first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre “We need a consultant to tell us whether we are charging adequate fees,” said Eva Yuan-McDaniel, deputy director of planning for the Los Angeles Planning Department. “Some cases are close to full-cost recovery, and other cases are just unbelievably low,” she said. “If we can have full-cost recovery, that would be much less burden on the general fund – and that’s less subsidy with taxpayer money.” The planning-fee review comes as the city is facing falling revenues and a tightening budget. To lessen the drain on the city’s general fund – which pays for basic city services such as police officers, firefighters and street paving – Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s budget team has initiated studies to see whether Los Angeles needs to charge higher fees. Los Angeles taxpayers are subsidizing more than half the cost of processing new development approvals in the city, according to a Daily News review. In many cases, the planning fees developers pay cover just 40 percent of the expense of staff review and public outreach. In controversial or complicated projects, the fees might cover only 20 percent of the cost. Taxpayers pick up the rest of the tab, which can top $10,000 in some cases. Now, as Los Angeles leaders face a budget crunch and prepare to cut city services, the city has approved a $150,000 study analyzing the possibility of raising planning processing fees. About 13 departments are analyzing the need for fee increases or have recently completed analyses that have justified fee increases. This year, the city raised ambulance fees and fees levied when city crews clear brush on private property. Next year, the city will consider raising fees for animal services, transportation and the Police Department. “When we have a tough budget year, we look at whether we are really recovering the cost of providing a service,” Chief Administrative Officer Karen Sisson said. “It does cost us to provide certain services, and when our expenses go up, we need to make sure we can cover those costs.” Some community activists were surprised, however, that Los Angeles has not attempted to recoup the cost of processing new development applications – especially amid a building boom over the past several years. “All the fees have been going up for residents,” said Gerald Silver, president of Homeowners of Encino, who also cited recent increases in water rates and sewer fees. “It’s unfair to force the full burden of fees on the residents and then give away the store to developers.” But it’s not just the Planning Department. The Department of Building and Safety has not raised its fees in 14 years, even though the department’s workload has soared 80 percent in recent years. “We changed the way we do business. We’re doing more with less,” spokesman Bob Steinbach said. The Department of Building and Safety is now comparing its fees with other cities’ charges. Yuan-McDaniel, with the Planning Department, said the city’s planning-fee structure is so old and complicated – there are 160 different fees – that nobody has attempted to overhaul it. Politics has played a role, too. The business and development community does not always welcome fee increases. “It’s always been this notion of being business-friendly,” said Councilman Ed Reyes, who heads the council’s Planning and Land Use Committee and has pushed for higher fees. “We were not as aggressive in raising that concern.” With the city’s financial crunch – and new Planning Department leadership that has pledged to reform the project-approval process – Reyes said he is hopeful that L.A. taxpayers won’t keep subsidizing development for long. Holly Schroeder, with the Building Industry Association’s L.A. chapter, said the development community could accept higher fees – if the city eases the bureaucracy, which would save developers money. “Sometimes it takes longer to get a housing project approved than it takes to get a drug approved through the Food and Drug Administration,” she said. “If they had a real, rational, effective process that would work, we’re willing to talk about fees paying a greater portion or all of that process,” Schroeder said. In the last few years, L.A. has begun charging full cost for projects that go through the expedited unit. Developers get more speedy service and pay for the staff hours it takes to process their applications. Based on bills sent to developers by the expedited unit, planning officials figure the current planning fees cover about 40 percent of the cost of processing an average project and only 20 percent of the cost of a more complicated or controversial project. Neighboring cities already charge higher fees than Los Angeles. The city of Santa Clarita charges among the highest planning and development fees in the region – yet it was recently ranked one of the most business-friendly cities by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. “We don’t expect our existing residents to pay for development,” said Robert Newman, director of public works for Santa Clarita. He said city fees are based on the staff time needed to process applications, and they’re updated about every five years. “We’ve had very few complaints on the fees we charge,” Newman added. Glendale charges slightly higher planning fees than Los Angeles, and it attempts to recover the full cost of processing development applications. “Even though we’re trying to set the fees at full-cost recovery, we’re nowhere near full-cost recovery,” said Jeff Hamilton, a senior planner with the city of Glendale. Still, Burbank charges fees significantly lower than both Los Angeles and Glendale. “Each year we’ve been trying to increase our fees little by little,” said Joy Forbes, deputy city planner with the city of Burbank. “But we always look at the cities nearby, and the council likes the fact that we’re always right under Glendale and Pasadena. “While we continue to increase fees, we’ll probably never be over those cities.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more


first_img Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea David de Gea has arguably been Manchester United’s player of the season.The Spanish keeper has been the stalwart of the side who have defended excellently this term, and without him in goal, United would likely be much further down the Premier League table.He put in another brilliant performance for Louis van Gaal’s side on Wednesday evening, ensuring United won their FA Cup quarter-final replay against West Ham by a 2-1 scoreline.The 25-year-old pulled off a series of top class saves, including a run near the end of the game when it appeared as if the Hammers were set to equalise.Following the performance, United fans took to Twitter to react to De Gea’s outstanding display, and we collect some of the best responses below… 1last_img read more


first_img 2 2 Tottenham players were defeated at the full-time whistle, but Leicester could still lose it yet All that seemed left was for the hosts to score a second and they nearly did so just before the hour mark when Erik Lamela skewed Eriksen’s pullback onto the post and Kane was unable to turn in the rebound.As the game drifted into the latter stages, however, West Brom began to turn the tide. Salomon Rondon heading Gardner’s cross wide was a warning which went unheeded as in the 72nd minute Dawson climbed above both Dier and a flailing Hugo Lloris to head home an equaliser from a Gardner corner.Dier took a blow to the head trying to defend the goal and had to be substituted, while Nacer Chadli was also introduced late on as the hosts desperately searched for a winner.There were to be no late heroics, however, as Tottenham’s title challenge finally hit the buffers, leaving Leicester on the brink of glory. Is the Premier League title race now over? Monday’s Premier League draw between Tottenham and West Brom suggests so.The point leaves Spurs seven behind leaders Leicester City with three games remaining. And victory for the Foxes at Manchester United on Sunday will see Claudio Ranieri’s side crowned champions for 2015/16. An optimistic White Hart Lane crowd saw the home side take the lead in the first half when Craig Dawson bundled into his own net following Christian Eriksen’s free-kick. Dawson made amends in the second half when he climbed above his marker, with Hugo Lloris in no man’s land, heading into the back of the net to leave Tottenham’s title hopes hanging by a thread.A disappointing night for Spurs could become worse too as Eric Dier was forced to leave the field following a clash of heads with Dawson in the second half, while Dele Alli may face a retrospective ban for appearing to punch West Brom’s Claudio Yacob.Alli began the night collecting his PFA Young Player of the Year award in front of the Tottenham supporters but the midfielder let his frustrations boil over early on with an unnecessary act of petulance.Referee Mike Jones did not seem to see the incident but the 20-year-old could yet face a three-match suspension if found guilty of violent conduct, a punishment which would rule him out for the rest of the season.Tottenham dominated the opening exchanges and within 12 minutes had twice hit the woodwork as Harry Kane bounced a one-two off Alli, but saw his finish tipped onto the post, before Christian Eriksen’s whipped free-kick grazed the top of the crossbar.Alli had undergone some heavy challenges early on and he took his frustration out on Yacob, turning and swinging his hand into the midfielder’s stomach when referee Jones was looking the other way.The visitors could have taken the lead when Craig Gardner blazed over from inside the area and moments later Spurs made them pay, as Jan Vertonghen and Dawson tussled to meet Eriksen’s free-kick, with the latter bundling the ball under Boaz Myhill for an own-goal.With the deadlock broken, Tottenham began to enjoy themselves, Mousa Dembele flicking his way nonchalantly through Darren Fletcher and the home supporters launching into an optimistic rendition of “Leicester City, we’re coming for you”.last_img read more


first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champWhile the majority of those who have died have been in central Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley communities had a number of homeless deaths. No specific numbers were counted for the San Gabriel Valley, but Bob Erlenbusch, executive director of the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger & Homelessness, estimated about 150 homeless deaths. “It’s a hard, hard life out there,” said Irene Kubo, executive director of the East San Gabriel Valley Coalition for the Homeless, which runs the area’s cold weather shelter. “They’re prone to all the normal things we are, but the problem is they don’t get proper care,” Kubo said. “You can take the normal run of physical ailments that the general public has and increase it in quantity and degree because of health care. Their lifespans are cut short by 30 or 40 years.” The average age among those found dead was 48, about 36 percent less than the average life span. The cause of nearly half the deaths was cardiovascular disease coupled with substance abuse. Nearly one in five were killed violently as victims of homicide, suicide or other trauma. “They’re very vulnerable to violence,” said Judy Hall, outreach worker for Pomona Homeless Outreach. “Whatever little bit they have gets taken. We’ve had them come in so afraid they’ll be killed.” “The human cost of the tragedy of homelessness in the richest country in the history of the planet is illustrated by these statistics,” said Torie Osborn, senior adviser to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “And it’s heartbreaking. I think it just shows we have a long way to go to step up and take care of our most vulnerable citizens. I mean to die alone and on the streets – what could be a sadder Christmas?” According to the report, Los Angeles County is the “homeless capital of the nation,” with an estimated 73,000 homeless. Yet only 17 percent of the county’s homeless are able to find shelter, the lowest percentage of any major metropolitan area in the nation. Advocates said a major contributor is lack of accessible services. “Medical services are a tremendous need in the area of helping homeless,” said Terry Hammack, who does outreach for Whittier First Day, a 45-bed shelter and recovery center. “L.A. County provides services, but so many of them are centered in Los Angeles. We just don’t get a lot of resources out here and it’s a big problem.” Kitty Galt and her partner, Ruben Gallegos, outreach workers for Pacific Clinics in Pasadena, said they stopped counting homeless deaths at 14 over the last 24 months. Pasadena had a total of 55 deaths since 2000, according to the study. “When somebody becomes ill or has some kind of crisis, their mental health may make it impossible for them to reach out,” Galt said. “Ordinary health conditions may exacerbate a medical condition, and we may not get there in time.” The report contains seven major recommendations for the city and county to improve services to the homeless, but its major recommendation is to make permanent housing options for the homeless a regional priority. “A number of these deaths are preventable,” said Erlenbusch. “With no resources and forced to live outside, in their cars and in abandoned buildings, it’s no wonder that hundreds of homeless people die without dignity in our community every year. “This is just shameful.” Staff writer Bethania Palma contributed to this report. troy.anderson@dailynews.com (213) 974-8985160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Nearly 3,000 homeless people have died in Los Angeles County since 2000, many alone and forgotten, according to the first study of its kind by the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger & Homelessness. The study – which also lists all of the names of those who have died – was based on coroner’s records and is being formally released today, designated as National Homeless Memorial Day. The report comes as county efforts to institute a wide-ranging and comprehensive homeless shelter program have moved slowly amid funding and other complicating factors. On average, one homeless person dies every day in the county, according to the report. last_img read more


first_imgTHOUSAND OAKS – A program designed to help Ventura County sheriff’s deputies in emergency situations communicate with non-English speakers has inspired two pocket-sized Spanish handbooks for firefighters and police. In a county with a rapidly growing Spanish-speaking population, the Sheriff’s Department has been helping bridge the communication gap between Hispanics and law enforcement for nearly a decade. Thanks to a Spanish course, which began in 1996 and is taught by David Dees, hundreds of deputies have learned the second language. “It’s a humbling experience,” Dees said. “Like everything in life, it’s my contribution. It makes me feel good because what I’m doing is saving lives.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson The success of the department’s Spanish for Law Enforcement program inspired two books entitled “Quick Spanish for Law Enforcement,” and “Quick Spanish for Emergency Responders.” About 5,000 books were published recently, and use materials developed with the Sheriff’s Department. They are sold nationwide, in Canada and in England. “They learn basic vocabulary, key words and phrases,” Sgt. Don Aguilar said about the program. “It’s street Spanish language skills for officers. This is what you’ll encounter on the streets.” The books are authored by Dees, who also has worked with the Ventura County Fire Department and will soon be teaching a course to volunteers of the Ventura County chapter of the Red Cross. The hand-sized books are targeted at police, fire, paramedic and EMT personnel. The program, which until recently was a joint venture by Dees and his wife Colette, who died more than a year ago, helps deputies complete field interview cards and crime reports and obtain suspect descriptions. Though not required, veteran and new hires are trained in basic workplace Spanish on a beginner, intermediate or advanced level. Each course consists of 33 hours of instruction. Sgt. Tim Hagel completed the program, then took two immersion programs in Mexico and Colombia. “I didn’t speak a word of Spanish,” Hagel said. “I worked as a patrol officer in 1992 in a primarily Hispanic community. I had a difficult time communicating with these people. “I wanted to bridge that gap. It was really important to me.” There was a time when he struggled to communicate with Spanish speakers, using hand signals and pointing to make himself understood. Today, he helps other sheriff’s deputies in emergency situations communicate with Spanish speakers in the field. And he is able to better assist Hispanics. “It goes beyond communicating with people. It’s about understanding someone’s culture,” Hagel said. “It’s made a difference in my life.” Cmdr. Dennis Carpenter, Thousand Oaks police chief, said the classes helped while he was working in the narcotics unit in the late 1990s, where he often encountered Spanish speakers. “I certainly was more equipped with these tools to communicate,” he said, adding that learning commands like “Don’t talk” and “Don’t move” were vital. The program was created after the department formed a Spanish-language committee to better aid the community and ensure safety. The committee, along with Dees, who was a member, helped create the curriculum. For more information on Dees and his program go to www.spanishforpoliceandfire.com. Angie Valencia-Martinez, (805) 583-7604 angie.valencia@dailynews.com TRANSLATING TIPS Key Spanish phrases sheriff’s deputies can learn through the handbook: “Tiene un problema?” – Do you have a problem? “Necesita ayuda?” – Do you need help? “Necesita policia, bombero o ambulancia?” – Do you need the police, firefighters or ambulance? “Esta herido?” – Are you hurt? “Donde le duele?” – Where does it hurt? “Tiene alergias?” – Any allergies? 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more