- Homicides in Oakland rise for the first time in four years (Oakland Tribune)
It was discouraging enough that Oakland had 110 homicides in 2011, up from 95 in 2010, making it the first time in five years there had been an increase in the death toll. But what will define the deadly violence of 2011 and will be difficult to forget is that three of the victims were the youngest ever slain by gunfire in the city's history.
- California Legislature returns to face more budget woes, new election rules (Sacramento Bee)
The California Legislature will reconvene Wednesday amid a flood of red ink, a long history of partisan bickering, and a coming statewide election using newly drawn districts and a new way of choosing the top two candidates for legislative seats.
- March and vigil mark third anniversary of Oscar Grant shooting (Oakland Tribune)
A crowd yelling "No more stolen lives," set off Sunday afternoon from Frank H. Ogawa Plaza to remember Oscar Grant III, who was killed three years ago by a former BART officer. They waved signs printed with "Justice for Oscar Grant: Gone but not forgotten," as they marched down 14th Street toward the Fruitvale BART station, where Grant was fatally shot in the early hours of Jan. 1, 2009.
- Huge loss in home values cratered the Bay Area economy (SJ Mercury News)
Bay Area homes have lost more than a third of a trillion dollars in value since the housing bubble burst about four years ago. And in the process, they have taken a big chunk of the economy with them.
...December 2011 closed with a grand total of .24 inches of rain, recorded at Lake Lagunitas by the Marin Municipal Water District. That made it the second-lowest total on record dating to 1879. The almost rain-less month was only topped by December 1989, when no rain fell.
[Golden Gate Park's Beach Chalet Athletic Fields] would change under a proposed renovation seeking the city's approval. The 9.4-acre sports facility currently consists of four grass fields surrounded by a chain-link fence, a parking lot with 50 spaces, a restroom building and a maintenance shed.
...Seventy banners sporting big silver ribbons and eye-catching phrases will fly along Market Street throughout January to promote reproductive rights and the increasing danger they're in at the state and federal level. The Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women is the brainchild of two local women: Ellen Shaffer, co-director of the Center for Policy Analysis in the Presidio, and Sophia Yen, a doctor specializing in adolescent medicine in Palo Alto.
...[A]n unscientific survey of everything from grocery stores to beauty salons revealed that plenty of customers remembered to bring their own bags before heading out to shop. It's the law: As of Jan. 1, San Jose retailers -- except for restaurants and nonprofits -- can no longer hand out single-use plastic bags. Shoppers who don't remember to bring reusable bags can buy paper bags for 10 cents each.
...County staff and consultants are drafting a "climate action plan" that targets government operations and the county's unincorporated areas. The plan is funded through a $350,000 grant from the federal Department of Energy and is required to be completed by this fall. The plan is to outline policies and programs that will maintain the county's natural resources and adapt to climate change while also supporting local growth. The plan also aims to meet state-recommended goals set by the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act, signed into law by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Everything was set for Stanford to win its second consecutive Bowl Championship Series game. But in a few stunning seconds, it all fell apart. The Cardinal missed a game-winning field-goal attempt at the end of regulation and a go-ahead kick in overtime and lost to Oklahoma State 41-38 on Monday in a Fiesta Bowl that was as good as advertised.