- Jean Quan's tax plan riles Oakland library backers (SF Chronicle)
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has proposed cutting 14 of the city's 18 libraries, including a venerated African American museum and library, unless unions slash their pay or voters pass an $11.2 million parcel tax. The proposal has riled library supporters, who have come to council chambers en masse to demand that the council place the tax on the ballot.
- Promised pay hikes not in Mayor Ed Lee’s budget for San Francisco (SF Examiner)
Mayor Ed Lee is counting on police, firefighters and nurses to give up their total $23 million worth of raises next year to help close The City’s budget deficit. When Lee unveils his budget proposal Wednesday, there will be no funding for these pay bumps, even though labor unions have yet to agree to give them up.
- S.F. budget season expected to be less turbulent (SF Chronicle)
Substantial cuts will still be a reality when Mayor Ed Lee rolls out his first budget Wednesday. Just don't expect widespread layoffs, closed fire stations or a month of political jousting between the mayor and the Board of Supervisors, culminating in a late-night budget deal before the fiscal year starts July 1. Better-than-expected tax revenue in a slowly rebounding economy has blunted the need for the most draconian cuts as the mayor closes a $306 million deficit, city officials say.
A 57-year-old man drowned Monday afternoon after walking fully clothed into the surf at an Alameda beach and wading in the chilly bay water for nearly an hour, authorities said...Witnesses said Alameda police and fire crews responded to the scene quickly, but watched from the shore as the man bobbed in the water. According to a statement released by the police Monday evening, "(the) Alameda Fire Department does not currently have, and is not certified, in land-based water rescues. The city of Alameda primarily relies on the United States Coast Guard for these types of events."
Midway through a review of hundreds of potentially tainted DUI cases, Santa Clara County prosecutors have dropped charges in one case and found only a small percentage of others so far that may have to be dismissed or wiped off the driver's record because of a faulty breathalyzer. The special review of 858 files is continuing and could turn up more problematic cases than 42 -- or 5 percent -- identified so far. But attorneys with the county Public Defender's Office say they don't expect to see a big increase. If the past is any indication, prosecutors most likely have corroborating evidence in most of the other cases, including confirmation from a second test using equipment at the police station. The average blood-alcohol concentration in evidence collected countywide last year was 0.19, far above the legal limit of 0.08.
(This Memorial Day) carries a special significance (San Francisco native Paul Goercke, an) 84-year-old World War II veteran said. Not because it marks the 70th anniversary of the U.S. entering the Second World War, but because it is the first Memorial Day since Congress repealed the "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning openly gay and lesbian soldiers from serving in the military. Goercke, who is gay, said he was happy to stand with hundreds of people at the National Cemetery in the Presidio Monday and honor the sacrifice of America's soldiers. He also wanted to celebrate what has changed.
The entire length of a Golden Gate Bridge sidewalk will close for several months starting Tuesday for a retrofitting construction project, bridge district officials said. The entire west sidewalk will close Tuesday and remain closed through September as part of a seismic retrofit construction project. Bicycles and pedestrians will share the east sidewalk, with 24-hour access for bicyclists and sunrise-to-sunset use permitted for pedestrians, bridge officials said. The construction work also involves replacement of the roof of the Marin Anchorage Housing. Come September, construction will move to the east sidewalk, but only a 300-foot section will be closed for four months into 2012.
In a move criticized as a ruse to reduce their liability for wildfires caused by their electrical lines, PG&E and other state utilities are seeking to weaken long-standing regulations for how sturdy their power poles need to be. The utilities want to eliminate a requirement that electrical poles be built and maintained so that they "will not fail," saying that is an unrealistic expectation. But under their proposal, "poles could fail without consequence to the operators," said Julie Halligan, deputy director of the California Public Utilities Commission's consumer protection and safety division.
Seven months after it was created, a committee of councilmembers from across Marin is set to release a report outlining sweeping changes to local government pension systems. The reforms include cutting benefits, raising employees' contribution to their pension costs and introducing private sector-style retirement plans, among others.
The effort to bridge a $21 million financial gap for the initial Sonoma-Marin commute rail line is taking on a new urgency, with the rail district getting ready to sell bonds and seek construction bids. Negotiations were held last week by the Sonoma County Transportation Authority, the Transportation Authority of Marin and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission on sharing that final piece of funding.
The last group you'd think would sway Republican voters is a public employee labor union. But David Kieffer, the political director of the Service Employees International Union, believes he has the tools and the approach to persuade GOP voters to support its highest political priority: extending the current level of sales, income and auto taxes to help close the state's $10 billion deficit. It is a multimillion-dollar experiment for the SEIU, the largest public employee union in California, with 700,000 members. Kieffer has targeted 10 Republican legislators' districts with TV, radio and newspaper ads, fliers and billboards over the past two weeks.
A Yemeni man who allegedly tried to storm the cockpit of a San Francisco-bound jet pleaded not guilty in federal court Friday to an indictment charging him with interfering with a flight crew. Rageh al-Murisi, 28, was ordered by U.S. Magistrate Jacqueline Corley to return to court in San Francisco on June 23 for an appearance before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White, who will preside over his not-yet-scheduled trial.
Apple Inc. said Tuesday morning that Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs will kick off the company’s annual developers’ conference next week, with new versions of the company’s iOS and Mac operating systems to be unveiled.
Petaluma is known for its agriculture and food production history, but many aspects of the agricultural scene have been in flux during the past few years. In particular, the last remaining slaughterhouse in the Bay Area is in Petaluma, and has nearly closed in recent years. While the slaughterhouse, Rancho Veal, is now still open and going strong, many in the local cattle ranching industry are pondering the impact the lone slaughterhouse would have on the region if it did close.