- Wells Fargo fee judgment set aside (SF Chronicle)
States can't prevent national banks from stacking their overcharge fees to maximize profits, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday in setting aside a judge's order requiring Wells Fargo to repay $203 million in fees to debit card customers in California. But the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the judge's decision that the San Francisco banking giant had misled its customers about the fees, leaving open the possibility that some or all of the restitution order could be restored.
- Bay Area rain and Eastern storms could threaten weekend travel (SJ Mercury News)
Thousands of Bay Area travelers were stuck getting home late for the holidays thanks to local rains and nasty storms in the Midwest and East Coast on Wednesday -- and more lousy weather threatens to ground passengers later this week and into the New Year's weekend. The worst of the weather on Wednesday, as usual, was outside California, as blizzards from Ohio to New England and thunderstorms in the Southeast grounded more than 1,000 flights, short-circuited power to thousands of homes and were blamed for at least six deaths.
- Block of businesses struck by vandals in East Oakland (Oakland Tribune)
[Rosa Cabrera's] heart sank when she arrived at the business she owns, Rosa's Hair Salon, and saw that vandals had smashed her window either Christmas night or early Wednesday morning... Cabrera's salon wasn't the only business on the block targeted overnight by vandals. Nearly every window was shattered at an empty storefront a few doors down from Rosa's Hair Salon at the corner of Fruitvale Avenue and School Street. And Eli Guevarra, operator of Good Shepard Residential Care Facility for the Elderly, awoke to find the back window of the van he uses to shuttle residents around in smashed.
- Police evacuate West Oakland neighborhood after TNT found under home (Oakland Tribune)
West Oakland residents were evacuated from their homes Wednesday afternoon while authorities removed more than five pounds of explosives that had been under a home for more than 30 years. Homeowner William Pond, 72, was clearing out his basement and uncovered the explosive material known as trinitrotoluene, or TNT. He found 11 half-pound blocks of the packaged material -- each about the size of a stick of butter -- under concrete stairs while preparing the basement for upgrades.
- CCSF making big changes to stay afloat (SF Chronicle)
It's like changing tires on a speeding car. That's how college officials describe their efforts to transform City College of San Francisco from dysfunction to efficiency - upending its culture, priorities, leadership and size - by the March 15 deadline imposed by a hard-nosed accrediting commission willing to shut down the school of 85,000 students if the changes fall short. Negotiations between the college and labor leaders have begun, and painful concessions - including the first layoffs in memory - represent at least one tire on the car. The college expects to lay off at least 30 full-time clerical employees and dozens of part-time faculty and counselors in January.
- 25 years later, VTA light rail among the nation's worst (SJ Mercury News)
A quarter of a century ago, Santa Clara County's first light-rail train left the station as excited supporters heralded a new wave of state-of-the-art transportation to match the region's burgeoning high-tech industry. But there was no grand celebration this month as Silicon Valley marked 25 years of light rail.The near-empty trolleys that often shuttle by at barely faster than jogging speeds serve as a constant reminder that the car is still king in Silicon Valley -- and that the Valley Transportation Authority's trains are among the least successful in the nation by any metric. Today, fewer than 1 percent of the county's residents ride the trains daily, while it costs the rest of the region -- taxpayers at large -- about $10 to subsidize every rider's round trip.
- Suit over SF residential hotel searches (SF Chronicle)
Two men and a woman have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of San Francisco, contending they were wrongfully arrested at a residential hotel by police officers who claimed to have permission to conduct searches but were instead caught on video entering rooms by using a master key. The incidents occurred at the Henry Hotel at 106 Sixth St., where narcotics officers based at Southern Station conducted searches of two units on Dec. 23, 2010 and Jan. 5, 2011.
- Marin History Museum opens new downtown exhibit space (Marin Independent Journal)
Black and white photos of Mill Valley's Steep Ravine adorn the walls of a new exhibition space in downtown San Rafael. The unique photos were taken by Dorothea Lange, a photographer famous for her Depression-era work. Lange's photos hang in the Marin History Museum's new History Center on Court Street. Nestled between a bank and some eateries, the center provides a space staff hope will be more accessible and engaging for the public.