- Jerry Brown recasts tax push, targeting California's 'wall of debt' (Sacramento Bee)
With state revenues rising, Gov. Jerry Brown reframed his call for tax extensions Monday, saying they are still necessary to help the state whittle down an accumulated "wall of debt." The Democratic governor announced that California can count on $6.6 billion in surprise tax revenues through June 2012, thanks to more money flowing into state coffers this year and a higher growth expectation for next year.
- PG&E under-spent on pipeline replacement program (SF Chronicle)
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. under-spent its state-authorized budget for replacing aging natural gas pipelines by $183 million from 1987 to 1999, and the California Public Utilities Commission doesn't know what happened to the extra money, a member of Congress said Monday. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, received a vague response when she asked the state agency to account for how PG&E had spent the money, said her district director, Richard Steffen.
- Legislature OKs six state worker contracts (SF Chronicle)
The state Assembly approved six contracts covering more than 50,000 state workers Monday on a largely party line vote, ending a debate over whether Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown went far enough in seeking concessions from government employees, in particular the powerful prison guards union.
The future of a hotly contested gang injunction targeting 40 men accused of being active Norteños in the Fruitvale district could be at stake in Tuesday's City Council meeting. Several decisions are on the table, but perhaps most important is the money -- the council will take its first direct stand on the issue by voting whether the city attorney or Police Department are allowed to spend any more money on either of the two gang injunctions. There are two cases: one standing injunction naming 15 gang members in North Oakland, and one in the Fruitvale district awaiting a judge's partial decision on whether some of the 40 defendants are active in the Norteños street gang.
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, separated after she learned he had fathered a child more than a decade ago — before his first run for office — with a longtime member of their household staff. Shriver moved out of the family's Brentwood mansion earlier this year, after Schwarzenegger acknowledged the paternity. The staff member worked for the family for 20 years, retiring in January.
The San Francisco Giants will become the first professional sports team to jump into the burgeoning anti-homophobia campaign with an upbeat "It Gets Better" video designed to bring hope to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender young people. While celebrities, politicians and everyday people have posted more than 10,000 "It Gets Better" videos to YouTube to build awareness of the continuing problem of gay suicide and anti-gay bullying, no teams in the pro sports world have stepped forward to produce a video.
Bryan Stow, the Giants fan who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a beating outside Dodger Stadium more than six weeks ago, was flown from Los Angeles to San Francisco General Hospital on Monday, bringing him closer to relatives and friends. The goal, hospital officials said, is to prepare the Santa Cruz resident for another move, to a long-term rehabilitation center. But two weeks after he was taken off sedatives that induced a coma, the 42-year-old paramedic and father of two remains unconscious and in critical condition.
The Taxi Advisory Council, a group made up of taxi drivers and cab company representatives, voted Monday afternoon to send a proposed fare increase to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors. The proposal would raise the “flag drop” — the initial, flat fee charged whenever a ride begins — by 40 cents to $3.50. The rates for one-fifth of a mile of driving and one minute of waiting time would each go up by 10 cents to 55 cents. A controversial surcharge for passengers who call for a taxi, rather than flagging one down, was not included in the recommendations. Nor was a fuel surcharge. Both had been floated as possibilities in recent news reports.
When former state Sen. Carole Migden suffered an election defeat as an incumbent legislator in 2008, she soon found a better-paying government job. Former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed her to the Integrated Waste Management Board, which is charged with cutting landfill waste. And after that board was disbanded in January 2010 to save money, Schwarzenegger appointed Migden to the Agricultural Labor Relations Board. The San Francisco Democrat now earns $128,109 a year to attend two meetings a month. Migden's qualifications? She spent nearly two decades in local and state elected positions. She is also a longtime friend of Schwarzenegger’s former chief of staff, Susan Kennedy...The sheer multitude of state boards and commissions — by last count there were more than 300 — suggests that the state is financing a sprawling bureaucracy that in some cases is of dubious value, critics say.
Farmworker advocates got a big, but unsurprising, win Monday when the state Legislature approved a bill that would let agricultural workers organize more easily -- and, supporters say, protect the vulnerable population from abuse. Now, the question is whether Gov. Jerry Brown will sign the controversial measure, which is opposed by the powerful agricultural industry. Measures identical to SB104, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, have passed both houses of the Legislature numerous times in years past, but were vetoed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican. The proposal would give agricultural workers the right to create a union through what's known as a "majority signup election" process (called "card-check" by opponents).
Target will build a 137,500-square-foot store at the Shoreline Center in East San Rafael after the City Council reaffirmed its divided vote on the store Monday night. After about 10 community members spoke, the council voted 3-2 to approve the store, as it did last month. Councilmen Greg Brockbank and Damon Connolly again cast the dissenting votes. The vote brought to a close six years of debate over the big-box store, which will employ an estimated 200 people and include an expanded grocery section.
Just before Gov. Jerry Brown released his May budget revision Monday, an East Bay lawmaker touted her bill to raise taxes on the richest 1 percent of California's residents by 1 percentage point -- a move she said would bring in $2.3 billion per year. Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, said at a news conference outside the state office building on Clay Street that she knew she wouldn't get any Republican votes for AB 1130 when it was heard by the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee. In fact, the committee passed the bill Monday night, with all Democrats supporting it and all Republicans opposing it.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a bid Monday by five former U.S. captives to revive their lawsuit accusing a Bay Area flight-planning company of arranging for the CIA to send them to countries where they were tortured. The men said in their suit that they had been tortured in overseas prisons as terrorism suspects. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered the suit dismissed in September, agreeing with the Obama administration that the case could threaten national security.
Calling it the biggest they have seen, Oakland police said Monday that an identity theft operation that manufactured phony checks, IDs and credit cards has been shut down. Officials said there are potentially thousands of victims all over the Bay Area and in other states and the possibility of an untold amount of monetary loss.
Federal investigators have questioned a San Ramon officer caught in a corruption probe that surfaced with the sale of confiscated drugs and has widened to include allegations of false arrests and prostitution, according to several sources with knowledge of the development. It is unclear why the FBI got in touch this weekend with 38-year-old Louis Lombardi, who is on administrative leave from the San Ramon Police Department after being arrested May 4 on five felony charges that he sold drugs to confidential informants and took cash, drugs and guns from police seizures.
For months, the conventional wisdom around Silicon Valley has gone something like this: "All we need is a few big social media companies to go public, and the IPO floodgates will open for all kinds of other companies, and it'll be happy days again." Now LinkedIn, a social networking site for professionals, is getting set to launch the valley's biggest IPO in years. Its debut Thursday is sure to be closely watched because social heavyweights Facebook, Twitter, Groupon and Zynga are also expected to file for public offerings in the near future.