Morning Splash: PG&E Re-Orgs at Top; Fed Shutdown Looms; De Anza Rape Trial Verdict 9 a.m.
- 2 top execs will resign as PG&E reorganizes (SF Chronicle)
In its first major management changes since last year’s fatal pipeline blast in San Bruno, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. reported Wednesday that two of its top executives in charge of day-to-day operations will resign. Their positions will be eliminated as part of a broad reorganization of the way the utility, California’s largest, manages its electricity and natural gas systems. But the resignations and reorganization fall short of the overhaul that PG&E’s critics want.
- Federal shutdown would hit California hard (California News Service)
The Border Patrol would remain on duty, mail would be delivered, and Social Security checks should go out on time. But a looming government shutdown could stall tax refunds, close national parks and museums, and put tens of thousands of Californians temporarily out of work.
- De Anza gang-rape civil trial: A verdict — Thursday in San Jose (San Jose Mercury News)
After 31/2 days of deliberations, the jury reached a verdict late Wednesday in the civil trial of two former De Anza College baseball players accused by a young woman of gang rape. The forewoman, a Cisco programs manager, will announce the verdict Thursday morning. The jury of six men and six women had to decide whether former players Kenneth Chadwick and Christopher Knopf are liable for the alleged sexual assault at a house party four years ago when the young woman was 17 years old.
- Barry Bonds rests his case without taking a swing (San Jose Mercury News)
Barry Bonds’ defense team apparently is convinced it did not need to take a single swing at the prosecution’s perjury case to knock it out of the park. After more than two weeks of testimony from more than two dozen prosecution witnesses, some of whose testimony was filled with wild pitches for the jury, Bonds’ defense lawyers on Wednesday did not put on a single witness, setting up closing arguments Thursday morning. Bonds’ lead defense attorney, Allen Ruby, rose in the San Francisco courtroom, with the prosecution’s case finished, and casually announced: “The defense rests.”
- SFO Terminal 2 ready for takeoff (SF Chronicle)
…Virgin America Flight VX2001 and its star-studded passenger list christened the rebirth of San Francisco’s vintage 1954 terminal Wednesday. The building underwent a $383 million upgrade designed to make it a model of sustainable development and relaxing travel…The refurbished terminal, which will open to commercial flights next Thursday, has waiting areas with white leather sofas, red banquettes and sci-fi-reminiscent “egg” chairs.
- San Jose’s redevelopment agency slashes almost half of remaining staff (San Jose Mercury News)
San Jose’s Redevelopment Agency, the powerful body that helped revive the city’s once-moribund downtown, went on life support Wednesday as almost half of its remaining staff was laid off. Short of a miracle, city officials say, most of the 31 that are left may be let go by the end of June, leaving only a handful of people to oversee the few projects left… The stunning turn of events had been hinted at in the agency’s own budget projections last year, well before Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal in January to kill 425 redevelopment agencies statewide and seize the $5 billion they annually collect in property tax, diverting that money to schools and local governments.
- Haight Leads in Sit/Lie Citations (Bay Citizen)
In the three weeks after San Francisco police began enforcing the controversial Civil Sidewalks ordinance last month, officers issued 86 warnings and 16 citations to people who were sitting or lying down on city sidewalks, police said. Most of the tickets were handed out in the Park police district, which includes the Haight neighborhood where a grass-roots effort to pass the ordinance grew out of frustration with aggressive transients on the streets.
- Botanical Garden debate charges up (SF Chronicle)
The debate over whether to continue charging admission to the Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park has officially made the list of issues sure to stir up political passion in San Francisco… For nearly four hours Wednesday, both sides of the Botanical Garden matter made their cases before the Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Finance Committee, which considered two competing measures: one to end the fee and another to indefinitely extend it. The committee made no decision, instead opting to send the controversy to the full board for consideration next week.
- SMART rail officials face tough cuts (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
Elected officials are trying to save two proposed commuter stations in Petaluma and Novato that could be cut from the SMART train plan because of funding shortfalls. Not opening the two stations, one at Corona Road in northern Petaluma and the other at Atherton Drive in Novato, could save an estimated $16.8 million.
- New report sheds light on San Rafael Target store’s impact on local jobs, economy (Marin Independent Journal)
Most San Rafael retailers wouldn’t be hurt by the opening of a new Target store in San Rafael, though grocery and drug stores could see overall sales decline 2.9 percent by 2015, according to a “community impact” analysis released Wednesday. The much-anticipated report, which the San Rafael City Council ordered in December, details the expected community repercussions of a 137,000-square-foot Target store proposed for the Shoreline Center near Home Depot in East San Rafael.
- Vaughn Walker, retired judge, reflects on Prop. 8 (SF Chronicle)
The now-retired federal judge who struck down California’s ban on same-sex marriage shared his reflections with reporters for the first time Wednesday, saying that the trial should have been televised and that he never considered stepping aside because he is gay.