Throughout the high-stakes poker game that coastal cities and a giant irrigation district have been playing for the past seven years in the California desert ï¿½ with a rich pot of Colorado River water the prize ï¿½ the Salton Sea has been a peripheral presence, like a high-roller's mistress standing just outside the glare of the lights. But events earlier this year suggest that the ecologically ailing drainage sump at the heart of the Imperial Valley has really been manipulating the game all along.
A developer's lawsuit that claimed the San Diego Unified Port District and one of its commissioners conspired to kill the developer's proposed waterfront project has been thrown out as a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP).
A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court's decision to remove a special master who had been appointed to oversee redevelopment of an industrial site in Union City. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also upheld a court order capping the former special master's compensation and ordering him to repay $113,000.
While it might be hard to convince some of my left-leaning brethren of the case, the forthcoming auction of El Toro will likely benefit the local community, the military and private business, in that order. The City of Irvine, not known to be a pushover on matters relating to the former Marine Corps base, seems just short of ecstatic about the arrangement.
Major efforts are under way to provide money to upgrade and expand infrastructure in California, but even some backers of the funding proposals appear skeptical that state lawmakers will approve anything major this year.
There are two approaches in Sacramento these days. One would make it easier for local government to raise revenue by reducing the two-thirds voter requirement for special taxes and local bonds. The second approach relies on state bonds.
A report prepared by a group of New Urbanist planners for the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) recommends that cities and counties adopt form-based codes to govern development. The report knocks typical zoning codes, which are based on land uses. The authors contend this type of zoning has led to 50 years of suburban-style development, which has caused people to rebel against growth.
Contra Costa County and its 19 cities are considering a "growth management compact" for the next 20 to 30 years that emphasizes efficient development patterns, redevelopment and improved job distribution.
The proposed compact — important components of which remain unsettled — is a key part of "Shaping Our Future," a multi-agency effort to address growth, conservation and transportation on a regional basis.