A.M. Splash: LAO Says Tax Hike Would Generate Less Than Guv Estimates; Community Colleges OK Overhaul; Richmond Police Racism Lawsuit
- Legislative analyst offers lower estimate for Brown’s tax-hike initiative (Sacramento Bee)
Less than a week after Gov. Jerry Brown built his new budget on a $6.9 billion tax hike initiative, the state’s top fiscal analyst said his measure would fall $2.1 billion short…[T]he nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office said in a letter issued Monday that Brown’s tax proposal will generate only $4.8 billion in the first budget cycle.
- California community colleges approve overhaul (SF Chronicle)
Over the objections of angry college students and worried faculty members, California community college leaders voted Monday to support a systemwide overhaul that could end many free classes for older adults and squeeze out students who fail to move quickly through the system.
- Bill package targets gas pipeline safety (SF Chronicle)
A state lawmaker who represents the San Bruno neighborhood devastated by a natural-gas explosion in 2010 introduced a package of bills Monday designed to prevent a repeat of the disaster, including one that would tie Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s rates to its safety performance.
- Federal officials recommend full funding for BART extension to San Jose (SJ Mercury News)
The deal to extend BART to the South Bay is finally clearing its last major hurdle after a six-decade struggle. On Tuesday the U.S. Department of Transportation will recommend to Congress that more than $900 million in federal aid be set aside for BART over the next decade — the entire amount sought by local transportation officials for the $2.3 billion extension from Fremont to San Jose.
- SMART board approves construction contract — work begins Tuesday (Marin Independent Journal)
Work will begin Tuesday morning in Santa Rosa on the controversial Marin-to-Sonoma commuter train project. The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit agency approved a $103 million contract Monday to begin work on the project three years after voters approved a quarter-cent sales tax for the rail service.
- Number of arson grass and brush fires tops 50 across Novato (Marin Independent Journal)
Authorities swarmed to a mysterious fire that erupted from an Ignacio trash can Monday night, but found no one nearby as officials continued the hunt for an arsonist who has tried to set at least 50 small fires in two other Novato neighborhoods.
- Richmond police racism lawsuit goes to trial (Contra Costa Times)
A race-bias lawsuit that has dogged the Richmond Police Department for five years went to trial Monday. Seven black police managers accuse Chief Chris Magnus and his former second-in-command, both of whom are white, of discrimination in promotion and personnel decisions and of telling racist jokes.
- Gay history lessons required by new California law will be slow to arrive (Sacramento Bee)
A controversial state law approved last July amid heated debate isn’t likely to affect California classrooms any time soon. The Fair Education Act adds lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, as well as people with disabilities, to existing state law that requires that the contributions of women and minorities be taught in California social science classes. It also prohibits materials that reflect adversely on people because of race, gender or other characteristics.
- Report: Jail expansion needed in Santa Clara County despite 1,000 empty beds (SJ Mercury News)
Even though more than 1,000 jail beds sit empty in Santa Clara County, a new report is calling for a $104 million jail expansion and overhaul that would require millions of dollars more each year to staff. While any expansion defies logic at first glance, counties across California are lining up to revamp their jails as thousands of nonviolent inmates who would have been sent to state prison are locked up in jails under the state’s massive new realignment plan to relieve prison overcrowding.
- Netflix stock has biggest one-day gain in nearly a year as streaming service launches overseas (SJ Mercury News)
Netflix (stock soared Monday to levels not seen since a mass subscriber exodus last fall, as the subscription-video service launched its streaming service in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The Los Gatos streaming-video and DVD-by-mail company has been the fastest-growing stock on Wall Street in the first week of 2012 trading, with Monday’s 13.8 percent leap in its share price putting the stock’s total gain to 41.7 percent in just five trading sessions this year.