News Roundup: Political Scandal! Football! Disincorporation! And More!

News | This photo is adapted from an image in the USC Digial Library

It's time to round up some remainders of last's year news to see just how little has changed at the start of 2014.

Football sooner in London than here. The National Football League has put an even tighter grip -- if that were possible -- on the future of NFL football in Los Angeles. While entertainment conglomerate AEG continues to hold out for a promised Farmers Field downtown, the NFL spent the last months of 2013 testily reminding team owners that none of them should even mention moving to Los Angeles until the league has extracted the last measure of dollar value from a stadium deal.

League Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters in late October that London -- not Los Angeles -- might get a team in 2014-2015. "I'd love to be back in Los Angeles," Goodell said, "but it has to be done the right way; we have to do it successfully. I want both (London and Los Angeles), but it doesn't matter which one is first."

So ... let me get this straight. L.A. is being used to leverage concessions from NFL cities in the U.S. while London (in the U.K.) is being used to leverage more concession from the L.A. City Council.

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Calderon continues to bubble. This is almost as good as an episode of "Scandal." Last year, state Senator Ron Calderon sought to discredit a damning FBI affidavit by forcing FBI investigators to explain if they were the source of leaks about the senator's alleged misconduct. Calderon's lawyer could have served the complaint on November 13, but he waited until the beginning of January, suggesting that the complaint was meant only to divert attention from Calderon's worsening situation.

His colleagues haven't waited, however, to distance themselves from Calderon ... literally.

Last week, Calderon lost his chairmanship of the senate's Insurance Committee, as well as his seats on the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee and the senate's Governmental Organization Committee. He was earlier bumped from the California Film Commission and the executive board of the California Latino Legislative Caucus.

If that weren't enough of a cold shoulder, Calderon's seat in the Senate chamber has been moved from front-and-center to a corner, where he sits alone next to a vacant desk. "I don't have a problem sitting there, as long as I have a microphone and I can present my bills and vote," Calderon told reporters. He also said that without committee assignments he has "more time to work on some legislation and do more work in the district."

Meanwhile, the state senate ethics panel has hired Charles Stevens to advise the panel members. Stevens had been a federal attorney in Sacramento and an assistant federal prosecutor in Los Angeles overseeing public corruption cases.

Smaller government by squashing Jurupa Valley. When Menifee, Wildomar, Jurupa Valley, and Eastvale in Riverside County incorporated, residents thought they were going to get the benefits of local government. They got a slap in the face from the state instead.

Governor Brown and the Legislature, panicked by the state's worsening deficit in 2011, tried to veto the new incorporations by withholding state collected local taxes. Every attempt to get the cities their due has been thwarted so far. Eastvale, Menifee, and Wildomar have soldiered on with help from Riverside County officials, but Jurupa Valley is on the verge of going out of business. Jurupa Valley could run out of money by July.

"Our tax dollars were supposed to be here," Jurupa Valley Councilmember Laura Roughton told reporters last week. "It's so frustrating that $18 million was supposed to have stayed here so that we could build a city and it was taken."

Jurupa Valley has 97,000 residents, making it one of California's larger cities. But it could be the first city in California in 40 years to disappear. City council members might vote to begin the disincorporation process as early as this Thursday.

In addition, plans for a downtown streetcar slowly roll forward, pedestrians are a problem for the LAPD, redevelopment is still dead (but may be revived), and Voyager 1 is still on a spree (and outside the solar system).

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