Morning Splash: Panel Blasts PG&E, PUC; Chauncey Bailey Verdict; Alameda Water Rescue Memo
- Blue-ribbon blast panel rips PG&E and state PUC (SF Chronicle)
A panel commissioned by California regulators to investigate the San Bruno natural gas pipeline explosion last year issued a scathing report Thursday, criticizing Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s management as lax on safety and the state Public Utilities Commission as weak on oversight. The Sept. 9 blast, said the five-member group of academics and labor and energy industry veterans, was a “consequence of multiple weaknesses in PG&E’s management and oversight of the safety of its gas transmission system.”
- Link between sewer job and San Bruno explosion grows stronger (San Jose Mercury News)
Construction work to replace a sewer pipe was the “most likely” cause of increased stress on a nearby PG&E gas line running beneath a San Bruno neighborhood — stress that further weakened the faulty welds in the pipe that 16 months later exploded catastrophically, a state review team concluded in a report issued Thursday. Ground shaking from the work “could have played a key role in transforming a ‘stable’ threat to an ‘unstable’ threat, thus triggering the incident,” said the Independent Review Panel, a group of experts assembled by the California Public Utilities Commission.
- Chauncey Bailey murder trial: ‘Justice has finally been done’ (Chauncey Bailey Murder Project)
Nearly four years after Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey was gunned down on his morning walk to work, a jury convicted the former leader of Your Black Muslim Bakery of murder for ordering the journalist’s assassination. Yusuf Bey IV — who a prosecutor said terrorized Oakland — will likely spend the rest of his life in prison for sending two followers to kill Bailey after learning the journalist was writing a story about financial problems and inner strife at the bakery. ..Bey IV’s co-defendant, Antoine Mackey, was convicted of helping confessed killer Devaughndre Broussard hunt down Bailey and of killing Wills.
- Firefighters’ funeral will close streets, I-280 (SF Chronicle)
The funeral for two San Francisco firefighters will draw an estimated 5,000 uniformed brethren to St. Mary’s Cathedral today, and a miles-long procession of fire engines through the city to Colma will require the closure of several streets and a freeway for part of the day. The service for Lt. Vincent Perez, 48, and firefighter-paramedic Anthony Valerio, 53, who were fatally injured while fighting a house fire in Diamond Heights on June 2, will begin at 12:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral at 1111 Gough St.
- Redrawing of district boundaries will shake up California politics (LA Times)
Vicious new political battles. Farewells from longtime power brokers. More candidate choices for minority communities. Possibly even a more moderate statehouse. All could spring from the latest reshaping of California’s electoral landscape — done for the first time by voters rather than Sacramento insiders. The initial test of the new process will be Friday, when an independent panel that now performs the once-a-decade redrawing of political lines will release draft district maps for the state’s 53 members of Congress, 40 state senators and 80 Assembly members. Incumbents could find themselves in unfriendly territory as seats merge and party leanings flip.
- BART budget bypasses service cuts, fare increases (SF Chronicle)
BART directors adopted a $619 million operating budget Thursday that calls for no service reductions or fare increases and expects to bring in $35 million more than it spends…While BART’s operating budget is balanced, Carter Mau, executive manager of planning and budgets said, its future capital needs are great. The agency has projected $7.5 billion in needs over the next 25 years, including $3.4 billion to replace the 669 cars
- Contrary to what Alameda fire chief said, rescue swimmers were funded (Contra Costa Times)
Contrary to what the interim fire chief told the Alameda City Council, his department had funding for water rescue training but apparently never used it, leaving a suicidal Alameda man to fend for himself and die May 30 in the shallow waters off the island, according to an internal Fire Department memo. “We have been approved funding to recertify instructors and train new swimmers,” Division Chief Dale Vogelsang wrote in the March 19, 2009, memo. “However, until this training is completed, per OSHA requirements, no members may be used as rescue swimmers…We anticipate training to commence within the next 30 to 45 days,” Vogelsang wrote.
- Jean Quan takes Oakland council to task on budget (SF Chronicle)
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan chastised the City Council on Thursday, accusing the elected officials of stalling the new city budget, which must be adopted in a few weeks. Quan said the council should have presented a budget plan on Tuesday and taken up the emergency, five-year parcel tax that she proposed.
- Muni: Labor action feared after contract rejection (SF Chronicle)
The resounding rejection by Muni operators of a proposed contract underscores a deep dissatisfaction among the rank and file that city officials hope won’t transform into an angry labor action that could cripple the city. Muni operators already have authorized their union leaders to call a strike.
- Quan’s Tepid Support Threatens Gang Injunctions (Bay Citizen)
An Alameda County judge is expected to decide this month whether to restrict the movements of people suspected of being gang members in the violent Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland. The police support the injunction as a bulwark against the city’s soaring homicide rate, and the City Council recently approved financing for it in a narrow vote. The position of Mayor Jean Quan, however, is less clear-cut. She has given only tepid support to the Fruitvale injunction and another in effect in North Oakland, describing them as “over-ambitious,” and has questioned their effectiveness.
- Officials euthanize 400 roosters in suspected West Marin cockfighting operation (Marin Independent Journal)
About 400 roosters likely intended to be used in illegal cockfights were confiscated from a property in West Marin and euthanized days after the owner committed suicide amid a sexual abuse investigation. The man — a suspected child molester — shot himself May 25 as Marin County sheriff’s deputies arrived to arrest him at his Chileno Valley Road home in connection with the abuse, according to the sheriff’s department. The Independent Journal is not disclosing the man’s name to protect the identity of the alleged victim.
- San Jose snags nearly $1 million in funds to reduce trash, employ homeless along Coyote Creek (San Jose Mercury News)
(A) new program called Clean Creeks, Healthy Communities (is) believed to be the first effort funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the amount of trash that flows into a waterway — aided by the very people who contribute to the problem… Local officials say much of the trash along Coyote Creek comes from homeless people living along its banks. If they could be rewarded with vouchers for food and housing to pick up garbage along the creek, they might also find the encouragement to leave the creek area and transition into more permanent jobs and housing.
- Santa Clara’s utility ranked No. 1 in U.S. by solar power group (San Jose Mercury News)
(The) city of Santa Clara’s electric utility, Silicon Valley Power, was ranked No. 1 in the country for installing the most new solar installations based on the average number of solar watts per customer installed… In an announcement released this week, the Solar Electric Power Association, or SEPA, said that Silicon Valley Power installed more than 1.8 megawatts of solar last year for an average of 39.9 watts per customer.
- Oakland A’s lose again following manager switch (Oakland Tribune)
The result was not any different, but new A’s manager Bob Melvin provided a glimpse Thursday night of some of the things he has in mind. Melvin’s debut ended on a sour note, with the A’s falling 9-4 to the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field and extending their losing streak to 10 games. Melvin was introduced as Bob Geren’s replacement in an afternoon news conference and then began a crash course familiarizing himself with his new players.