The Levine Act prohibits “officers” of any state or local government agency who have received a contribution of $250 or more from an applicant or affiliated party from voting on the applicant’s matter—whether it be a contract, a permit or other entitlement—if the officer knows or has reason to know that the participant has a financial interest in the matter. State and local elected officials and bodies—such as mayors and legislators, city councils, and boards of supervisors—have always been excluded from the Levine Act’s prohibitions, but that is about to change for local elected officials.
On September 29, 2022, Governor Newsom signed SB 1439(Glazer), a bill that extends the Levine Act’s protections against so-called “pay-to-play” decision-making to local elected officials and those appearing before them. SB 1439 could create significant and unanticipated issues for any entity with business before local elected bodies where the entity or other closely associated persons, such as their agents, employees, or any person with a financial interest in a project, have made or make campaign contributions in excess of $250 to local elected officials voting on the project within 12 months of the vote, regardless of how the local elected official votes.
The Levine Act was adopted in 1982, in response to reports that several members of the California Coastal Commission had solicited and received large campaign contributions from individuals with applications pending before the Commission. The Act (see California Government Code Section 84308) generally prohibits a member of a non-elected body such as a city planning commission or the Coastal Commission from voting on an item if the member receives or solicits a contribution of $250 or more within the three (3) months preceding or following the vote, if the contribution is from a party (or from an associate of the party) that would financially benefit from the vote. The member is also required to recuse themselves from participating in the body’s consideration of the item during the same time period.
SB 1439 amends Section 84308 to apply to members of local elected bodies, such as city council members and county supervisors and extends the covered period from three months to 12 months. If a party (or an affiliated party, such as an agent or employee) has made a campaign contribution of $250 or more within the preceding 12 months to a member of a city council, the member of the city council will be required to recuse herself or himself from voting on a matter involving a license, a contract, a permit or other entitlement if the member knows or has reason to know that the participant has a financial interest in the matter.
SB 1439 also extends from three months to 12 months the timeframe after an approval during which a member (elected or unelected) is prohibited from receiving a campaign contribution from a party.
Note of Caution to Entities Doing Business with Elected Bodies
SB 1439 has serious implications for individuals, companies and other entities doing business with local elected bodies in the state. The Legal Division of the state Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), which has authority to interpret and enforce the Levine Act, has advised the FPPC that SB 1439’s changes, which take effect on January 1, 2023, apply retroactively. Meaning, if a company made a campaign contribution of $250 or more in 2022 to a member of a city council, that city council member will be required to recuse herself or himself from matters directly affecting the finances of the company for the 12 months following the contribution, even if that contribution has already been made and was made before SB 1439 was signed into law.
In the future, companies, individuals and other entities that intend to seek contracts, permits or licenses from local elected bodies will need to refrain from making any prohibited contributions, be on the lookout for any prohibited contributions from principals or employees who might be unaware of the rule, and ask agents and consultants about their campaign contribution history, and they should put in place a compliance process to avoid inadvertent violations. Without appropriate compliance measures, contributions made innocently to support a council member or county supervisor who seems to share your views may later end up preventing the official from being able to hear or vote on an item that is important to you or your business interests.
Notably, a number of California cities already have prohibitions on campaign contributions from developers and city contractors to elected city officials. These cities include Alhambra, Baldwin Park, Claremont, Costa Mesa, Culver City, Gardena, Glendale, Los Angeles, Malibu, Modesto, National City, Oakland, Oxnard, Pacific Grove, Pasadena, San Francisco, Temple City and West Covina. For example, the City of Los Angeles Charter prohibits contributions to elected city officials and candidates by any person “who bids on or submits a proposal or other response to a contract solicitation that has an anticipated value of at least $100,000 and requires approval by the City Council,” as well as major subcontractors on such bids and principals of covered entities. L.A. Charter § 470(c)(12). The prohibition also applies to citywide offices (mayor, city attorney and city controller) where the contract at issue would be approved by that office. Id.
SB 1439 will go into effect on January 1, 2023. Going forward, it will be important for individuals, companies and other entities doing business with elected bodies in the state to ensure that they are complying with the law’s requirements and are monitoring their activities and the activities of their principals, employees and agents for compliance. Manatt can provide assistance with developing such compliance programs.
As referenced, the FPPC’s Legal Division has recommended that the Commission to issue an Opinion stating that “Section 84308, as amended, looks back to contributions received and proceedings conducted throughout 2022 and such application does not constitute an impermissible 'retroactive' application of a law.” This proposed Opinion was prompted by the fact that the Commission staff has “received multiple questions and requests for advice on this issue,” including from the California League of Cities. We anticipate that there will be litigation challenging the FPPC Legal Division’s opinion regardless of the interpretation put forth in any Opinion issued.
On Tuesday November 8th, mid-term elections were held. In California the voter turnout, as of this writing on 11/18/2022 is 44.4% Although higher than the 2014 mid-term turnout of 42.2, it is much lower than the average turnout which is in the high 50% to low 60% range Voter turnout in Los Angeles County was 38.0% and in San Bernardino County it was 36.8%. Political analysts attribute the low turnout to a lack of issues to drive voters to the polls.
The California Legislature, Assembly and Senate will find themselves with a Supermajority of Democrats in both houses. In Congress the Republicans will control the house by single digits and the Democrats will control the Senate with single digits.
On the whole, our CREPAC (State) and RPAC (National) candidates prevailed. These are the officials who have stood strong on our housing issues.
Those returned to office are:
Congress: PeteAguilar, Judy Chu, Young Kim, Grace Napolitano, Linda Sanchez and Norma Torres.
Senate: Bob Archuleta, Anthony Portantino, Susan Rubio.
Assembly: Lisa Calderon, Phil Chen, Mike Fong, Eloise Gomez Reyes, Freddie Rodriguez and Susan Rubio.
As for local officials, as of this writing 11/18/2022, results are still being tallied.
For the latest vote totals:
State of California, Secretary of State: https://electionresults.sos.ca.gov/
Los Angeles County: https://results.lavote.gov/#year=2022&election=4300
San Bernardino County: https://results.rov.sbcounty.gov/Results/20221108/
In jurisdictions across California, rent control and candidates friendly to rent control won the day. In Pasadena Measure H, which will impose Rent Control in the City of Pasadena, appears to be headed to victory with YES garnering 20,751 votes or 52.8% and NO garnering 18,550 votes or 47.2%.
Although strong efforts were put in by REALTORS® and others to oppose pro-Rent Control candidates and measures, political analysts cite the lack of affordable rental units being the major problem. As a whole California is running between 180,000 and 200,000 housing units a year short of the demand.
OneLegacy has opened the nation’s largest and most sophisticated transplant donor recovery center, providing an unmatched bridge to life for 20 million Southern Californians including those waiting to receive a lifesaving or life-altering organ, eye or tissue transplant.
Located in Azusa, California, the center serves as a donor recovery facility and lab, housing seven intensive donation care unit beds, seven operating rooms, full-service diagnostic imaging and laboratory services as well as therapy rooms for donor families. The center also features the nation’s first helipad designed exclusively to facilitate emergency transport of surgeons and organs to ensure their timely transmit needed to save the lives of those waiting for an organ transplant.
OneLegacy’s new center also provides office space and a training center for a staff of 350 -- and soon to be over 400 -- donation professionals. Also housed in the new facility is the OneLegacy Foundation that has helped champion and improve organ, eye, and tissue donation and transplantation through public education and scientific research aimed at increasing donor registration and improving transplant outcomes for donors, their families and recipients. Over recent years alone, the Foundation has donated more than $5.6 million to further research and raise awareness of the power of organ and tissue donation and transplantation while passionately collaborating with community engagement programs that help inspire people to take action in support of organ and tissue donation.
The nonprofit OneLegacy is part of the United States’ organ donation network, which is recognized as the best in the world, with the highest deceased donor transplant rate of any country and a donation rate nearly double that of Europe’s. As a result of outreach education efforts spearheaded by OneLegacy and others, the number of people on the waiting list for a lifesaving organ has decreased by 10% over the past five years.
City officials broke ground Thursday, Oct. 27, on what is said to be the first park in the city of 72,000 in more than a decade.
Officials hailed the 2.75-acre Susan Rubio Zocalo Park as a symbol of recovery from the pandemic.
To be located directly northwest of Baldwin Park City Hall, at the intersection of Pacific and Maine Avenues to Sterling Way, the $11.1 million park project is supported by $6 million from the state budget, secured by state Sen. Susan Rubio, a former city council member in the city.
When it’s completed, in spring 2023, it will include what what is known as a “passive park,” with art adornments, decorative lighting, pavilion, accessible pathways, bike lanes and way-finding signage. The plaza will ultimately join with other more recently completed projects in the city’s downtown, which includes 30 new decorative street light poles and traffic signals at three intersections along Ramona Boulevard in the downtown area.
Officials say the project will improve the “usability” of the city’s downtown, including connecting to the Baldwin Park Transit Center.
SRS Real Estate Partners has arranged the sales of two single-tenant retail buildings that are out parcels to Country Fair Shopping Center, a 168,000-square-foot shopping center located in Chino. Separate California-based private investors acquired the assets from a Southern California-based private investor for a total of $6.2 million. Quick-service-restaurants Wienerschnitzel and Carl’s Jr. occupy the two buildings. Built in 1976, the 1,600-square-foot, Wienerschnitzel-occupied building sold for $2.4 million. The tenant has approximately seven years remaining on its corporate lease. Constructed in 2016, the 3,796-square-foot Carl’s Jr.-occupied property sold for $3.7 million. The tenant has about 12 years remaining on its corporate lease
Active SGV and the city of Glendora held a workshop on the future walk-bike trail along the San Dimas Wash – part of the county’s extensive San Gabriel Valley Greenway Network.
Residents were able to get a look at the concept for the Glendora section of the wash trail, which will run diagonally for about a mile, northeast to southwest, from Louie Pompei Memorial Sports Park to the Covina border at Arrow Highway and Grand Avenue.
The concept rendering shows 8-12 feet of two-way bike path, and two 3-foot (or wider) walk paths on the outside of it, with a 2-foot shoulder from the Wash’s fence. The trail will be adorned with drought tolerant plants, outdoor gym equipment, and water fountains for both humans and pets.
In traditional East San Gabriel Valley fashion, it will have a “rustic look,” according to Active SGV Community Engagement Specialist Francisco Ojeda.
The San Dimas Wash could be the first project to break ground in the series of SGV Greenways. Officials are hopeful that construction could begin by spring 2023.
There are more greenways to follow for the city after that. San Dimas Wash is first. Then it would be [the] Little Dalton [Wash] probably in about two years. And then Big Dalton hopefully in the fifth year, said officials familiar with the project..
The San Dimas Wash trail will pass through Gladstone Park, and be reasonably close to Walnut Creek’s entrance from Valley Center Drive. It is s part of a larger overall effort for the city called the Glendora People Movement Project.
At its meeting on November 7, the La Verne City Council voted to amend existing ordinances to enhance La Verne Police Department’s (LVPD) Homeless Outreach Support Team (HOST). In partnership with Tri-City Mental Health, the City utilized American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to form its own HOST program.
At the August 1 City Council meeting, Council unanimously approved the allocation of $300,000 in ARPA funding to support the creation of HOST and its ongoing operations for the next three years. HOST aims to link resources and services to people who need help by deploying Community Navigators who help provide medical resources, homeless resources, mental health resources, financial resources and support groups.
Currently, the department’s homeless-related call volume continues to reach well over 200 calls per month and consumes about 10% of the daily calls for service. In the last two months, LVPD worked over 160 hours in overtime, which included 70 contacts related to homelessness. Roughly half of the contacts required some type of intervention including housing, documentation assistance and social services.
To maintain a high quality of life for community members, the department presented its analysis of the City’s existing ordinances during the November 7 City Council meeting. The new ordinance amends the La Verne Municipal Code by providing enforcement framework for officers and addressing safety hazards, such as people obstructing public right of way, prohibits camping or maintaining any lodging structure and restrains anyone from loitering in a public park from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Modeled after existing ordinances in surrounding cities, the amendments assist by providing additional tools to a complex issue.
For more information and resources for individuals experiencing homelessness, visit the City’s homelessness resources page.
Contact: Police Chief Colleen Flores
Telephone: (909) 596-1913
Progressive Real Estate Partners has completed a lease with Target at Vineyard Freeway Center in Ontario, a 151,000-square-foot shopping center approximately 35 miles east of Los Angeles. Target will occupy 70,000 square feet of a building formerly leased to Kmart, which closed in 2018. Planet Fitness leased 24,000 square feet at the building earlier this year. Target’s new lease marks full occupancy of the 94,000-square-foot space. Target has begun construction on the space and is scheduled to open by the third quarter of 2023. Other tenants at Vineyard Freeway Center include Golden Corral and a soon-to-open The Habit Burger.
U.S. regulators have completed an environmental study for Brightline West’s high-speed link from Rancho Cucamonga to the Mojave Desert, where it would connect with a 200-mph line to Las Vegas.
Brightline West, a unit of Miami-based Brightline, has already won approval to build a 170-mile electrified line along the 15 Freeway from Apple Valley to the Las Vegas Strip.
The Department of Transportation’s Federal Rail Administration just reviewed the 49-mile segment from Rancho Cucamonga to the high-desert community in Victor Valley. The run over the Cajon Pass could hit 180 mph and take 35 minutes. Public hearings begin this month.
A high-speed rail journey from Rancho Cucamonga to lower Las Vegas could take 2.5 hours.
Add a Metrolink run from Downtown Los Angeles to the high-speed terminal near Hesperia and the Vegas trip could take 3.5 hours –about what it takes to drive to an airport, go through security and fly.
Last month, Brightline cut a deal with the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority and the city of Rancho Cucamonga to buy 5 acres for an undisclosed price next to the city’s Metrolink station for a high-speed terminal.
Brightline now must obtain federal and state permits along with funding for the Rancho Cucamonga extension project.
Pending approvals, Brightline West is expected to break ground in 2026 and launch its bullet trains as soon as 2030, according to Urbanize. Forbes said early this year that shovels could begin next year, with a passenger rail service launch in 2026.
Brightline, the only private passenger rail company in the nation, is owned by New York-based Fortress Investment Group. Construction of the 220-mile electrified railway between the IE and Las Vegas would cost an estimated $8 billion.
Travel from Downtown L.A. to Rancho Cucamonga, a distance of 45 miles, would be made on a Metrolink train.
Brightline originally envisioned the 265-mile system to break ground in 2020 or 2021, but it was delayed by a lack of funding.
If the Brightline West project receives final federal approval, the company could apply for low-interest funding options for high-speed rail included in the recently approved U.S. infrastructure program.
Brightline is controlled by private-equity billionaire Wesley Edens, the Milwaukee Bucks owner who has funneled more than $100 million of his own money into plans for high-speed rail lines linking Las Vegas to Southern California and Orlando to Miami, funded mostly by tax-exempt bonds.
If all goes well, he predicts his trains could haul nearly 20 million passengers in 2026, generate annual revenue of $1.6 billion and operating profit of almost $1 billion a year, according to Forbes.
The City of Walnut is now accepting applications for a vacancy on the Parks and Recreation Commission. Deadline to submit the application is December 14, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. Applications may be submitted electronically via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or in person at City Hall.
Please contact the City Clerk's Office at (909)348-0710 or (909)348-0711 if you have any questions.
The City of West Covina has improved its fiscal health and fallen off the list of high-risk cities as ranked by the California State Auditor. West Covina’s Overall Risk of Financial Distress has improved from High to Moderate.
West Covina moved down the list of worst Fiscal Health among California Cities based on its fiscal year 2020-2021 Annual Comprehensive Financial Report. A contributing factor to West Covina moving in the right direction, are the Pension Obligation Bonds that were issued in 2019 as well as the increase in City general fund reserves.
The Local High-Risk Dashboard is updated annually and considers a multitude of Risk Indicators, including but not limited to: General Fund Reserves, Debt Burden, Liquidity, Revenue Trends and Pension Obligations.The California State Auditor's Office is a state entity that is independent of the executive branch and legislative control. To view the dashboard, please visit: https://www.auditor.ca.gov/local_high_risk/dashboard-csa.