- PG&E says it can't satisfy order for documentation (SF Chronicle)
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. told California regulators Thursday that it will never find documents for some of its older gas pipelines, and that if the state doesn't accept "assumptions" about some pipes, the company will have to spend five years shutting them down and testing them with high-pressure water.
- Treasure Island plan approved, on to Board of Supes (SF Chronicle)
In a 4-3 vote the Planning Commission voted to approve the plan for the proposed $1.5 billion neighborhood on Treasure Island...The development has been in the works since 1997 when the Navy closed the base. The plans include 8,000 residential units, a 450-foot high-rise, robust transit and a vibrant shopping area, developers say. The three commissioners who opposed the plan said they worried it was poorly considered and would actually do more harm than good.
- Caltrain board OKs budget that keeps all trains running, all stations open (Bay Area News Group)
In a major step toward keeping all 86 of Caltrain's trains running and all stations open, the agency's board approved a conceptual operating budget with parking and fare increases -- much to the relief of Caltrain supporters who packed a meeting Thursday in San Carlos. A 25-cent fare hike and $1 parking increase are now a sure thing, but Caltrain and its riders must still wait until the Metropolitan Transportation Commission makes a final funding decision to know whether the 86-train budget will become reality. The MTC, a regional planning agency, will likely provide $3.5 million to close Caltrain's budget gap, but details haven't been finalized.
The state is taking in more money than expected as it opens income tax returns, raising hopes at the Capitol that a cash infusion could help cut California's remaining $15.4 billion deficit. If the trend holds, lawmakers could reduce the shortfall by several billion dollars with one change of the ledger.
PG&E Corp.'s embattled chief executive, Peter Darbee, will retire at the end of the month, the company reported today. His departure follows a year in which the company and its subsidiary, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., have been rocked by a series of controversies and crises, most notably the deadly explosion of a natural gas pipeline in San Bruno. Consumer advocates and several public officials had called for Darbee to step down.
Silicon Valley chief executives continue to be upbeat on the economy but decidedly gloomy about the state of the state, according to a survey released Thursday. More than half the CEOs of area companies who responded to a survey by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group said they expect to hire more employees this year. But they're worried about a number of policy issues, including state budget gridlock and public employee pension costs.
Target is coming to San Rafael. After six years of debate — and a lengthy discussion lasting well past midnight — the San Rafael City Council approved plans for a 137,000-square-foot store at 125 Shoreline Parkway in the early hours of Friday morning. The new store will be 16,000 square feet larger than Target's Novato location
Data centers -- facilities that house massive computer servers -- gobble up enormous and rapidly growing amounts of electricity. Tech companies in Silicon Valley and elsewhere are taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of their data centers by boosting energy efficiency. But many data centers are clustered in states that largely rely on coal and nuclear energy to power the electric grid. Half of the electricity generated in the United States is from coal, and greenhouse-gas emissions from coal-fired power plants are a leading cause of global warming.
A former Danville officer and a Concord private investigator pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that they conspired to set up divorcing men for drunken-driving arrests. Recently resigned Danville Officer Stephen Tanabe, 47, also pleaded not guilty to charges that he conspired to sell stolen drug evidence with former Central Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET) commander Norman Wielsch, 49, and private investigator Christopher Butler, 47, at a court appearance for the three men who became friends when they were on the Antioch force in the 1990s. Wielsch and Butler, who were charged with the drug felonies weeks before Tanabe, maintained their not guilty pleas.
The Golden Gate Bridge district opted to delay action Thursday on a proposed 10 mph bike speed limit on the span, following backlash from cyclists. Although a yearlong study on bike and pedestrian patterns on the bridge found no significant safety concerns, district officials recommended imposing the speed limit with a $100 fine for violators that is likely to be much higher when other fees are imposed. However, after hearing feedback from cycling training groups, bike coalitions, and rental companies about the flaws of the plan, a committee of the bridge district opted to table the speed limit plan until a later, unspecified, date.
That iPhones and other Apple handheld gadgets keep track of their users' movements may have been news to most users when it was publicly disclosed on Wednesday. But it wasn't news to investigators who examine cellphones and other electronic devices for clues in criminal and other legal cases. Those investigators -- and the software developers who make applications they use in their work -- have known since at least last year that the iPhone has a hidden file on it that tracks its movements. Data gleaned from the file has been used in numerous investigations since forensics experts discovered it, those experts say.
What seemed impossible just one week ago doesn't appear so far-fetched today. In an indication the National Basketball Association is seriously looking at keeping the Kings in Sacramento, NBA staffers will be in town Monday to conduct in-depth research on the region's ability to financially support the team next season, two sources close to the negotiations told The Bee on Thursday.
The Sharks moved within one victory of advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs Thursday night with a convincing 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. And Sharks coach Todd McLellan's response to a question about his team's ability to withstand a Los Angeles comeback late in the second period indicates that maybe this is the year some of the pains of past playoffs finally pay off.