Morning Splash: PG&E Under Fire, San Jose Diridon Station Plan, State of the Union
- Report on bad welds prompts PG&E critics to demand more pipeline details (San Jose Mercury News)
PG&E faced growing demands Monday to provide more detailed information about the construction of the San Bruno pipeline that exploded Sept. 9, amid concerns that its shoddy construction might have been replicated under other Bay Area neighborhoods. After Friday’s disclosure that the pipe had been riddled with defective welds, Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, demanded that PG&E release the names of the workers who installed the pipe in 1956, the name of PG&E’s inspector on the project, if there was one, and other specific records, in case those same crews installed pipes in other Bay Area neighborhoods.
- Report: 200,000 Homeless Kids, Little Help (Bay Citizen)
This year, more than 200,000 kids between 12 and 17 will be homeless–and alone–for at least one night in California, but the state has just 1,000 beds to take care of them. That’s the finding of a new report released today by the California Homeless Youth Project, a grant-funded research and policy initiative of the California Research Bureau, the State Library and New America Media.
- San Jose City Council to get first look at plans for Diridon Station area (San Jose Mercury News)
After 18 months of study and debate, the grand plan for the area surrounding San Jose’s Diridon Station will be unveiled Tuesday night before the City Council. Divided into three sections, the plan features an area devoted to business and research and development just north of the station. Entertainment, retail and office space would be nearest the station, and mixed-use residential development to the south.
- San Jose police push to eradicate downtown’s drug dealers (San Jose Mercury News)
Downtown San Jose’s transit hubs have added an urban feel, with VTA light rail trains whisking riders around the neighborhood. Unfortunately, they’ve also helped make life easier for drug dealers. In recent years, what had been a steady string of low-level dealers in historic Fountain Alley has exploded into packs of four to 10 around the light rail station near South First and East Santa Clara Streets, just a short hop from a Valley Transportation Authority bus stop.
- First 5 San Francisco funding, early-childhood services in danger of cuts (SF Examiner)
More than 4,000 San Francisco children could lose important services under a gubernatorial budget proposal that would reduce First 5 funding by 50 percent. First 5 was created in 1998 as part of Proposition 10’s 50-cent tax increase on cigarettes sales. The organization provides children through age 5 with education, health services and child care, among dozens of other programs.
- S.F. may get tougher on distributing handbills (SF Chronicle)
San Francisco officials hope to combat litter and the ire of some residents by imposing new rules on the distribution of flyers on private property. “Many residents in my district and throughout the city have come to me with concerns over the large amount of litter that ends up in our neighborhoods generated by flyers,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who is sponsoring the legislative crackdown.
- New green trail under BART moving forward (Oakland Tribune)
The areas below elevated BART tracks are not normally known for their picturesque beauty, but Alameda County’s transportation agency is hoping to change that. The Alameda County Transportation Commission is moving forward with a plan to build a 12-mile bike path under the elevated BART tracks between Oakland and Hayward.
- Calif. high court sides with Richmond on layoffs (SF Chronicle)
Cities and counties don’t have to consult with unions before deciding to lay off workers to save money, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday. The court unanimously upheld Richmond’s decision to eliminate 18 of its 90 firefighting jobs in 2003, when the city said it faced potential bankruptcy.
- Oakland’s undocumented drivers can keep their cars; avoid thousands in impound fees (Bay Area News Group)
Undocumented immigrants caught driving without a license in Oakland used to pay hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars in tow and impound fees — often racking up lost wages — before they could get their cars back. But the police department quietly changed its policy in November, and now motorists whose immigration status prevents them from obtaining a license are allowed to sign a waiver and leave their car parked nearby, or call a friend or family member to immediately come pick it up.
- What to Watch For in Obama’s State of the Union (NY Times)
President Obama will deliver a blueprint for economic recovery and American competitiveness Tuesday night, as he attempts to chart a two-year path to his own re-election in the face of newly empowered Republican adversaries. In his first State of the Union address before a Congress under divided control, advisers say Mr. Obama will lay out his case for investment in education and infrastructure, while tempering his call for new initiatives with an acknowledgment of the country’s long-term fiscal challenges.
- California to audit 18 redevelopment agencies (LA Times)
The state will dispatch auditors to towns and cities across California to scour the books of 18 redevelopment agencies to see how officials have been spending the billions of taxpayer dollars they take in each year to improve blight, state Controller John Chiang announced Monday. The financial probe comes amid a deepening fight over the future of California’s 400 redevelopment agencies, which control about $5 billion in property taxes a year.
- Sonoma County considers cutting 500 jobs (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
Fixing Sonoma County’s budget woes could cost hundreds of county employees their jobs this year and cut more deeply into a wide array of government services, especially public safety programs. Community policing and gang prevention efforts, correctional facilities for youth offenders and required legal representation for some criminal defendants are all on the line, officials said.
- Gavin Newsom to find Lieutenant Governor’s Role Limited (Sacramento Bee)
As San Francisco’s young, energetic mayor, Gavin Newsom made it a point to think big and make groundbreaking, headline-grabbing decisions…All those hard-fought victories clearly left their mark on the 43-year-old, fifth-generation Californian. Now, as Newsom starts his new job as the state’s lieutenant governor, he faces a different battle: staying engaged and relevant in one of the least powerful elected positions in state government.
- Gay GOPers Begin Electoral Push in California (Bay Citizen)
Expect to see more gay Republicans seek public office in California this year and next. As the LGBT-focused Log Cabin Republicans continues to regroup after a financial crisis nearly crippled it two years ago, leaders in the Golden State have made pushing its members to run for various city and statewide elective offices a key priority.