Morning Splash: SF’s Plan to Keep Twitter; Clipper Fraud on BART Grows
- Mid-Market tax break plan in works to lure Twitter (SF Chronicle)
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is set to reveal his first major policy proposal today: tax credits designed to keep microblogging firm Twitter Inc. in the city by offering incentives to businesses that relocate to the blighted Mid-Market area. The plan was still being negotiated late Monday with Supervisor Jane Kim, who represents the neighborhood, and Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, but a central component would provide payroll tax exemptions for new employees hired by companies that move to the Market Street area roughly between Fifth and 10th streets.
- SF leaves workers’ bumping rights intact, for now (SF Chronicle)
The city’s public employees unions walked out of City Hall with a big victory Monday when the Civil Service Commission effectively killed a proposal hatched by former Mayor Gavin Newsom’s administration to eliminate the system of interdepartmental bumping rights. That’s when laid-off workers can take the job of another employee with less seniority.
- Scammers prey on BART’s Clipper glitch (SF Examiner)
Fraud involving Clipper cards has skyrocketed after reports exposed a loophole in BART’s fare payment system in November, resulting in more than $170,000 in lost revenue. Under the current system, BART passengers who use a Clipper card can pay as little as $2 to travel anywhere in the transit network. But almost any trip on a $2 ticket results in a so-called negative balance. For instance, traveling from downtown San Francisco to San Francisco International Airport costs $8.10…To combat the alarming trend, on Feb. 25 the MTC will implement a $5 mandatory minimum fare for Clipper card purchases.
- Redevelopment agencies in San Jose, Oakland, rushing to assemble ballpark plans (San Jose Mercury News)
Undaunted by new obstacles to her city’s plan to keep the A’s from bolting to another part of the bay, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan insists the city is still on course to build the team a new stadium — despite a growing chorus of skepticism…(E)xperts say Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to disband all of the state’s redevelopment agencies and divert their assets to local services creates a bigger problem for Oakland than San Jose.
- College leaders back taxes (Contra Costa Times)
The leaders of two of California’s three college systems urged passage of Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to extend taxes, saying they are needed to avoid even more devastating pain than they already envision from $1.4 billion in higher education cuts Brown is proposing. Before a hearing at the Capitol Monday, California State University Chancellor Charles Reed said Brown told him and UC President Mark Yudoff “if this doesn’t pass, we’ll come back and cut more.”…Reed and Yudoff both pledged to avoid tuition increases for students this year, but said all bets are off if the tax extension fails.
- CA delta chinook salmon run bigger, but still low (SF Chronicle)
Three years of restrictions on ocean fishing seem to have paid off with a bigger run of chinook, but there are still far fewer salmon laying eggs in the Sacramento-San Joaquin river system than fishermen would like.
- San Jose/Evergreen Community College District ordered to fix problems or lose accreditation (San Jose Mercury News)
The two campuses of the San Jose Evergreen Community College District have been warned to fix financial, planning, evaluation and governance issues within two years, or lose accreditation. San Jose City College has been placed on probation and Evergreen Valley College received a warning, according to a Monday announcement by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, authorized by the federal Department of Education.
- Oakland pot ordinance stalled but still taking ideas (Oakland Tribune)
The City Council on Tuesday will continue talks about its proposed marijuana ordinance despite a lack of legal advice from the city attorney. The Public Safety Committee will take public comment at its biweekly meeting in what Council President Larry Reid said is a delayed but undaunted effort to license and regulate medicinal marijuana production in Oakland.
- State Enterprise Zones Provide Little Bang for the Buck (Bay Citizen)
California’s enterprise zones suck hundreds of millions dollars out of the state treasury every year but fail “to create jobs or new businesses – key goals of the program,” according to a new report released today by the non-profit California Budget Project.
- Scott Wiener’s proposal aims for food, not cash, from recyclers (SF Examiner)
If a newly elected San Francisco supervisor has his way, people who redeem their empty bottles and cans at recycling centers would be offered food vouchers instead of cash…(H)e hopes to convince his fellow supervisors to lobby Sacramento for a law that would require recyclers to pay people with food, not cash.
- Families of detained hikers in Iran hope case nearing resolution (AP)
The families of two UC Berkeley graduates charged with spying in Iran said Monday that they’re glad Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were able to proclaim their innocence in a court in Tehran and that they hope the case is nearing an end. Bauer and Fattal pleaded not guilty Sunday at the five-hour hearing. A third UC Berkeley graduate, Oakland resident Sarah Shourd, was released in September and pleaded not guilty in absentia. Before the trial started, Shourd, through a spokesman, declined to say if she would travel to Iran for the trial. On Monday, her spokesman said she did not wish to comment.
- Marin Energy Authority to cut rates by 14 percent (Marin Independent Journal)
A plan by the Marin Energy Authority to cut average electricity rates by 14 percent effective April 7 will return the local agency’s rates to approximate parity with those of Pacific Gas and Electric Co., authority officials say. Addressing authority board members at their monthly meeting last week, John Dalessi, the authority’s chief consultant, said many of the Marin Energy Authority’s rates would be “nearly identical” to PG&E’s after the 14 percent rate cut, while a few would be slightly higher.
- Officials: virus at Walker Creek was brought in by student (Marin Independent Journal)
A flulike illness that broke out at a West Marin outdoor school last week was likely brought in by an infected student and was not the result of conditions at the school, county officials said Monday. Investigators reached that conclusion through interviews with infected students and lab tests that confirmed norovirus as the likely cause, said Anju Goel, deputy public health officer for Marin County.
- Despite historic financial woes, Caltrain CEO’s $400,000 paycheck is state’s highest (Bay Area News Group)
Caltrain’s CEO, who has proposed shutting half the rail line’s stations and halting much of its service to survive financially, earns more than $400,000 in salary — more than any transit boss in California. Last year, Caltrain chief Mike Scanlon took home 59 percent more than the median salary for a CEO of one of the state’s 23 largest transit operators, according to a Bay Area News Group review of salaries released by the State Controller’s Office this month.
- Key element of Russian River frost plan withdrawn (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
A key part of Sonoma County’s recently approved program to oversee agricultural frost operations in the Russian River watershed has been derailed after contract negotiations between the county and grape growers broke down last week. The disagreement centers on grower concerns about the water monitoring and reporting work seen as central to the overall program, which aims to allow water diversions for frost control while protecting stream flows for endangered salmon and threatened steelhead.