Morning Splash: SF Pension Costs Jump, Berkeley Delays Vote on Sex-Change Benefit
- SF pension costs jump $20 million (Matier & Ross, SF Chronicle)
San Francisco’s pension time bomb just exploded, with the city being told it will have to pony up $20 million more than previously expected in the next fiscal year. That will bring the total bill for city government retirees to about $375 million – $100 million more than this year, according to the city Controller’s Office.
- DA: CPUC slow to release San Bruno explosion documents (San Jose Mercury News)
The California Public Utilities Commission has yet to turn over documents requested months ago by prosecutors looking into the San Bruno gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Tuesday. “It has just moved at a glacier pace,” Wagstaffe said. “Things have been moving slowly, and we wish they would move more quickly.”
- Opening day: San Jose gang trial reveals violent and twisted logic (San Jose Mercury News)
…The twisted logic behind gang carnage was revealed Tuesday, on the first day of what could be a nine-month murder trial involving one of San Jose’s most notorious crews. But even as the 47-page indictment promises to weaken El Hoyo Palmas, gang violence is once again on the rise in San Jose, with two killings in the first 17 days of the year.
- San Jose officials call string of homicides an aberration (San Jose Mercury News)
After San Jose experienced its lowest homicide rate in a decade last year, 2011 has opened with a bloody stretch of crimes resulting in six slayings in a little more than two weeks. The latest occurred Monday night, when a suspected gang-related, drive-by shooting left a 20-year-old man dead in front of a shopping center at 2003 Story Road. Last year at this time, there were no homicides.
- Apple reports record-breaking revenues and profits (San Jose Mercury News)
A day after Apple CEO Steve Jobs jolted the tech world by announcing his third medical leave, the company reported record-breaking revenue and profit for the holiday season. Apple on Tuesday posted $6 billion in profit and sales of $26.7 billion in the first quarter, which ended Dec. 25. Profit grew a remarkable 78 percent from the same quarter a year ago, while sales, which tend to increase much more slowly than profit, jumped an even more astonishing 71 percent. By comparison, even fast-growing Google reported its profit grew 32 percent and sales increased 23 percent in its most recent quarter; Apple’s results would be spectacular even for a startup a fraction of its size.
- KDFC moves up the dial as a nonprofit, KUSF dies (SF Chronicle)
The Bay Area’s only classical music station announced on Tuesday that it will become a nonprofit, a move that changes the Bay Area radio landscape. The University of Southern California, which is purchasing KDFC from Entercom Communications for an undisclosed price, took over the operation Tuesday afternoon. On Monday, the station will move from 102.1 on the FM dial to 89.9 and 90.3. Entercom will start broadcasting San Jose classic rock station KUFX in the classical station’s old spot.
- Berkeley council puts off vote on paying for sex-change surgery (Contra Costa Times)
A plan before the City Council to set aside $20,000 a year for city employees who want to have a sex change operation was tabled until February so wording of the proposed policy can be refined. The move at Tuesday night’s council meeting comes three and a half years after the City Council asked city staff to study the idea and return with a plan in six months. That was in May of 2007.
- Muni Blames Old Buses, Slow Speeds for Increased Delays (Bay Citizen)
Muni’s on-time performance fell to 72 percent in the last quarter. That’s down from its well-publicized high of 75 percent in the first three months of 2010. At its weekly meeting on Tuesday, Muni officials blamed the eternal problems of old buses and slow speeds for the increased delays.
- Pak Gives, Chiu Receives Most Travel Gifts (Bay Citizen)
Groups associated with Rose Pak, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce lobbyist, were by far the largest sources of travel gifts given to San Francisco officials in the past two years, according to public disclosure forms reviewed by a newly formed group calling itself San Franciscans for Clean Government. Board of Supervisors President David Chiu was identified as the top individual recipient of travel gifts during that period. Receiving travel gifts is not illegal as long as the trips are reasonably associated with an official’s duties, according to San Francisco ethics rules.
- State auditor finds thousands lost to incompetence (SF Chronicle)
An incompetent prison psychiatrist was kept on the state payroll at a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of thousands of dollars, while a state worker with a drinking problem stuffed confidential documents in her desk and took other papers home to avoid doing the work, according to a semi-annual report released by the California State Auditor on Tuesday.
- Quan, Lee attending White House state dinner with Chinese president (LA Times)
…As the third state dinner of the Obama presidency approaches, the invitees and other details are trickling out. Mayors will be on hand — Richard M. Daley of Chicago, Edwin M. Lee of San Francisco and Jean Quan of Oakland. Also planning to attend is John Chen, who leads the Silicon Valley software giant Sybase Inc. and chairs the influential Committee of 100, a group of prominent Chinese Americans.
- Palo Alto to explore sharing services with neighboring cities (Palo Alto Daily News)
Palo Alto council members agreed Tuesday night to explore sharing more city services — including a public safety dispatch center — with three neighboring cities. In an 8-0 vote, the council directed City Manager James Keene to meet with administrators of Mountain View, Los Altos and Sunnyvale to gauge their interest in merging some municipal operations to cut costs. Vice Mayor Yiaway Yeh did not attend the meeting.
- Group warns mercury-laden fish sold in Marin stores; critics label report misleading (Marin Independent Journal)
A Marin-based group released a report Tuesday showing swordfish and tuna found in local grocery stores contained mercury above a federal threshold, while a seafood trade group called the study a “scare story.” In 2010 the group GotMercury.org of Forest Knolls conducted an undercover investigation in which it bought seafood from random grocery stores and restaurants across California.
- 2 S.F. nonprofits win MacArthur Award grants (SF Chronicle)
In a multimedia project developed at the Bay Area Video Coalition, online mapping helped enhance a documentary about how a social entrepreneur was helping children in India halt the spread of malaria in their poor neighborhood. It was creative projects like “The Revolutionary Optimists” that helped the nonprofit San Francisco organization, which advocates social change through the integration of storytelling with the latest media technologies, win a $1 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
- Al Davis seethes in latest installment of Raider theater (Tim Kawakami, San Jose Mercury News)
The big sports news conference is usually elaborate puffery, coated with demi-gloss exaggeration and resounding notes of staged over-optimism. March the new coach out, ignore anything done by the previous guy, speak in platitudes, emphasize only the theoretical bright new future. But this is not the way the Raiders do things, and definitely not the way Al Davis ever dreams of doing anything.
- America’s Cup could send Teatro ZinZanni packing from waterfront location (SF Examiner)
Teatro ZinZanni will have to take a cue from the limber gymnasts who wow their audiences: If they want to stay on waterfront property, they’ll have to be flexible, according to port officials. The nonprofit dinner cabaret theater, a popular waterfront destination for visitors to The City, has had a home at Pier 27 for close to a decade. But it’s among the 80 businesses on port property that will likely be forced to move to make way for the America’s Cup yacht race, scheduled for 2013.