A.M. Splash: SF Approves Public Power Plan; GG Bridge Toll-Taking to be Totally Automated; Protest Ends Oakland City Council Meeting
- SF public power plan given tentative OK(SF Chronicle)
San Francisco took a major step toward public power Tuesday when the Board of Supervisors gave initial approval to a five-year contract with Shell Energy North America to provide 100 percent renewable power to San Franciscans willing to pay a premium. The 8-3 vote provided a veto-proof majority for a program that will effectively break Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s decades-old monopoly on the consumer power market in its headquarter city. It also lays the groundwork for city-owned renewable power production.
- Electronic tolls coming to the Golden Gate Bridge in February (Oakland Tribune)
Toll-takers at the Golden Gate Bridge have less than five months left on the job as span officials plan to go to all-electronic tolling by February. The bridge district’s Board of Directors has already voted to eliminate the 32 toll-takers on the span and will convene Friday to adopt the all-electronic toll policy.
- California voters may now register online (SF Gate)
Starting Wednesday, Californians can register to vote online, a change implemented just in time for the November presidential election. Made possible by a 2011 bill authored by Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, the online system will allow people whose signature is already on file with the state Department of Motor Vehicles to transfer their voter registration form electronically to county elections officials from the secretary of state’s website. Since 2009, voters have been able to access a voter registration form online, but until now, they had to print it out and mail it in.
- Protest sends Oakland council home early (Oakland Tribune)
The City Council abruptly adjourned Tuesday evening after top officials failed to make good on their offer to hand over a police report to the family of a teenager shot to death by an officer in May. With more than 100 supporters nearly filling the chambers, Adam and Jeralynn Blueford demanded that they finally get to see the police report on the shooting death of their son Alan Blueford, an 18-year-old senior at Skyline High School.
- City College near bankruptcy, audit says (SF Chronicle)
City College of San Francisco is perilously close to bankruptcy, in part because it employs nearly twice as many faculty as similar colleges and pays them better – yet educates no more students on average, says a new financial analysis of the state’s largest public school. The college got into trouble because, unlike other colleges, it failed to make the budget cuts necessary to keep up with reductions in state funding, never set aside money for its growing retirement obligations, and “has provided salary increases and generous benefits with no discernible means to pay for them,” says the review by the state’s Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team, authorized by state law to help public schools in financial trouble.
- Soda bucks flow against Richmond measure (SF Chronicle)
Big Soda is expecting to spend upward of a million bucks in the coming weeks to sour the residents of Richmond on the idea of putting a penny-an-ounce tax on high-sugar drinks. That comes to about $45.50 per voting household. And with good reason. The Nov. 6 ballot measure, which proponents tout as a way to fight childhood obesity, could spread to other cities – and that’s the last thing soda giants, markets or restaurants want.
- Drakes Bay Oyster Co. reopens after closure due to illness (Marin Independent Journal)
West Marin’s Drakes Bay Oyster Co., which closed last month after three illnesses were linked to its raw oysters, has been cleared by the state and has reopened under a monitoring system set up to make sure its shellfish remain free of an illness-causing bacterium. The state Department of Public Health gave Drakes Bay, the largest oyster grower in the state, the go-ahead to reopen last Wednesday, and the Inverness-area company was up and running in full operation on Friday afternoon.
- Alameda: City claims victory in developer lawsuit over former Navy base (Oakland Tribune)
A federal judge has prevented SunCal Companies from recovering $17 million in what it claimed was out-of-pocket expenses spent on preparing to redevelop the former Alameda Naval Air Station, limiting the company’s lawsuit to the $1 million initially deposited with the city. Judge Charles Breyer’s decision, announced Monday, follows his January ruling to dismiss SunCal’s bid to recoup what it claimed was $100 million in lost profits when the redevelopment deal fell through.
- Man charged with burglarizing late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs’ house set to enter plea (Oakland Tribune)
An Alameda man is expected to enter a plea this morning on charges that he burglarized the Palo Alto home of the late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs. Kariem McFarlin, 35, is expected to enter his plea during a brief appearance before Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Thang Nguyen Barrett.
- Residents vent over Treasure Island contamination (SF Examiner)
Treasure Island radiation levels are not known to be dangerous for those living on the former Navy base, officials reiterated Tuesday night at a meeting with concerned residents. But even as speaker after speaker presented a highly technical recap of cleanup assessments revealing no major health danger, island dwellers remained uneasy — many of them vocally angry. The meeting was called in response to reports by The Bay Citizen and the East Bay Express detailing updated radiological findings, plus an anecdotal but troubling string of cancer cases among longtime residents. The Navy closed the base in 1997, when it began transferring the man-made isle to The City. It had been the site of cleanup and maintenance for ships — some of which were used in atomic tests in the Pacific Ocean in the 1940s and 1950s.