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A.M. Splash: Plastic Bag Ban Starts in SF; More Rich Live in High-Tax States; Prison Reform Results Mixed; Voters Favor 3-Strikes Reform

| October 1, 2012
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  • Expanded plastic bag ban takes effect Monday (SF Chronicle)

    There’s one more thing San Franciscans need to add to their shopping list or pay up- a reusable bag. On Monday, the city’s checkout ordinance ban signed into law in February takes effect, banning plastic bags at all retail stores and imposing a 10-cent charge for all other bags handed out by the store. Next October, the ban will extend to restaurants too.

  • Prison reforms’ results mixed after year (SF Chronicle)

    One year after Gov. Jerry Brown’s prison realignment program took effect, there is one thing everyone can agree on: California has a smaller prison population. But there is a broad difference of opinion about whether the plan, which handed California’s 58 counties responsibility for the incarceration and oversight of thousands of criminals, has made communities safer or reduced the number of criminals who re-offend, and there is no statewide data on those outcomes.

  • Oakland dance music show prompts flood of noise complaints to police (Oakland Tribune)

    A late-night musical event at the Oakland Coliseum flooded police phones with hundreds of noise complaints from Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro Saturday night and Sunday morning, prompting stadium officials to issue an apology Sunday evening. The “Beyond Wonderland” event, a dance music festival featuring extensive light shows, theatrical performers and carnival rides, was held in the Coliseum complex’s south parking lot. The show — produced by electronic dance music promoters Insomniac Events — was billed to run from 6 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday.

  • Californians favor change of three-strikes law but not death penalty (LA Times)

    California voters support easing the state’s tough three-strikes sentencing law by more than 3 to 1 but are reluctant to abolish the death penalty, according to a University of Southern California Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. The poll results come as voters ponder two ballot measures that, if approved, would make the most sweeping changes to the state’s criminal justice system in decades. Support for an initiative that aims to replace capital punishment with life in prison without parole is trailing 38 percent to 51 percent, the poll found. But that gap narrows to a statistical dead heat when voters learn that Proposition 34 also requires convicted killers to work while in prison, directs their earnings to their victims and earmarks $100 million for police to solve murders and rapes.

  • Superrich stay put in high-tax states like California (Oakland Tribune)

    Some of us might love to hate ‘em, but we need millionaires in California — or we’d lose tens of billions of dollars in tax revenue that pays for things like education and public safety. So should we be freaking out that rich people will flee the Golden State if we vote to hike their taxes by passing either Proposition 30 or 38 in November? Maybe not. An analysis by this newspaper of IRS tax-return data shows that states that charge high income taxes — from California to New York to New Jersey — are home to the highest number of rich people per capita. And two-thirds of the states that don’t charge any income taxes actually have fewer numbers of millionaire residents per capita, the analysis shows.

  • Bay Area Burmese community gives Aung San Suu Kyi a rock-star welcome in San Francisco (SJ Mercury News)

    In a gathering tinged with both a global sense of gravity and emotional intimacy, the Bay Area’s Burmese refugee community gave freedom fighter Aung San Suu Kyi a rock-star welcome Saturday, greeting the Nobel Peace Prize-winner with the warm embrace of a family reunited after being split asunder by history and fate. On her first visit here in more than four decades, the longtime democracy activist who after 15 years of house arrest was elected this past spring to the Myanmar parliament was visibly moved by the adoring crowd of 5,000 who joined her in a town hall-style gathering at the University of San Francisco. And the crowd was clearly moved by her.

  • At 68, Oracle’s flamboyant, multibillionaire CEO Larry Ellison still going strong (SJ Mercury News)

    Rising from a college dropout who was derided as a failure by his adopted dad to the world’s sixth richest man, Oracle (ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison has earned the right to retire after shepherding his company for 35 years into one of the biggest tech enterprises on Earth. Ellison, who just turned 68 and is among the planet’s most recognizable billionaires, has plenty besides work to keep himself busy, including his fast cars, jets, yacht racing and a newly purchased Hawaiian island. But given his ambitious goals for the corporation — and the tough competition it faces — industry observers say he’s unlikely to call it quits.

  • Bay Area oven is cookin’ (SF Chronicle)

    Sunday was hot, forecasters said. Monday will be even hotter – the warmest day since June 16. “Monday will be the hottest day in this warm stretch,” said Steve Anderson, a forecaster with the National Weather Service. “This will be day two of the heat, which usually comes in three-day spells.”

  • San Rafael officials to consider strict smoking rules (Marin Independent Journal)

    In the latest effort to reduce secondhand smoke in Marin, officials in San Rafael on Monday will consider the county’s most strict anti-smoking ordinance to date. The ordinance would ban smoking from all apartments and condominiums, in addition to many outdoor spaces such as parks, bus stops and restaurant patios. Downtown sidewalks and plazas would also be off limits, but smoking would be allowed in those areas “while actively passing on the way to another destination,” according to a draft ordinance.

  • Big WWII-era gun comes to Golden Gate (SF Chronicle)

    One of the largest American naval guns ever built was parked by the side of the road at Fort Cronkhite in the Marin Headlands through the weekend, on its way to be the centerpiece of a display of historic fortifications that protected San Francisco Bay in World War II.

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