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A.M. Splash: Oracle’s Spithill Wins America’s Cup Prelim; Lawmakers Debate Pension Reform; Frank Gehry to Design Facebook Building

| August 27, 2012
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  • Spithill rallies to win America’s Cup prelim (SF Chronicle)

    In a wild finish to the America’s Cup World Series, the winner of the final fleet nearly capsized at the finish. The bigger issue was the action that followed immediately thereafter. Italy’s Luna Rossa Piranha won the race Sunday, and skipper Jimmy Spithill‘s hard-charging Oracle Team USA forced Team Korea into a critical penalty around the final gate, giving Spithill second place and the overall championship of the San Francisco regatta by a single point.

  • State Democrats: Pension changes coming (SF Chronicle)

    Ten months after Gov. Jerry Brown proposed sweeping changes to public employee pensions, Democratic legislative leaders say they are finally poised to take action on the issue this week. They’ll have to if any changes are to occur. The state Legislature ends its two-year session at midnight Friday, and bills that haven’t been approved by then die.

  • Celebrated architect Frank Gehry to design new Facebook building in Menlo Park (Bay Area News Group)

    Award-winning architect Frank Gehry may not have his own Facebook page, but he’s become such a good friend of the social networking giant that he is going to design its new West Campus building in Menlo Park. “Frank was the perfect architect,” Facebook spokesman Slater Tow said about the man who has designed such celebrated works as the Guggenheim Museum in Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. “We wanted someone to understand our culture and Frank got it. We consider it to be a pretty big honor.”

  • Feds to fly helicopters over Oakland, San Francisco, Pacifica measuring radiation (Contra Costa Times)

    Helicopters will fly across San Francisco, Pacifica and Oakland from Monday through Saturday recording natural radiation levels, federal authorities said. The flyovers are part of a research project involving the Department of Homeland Security, and the helicopters will fly in a grid pattern about 300 feet above the ground, covering about 70 square miles. The project is planned to help local, state and federal authorities’ ability to measure radiation, according to an announcement by the National Nuclear Security Administration.

  • Southern California shaken by ‘swarm’ of earthquakes (Oakland Tribune)
  • A swarm of hundreds of earthquakes — some registering magnitudes greater than 5 — rattled Southern California along the Mexican border Sunday. The ground below the town of Brawley near the Salton Sea could continue to rumble for several days, experts at the California Institute of Technology said.

  • Company neglects safety, SFO baggage screeners say (SF Examiner)

    Baggage screeners at San Francisco International Airport allege that dozens if not hundreds of bags identified by X-ray machines as high-risk bomb threats are loaded onto planes each day without any human inspection in a clear violation of federal rules. The screeners work for Covenant Aviation Security, the company charged with baggage and checkpoint security at SFO. They complain that company managers routinely cover up such security breaches and retaliate against employees who complain too loudly.

  • Is Highway 37 destined to become a new waterway? (Oakland Tribune)

    At times the water laps close to the edges of Highway 37 between Vallejo and Marin County — and also very close to thousands of motorists who use it every day for work, commerce or fun. Most of the heavily traveled two- to four-lane road between Interstate 80 and Highway 101, is only 1 to 2 feet above sea level. Caltrans says it has the lowest elevations of any Bay Area highway and some portions passing through marshes even dip well below that. And that, plus worsening traffic congestion, are why state and environmental groups are so concerned that parts of Highway 37 could some day disappear under water due to such natural events as rising ocean levels and earthquakes.

  • California jokes from late-night comedians (Oakland Tribune)

    California often provides fodder for comedy. Here are a few recent late-night examples: “The Mars Rover is starting to send back pictures. After studying photos taken by the robot, scientists are saying that Mars resembles California. Both have large mountains, little water, and the possibility of hidden aliens.”– Conan O’Brien, Aug. 9

  • Buy Here, Pay Here Bills Still Moving Despite Opposition (Capital Public Radio)

    “Buy Here, Pay Here” dealers sell used cars at low prices – and high interest rates. Critics call that predatory lending, and say those dealers want their customers to fail. So three different state lawmakers have authored three different bills that would regulate the industry. Used car dealer associations oppose the measures, as do some chambers of commerce. Roger Niello with the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce is both a former Assemblyman and the owner of several car dealerships. Niello: “The practical impact on the restrictions on the creditors to offer those loan options is that a lot of people who need credit but have challenged credit just don’t get any loans at all.” All three measures face their final legislative votes by the end of the week.

  • San Rafael priest jailed in lewdness case after sting at China Camp (Marin Independent Journal)

    A San Rafael priest was arrested on allegations he exposed himself to an undercover investigator during a crackdown on lewd behavior at China Camp State Park, a state parks ranger said Friday. The Rev. Feliciano Torres Mofan, 58, was booked into Marin County Jail on suspicion of indecent exposure, soliciting a lewd act and nudity in a state park. He remained in custody Friday night in lieu of $2,500 bail.

  • Apple shares at record high after Samsung court win (BBC)
    Shares in Apple have hit a record high in the wake of its court victory over rival Samsung, which saw the South Korean company ordered to pay $1.05bn (£655m) for copying patents. Apple shares rose 2.3% to $678.68 in early trading on Wall Street.

  • State GOP hopes for convention boost (SF Chronicle)

    Fla. – As Tropical Storm Isaac bears down on their party’s biggest election-year gathering, Republicans from solidly blue California are hunkered down but ready to nominate the man they hope will be a lifeline for their embattled state party: GOP presidential candidate, and California homeowner, Mitt Romney. “I’m thinking Western White House – seriously,” former state GOP Chairman Shawn Steele said in a reference to Romney’s $10 million oceanfront home in La Jolla, near San Diego, where Romney also has relatives. “You will see him a lot in California.”

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