- Brown's tax plan falls below 50% in poll (SF Chronicle)
Support for the ballot measure Gov. Jerry Brown is touting as crucial to averting huge cuts in public schools and universities has fallen below the 50 percent majority needed for passage, according to a poll released Wednesday night by the Public Policy Institute of California. The survey found support for Proposition 30 at 48 percent among likely voters, with 44 percent opposed. The support is 4 percentage points lower than in a poll conducted by the same organization last month, while the opposition has grown by the same amount.
- Divided Occupy Oakland revisits City Hall (SF Chronicle)
For a few moments last fall, West Oakland businessman Chris Hollis was filled with idealism as he attended Occupy Oakland's first gathering outside City Hall to protest an economic system he felt benefited the few to the detriment of the many. But within minutes, amid a mix of families and students, Hollis witnessed some participants stray from the focus on Wall Street and hurl vitriol at police. And within weeks, others would riot through downtown - and then justify their violence.
- California day care centers exceed standards for formaldehyde, study reveals (SJ Mercury News)
UC Berkeley researchers found nearly nine out of 10 local day care centers exceeded state safety guidelines for formaldehyde, according to a new study, heightening concerns because children can be especially vulnerable to such chemicals. An ingredient in some furniture glue, carpet, paints and fabrics, formaldehyde can trigger breathing difficulties and, at very high levels, has been identified as a cancer-causing agent.
- San Mateo County bans plastic bags, expects 24 cities to follow its lead (SJ Mercury News)
The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday kicked off what it hopes will be a domino effect by voting 5-0 to ban plastic carryout bags at stores in unincorporated areas. For the ban to have a full impact, the board is counting on as many as two dozen Peninsula cities to follow its lead and adopt similar ordinances. The ban goes into effect next year on April 23. From then on, retailers no longer will be allowed to put customers' purchases into plastic carryout bags. If shoppers don't have a reusable bag with them, they'll be charged a dime per paper bag until Jan. 1, 2015, and a quarter per bag after that.
The fanfare of Apple's announcement of two new iPads Tuesday quickly gave way to backlash from consumers who say the short life span of Apple products is becoming wearisome -- and expensive. Apple surprised fans by unveiling a revamped, full-size iPad, just seven months after releasing the third-generation iPad. The new, full-sized tablet was overshadowed by the star of the event -- the iPad Mini -- but not overlooked by owners of what had been the most up-to-date iPad. Many were irked that they had just dropped $500 on what they thought was a cutting-edge tablet, only to watch it fall to near obsolescence Tuesday.
San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos has introduced a resolution urging the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and state Legislature to strengthen privacy protections for Clipper card users. The transportation commission, which administers the transit card, also has begun re-examining why personal data is stored for seven years after a Clipper card account is closed.
San Jose emerged as the top cleantech metropolitan region in the nation, followed by San Francisco and Portland, Ore., in a new report from Clean Edge, a research and advisory firm. Clean Edge's first-ever U.S. Metro Clean Tech Index compares the nation's 50 largest metropolitan regions when it comes to cleantech activity. West Coast cities dominate the index. San Jose won overall, with 82.2 points, thanks to the concentration of venture capital, patent activity and electric vehicle adoption. San Francisco was a close second, with 81.4 points, thanks to a high concentration of LEED-certified green buildings and public transportation ridership.
When the candidates running to replace Councilmember Nancy Nadel say their district is the heart of the city and arguably Oakland's most important, it isn't hyperbole -- it's the truth. Whether it's restoring blue-collar jobs, keeping the A's in town, redeveloping the waterfront or establishing a bustling cultural center and night life haven, nearly all of Oakland's major aspirations are centered in the council district that spans West Oakland, the downtown and several neighborhoods along Lake Merritt.
A $6.7 million allocation to Muni has set up a fight over whether the funds should be used to provide free passes for low-income youths. On Wednesday, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission unanimously approved allocating $6.7 million in federal funds to Muni. The money can be used to finance any improvements needed for the transit system, but advocates for the free passes say the money should go there.