- Children without proof they got a whooping cough booster shot may have to miss class in fall (San Jose Mercury News)
It's not even summer break yet, but Melinda Landau already is grimacing at the thought of keeping thousands of students home next school year if they fail to turn in the latest state requirement for anyone entering seventh grade on up: proof they've gotten the whooping cough booster vaccine. "If school started tomorrow, only 4,500 of our 16,000 kids would get to start," said Landau, the manager for health and family support programs at San Jose Unified School District. And with public health officials scrambling to keep up after the worst whooping cough outbreak in 63 years, school officials from Gilroy to Palo Alto are urging parents to get their children vaccinated soon -- to keep the highly contagious disease from spreading and to meet the new state law, which begins next school year.
- Two dead, four wounded at Oakland restaurant (Oakland Tribune)
A gunman opened fire in a Jack London Square restaurant Monday morning, instantly killing two patrons and wounding four others, police said. One of the wounded was in grave condition, and the others are expected to recover. One of the men killed was a 26-year-old Oakland resident. His name was not released pending notification of relatives. Police were trying to confirm the names of the other victims. The shooting happened about 12:45 a.m. Monday inside Sweet Jimmie's, 311 Broadway. The restaurant has no security.
- California voters support tax hikes to help close the state's budget gap, poll shows (LA Times)
California voters agree with Gov. Jerry Brown that tax increases should help close the state budget deficit, and they want to vote on his plan for raising the revenue, according to a new Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California poll. The Democratic governor has been traveling the state to tout his proposal for a balance of spending reductions and tax increases since it stalled in the Legislature last month amid a bitter battle with Republicans. He had wanted an election in June on a renewal of several tax increases that will have expired by July 1, but he now hopes for a vote in the fall.
While AT&T long ago upgraded its Internet infrastructure in other California cities, it bypassed San Francisco in 2008 when its plan met with resistance. Now the telecommunications giant is trying again, but this time after a lot more community outreach to soften the opposition. The company wants to install 726 4-foot-tall boxes around San Francisco — down from 850 the first time around — to bring customers digital TV, high-speed Internet and digital home-phone service. Nonetheless, its proposal is causing a disconnect with some community groups.
Hundreds of part-time elected officials throughout the Bay Area received full-time health care benefits in 2010 at taxpayer expense, with individual policies sometimes costing tens of thousands of dollars, according to government compensation data acquired by Bay Area News Group and published on its websites Sunday. Several officials with multiple government positions double-dipped on health coverage, receiving two taxpayer-funded policies, the data show, and at one small school district in San Jose, the cost of health coverage provided to an elected official was more than four times higher than the cost of insurance provided to each rank-and-file employee.
(The) question of how best to rein in pensions for city workers...could be a factor in an unpredictable mayoral election. Candidates who support curbs on skyrocketing pension and health care costs could alienate labor unions, whose endorsements they covet.
(BART) is beginning a monthslong survey of riders today to gauge what they want in a BART seat. Participants can tour a "seat lab" and try out different options, including seats of varying widths and heights. Afterward, riders will be asked to fill out a written survey that asks about seating preferences as well as more general train issues, such as how best to accommodate bikes and luggage, and how BART should convey information to passengers.
Visitors to Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco are taking political action to help protect the species of sharks that have long been a focus of aquarium exhibits. The aquarium, an affiliate of the nonprofit Bay Institute, last Friday set up scores of placards throughout its Fisherman’s Wharf exhibition spaces urging visitors to support Assembly Bill 376, which would outlaw the sale of shark fins in California.
Three decades after being sentenced to death for a San Jose liquor store murder, Marvin Pete Walker Jr. may have gotten his ticket off death row and perhaps out of San Quentin altogether. In a recent ruling, an Oakland federal judge set aside Walker's 1980 murder conviction and death sentence, concluding that he had been improperly shackled in front of the jury throughout his trial, tainting the verdict and violating legal precedent barring the shackling of defendants without exceptional circumstances. The ruling means that one of San Quentin's longest-serving death row inmates could be spared execution or even freed.
Contra Costa Supervisor Mary Piepho is urging local educators to explore the idea of combining five small school districts in far East County to form a single, unified agency as a way to save money. Piepho, of Discovery Bay, will hold a private meeting Tuesday with superintendents and school board members to kick around the idea of merging the K-8 Brentwood, Byron, Oakley and Knightsen school districts with Liberty Union High School District.
A Democratic state legislator who vowed to better protect California's 58,000 foster children by opening up the secretive dependency courts governing their lives now faces opposition from the very youths his bill aims to champion. Declaring that "children need sunshine to thrive and so does our dependency system," West Hollywood Assemblyman Mike Feuer is pushing a bill that would bring California in line with a growing number of states that have taken the foster care courts out of the shadows. Assembly Bill 73, set for a key committee hearing Tuesday, proposes testing open courts for four years in three of California's 58 counties, including Los Angeles. If the pilot program proves successful, the courts would be opened statewide. But the California Youth Connection -- the only advocacy group of its kind in the nation made up of current and former foster youths -- recently announced it would oppose the bill...
Marin homeowners can now qualify for rebates of more than $4,000 if they make energy efficiency improvements to their houses. The rebates are being provided as part of a new statewide energy efficiency program, Energy Upgrade California, which makes use of state and federal funding. The county of Marin is also providing additional incentives of up to $750 per home, and Marin Clean Energy customers will be eligible for an additional $500 incentive.
When it comes to their poor showing in the first period of each game in this playoff series, the Sharks are better at explaining what isn't the problem than pinning down why they have been outscored 8-1 by the Los Angeles Kings before the first break. "It wasn't a question of not being ready, of not being focused, not working hard," defenseman Dan Boyle said after San Jose gave up three first-period goals in Game 5. "The work was there, the preparation was there -- it was just a couple dumb mistakes, and it was in our net three times."