Morning Splash: Budget Veto; Big Severance for Muni Chief; Brown Mulls Amazon Tax Bill
- Veto: Governor keeps hunting for GOP votes (Sacramento Bee)
With one swoop of his veto pen, Gov. Jerry Brown placed himself at odds with both parties in the Legislature by rejecting a Democratic budget he called unbalanced and “legally questionable.” The Democratic governor’s budget veto on Thursday, believed to be the first in state history, leaves the spending plan in limbo as Brown resumes his search for Republican tax votes.
- Cash-strapped Muni defends severance pay for chief (SF Chronicle)
San Francisco transportation officials Thursday defended the proposal to pay Muni chief Nathaniel Ford a $384,000 severance package for an early exit, even as the cash-strapped agency is set to raise the cost of the monthly transit pass and parking fees. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency faces a $22 million deficit heading into the new fiscal year.
- Oakland moves quickly after lawmakers vote to eliminate redevelopment agencies (Oakland Tribune)
City Hall officials were reeling Thursday from the news that lawmakers in Sacramento had voted to eliminate the state’s redevelopment agencies. The idea to cut the agencies from the state budget has been around since at least January, when Gov. Jerry Brown included it in his earliest proposal to close a multibillion dollar deficit. Wednesday night’s news, which came as legislators also approved a budget package, threw many Oakland city staffers into survival mode and the city began moving more than $100 million around through property transfers, leases and project proposals, in hopes of protecting Oakland should the ax fall on the agency.
- San Jose school parents say bigger, not better, is bad plan for parent volunteer program (San Jose Mercury News)
In a conflict studded with racial pitfalls and playing out at Trace Elementary School, a program to lure middle-class families back to public schools has run head-on into San Jose Unified’s three-decade-old promise to integrate its classrooms. And as the district teeters along a fine legal line, it may end up alienating the very parents it once hoped to recruit. At issue is a parent-participation program that created separate classes for students whose parents volunteered to help out at school. The problem: Parents from the largely white Rose Garden neighborhood turned out in droves, while far fewer parents from poorer, mostly Latino neighborhoods were present. As a result, the school ended up with mostly white students in its Parent Involvement in Education classrooms.
- Amazon tax bill makes it to Gov. Brown’s desk (Andrew S. Ross, SF Chronicle)
The Amazon tax has made it to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk. It survived the first round of gubernatorial vetoes, the two main budget bills he turned down on Thursday. But when asked what they think Brown will do now, the unanimous answer from the offices of lawmakers pushing for the measure is, “We don’t know.”
- PG&E green program helps preserve forests, but so did taxpayers (California Watch)
(PG&E promises for) every bit of energy a… ratepayer uses – from turning on a vacuum cleaner to powering up a computer or heating up an oven – a little part of a tree or forest is saved to erase the carbon sins of the customer. The voluntary program costs participants about $60 a year. But the company isn’t telling its customers one crucial fact: Those forests were purchased years ago by a Virginia conservation group that used nearly $50 million in loans and grants from California taxpayers. The Conservation Fund then sold PG&E carbon credits on land it had purchased for preservation and selective logging.
- Next Muni Chief to Be Local Hire (Bay Citizen)
…A day after the announcement that much-maligned Muni CEO Nat Ford would step down, support is building to install the head of San Francisco’s public works department. The political forces that shape Muni — City Hall, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board, and transportation advocates – are trumpeting Ed Reiskin as Ford’s replacement.
- Reasoning for SFO sagging-pants arrest debated (SF Chronicle)
As prosecutors mulled whether to file charges against a college football player who allegedly refused to pull up his sagging pants at San Francisco International Airport, the outside world seized the incident to debate broader questions about respect, fashion policies and racial stereotyping. Deshon Marman, 20, a defensive player for the University of New Mexico and graduate of Lincoln High in San Francisco, was arrested and removed from US Airways flight 488 Wednesday after police said he ignored an airline employee’s request to pull up sweatpants that exposed his underwear below the buttocks.
- Another delay in rate hikes angers San Francisco cabbies (SF Examiner)
As if San Francisco cabbies weren’t angry enough, the fare increases they have long awaited will be delayed for another month and a half — a setback expected to exacerbate Tuesday’s planned taxi strike. It has been eight years since The City’s last taxi rate hike, and during that time, gas prices, car-leasing fees and the cost of living have all climbed. So the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency recently recommended increasing base fares by 40 cents, mileage rates by 50 cent, and waiting rates by 10 cents per minute.
- $1.2 billion Sonoma County budget OK’d 5-0 despite disagreements (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Thursday unanimously approved a $1.2 billion spending plan that relies on across-the-board cuts at all departments, increased fees for services and a number of last-minute funding shifts to stave off the most unpopular reductions. The formal vote on the 2011-2012 budget, which takes effect July 1, came in the fourth day of hearings aimed a closing a $42.8 million gap in the county’s projected $379 million general fund, which supports mainly public safety, administrative services and to a lesser degree other local programs.
- Transit services for seniors earn best-in-nation rating (SF Chronicle)
According to a study by Transportation for America, a transportation-reform advocacy group… (of) 40 metropolitan areas with populations between 1 million and 3 million, the San Francisco area had the best transit access for seniors, with only 12 percent projected to face poor transit access by 2015. San Jose was second with 15 percent projected to have inadequate transit, and the Oakland area was fourth, with poor public transportation predicted for 18 percent of residents.
- Devaughndre Broussard: I want the families to know I am sorry (Chauncey Bailey Project)
The man who gunned down journalist Chauncey Bailey and a second man in 2007 knows forgiveness is too much to ask, but he wants his victims’ families to know he is sorry for the pain he caused. “I don’t expect them to forgive me,” Devaughndre Broussard said Thursday. “But I hope they hear me. “It was morally wrong,” Broussard, 23, said in the interview at North County Jail in Oakland, where he has been held in isolation for nearly four years after his arrest for shooting Bailey, editor of the Oakland Post, on Aug. 2, 2007, and Odell Roberson, a 31-year-old homeless man, on July 8, 2007.
- Oakland Coliseum operator defends planning leading up to U2 concert (Oakland Tribune)
In July 2010, an Alameda County grand jury stepped up criticism over operations at the municipally owned sports and entertainment complex in Oakland, now called O.co Coliseum. …Management improved incrementally since, but a June 7 U2 concert sparked criticism over operations after concertgoers found themselves stranded in a traffic snarl on Interstate 880 or fruitlessly searching for parking in sight of the Coliseum.
- Shining Internet star Pandora could be a boost for downtown Oakland (Oakland Tribune)
While Oakland-based Pandora Media’s shares nose-dived Thursday, the Internet radio company likely will be a long-term boon for the city despite near-term struggles for its stock. One of the biggest proponents of Oakland is Pandora’s chief executive officer, Joseph Kennedy. City officials say he frequently promotes the city as a destination for hip tech and social media companies.