A.M. Splash: Brown, Dems Announce Pension Reform Plan; Yosemite Hantavirus Deaths
- Public worker pension changes unveiled (SF Chronicle)
Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic lawmakers announced a plan Tuesday to restrict pension benefits for new public employees by limiting annual payouts, raising the retirement age and forcing workers to split the cost of retirement benefits with taxpayers. Starting next year, most newly hired public workers would be eligible for retirement with full benefits at age 62 instead of the current 55. Local police and firefighters hired on or after Jan. 1 would be eligible for full benefits at age 57, while currently employed public safety workers would still be able to retire with full benefits at age 50.
- Berkeley marijuana dispensary closed by feds to reopen down the street (Oakland Tribune)
For as long as anyone in the neighborhood can remember the lot at 2366 San Pablo Avenue has been an empty eyesore, one of many lining the street with chain-link fences, barbed wire and weeds. That is changing as work has begun to spruce up the 14,000 square foot lot and dilapidated 1,200 square foot building, but in this case the progress could come with the smell of marijuana controversy. Berkeley Patients Group, the city’s largest medical marijuana dispensary which industry insiders say sold about $15 million in weed a year before being forced to close by the federal government May 1, is relocating to this spot.
- Park Service contacts Yosemite campers over hantavirus deaths (Sacramento Bee)
The National Park Service has dispatched a top Colorado-based epidemic specialist and a Washington-based public health official to investigate the dangerous airborne disease that recently killed two Yosemite National Park visitors and potentially endangers others.
- Broken water main floods school in S.F. (SF Chronicle)
A water main in San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley broke late Tuesday morning, flooding a nearby school and forcing the evacuation of students, damaging homes and cars and leaving some residents without water or power. The break, reported about 11:10 a.m. at Sunnydale Avenue and Cora Street near the Cow Palace, caused a 30-by-40-foot sinkhole, said officials from the city’s Public Utilities Commission.
- Cone zone crackdown planned over Labor Day weekend (SJ Mercury News)
Following the deaths of six road workers and motorists in highway construction zones last month, state officials are vowing to clamp down on speeding drivers and get them to heed California’s “Move Over, Slow Down” law as the heavily traveled Labor Day weekend approaches. July was one of the bloodiest months in recent state history for road-related crashes at work sites. Electronic signs will warn drivers that the CHP is on duty, and public safety announcements will hit the airwaves.
- San Jose Police Department losing some of its best after pension reform (SJ Mercury News)
Colleagues told Jincy Pace that one day she’d become a deputy chief of the San Jose Police Department. Smart, hardworking, respected, the West Point graduate had all the attributes for a high-ranking position. Pace still has that goal, but it won’t happen in San Jose.
- Rep. Speier rips Park Service in Taser case (SF Chronicle)
Rep. Jackie Speier ripped the National Park Service on Tuesday over its investigation into a ranger’s use of a Taser to subdue a San Mateo County man who was allegedly uncooperative after being stopped with off-leash dogs. Speier revealed that the ranger, Sarah Cavallaro, was cleared of potential discipline in April by her agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility, three months after her encounter with Gary Hesterberg at Rancho Corral de Tierra near Montara in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
- Lawsuit targets Sonoma County pot seizure rules (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
A lawsuit against the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office could change the steps police officers must take before they destroy marijuana seized from people with a medical recommendation. Longtime Sonoma County resident Joseph Reiter is suing the Sheriff’s Office after deputies uprooted 119 plants he was growing in his backyard for himself and three other medical marijuana patients.