- Oakland's Jack London Aquatic Center could close Feb. 28 (Oakland Tribune)
The future of Oakland's Jack London Aquatic Center, which serves everyone from rowing crews to low-income youths, is in limbo after the nonprofit group that manages the facility announced without warning it would hand over management to Oakland because of a lack of funding. If the Oakland Parks and Recreation Department decides not to take over the facility at 115 Embarcadero, thousands of Oakland youths and adults could be left without the means to experience Oakland's estuary from a sailboat, canoe or kayak. Club crews could be left without a place to store their boats.
- Crowds come out to Quan's first town hall meeting (Oakland Tribune)
More than 225 West Oakland residents came out Saturday to tell Mayor Jean Quan their concerns about crime, education, the environment and a host of other issues. The 2 ½-hour session at West Oakland Middle School was the first of five such meetings Quan has promised to hold around the city in her first 100 days in office. She also pledged to hold at least one per year in each of the city's seven council districts.
- PG&E spiked East Bay line despite fears of failure (SF Chronicle)
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. subjected an East Bay natural-gas transmission line to an intentional pressure spike in June 2009, despite records showing the utility was concerned the aged pipe might have been so poorly manufactured that there was a "high likelihood" portions could fail, company records show
New city records show that former Police Chief Heather Fong - who retired in 2009 - received a grand total of $528,595 in her final year. The goodbye check included her final year base pay of $187,875, plus $303,653 for unused vacation, sick and comp time, plus $37,067 in other pay..."We have no discretion on vacation payouts. They are mandatory under state law," said city human resources spokesperson Jennifer Johnson.
Oakland City Attorney John Russo has delivered another blow to the city's plans to tax and license large-scale cannabis farms: He's withdrawn his legal advice and told the City Council to hire their own attorney. Russo's letter, dated Thursday and addressed to the mayor and each council member, cited California rule 3-700 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct, which defines the rules under which an attorney may terminate a client...Russo did not specify which particular section of Rule 3-700 he was using, but section C (1) states that an attorney may withdraw legal representation if "the client seeks to pursue an illegal course of conduct."
Thousands of California parents leaped at the chance to provide health coverage to their grown and uninsured children when a provision in the federal health care law took effect last fall. Now some of those parents, such as Barry Demant of Folsom, are finding a hidden cost to the new benefit: a bigger tax bill. A loophole in California's tax law requires the state to levy income taxes on the premiums employers pay to provide health insurance to the non-dependent children of their workers.
...Over the weekend, the Bay Area set 24 new record-high temperatures -- 11 on Sunday, 13 on Saturday. "Some are being broken. Some are being shattered, and Oakland is one of those being obliterated," said Steve Anderson, forecaster for the National Weather Service in Monterey.
The Huffington Post, which began in 2005 with a meager $1 million investment and has grown into one of the most heavily visited news Web sites in the country, is being acquired by AOL in a deal that creates an unlikely pairing of two online media giants...Arianna Huffington, the cable talk show pundit, author and doyenne of the political left, will take control of all of AOL’s editorial content as president and editor in chief of a newly created Huffington Post Media Group.
As if hosting the largest gathering of people on the planet weren't enough of an intriguing proposition, backers of a campaign to bring the 2020 world fair to Silicon Valley have come up with some estimates of the economic windfall that would gild the region during the six-month event -- and the numbers are big. Nearly $6 billion in overall economic activity. Twenty-five million visitors. Forty-two thousand jobs. And nearly $450 million in taxes to local and state coffers.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has spent more than $4.1 million opposing the Marin Energy Authority's venture into selling electricity, according to a report submitted by the state Public Utilities Commission to the Legislature last week. That spending came in addition to more than $5.5 million PG&E has spent opposing similar efforts in San Francisco and the San Joaquin Valley since 2007, according to figures the utility supplied to the commission.
Nearly five years ago, a San Jose federal judge went on a highly unusual expedition to San Quentin's aging death chamber, eventually finding that the converted eerie green gas chamber was outdated and replete with potential problems for carrying out executions. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel will return to San Quentin, this time for a tour of the state's new and untested death chamber, built for nearly $900,000 and designed solely for lethal injections. With the visit, California will take a step toward resolving whether it can resume executions on a death row now brimming with nearly 720 inmates.
Sen. Joe Simitian typically has about 90 school administrators, school board members, parents and other educators show up for his semi-annual "Education Updates." Saturday, Simitian got double that number, as the Palo Alto Democrat warned educators that schools face a $5 billion budget cut if Gov. Jerry Brown's budget compromise fails. A budget debacle of that magnitude, Simitian told a roomful of about 180 frustrated and worried educators and parents who attended the meeting in Palo Alto from Santa Clara, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, would amount to roughly $800 for each one of California's approximately 6 million school children in the coming school year.
Coroners in Northern California are farming out thousands of cases each year to a private firm whose doctors have dissected the wrong body and have given inaccurate testimony that helped send an innocent person to jail. Doctors with Forensic Medical Group Inc. routinely handle caseloads that leaders in the field of forensic pathology call risky, conducting as many as three autopsies in an hour or nine autopsies in a single shift, an investigation by ProPublica, Frontline, NPR, the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, and California Watch has found.
A University of California, Berkeley, student from the Midwest felt she couldn’t afford the annual $30,000 in student fees, including $20,000 in out-of-state tuition. She posted that she was looking for a husband on a Facebook page titled "In State Tuition for Out of Staters!"...(E)conomically, in-state students have a huge advantage over their non-Californian counterparts, for whom tuition costs an additional $22,000 per year. The financial stakes are so high that some out-of-state students are employing an unusual technique to meet the University of California’s strict residency requirements and acquire the coveted in-state tuition: they’re getting married.