Morning Splash: PG&E Said No Risk on Ruptured Line Welds; New SFPD Video; Dog-Rule Protest
- PG&E could have replaced doomed line, but said its welds were of no risk to public (San Jose Mercury News)
In the midst of a major safety upgrade in San Bruno in 1993 and 1994, PG&E decided not to dig up the section of natural gas transmission line that ruptured last September because the company insisted its welds did not pose a risk to the public. The claim, included in a PG&E document from 1992 obtained by the Mercury News, is sharply at odds with the conclusion of federal investigators, who said in January that the line had more than 150 welding defects dating to its construction half a century ago. When the pipeline, known as line 132, blew up, it killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes in one of America’s worst natural gas disasters.
- San Bruno fire was impacted by Milpitas repair (SF Chronicle)
A “screwed-up” repair project at a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. control station in Milpitas caused pressure levels to rise on all the natural gas transmission lines serving the Peninsula just 50 minutes before the San Bruno pipeline exploded, newly released federal documents show.
- SF cops allegedly caught in misconduct on video (SF Chronicle)
San Francisco’s public defender’s office released a fourth videotape Monday showing alleged police misconduct during a drug bust – evidence, officials claim, that the trouble may not be confined to a handful of rogue cops.
- In S.F., plan to limit dogs in parklands decried (SF Chronicle)
The imbroglio over restrictions on Rex rolled into San Francisco’s Fort Mason Monday as hundreds of dog owners rallied against plans by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area to ban man’s best friend in many areas where he now runs free. The protesters gathered at the third of four informational open houses held by recreation area officials to discuss their voluminous dog management plan.
- Republicans declare impasse in budget talks with Brown (Sacramento Bee)
Gov. Jerry Brown’s prospects of reaching a budget deal by his deadline this week dimmed markedly Monday when a quintet of Republicans with whom he’d been negotiating declared an impasse. The GOP senators for the first time released a list of demands – covering pensions, spending restrictions and education reforms, among other things – and said the Democratic governor and his legislative allies were unable to fulfill them.
- S.F. Hilton, Unite Here Local 2 reach deal (SF Chronicle)
The union representing 850 Hilton Hotel workers in San Francisco announced a tentative agreement on Monday that settles an 18-month labor dispute, but vowed to escalate actions against the other major chains that are still without a contract.
- Oakland will place $80 parcel tax on special election ballot (Oakland Tribune)
Local voters will see a proposal for a new $80 parcel tax to pay for city services on the ballot if the state’s proposed special election happens in June. Oakland is facing a $46 million budget deficit in the fiscal year that begins in July, and Mayor Jean Quan said she’s hoping voters will agree to contribute about $11 million per year for the next five years by approving the temporary tax. The money would go to help pay for police and fire services, parks and recreation, library services and technology, and youth violence prevention. Five City Council members agreed Monday night to place the proposed tax on the ballot in June, in a special election Gov. Jerry Brown is seeking.
- Two men dropped from De Anza gang-rape civil trial (San Jose Mercury News)
Two young men accused in a civil trial of playing a limited role in the alleged gang rape of a girl at a De Anza College baseball players’ house party were dropped Monday from the controversial case, leaving seven defendants still on trial. Ryan Kanzaki and Spencer Maltbie can no longer be held liable for monetary damages stemming from the woman’s claim that she was sexually assaulted on March 3, 2007, when she was 17 years old and nearly comatose from drinking three beers and 10 to 11 vodka shots served by one of the former baseball players.
- Prison guards, supervisors rack up millions of hours in paid time off (SF Chronicle)
California prison guards and their supervisors have racked up 33.2 million hours of vacation, sick and other paid time off – an astounding accumulation that amounts to nearly half a year per worker. It also adds up to a $1 billion liability for taxpayers of the deficit-plagued state.
- Census Data Will Likely Signal Loss of Political Power for Bay Area (Bay Citizen)
With the much-anticipated release of 2010 census data for California expected Tuesday, the San Francisco Bay Area faces the prospect of ceding political clout to its upstart neighbor: the fast-growing Central Valley. The dramatic population shift under way in the state, redistricting experts say, will make plain that the Bay Area should probably lose a district.
- California redevelopment agencies blasted in state review (San Jose Mercury News)
A new state report criticizes California’s redevelopment agencies for loosely defining blighted areas, failing to pay about $33 million they owe to the state’s public schools, and poorly tracking the number of jobs that redevelopment creates. The analysis, released Monday, also pointed out widespread accounting deficiencies, questionable payroll practices, faulty loans and the inappropriate use of affordable housing funds.
- Job growth gains momentum in most Bay Area counties, including Solano (Vallejo Times-Herald)
The Bay Area economy is looking stronger than previously thought — to the tune of 49,000 extra jobs — based on an analysis of just-revised data for the region in 2010, economists said Monday. “Things are looking better,” said Jeffrey Michael, director of research with the Stockton-based Business Forecasting Center at University of the Pacific. It turns out that the Bay Area actually had 49,300 more jobs at the end of 2010 than experts initially had estimated. Upward revisions in employment totals included most Bay Area regions, including the East Bay, South Bay and San Francisco area, an analysis of state Employment Development Department data shows.