- Debt ceiling bill becomes law, averting default (NY Times)
The Senate voted Tuesday to raise the government's debt ceiling and cut trillions of dollars from its spending, concluding a long and fractious partisan battle just hours before the government's borrowing authority was set to run out. The bill, which passed 74-26, was immediately signed by President Barack Obama, who took a shot at his Republican opposition for what he called a manufactured -- and avoidable -- crisis.
- Budget deal could jeopardize high-speed rail, clean-water programs (Bay Area News Group)
The federal government may have staved off the imminent threat of default Tuesday when President Barack Obama signed a bitterly fought budget deal, but the woes and uncertainty for states have just begun. In California, some of the most likely cuts include nutritional programs for low-income women and children, the federal portion of the controversial high-speed rail project, clean drinking water programs, and subsidies for farmers. Also potentially at risk are federally funded university research projects and military bases, policy-watchers said Tuesday after hastily reviewing the plan to cut national spending by $2.1 trillion over 10 years. None of the cuts have been specified; Congress will decide the first round of $917 billion in the coming months, and a deficit-reduction committee will take a second swipe at the budget later this year.
- San Francisco's cab fares rising (SF Chronicle)
The Municipal Transportation Agency board on Tuesday unanimously approved a meter increase that will raise the starting rate for a cab ride by 40 cents to $3.50 for the first fifth of a mile, starting in 30 days. Taking effect at the same time will be a fare boost the board approved in May, which raised the taxi mileage rate from the current 45 cents per fifth of a mile or minute of wait time to 55 cents.
San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to shelve a controversial measure to close a business-friendly loophole in the city's universal health care ordinance...After (Supervisor David) Campos' measure was shelved, Chiu asked the city attorney to draft new legislation to close the loophole.
San Francisco's Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a new law designed to crack down on businesses that illegally fail to pay their employees' wages...The measure, which Mar co-authored with Supervisor David Campos, allows city investigators to to make unscheduled inspections of worksites and to cite employers immediately for violations. It also requires delinquent employers to post a notice to the public after being cited for violating wage and hour laws. Currently, the city has to give employers at least 10 days to correct a problem before issuing a citation.
At least one case of the salmonella found in ground turkey nationwide has been reported in San Francisco, according to health officials. Six cases have now been recorded in the state, including one fatality in Sacramento County, according to the California Department of Public Health. There was a second, nonfatal case in Sacramento, as well as Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego. But the strain of the bacteria is resistant to most antibiotics, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, no meat has been recalled.
A handful of business leaders with longstanding ties to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce has provided most of the financial support for the effort to draft interim Mayor Ed Lee into the mayor’s race, new campaign finance filings show. The highly anticipated, 17-page disclosure forms filed late Monday by Progress For All, the committee behind “Run Ed Run,” offer a glimpse into a political organization heavily reliant on the personal connections of Rose Pak, the lobbyist for the Chinese Chamber. Yet the filings offered little evidence of an outpouring of grassroots support for Lee -- at least financially -- which the campaign had said fueled its effort.
San Francisco leaders are launching a coordinated attack against what they call "one of the most serious threats to reproductive rights today" — so-called crisis pregnancy centers that advertise as though they provide abortions, but counsel against them. In a joint press conference with Supervisor Malia Cohen, City Attorney Dennis Herrera said the "right-wing, politically motivated centers" use false advertisements to target vulnerable populations and can cost women valuable time as they decide whether or not to end a pregnancy.
San Jose leaders Tuesday passed on putting a tax measure on November's ballot after recent polling showed that support among city voters remains tepid despite police layoffs and deep cuts to other city services. But Mayor Chuck Reed and other City Council members warmed to the idea of seeking voter approval for upping the sales tax in November 2012, when a broader and more liberal voter base might be more receptive...The suggested measures included both quarter-cent and half-cent sales taxes, either for general revenue requiring simple majority approval or measures specifically to fund police and fire services requiring two-thirds approval.
Scores of local airport construction workers either laid off or on furlough hoped to go back to work after Congress agreed on a debt ceiling deal Tuesday, but were crushed to find no end to a partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration. Though air traffic controllers are still guiding pilots across the sky, construction projects and efforts to modernize or expand airports have been on hold since July 23, when the agency's authorization from Congress expired. Frozen Bay Area projects include a new air traffic control tower in Oakland and seismic work at airports in Livermore and Palo Alto.
...The event on East 23rd Street was one of a record number of National Night Out parties -- about 560 -- held Tuesday in Oakland. Many more took place in cities all over the Bay Area. The idea behind the 28th National Night Out is to draw people out of their homes to meet their neighbors and community leaders. If you know your neighbors you might be more likely to report a suspicious person in their yards or an unfamiliar car parked on the street, organizers said. Launched in 1984 by the National Association of Town Watch, a crime-prevention nonprofit organization, National Night Out is intended to raise awareness about crime-prevention, cultivate support for Neighborhood Watch programs and strengthen the relationship between residents and law enforcement.
BART directors have tentatively settled on a former No. 2 at the Federal Transit Administration to take over as the transit agency's general manager - someone they hope can bring in the big bucks from Washington. Grace Crunican, a transit consultant who most recently spent eight years as director of transportation in Seattle, could be confirmed by the BART board as early as Aug. 11, we're told.
Nearly 400,000 people are expected to pack into central Fremont this weekend for two days of art, music, food, games, wine and beer. Billed as the largest two-day free outdoor festival west of the Mississippi River, the 28th annual Fremont Festival of the Arts will cover several city blocks Saturday and Sunday with more than 600 artists' booths, 34 food vendors, two music stages and numerous children's activities.
Commuter train officials on Tuesday dismissed a new effort by opponents to end the train system’s public tax support, saying it merely reflects old battle lines. “They are the people who have been opposed to SMART since day one,” said Rohnert Park Councilman Jake Mackenzie, a director of the Sonoma-Marin commute rail service, or SMART. Critics have started a petition drive to put a measure on a 2012 ballot that would repeal the quarter-percent sales tax that voters in Marin and Sonoma counties approved in 2008.