Morning Splash: Mehserle Out on Monday; PG&E’s Late Revelation; Muni Operators Reject Contract
- Mehserle expected to be released Monday (Oakland Tribune)
Former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle will be released from jail Monday and Oscar Grant III’s family and supporters will be in Los Angeles over the weekend for several events leading up to his release, a family spokesman said. Mehserle, 29, was convicted in July of involuntary manslaughter in the killing of Grant, a Hayward resident, on the Fruitvale BART station platform Jan. 1, 2009. He was sentenced to two years at Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail.
- PG&E’s tardy revelation of earlier San Bruno leak (SF Chronicle)
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. admitted only recently to federal investigators that the San Bruno gas pipeline that ruptured disastrously last year at a flawed seam weld suffered a leak at a similar weld 22 years earlier, the head of the agency leading the probe said Wednesday. PG&E’s belated revelation of the 1988 failure – the company informed federal investigators only last month – angered officials, who called it potentially critical to the investigation into the Sept. 9 disaster in San Bruno, in which eight people were killed and 38 homes were destroyed.
- Muni operators overwhelmingly reject contract (SF Chronicle)
Muni operators overwhelmingly rejected a proposed contract Wednesday that management said would have saved the agency tens of millions of dollars over three years and made the transit system more reliable. The tentative agreement – backed by the executive team of the operators union – was shot down on a vote of 994 to 488, according to management and Transport Workers Union Local 250-A…It was the third time in 1 1/2 years that the union rank and file has snubbed its leadership and management’s requests for cost-saving concessions.
- Thousands to honor fallen San Francisco firefighters (SF Examiner)
Thousands of firefighters from Los Angeles to Portland, Ore., will gather in San Francisco on Friday to honor two city firefighters who lost their lives battling an inferno inside a Diamond Heights hillside home last week. The memorial should exceed several thousand people, with firefighters, police officers, elected officials and other citizens gathering at Saint Mary’s Cathedral for a memorial at 12:30 p.m., according to Mayor Ed Lee.
- PG&E wins more time to turn over welding documents (San Jose Mercury News)
An administrative law judge on Wednesday approved PG&E’s plea for more time to produce records detailing welding flaws in its natural gas pipelines, following the company’s admission that it had “seriously underestimated” how much work it would take to gather the documents. The California Public Utilities Commission ordered PG&E to give it the information on all gas-transmission line weld failures or defects since 1955 because the Sept. 9 San Bruno gas line explosion, which claimed eight lives and destroyed 38 homes, had been linked to flawed welds.
- Police release 911 recordings from drowning (Oakland Tribune)
…Critics nationwide have chastised Alameda’s first responders for standing on the shore while Zack drowned in the shallow waters of Crown Memorial State Beach. Alameda police released 911 recordings, dispatch communication and logs, and other documents Wednesday after a public-records request from Bay Area News Group. The tapes revealed a 1 hour, 15 minute effort by dispatchers to track down a boat to help rescue Zack, only to be turned down by nearby departments, including the Coast Guard, whose boat could not enter the shallow waters. A capable boat was finally found nearly an hour after the first call for help.
- California Democrats set stage for budget fight (Contra Costa Times)
Legislative Democrats sent revised budget plans to both houses Wednesday night that would restore nearly $1 billion in spending and that seek a yearlong extension on taxes that could jeopardize any opportunity for an on-time deal. Lawmakers are racing against a June 15 constitutional deadline to approve a balanced budget. If they fail to meet it, they will not be paid after that date until they reach an accord on how to close a $9.6 billion revenue gap…Votes on the budget could come as early as Thursday…
- Suhr defends officers involved in lethal shooting of suspect (SF Examiner)
Police Chief Greg Suhr on Wednesday defended the actions of two officers involved in the fatal shooting of a Southern California bank robbery suspect Tuesday. “It’s never a good thing when anybody loses their life, but it appears in this instance” that the officers were either in danger of losing their lives or being seriously injured, Suhr said at a Police Commission meeting Wednesday.
- With San Jose homicide rate on track for 20-year high, community demands reforms (San Jose Mercury News)
With San Jose on track for its highest homicide rate since the 1980s, community leaders demanded answers from law enforcement on Wednesday as the city’s police chief tried to reassure the public that the Bay Area’s biggest city is still one of its safest. Hundreds of religious leaders and community members joined PACT, People Acting in Community Together, to call on police and city leaders at a packed meeting in a South San Jose church to save police officer jobs and enact reforms in the wake of the city’s rising homicide rate.
- Hospital Building Battle Moves to SF City Hall (Bay Citizen)
The ongoing battle between California Pacific Medical Center and city leaders and union and community groups over its plans to build a new hospital intensified this week, when the health care provider said it could not afford to meet the city’s conditions for developing a site on Cathedral Hill. Community groups fired back on Wednesday, saying CPMC should do even more for the city’s residents.
- Oakland bows out of running Museum of California (SF Chronicle)
The City of Oakland relinquished control of the Oakland Museum of California in a move Tuesday night that sought to stabilize the museum while saving the city money. Starting July 1, the museum will be entirely run by the nonprofit Oakland Museum of California Foundation, which had been dividing museum responsibilities, oversight, and payrolls with the city. The city will continue to own the collection and buildings.
- Iconic design for Apple headquarters could transform Silicon Valley landscape (San Jose Mercury News)
In a valley known for what Steve Jobs calls “boring” office parks, Apple has the chance to reinvent Silicon Valley architecture the way it has changed everything we know about technology. And with Facebook and Google and other tech titans laying out visions for new campuses, many hope this could be the dawn of a new look that defines the birthplace of tech. In typical grandiose style, Jobs unveiled plans for a four-story spaceshiplike sphere of glass and steel by a renowned architecture firm, saying it gives Apple “a shot at building the best office building in the world.”
- Oakland gets OK for Cuba-bound charter flights (Contra Costa Times)
Nonstop charter flights to Cuba could take off as soon as December from Oakland International Airport, making it the first airport in the Bay Area to offer such travel. But if you have an urge to visit Cuba, it won’t be as easy as hopping a plane to Hawaii. Travel restrictions requiring that the trip be for academic, religious, humanitarian or newsgathering purposes will still apply. However, these restrictions were loosened earlier this year by the Obama administration as part of an ongoing effort to make Cuba travel easier.