A medical marijuana dispensary at Venice Beach, California
Good Wednesday morning!
The California Legislature is not in session for a summer recess.
The California Assembly has adjourned until August 6, 2012 and the California State Senate is also in adjournment.
On to today’s California headlines:
After years of controversy over medical marijuana, the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday decided to ban every clinic in the city – but left the door open for some to reopen in the future.
The 14-0 decision came after some five hours of debate, including three hours behind closed doors, as well as passionate opposing testimony from medical marijuana advocates and neighbors frustrated by the problems the clinics create.
In a separate vote, the council OK’d a plan to study allowing 182 dispensaries to open in the future, following more extensive analysis by the Planning Department over the next several months.
City Councilman Jose Huizar, a co-author of the ban, said the city has simply been unable to properly control the dispensaries. In Eagle Rock, for example, he said, there are 13 clinics.
“That’s too many for such a small area,” Huizar said. “All we hear are complaints about the number of dispensaries and the problems around them.”
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa plans to sign the measure, his office said Tuesday, and it would take effect 30 days after his signature.
The vote reversed the council’s earlier decisions to allow dispensaries to remain open if they had obtained the proper permits from the city.
As it slowly recovers from its worst recession since the Great Depression, where does California’s economy fit into the global marketplace?
A massive new economic forecast from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. confirms that were California a nation, it would place No. 9 among the globe’s economies, just behind No. 8 Italy and just ahead of Russia.
The data-filled report, to be unveiled today in Los Angeles, pegs California’s economy at just under $2 trillion a year (2011 numbers) and implies that it could move up or down in the rankings, depending on what happens to the volatile European economy. The state once ranked as high as sixth.
California’s economy saw an inflation-adjusted 2 percent growth from 2010 to 2011, while Italy’s grew at just one-fifth of that rate. Among the economies larger than California’s, only China, Germany and Brazil, which leaped into sixth place, had higher rates of growth than the state. But Russia’s economy grew twice as fast as California’s from 2010 to 2011, so it could push California down to 10th place.
Simmering tensions in the wake of two deadly police shootings in Anaheim exploded into violence Tuesday night as protesters clashed with police outside City Hall even as officials voted to ask federal authorities to investigate the killings that have rocked the Orange County community.
Protesters hurled rocks, traffic cones and other objects at police clad in riot gear as officers chased people along sidewalks and streets throughout the evening and fired less-than-lethal projectiles into crowds after giving a dispersal order. Sirens wailed as officers formed skirmish lines and police from neighboring law enforcement agencies provided assistance.
Police said that at least five people were arrested on suspicion of assault and resisting arrest, and that a reporter from the Orange County Register was struck by a rock as angry crowds stood face to face with officers in tense standoffs. Fires were started in dumpsters, and at least one storefront had its windows broken as the skirmishes continued into the night.
California cities are in a high-stakes fight with officials in Sacramento over money that the state says the cities owe as part of the winding down of redevelopment agencies.
County officials, under the state’s direction, have sent letters of demand to cities throughout the state in recent weeks, many for millions of dollars. Several cities, including El Cerrito, refused to pay and sued the state, which is threatening to penalize cities by withholding sales tax revenue that cities rely on to pay for police, parks and other general operating expenses.
Some local officials warn that if the state follows through with its threat, struggling cities could be pushed off the fiscal cliff. Recently, fiscal crises prompted three California cities – Stockton, Mammoth Lakes and San Bernardino – to declare bankruptcy.
“It’s time that we stand up and be counted, and defend our municipal affairs and rights, and push back,” William C. Jones III, mayor of El Cerrito, said at a City Council meeting July 12 after the council voted to sue the state.
Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature abolished redevelopment agencies last year as part of the budget plan to deal with California’s chronic deficits, redirecting billions to local governments for schools, public safety and other services. Some of that money helps the state’s budget by reducing the amount of the general fund that is required to go toward education.
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