Morning Splash: PG&E Customers Can Delay Getting SmartMeters; New Details on SFUSD Corruption Scandal
- PG&E eases stance on CEO package, SmartMeters (SF Chronicle)
(PG&E) reported that its customers won’t have to pay for chief executive Peter Darbee’s $34.8 million retirement package, widely attacked as lavish after Darbee announced his retirement last week. Instead, the cash will come from PG&E profits. In addition, the company granted a temporary reprieve to people who don’t want the new SmartMeters from Pacific Gas and Electric Co., PG&E Corp.’s subsidiary. Customers can now keep their old electricity and gas meters until state regulators approve a SmartMeter opt-out plan later this year, a company spokesman said Monday.
- Court Docs Reveal New Details of Alleged SF Unified Payment Scheme (Bay Citizen)
For years, the San Francisco Unified School District department that manages after-school programs falsified “most if not all” financial reports and improperly transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars to community organizations under contract to the district, according to court documents. Former Associate Superintendant Trish Bascom, who headed the Student Support Services Department, instructed those community organizations to direct at least some of the money to herself and a number of her employees, the documents allege.
- Prop. 8 backers: Walker shouldn’t have judged case (SF Chronicle)
The federal judge who struck down California’s ban on same-sex marriage should have disqualified himself because he is a gay man with a longtime partner and he could marry as a result of his ruling, sponsors of the ballot measure said in a court filing Monday. Opening a new front in the battle over Proposition 8, its proponents said former Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s recent comments about his 10-year relationship, which he had not disclosed during the trial, show that his “impartiality might reasonably have been questioned from the outset.”
- Janet Napolitano clarifies immigration program (SF Chronicle)
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Monday acknowledged a storm of criticism from lawmakers and immigration-rights supporters over a federal effort targeting criminal immigrants, saying there has been confusion over whether local communities can choose not to participate in the program known as Secure Communities. But she added that local governments cannot decide on their own to “exclude themselves” from its fingerprint-checking database.
- San Carlos council votes to move toward hybrid fire department with Redwood City (Palo Alto Daily News)
After several hours of heated public comment Monday night, the San Carlos City Council unanimously voted to pursue a hybrid fire department with Redwood City as its preferred option for delivering fire service after the Belmont-San Carlos Fire Department officially breaks up in October. “I hope we could have a draft contract to the (San Carlos and Redwood City) councils by probably some time in June,” City Manager Jeff Maltbie told council members. In a separate 3-2 vote, council members also decided to resume talks with Wackenhut Services Inc., a private Florida-based company, if negotiations with Redwood City fail.
- Records show City Attorney planning third Oakland gang injunction (The Informant)
Records indicate Oakland City Attorney John Russo had private attorneys research a third gang injunction–this one in Area 3, East Oakland. The $19,999.98 in outside counsel costs are not included in a February joint report on gang injunctions by the City Attorney and the Oakland Police Department that was produced at the request of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.
- Santa Clara County District Attorney crafting guidelines to allow pot clubs (San Jose Mercury News)
Making a clear break from the hard-line attitude of his predecessor and other top state prosecutors, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen is expected to soon release guidelines that could allow marijuana collectives to operate legally in the county. If approved, the guidelines could all but end the high-profile raids that shut down some collectives in the South Bay last year. Influential Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, other DAs and commanders of a local narcotics task force have said such raids are justified because most collectives in San Jose and other cities sell marijuana in a way that is not allowed by the state’s medical marijuana law.
- Oakland’s Mayor Quan unveiling program to bridge digital divide (Bay City News)
Mayor Jean Quan is launching a project this week designed to provide more of the city’s residents with Internet access, her spokeswoman said. Geared toward people who don’t have access to computers, “Get Connected Oakland!” will provide equipment and Internet access in communal places such as senior centers, recreation centers, schools and the Oakland Housing Authority, as well as in people’s homes, spokeswoman Sue Piper said.
- Facebook’s plans for Menlo Park HQ: 9,400 workers in next 6 years (Palo Alto Daily News)
Facebook wants to redevelop the former Sun Microsystems campus in Menlo Park and two adjacent parcels to eventually accommodate 9,400 employees, according to city documents. The fast-growing social networking company, which currently employs about 1,400 people in Palo Alto, expects to reach full capacity at the Sun campus and nearby buildings on Constitution Drive by 2017.
- SETI Institute to shut down alien-seeking radio dishes (San Jose Mercury News)
Lacking the money to pay its operating expenses, Mountain View’s SETI Institute has pulled the plug on the renowned Allen Telescope Array, a field of radio dishes — popularized in the Jodie Foster film “Contact” — that scan the skies for signals from extraterrestrial civilizations. In an April 22 letter to donors, SETI Institute CEO Tom Pierson said that last week the array was put into “hibernation,” safe but nonfunctioning, because of inadequate government support.
- SF Castro’s flag: Activists want more say on it (SF Chronicle)
A loose band of community activists in the Castro district say they are tired of a powerful local merchants group controlling the gay rights rainbow flag that flies at Castro and Market streets. The fight started last month, when a handful of Castro residents asked the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro to fly the flag at half-staff to honor Elizabeth Taylor, the Hollywood-star-and icon to gays who died in March.
- NBA: Show us the money (Sacramento Bee)
Mayor Kevin Johnson’s effort to keep the Kings in Sacramento faces another critical hurdle beginning today. Working over the weekend and late into the evening Monday, Johnson’s staff was setting up meetings for this morning between local corporations and NBA representatives. The goal: to start checks flowing on an estimated $10 million in corporate sponsorships the mayor says he has solicited for the Kings.
- Santa Clara County expected to join plastic bag ban (San Jose Mercury News)
Joining San Jose and a growing number of California cities and counties, Santa Clara County supervisors are expected to approve a ban on plastic shopping bags Tuesday, an effort to shift consumer behavior toward reusable bags and curb environmental damage. The county has been considering the ban, first introduced by Supervisor Ken Yeager, for more than two years.
- U.S. study says rising temperatures put Western water supplies at risk (Sacramento Bee)
Global warming in California’s Central Valley could increase flooding, shrink salmon habitat and invite more invasive species, scientists conclude in a sobering report released Monday. Snow will melt sooner in the Sierra Nevada, the report predicts. Rain will replace snow altogether in some places. Fisheries will stress out. Surface water will be harder to come by, and groundwater will be drained, as average temperatures rise.
- San Jose Sharks eliminate Los Angeles Kings (San Jose Mercury News)
Maybe it was a lucky bounce. But the puck found its way to the blade of Joe Thornton’s stick just outside the crease at 2:22 of overtime Monday night and now the Sharks are moving on to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Thornton’s nifty spin move to the half of the net unoccupied by Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick gave the Sharks a 4-3 victory that clinched their best-of-seven series in six games, with three of San Jose’s four wins coming in overtime.