- Police plan OKd to avoid crises with mentally ill (SF Chronicle)
As many as 25 percent of San Francisco's police officers will become part of a specially trained crisis intervention team under a plan designed to dial back potentially dangerous situations involving the mentally ill. After a hearing that went on for more than three hours Wednesday night, the Police Commission voted unanimously to approve the plan, which is based on a nationally acclaimed model that has been running in Memphis since 1988.
- PG&E blast: Why pressure was spiked on gas lines (SF Chronicle)
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. officials said Thursday that the utility has repeatedly boosted the pressure on several urban natural gas lines that have what the federal government has classified as substandard welds. Experts said the practice needlessly stressed lines with features that have been tied to scores of pipeline failures nationwide.
- Local-hire ordinance has assemblyman steamed (SF Chronicle)
Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, is taking his ongoing beef with San Francisco over its local-hire ordinance to the statehouse. He plans to introduce a bill Friday to limit the reach of San Francisco's new law that aims to put more local residents to work on the city's public works construction projects.
- Alameda County family homelessness dropped 13 percent between 2007 and 2009 (Oakland Tribune)
While family homelessness nationwide went up 4 percent between 2007 and 2009, in Alameda County it decreased 13 percent, homelessness experts reported. Alameda County has seen success cutting that number largely through strong communication between different agencies and local government, said Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. She spoke Thursday at a conference at the Oakland Marriott, which drew more than 600 people to discuss new ideas for tackling a growing homelessness problem.
- Prosecutors drop some charges against Barry Bonds (SF Chronicle)
Federal prosecutors narrowed their indictment against Barry Bonds on Thursday by dropping six of the 11 felony counts, but retained their central accusation: that baseball's all-time home run leader lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied knowingly taking steroids. Among the charges eliminated from earlier indictments were claims that Bonds perjured himself by denying that he received testosterone from his trainer, Greg Anderson, and that Anderson supplied him with certain lotions - known as "the cream" and "the clear" - before 2003.
- AC Transit drivers demand safer routes (KTVU)
AC Transit bus drivers nearly refused to drive Thursday night after a bus was shot up Wednesday evening in north Richmond.
In response, AC Transit officials arranged for buses to be tailed by law enforcement escorts in one part of north Richmond Thursday night.
- Oakland Museum enters new phase of major construction project (Oakland Tribune)
The Oakland Museum of California got approval from the City Council last week to spend almost $7 million in a new contract to enter the next phase of its massive renovation project -- though it won't cost the city anything. The museum raised the money from private donors to help fund its ongoing, $63-million capital improvement project, Executive Director Lori Fogarty said Thursday. The Council still has to approve of contracts because of how the project was initially funded, she said, but it should have no real economic impact on the city while it's in progress.
- Facebook said to be valued at almost $60 billion (Bloomberg)
Facebook Inc. is considering letting employees sell as much as $1 billion of their shares in an offering that would value the company at almost $60 billion, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. A stock sale would allow large institutions to invest in the social-networking company, according to the people, who declined to be identified because the deliberations are private.
- Stores can't ask for ZIP codes at time of purchase (SF Chronicle)
Retailers that ask for a customer's ZIP code during a credit card purchase are violating a California consumer privacy law that carries penalties of up to $1,000, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The 1990 law prohibits businesses from requesting and recording a credit card holder's "personal identification information." That includes not only the customer's address and phone number but also information, such as a postal code, that can be used to locate the customer, the court said in a unanimous decision.
- Twitter as Tech Bubble Barometer (Wall Street Journal)
As Internet valuations climb and bankers and would-be buyers circle Silicon Valley in an increasingly frothy tech market, many eyes are on one particularly desirable, if still enigmatic, target: Twitter. Discussions with at least some potential suitors have produced an estimated valuation of $8 billion to $10 billion. Executives at both Facebook Inc. and Google Inc., among other companies, have held low-level talks with those at Twitter Inc. in recent months to explore the prospect of an acquisition of the messaging service, according to people familiar with the matter. The talks have so far gone nowhere, these people say.