Backers of an initiative to increase oversight of the timber industry received permission Friday from Secretary of State Debra Bowen to begin gathering signatures.
The initiative would impose a harvest tax on timber and other forest products taken from public lands at a rate of 33 percent of profits and 8 percent of profits on product from private lands. Forest products harvested on Native American lands and timber harvested from private lands solely for private noncommercial use would be exempted.
The initiative would establish a department to collect and allocate the tax and oversee timber harvesting and environmental protection and restoration. It would also transfer the timber harvest oversight responsibilities of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to the new department.
Valid signatures from 504,760 registered voters -- 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2010 general election -- must be submitted by Sept. 10 to qualify the measure for the November 2014 ballot.
16 candidates for a variety of offices will appear on the May 21, 2013 general municipal ballot, Los Angeles City Clerk June Lagmay announced today. That's in addition to the six vying in the special primary election for the city's 6th City Council District, which has been open since earlier this year when Tony Cardenas went off to Congress.
Because this is election is a run-off, not all offices are up for grabs anymore. A number of candidates won seats outright during the primary election on March 5. Those include seats 2 and 4 for both the LAUSD and Community College boards and Council Districts 3, 5, 7, and 15.
A random alphabet drawing determined the order in which candidates are listed in each race.
Lobbyists, by definition, work to sway, influence, and/or inform lawmakers. As a result, gifts by lobbyists are often viewed as suspect. There seems to be nothing particularly odd about this. If your job is to influence a certain group of individuals, then part of the cost of doing business is often to get those individuals a present now and again. It is also not odd that those on the receiving end would feel thankful, and possibly indebted.
While not odd, this arrangement breeds numerous problems. Legislators, unlike private individuals, are public servants, and, by definition, should make decisions in the best interests of all of their constituents, as opposed to those who can give them gifts.
At the very least, legislators will be more attuned to the needs and desires of those represented by lobbyists. Again, there is nothing particularly earth shattering about this. All of us are more heavily influenced by those around us than by those with whom we rarely have contact. But what happens when that influence comes in the form of gifts?
Mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel are now in the final stretch of their campaign to become the next mayor of Los Angeles. Following the March 5 election, both candidates will seek to motivate voters to go to the polls. But what voters? According to preliminary numbers, only 16 percent, yes that's right, only one out of six voters went to the polls or mailed in ballots. In a city divided over so many issues, it seems elections have managed to unite 84 percent of eligible Angelenos in laziness, boredom, apathy, or all of the above.
Candidate-controlled ballot measure committees arguably represent a legal gray area. They live somewhere in between candidate campaigns and ballot measure campaigns. The Supreme Court has said that contributions to candidates can lead, or at least appear to lead, to corruption and can therefore be limited. The Court has also said that contributions to ballot measure committees cannot lead, or cannot appear to lead, to corruption because there is simply no one to corrupt. But what about those committees which are controlled by candidates?
About 90,000 ballots from Tuesday's primary election remained uncounted today, casting a hint of uncertainty over City Council races in which two candidates narrowly earned enough votes to win seats outright, while another barely missed the cut and appeared bound for a runoff.
The only definitive results from the voting were the re-elections of 5th District Councilman Paul Koretz and 15th District Councilman Joe Buscaino. Outgoing 11th District Councilman Bill Rosendahl's chief deputy, Mike Bonin, also easily defeated three other candidates to replace his boss, who announced last year he was suffering from cancer and would not seek a third term.
Two council races will be decided in a May 21 runoff: