Morning Splash: Oakland Solves Budget for Now; Oakland’s Russo Accepts Alameda Job
- Budget fix salves $8 million shortfall as city approves new body armor for police (Oakland Tribune)
While laboring to produce three versions of a budget for next year to cope with the city’s projected $58 million deficit, city staff found a way to temporarily stave off the bite of an $8 million shortfall still expected for this year, Budget Director Sabrina Landreth said Tuesday. The shortfall largely comes from the city having issued fewer parking tickets, as well as $1 million in expected billboard revenue that didn’t come through, Landreth told the Finance and Management Committee. However, the city’s estimates for medical costs ran high by about $9 million, she added — the city stopped collecting medical costs from the individual departments in April and should have the shortfall made up by the end of the year.
- Oakland City Attorney Russo set for job in Alameda (Oakland Tribune)
Oakland City Attorney John Russo has accepted an offer to become the next city manager for the city of Alameda, where the City Council will consider his proposed contract on Tuesday during a closed session. The move follows the council offering Russo the job on April 19 after it had interviewed him and two other finalists vying for the post. Russo will make a base salary of $215,000, according to the proposed contract, which if approved would begin in June and end in June 2016. Depending on his performance, Russo can expect an annual $10,000 raise.
- San Jose’s Cinco de Mayo parade dies (San Jose Mercury News)
For nearly three decades, San Jose’s annual Cinco de Mayo parade wove through downtown in boisterous, colorful fashion, one of the many events across the West that turned a minor Mexican holiday into a celebration of Mexican-American pride. But it won’t happen this year, and when the parade will come back is anyone’s guess. The American GI Forum, a Latino veterans group, has canceled the parade and festival and a September celebration of Mexican Independence Day, saying it can’t afford them.
- Brown cancels San Quentin death row expansion project (Marin Independent Journal)
Marin County officials celebrated a hard-fought victory Thursday after Gov. Jerry Brown announced he had canceled plans to build a controversial new $356 million death row at San Quentin State Prison. “This underscores the importance of never giving up,” said Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael. “This is just a huge victory for common sense and fiscal sanity and also for the North Bay because of the possibilities we’ve now preserved for that location.”
- BART board OKs late-night train project study (SF Chronicle)
BART directors on Thursday took the first steps toward a six-month experiment with running later trains into the early hours of Saturday morning. The proposal has raised concerns because running trains an hour later – with the last trains leaving end-of-the-line stations at 1 a.m. Saturday instead of midnight – would require starting regular morning service at 7 a.m. instead of 6 a.m.
- San Jose City Council approves preliminary plan for ‘Grand Central Station’ of the West (San Jose Mercury News)
Calling the opportunity to develop the area around Diridon Station a game-changer that could transform the downtown site into “the Grand Central Station” of the West Coast, the San Jose City Council on Thursday approved a preliminary plan for the area. The development of a world-class transportation hub is among the city’s top priorities. The hub would be linked to offices, shops and housing nearby.
- Brown paroles more lifers than did predecessors (SF Chronicle)
(Governor) Brown has reviewed 130 decisions by the Board of Parole Hearings granting release to murderers sentenced to life with possible parole and has approved 106, or 81 percent, according to the governor’s office. He has vetoed 22 paroles and sent two back to the board for new hearings. In comparison, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger approved about 30 percent of lifers’ paroles. Former Gov. Gray Davis – who declared early in his term that “if you take someone else’s life, forget it” – vetoed 98 percent of murderers’ parole cases he considered.
- PG&E worked on some documents with erasable ink (SF Chronicle)
California regulators questioned Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s gas record-keeping practices as early as 2007, when they discovered that vital documents were apparently being written in erasable ink, an internal company document shows. The discovery prompted an unusual bulletin that PG&E distributed to employees warning against the practice and ordering that records be written in non-erasable ink.
- New chief an asset in police union budget talks (SF Chronicle)
…By picking Suhr, the much-beloved choice of the rank-and-file, (Mayor Ed) Lee made perhaps his most politically savvy move to date – one that gives the police union its preferred chief at a time when the mayor is asking the members to make painful concessions, including paying more into their pensions and again deferring promised raises. Gary Delagnes, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, told some officers at Suhr’s swearing-in ceremony that they had essentially “bought” the chief’s appointment.
- French oil giant Total to buy majority stake in San Jose-based SunPower (San Jose Mercury News)
In a powerful signal that traditional energy companies are banking on solar power as part of their future, French oil giant Total plans to buy a controlling stake in San Jose-based SunPower (SPWRA), Silicon Valley’s dominant solar panel manufacturer. Under the deal, jointly announced by the two companies Thursday as “a broad strategic relationship to shape the future of the solar industry,” Total will buy a 60 percent stake in SunPower for $1.38 billion, paying a more than 40 percent premium over SunPower’s stock price Wednesday.
- Contract guarantees San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies will be the best paid in the Bay Area (Palo Alto Daily News)
The salaries of San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies are at least 7 percent higher than those of deputies in eight other Bay Area counties, and they’ll receive a 3 percent bump in 2015 thanks to the Board of Supervisors. San Mateo County supervisors approved an agreement with the 352-member Deputy Sheriff’s Association without discussion at their April 12 meeting. The agreement was listed on a “consent agenda,” which contains items deemed so routine that supervisors approve them in one motion. The five-year agreement states that association members will always receive salaries at least 1 percent higher than those of all other Bay Area deputies.
- Garridos plead guilty, face life terms in Dugard case (Sacramento Bee)
On June 2, a Thursday, Phillip Garrido will be chained and shackled for his half-mile drive from the El Dorado County jail to a Placerville courtroom. Once there, he will be dispatched by Judge Douglas Phimister to spend the rest of his life in the place he never should have left: prison. The 60-year-old convicted rapist and kidnapper will be joined by his wife, Nancy, 55, who faces a similar fate. She will be sentenced to 36 years to life, and will be eligible for parole after 31 years.
- SF Chronicle video prompts White House threat (SF Chronicle)
The White House threatened Thursday to exclude The San Francisco Chronicle from pooled coverage of its events in the Bay Area after the paper posted a video of a protest at a San Francisco fundraiser for President Obama last week, Chronicle Editor Ward Bushee said.White House guidelines governing press coverage of such events are too restrictive, Bushee said, and the newspaper was within its rights to film the protest and post the video.
- San Francisco 49ers draft pass-rush specialist (SF Chronicle)
Stunned the 49ers drafted a little-known linebacker from Missouri in the first round of the NFL draft? Imagine how Aldon Smith felt when the 49ers chose him, and not Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert, with the No. 7 overall pick Thursday.