Ellison Team Issues Ultimatum on World Cup Bid (BayCitizen.org)
America's Cup organizers led by billionairre Larry Ellison set a deadline of Friday for San Francisco to sign a deal to host the next regatta -- and demanded that the city agree to a $128 million alternative that was recently rejected in favor of a cheaper option. In a Dec. 10 letter signed by BMW Oracle Racing Chief Operating Officer Stephen Barclay, The Golden Gate Yacht Club, which sponsors the team, criticized a deal that the cash-strapped city is poised to approve that would shift race operations further north than originally planned in order to reduce public costs.
Peninsula threatens toll in response to San Francisco (San Mateo County Times)
With San Francisco officials poised to consider rolling out a not-so-friendly welcome mat to commuters from the south -- a $6 daily toll -- fuming San Mateo County leaders have threatened to enact their own toll of $12 a day for San Francisco residents to enter the Peninsula from the north. Instigating what one Peninsula politician said would be a "border war," some San Mateo County officials said they would try to implement a toll to enter the county from the north during rush hour if San Francisco enacts a similar entrance fee for its city. The threat by Peninsula leaders is an effort to persuade San Francisco leaders to shelve their plan.
Soggy weather ahead for Northern California (Sacramento Bee)
Except for a short drying out period mid-week, the forecast is for wet weather through the weekend. Starting with a chance of drizzle this morning, rain is predicted in the valley and snow in the Sierra Nevada most days. The weekend looks especially stormy with rain likely in Sacramento and plenty of snow predicted for the mountains.
UC Berkeley crackdown has cyclists fuming (San Francisco Chronicle)
UC Berkeley freshman Devin Shoop got a $220 ticket in September. His crime: locking his bicycle to a railing instead of a bike rack.
He got another ticket two weeks later: $220 for rolling his bike through a stop sign instead of fully stopping. Now he has to go to traffic school to keep a moving violation off his driver's license.
Jorel Allegro, a junior, earned his $220 ticket in October for coasting through the campus dismount zone instead of walking his bike as required.
California's law requiring the same traffic fines for cars and bikes isn't new. But at UC Berkeley, where campus police have vigorously enforced the laws at a time of unprecedented tuition hikes, students are furious.
Panhandling 101 (San Francisco Chronicle)
Panhandling is, on some basic level, a sales transaction -- one in which certain kinds of appeals and persuasive tactics are more effective than others. So, which sales techniques work best for panhandlers? And what factors affect potential benefactors' decisions to give? On a recent weekday, we heard a variety of answers from both ends of the transaction.
Parolee arrested for posing as 'bell-ringer' (The Reporter, Vacaville)
Vacaville police on Friday arrested a paroled sex offender who posed as a Salvation Army employee, taking the money for himself after being fired by the international evangelical Christian church organization known for its social services and charitable work. Tracking the noontime movements of Maurice Van Buren, 47, of Vacaville, police detained him in the 1400 block of Marshall Road, then arrested him for embezzlement and placed him on a parole hold. He was booked into Solano County Jail.
Oakland's play for the A's (East Bay Express)
Oakland A's co-owner Lew Wolff wants to move his team to San Jose so badly, he's offered to loan that city money to make it happen. San Jose probably will need Wolff's help because its redevelopment agency is in financial trouble. But if Wolff were to give Oakland another shot, he could save his cash. The reason is that Oakland's redevelopment agency is in much better financial shape than San Jose's, according to interviews and city financial documents, and won't need assistance from the A's to assemble land and make infrastructure upgrades for a new ballpark in Jack London Square.
Concern about eagles stalls wind-power developments (Sacramento Bee)
Fears that whirling wind turbines could slaughter protected golden eagles have halted progress on a key piece of the federal government's push to increase renewable energy on public lands, stalling plans for billions of dollars in wind farm developments.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management suspended issuing wind permits on public land indefinitely this summer after wildlife officials invoked a decades-old law for protecting eagles, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Associated Press. The restriction has stymied efforts to "fast-track" approvals for four of the seven most promising wind energy proposals in the nation, including all three in California.
State leaves S.F.—city too expensive and 'dumb' (San Francisco Chronicle)
After almost 100 years, the State Compensation Insurance Fund is pulling 755 of its 830 jobs out of town, having determined that San Francisco is just too expensive - and its workforce too dumb - for the agency to continue doing most of its business here. Workers called to a recent meeting at the Herbst Theatre were told that 293 jobs will move to Pleasanton, 422 to Vacaville and 40 to Sacramento, with 75 employees remaining in the city. "It's part of a whole geographic strategy to reduce our footprint in high-cost areas like San Francisco," said agency spokeswoman Jennifer Vargen.
The fund, which handles workers' compensation, is a quasi-government agency - its workers are civil servants and it is overseen by a state-appointed board of directors. Its headquarters have been in San Francisco since 1913. The move to cheaper climes is part of a statewide plan aimed at saving the fund $200 million over the next three years.
But the high cost of Bay Area living is only part of the problem, Vargen said. The agency also seems to have trouble attracting qualified workers here. "We have to do a lot more testing to get qualified candidates," Vargen said. For example, only half of the San Francisco applicants passed the most recent test to become workers' compensation claim adjusters - compared with the 90 percent pass rate in Eureka.
Legendary Marin porn actor and director dies of apparent heart attack (Marin Independent Journal)
John Leslie Nuzzo, an award-winning pornographic film actor and director of more than 35 years, died Sunday afternoon at his home in Mill Valley of an apparent heart attack. He was 65.
Known primarily by his most common stage name, "John Leslie," Mr. Nuzzo performed in hundreds of porn films beginning in the early 1970s, before making the transition to directing in the late 1980s. The X-Rated Critics Organization and the industry publication, Adult Video News, have both given top awards to Mr. Nuzzo s films and named him into their respective halls of fame.
Local TV anchor helps students rise above (Oakland Tribune)
It's a struggle for many journalists to make peace with inserting themselves into situations full of misery and hardship, but Wendy Tokuda found a way she says changed her life: She starting fixing things. Through her work as a television journalist, Tokuda cofounded Students Rising Above, a nonprofit organization offering group help to impoverished students in the nine Bay Area counties.
Like many such foundations, it offers scholarships and other financial aid, but the people running it discovered that sending youths from poverty into college doesn't magically free them from their troubles. They often are baffled by much of the establishment and continue to have family lives afflicted by troubles that come with poverty, with no one playing the grown-up role.
Man chases robber with chain saw (Stockton Record)
A 67-year-old man trimming trees behind a Safeway store refused to give up his wallet to a would-be robber and ultimately chased the assailant off with a chain saw, police said. The man was working behind the store on Country Club Boulevard on Sunday when someone approached and asked for a cigarette. The man then pulled out a handgun and demanded the victim's wallet, but the victim refused. Police said the would-be robber pulled the trigger but the gun didn't go off.