News Today: PG&E Must Propose SmartMeter Opt-Out; SF Budget Analyst: Final Cup Deal Costlier
We have been preoccupied with the tsunami warning today, but here are some other news stories you should know about:
- 2-week deadline for PG&E’s SmartMeter opt-out plan (SF Chronicle)
California’s top utility regulator on Thursday gave Pacific Gas and Electric Co. two weeks to propose a way for customers to opt out of receiving the company’s controversial wireless SmartMeters. The move follows mounting complaints about the new electricity and gas meters from people who consider the radiation from cell phones, computers and other wireless devices to be a health threat.
- Analyst says America’s Cup deal got costlier (SF Chronicle)
San Francisco agreed to a deal that could cost the city millions more dollars to host the next America’s Cup regatta than the one the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved in December, according to a disputed report from the board’s budget analyst released Thursday.
- 5% drop in African American population in Oakland (SF Chronicle)
Oakland, whose thriving African American community for decades shaped black identity for the nation, lost nearly a quarter of its black population in the past decade, U.S. Census data shows. Now, Oakland has nearly as many white people as it does African American. It also has nearly as many Latinos.
- BART gets better budget news (SF Chronicle)
Despite the uncertain nature of the economy and state funding, BART expects to balance its operating budget for the coming year, and maybe even have some money left over to replace filthy seats, clean up stations and trains, or run service later at night.
- Community policing hot topic at S.F. meeting (SF Chronicle)
San Francisco’s top cop assured members of the Board of Supervisors that he’s committed to community policing, and asked that they not try to cement the policy into law.
- Environmental groups urge Brown to rebuff reforms (Contra Costa Times)
Leading environmentalist groups called on Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday to rebuff demands by Republicans to overhaul environmental protections, and complained of being shut out of closed-door negotiations as Brown seeks a deal to close a $26.6 billion deficit. Brown is considering a host of GOP reforms as he continued to meet at his Capitol office with Republicans, whose support he needs to send his tax extension proposal to the ballot. Environmentalists said they were alarmed by regulatory reforms Republicans are aiming for, though they have not been privy to specific demands.
- Tensions Rise as Oakland Gang Injunction Hearing Grinds On (Oakland North)
As the hearing over the proposed Fruitvale gang injunction grinds on, tension is rising between the two sides over how long the process is taking. On the prosecution’s side, the Oakland city attorney’s office wants the court to approve the proposed injunction as quickly as possible, while the defense, which represents 27 of the 40 alleged gang members named in the injunction, wants to prevent its enforcement. Initially, a ruling was expected after a one- or two-day hearing in mid-February. But after four days of witness testimony that have stretched out over four weeks, including more than four hours spent questioning Oakland police officer Douglass Keely Wednesday, staffers from the city attorney’s office are complaining that the defense may be intentionally dragging its feet.
- Census to bring change to Bay Area political landscape (Contra Costa Times)
The Bay Area will likely lose legislative seats to faster-growing inland regions after its population in the past decade failed to keep pace with its eastern neighbors. The populations of the districts of nearly every Bay Area member of Congress, state Senate and Assembly fell short in census data released this week.
- Windsor teen survives leap from Golden Gate Bridge (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
A 17-year-old Windsor High School student on a school-sponsored field trip to San Francisco leaped from the Golden Gate Bridge on Thursday — and survived. Luhe “Otter” Vilagomez, a junior who friends and school staff said enrolled at the school in the last week of February, was with a group of about 45 humanities students on a field trip to the de Young Museum. The field trip is conducted every other year with humanities students and typically includes a class walk across the bridge.