Morning Splash: Quan Outreach, SF Guarantees Asian Art Museum Debt, Cesar Chavez St Plans
- Quan announces East Oakland outreach, travel plans, partnerships in first week as mayor (Oakland Tribune)
Continuing a whirlwind first week at the city’s steering wheel, Mayor Jean Quan introduced plans Thursday for a personal outreach effort this weekend in one of Oakland’s toughest neighborhoods, a visit to China later this year to help court new business to the port and a partnership to improve the city’s public image.
- Asian Art Museum deal makes city liable for debt (SF Chronicle)
The doors will stay open at the beleaguered Asian Art Museum, thanks to a complicated financial agreement with its lenders and San Francisco that for the first time makes the city liable for the museum’s nearly $100 million in debt.
- San Francisco’s Cesar Chavez Street gets makeover (SF Chronicle)
…(Cesar Chavez Street is) the latest city street in line for a major transformation to make it more inviting to pedestrians and bikes. Once known as Army Street and the subject of a political battle over the name change, Cesar Chavez Street sits at the southern edge of the Mission District and the northern edge of Bernal Heights. The planned $28.4 million makeover – focused on the stretch between Hampshire and Guerrero streets – has been years in the making, and was spurred by residents’ demands.
- David Chiu declines chance to be DA, wants to retain board presidency (SF Examiner)
The leader of San Francisco’s legislative body took a pass on a possible district attorney appointment Thursday, and on Saturday will fight to remain at the helm of the Board of Supervisors. In the latest development in the political intrigue surrounding the changing of the guard in City Hall, board President David Chiu withdrew his name for possible appointment by Mayor Gavin Newsom as San Francisco’s top prosecutor.
- Ed Lee, Little Known to Most, Has High Profile in Chinese Community (Bay Citizen)
City Administrator Edwin Lee confirmed Thursday that he would agree to serve as interim mayor — the city’s first Asian-American leader — if selected by the Board of Supervisors. The surprise candidate, described in news reports as a low-profile civil servant, had had little exposure in the mainstream media until very recently. But in the Chinese community, he is already a well-known figure.
- PUC chief may be added to choices for interim mayor (SF Chronicle)
When the Board of Supervisors starts a new round of voting Friday to pick an interim mayor, another Ed may be in the mix, as in San Francisco Public Utilities Commission chief Ed Harrington.Harrington, a City Hall veteran who served in five mayoral administrations and was the long-time city controller, has expressed interest in the interim mayor’s job and was thought to be a front-runner for the post. But when the supervisors took nominations Tuesday, Harrington wasn’t on the list.
- Blue Shield urged to hold off on rate increases (SF Chronicle)
State health regulators called on Blue Shield of California on Thursday to hold off raising its health insurance premiums for 60 days to thousands of individual policyholders, some of whom were hit with hikes as high as 59 percent.
- SFPD misconduct issues jeopardize convictions (SF Examiner)
Hundreds of cases investigated by the Police Department could potentially be dismissed because 75 active and 20 former employees have misconduct issues that might impugn the credibility of their past testimonies.
- State high court losing lone Democratic appointee (SF Chronicle)
Justice Carlos Moreno, the California Supreme Court’s only Democratic appointee and Latino and the author of some of its most important gay-rights opinions, unexpectedly announced his retirement Thursday, creating a vacancy for new Gov. Jerry Brown to fill.
- Whole Foods sets model for traffic with store plan (Andrew S. Ross, Chronicle)
Two years, 60 community meetings and multiple design revisions later, transformation of the old S&C Ford dealership on San Francisco’s Market Street into a condo complex and Whole Foods Market has gotten the go-ahead. With one condition, which, apparently, will serve as a model for similar mixed-use projects in San Francisco in the future: “It shall be the responsibility of the owner/operator of any off-street parking facility, primarily serving a non-residential use, to ensure that recurring vehicle queues do not occur.” If they do, says the City Planning Department, said owner, i.e. Whole Foods, must “abate” them.
- Assembly bill caps public worker pensions (SF Chronicle)
Spooked by the University of California’s pension revolt – in which its highest paid executives are threatening to sue unless UC fattens their retirement benefits – a Democratic state lawmaker introduced a bill Thursday to prevent all public employees from gaining dramatically increased pension benefits. And Republicans are applauding.
- UCSF Faculty Say ‘No’ to Juicier Pensions (Bay Citizen)
In December, a group of three dozen of the University of California’s highest-paid executives threatened legal action if they were not granted much-sweetened pensions–a move that would cost cash-strapped UC tens of millions. Yesterday, the faculty association of UCSF sent a sharply worded letter to UCSF Medical Center CEO Mark Laret and others rebuking them for what the faculty described as an “unseemly” move amid the UC’s financial crisis.
- Peninsula education leaders react to declaration of fiscal emergency for schools (Bay Area News Group)
California Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson has declared a state of fiscal emergency in public education and pledged to find ways to help districts stretch their dollars in a persistently dismal economy. “This is a story not of the California dream,” Torlakson said Thursday during a news conference in Sacramento. “This story shows California is behind the rest of the nation. We do not invest in education the way we need to. We have an emergency.”
- HUD Scolds Marin on Fair Housing Record (Bay Citizen)
Marin County has agreed to research why it has so few racial and ethnic minority residents relative to the rest of the Bay Area and to take “specific actions” to attract more low-income people and ethnic minorities to the affluent county, which is 85 percent white.
- Bioengineered salmon: State bill seeks clear label (SF Chronicle)
Assemblyman Jared Huffman isn’t taking any chances. If the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves a bid to allow the human consumption of genetically engineered Atlantic salmon, the San Rafael Democrat wants every Californian to know what he or she is getting at the checkout aisle. Consumers have the right to know if their food comes from the wild or was bioengineered, said Huffman, who introduced AB88 on Thursday to require the salmon, which many environmentalists call “Frankenfish,” to be clearly labeled.
- Accepted at UC Berkeley, student and her family get reprieve from deportation to Peru (Contra Costa Times)
An 18-year-old honors student who was set to be deported to Peru got a welcome surprise Thursday when immigration authorities granted her a months-long reprieve. Just hours before a planned rally for Lowell High School graduate Elizabeth Lee, her 16-year-old brother, Felix, and their mother, all of whom were set to be deported Jan. 19, the family learned that their deportation was being put on hold. Immigration authorities said they would delay the deportation date until July, leaving the family time to work with a lawyer on their case.
- Facebook IPO likely by April 2012 (San Jose Mercury News)
Inflaming a subject of feverish speculation from Silicon Valley to Wall Street, Facebook has indicated that it could be on track for an initial public offering by April 2012, or at a minimum will have to disclose its closely guarded financial information.
- LinkedIn reportedly planning to go public soon (SF Chronicle)
The social-networking scene heated up even more Thursday with news that LinkedIn Corp. is planning to go public later this year, a move that would make it the first such company to launch an initial public offering.
- Tea Party group takes aim at PG&E SmartMeters (Watch Sonoma County)
PG&E’s SmartMeter program took a beating at a Tea Party gathering in Cotati on Wednesday, with speakers calling the technology a threat to public health, personal privacy and consumers’ budgets. “The more you find out about this, the more scared you are,” said Rob States, a Bay Area mechanical engineer and clean energy activist.
- Andrew Luck decides to stay at Stanford (San Jose Mercury News)
Stanford remains a contender to keep coach Jim Harbaugh, a school official said Thursday night, bringing the possibility of more good news on a day when quarterback Andrew Luck announced he will return for another season.
- 49ers in Harbaugh mix, but so are many others (SF Chronicle)
This Jim Harbaugh guy is turning into one tough hire. The coveted Stanford coach has gone from joining the 49ers to taking top dollar with the Dolphins to perhaps not leaving Stanford at all – all in a 24-hour span – while leaving no clear picture which way he is leaning.