidence when the group challenged the project approval, and the developer agreed to make traffic improvements in the area. But Kaleel said residents shouldn’t have to be watchdogs over developers’ studies. “If you’re taking failing intersections and doing nothing to fix them and then making them worse by adding more businesses and residences, it floods every street with traffic,” Kaleel said. “It doesn’t make for a better quality of life.” [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! TRAFFIC: Los Angeles official says city, instead of developers, could hire EIR consultants. By Kerry Cavanaugh STAFF WRITER In neighborhoods where congestion is bad and development and density are dreaded words, nothing gets homeowners groups more riled up than traffic studies. The reports – prepared by consultants for developers and fact-checked by city staffers – are supposed to analyze how much traffic the project will create. But residents complain the studies often underestimate the real effect new apartment buildings, office towers or malls will have on local streets and developers don’t have to spend as much money on traffic fixes. Despite assurances from city leaders that the studies are legitimate, residents are suspicious of reports ordered and paid for by developers trying to get their projects approved. Now, hoping to defuse some of the acrimony and build confidence in the city’s development approval process, Councilman Jack Weiss has proposed having the City Planning Department hire the environmental and traffic consultants – not the developers. Environmental impact reports “need to be done, and they need to be done by professional firms with expertise. The question is who should pay for them. My modest proposal is that developers should not pay directly any more.” last_img read more

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first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppKingston, Jamaica, December 5, 2016 – The Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) is calling for a more barrier-free environment for persons with disabilities (PWDs).Executive Director, JCPD, Christine Hendricks, told JIS News that while various entities have been making an effort to make their physical spaces more accessible to PWDs, more needs to be done to ensure that information is also accessible to that group.“A barrier-free society is not just the physical environment. We also want the information and the communication from different companies to be barrier-free so PWDs can understand and communicate with service providers,” she said.Mrs. Hendricks added that doing so will “benefit the entire society” as PWDs will be able to participate and contribute to the country.She was speaking ahead of Disabilities Awareness Week, which will be observed from December 4 to December 9 under the theme ‘Inclusive Information Communication Technologies: The Way to the Future’.The week will kick-start with a national church service on Sunday, December 4 at Grace Baptist Church, May Pen, Clarendon, at 9:00 a.m., while on Monday, December 5 there will be a public lecture hosted by the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus.“It will be guided by a selected panel of professionals within the disability sector and in the field of technology to look at the use of technology and how it can enhance the employment of PWDs,” informed the JCPD Head.On Wednesday, December 7, the JCPD will partner with the Social Development Commission (SDC) to host a business and technology exposition at the St. Ann’s Bay Taxi Park in St. Ann.The exposition will be used to launch the SDC’s Moving Outside Vulnerabilities for Economic Development (MOVE) Programme, which will focus on national economic growth and wealth creation through community business initiatives targeted at PWDs.PWDs and other entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to showcase their products and services at the exposition.The Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, HEART Trust/NTA, Jamaica Business Development Corporation and FLOW are among several partners for the event.Throughout the week, various disability-sector partners will host other events across the island.Mrs. Hendricks said the week, which is observed annually, is a time to “highlight the work and the worth of persons with disabilities and seek to push the inclusive agenda”. Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more

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first_img TCI: ‘Big mistake’ says Deputy Premier after Gansevoort staff ‘change’ letter leaked TCI: Landmark vote, House of Assembly members support workers getting full service charge New Perspective on Service Charge, impact on Resorts, Recommendations for Govt Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Recommended for you Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppTurks and Caicos, March 29, 2017 – Providenciales – At three quarters into the National Budget year, the Turks and Caicos Islands Government had a recorded surplus of 30.7 million dollars and now that the full budget year is just about   over, we learned from the Permanent Secretary of Finance, Athenee Harvey-Basden that the figure will soar to $67.8 million dollars in surplus funds.   In the Ministry of Finance report last week at the House of Assembly, it was explained that this was due to a combination of things including higher than projected revenue intake and lower than projected spending.PDM Member from Cheshire Hall and Richmond Hill in his media statement overnight chastised the former administration for its record of under spending in a time when there is so much which needs doing in the country.  “The PDM Government has been focused on outing a number of fires that were left burning by the former Government including addressing the needs of the poor and needy who had not been delivered sustenance payments for two months while surpluses were accumulating, and issuing directives to ensure that our prison population were well guarded and secure.”Hon Doug Parnell was mainly addressing comments from the PNP side about the service charge issue and the appointed members’ demand that hospitality workers get 100% of the tax.  Hon Royal Robinson told Magnetic Media that he is not focused on what his PNP party did not do in the past and wants to ensure the current administration addresses the concern of hospitality workers, which he supports.Mr. Parnell shared that a survey is now on the government’s website as a method of consultation on the legislation.  Royal Robinson shared today that the survey only started after the 100% service charge bill was placed on the House agenda even though he said, “the Premier had the service charge committee report since December 29, 2016.”   PNP Chairman Robinson labeled it, ‘bait and switch’ intimating that the PDM was uninterested in standing by their own motion to see 100% of the service charge go to employees.#MagneticMediaNews#ServiceChargebill#TCIGmillionsinsurplus#MPsrowoverservicecharge Related Items:#magneticmedianews, #MPsrowoverservicecharge, #ServiceChargebill, #TCIGmillionsinsurpluslast_img read more

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first_imgYes on Prop 6 campaign vows to recall AG Xavier Becerra over misleading ballot title Updated: 1:47 PM KUSI Newsroom, SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A conservative San Diego radio host who has been a driving force behind an initiative to repeal recent gas tax increases says he’ll seek to recall Democratic Attorney General Xavier Becerra if the bid fails.The effort announced Monday by Carl DeMaio would ensure that the gas tax remains a political fight long after the voters decide Proposition 6 next week. Repealing the higher gas taxes and vehicle registration fees passed last year by state lawmakers has been a central message for Republicans, who have struggled in a state that’s trending increasingly Democratic.DeMaio says Becerra deceived voters by writing a ballot title that doesn’t make clear to voters that Proposition 6 would reduce gas taxes.Becerra says the courts have sided with him.The Yes on 6 Campaign sent out the following press release announcing their successful recall of State Senator Josh Newman from office, and their attempt to use recall to punish AG for misleading ballot deception on Gas Tax Repeal if Prop 6 fails:“If you steal our gas tax funds and then steal our votes by lying to us on our election ballots when we seek to repeal the tax, we will RECALL you from office!”That’s the threat issued today by the Yes on Prop 6 Gas Tax Repeal campaign as it announced it has filed a committee with the Secretary of State’s office to Recall California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra from office over his decision to slap an intentionally deceptive title on Prop 6 – the Gas Tax Repeal Initiative.“Voters who wanted to vote YES on Prop 6 have been deceived into voting NO – all because the Attorney General bowed to special interest pressure to remove the words ‘Gas Tax Repeal Initiative’ from the ballot and replace them with an intentionally false and deceptive title,” said Carl DeMaio, Chairman of Yes on Prop 6.“We are working hard to warn voters that there is an error on their ballot because state politicians intentionally mislabeled Prop 6 in an attempt to deceive them – and that a YES Vote on Prop 6 is actually for the Gas Tax Repeal Initiative,” DeMaio said.“We still believe we will win Prop 6, but if we fall short because voters were defrauded of their intent to vote Yes on Prop 6 the Gas Tax Repeal Initiative, we fully intend to Recall Xavier Becerra from office as a punishment and to set an example to state politicians that they cannot lie on our ballots to trick voters into voting NO on something they intended to vote YES on,” DeMaio promised.DeMaio presented polling evidence showing the damage done to Prop 6 because the words “Gas Tax Repeal Initiative” were intentionally struck from the title of Prop 6.  In a recent Survey USA poll, 58 percent of California voters said they would vote YES to repeal the gas tax and only 29 percent would vote No.  However, when the misleading ballot title for Prop 6 is read to voters, the numbers substantially change – while a Thomas Partners Strategies poll taken during the same three day period as Survey USA showed Prop 6 tied – 35 percent NO to 35 percent YES.Over 1 million Californians signed a petition with the title “Gas Tax Repeal Initiative” on it to get Prop 6 placed on the ballot.  After the No on Prop 6 campaign did extensive polling and focus groups to determine what words to use to defeat the Gas Tax Repeal Initiative, the Attorney General struck that title and replaced it with “Prop 6: Eliminates Certain Road Repair and Transportation Funding.”  Not a single word of Prop 6 eliminates road repair funding, and a recent Legislative Analyst Office study proved you could actually increase road repair funding by dedicating 100 percent of the original gas tax rate to roads.The Recall threat is credible because the Yes on Prop 6 campaign already successfully led the Recall of State Senator Josh Newman from office earlier this year – winning a lopsided 59% removal vote in a Democrat-leaning district despite being outspent 8-to-1.   Unlike ballot propositions, state politicians cannot change the ballot title on a Recall Election as the ballot will simply read “Should Xavier Becerra be recalled from the office of Attorney General?”  A simple YES or NO is then asked of the voter – and a special Recall Election will likely have a turnout of high information voters.“Sacramento politicians think they are being clever by deceiving voters with a misleading ballot title on Prop 6, but have they thought about what will happen when millions of Californians wake up the next day and realize they were tricked into voting NO on something they wanted to vote YES on?” DeMaio asked.  “Sacramento politicians better pray that Prop 6 passes because if it doesn’t this issue will not go away and more of them will lose their offices in the next year,” DeMaio predicted.The campaign committee filed today is the first legal step in the Recall of a state official – and carries the title “Recall Xavier Becerra for Defrauding Voters on Prop 6 the Gas Tax Repeal Initiative.”  Voters who believe they were defrauded of their YES vote on Prop 6 because of the false title on the ballot are asked to contact the Committee at Posted: October 29, 2018 KUSI Newsroom October 29, 2018 Categories: Local San Diego News, Politics Tags: Decision 2018 FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

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