- Santa Clara County economy ranked best performing (SJ Mercury News)
Santa Clara County is economically the best-performing metro area in the nation, according to a report to be released Thursday by the Milken Institute. The South Bay claimed the top spot in the annual survey for the first time since 2002. San Jose and its surrounding regions returned to the top of the pack because of the income and wealth creation of Silicon Valley's remarkable technology sector.
- Some CalPERS managers given second jobs, extra money (Sacramento Bee)
For nearly two years, managers earning fixed salaries at California's massive public retirement system have been making extra money at second hourly-wage jobs at the agency. CalPERS officials say bestowing "additional appointments" on managers unable to earn overtime is a legal and "relatively common practice" in other state departments. They said they resorted to the system because they were coping with a crushing workload to launch a new computer system and it was asking too much of managers to work long hours without additional pay. But state personnel experts contacted by The Bee say they've never heard of managers taking hourly positions in their own department. The practice, they said, may violate federal labor law.
- Asian immigrants to California eclipse Latinos in past decade (Sacramento Bee)
The face of new Californians – once predominantly Latino – is increasingly Asian American, census data show. A seismic shift in immigration has occurred in California over the last decade, with Asia replacing Latin America as the primary source of the state's immigrants.
- Alternatives to Bay Delta plan surfacing (Central Valley Business Times)
Californians could avoid spending billions of dollars on a massive twin tunnel scheme to siphon much of the Sacramento River to the farms in the San Joaquin Valley and Los Angeles under alternatives to the Bay Delta plan that are surfacing. One plan, new to the public, is from a group that includes the Natural Resources Defense Council. The other is an amplification of a plan that would take water after it passes through the Delta. Supporters say their plans could also increase water supply and strengthen protections for the ailing delta ecosystem and its fisheries.
One of the nation's most accomplished police chiefs still wants to help turn around Oakland's beleaguered force despite boisterous protests against him and wavering support from at least two council members. "I'm still very desirous of working in Oakland," Former NYPD and LAPD Chief Bill Bratton said Wednesday. "I think the assistance that I can provide will be of value to the city." Bratton's repeated support for "stop and frisk" police tactics has spurred vocal opposition to a $250,000 contract for him and associates to help design and implement a crime-fighting strategy for California's most violent city.
A top Pacific Gas and Electric Co. executive told regulators that the company's ad-campaign acknowledgment that it had "lost its way" before the San Bruno disaster referred to a loss of focus on "basic operations," but not specifically to safety problems. Jane Yura, PG&E vice president for gas operations standards and policies, is the highest-ranking company official to testify at state Public Utilities Commission hearings into allegations that the utility violated safety laws leading up to the September 2010 explosion of a natural-gas pipeline. The blast and subsequent fire killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.
The University of California has $10 million to expand online education in the governor's budget proposal. But no one knows what the programs will look like or how much money they will save the university, if any. Gov. Jerry Brown, who attended a UC Regents meeting Wednesday, stressed the potential of online coursework for cost savings, saying the university can't afford to continue operating as it has -- at least, not without raising tuition, which he has discouraged.
Facebook's new social-network search engine won glowing reviews Wednesday from some industry analysts and tech reviewers, while falling flat with those who were hoping for more. The new tool, called "Graph Search," could forever transform the Facebook experience by offering "a never-ending path of quirky discovery" -- one that is designed to keep users hooked on the social-networking site, according to one reviewer, Jennifer Van Grove, on the widely read tech blog CNet.
The Folsom Women's Facility, located near Folsom State Prison and California State Prison-Sacramento, is expected to receive its first inmates next week. The prison, which will house low-risk inmates, is not expected to be full until spring.