A.M. Splash: Final High-Speed Rail Business Plan Could Decide Project’s Fate; Oakland Zoo Lawsuit; Pot Crackdown; Occupy Oakland, San Jose
- California’s bullet train gamble begins: $9 billion now on the line (SJ Mercury News)
California’s top leaders weighing the fate of the $45 billion high-speed train line will finally get the crucial details they need Tuesday to decide once and for all: Is it time to kill the project or empty the bank account to start building the sleek railroad with no guarantees there will be enough money to run a single bullet train?
- Oakland Zoo expansion opponents abandon lawsuit negotiations (Oakland Tribune)
Two environmental groups that sued the Oakland Zoo last July to stop or alter the zoo’s plans to expand into undeveloped Knowland Park and then tried to negotiate a settlement have abandoned those negotiations with the city and the zoo. Friends of Knowland Park and the East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society filed a lawsuit against the city and the zoo to stop the zoo ‘s plans to expand by about 54 acres into undeveloped Knowland Park to build a veterinary hospital, new animal exhibit, camping area and educational center.
- Leading Pot Guru Targeted by Feds (Bay Citizen)
Richard Lee, the leader of the marijuana legalization movement in California, does not appear to be intimidated by the federal government’s crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries.Lee closed his Oakland dispensary, Coffeeshop Blue Sky, this week after the Department of Justice threatened his landlord with criminal prosecution. He then reopened it three doors down, with enormous posters of marijuana buds in the windows.
- Ed Lee’s opponents seek leg up in ranked voting (SF Chronicle)
(I)n the ranked-choice voting era…virtually the only way for a challenger to move up is to pull the front-runner down. And in this year’s race for mayor, that means Lee has had a target on his back ever since early August, when he went back on his pledge to serve only as interim mayor and announced he would seek a full term this November.
- State officials say old West Marin mercury mine finally stabilized (Marin Independent Journal)
The flow of toxic mercury from an abandoned mine into Tomales Bay has all but ceased after federal and state efforts to stabilize the site with native plants and a series of concrete drainages to channel water off the site. With a decade’s worth of samples showing a sharp decline of mercury leaving the West Marin site, automated monitoring efforts are now winding down.
- Protesters’ confrontation with police ends peacefully (Oakland Tribune)
It appeared protesters and gas mask-wearing police officers would clash again Saturday night on Oakland streets, four days after a violent police crackdown shoved the Occupy Oakland movement into the international spotlight, but, just as emotions peaked, organizers held up peace signs. Marchers turned around, patted themselves on the back and returned to their adopted home, Frank H. Ogawa Plaza.
Occupy San Jose squabbles publicly – settles down, establishes order (SJ Mercury News)
For a tense 30 minutes on Sunday morning, the Occupy movement in downtown San Jose got to see what too much democracy looks like. A weekly general assembly of Occupy San Jose began with a drum circle by a Native-American group decrying racial oppression. But as chants and sage smoke wafted outside City Hall, some veterans of the loose-limbed, 5-week-old encampment began to loudly protest that the drummers were pushing a radical Chicano agenda.
- 49ers hope to open new stadium a year early (Matier & Ross, SF Chronicle)
The 49ers are telling Santa Clara officials to expect a financial plan soon for the team’s billion-dollar stadium – raising hopes for a groundbreaking on the project by late next year.
- Water suppliers’ delta accord under scrutiny (SF Chronicle)
California is moving at breakneck speed on a plan to build what could be huge tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to carry water from Northern California to Southern California and the Central Valley…Reps. George Miller, D-Martinez, and Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, and three other members of Congress from Northern California raised objections in a strongly worded letter to the federal Department of the Interior, which brokered the deal. They wrote that the agreement gives water contractors “unprecedented influence over the process” and should be withdrawn.
- School districts wait to see if state revenue shortfalls trigger more cuts
In six weeks, [school officials] should know if they have to cut buses, shorten the school year, ask teachers to take furlough days, raid their reserves or cut programs. That’s when revised revenue projections are expected from the state. If revenues fall short, it could trigger up to $1.75 billion in cuts that would hit K-12 districts in February.