Morning Splash: Oakland Zoo Controversy; Fruitvale Gang Injunction Arrests
- Oakland Zoo plans recently approved by the Oakand Planning Commission will be appealed by opponents (Oakland Tribune)
A battle over using 54 acres of prime parkland for a multimillion dollar Oakland Zoo expansion into Knowland Park has pitted those rallying to showcase California grizzlies and native condors against environmentalists striving to protect purple needlegrass and pristine hiking views…Now, the Friends of Knowland Park and the California Native Plant Society say they will file an appeal to the city to halt the project by Monday, the deadline to do so. The Sierra Club and the California Native Grasslands Association have also come out against the expansion plans. If an appeal is filed, it would go before the City Council this summer.
- Half of the men named in Fruitvale gang injunction have been arrested since October (Oakland Tribune)
Of the 40 men who stand accused of being among the most dangerous Norteños active in the Fruitvale, nearly half have been arrested for new offenses since October, when the city attorney proposed a gang injunction against them. The arrests range from mild to serious offenses.
- Unruly passenger subdued on SFO-bound flight (SF Chronicle)
An unruly passenger on board an American Airlines flight bound for San Francisco was subdued by two retired law-enforcement officers after he began yelling and pounding on the cockpit door, police said today. Rageit Almurisi, 28, who carried a California identification card and a Yemeni passport, was wrestled to the floor of the Boeing 737 near the end of the four-hour flight on Sunday night. He was arrested by federal agents for allegedly interfering with a flight crew, said San Francisco airport police Sgt. Michael Rodriguez.
- SF Plans to Sell 100 Percent Renewable Electricity (Bay Citizen)
San Francisco plans to begin selling 100 percent renewable electricity–power that produces no greenhouse gas emissions–to 75,000 former Pacific Gas & Electric customers in the summer of 2012. The plan, outlined Friday during a City Hall hearing, represents a major shift in the city’s long-running efforts to compete with PG&E using the state’s community choice aggregation laws, which promote power sector competition. The electricity would cost more than power provided by PG&E, and it would be marketed to customers who are willing to spend money to help minimize their environmental impacts.
- Jockeying begins for seats on San Francisco redistricting panel (SF Examiner)
…Today, Elections Commission Director John Arntz is expected to officially announce that The City’s 11 supervisorial districts will need to be redrawn based on the results of the 2010 census. The Board of Supervisors will have until July 6 to call for the creation of a redistricting task force. The task force will be made up of three members appointed by the Elections Commission, three by the board, and three by the mayor.
- Oakland urban farming prompts plan to redo rules (SF Chronicle)
It has been a tough row to hoe, but urban farming impresario Novella Carpenter appears to be on her way to legally growing chard and raising animals in Oakland. The novelist enlisted readers of her blog to help pay the roughly $2,500 for a conditional use permit, the only way the city will allow her to continue running her horticultural haven, Ghost Town Farm. But Oakland’s agronomic angst is not over, said Carpenter, who wants all city farmers protected from the bureaucratic meddling she had to face.
- California teachers mobilize to pass taxes (SF Chronicle)
Teachers in California today are launching a weeklong effort across the state to pressure lawmakers to pass tax extensions and increases in order to prevent any further cuts to schools. Events for what the California Teachers Association is calling the “State of Emergency” will be held in cities from Fortuna (Humboldt County) to San Diego, culminating with rallies in major cities, including San Francisco, on Friday. The effort, which will include sit-ins at the state Capitol, is one of the largest nonelection undertakings by a union in years and comes just a week before Gov. Jerry Brown’s scheduled May 16 release of his revised budget plan.
- SF rethinking annuity for 5-years of service (SF Chronicle)
San Francisco’s pension fund last year paid $3.3 million to former employees who worked as little as five years in city government but nonetheless qualified for a generous pay package upon their 50th birthday. The program, which city officials say is unmatched anywhere in the country, gives annuities that include city money to people who didn’t work long enough to qualify for an actual pension.
- Google to build its own office space (San Jose Mercury News)
With the Googleplex already straining at the seams and the company preparing its biggest hiring surge ever, the Mountain View Internet giant is about to do something it’s never done before — build its own office space. The company will spend top-dollar to accommodate all those “Nooglers,” as the company calls its new recruits. Google (GOOG) is planning a cutting-edge environmentally friendly design and has agreed to pay the city of Mountain View $30 million to lease 9.4 acres near Shoreline Boulevard, one of the highest prices ever for land in that section of the city.
- San Jose city Councilman Ash Kalra arrested on drunken driving charge (San Jose Mercury News)
San Jose City Councilman Ash Kalra was arrested early Saturday on a drunken driving charge in an incident he termed “a terrible error in judgment.” Kalra, who disclosed the arrest Sunday before law enforcement officials alerted the media, said he was stopped about 1:30 a.m. on Market Street in downtown San Jose after a California Highway Patrol officer noticed that a taillight was out on his gold Prius. Kalra said he had spent the evening with friends.
- Koch brothers may fight California oil tax (SF Chronicle)
(Cypress College political science professor Peter Matthews) drove to UC Berkeley on Friday to begin gathering support for a ballot measure to tax oil companies on the petroleum they extract in California and send the money – about $2 billion a year – to public schools. But should his measure qualify for the November ballot, Mathews and liberal groups worry that a pair of deep-pocketed brothers could emerge to fight the initiative: Charles and David Koch (pronounced “coke”) of Kansas, who have used the billions they’ve made in the oil industry to try to reshape national politics in their conservative, free-market image.
- Battle over where BART-to-Livermore goes is heating up (Oakland Tribune)
The debate over where future Livermore BART stations should go appears to be headed toward a communitywide slugfest, making the outcome of the decades-long dream to extend rail service past Dublin anything but certain. A petition aimed at stopping BART from coming through downtown Livermore was filed with the city clerk Tuesday. The Alameda County Registrar has 30 days to certify it or stop it in its tracks…If the petition is certified, council members will have three options, said City Attorney John Pomidor. They can adopt it, which would force them to renounce their endorsement of BART’s decision to place future BART stations in downtown Livermore and at Vasco Road; they can put the petition to a citywide vote; or they can order a report on what the outcome of adopting such an initiative might be, Pomidor said.
- Clipper to replace Fast Pass for seniors, kids (SF Chronicle)
Last month, most Muni riders had to bid farewell to the beloved and colorful paper Fast Pass. Now, seniors and kids get their turn to say bye-bye and make the switch to Clipper, the regional transit smart card. As of June 3, paper Fast Passes for seniors will disappear and the 17,000 who still use them will have to make the transition. Kids will have until the start of the school year to switch to Clipper, but they’ll have fewer and fewer places to purchase their paper passes.
- San Francisco to provide free electric car power until end of 2013 (SF Examiner)
Electric-vehicle chargers will be made available free of charge at city-owned parking garages and at San Francisco International Airport until the end of 2013, Mayor Ed Lee’s office will announce today. The nearly 90 new plug-ins are designed to provide a “top-off” supplement for the home chargers of electric-car owners, who now make up only a small fraction of The City’s total traffic. Three hours of charging time could return 80 percent of the power to the battery of a Nissan Leaf; it would be completely full in about six hours, officials say.
- University of California weighs varying tuitions at its 10 campuses (LA Times)
Should an education at UC Berkeley cost more than one at UC Santa Cruz? Should a student pay $11,000 in tuition at UC Riverside while his friend is billed $16,000 at UCLA? Leaders of the 10-campus University of California system are considering such questions as they grapple with state budget reductions that already have led to tuition increases, staff layoffs and cuts in class offerings.
- Sharks fail again to eliminate Red Wings, series heads to Game 6 (San Jose Mercury News)
Twice the Sharks failed to hold onto a two-goal lead Sunday night, and now they are heading back to Detroit for a game they were hoping to avoid. A goal by Tomas Holmstrom with 6:08 left in the game was the backbreaker, capping a 4-3 comeback victory for the Detroit Red Wings in Game 5 of their second-round playoff series. And now the commanding 3-0 lead that San Jose once held is down to one game.