- National Park Service steps in to keep Samuel P. Taylor and Tomales Bay parks open (SJ Mercury News)
The National Park Service is stepping in to rescue two Marin state parks from closure with a pilot program that includes a new fee at Muir Woods National Monument. The new $2 fee at Muir Woods beginning Jan. 1 -- expected to bring in up to $1 million in annual revenue -- will keep Samuel P. Taylor State Park open. Meanwhile, Tomales Bay State Park will get help from the Point Reyes National Seashore to remain open. The plan was announced Thursday after months of talks between federal and state park officials.
- Shuttle Drivers: Boss Made Us Donate to Lee (Bay Citizen)
...City records show that 16 GO Lorrie’s employees — including drivers, dispatchers and a clerk — gave $500 each to Lee’s campaign, the maximum allowed under city law. No other business had as many employees contribute to the mayor. Two GO Lorrie’s drivers, Darrin Yuan and Paul Hsu, both of San Francisco, independently said in interviews that they had donated to Lee because a manager, Jason Perez, promised to reimburse them. The workers did not know whether the manager was acting on his own or on behalf of the company.
- Ed Lee returns suspicious funds from van service (SF Chronicle)
Seventeen employees of a San Francisco airport van service donated $8,500 to Mayor Ed Lee's election campaign about two weeks after the airport announced it was reversing a decision on van placement that the company had complained about, city records show. Airport Director John Martin and Lee's staff both maintain the mayor in no way intervened on behalf of the van operator, Go Lorrie's Airport Shuttle.
A proposal to make Muni free for passengers younger than 18 won the backing of a Board of Supervisors committee Thursday, an initiative that would cost the city's perennially cash-strapped transit agency at least $5.8 million a year.
Police confirmed Thursday what had been suspected for days: A San Jose mother whose body was found Wednesday was murdered, and now they are launching a formal homicide investigation. The death pushed San Jose's homicide total for the year to 34, which after about nine months already appears to be the most killings for an entire year since 1997. But investigators cautioned that the crime may have occurred outside city limits, as the body was found on unincorporated land between northeast San Jose and Milpitas.
Members of the local outpost of Occupy Wall Street, the growing cross-country protest movement against corporate greed, could face arrest Friday night. City Attorney Rick Doyle said it's illegal to camp out at City Hall overnight, typically past 11:30 p.m.
Though police completed their probe Thursday into the death of a pregnant woman killed by her pit bull, what provoked the attack remains a mystery. Investigators found no evidence in the autopsy of 32-year-old Darla Napora or the necropsy of her 2-year-old dog, Gunner, that would explain the Aug. 11 mauling, said Pacifica police Capt. Dave Bertini. Napora and the dog were the only witnesses to an incident that ended with officers shooting and killing the animal, which was not neutered.
...Brown on Thursday signed three dozen bills and vetoed three as he inched closer to Sunday's midnight deadline to decide the fate of 600 bills the Legislature passed last month in the waning days of the legislative session. In all, Brown has signed 230 bills and vetoed 28, which means he's got some heavy lifting to do over the final three days. Three-hundred and fifty bills remain on his desk. Under AB 6, food stamp recipients will no longer be forced to be fingerprinted -- something that health advocates say frightened away eligible families from the program, now called CalFresh. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, only 50 percent of eligible Californians receive food stamps -- one of the lowest rates in the country.
From a marketplace in Tokyo to strife-ridden Syria to the sidewalk in front of Steve Jobs' house in Palo Alto, spontaneous memorials -- the likes of which haven't been seen since the deaths of John Lennon and Princess Diana -- swept around the globe Thursday as the reality of the tech titan's death seeped deeply into mourners' souls.
City leadership and one of the Oakland's biggest developers fired back this week against a report criticizing the $91 million renovation of the Fox Theater as poorly managed and excessively expensive. The report was released Tuesday by City Auditor Courtney Ruby, whose nearly yearlong audit found that the city's contribution to the project quadrupled, from $13 million in 2004 to $52 million in 2009. Ruby said the scope of the project had increased in "a leadership vacuum," with little to no information about less expensive options reaching members of the City Council, who approved several increases to the scope of the project over its five-year span.
California regulators warned Pacific Gas and Electric Co. on Thursday to stick to the letter of an agreement with the state on pressure testing its natural-gas lines to ensure there are no time bombs like the San Bruno transmission pipe that exploded last year.