News Panel: OPD Chief Resigns, Prison Realignment, and PG&E Penalty
The sudden announcement by Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan that he would step down immediately for medical reasons took everyone by surprise. A veteran of the OPD, Jordan has led the force for a turbulent 19 months, taking the reins after Chief Anthony Batts resigned. This latest shake-up leaves city leaders, the police force, and the community all battling the city's rising crime rate, in a state of shock. Assistant Chief Anthony Toribio has been appointed interim chief while a national search begins for Jordan's replacement.
Former Lt. Governor and 2014 GOP gubernatorial candidate Abel Maldonado hopes to get a measure on the November, 2014 ballot to end prison realignment. The program took effect in 2012, and shifts low level offenders to city and county supervision to save the state money. Gov. Brown is in the hot seat as a court order mandates a reduction of the prison population by more than 100,000 inmates by the end of this year. Critics say realignment and the early release of prisoners will create a public safety issue.
PG&E faces a potential $2.25 billion fine against PG&E September 9, 2010 gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno that left 8 people dead and an entire neighborhood destroyed. That's the recommendation of the Safety and Enforcement Division of the California Public Utilities Commission. If approved, the fine would be the largest ever by a state regulator. Jack Hagan, head of the Safety and Enforcement Division, has urged that "every penny of it to go toward making PG&E's system safer." PG&E Chairman and CEO Tony Earley calls the proposed fine "excessive" and insists that it would make improving the gas system much more difficult financially.
- Matthai Kuruvila, San Francisco Chronicle
- Carla Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle
- Tom Vacar, KTVU
Also on KQED.org this week ...
Drought Watch 2015: Record-Low Sierra Snowpack
The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which typically supplies nearly a third of California's water, is showing the lowest water content on record: 6 percent of the long-term average for April 1. That shatters last year's low-water mark of 25 percent (tied with 1977).
"Boomtown" History of the San Francisco Bay Area
KQED's "Boomtown" series will seek to identify what is happening in real time in the current boom, and also draw out the causes and possible solutions to the conflicts and pressures between the old and the new.