AirBnB Goes to War Against San Diego to Kill Rental Regulations

AirbnbInfuriated over San Diego’s strict new short-term rental regulations, Airbnb and HomeAway have launched a referendum effort in hopes of overturning legislation it has characterized as a ban.

Signature gatherers have already started circulating petitions, which ask that the San Diego City Council either repeal the new regulations, which do not go into effect until next July, or place the matter before the voters. The referendum effort is being funded by the Committee to Expand the Middle Class, supported by Airbnb, which so far has contributed $100,000 to the campaign group.

The referendum is a joint effort by the online home sharing platforms Airbnb, HomeAway, and Share San Diego, a coalition of short-term rental hosts and vacation rental management companies. In a call Tuesday with members of the press, the coalition discussed its plan to fight back against the council’s action last Wednesday to significantly rein in the proliferation of short-term rentals citywide.

That fight could also include legal challenges, although representatives said their current focus is on the referendum effort. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Diego Union-Tribune

Who is an employee? New standard for 2 million workers spurs clash at California Capitol

CapitolAshley Hutton Stanfield’s favorite thing about her job is the freedom to work in the “nooks and crannies of my day.”

Four years ago, after leaving her career at a medical devices company to raise her children, Stanfield became a sales consultant for Arbonne International, a multi-level marketing firm that makes beauty and nutrition products.

Stanfield said she coaches about 1,000 clients per month on how to use and sell a 30-day health regimen. But she can manage her business from the dining room of her Fair Oaks home, between dropping her kids off and picking them up from camp, or take a phone call while running on the treadmill at the gym. She has leisurely breakfasts with her family in the morning and finishes up what she needs to after putting her two daughters to bed.

“I was able to achieve more with this opportunity than I ever could have achieved in that other life,” Stanfield said. “I’m present in every moment.”

Arrangements like Stanfield’s are looking more uncertain after a California Supreme Court ruling on independent contractors in April. That unanimous decision, adopting a new “ABC test” for defining employees, threw nearly three decades of legal precedent up in the air. …

Click here to read the article from the Sacramento Bee

Trump declares California wildfires a ‘major disaster’

A wildfire rages in Buck Meadows, in the Yosemite National ParkPresident Donald Trump has approved declaring the California wildfires a major disaster, the White House said on Sunday, and ordered federal aid to be provided.

His move, which will make federal funding available for the most stricken areas, comes after California governor Jerry Brown called for federal help.

It comes as the wildfires in northern California have spread to more than two-thirds the size of Los Angeles as more residents were ordered to evacuate their homes.

In a statement the White House said: “Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. …

Click here to read the full article from the Guardian

L.A. teachers union schedules strike authorization vote

UTLAThe Los Angeles teachers union announced Friday that it has scheduled a strike-authorization vote for later this month.

A strike would not be automatic, even if a majority of members vote yes. But such a result would give union leaders the authority to call a strike without returning to members for another vote. Having members authorize a strike is a well-established pressure tactic, and once in a while, a strike does occur.

United Teachers Los Angeles scheduled the vote after the state’s Public Employment Relations Board agreed with the union that talks were deadlocked.

Other district employee unions have reached deals that provide for about a 6% raise over three years. L.A. Unified has yet to offer that much to teachers, but that’s clearly where officials want to end up. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times

‘Calexit’ wants to give half of California to Native Americans

A group campaigning for Californian independence now wants to give away half the state to make an ‘autonomous Native American nation’.

The long-running ‘Calexit’ effort was given the green light to collect the 365,880 signatures needed to get secession on the state’s ballot in November.

Handing over all the federal land in California – the entire eastern half of the state from the Mexico border to Oregon – will likely make that a tougher sell.

Yes California co-founder Louis J Marinelli said the plan went further than any attempt in history to make up for the historical treatment of Native Americans. …

Click here to read the full article from the Daily Mail

Travis Allen backs John Cox for CA governor

Nearly two months after he finished a distant fourth in the California gubernatorial primary, Assemblyman Travis Allen endorsed his fellow Republican John Cox for governor.

It wasn’t exactly a flowery endorsement or even one delivered in person, as Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa did in bestowing his endorsement on primary winner Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom days after the election. Instead, Allen tweeted his endorsement, mentioning his own upcoming “Take Back California” statewide rally tour just as prominently as he did Cox.

“It’s time we put the Primary past us and UNITE to WIN IN NOVEMBER,” Allen, R-Huntington Beach (Orange County), wrote Sunday on Twitter. “Today, I’m officially endorsing Republican nominee JOHN COX and announcing the TAKE BACK CALIFORNIA Tour to Organize CA Conservatives. Join TODAY, and together let’s TAKE BACK CALIFORNIA!!”

Cox accepted the endorsement — via Twitter — saying, “Travis was a great competitor that cares about the millions of Californians forgotten by the Sacramento political class.”

Click here to read the full article from the San Francisco Chronicle

Drivers are fed up with the DMV. So are California lawmakers

DMVTyré Nichols had no clue what he was getting himself into. He went online, arrived at the office at 9:45 a.m. and brought all his necessary paperwork.

He expected to be in and out within a couple hours. And yet, there he sat six hours later, waiting outside the Department of Motor Vehicles in miserable 98-degree heat.

He soaked in the views of cars endlessly searching for imaginary spaces and watched the scores of people illegally cross a busy street. He was joined by the dozens more who couldn’t find a seat in the cramped office filled with a couple hundred people.

Nichols had plenty of company. There was the 92-year-old woman unable to take her renewal test by the 4:30 p.m. closing time after waiting in line since 10 a.m. There was Ben Koehler, who was celebrating his 28th birthday scurrying at the last minute to get his license renewed before it expired the following day. There were countless others with stories to tell, all of whom had one thing in common: They were furious. …

Click here to read the full article from the Fresno Bee

The Slower Reality of California High-Speed Rail

High speed rail constructionWhen California voters approved construction of a bullet train in 2008, they had a legal promise that passengers would be able to speed from Los Angeles to San Francisco in two hours and 40 minutes.

But over the next decade, the state rail authority made a series of political and financial compromises that slowed speeds on long stretches of the track.

The authority says it can still meet its trip time commitments, though not by much.

Computer simulations conducted earlier this year by the authority, obtained by The Times under a public records act request, show the bullet train is three minutes and 10 seconds inside the legal mandate. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times

California’s top court rules workers must be paid for off-the-clock tasks

StarbucksCalifornia’s Supreme Court ruled that employers must pay workers for the time they spend completing off-the-clock tasks, such as locking up after work.

The decision, issued this week, marks a win for labor advocates who say requiring hourly workers to spend minutes doing unpaid tasks amounts to wage theft. Business groups say the ruling will embolden frivolous lawsuits and cost companies money.

A federal law, called the Fair Labor Standards Act, generally allows companies to avoid compensating employees for time spent on duties the law describes as trivial or too difficult to track.

In its majority opinion, the California Supreme Court said the federal rule does not apply in the state when it comes to certain off-the-clock tasks performed by employees.

It’s the result of a six-year legal battle between Starbucks (SBUX) and Douglas Troester, a California worker who sued the company for not paying him for closing tasks that he said took four to 10 additional minutes after he clocked out each day. …

Click here to read the full article from CNN

New California law helps protect voters from hacking

Voting boothSometimes — OK, most of the time — new rules and regulations aimed at putting the brakes on electioneering shenanigans smack of undue limitations on free speech.

Voters must be trusted at least a little bit to be able to sort out the wheat from the chaff when it comes to the politicking aimed at them during campaigns. If all is fair in love and war it is certainly so in politics.

Informed voters have ample opportunities to fact-check what they hear from candidates, and can use their heads and their hearts to suss out whether the people seeking their votes are con artists or people of conviction.

But it has to be said that the overwhelming evidence of Russian government-backed attempts to hack American elections has changed the atmosphere and made calls for new attempts to block such tactics worth at least listening to.

Such interference is certainly not a partisan issue, and that’s likely why only one “no” vote was cast in both houses of the California Legislature against a new law under which journalists, researchers and political campaigns that receive voter data must tell officials if it may have been stolen. …

Click here to read the full article from the Orange County Register