Morning Splash: DA Drops 57 Cases Over Police Misconduct; Guv Wants Budget-Vote Delay
- SF police: D.A. drops 57 cases in misconduct probe (SF Chronicle)
The misconduct investigation into a San Francisco police unit of undercover officers forced prosecutors to drop another 42 criminal cases Wednesday afternoon, District Attorney George Gascón announced. The growing scandal, which has prompted separate investigations by the FBI, the district attorney and the Police Department, involves eight officers in the plainclothes unit that works the South of Market and Treasure Island areas. Their tactics have been called into question after the release last week of several videos that show officers busting into residential hotel apartments.
- Jerry Brown asks for budget vote delay, says he’s ‘on track’ for deal (Sacramento Bee)
Gov. Jerry Brown, citing progress in budget talks with Republicans, asked Senate and Assembly Democrats on Wednesday to delay budget votes that were planned for today, missing his self-imposed deadline but giving him more time to negotiate. Brown, who resumed meetings with a splinter group of Republican senators Tuesday, said Wednesday he is “on track” for a deal.
- Oakland faces loss of millions in federal funds (SF Chronicle)
Oakland would lose millions of federal dollars for programs serving the poor and unemployed under spending cuts pushed by congressional Republicans in the nation’s Capitol. The cuts could shrink or eliminate programs for the homeless, the unemployed, seniors and poor children in a city with one of the Bay Area’s highest unemployment rates – 16.5 percent – and where nearly half the population is low to moderate income.
- Point Molate casino project in Richmond nears finale (Contra Costa Times)
The future of the proposed $1.2 billion Point Molate casino-hotel resort in Richmond hinges on what happens April 5. The Richmond City Council will vote then on whether to approve or kill the project. Upstream and the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians still hope to build the resort at the old Point Molate Navy Fuel Depot, despite a council majority opposed to gaming. They are seeking state and federal approvals, but they need the city to turn over land for development. On Tuesday, the City Council voted 4-1 to certify the environmental impact report for the project, with Mayor Gayle McLaughlin dissenting.
- New $15 million effort launched to preserve land around Silicon Valley (San Jose Mercury News)
Hoping to preserve farmland, redwood forests and coastal bluffs from development before real estate prices rebound, five land trusts on Thursday will announce a new $15 million effort to join forces with a goal of protecting 10,000 acres in Silicon Valley and its neighboring communities over the next three years. The effort is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, in Palo Alto. It will focus on open space conservation between the Mount Hamilton Range and South San Francisco, an area that includes most or all of Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Mateo and Alameda counties.
- San Jose moves to crack down on pot clubs (San Jose Mercury News)
After seeing the number of medical marijuana dispensaries surge for more than a year as they weighed how to control them, San Jose leaders decided Wednesday that enough is enough. Some City Council members now want to pare down the estimated 110 pot clubs to about 10. Mayor Chuck Reed and three other council members called for a meeting on April 12 to decide how to ratchet back the number of medical marijuana collectives and restrict where they may operate. Taking that action would speed up an effort to develop regulations that were not expected to be completed until at least June.
- SF Pushes to Expand Scope of Local-Hiring Law (Bay Citizen)
Two weeks before a new law takes effect requiring San Francisco construction contractors to hire local workers, city officials will ask the federal government to allow it to impose local-hiring rules on federally funded transportation projects. Mayor Edwin M. Lee and other senior city officials held a press conference Wednesday at Palega Recreation Center and Playground, where the city’s parks department plans a $13 million renovation, to outline an implementation plan for the new local-hiring rules.
- Hellman Hires His Own Number-Cruncher to Analyze Reform Options (Bay Citizen)
…A privately commissioned actuarial report estimating the cost savings of a number of proposed changes to city employee and retiree benefits was presented at a private meeting Wednesday afternoon attended by leaders of the city-employee unions and Warren Hellman, an investor and philanthropist who convened the group to come up with a consensus plan to help solve the city’s financial crisis…The Deloitte analysis, which was obtained by The Bay Citizen, shows that the combined savings of the proposals on the table might possibly approach the $300 million to $400 million in annual savings that Hellman, in an interview last month, said would be necessary.
- New charges in Emeryville casino bust (SF Chronicle)
The gaming director at an Emeryville casino that was raided by law enforcement officials has been charged in federal court with structuring monetary transactions to avoid detection, court records show. Hoa The Nguyen, 47, of Alameda, who oversaw Asian gaming at the Oaks Card Club, had nearly $3 million deposited in his personal bank accounts from 2006 to 2010, and of 380 deposits, only five were greater than $10,000, according to the complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
- Battle erupts about sitting on sidewalks on Haight Street (SF Examiner)
Four months after voters approved the sit-lie ordinance, San Franciscans still await police enforcement. So some Haight Street merchants have taken matters into their own hands, which is working but provoking a backlash. Some shop windows now display signs warning passersby not to sit or lie on the sidewalks in front of their business. But street kids and other opponents of the law are combating these measures with pro-loitering graffiti painted directly on area sidewalks.
- Pot-growing suppliers planning IPOs (Bloomberg)
In an industrial section of Oakland, former Morgan Stanley investment banker Derek Peterson hops into a trailer being outfitted with shower drains, lights and humidifiers, all used for growing marijuana…The legalization of medical marijuana – permitted in at least 15 states – has kicked off a booming economy in ancillary goods.
- Sunnyvale: Rat poison with ominous threat to dogs found in park (San Jose Mercury News)
Sunnyvale authorities are on the lookout for a dog hater. Two boxes of D-Con Mice & Rat Poison were discovered on two occasions in February in the dog area of Las Palmas Park on Russet Drive. The first box had “All Dogs Must Die” scrawled on the yellow box, filled with poisonous pellets that cause internal hemorrhaging.
- Stanford athletes had access to list of ‘easy’ classes (California Watch)
A drama class in “Beginning Improvising” and another in “Social Dances of North America III” were among dozens of classes on a closely guarded quarterly list distributed only to Stanford athletes to help them choose courses. Stanford officials said the list was designed to accommodate athletes’ demanding schedules and disputed that the list was made up of easy classes. Officials discontinued the list last week after student reporters working for California Watch began asking about it.