- California Gov. Jerry Brown to roll out a less painful budget (SJ Mercury News)
When Gov. Jerry Brown rolls out his spending blueprint Thursday, for the first time in years the announcement won't bear any resemblance to a funeral procession. Yes, Brown will ask for about $2 billion in cuts to balance a general fund budget of more than $90 billion, but the level of pain will be a far cry from the devastating $25 billion in cuts he had to make two years ago and the $16 billion made just a year ago that sent many families reliant on state help to the edge of despair.
- S.F. housing agency scores low in audit (SF Chronicle)
The San Francisco Housing Authority is a troubled agency with dire financial problems and major management flaws, according to a new audit from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Officials with HUD have been at the agency's headquarters all week and are expected to be on site for two months reviewing financial documents and conducting interviews with staff to help the agency craft a recovery plan after its most recent audit, finalized last month, gave the Housing Authority a score of 54 out of 100.
- Monterey County Wine: California Region Named Top Destination By 'Wine Enthusiast' Magazine (Huffington Post)
Napa? Napa who? California has a new top wine destination, and San Francisco residents don't even have to cross the Golden Gate Bridge to get there. The editors of "Wine Enthusiast" magazine stunned the local wine world when they named Monterey County one of the world's top ten wine destinations in their February issue but skipped over both of our famous neighbors to the north.
- CHP seeks millions for Bay Bridge cameras (SF Chronicle)
The splashy new east span of the Bay Bridge needs a state-of-the-art system of security cameras, the California Highway Patrol has told bridge officials - and toll payers would have to pay the $31 million cost. Results of the CHP's security assessment of the new bridge, scheduled to open by Labor Day weekend, surprised members of a Bay Area Toll Authority committee, who had allotted $8 million, which they had expected to be sufficient.
- Gray whale migration arrives off coast (Associated Press)
On a trip in a Zodiac inflatable out of Half Moon Bay, we were floating just off Pillar Point when a gray whale surfaced right next to us. It was so close that we were almost hit by the spray from his blowhole. Shocked the heck out of us. Once on a summer trip aboard the Salty Lady, west of the Golden Gate, we found a pod of feeding humpbacks. We turned the engine off and a humpback jumped so close that it splashed water on all of us.
- Crash probe turns to Bay Bridge radar (SF Chronicle)
Investigators are looking into whether radar guiding equipment under the Bay Bridge was working adequately when an empty oil tanker hit a bridge tower on Monday, as well as trying to determine exactly when the Coast Guard warned the ship that it was on a collision course. A Coast Guard bulletin sent to mariners Tuesday indicated there may have been malfunctions in "racon" radar beacons that help guide ships between the Bay Bridge's towers. But officials said it was unclear which ones might have had troubles Monday, when the Overseas Reymar hit the tower of the western span closest to Yerba Buena Island.
- Castro Valley: Police find gator next to 34 pounds of marijuana (Oakland Tribune
Police conducting a probation compliance check at a Castro Valley home on Tuesday found 34 pounds of marijuana inside the house and a 5-foot alligator reportedly guarding the drugs. Deputies with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office found the pot and the gator in a bedroom of the home on the 19000 block of Mount Jasper Road during a routine check, said Sgt. J.D. Nelson. Nelson said the gator, which was in a tank, was likely used as a deterent for burglars.
- Apple CEO Tim Cook meets with China Mobile chairman, hopeful sign for big deal (SJ Mercury News)
CEO Tim Cook met with China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua on Thursday to discuss "matters of cooperation," a China Mobile spokesman said, raising hopes that a deal between the two tech giants may move forward. "In the morning, Apple's CEO Tim Cook visited China Mobile's headquarters. China Mobile's Chairman Xi Guohua and Tim Cook discussed matters of cooperation," said Li Jun, a China Mobile spokesman, in an emailed statement. No further details will be given due to a confidentiality agreement signed, the statement said.
- Cold front to last through weekend; freeze warning for Friday (Marin Independent Journal)
A cold front this week has prompted a Friday freeze warning and residents might see snow Thursday as low as 1,500 feet — including on Mount Tamalpais. Meteorologists said temperatures are anticipated to drop to the low 30s Thursday and Friday and 32 degrees Saturday and Sunday in Marin County. National Weather Service meteorologist Diana Henderson said people can expect the weather to also turn a bit wet.
- Bay Area Holds 'Good Food' Competition (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
The Good Food Awards roll back into San Francisco for their third year this weekend, a celebration of American food and drink purveyors who aim for authenticity, sustainability and craftsmanship in all they produce. A collaboration among food producers, farmers, food journalists and independent grocers, the 183 finalists are chosen on the basis of three questions: Is the food tasty? Is it authentic (no artificial ingredients)? Is it responsibly produced?