- San Jose police change definition of 'racial profiling' (San Jose Mercury News)
Over the past four years, San Jose police investigated 150 racial profiling or other bias allegations against city cops -- yet the department's internal affairs unit did not sustain a single complaint. Now, the department is broadening its definition of profiling, and its new police chief is calling for more thorough looks into claims of biased behavior by cops. The city's independent police auditor calls it a "huge" shift in the right direction, and minority community leaders say it's about time. San Jose police changed the policy last week, making it a violation for an officer to show any biased behavior at any time during an encounter with the public.
- It might snow in San Francisco -- and here (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
After a sunny, warm stretch early this month, another cold system is bearing down on Sonoma County, bringing with it more frigid air from the Gulf of Alaska, said meteorologist Austin Cross of the National Weather Service in Monterey...“One of our forecasters is saying the snow level could go so low we could possibly see snow in downtown San Francisco, which hasn't happened since 1976...”
- Battle in Oakland as pension fund payment looms (SF Chronicle)
A battle over how to pay for a pension fund is looming as the biggest political battle in Oakland. The city in 1997 issued a bond to give itself a 15-year holiday from regularly paying into an old police and fire pension. But the pension's investments soured, and now the city will owe $46 million on July 1.
As California school districts anticipate possibly the worst budget crisis in a generation, many will try to lighten their burden by enticing older teachers into retirement. But as more and more teachers retire -- with a pension averaging 55 percent to 60 percent of salary -- they will be straining a system that already can't meet its obligations. The California State Teachers' Retirement System is sliding down a steep slope toward insolvency. The threat isn't to teachers who have retired or plan to, but to the people of California. Taxpayers, who already pick up 23 percent of CalSTRS expenses, will be increasingly burdened as the giant pension system fails to meet its obligations.
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi plans to pull papers today to declare his intent to run for sheriff in the November election. Sheriff Michael Hennessey, who has held the title since 1980, announced Friday that he won't seek re-election. Hennessey's eighth term expires in January.
Taking a cue from Silicon Valley titans like Google, Yahoo, Apple and Cisco, the Valley Transportation Authority will upgrade its no-frill express buses to make them more comfortable and worker friendly. By this time next year, 20 hybrid buses will have Wi-Fi, high back and reclining seats and bike racks. Overhead storage areas, fold-out tray tables and cup holders are also under consideration...The transit board will vote next month on the changes, which will add $45,000 to the cost of each upgraded bus. Stimulus funds covered the original $550,000 tab for each hybrid and will also be used to pay for the improvements.
Everybody has an opinion about Tasers. And when the Police Commission once again opens discussion on Wednesday night, we're probably going to hear plenty of them - loudly.
First 5 social services for young children could lose a large chunk of funding even before a possible ballot measure goes before voters under a proposal before the Legislature. Created in 1998 as part of Proposition 10's 50-cent tax increase on cigarettes, First 5 provides young children with education, health services and insurance, preschool, child abuse prevention and mental health programs. The First 5 Solano Children and Families and Commission served 20,000 young children last year.
Gas stations selling diesel fuel in San Francisco could be forced to sell biodiesel instead, if a proposal floated by a city commission gains traction. The City’s Biodiesel Access Task Force has discussed imposing a mandate that would require every diesel retailer to replace their regular diesel with B5, a biodiesel blend comprising 5 percent biodiesel — fuel made from plant oils and grease — and 95 percent regular diesel fuel. Such fuel can be used by diesel engines without any special conversion.
Fulfilling a commitment made late last month by Mayor Jean Quan, 10 Oakland police officers laid off in July officially returned to duty Monday. However, it will be at least one week for some of them and two weeks for the rest before they actually hit the streets. They must undergo some retraining, including firearms qualification and being updated on any changes to department policies, general orders and state standards since they lost their jobs.
Sixteen police officers from six Sonoma County police agencies knocked on 125 doors Sunday night in search of 99 people wanted on misdemeanor warrants. Three suspects were arrested and jailed, while nine were cited and released, Sebastopol Police Chief Jeff Weaver said Monday. The 82 other suspects weren’t found, but Weaver, who oversaw the operation, said he expects some of those will voluntarily appear in court soon, knowing that they are being sought by police.
Alvin Dworman, the owner of a Market Street building proposed as the new headquarters for Twitter, gave sharply discounted office space in the same building to former Mayor Gavin Newsom’s campaign for lieutenant governor — a political contribution valued at more than $11,000, campaign finance records show. Weeks after the gift last fall, Newsom officials aided negotiations between Twitter and Dworman by offering the Internet company a payroll tax freeze as an incentive to move into Dworman’s building, a 10,000-square-foot art deco structure at 1355 Market St. once known as the San Francisco Mart.