From the daily archives: Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Justice Department announced today that it and the National Federation of the Blind have reached a settlement with the Sacramento Public Library Authority in Sacramento, Calif., to remedy alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).   The agreement resolves allegations that the library violated the ADA by using inaccessible Barnes & Noble NOOK electronic reader devices in a patron lending program.


Under the settlement agreement, the library will not acquire any additional e-readers for patron use that exclude persons who are blind or others with disabilities who need accessible features such as text-to-speech functions or the ability to access menus through audio or tactile options.   The library has also agreed to acquire at least 18 e-readers that are accessible to persons with disabilities.   The settlement agreement also requires the library to train its staff on the requirements of the ADA.


“Emerging technologies like e-readers are changing the way we interact with the world around us and we need to ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded from the programs where these devices are used,” said Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez.


“We are pleased that the Sacramento Public Library Authority worked so cooperatively to adopt measures that will allow patrons with disabilities to avail themselves equally of the library’s programs and services,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, Benjamin B. Wagner.


The ADA protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in the services, programs, or activities of state and local government entities.  Under title II of the ADA, state and local governments must afford individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from aids, benefits, or services provided.   For more information about the ADA, call the Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or access the ADA website at .



By Mario Conde

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors approved their final budget for Fiscal Year 2012-13 at their meeting held Monday.

After weeks of budget workshops and departments requesting augmentations the board approved a balanced budget that contemplates no layoffs or furloughs. Anticipated revenues are about $203 million while proposed expenditures are roughly $214 million, according to CEO Ralph Cordova’s report on Monday. He mentioned that $10.7 million was carried over from last fiscal year, leaving a difference of $268,000, Cordova said.

The County Board heard proposal from some departments and asked for augmentations in the budget and try to justify the increase of staff in their departments. The augmentations where approved and also the Board approved Cordova’s transfer of $4.7 million in funds from the Revenue Stabilization Fund to erase the projected deficit for this fiscal year.

Cordova said at the beginning of the budget process that the County started working on this budget  since Governor Jerry Brown sign the budget passed by the California legislature on June 15. The Governor signed a budget that includes restructuring the state’s welfare program, CalWorks. The bill would reduce the time most Californians can receive welfare from four years to two, with several exceptions.

He also reminded the Board that the budget relies heavily on the November ballot initiative that will increase sales tax for a period of five years and an increase in the state income tax on certain taxpayers. He said that failure of tax initiatives will trigger automatic cuts to programs and schools.

The Board approved the final budget with a vote of 5-0.



By Mario Conde

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors approved the Campo Verde Solar Project at a meeting held Monday.

The Campo Verde projected approved by the Board is expected to start construction very soon and be completed in 2013, creating about 250 construction jobs. San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) will purchase the project’s output under a 20-year power purchase agreement, which was approved on May 24, 2012 by the California Public Utilities Commission.

First Solar said they will construct the project using its advanced thin film PV modules that generate clean, renewable energy with no emissions, waste or water consumption during operation. The project will generate enough electricity to power approximately 50,000 average California homes, displacing 80,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking 15,000 cars off the road.

The County Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the project a couple of weeks ago and  send it to the Board for its full approval.

County Planning Director, Armando Villa, told the board that the construction and operation of the Campo Verde solar project will require the transmission of this generated electricity to the Imperial Valley Substation located south southwest of the project area. A proposed gen-tie with a height limit not to exceed 145 feet will be needed to carry this generated electricity from the project area thru BLM lands to the Imperial Valley Substation.

The project was presented and discussed at the County’s Airport Land Use Commission meetin on February of this year. The Land Use Commission reviewed the proposed application, including the variance for transmission tower height described in subsection 1.2 of the Draft Environmental Impact Report. The Commission found the proposed consistent with the 1996 Airport land use compatibility plan with no conditions. An environmental impact report was completed with mitigation measures that reduced all significant level of impact.

The Bureau of Land Management has reviewed the project area and they are in the process of completing an Environmental Assessment that requires the Campo Verde project, on the BLM portion of the project, to mitigate all impacts to less than significant level of impact.

There was little opposition to the project and the Board of Supervisors approved the project with a vote of 5-0.

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