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Found 5 results

  1. California Cities Face Bankruptcy Curbs By BOBBY WHITE MAY 28, 2009 As California seeks more funds from its cash-strapped cities and counties to close a $21 billion budget deficit, some state legislators are pushing a plan that could compound municipalities' pain by making it tougher for them to file for bankruptcy. The bill would require a California municipality seeking Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection to first obtain approval from a state commission. That contrasts with the state's current bankruptcy process, which allows municipalities to speedily declare bankruptcy without any state oversight so that they can quickly restructure their finances. The bill, introduced in January, has passed one committee vote and could reach a final vote by mid-July. The bill was sparked by the bankruptcy filing last year of Vallejo, Calif., just north of San Francisco. Vallejo's city leaders partly blamed work contracts with police and firefighters for pushing the city into bankruptcy, and won permission from a bankruptcy court in March to scrap its contract with the firefighters' union. That spurred the California Professional Firefighters to push for statewide legislation to curtail bankruptcy, said Carroll Willis, the group's communications director. "What we don't want is for cities to use bankruptcy as a negotiating tactic rather than a legit response to fiscal issues," he said, adding that he worries cities may work in concert to rid themselves of union contracts by declaring bankruptcy. If the bill passes, it could hurt cities and counties by lengthening the time before they can declare bankruptcy. That creates a legal limbo during which a municipality is more vulnerable to creditors. The proposed state bankruptcy commission would be staffed by four state legislators, which some critics worry could politicize the bankruptcy process. "This bill is impractical," said John Moorlach, a supervisor in Orange County, Calif., which filed for bankruptcy in 1994. "In many instances, haste is important. If you can't meet payroll but have to delay seeking protection, what do you do?" California towns and counties face a catalog of troubles. Earlier this month, voters rejected five budget measures, sending the state deficit to $21 billion. To overcome the gap, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed borrowing $2 billion from municipalities, using a 2004 state law that lets California demand loans of 8% of property-tax revenue from cities, counties and special districts. But that proposal lands as California municipalities are already facing steep declines in tax revenue because of the recession. Dozens are staring at huge deficits, including Pacific Grove and Stockton, which have publicly said they are exploring bankruptcy. Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, a Democrat who introduced the bankruptcy bill, said the initiative is needed to protect the credit rating of California and its ability to borrow and sell bonds. Mr. Mendoza added that he wants to avoid bankruptcy's repercussions on surrounding communities by offering a system that examines all of a municipality's options before filing for bankruptcy. "Municipalities should have a checks and balance system in place based on the fact that all economies are interconnected," he said. Dwight Stenbakken, deputy executive director for the California League of Cities, a nonprofit representing more than 400 cities, said the group is lobbying against the bill because "there's nothing a state commission can bring to the process to make this better." Write to Bobby White at [email protected]
  2. High tech US firms outsource to Montreal Tue, 2008-11-11 06:03. David Cohen An IT recruitment agency in Montreal says there has been a spike in the number of American companies crossing the border into Canada -- especially Montreal -- to do their software development and to save money. Kovasys Technology cites the unstable economy in the US, and massive layoffs. It says more and more companies are deciding to save money and move their IT operations to a cheaper but not out of the way location, and for many, that means Montreal. Quebec introduced subsidies for high tech companies less than a year ago.
  3. http://www.citylab.com/navigator/2016/02/should-the-law-step-in-to-outlaw-pedestrian-cellphone-use/462669/?utm_source=SFFB From The Atlantic CityLab Officials Keep Trying, and Failing, to Outlaw Distracted Walking A proposed bill in Hawaii is the latest in a doomed line of legislative attempts to deal with pedestrians on their cell phones. EILLIE ANZILOTTI @eillieanzi Feb 15, 2016 4 Comments Image Lori Foxworth/Flickr Lori Foxworth/Flickr You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’d say that texting and walking mix well. New York’s (sadly fictitious) Department of Pedestrian Etiquette listed “walking with your face in a map or mobile device,” among its violations. Beyond the annoyance factor, it’s a health risk: 2010 data show that at least 1,500 people a year wound up in the emergency room after taking to the streets on their phones. The Pew Research Center has found that 53 percent of adult cell phone users have bumped into something as a result of distracted walking. And if you still don’t see the hazard, consider the La Crescenta, California, man who nearly texted himself straight into a bear. Yet people keep doing it. And when common sense fails, the law steps in. Or, at least, tries to. A bill introduced in the Hawaii House of Representatives at the end of January would ban pedestrians from crossing a street, road, or highway while using a mobile electronic device. The House Committee on Transportation deferred the bill on Wednesday, bringing to mind a similar ban proposed by the Honolulu City Council in 2011, which never reached approval. Legislative attempts to curtail pedestrian cellphone use do not have very successful track record. Carl Kruger, a former state senator from New York, introduced a proposal in 2007 that would have barred the use of electronics in intersections at the risk of a $100 fine. “Government has an obligation to protect its citizenry,” he said. The bill failed. Similarly, a 2011 Arkansas proposal to outlaw wearing headphones in both ears while walking went nowhere. (Studies have shown that, relative to texting, music isn’t even that great of a distraction.) Jimmy Jeffres, the senator behind the bill, knew it wouldn’t pass but introduced it anyway to raise awareness of the issue. "You might not get the full effect of the Boston Symphony Orchestra with one ear,” he told the Associated Press, “but you at least will be aware of your surroundings." Those lackluster outcomes didn’t stop the Utah Transit Authority from trying to slap a $50 fee on pedestrians using their phones, headphones, and other devices while crossing Salt Lake City’s light rail tracks in 2012. But the ordinance never became statewide law. Craig Frank, a Republican representative who opposed the bill, said at the time: “I never thought the government needed to cite me for using my cellphone in a reasonable manner.” (AP Photo/Ben Margot) Distracted driving laws have had a considerably easier time making it through the legislature; 46 states ban texting and 14 ban hand-held phone use entirely. But attempts to monitor how people conduct themselves while walking (or, for that matter, riding a bike) frustrate safety advocates who view pedestrians and cyclists as the most vulnerable city street users. Numerous states have proposed public awareness campaigns to direct pedestrian attention away from their phone screens and back toward their livelihoods; California’s 2014 campaign implores: “Stay Alert. Stay Alive.” Some researchers have become doubtful that such campaigns can work. Corey Basch of William Patterson University, co-author of a recent report on pedestrian distractedness at five Manhattan intersection, found that “Don’t Walk” signs failed to affect those distracted by their devices; nearly half of observed walkers who crossed against the light were looking at their phones, putting them at a greater risk, she said, than those who were paying attention to their surroundings. Consequently, she’s not sure pedestrians would heed—let alone notice—additional signage encouraging them to watch out for themselves. “The urgency to always be in touch and the fear of missing out on something has grown so strong I'm not even sure they're aware of how dangerous it is," Basch told NJ.com. sent via Tapatalk
  4. http://www.moneyville.ca/article/952333--plastic-100-bills-here-this-fall-20s-10s-to-follow?bn=1