Morning Splash: Lots More $ For Calif H. Speed Rail, Transgender Woman Says Harassed by DMV Clerk
- Calif high-speed rail gets $624 million more (SF Chronicle)
California received an additional $624 million to start building the $43 billion statewide high-speed rail system in the Central Valley – money that will likely be used to take the initial stretch of rail south to Bakersfield. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Thursday that $1.2 billion in federal high-speed rail funds allocated to Wisconsin and Ohio would be rerouted to other states. Wisconsin and Ohio elected Republican governors who oppose high-speed rail and have asked to spend the funds instead on highway projects.
- Chauncey Bailey murder case: Most evidence in plot to kill witnesses can be used (Chauncey Baily Project)
Most of the evidence collected during an investigation of a suspected plot to kill witnesses in the Chauncey Bailey murder case can be used against co-defendants Yusuf Bey IV and Antoine Mackey, a judge ruled late Thursday. At issue was how much of the material was protected by attorney-client privilege because it involved Bey IV’s former lawyer, Lorna Patton Brown.
- State rolls back diesel pollution limits (California Watch)
State officials are taking a step back from reducing air pollution. The California Air Resources Board is planning on rolling back diesel emission limits for trucks, buses, bulldozers, backhoes and other construction equipment.
- ‘Don’t ask’: Senate vote kills repeal of gay ban (SF Chronicle)
A Senate vote Thursday dealt a death blow to repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on openly gay members of the military, delivering a setback to President Obama one week after a Pentagon study urged an end to the Clinton-era ban.
- Narcotics agents raid multiple MediLeaf pot dispensaries (San Jose Mercury News)
More than 50 narcotics agents faced an outburst of protests as they swooped into Santa Clara County locations Thursday to serve warrants against MediLeaf medical marijuana dispensaries. It was the latest in a series of actions against medical marijuana clubs and came the same day prosecutors filed the county’s first charges against a man they say is illegally profiting from selling medical marijuana.
- MUNI addresses switchback strife (SF Examiner)
Muni drivers are increasingly dumping riders off at stops before their destination as a way to cope with train delays and traffic jams. In response to supervisors’ concerns, Muni has issued a report that details how often its light-rail vehicles turn around before reaching their terminus, a manuever called a short turn or switchback.
- Some Charges dropped for Bay Bridge standoff suspect (Bay City News Service)
A judge Thursday dismissed felony kidnapping and false imprisonment charges against a distraught Antioch man who caused a Veterans Day traffic snarl on the Bay Bridge. Craig Carlos-Valentino, 52, was arrested Nov. 11 after he stopped on the westbound upper deck of the bridge just past the Treasure Island tunnel, and allegedly phoned in a bomb threat. He has been in custody on $750,000 bail since then. He still faces felony counts of child endangerment and making a false bomb threat, as well as misdemeanor counts of brandishing a firearm and delaying or resisting police.
- Transgender woman says DMV clerk warned of hell (SF Chronicle)
A few days after Amber Yust visited the Department of Motor Vehicles in San Francisco to register her sex change from male to female, she got a letter at home from the DMV employee who had handled her application. Homosexual acts, he informed her, were “an abomination that leads to hell.” The same day, Yust said, a DVD arrived from a fundamentalist church warning of eternal damnation for anyone “possessed by demons” of homosexuality. The DMV employee’s letter had referred her to the church’s website as a source of “critical information for your salvation.”
- Kelly Fergusson’s ‘gaffe’ may get her tossed as Menlo Park’s mayor (Palo Alto Daily News)
Kelly Fergusson’s second stint as mayor could end before it truly begins. The Menlo Park City Council’s 3-2 vote Tuesday declaring Fergusson mayor will become null and void shortly after 3 p.m. today. To retake the reins, she will have to muster at least two votes again, in addition to her own. On Thursday, Fergusson admitted in a written statement that before Tuesday’s meeting she had discussed the upcoming vote for mayor with two council colleagues in separate conversations. That, City Attorney Bill McClure has concluded, was an “apparent” violation of the state’s open-government law, known as the Brown Act.
- Bicycling up 58 percent in S.F. since 2006 (SF Chronicle)
Despite San Francisco’s famous hills and a court order that halted the striping of new bike lanes for three years, bicycling has increased 58 percent in the city since 2006, according to new data found in the city’s 2010 Bicycle Count report.