- Calif. cap-trade plan dealt blow by S.F. judge (SF Chronicle)
The California Air Resources Board violated state environmental law in 2008 when it adopted a comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gases and again last year when it passed cap-and-trade regulations, a San Francisco Superior Court judge has ruled in a tentative decision. If the decision is made final, California would be barred from implementing its ambitious plan to combat global warming until it complies with portions of the California Environmental Quality Act, though it is not yet clear what the air board would have to do to be in compliance. The state's plan, which implements AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, would reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
- Caltrain proposes shuttering half its stations (Bay Area News Group)
Caltrain officials on Thursday proposed closing up to 16 stations in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties -- turning half the rail line's stops into ghost depots, stranding thousands of riders, and leaving several huge shopping and housing centers without their prized train stops next door. The plans, unveiled at a Caltrain board meeting, come in addition to a fare hike and deep cuts first revealed last year, including eliminating all but weekday rush-hour service between San Francisco and San Jose.
- High-speed rail leaders delay release of Bay Area plans for at least a year (Bay Area News Group)
State leaders on Thursday delayed releasing key details of the Bay Area section of the California high-speed rail project and said they won't unveil information on how the tracks will run through the Peninsula until at least 2012. California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Roelof van Ark announced to board members during a meeting in Sacramento that the San Francisco-to-San Jose section of the project would take a back seat to the Central Valley.
In the most extensive effort of its kind in the Bay Area, the Valley Transportation Authority on Thursday approved a plan to give qualified homeless people in Santa Clara County free bus and light rail rides beginning in April. An estimated 3,500 people a year are expected to take advantage of the offer...People will first be screened by social service agencies to determine whether they are in a program to help them find permanent housing. Up to 1,850 transit stickers will be issued every three months, and Santa Clara County will pick up the $111,000 annual tab for the program.
PG&E's revelations this week that its natural gas pipelines "accidentally" exceeded the legal pressure limit 24 times over five years suggests the utility's gas operations are out of control, according to several pipeline experts....Other experts had never heard of a pipeline operator having so many illegal pressure hikes and said PG&E's admission raises worrisome questions about how well the company is training its employees and the condition of its gas-line equipment.
Authorities were investigating a suspicious fire early Friday morning in San Francisco's Castro District, just a day after series of fires were believed to have been intentionally set in the neighborhood, according to a fire spokeswoman. Arson investigators were on the scene of a fire at 18th and Collingwood streets that started at around 4:30 a.m. Investigators said the flames damaged a Victorian home, but the damage was minor and no injuries were reported. The fire is only a few blocks away from two building fires that appeared to have been intentionally set Thursday morning. Investigators told KTVU that it was too early to tell if the four fires were related.
The problem-plagued Oakland police radio system -- thought to be fixed -- broke down twice between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, police said. Wednesday's problems lasted for 20 minutes and occurred during a covert operation as Oakland police were assisting state narcotics agents with an investigation in East Oakland. Officers were able to communicate with each other directly, but not with dispatch.
A draft version of where city elementary school students could be assigned to attend middle school came out this week to the relief of some parents and the consternation of others. The assignments, which the San Francisco Unified School District calls “elementary-to-middle school pathways,” would replace the current lottery system that determines middle school placement. The Board of Education could vote on the new system as soon as April. If approved, it would be put in place for the 2012-13 school year.
The law firm representing defendants in the city's proposed Fruitvale gang injunctions will likely be allowed to stay on the case, despite one employee being a city council member and another advising the mayor, a judge said Thursday.
With March 1 looming as a nebulous deadline to commit the city's redevelopment dollars, Oakland leaders strained for answers this week on what the future holds and how the city should prepare. It's a challenge that cities across the state are facing in the wake of Gov. Jerry Brown's announcement that he hopes to eliminate all redevelopment agencies, a move he says would bring in $1.7 billion toward closing California's catastrophic budget gap...Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said the possible loss of redevelopment "would have the largest impact of any state budget proposal" currently on the table.
Google received more than 75,000 job applications worldwide last week, setting a record for the company as it embarks on a hiring spree. The flood of resumes topped a previous high set in May 2007 by 15 percent, said Aaron Zamost, a spokesman for the Mountain View company.
Guerrilla advertisers and city officials are in a constant war, and the latest battle was waged Thursday over sidewalk ads for Dockers, which is part of Levi Strauss and Co. After spotting the illegal graffiti advertising on sidewalks in Hayes Valley and the Mission district, City Attorney Dennis Herrera fired off a letter to Outdoor Media Group, or OMG, demanding the advertising be removed and to “desist from further sidewalk vandalism.”