- Sources say Ed Lee leaning toward run for SF mayor (SF Chronicle)
It appears that Ed Lee has changed his mind. San Francisco's mayor, who was appointed to the job after promising he would not seek election in November, is expected to announce sometime next week that he will run after all, sources told The Chronicle. Such a move would leave more than enough time to meet the Aug. 12 deadline to file as a mayoral candidate.
- California remap gives Democrats more districts (SF Chronicle)
California will have more political districts dominated by Democratic voters over the next decade, according the latest version of the state's redrawn political map set to be released today. But more of those Democrats will be facing competitive races. After looking at the maps, some Latino organizations are concerned that the state's fastest-growing group isn't being accurately represented in some parts of Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley.
- Boehner Rallies Restive Party Ahead of Vote on Debt Plan (NY Times)
John A. Boehner, the speaker of the House, met again with his restive caucus on Thursday to reassure them that they would ultimately prevail, as the House of Representatives prepared to convene in anticipation of a close vote on a Republican plan to cut spending and head off a federal default for a few months. Democrats, too, huddled behind closed doors, preparing for the debate in the afternoon. Markets opened nervously, and the chief executives of the nation’s leading financial institutions warned of a “tremendous blow to business and investor confidence” if the votes in the House and the Senate this week, which are unlikely to produce an immediate agreement between the entrenched opponents controlling the two chambers, lead to a default once the government’s borrowing powers expire on Aug. 2.
Tea Party-backed House Republicans who drove Nancy Pelosi from the speakership last year may inadvertently be handing the San Francisco Democrat significant leverage to protect liberal priorities in the dramatic endgame over raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. The deal-making now under way involves dueling plans... Conservative defections in the House are expected. That would hand Pelosi, the minority leader, a rare opportunity to extract concessions in exchange for delivering the Democratic votes that probably will be needed to avoid a first-ever debt default on Tuesday or a decision to make interest payments to bondholders that would leave other obligations unpaid
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Loretta Giorgi on Wednesday issued a tentative ruling saying the ballot measure to ban circumcision must be withdrawn, calling it "expressly preempted" by state law. She said the California Business and Professions Code prohibits local regulation of medical procedures. She goes on to write that it "serves no legitimate purpose" for an illegal measure to remain on the ballot and ordered elections chief John Arntz to remove it. The ruling is tentative, and Giorgi is scheduled to hold a hearing on the matter today at 9:30 a.m. But observers say it is very unlikely that she'll change her mind considering the vehemence of her initial ruling.
On the orders of state regulators, PG&E on Thursday will begin digging up an abandoned section of pipe that was originally part of the doomed gas line that blew up last year in San Bruno. The stretch of pipe, laid in 1948 in the neighborhood later ravaged by the Sept. 9, 2010, explosion, has sat inactive in the ground since the mid-1950s, when the line was relocated, according to Pacific Gas & Electric. As the California Public Utilities Commission investigates the blast that killed eight people and leveled much of a neighborhood, officials with the agency have told PG&E to unearth the decommissioned pipe.
A powerful Bay Area transportation agency put the brakes on a plan to give the SMART commuter train project a package of $33 million to get its San Rafael to Santa Rosa line going. On Wednesday the Metropolitan Transportation Commission decided to delay a vote on the money after Farhad Mansourian, the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit agency's acting chief, concluded last week the rail project would cost another $45 million. That news prompted the MTC to "hit the reset button" on the funding it planned to provide SMART, said John Goodwin, commission spokesman.
In his first 14 seasons as general manager, Brian Sabean dogmatically stuck to a philosophy of not trading good prospects for rental players. In desperate times, a leader needs to stuff philosophy into the closet and do what needs to be done. Sabean took the plunge Wednesday in agreeing to acquire six-time All-Star Carlos Beltran from the New York Mets. According to a source, Sabean made it known the Giants were sending to New York right-handed pitcher Zack Wheeler, their 2009 first-round draft pick.
...A new stadium in San Francisco has long been part of the greater development plans to build 10,500 new homes on the shuttered U.S. Navy base at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. But the 49ers’ lease in the current Candlestick Park runs out in 2014, and the team’s stated goal is to be in Santa Clara by the start of the 2015 season... Carmen Policy, a former 49ers president, is now a consultant for Lennar, the company looking to execute the massive redevelopment. He said a new stadium in San Francisco would include a spectacular view of downtown, a far cry from the banal scenery in the South Bay.
With a setting sun over the Oakland Estuary as the backdrop, city leaders made their pitch Wednesday for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to build its new secondary campus adjacent to Jack London Square. Touting the location's numerous transportation links, its spectacular views and, most importantly, its approval for development, Oakland officials told leaders of the laboratory that their best chance for a successful project is at Brooklyn Basin.
The grand finale of Vallejo's three-year bankruptcy is set this morning for a court hearing in Sacramento, with little challenge, and even some support from city retirees. The city is be back in federal court for what is expected to be the last major hearing on the city's financial plan following the Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings. The city plan details when, how and how much the city will repay creditors affected by the city's May 2008 filing. Vallejo's bankruptcy attorney Marc Levinson said that if all goes as he expects today, he expects the city's plan to be formally signed and effective by August.
Public health advocates are accusing California's parks of selling out the state's anti-obesity efforts for the remote possibility of winning $175,000 from Coca-Cola Co. The state parks are urging Californians to vote in an online contest sponsored by the company, while health officials are imploring residents to cut their soda consumption. Roy Stearns, a spokesman for California State Parks, defended the parks’ association with the beverage giant. According to Stearns, the soda maker has contributed $2 million to California's parks during the past four years, while state lawmakers have cut the parks' budget by 43 percent.
Ever since Dwight Eisenhower moved into the White House six decades ago and gave a green light to the interstate highway system, the car has been king. But today there is a new focus, one drawing howls of protest from some motorists but cheers of relief from pedestrians and bicyclists. Across the Bay Area and California, cities are removing or narrowing lanes and redesigning hundreds of streets to add bike lanes, speed up transit and improve pedestrian safety.