Morning Splash: SF Legalizes Homegrown Produce Sales; Oakland Cancels Majority of Teacher Layoffs
- ‘Urban agriculture’ takes root with law (SF Chronicle)
It’s no longer illegal to grow Swiss chard in your backyard and sell it to the corner restaurant. Mayor Ed Lee on Wednesday signed legislation that allows for “urban agriculture” throughout the city, including the sale of garden produce.
- Oakland school district plans to cancel more layoff notices (Oakland Tribune)
…This week, while schools were closed for spring break, (Oakland school) district officials released plans to spare about 82 percent of the full-time positions that had been slated for possible elimination. The number of K-12 jobs to be slashed strictly for budget reasons has dwindled to 35. (A dozen teachers without the proper authorization to teach English learners are also expected to be laid off.)
- Marin Residents Outraged Over Propoesed Sewage Rate Hike (KTVU)
Water customers packed a meeting of the Ross Valley Sanitation District Wednesday night to protest a rate increase that could make their bills spike by hundreds of dollars. Customers told KTVU they first got a glossy card in the mail that touted the sewer district’s low rates. Now they feel the cards were a set up for an increase as officials propose doubling what Marin customers were being charged. “I feel burned, ” says Ford Greene of San Anselmo, ” I feel like my money’s being spent on glossy mailers.” Customers could see their annual sewer fee shoot from about $500 to $900 on top of the $200 tacked onto their property taxes. In the city of Larkspur where there is a smaller tax assessment, rates could top $1,000 a year.
- Bay Area water customers punished for conservation (San Jose Mercury News)
California’s water woes have compelled Peninsula and East Bay residents to conserve more water than they have at almost any time since the drought of 1992. Their reward? The biggest water-rate increase they’ve ever seen. On May 10, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission will consider tacking on a 47 percent rate increase for the water it pumps to Bay Area customers from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in the lower Sierra Nevada. The agency needs to fill an unexpected revenue gap of $65 million, which it attributes to the fact that water customers outside San Francisco have been using less water and saving money on their bills.
- Brown orders state to collect its debts from workers (Sacramento Bee)
Travel expenses and cash advances for state employees have become the latest targets of Gov. Jerry Brown’s push to save money and crack down on inefficiencies in state government. The Democratic governor issued an executive order Wednesday directing state agencies and departments to step up their efforts to track down what his office estimates is millions of dollars worth of travel and salary advances that state employees have failed to repay.
- Visit by NBA today could be capital’s last chance to keep Kings (Sacramento Bee)
Is Sacramento major league? A pair of National Basketball Association representatives come to town today to ask that very question. Fan groups are asking people to wear purple as a statement of support for Sacramento pro basketball. The real work, however, will happen behind closed doors, where Mayor Kevin Johnson and community leaders will seek to convince the league that Sacramento has the financial wherewithal to support the Kings – including getting a new sports and entertainment arena built.
- New San Francisco police chief could be selected within a week (Bay City News)
A selection for a new chief of the San Francisco Police Department could be made in about a week, Mayor Ed Lee said Wednesday. Lee was tasked with selecting the department’s top cop in January after outgoing Mayor Gavin Newsom picked former Chief George Gascon to take over the position of district attorney for Kamala Harris, who was elected the
state’s attorney general.
- San Jose’s Butcher Dog Park to reopen Thursday (San Jose Mercury News)
t was unlikely that a dog was poisoned at San Jose’s Butcher Dog Park on Saturday, and the park will reopen Thursday afternoon, animal services officials said. The popular park on Camden Avenue was closed after Jennifer Tian’s Shiba Inu, Colin, became sick Saturday while at the park and died a short time later. The park was closed as a precautionary measure.
- Hiring surge brings recruiters to Bay Area campus job fairs (San Jose Mercury News)
After years of gloom, college students are flocking to campus job fairs this month in what is shaping up to be the best job hunting season since the Class of 2008. Universities all over the Bay Area report an increase in the number of recruiters seeking to fill entry-level jobs and internships — brightening prospects for students whose entire adult lives have been clouded by the Great Recession.
- S.F. Planning Commission gets Treasure Island plan (SF Chronicle)
Today San Francisco leaders could approve a huge, $1.5 billion development on Treasure Island that would create a from-scratch neighborhood of 19,000 people on the 403-acre rectangle in the middle of the bay. The new community, dotted with high-rises and buffered by open space, would be one of the biggest developments in decades.
- Audit of San Jose’s disability retirement program for police and firefighters reveals abuses (San Jose Mercury News)
A new city audit slams San Jose’s disability retirement program for police and firefighters, saying it’s too easy for retirees to claim a disability — which comes with a hefty tax break. The high number of public safety employees who retire with the benefit is unacceptable, the report says, and greatly exceeds those of other major California cities… The 34-page city audit, which says the system is in dire need of reform, also found that some employees who were granted disability retirements were working full time right up to the time they left the city, while others were working full time in positions in which their duties had been modified.
- Obama’s Facebook appearance covers range of issues (San Jose Mercury News)
President Barack Obama brought the ideological budget debate that is roiling Washington to Silicon Valley on Wednesday, speaking at an Internet town hall at Facebook that was simultaneously local, global and interactive — a political trifecta that only an online social network could achieve. Obama chose a critical moment in his confrontation with congressional Republicans to use the power of social media for his political goals, as he tried to tap into the predominantly young, 600-million-member network of Facebook.
- iSpy: Apple’s iPhones can track users’ movements (San Jose Mercury News)
Two researchers announced Wednesday that they had discovered a file stored on those devices that records where they have been, and when. The data in the file, which is found on all devices running Apple’s iOS operating system and on computers to which those iOS devices are synced, could be used to plot users’ movements. The file is unencrypted and collects the location data without users’ knowledge or consent, said Peter Warden and Alasdair Allan, who presented their findings at the Where 2.0 conference in Santa Clara.
- Apple has blowout quarter; profit up 95 percent (San Jose Mercury News)
The Apple (AAPL) juggernaut rolled full steam into the new calendar year, as the company Wednesday announced another quarter of breathtaking sales and profit, overcoming concerns about the impact of Japan’s natural catastrophes on the suppliers assembling the Macs, iPhones and iPads that the world can’t seem to get enough of. While Apple struggled to meet surging demand for its second-generation iPad, iPhone sales jumped 113 percent from a year ago, thanks in part to the company’s decision to start selling the phones through Verizon as well as AT&T. As a result, Apple’s second-quarter profit climbed nearly 100 percent.