- Tobacco-tax measure likely to lose in close race (SJ Mercury News)
With about 1 million absentee and provisional ballots still to be counted, the Secretary of State's Office reported that Proposition 29 was losing by a razor-thin margin. Supporters and opponents agreed Wednesday that the race was still too close to call, with 49.2 percent of voters in favor of raising cigarette taxes by $1 a pack and 50.8 percent opposed. The final tally may not be known for two weeks...[But] assuming that absentee ballots in California's 10 largest counties trend nearly the same way as Tuesday's precinct results, the measure could lose by the same margin of 1.6 percentage points -- or slightly more than 100,000 votes.
- Cal cops who jabbed students 'may' have done wrong (SF Chronicle)
UC Berkeley police "may" have violated policies when they jabbed batons at defiant but peaceful students who set up their first Occupy encampment in November, says a tepidly worded report released Wednesday. The strongest conclusion by the five-member Police Review Board chaired by UC Berkeley law Professor Jesse Choper is that authorities failed to follow recommendations from two prior Police Review Board reports that criticized the use of force during student protests in 2009 and 1997.
- Labor's losses appear to be pension reformers' gains (Bay Area News Group)
Labor's steep losses at the polls Tuesday gave new hope to pension reformers throughout California and perhaps new impetus to Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders to strike a deal on lowering the cost of public-employee pensions. In San Jose, once a labor-friendly paradise, voters overwhelmingly backed a measure touted by Mayor Chuck Reed, who argued that the city can no longer afford generous pension plans as cops and city services get the ax. The vote came on the day San Diego approved a similar measure and Wisconsin voters rejected the recall of the stridently anti-labor Gov. Scott Walker.
- Warming nears point of no return, scientists say (SF Chronicle)
The Earth is reaching a "tipping point" in climate change that will lead to increasingly rapid and irreversible destruction of the global environment unless its forces are controlled by concerted international action, an international group of scientists warns. Unchecked population growth, the disappearance of critical plant and animal species, the over-exploitation of energy resources, and the rapidly warming climate are all combining to bring mounting pressure on the Earth's environmental health, they say.
As many as 29 California legislative and congressional districts will see two members of the same party compete in the November general election, a function of new balloting rules that made a statewide debut in Tuesday's primary.
Bryan Stow, the Bay Area paramedic severely beaten at Dodger Stadium, was attacked after he used medical slang to express disgust with local fans taunting his group of San Francisco Giants supporters, according to testimony Wednesday. A friend and fellow paramedic quoted Stow as saying "I hope they code" -- shorthand for suffering cardiac arrest -- of Dodger fans profanely jeering him and three friends as they left the Opening Day game last year. "His voice was raised, but he wasn't looking at anyone or directing it at anyone," recalled witness Corey Maciel.
The message at Tuesday's City Council meeting was loud and clear: Anti-gay comments have little place in Richmond's public discourse. Supporters of Richmond's LGBT community packed the council chamber Tuesday in response to the May 22 meeting, during which two or three residents used their public comment time to question the morality of gay and lesbian relationships. The comments were made following a civic proclamation in which council members and teens from the local RYSE youth center declared June as "Gay Pride Month" in the city.
...Despite being greatly outspent by opponents of the ballot measure, neighborhood groups narrowly succeeded in urging San Francisco to “prioritize” funds raised at [Coit Tower] for its ongoing maintenance, and to “strictly limit” private fundraisers sporadically held by The City’s Recreation and Park Department. But what those vague statements really mean isn’t exactly clear.