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Morning Splash: Arbitrator Imposes Nixed Contract on Muni Workers; Guv Mulls Budget Gimmicks

| June 14, 2011
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  • Arbitrator imposes contract rejected by Muni workers (SF Chronicle)

    Muni operators must work under the contract they overwhelmingly rejected last week, an independent arbitrator ruled Monday night. The decision, announced during a union membership meeting, infuriated many Muni operators. Under the City Charter, if the Municipal Transportation Agency and Transport Workers Union Local 250-A fail to reach an agreement, an arbitrator determines the terms of the contract the 2,200 operators will work under for the next three years.

  • Skepticism over tossing gay judge’s Prop. 8 ruling (SF Chronicle)

    Sponsors of California’s ban on same-sex marriage tried to convince an apparently skeptical federal judge Monday that the jurist who overturned their ballot measure should have been disqualified because he failed to disclose his longtime relationship with a male partner. Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling last year throwing out the ballot measure should itself be overturned because the judge didn’t reveal his relationship, attorney Charles Cooper said.

  • S.F. supervisors get earful on tree maintenance (SF Chronicle)

    The city’s budget-balancing plan to force individual property owners to maintain nearly 24,000 city-owned street trees may be pruned back amid mounting public anger and concerns raised by members of the Board of Supervisors. The proposal, tucked in Mayor Ed Lee’s $6.8 billion budget proposal for the new fiscal year that starts July 1, would save the city an estimated $600,000 by transferring maintenance responsibility from the city’s Department of Public Works. The tree plan got its first public airing Monday before a board committee.

  • Jerry Brown opens door to gimmicks budget (Sacramento Bee)

    Two days before the state budget deadline and with no sign of a deal, Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday he would consider using accounting gimmicks to balance California’s budget deficit, despite his longstanding promise not to. His changing rhetoric, following months of failed talks with Republicans, comes as Brown braces for the Legislature to send him a budget that does not include the tax revenue he is seeking.

  • Cap and trade rated higher than air alternatives (SF Chronicle)

    Under orders from a judge, California air quality regulators released a study Monday of potential greenhouse-gas-cutting measures, including alternatives to a controversial cap-and-trade system due to begin operations in the state next year. But the analysis, from the California Air Resources Board, still gives cap and trade higher marks than any of the alternatives, including a carbon tax. As a result, the study is unlikely to settle the lingering debate over the state’s cap-and-trade system, which will set a limit on greenhouse gas emissions and create a market for trading the right to produce those gases.

  • Lawsuit: Oakland Police Violated Mesherle Protesters’ Rights (Bay City News)

    A class action lawsuit was filed against the Oakland Police Department and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office today alleging that they violated the rights of 150 people who were arrested after former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle was sentenced last Nov. 5. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court only hours after Mesherle, 29, was released from the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail at about 12:30 a.m. today.

  • San Francisco’s pension reform turning into a pricey duel (SF Examiner)

    In the battle over pension reform in San Francisco, two high-profile millionaires are throwing their names — and their money — at a controversial measure proposed by Public Defender Jeff Adachi that is opposed by labor unions. Businessman George Hume and venture capitalist Michael Moritz have already donated $450,000 to Adachi’s campaign to reform city workers’ retirement benefits, according to paperwork filed last week. The campaign has raised a total of $508,720 through May 31.

  • Crews assemble huge digging machine to carve first-ever tunnel under San Francisco Bay (San Jose Mercury News)

    In the breezy open lands along San Francisco Bay, just east of Palo Alto, a historic engineering project is taking shape. And even though it sits in the heart of Silicon Valley, it has nothing to do with computers. Dozens of construction workers in hard hats are welding together a massive, high-tech digging machine, transported from Japan on cargo ships in 65 crates, that by next month will begin carving a 5-mile-long tunnel under the bay’s floor to deliver drinking water to more than 2 million people… The tunnel is scheduled to be completed by 2015. It will be the first tunnel built under San Francisco Bay. The BART “tunnel” between Oakland and San Francisco is actually not really a tunnel, but a pre-constructed tube that sits on the bay floor.

  • Bey brother released from jail after meeting terms of plea bargain (Oakland Tribune)

    A half brother of convicted killer and former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV has been freed from jail after spending nearly four years in custody — a term that exceeded the conditions of a plea bargain he agreed to in 2008. Joshua Bey, 23, was the first of Bey IV’s followers to strike a deal with prosecutors. It called for him to serve three years in prison in exchange for testifying against his half brother and three other men in the 2007 kidnapping of a mother and daughter and the torture of the daughter.

  • Marin home sales dip but figures suggest uptick in early summer (Marin Independent Journal)

    The number of Marin single-family homes sold in May dropped 12.4 percent to 169 from the same month a year ago and the median sale price dipped slightly to $775,000, according to new figures from the county assessor’s office. But the number of houses placed under contract in May — in which parties had agreed to a sale but the deal had not yet closed — soared to a four-year high of 231, the highest figure since the 232 contracts reached in May 2007, according to Bay Area Real Estate Information Services.

  • GOP: First lady fundraising on taxpayers’ dime (SF Chronicle)

    First lady Michelle Obama lands in the Bay Area today for fundraising events related to President Obama’s re-election campaign that include an East Bay breakfast produced by star chef Alice Waters and a pricey San Francisco luncheon. But critics said Monday that she is spending taxpayer money to foot much of the bill for her fundraiser-heavy trip to California this week.

  • Google invests $280 million in rooftop solar fund for SolarCity (San Jose Mercury News)

    Google and San Mateo-based SolarCity are scheduled Tuesday to announce a $280 million fund financed by Google that will allow SolarCity to install solar panels on thousands of homes across the country. Google, which has about $30 billion in cash on its balance sheet, has been aggressively investing in clean-energy projects, primarily in solar and wind, that earn a return on its investment and help grow the nation’s cleantech economy. The new fund, Google’s largest cleantech investment to date, will raise the total sum it has invested in clean-energy projects to $680 million — and the company says there’s more to come.

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