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A.M. Splash: U.S. Approaches Fiscal Cliff; Free New Year’s Eve Transportation; 49ers Win Bye

| December 31, 2012
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  • 2 Sides in Talks Inch Closer but No Fiscal Deal on Final Day (NY Times)

    A frantic round of late-night negotiations on Sunday between Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, moved the Senate close to a deal to stave off hundreds of billions of dollars in tax increases and across-the-board spending cuts that would begin to kick in on Tuesday, according to people familiar with the talks. But with almost no time on the clock and the Senate convening at 11 a.m. Monday, officials cautioned that optimism had risen in past days only to burst hours later. An objection by just one senator could derail a deal until the next Congress convenes on Thursday.

  • Cliff fall clouds 2013 outlook, could erase state, local recoveryy (Sacramento Bee)

    New Year’s predictions about the economy in California and greater Sacramento are running into a deep dark void, courtesy of Congress and the White House. Until the “fiscal cliff” federal budget impasse is resolved, no one is really sure what 2013 will look like. The fear: A couple of years’ worth of recovery could evaporate if the worst-case scenario pans out and the economy is jolted by deep spending cuts and hefty tax increases.

  • On New Year’s Eve, free and late-night trains and buses around Bay Area (SJ Mercury News)

    Bay Area New Year’s Eve revelers who guzzle down too much booze can hop on late-night transit service — including many free rides. BART will run later than normal Monday night, sending trains around the Bay Area until 3 a.m. Tuesday. The service is not free.

  • San Francisco’s minimum wage will rise again to $10.55 (SF Examiner)

    The highest minimum wage in the nation is set to rise again in 2013, as San Francisco’s low-end compensation rate will increase from $10.24 to $10.55 per hour.

  • San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks sides with cautious approach on immigration detention requests (Palo Alto Daily News)

    San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks said Friday that while he agrees in theory with a new federal policy announced last week against deporting illegal immigrants arrested for minor misdemeanor offenses, he’s waiting to see the list of exempted crimes…On Dec. 21, Immigration and Customs Enforcement put out a news release stating that federal agents would no longer detain individuals arrested for “minor misdemeanor offenses such as traffic offenses and other petty crimes” in order to focus resources on felons, repeat offenders and other agency priorities. The exemption did not apply to individuals charged or arrested on misdemeanors involving violence, threats or assaults; sexual abuse or exploitation; driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; unlawful flight from an accident; illegal possession or use of a firearm or other deadly weapon; the distribution or trafficking of drugs; or “other significant threat to public safety,” among other conditions.

  • Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council’s recycling center finally closes, but future still murky (SF Examiner)

    After 40 years of offering recycling services to the communities surrounding Golden Gate Park, the Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council’s recycling center and plant nursery officially closed Sunday.The site is expected to become a community garden, which has been a goal of the Recreation and Park Department for nearly 10 years.

  • California Democrats signal they want to reform Proposition 13 (Bay Area News Group)

    The third rail of California politics may not be as deadly as once thought. Three and a half decades after the passage of Proposition 13 shook the political landscape in California and sparked a taxpayer revolt across America, voters appear to be warming up to the idea of reforming the initiative as long as protections for homeowners stay intact. And the apparent sea change in public attitudes, combined with the two-thirds majorities Democrats now hold in both chambers of the Legislature, has emboldened some politicians to take aim at the iconic measure.

  • Kamala Harris Has a Powerful Tool For Identifying Reckless Doctors, But She Doesn’t Use It (LA Times)

    The system, known as CURES, was created so physicians and pharmacists could check to see whether patients were obtaining drugs from multiple providers.Law enforcement officials and medical regulators could mine the data for a different purpose: To draw a bead on rogue doctors. But they don’t, and that has allowed corrupt or negligent physicians to prescribe narcotics recklessly for years before authorities learned about their conduct through other means, a Times investigation found.

  • BART to airport connector is on track (SF Chronicle)

    The long line of asymmetrical concrete columns in the median of Hegenberger Road, some topped with a half-mile of white steel trestle, are a sure reminder that there will soon be a new way to get to the Oakland International Airport. After years of hoping, planning and fighting, BART’s long-awaited and controversial Oakland Airport Connector is taking shape. Construction crews have been working on the 3.2-mile link between the Coliseum/Oakland Airport BART Station and the airport since late 2010. It will replace AirBART, a shuttle bus operated by the Port of Oakland.

  • Kaepernick, Crabtree help 49ers by Cards (SF Chronicle)

    After they didn’t show up for the first quarter Sunday, things brightened considerably for the 49ers. Now they don’t have to show up for the first round of the playoffs. San Francisco shook off a sluggish start and dismissed the hapless Cardinals 27-13 in its regular-season finale to claim its second straight NFC West division title.

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