- Federal plan would ban, leash dogs in many parks (SF Chronicle)
Dog owners in the Bay Area will get their chance Friday to chew over a voluminous management plan for man's best friend on Golden Gate National Recreation Area land - a proposal that would require dogs to be leashed in many areas where they once ran free and would ban them entirely from other areas. The preferred alternative outlined in the new 2,400-page document says park officials should keep dogs out of parts of San Francisco's Crissy Field, Ocean Beach and Fort Funston. They would be banned entirely at Muir Beach, a decades-old hound haven in Marin County.
- Oakland to order gang injunction study (Oakland Tribune)
Opponents of both enacted and proposed gang injunctions in the city cheered Tuesday night when the public safety committee asked police and the city attorney to answer the community's sharpest worries about the injunctions' impact. Councilmember and committee chair Pat Kernighan (Chinatown/Lake Merritt) asked Oakland police and City Attorney John Russo, who have partnered in both injunctions, to file a report addressing, among other things, how much the injunctions are costing, whether the people named in the injunctions have come under any added danger as a result and what the existing injunction's impacts have been thus far in North Oakland.
- Gov. Jerry Brown's budget may hit legal roadblock (SF Chronicle)
Cutting various state programs as proposed this week by Gov. Jerry Brown could prove more difficult than anticipated after the Legislative Analyst's Office said Wednesday that it might take a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to approve the cuts.
Consumers worried about the potential health effects of PG&E's SmartMeters vowed Wednesday to continue their grass-roots fight against the wireless devices, with one group of activists calling the utility's installation of the meters "a giant experiment on the population." Last week, the Marin County Board of Supervisors approved a one-year moratorium on installation at the behest of residents concerned that the meters, which currently are being rolled out throughout PG&E's vast Northern California service territory, could cause brain cancer and other ailments. The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors passed a similar moratorium Tuesday.
San Jose's troubled Mexican American Community Services Agency has sued its former chief executive, financial officer, accountant and unnamed other staffers over alleged financial misappropriation that has been the subject of a yearlong criminal probe. The case is set for a hearing Jan. 25, but recent MACSA court filings suggest a trial is a long way off because of the "complex accounting and factual issues" and unresolved criminal investigation into the alleged diversion of more than $1 million promised for employees' retirement toward operating expenses.
Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal this week to eliminate redevelopment agencies in California could reshape San Jose's chronic budget battles, putting money set aside for projects like a proposed ballpark into the same pot as the funds to pay cops, firefighters and librarians... City Attorney Rick Doyle said that in addition to whatever property taxes might flow to the city's general fund if the Legislature goes along with Brown's plan, the assets of San Jose's redevelopment agency -- a legally separate entity that reports to the City Council -- would be transferred directly to the city and potentially freed from restrictions on how redevelopment money can be spent.
Mountain bikers have a new trail loop to stretch out on, and hikers will encounter new rolling woodland hills to enjoy, thanks to the addition of 97.5 acres of land to the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve. The Peninsula Open Space Trust this week announced the purchase of ranch land from the family of the late Jack H. Silva, of Santa Clara, for $3.09 million. The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, a public agency, is managing the land and aims to buy it from the Peninsula Open Space Trust, a private nonprofit, later this year.
Ninety students and community members debated Tuesday night the possible return of the Reserve Officer Training Corps program to Stanford University some 40 years after the military program was forced off campus. The Stanford University Ad Hoc Committee on ROTC, a 10-member group of students and faculty, was asked by administrators “to investigate Stanford's role in preparing students for leadership in the military.” Last night’s town hall debate was part of the process.
An explanation and an apology were issued in a letter from former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the family of a murder victim, but it is only causing more pain for a Bay Area family. In it, the former governor explains why he commuted the sentence of a high-ranking politician's son. Schwarzenegger said he was so sorry that the commutation of Esteban Nunez caused this family more pain. The family though calls this letter a public relations stunt, a joke, and damage control - now they're talking about a lawsuit.
The number of Bay Area homes that were in some stage of foreclosure fell by almost 5 percent in 2010, a better showing than what transpired last year at the national level. The improvement may be an encouraging sign locally in the 4-year-old foreclosure crisis, but what happens with unemployment, the housing market and the slowly improving economy could bring a new wave of foreclosures in 2011, analysts said.
Twitter Inc. is quickly outgrowing its San Francisco headquarters and has considered moving out of the city, possibly to Brisbane. But San Francisco officials have made keeping Twitter in the city a top priority and are proposing payroll tax breaks and other incentives that could make the popular microblogging service a catalyst for revitalizing the Central Market Street area into a digital and social-media business hub.
Most of the members of a shadowy investor group that agreed to finance the sale of tony state office buildings last year appear to have dropped out of the deal, and those that remain are tight-lipped about their involvement in the transaction, which is being challenged in court as an illegal gift of state assets to a group with political pull in Sacramento.