- Supervisors call for hearing on reports of Treasure Island radiation threat (SF Examiner)
Newly reported cases of potential radiation on Treasure Island have raised alarm and prompted the Board of Supervisors on Wednesday to call for a hearing next week to address the reports. The City is preparing to take over ownership of the island from the U.S. Navy for a purchase price of $100 million to make way for 8,000 homes, a hotel and an upgraded marina. The deal requires the Navy to clean up the island’s contamination, work that must be approved by state regulatory health agencies.
- Chevron says prefire cloud mostly steam (SF Chronicle)
Chevron officials cast doubt Wednesday on whether a giant white plume that rose over the company's Richmond refinery just before a fire broke out Aug. 6 consisted of flammable hydrocarbon vapor, suggesting it was mostly steam. In a report on the fire that it filed with Contra Costa County's hazardous materials unit, Chevron said the cloud - which towered about 1,000 feet in the air and appears clearly in photographs taken from across the bay - was created when company firefighters poured water on the spot where a "small flash fire" had ignited and been extinguished moments earlier.
- State rejects PG&E pipeline accusations (SF Chronicle)
State regulators have rejected assertions that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. gas lines are riddled with faulty welds and other problems, after one of two whistle-blower welders recanted and spot checks found no evidence to back up the allegations, according to a report issued Wednesday. The state Public Utilities Commission opened an investigation in February into accusations lodged by the two welders that PG&E's older gas lines were plagued by corrosion, shoddy welds and flawed repairs. The welders, Marshall Worland and Mike Mikich, also said no one was inspecting welds that PG&E crews were installing when they put gas lines back together after the pipes were tested with high-pressure water.
- Prop. 8 backers urge U.S. Supreme Court to rule on California's gay marriage ban (SJ Mercury News)
Proposition 8 backers on Wednesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to jump into the gay marriage fray and restore California's voter-approved ban on same-sex nuptials. In a widely expected legal move, ProtectMarriage.com urged the high court to review a federal appeals court's decision earlier this year invalidating Proposition 8. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared the law unconstitutional because it stripped away the previous right of same-sex couples to marry in California. Gay rights advocates last month asked the Supreme Court to decline the case, saying the justices should leave the 9th Circuit's ruling intact. In that brief, lawyers for same-sex couples called the 9th Circuit's ruling "straightforward" and confined to California's unique circumstances, arguing there is no need for the Supreme Court to address the broader legal questions surrounding gay marriage.
A sweeping panorama of oak-studded hills and valleys that conservationists see as the key to establishing a corridor of open space stretching from the East Bay to Clear Lake will be opened to the public, preservationists said Wednesday. The Solano Land Trust paid $13.5 million to preserve 1,500 acres of former Indian hunting grounds and villages known as Rockville Trails, just west of Fairfield.
City officials Wednesday said ratings agencies continue to take a hard look at San Jose's finances to reevaluate the city's credit-worthiness in light of recent municipal bankruptcies as cities around the state face growing employee costs and recession-weakened revenues. Julia Cooper, the city's acting finance director, said San Jose "has received an increasing number of inquiries from the three rating agencies" about the city's financial position and future outlook, redevelopment dissolution impacts, labor relations and implementation of voter approved pension reform measures.
The California State Teachers' Retirement System isn't keeping a close eye on pension spiking, according to a new audit of the state's second-largest pension fund. The review by state Controller John Chiang's office found CalSTRS, with more than 1,900 employer-members, averages just 40 audits per year.
The Berkeley school board tonight will hear a report in closed session on the site visit to Clayton County, Georgia, to assess the lone finalist for the district’s vacant superintendent post, Edmond Heatley. The board released Heatley’s name on Friday, although there is no contract yet approved. Heatley resigned from his Clayton County post last Wednesday. According to school board members, the expectation is that Heatley’s formal appointment will be considered at the September 19 board meeting.
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón has determined there is insufficient evidence to file criminal charges after a months-long investigation into alleged voter fraud in Chinatown during last year's mayor's race. Gascón, though, said he remained "concerned" about the allegations, which involved supporters of Mayor Ed Lee filling out and collecting absentee ballots for elderly Chinese-speaking voters during the November election, which Lee won handily.
The Bay Area's biggest Latino grocery chain is trying to avert a threatened boycott after it began checking the immigration status of all its new hires through a federal work-verification program. "This is a decision that doesn't come easily," said spokeswoman Perla Rodriguez of the 21-store Mi Pueblo Foods chain. "The immigrant community, that's the core of who we are. The company joined the E-Verify network a few weeks ago at the recommendation of the Department of Homeland Security, which uses the database to inform companies if their prospective employees are living and working in the country legally, Rodriguez said.