Los Angeles city planners have approved a $1.2 billion NFL stadium for downtown Los Angeles near the L.A. Convention Center. It's not the final word on the mega-project but it's one of the most important -- even as legal challenges loom.
From the LAT's David Zahniser and Kate Linthicum: "After 10 and a half hours of review, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's appointees on the Planning Commission signed off on a set of agreements for the 72,000-seat stadium, concluding the project's economic benefits outweigh the "significant and unavoidable" impacts it will have on traffic, air quality, noise and light glare."
"The 9-0 vote marked a major victory for AEG, putting the stadium and a related $315-million renovation of the adjacent Convention Center on track for a Sept. 28 vote by the City Council. But Thursday's win was tempered by a warning from one of the stadium's biggest allies, who said a pending legal case is placing the project in jeopardy."
"At a separate City Hall hearing on the stadium, Natural Resources Defense Council senior attorney David Pettit urged city officials to help restart talks between AEG and a coalition of anti-poverty activists challenging special state legislation intended to speed up approval."
The poverty rate in California has risen to the highest level since the 1990s and may reflect the severity of the economic downturn.
From Daniel Weintruab in HealthyCal: "California’s poverty rate was 16.9 percent in 2011, the highest it has been in 15 years, according to numbers released by the US Census Bureau Wednesday."
"Nearly one in four California children lives in poverty, the report said. More than a third of Californians living below the poverty level are age 18 or younger."
"The increase in the poverty rate between 2010 and 2011 was not statistically significant, but since 2006, the rate has increased by 4.7 percentage points from 12.2 percent. The last time it was as high as it was in 2011 was 1996, when the state was still recovering from an early 1990s recession and just prior to the high-tech boom that improved economic conditions across the board in California."
Meanwhile, in other grim news, California is bracing for what may prove to be the worst spread of the West Nile virus in years.
From the Chronicle's Erin Allday: "Beyond California, the United States is in the grip of what may turn out to be the worst outbreak of West Nile since the virus arrived in the country 13 years ago. Although the national outbreak may have reached its peak, public health authorities say they won't have full reports on the extent of the epidemic for another few weeks."
"More than 2,600 cases of West Nile virus infection have been reported nationwide this year - 40 percent of them in Texas, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In California, there have been more than 90 cases so far..."
"West Nile virus was first identified in Uganda in the 1930s, but it didn't arrive in the United States until 1999. Over the next several years, it spread across the United States, and the first human case was reported in California in 2003. The Bay Area West Nile season typically spans from June to late September, but this year the virus was first detected in April, and the season can extend to the end of October some years."
Yes, Amazon may start collecting sales tax from California customers on Saturday, but here's a surprise: That levy won't be calculated on the products sold by Amazon's third-party vendors -- and that's a big deal.
From the Bee's Dale Kasler: "Amazon doesn't plan to collect tax on anything sold by its vast array of third-party sellers – the thousands of retailers, large and small, that use Amazon's Internet platform to market their goods."
"It's no small change. Third-party sellers accounted for about 40 percent of the goods ordered by Amazon buyers worldwide in the second quarter of this year, said Anne Zybowski, an e-commerce analyst with Kantar Retail consulting in Boston."
"That's millions of dollars a year in sales in California alone."
Led by organized labor, opposition to Proposition 32 is growing. The initiative, labor's highest political priority, would hinder the ability of unions to raise money for political purposes.
From Timm Herdt in the Ventura County Star: "Efforts by organized labor and other opponents to portray Proposition 32, a campaign finance initiative, as an attempt to prevent unions from participating in the political process appear to be working."
"In the fourth of a series of online polls on the 11 statewide ballot measures on the Nov. 6 ballot, the California Business Roundtable and Pepperdine University reported Thursday that support for Proposition 32 has fallen by 10 percentage points — from 63 percent to 53 percent — since Aug. 2."
"The drop in support cuts across all ages, party affiliations and ethnicity, said Michael Shires, a professor at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy."
And from our "Tales of the Great Northwest" file comes word that Monday is National Stay Away From Seattle Day.
"Are you getting excited for Monday? Ready to shun outsiders and turn up your nose at anyone who doesn’t have a born-and-raised Seattle pedigree? Oh, goodie. Me too."
"Monday — in case you don’t have your calendar marked already — is Stay Away From Seattle Day. That’s apparently the day when we defend Seattle’s honor against Californians, Texans, Canadians and any other undesirable types who might move here and drive too fast on our freeways."
"Not a real holiday, you say? Uh, Hallmark seems to think differently. According to the card company’s online calendar, September 16 is special..."
If you hate traffic, staying away from Seattle won't be a problem...