A.M. Splash: Lawmakers Want Influence Over Initiatives; BART Mulls SF Station Remodels; SF Commission Eyes Stun Guns
- California Democrats consider giving lawmakers more say over initiatives (Sacramento Bee)
The November election delivered California Democrats a coveted supermajority for governing the state. Now the party’s leader in the Senate wants to use that political capital to give the Legislature more say in the voter initiatives that make their way to the ballot.
- BART considers rebuilding 2 SF stations (SF Chronicle)
Two of BART’s busiest San Francisco stations could be on track for a $900 million expansion, complete with new tunnels, elevators and extra platforms to boost rider capacity. The rebuilding of the Embarcadero and Montgomery Street stations would require tearing out the existing walls, installing new platforms, boring additional tunnels for staircases, and putting in extra elevators.
- Stun gun opposition strong with final San Francisco community meeting on tap (SF Examiner)
To succeed where his predecessors have failed, Police Chief Greg Suhr will have to overcome a strengthening message of opposition to his plan to outfit some officers with stun guns. The last of three community meetings on the stun gun proposal, held by Suhr in collaboration with the Police Commission, is scheduled for this evening at the Bayview Opera House. The commission will use the input from the meetings as it makes a decision on whether some officers can use the devices, which are intended to immobilize people by delivering 50,000 volts of electricity.
- Contra Costa County changed its ways; public defenders are now present for initial arraignments (Oakland Tribune)
Public defense attorneys are now staffing felony arraignment courtrooms in Contra Costa County, where the prior absence of such attorneys spurred a federal class action lawsuit. Contra Costa County’s former practice — not uncommon in cash-strapped and rural counties in the nation — was to assign defense attorneys to indigent criminal defendants after their initial court appearance. That meant that people who couldn’t afford bail would sit in jail for up to two weeks before a public attorney would appear at their side in court.
- Ship pilot blamed for 2007 oil spill in San Francisco Bay sues Coast Guard to get his license back (SJ Mercury News)
Capt. John Cota, who was blamed for causing the worst oil spill in San Francisco Bay in two decades when he crashed the cargo ship Cosco Busan into a tower of the Bay Bridge in 2007, has sued the U.S. Coast Guard in an effort to regain his mariner’s license so he can sail again. Cota, 65, of Petaluma, pleaded guilty to water-pollution violations and served 10 months in prison after investigators concluded he was traveling too fast in heavy fog, was impaired by prescription drugs and ignored safety precautions while working as the ship’s pilot during the Nov. 7, 2007 crash. The bunker fuel that poured from a gash in the ship’s hull oiled 69 miles of shore, closed fisheries and killed more than 6,800 birds.
- CHP issues first guidelines for motorcyclists who lane split (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
It’s been one of the more controversial practices by motorcyclists, and now the CHP has issued guidelines on it. We’re talking lane splitting. California is the only state to allow lane splitting by motorcyclists, where the bikers ride between lanes of slow or stopped traffic. While there’s no law allowing lane splitting, there’s no law prohibiting it, so the CHP says it’s legal.
- Chipotle taps Oakland tofu company for new vegan dish (Oakland Tribune)
It’s an unlikely union: tofu and Mexican fast food. But a restaurant chain known for burritos the size of footballs and nighttime crowds of college students has teamed up with a small Oakland tofu company to use the vegetarian-friendly Bay Area as a testing ground for a new menu and image.
- Local hires demanded for S.F. school project (SF Chronicle)
A group of San Francisco residents is threatening to shut down construction on the new Willie L. Brown, Jr. Middle School when work begins later this year unless the school district agrees to hire neighborhood residents. Residents, including those with the Aboriginal Blackmen United group, successfully shut down work during the demolition of the old school building on the Bayview district project site last year until the contractor agreed to hire local men to work security on the $40 million project.