Morning Splash: GOP Wants Spending Cap; Gas Hits $4/Gallon; Britney Spears Concert
- GOP pushes for spending cap (Sacramento Bee)
GOP lawmakers are pursuing a new spending cap as one condition for placing tax hike extensions on the ballot to help solve a remaining $15.4 billion deficit. Republicans want spending to increase no faster than the rate of inflation and population growth, with extra money going primarily to reserves and debt repayment.
- Thousands of Marin, Sonoma, Solano county residents lose power (Marin Independent Journal)
Around 165,000 customers in Marin, Sonoma and Solano counties, as well as in areas along the Monterey coast, were affected by widespread power outages Sunday afternoon, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said. The blackouts hit just before 1:30 p.m., knocking out traffic lights along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and leaving residents in Fairfax, San Anselmo, Sleepy Hollow and San Rafael without power. Power was mostly restored in Marin by about 3:45 p.m.
- PG&E cut back pipe replacement program in 2000 (SF Chronicle)
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. sharply curtailed a program in 2000 that had replaced portions of the pipeline that exploded under San Bruno and hundreds of miles of other aging gas-transmission pipe in the previous 15 years, a pullback that California regulators allowed, a Chronicle investigation has found. When PG&E told the California Public Utilities Commission that the company was “no longer committing to just replace pipe,” the chief of the agency’s utilities safety branch expressed concern but concurred, records show.
- National surge in hunger being felt in California (SF Chronicle)
(The Food Research and Action Center, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that works to end hunger,) analyzed polling by Gallup and concluded that, last year, nearly 1 in 5 people experienced food hardship. That means they answered “yes” to the question, “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?”Since the economy hit the skids in 2008, more people are going to bed on an empty stomach, and oddly enough, California, one of the nation’s leading agricultural states, has some of the hardest-hit metropolitan areas in the country.
- California redistricting panel tilts left, GOP critics say (Sacramento Bee)
Victory no longer is sweet for California Republican Party interests that helped strip the Democratic-controlled Legislature of the right to draw political districts. Republicans say the fledgling 14-member independent commission they helped create through passage of Proposition 11 in 2008 is tilting to the left.
- Community college classes tougher to get into (SF Chronicle)
Students in (California) are almost twice as likely as those in other states to be shut out of community college courses they need, says a national survey of 1,434 undergrads ages 18 to 59 to be released today. Classes were so packed last fall that 47 percent of the 260 California community college students surveyed said they couldn’t enroll in one or more of those they needed, according to the Pearson Foundation study.
- Berkeley woman, Ethiopian man from San Jose win Oakland marathon (Oakland Tribune)
A homegrown, first-time marathon runner was the first woman to finish the marathon in Sunday’s second annual Oakland Running Festival. Anna Bretan, a delivery nurse who lives with her husband and two children in Berkeley, beamed with delight when her 3- and 5-year-olds ran up to congratulate her after the run. “This is a good way to start,” Bretan said. “I turned 26 in December and I decided it was time to run 26 miles.”
- Contra Costa workers retiring at twice average levels (Contra Costa Times)
Carlos Silva, a 29-year veteran of Contra Costa County’s information technology department, is retiring this month in part because he’s concerned about supervisors’ expressed desire to negotiate pay and benefits cuts with county unions. Because an employee’s pension is based on how much the person earns in the final year of work, Silva said he could actually receive a lower pension if he works another year…Silva sees a “retirement tsunami” this month among county workers, based on conversations he’s had with co-workers.
- David Angel — prosecutor relights county’s Conviction Integrity Unit (San Jose Mercury News)
…As head of (Santa Clara County’s) Conviction Integrity Unit, (David) Angel will review cases in which an allegation of a wrongful conviction has been made, examine office policies, serve as crime lab liaison and take charge of training prosecutors on a number of topics, including ethics.Although the majority of prosecutors are beyond reproach, this new role is seen as vital in a District Attorney’s Office with a reputation that has been marred in recent years by a series of problems, including the withholding of evidence in child sexual molestation cases and the wrongful conviction of a man who spent 12 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. There have also been prosecutorial misconduct findings by a judge and the state bar.
- Britney Spears set packs 6,000 into SF auditorium (SF Chronicle)
Six thousand people jammed the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Sunday afternoon to watch the 29-year-old pop diva perform just three songs from her new album, “Femme Fatale,” for a set to be broadcast Tuesday on ABC TV’s “Good Morning America.” The show, originally set as an outdoor event in front of the Castro Theatre, was moved indoors because of weather concerns.
- New California hotline provides free legal advice for elderly victims of domestic abuse (Bay City News)
California seniors who are victims of domestic abuse can obtain free legal assistance through a new toll-free statewide number, officials said. Victims over the age of 60 can call the California Senior Legal Hotline, where they will receive confidential advice on legal matters…The toll-free number for seniors in need of legal guidance is (800) 222-1753.
- Bonds trial: Steroids, lies and orchidometers were story line in first week (San Jose Mercury News)
Steroids, lies and orchidometers. That was the story line of the first week of home run king Barry Bonds’ perjury trial. And as the case moves into its second week of trial, the evidence so far is a curious and combustible mix of ingredients that should leave legal prognosticators unsure of what’s next…The trial resumes Monday with arguably its most glamorous witness: Kimberly Bell, Bonds’ former mistress, who will follow two federal agents expected to testify on several technical issues before she takes the stand.
- $4-a-gallon gas returns to Sonoma County (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
Gas prices in Sonoma County surpassed $4 a gallon over the weekend. On Sunday, a gallon of regular gas cost an average $4.02 and all indications are it will keep rising, according to AAA…The spike is largely the result of investors who bet on gas prices, and who apparently believe the emerging global economic recovery combined with the turmoil in the Middle East warrant higher prices, Skryja said.
- Stanford women face hot shooter in Elite Eight matchup (San Jose Mercury News)
Out here in the scablands of the Columbia River Plateau, basketball fans have come to appreciate Courtney Vandersloot, the only player — man or woman — in NCAA Division I history to have 2,000 points and 1,000 assists in a career…Now the slender, 5-foot-8 Vandersloot has burst onto the national consciousness as one of the country’s best guards while leading the lowest-seeded team in NCAA women’s tournament history to reach the Elite Eight.