Morning Splash: Prop 8 Backers Appear to Win Legal Round; Yahoo’s Bartz Fired; Solyndra Worker Class Action Suit; Guv to Decide on Shark Fin Ban
- Justices seem to side with backers of Prop. 8 (SF Chronicle)
The California Supreme Court signaled Tuesday that it won’t stand in the way of a showdown in federal court over the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. At a hearing in San Francisco, all seven justices, including newly confirmed Justice Goodwin Liu, appeared to agree with sponsors of the voter-approved Proposition 8 that they have the right to appeal a federal judge’s decision declaring the 2008 ballot measure unconstitutional.
- Yahoo fires CEO Carol Bartz (San Jose Mercury News)
Yahoo’s board abruptly fired pugnacious chief executive Carol Bartz on Tuesday, ousting the most prominent female CEO in Silicon Valley after growing impatient with her struggle to turn around the pioneering but troubled Internet company. In a statement released late in the day, Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock said Chief Financial Officer Timothy Morse would serve as interim CEO. But the board gave little indication of its plans for the future, despite recurring speculation about a sale or restructuring.
- Worker files class-action lawsuit against Solyndra, seeks severance (Oakland Tribune)
A former Solyndra employee has filed a class-action complaint against the shuttered solar manufacturer, claiming the company failed to comply with labor laws by not providing advance notice that it would be ceasing operations. Peter Kohlstadt, listed in the legal action as an engineer who lost his job when Solyndra closed its doors Wednesday, lodged the class action at the U.S. District Court of Northern California on Friday night. The lawsuit demands that Solyndra pay laid-off employees 60 days of wages and benefits, attorneys said Tuesday.
- PG&E had to dig big hole for 90 minutes to shut off gas in Cupertino blast (San Jose Mercury News)
PG&E took an hour and a half to shut off the gas that fueled last week’s explosion in Cupertino because crews needed to dig a small hole in the asphalt to reach the pipe and cap the leak, fire officials said Tuesday. “It sounds like it needs some review if that’s the current process for shutting off the gas,” Cupertino Councilman Orrin Mahoney said at a meeting Tuesday. The meeting was the first since a cracked plastic distribution pipe leaked gas into a townhome’s garage Aug. 31, igniting a fire that destroyed the condo — but with no one home, there were no injuries. Despite Mahoney’s criticism, Santa Clara County fire officials praised PG&E for how it dealt with the circumstances.
- Families, local leaders push for San Bruno gas-pipe legislation (San Jose Mercury News)
Just a few hundred feet from the spot where her daughter was killed last year in a PG&E gas-pipe explosion, Rene Morales fought back tears Tuesday as she urged state lawmakers to back pipeline-safety legislation headed for a vote later this week…Surrounded by survivors of the fire and elected officials at a news conference in the San Bruno neighborhood ravaged by the Sept. 9 blast, Morales threw her support behind Assembly Bill 56, which would require automatic or remote-controlled valves on large gas pipes in highly populated areas.
- Shark fin bill passes state Senate, awaits governor (SF Chronicle)
The governor will now decide whether California should ban the sale of shark fin soup, a Chinese delicacy that critics blame for imperiling increasingly rare species. A bill that would ban the sale, possession and distribution of shark fins passed after an impassioned debate on the Senate floor.
- Protests Have Cost BART $300,000 (Bay Citizen)
BART has spent $300,000 in police and staff overtime to deal with five anti-BART protests in the past two months, agency spokesman Jim Allison said Tuesday. The demonstrations began after a BART police officer shot and killed a knife-wielding homeless man at the Civic Center station on July 3. The next protest is planned for Thursday at the Powell Street station.
- U.S. court tosses S.F. landlords’ Prop. M lawsuit (SF Chronicle)
A federal appeals court on Tuesday dismissed a challenge by property owners to a voter-approved San Francisco ordinance that prohibits landlords from coercing tenants to move out. The November 2008 ballot measure, Proposition M, barred owners from trying to get tenants to leave by offering them money, accompanied by “threats or intimidation.” A lawsuit by the 1,500-member Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute argued that the law was vaguely worded and violated landlords’ freedom of speech.
- SF Muni may allow boarding through back doors (SF Chronicle)
Many Muni riders already board buses through the back doors, ignoring signs prohibiting the practice. But by early next year, it will likely be legal. The Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors supported the idea of all-door boarding, which has long been allowed on the Muni Metro light-rail lines, but banned on buses. Directors did not vote, but clearly favored the move as a way to speed the agency’s notoriously slow buses by reducing boarding time.
- Nudists left cold by San Francisco supervisor’s proposal (SF Examiner)
George Davis has been arrested 15 times, but he doesn’t consider himself a criminal. He’s just naked. In public. A lot. He’s one of several unclothed Castro regulars who have become just as much of a landmark in the neighborhood as the rainbow flag… In what he described as public health legislation, (Supervisor Scott) Wiener introduced a measure at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting that would require clothing or another “barrier” to be put down on public seats if nudists choose to sit there. Also, if naked people want to go into restaurants, they must cover their “genitals, buttocks” and “anal region.” Violators would be subject to fines and repeat offenders could even face up to a year in jail.
- Hospitals new No. 1 industry in S.F., report shows (SF Chronicle)
San Francisco hospitals inject $15.3 billion a year into the economy, account for nearly 99,000 jobs or about 18 percent of the city’s workforce, making the industry one of the healthiest in the city’s economy, according to a report released today. Tourism and hospitality is considered the city’s largest industry for the number of direct and indirect jobs they generate, but the report makes the case that more spending comes from San Francisco’s vigorous medical industry.
- Huffman launches bid for Congress (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
Calling 2012 “a year of change,” Assemblyman Jared Huffman today officially launched his run for Congress with an online speech and roll call of current and former local elected officials supporting his candidacy. In a five-minute video posted on his campaign website, Huffman, a San Rafael Democrat, said he has the “right combination of values, skills, sensibilities and record of getting things done” to represent California’s newly redesigned North Coast district, which stretches from Marin County’s southern border to the Oregon state line.
- Marin among 20 California counties to post valuation increases (Marin Independent Journal)
Assessed valuation of property is on the increase in Marin and elsewhere in the state after a year or two of declining values — even though most California counties logged a slight valuation dip. Betty T. Yee, a member of the state Board of Equalization, reported Tuesday that after two years of declining values, the total value of state and county-assessed property rose to $4.382 trillion for 2011-12, up $11.6 billion or 0.3 percent from last year. In Marin County, valuation rose 0.8 percent this fiscal year, after a 1.18 percent decline last year.