Morning Splash: Rain Disrupts Commute; Guv Considers Nov Election on Taxes; Liz Taylor Dies
- Heavy rain wreaking havoc on Bay Area commute (San Jose Mercury News)
A steady, strong rain that is falling today in the Bay Area has resulted in roadway flooding and is wreaking havoc on the morning commute, according to the California Highway Patrol. CHP Officer Kevin Bartlett said flooding has been reported in several locations and that vehicle accidents are “popping up left and right….” Roadway flooding has been reported in numerous freeways in the Bay Area.
- Governor may seek November ballot initiative on tax plan (Sacramento Bee)
A new Plan B for balancing California’s budget emerged Tuesday as Gov. Jerry Brown mulled the possibility of a November ballot initiative to maintain higher tax rates. The idea, which would bypass Republican lawmakers’ opposition to a public vote, would require a signature drive under a tight timetable to put the measure on the ballot. The Democratic governor continues to negotiate with Republican lawmakers to place tax extensions before voters in June through a two-thirds vote of the Legislature. But talks have sputtered, and state leaders are running out of time to call a June election.
- CSU faces worst fiscal situation in its history (SF Chronicle)
About 10,000 students will be turned away, and an untold number of employees will lose their jobs next fall across California State University’s 23 campuses. That was the grim news Tuesday out of Long Beach, where CSU trustees discussed how the university that serves more than 400,000 students will shrink amid devastating budget news from the state.
- Shots fired at Berkeley High School, three arrested (Berkeley Voice)
Three students were arrested Tuesday in separate gun-related incidents at Berkeley High School. No one was injured when a gun was fired inside a school bathroom, and two students were arrested a short time later on campus, police said. The suspects were positively identified by two students who witnessed the gun go off in the bathroom, and the weapon was found about two hours later wrapped in a jacket in the 2200 block of Haste Street, said Berkeley Police spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Kusmiss.
- Courtroom arrest puts gang-case combatants on edge (SF Chronicle)
The two sides in Oakland’s bid for a civil gang injunction against alleged Norteños in the Fruitvale neighborhood traded angry accusations Tuesday after parole agents walked into a court hearing during testimony and hauled away one of the defendants. The arrest of 27-year-old Javier Quintero as he sat with four co-defendants in the jury box of the Oakland courtroom infuriated his attorneys, who called the action an effort to discredit and bully their clients.
- Elizabeth Taylor, Lifelong Screen Star, Dies at 79 (NY Times)
Elizabeth Taylor, the actress who dazzled generations of moviegoers with her stunning beauty and whose name was synonymous with Hollywood glamour, died Wednesday in Los Angeles. She was 79. The cause was congestive heart failure, her publicist, Sally Morrison, told The Associated Press.
- Computer Shutdown Leaves Hundreds of Homeless Stranded (SF Public Press)
The hours-long wait that many homeless people undergo each day to get a bed for the night grew even longer last week when San Francisco’s computerized reservation system shut down at shelters across the city, forcing many to endure outdoor temperatures in the 40s during the two full days the system remained out of commission. The system, Coordinated Homeless Assistance through Guidance and Effective Services, went offline the morning of Saturday, March 12, as the city’s Human Services Agency underwent seismic upgrades at its building at 150 Otis St.
- Oakland security firm contributed to City Council members and candidates while competing for contract (Oakland Tribune)
A security firm competing for a $2 million annual city contract gave money to the campaigns of Oakland City Council members and candidates potentially in a position to grant them that contract, the city auditor said Tuesday. The firm, ABC Security, has been staffing city-owned buildings, including City Hall, since the mid-1990s, and has donated hundreds of dollars to several council members during that time, records show. But the firm, and CEO Ana Chretien, donated a total of $1,800 to campaigns while actively seeking to renew that contract against nine competing firms. City Auditor Courtney Ruby said that is a violation of local campaign reform laws designed to keep the city’s contracting honest and accountable.
- San Francisco becoming a child-free zone as youth population declines (SF Examiner)
Despite efforts to stem the tide of family flight, the population of children in San Francisco continues to ebb. Families that remain in The City are bucking the trend that has plagued San Francisco for years as the number of children — defined as people up to 17 years old — has dropped from 181,532 in 1960 to 107,524 today, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures. The 2000 census counted 112,802 youths.
- San Jose: Teens join police watchdog’s new youth advisory group (San Jose Mercury News)
If Jazmin Barba Iñiguez ever gets a chance to chat with San Jose police Chief Chris Moore, she’d like to tell him about the fear and intimidation that some kids her age feel from cops…Barba is likely to get her chance to speak with the chief, and perhaps even help influence the way police interact with the city’s young people. Out of 50 who applied, she is one of the teenagers who have been picked to join the Teen Leadership Council, a group being formed by Independent Police Auditor LaDoris Cordell. The retired judge plans to select 15 teens, one for each City Council districts and five at-large members. The group…will advise Cordell, go to outreach meetings, hand out the independent police auditor-produced “Students Guide to Police Practices” and spread the word about the independent police auditor, which takes citizen complaints, monitors police investigations into their own and recommends police policy.
- SF street repairs prompt push for November bond (SF Chronicle)
…San Francisco is facing a $440 million backlog in deferred street maintenance, work that has been shortchanged for at least two decades. City officials now say the repairs are perilously close to skyrocketing in cost, and Mayor Ed Lee and others are calling for a $150 million bond measure for repaving on the November ballot, along with another form of dedicated funding, like a parcel tax or increase in vehicle license fees.
- Ferron chosen for Public Utilities Commission (SF Chronicle)
Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday filled the last opening on the California Public Utilities Commission, naming a former banker to the powerful panel that sets electricity rates in the state. Brown did not, however, replace the president of the commission, as some critics of the panel demanded.
- Judge rejects settlement in Google plan to digitize books (San Jose Mercury News)
A federal judge dealt a severe blow Tuesday to Google’s plans for making millions of out-of-print books available online, part of an ambitious plan to create the world’s biggest digital library, after concluding that a tentative legal settlement was anti-competitive and unfair to some authors. U.S. Circuit Court Judge Denny Chin cited a litany of objections to the proposed settlement of a 2005 class-action lawsuit by major book industry groups, which raised groundbreaking issues of technology and copyright law. At the same time, he acknowledged the social value of what Google co-founder Sergey Brin has called an effort to “unlock the wisdom” of countless authors whose works are no longer widely distributed.
- Federal agent: Bonds’ testimony impeded probe (California Watch)
The federal drug agent who spearheaded the BALCO steroids case accused Barry Bonds on Tuesday of thwarting his investigation by giving grand jury testimony that was “inconsistent with the facts.” Jeff Novitzky, the government’s point man in a series of high-profile probes into steroids in sports, was the leadoff prosecution witness in the former Giants outfielder’s trial on charges of lying under oath to a federal grand jury.
- Noise dispute stops flow of booze at Slim’s in San Francisco (SF Examiner)
A decades-old South of Market nightclub had its liquor license revoked by state officials last week because of noise — violations the owners say are the result of one neighbor complaining…The tiff represents a conflict that has become more common in SoMa as residents of the fastest-growing neighborhood in The City mingle with the highest density of nightclubs in San Francisco, said Jim Meko, a member of the Entertainment Commission.