- California's legislative analyst lists possible cuts without tax extension (Sacramento Bee)
The Legislative Analyst's Office provides a sobering take on how to solve the state's $26.6 billion deficit without new tax dollars in a memo released Monday. School districts would shorten the school year by a few more days, districts would increase K-3 class sizes and college tuition would soar. The state would soften its "three strikes" sentencing policy. And state workers would pay more in health care costs and face another round of two furloughs a month.
- Unable to meet enrollment goals, CSU may have to return state funds (California Watch)
The California State University system has sufficient funds to admit 30,000 more students this spring than it enrolled last fall – but it will be impossible for the 23-campus system to enroll that many, CSU officials say. In fact CSU may be forced to return funds from Sacramento intended to educate those students. That's because it is failing to meet the target set in the budget act approved by the state Legislature and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last fall – to enroll some 30,000 extra students in its winter and spring classes. As the Legislative Analyst's Office noted in a recent report, As a result, it will be difficult for them to spend all their budgeted resources.
- Silicon Valley hiring pace picks up, stabilizes (Bloomberg)
Silicon Valley employers rebounded from the recession by adding 12,300 positions last year, though the total number of jobs is only back to 2004 levels, according to an annual economic report on the region. The study, released Monday by Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network and Silicon Valley Community Foundation, also found per-capita income stabilized last year, at $62,400 - the same level as in 2005. Meanwhile, the region is still reeling from cutbacks in government jobs and programs, according to the report.
Students applying to jam-packed California State University don't always get into their campus of choice, but they've always been able to count on priority admission to their local CSU. Until now. San Diego State University became the first of 22 CSU campuses to turn away qualified local students this school year, eliminating the priority treatment locals had long enjoyed and instead taking the most qualified applicants from across California. Concerned that San Diego State's action will lead to similar access problems across the cash-strapped CSU system, California's Legislative Analyst's Office is calling for the state to guarantee the right of all qualified students to enroll in their local CSU campus.
(On Wednesday) the Valley Transportation Authority begins selling Clipper cards to riders on its bus and light rail system, the last major transit line in the region to join the program. The distinctive blue and white cards are now being used on Caltrain, BART, AC Transit, SamTrans, San Francisco Muni, Golden Gate Ferry and Golden Gate Transit, allowing passengers to transfer without digging in their pockets to buy a second ticket. Clipper users set up a prepaid account, and off they ride.
A judge will begin hearing evidence Wednesday on whether the city can restrict the activities of 40 people it says are members of the Nortenos street gang. Judge Robert Freeman will decide whether to issue a preliminary injunction that would temporarily order some or all of the defendants to obey curfews and refrain from gathering together or wearing certain clothes inside a proposed "safety zone." City Attorney John Russo announced the injunction lawsuit in October, calling it a potentially valuable tool against a gang authorities say is responsible for half the violent crime in the Fruitvale district.
The five-decade-long quest to bring BART to San Jose cleared a major hurdle Monday, when the Federal Transit Administration recommended that it receive $130 million in federal funds this year, clearing the way for construction to begin in 2012.
Now, it must clear congressional Republicans, who are promising to slash billions out of President Barack Obama's $128 billion transportation budget, also released Monday.
The $3.73 trillion budget that President Obama requested Monday eliminates funding for the C-17 cargo plane built in Southern California and trims a range of domestic programs, but otherwise tracks with California's interests in high-speed rail, clean energy and research. However, the administration's proposal to slash by more than half aid to states for incarcerating illegal immigrants drew howls from the Brown administration.
...For the past 10 years, same-sex marriage activists have shown up (at the San Francisco County Clerk's Office) - usually with news cameras in tow - to request marriage licenses...On Monday, (the) annual visitors broke from ritual. In a coordinated act of civil disobedience, nine couples requested licenses and then sat on the floor. They left only after they were cuffed in plastic ties by sheriff's deputies and escorted out of the building.
Separate efforts to restore San Joaquin River salmon runs and protect the delta smelt could be in jeopardy if congressional Republicans are successful in gutting funding for the programs. A House spending plan scheduled for a vote later this week could upend two decades of work on the beleaguered San Joaquin River, which until recent years was dry in some sections. Also at risk are efforts to help the smelt, whose dwindling population ignited a vicious political battle between environmentalists and farmers when a federal order cut how much water can be pumped out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
A law that would ban the sale and distribution of shark fins in California, preventing hundreds of restaurants from serving an ancient Chinese delicacy, was introduced Monday, igniting an emotional debate between conservationists and Asian leaders. The bill, introduced by Assemblymen Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, and Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, would halt all California trade in shark fins, which are used to make Chinese shark fin soup, a tradition at banquets among Chinese people around the world.
The Bay Citizen’s Bike Accident Tracker showed that in the past two years, cars were more often at fault in car-versus-bike crashes by a 60 to 40 percent margin. In the collisions that police say were caused by bikes, the leading causes were: speeding, in 120 cases; blowing red lights, 64; and rolling through stop signs and crosswalks, 44.
After nearly a dozen workers committed suicide at a contract manufacturing facility in China last year, Apple sent then-chief operating officer Tim Cook, now its acting CEO, to visit Foxconn International Holdings and press the company to improve working conditions there, Apple said in a report Monday. Cook made the trip in June. Details of the visit were contained in the company's annual survey of contractors and suppliers.