Morning Splash: Batts’ San Jose Possibility Shocks Oakland, Berkeley to Offer Sex Change Benefit
- News that Batts may leave Oakland shocks city, community leaders (Oakland Tribune)
News of police Chief Anthony Batts’ possible departure to San Jose shocked city leaders and forced Mayor Jean Quan to create a contingency plan in case the department loses him suddenly. Batts, just over a year into a three-year contract with Oakland, has acknowledged he is one of two finalists for the chief’s job in San Jose, a larger, more affluent city with a department almost twice as big as Oakland’s and a less-notorious crime problem. San Jose officials are expected to make a choice in February.
- Berkeley set to offer sex-change employee benefit (SF Chronicle)
While other cities are slashing employee benefits, Berkeley is slated to add one more: paying for sex-change operations. The City Council is poised to vote tonight to set aside $20,000 annually for city workers’ gender-reassignment surgery. The procedure is not covered by the city’s two health insurance providers, Kaiser and Health Net.
- Where San Francisco students go to middle school up for debate (SF Examiner)
Where students attend middle school is poised to become a fight as district officials start work toward an enrollment program…A new enrollment process, approved in March by the Board of Education, more heavily weighs where a student lives during the elementary school selection. And it allows for all the students at primary schools to have a guaranteed spot at a middle school. The elementary school-to-middle school flow is called a pathway.
- Group secretly tests mercury in tuna, swordfish (SF Chronicle)
Tuna and swordfish collected from some California grocery stores and sushi restaurants contained mercury levels as much as three times the threshold that authorizes federal food regulators to pull seafood from shelves, according to a study by an environmental health group.
- Tracking of medical pot data, key aim of state program, varies greatly by county (SF Public Press)
San Francisco is among the most active cities in California in easing access to medical marijuana, having issued more than one-third of the 47,828 cannabis cards in the state. But unlike surrounding counties, San Francisco has a long-standing practice of handing back the paper applications for cards and not recording the names of patients or the doctors who give them the required recommendations.
- Goldman Sachs won’t sell Facebook shares in U.S. (SF Chronicle)
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will offer a private investment in Facebook Inc. only to customers outside of the United States due to concerns that “intense media attention” could trigger violations of U.S. financial disclosure laws.
- Wine drinkers trending back toward pricier bottles (Bloomberg)
…Sales of bottles over $20 slumped during the past two years, as consumers flocked to cheaper alternatives. Now, as the economy recovers, consumers are starting to spend on pricier bottles. That bodes well for winery owners such as Constellation Brands Inc. and Diageo PLC.
- Hue Jackson hired by Oakland Raiders but has little job security as head coach (Cam Inman, Oakland Tribune)
Hue Jackson will be introduced as the Raiders coach Tuesday. And he will be fired “… in two seasons, one season or by Thanksgiving? Jackson had better be a cutting-edge offensive innovator who returns the Raiders to greatness, of which an 8-8 campaign does not qualify.
- Fewer mortgage delinquencies, foreclosures in Solano County (Vallejo Times Herald)
The number of foreclosures in Solano County fell in October over the previous year and so did the number of mortgage delinquencies, according to the latest figures by an industry analysis firm. But the figures may not portend a positive trend, experts say.
- Berkeley Boasts High Compost Rates (Daily Cal)
Apple cores, coffee grounds and even grimy takeout boxes are not just a bunch of garbage. And, with its continuing food scrap recycling program, neither is the city of Berkeley’s commitment to reducing waste.
- Airlines pay hundreds of millions to settle suit launched by former Sausalito retailer (Marin Independent Journal)
A now defunct Sausalito-based importer of women’s clothing, Paradiso Inc., helped launch a class action lawsuit against 19 airlines for price fixing cargo shipments that so far has resulted in settlements with eight airlines totaling about $275 million. But Natalia Castillo, who owned Paradiso when the litigation was filed in 2006, registered surprise when asked about the suit Monday…Castillo said lawyers procecuting the case hadn’t notified her of the settlements. Attorneys litigating the case said courts are still reviewing the settlements for fairness.
- Burlingame-based Virgin America to buy 60 new planes (San Jose Mercury News)
Burlingame-based Virgin America announced Monday that it is buying 60 new Airbus jets, a $5.1 billion order that will nearly triple the size of its existing fleet. Virgin America, the only California-based airline, has just 34 planes, all made by Airbus. The order for 60 additional planes, announced at Airbus’ headquarters in Toulouse, France, marks a huge expansion for the young airline, which was launched in 2007. Virgin expects to hire an additional 500 “team members,” many of whom will be based in Burlingame.