- Man shot Christmas Day pushes homicide tally to 127 (Oakland Tribune)
A man shot in West Oakland on Christmas Day has pushed the homicide rate to the highest in four years. Ronald Lewis, 32, of Oakland was shot multiple times at 24th and Chestnut streets about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday . His death is the 127th homicide of the year. The last time there were 127 homicides was in 2007. No one has been arrested and no motive was immediately known in the drive-by shooting.
- New law will open higher education fee increase process to students (SF Examiner)
Students in both the California State University and University of California systems have had to absorb massive budget cuts in recent years through rising fees. But thanks to legislation taking effect in the new year, governing boards for higher education will have to bring students to the table before any fee increases are implemented.
- Study shows restrictions reduce gun deaths (SF Chronicle)
Connecticut has more restrictions on gun ownership than most states, so gun-rights advocates argue the Dec. 14 Newtown school shootings illustrates the futility of gun control. But a new study out of San Francisco reaches the opposite conclusion: States with the most restrictive laws, including Connecticut and California, have lower rates of gun-related deaths, while states with few limits on firearms have the highest rates.
- Skiers warned after avalanche casualties (SF Chronicle)
Because of avalanches that killed a Northern California man and injured two skiers and a ski patroller, the Sierra Avalanche Center issued a warning Tuesday of "considerable risk" of further slides. Ski resorts, meanwhile, reported near-record snowfalls and brisk business. The Avalanche Center advised skiers and hikers to choose their routes carefully, particularly on steep back-country terrain, said Marvin Boyd of the National Weather Service in Reno. He said the Sierra snowpack is weak and vulnerable to collapse after a snowfall of nearly 5 feet since Friday.
...Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing hard to overhaul California's convoluted school funding system. His plan has two major objectives: Give K-12 districts greater control over how they spend money, and send more dollars to impoverished students and English learners. Studies show that such children require more public help to reach the same level of achievement as their well-off peers. But as rich and poor communities alike clamor for money in the wake of funding cuts, Brown's plan could leave wealthy suburbs with fewer new dollars than poorer urban and rural districts.
As California positions itself at the vanguard of the national healthcare overhaul, state officials are unable to say for sure how much their implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act will cost taxpayers. The program, intended to insure millions of Americans who are now without health coverage, takes states into uncharted territory. California, which plans to expand coverage to hundreds of thousands of people when the law takes effect in 2014, faces myriad unknowns. The Brown administration will try to estimate the cost of vastly more health coverage in the budget plan it unveils next month, but experts warn that its numbers could be way off.
Work on the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District commuter train will come to Marin in the new year and force the closure of several intersections in San Rafael and Novato as crossing improvements are made. SMART's contractor Stacy Witbeck/Herzog will be replacing several railroad crossings in Marin in January and February.
Sonoma County police seized more than $400,000 and 328 pounds of marijuana during a fall campaign to stop drug traffickers on Highway 101 during the outdoor marijuana harvest. Led by Santa Rosa and Petaluma police, departments dedicated officers sometimes several days a week from August to November to patrol major thoroughfares.
Many marijuana activists always thought California would be the first state to legalize the drug for recreational use, but their dreams faded in 2010 when the state's voters rejected Proposition 19. Yet the legalization measure's poor timing, lackluster funding and vague regulatory plan offered vital lessons that allowed activists in Colorado and Washington state to succeed last month where California had failed. Now activists in the Golden State are, in turn, scrutinizing those states' successful campaigns to prepare themselves for another California measure down the road.
It has taken years, but Google seems to be cutting into Microsoft’s stronghold — businesses. Google’s software for businesses, Google Apps, consists of applications for document writing, collaboration, and text and video communications — all cloud-based, so that none of the software is on an office worker’s computer. Google has been promoting the idea for more than six years, and it seemed that it was going to appeal mostly to small businesses and tech start-ups.