Morning Splash: Caltrain Service May Not Be Cut; UC Out-of-State Freshmen Increase; Avalos Enters Race
- Caltrain likely to keep stations open, trains running (Bay Area News Group)
Caltrain board members hinted Monday that they have a plan to save the commuter line’s current service and keep all its stations open for at least another year, although passengers might still have to pay more to ride the rails. The details of the plan, which board members alluded to in interviews, are still vague, but if passed this week would put an end to a year’s worth of doom and gloom proposals that at worst would have shut down half the rail line’s stations and service. The latest savior plan would likely see Caltrain get its hands on funds typically used for transit maintenance around the Bay Area, and perhaps money that had been earmarked for construction projects on the rail line.
- UC admits more out-of-state freshmen (Contra Costa Times)
The University of California has admitted more freshmen than ever this year, but more of them are from other states and countries. The 10-campus university, which received a record 106,186 applications this year, announced Monday it had admitted at least 72,432 freshmen for the 2011-12 school year, including 2,300 fall applicants to UC Berkeley who were instead offered admission in the spring 2012 semester. Last year at this time, the university had admitted 68,329 freshmen.
- S.&P. Lowers Outlook for U.S., Sending Stocks Down (NY Times)
The United States has long had a sterling credit report from ratings agencies because of the global preference for the dollar. But the latest deficit gridlock in Washington may have taken some of the luster off the reputation of the world’s largest economy and its currency. On Monday, the ratings firm Standard & Poor’s lowered its outlook on the United States rating to negative. Although the agency did not actually lower its highest AAA rating on the country’s debt, it was the first time since the S.& P. started assigning outlooks in 1989 that the country was given an outlook that was something other than stable.
- Progressive Avalos enlivens S.F. mayor’s race (SF Chronicle)
The San Francisco mayor’s race just got a lot more interesting. Supervisor John Avalos might not be a front-runner, but his entry on Monday into an already crowded race gives progressives a standard-bearer in a field that so far has played nice in the city’s first competitive mayor’s race using ranked-choice voting.
- EBMUD set back by Pardee Reservoir ruling (SF Chronicle)
Officials with a Bay Area water utility will meet today to plot their next step after a Sacramento judge found that the agency’s contentious plan to expand its mainstay reservoir in the Sierra Nevada foothills ignored the impacts to a picturesque kayak run, a historic bridge and sacred American Indian sites.
- Earthquake Rattles Much of Bay Area; Power Restored to an Estimated 10,000 Pacifica PG&E Customers (Pacifica Patch)
An earthquake with a magnitude of 3.4 and several smaller aftershocks rattled parts of the Bay Area this afternoon and evening. Initially, the U.S. Geological Survey reported the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 3.8, which it has since revised numerous times. As of 9:50 p.m., the estimate of the strongest seismic event’s magnitude was 3.4.
- PG&E: Poor records didn’t lead to San Bruno blast (SF Chronicle)
The gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes in San Bruno would have happened even if Pacific Gas and Electric Co. had kept accurate records of the line, the company told state regulators Monday…(T)he type of weld that ruptured does not have a record of failing, PG&E told the state Public Utilities Commission.
- Peninsula lawmakers call for ‘blended’ approach to high-speed rail (Palo Alto Daily News)
A trio of powerful Bay Area lawmakers called Monday on the California High-Speed Rail Authority to rethink its plans for running bullet trains up the Peninsula and presented their own ideas for the local section of the $43 billion project… At a press conference at the Menlo Park Caltrain station, the lawmakers said the rail authority can save money and spare Peninsula cities aggravation by developing a “blended system” that joins high-speed rail with Caltrain.
- Muni operators taking strike authorization vote (SF Chronicle)
Muni operators, now locked in contentious contract negotiations with Municipal Transportation Agency management, are taking a strike authorization vote. The operators, represented by Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, quietly gave the green light for a strike authorization vote last month “if the collective bargaining process deteriorates so badly that we, the members, decide going on strike is the best option,” states the flyer distributed to operators.
- Taj Mahal of toilet water? Price tag for San Jose’s sewage plant climbs (San Jose Mercury News)
San Jose’s planned modernization of its sewage treatment plant — already the most expensive public works project in city history — is growing even more costly. As the project goes before the City Council on Tuesday for a key vote to begin environmental studies, the tally looks like this:
- Upward Bound reaches deal with USF for new life (SF Chronicle)
Upward Bound, the civil rights era college-prep program that used tactics of the ’60s – marching, chanting and waving signs – to protest the University of San Francisco’s decision to oust it from campus after 45 years, is celebrating an agreement that will let it stay.
- Sacramento hopes to impress NBA fact-finders (Sacramento Bee)
Sacramento has two days to prove it’s a better fit for the Kings than Anaheim. The National Basketball Association said Monday that it is sending its relocation committee chairman and an attorney to Sacramento on Thursday and Friday for a look at the city’s efforts to increase corporate financial support for the team and to finance a new sports-entertainment arena.
- SF Police Look to Neighboring Departments for Recruits (Bay Citizen)
The San Francisco Police Department, which has cancelled the regular police academies that normally train rookies, on Monday began a police academy for 14 new officers from area police departments, the result of a recruitment push begun in December that specifically aimed at “laterals,” or officers moving from other departments. The effort netted 104 applicants, about 75 percent more than a similar effort in 2009.
- Bridge Jump Survivor Handed Sister A Suicide Note (Bay Citizen)
The teenager who miraculously survived a suicidal plunge off the Golden Gate Bridge was walking with her parents and sister before she jumped Sunday morning, authorities said Monday. She handed a suicide note to her sister before leaping off the bridge near the San Francisco side, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Patrick Roth. The 16-year-old was visiting San Francisco with her family, Roth said.