- Hispanics soon to outnumber whites in state (SF Chronicle)
The number of Hispanic people in California will equal the non-Hispanic white population by the middle of the year and surpass it as the largest single racial or ethnic group in the state by 2014, according to projections released Thursday by the state Department of Finance. The demographic changes will continue, and in 2060 nearly half of California's population will be Hispanic. It's a transformation that will have a profound impact on education, job growth and the economy, according to experts.
- Monitor says Oakland Police Department regressing on reforms (Oakland Tribune)
The city's police department is continuing to backslide on a decade-long reform program that has already put it at risk of a federal takeover, according to the court-appointed monitor overseeing the reforms. The monitor, Robert Warshaw, wrote that Oakland police too often drew their guns without provocation and continued to come up short when investigating use-of-force complaints against the department. Warshaw criticized the department's Internal Affairs investigations into Occupy Oakland protests and faulted the rank-and-file for refusing to help investigators identify officers who might have improperly cracked down on demonstrators. Those failings contributed to the department regressing on reforms for the second consecutive three-month period.
- Oakland, feds fight over pot dispensary (SF Chronicle)
The city of Oakland told a federal magistrate Thursday that the federal government's shutdown of the nation's largest medical marijuana dispensary would damage residents' health and welfare as well as the city's revenues. The Obama administration replied that the city doesn't belong in the case. The 90-minute hearing in San Francisco was a potentially critical stage in the legal battle that started in July when U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag filed suit to close down Harborside Health Center and seize the building for violation of federal drug laws.
- One day after Lyft agreement, state regulators reach similar deal with Uber (SF Examiner)
One day after state regulators lifted a ban against the ride-sharing company Lyft, a similar courtesy was extended to another local operator. Uber, the oldest ride-sharing company in San Francisco, had been issued a cease-and-desist order from the California Public Utilities Commission in October, although the business continued to operate.
San Ramon-based Chevron is leading an aggressive campaign to delay implementation of California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard, a cornerstone of the state's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The fuel standard requires the oil industry to gradually reduce the "carbon intensity" of transportation fuels like diesel and gasoline by at least 10 percent by 2020. Chevron and its allies, including the Western States Petroleum Association, are trying to undermine the standard by rallying opposition, financing critical studies and lobbying the Democratic-controlled Legislature, state agencies and Gov. Jerry Brown.
With little money and time left to repair its legacy, California's controversial stem cell agency is falling short in its response to a federal committee's recommendations for an overhaul, the committee's chair said Thursday. The stem cell agency's reform plan does not go far enough to fix all that has been chipping away at the agency's credibility, said Harold Shapiro, chair of the Institute of Medicine committee hired to evaluate the agency.
For the second time in two years, officials overseeing the pension system for Sonoma County government have lowered the fund's projected rate of return on investments, a move that will increase taxpayer costs in the short term but is intended to reduce long-term market-driven shortfalls. The quarter-percent change, to a new rate of 7.5 percent, will trigger a roughly $50 million spike in the county's pension underfunding, now set at $353 million.