A.M. Splash: SF School Board Budget Full of Spending Cuts; Proposed Taxes Abound in Santa Clara County; Ammiano Pulls Pot Regulation Bill
- S.F. school board approves $597 million budget (SF Chronicle)
For the fifth year in a row, the San Francisco school board passed a budget Tuesday full of spending cuts, which means a shorter school year, larger class sizes and less money for art, libraries and other enrichment programs for the district’s 56,000 students. The board unanimously passed the $597 million budget, which includes all district spending and revenue.
- Santa Clara County supervisors push sales tax measure for November ballot (SJ Mercury News)
The race to get voters to raise their sales taxes on Nov. 6 got more crowded Tuesday after the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors agreed to consider a 1/8-cent increase that would pay to beef up everything from county law enforcement to hospital emergency room services. County residents already are bracing for a sales tax hike this Sunday, when a BART tax that voters passed in 2008 finally goes into effect, pushing the county’s current 8.25 percent sales tax to 8.375 — the fourth highest county sales tax rate in the state. Another 1/8 cent sales tax would send that to 8.5 percent, tying it for third — and that doesn’t even include Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed ¼ cent sales tax measure or one by the city of San Jose, which is mulling a ¼ to ½ cent sales tax to place on the same fall ballot.
- Bill regulating state’s medical marijuana industry delayed (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
California’s medical marijuana industry and critics who contend it has become a cover for illegal drug dealing will have to wait at least another year for the state to set up a system for licensing and regulating pot shops and growers. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano on Monday pulled his bill that would have established an appointed board to vet and oversee medical marijuana businesses.
- California budget cuts Cal Grants at most private schools (Sacramento Bee)
California students will no longer be able to use state scholarships to pay tuition at most for-profit colleges under the final budget plan lawmakers are expected to send Gov. Jerry Brown today. The move would eliminate Cal Grants for more than 11,000 students at schools like Heald College, ITT Technical Institute and University of Phoenix.
- Pressure mounts to create Oakland police commission (Oakland Tribune)
A politically connected community group is pitching a proposal that members say will improve oversight of Oakland’s embattled police department and dissuade a judge from placing it under federal control. The group, which includes both longtime critics and supporters of the department, has been lobbying council members for weeks to support a citizen-run police commission with powers to set department policy, audit police investigations and — if the police union will agree to it — discipline officers.
- UC, Cal State tuition freeze plan seen as a gamble (Bay Area News Group)
California university leaders on Tuesday were warily watching a last-minute tuition freeze plan that would cost the schools — and students — dearly if voters reject November’s state tax initiative. Legislators were scheduled late Tuesday to debate giving $125 million each to the University of California and California State University systems in 2013 if they freeze tuition, which has risen sharply — sometimes twice in one year — since 2007. But the universities would lose that money if they raise tuition for the 2012-13 school year or if the tax initiative fails.
- PG&E says 1956 pipe test led to San Bruno disaster (SF Chronicle)
A strength test that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. says it conducted in 1956 of the San Bruno pipeline that exploded in 2010 damaged an already-defective weld and ultimately caused the disaster, the company said Tuesday. The company made the assertion in defending itself against accusations by California Public Utilities Commission staffers that it failed to conduct such a test, commonly performed using high-pressure water to try to expose any weaknesses, and thus violated pipeline industry standards.
- Oakland considers boycotting Goldman Sachs (Oakland Tribune)
Council members are threatening to terminate Oakland’s ties to Goldman Sachs if the Wall Street titan refuses to favorably terminate an investment that will cost the city about $4 million this year. The council’s four-member Finance and Management Committee voted 3-0 Tuesday in support of a proposal to stop doing business with Goldman if no agreement is reached on canceling the investment within 60 days.
- Police policy on immigrants a patchwork across California (SJ Mercury News)
…Even before Arizona passed its strict law more than two years ago, many California police officers routinely questioned unlicensed immigrant drivers about their nationality and legal status and passed suspected illegal immigrants to federal agents. Police across the state are unlikely to change their practices now. In San Jose, Hayward and Fremont, they will continue to comply with department policy against looking into immigration status, while Escondido police and immigration agents will continue working side by side.
- Judge hands Apple major win in patent feud with rival Samsung (SJ Mercury News)
A federal judge on Tuesday handed Apple a major legal win in its patent war with rival Samsung, blocking the Korean tech giant from selling its Galaxy 10.1 tablet in the United States. In a ruling fueled in part by legal direction from a federal appeals court, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh granted Apple’s request for a preliminary injunction that prevents Samsung from selling the tablet as their court battle unfolds. The Galaxy tab, which operates on Google’s Android operating system, is considered a chief competitor to Apple’s iPad.