01/16/2019

News

Court says California violates rights of poor defendants by imposing fees

California is violating the rights of poor defendants by attaching fees to misdemeanor criminal convictions regardless of their ability to pay, a state appeals court ruled Tuesday. The ruling by the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles singled out payments imposed by state law to help fund court operations and maintain a statewide […]

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Proposition 13 is no longer off-limits in California

Proposition 13 is untouchable. That’s been the thinking for 40 years in California. Politicians have feared for their careers if they dared suggest changes to the measure that capped property taxes, took a scythe to government spending and spawned antitax initiatives across the country. However, that is beginning to change. With Republican influence in California […]

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Ride-hailing companies fly off with BART’s airport riders

BART service to both San Francisco and Oakland international airports is taking a multimillion-dollar shellacking from ride-hailing companies. Compared with the high-water mark in 2013, BART estimates it has seen about a 10 percent drop in rides to and from SFO in the past year, resulting in a $4 million loss in fares. Oakland airport […]

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California’s homeless number drops a little as programs appear to pay off

Investing billions of dollars in affordable housing and homeless programs in recent years has apparently put the brakes on what had been a surge in California’s homeless population, causing it to dip by 1 percent this year, a federal report released Monday showed. The decline was in sharp contrast to the 2017 statewide count, when […]

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California bus agencies ordered to make fleets emission-free

The days when urban life in California involved regular inhalations of diesel smoke from rumbling buses will soon be history after the California Air Resources Board ordered transit agencies to make their fleets entirely emission-free within two decades. The ruling, handed down by a unanimous vote Friday, is the latest move by California to seize […]

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PG&E rate proposal would raise typical bill more than $10 a month

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. asked regulators Thursday for permission to raise nearly $2 billion in new revenue from ratepayers over three years, starting in 2020, with more than half the proceeds going to cover wildfire prevention work. If it is approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, the proposal would increase an average residential […]

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San Francisco, other Bay Area cities will see water supply cuts under new plan

Dozens of California communities dependent on the cool, clear water of the High Sierra, from Central Valley farm towns to San Francisco, will see cuts to their water supplies under a plan approved Wednesday by state water regulators. The reductions, which could force households in the Bay Area to curb water use by 20 percent […]

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California’s golden pension rights need fixing

Quirky as airtime sounds, it’s the edge of a much larger issue on protecting pension rights embodied in the so-called California Rule. For decades, the courts have sided with arguments that pensions can’t be altered without compensation, an approached adopted by a dozen other states. . . . The political backdrop makes a court decision […]

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Fight against greenhouse gases stalls as emissions soar to new record

Progress in the fight against global warming has taken a big step backward, according to research published Wednesday, which projects greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil fuels will hit a record high this year after a recent and promising lull. And next year, emissions are expected to be even higher. The research by the Global Carbon Project, […]

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California lawmaker tries again to gradually ban gas cars

After an unsuccessful legislative effort this year that would have eventually banned the sale of new gas-powered cars in California, Assemblyman Phil Ting returned Monday with a more modest proposal he hopes will move the state toward the same goal. AB40, introduced by the San Francisco Democrat, asks the state Air Resources Board to come […]

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Military couple’s fine to return to Oakland home unlawful, suit says

A married military couple who had to pay thousands of dollars to boot their tenants in order to move back into their Oakland home say the city law requiring the fee violates their rights. The Pacific Legal Foundation, a libertarian property-rights firm based in Sacramento, said Wednesday in a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of […]

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Camp Fire’s climate toll: Greenhouse gases equal about a week of California auto emissions

Butte County’s Camp Fire not only claimed a staggering amount of lives and property, it spewed out a whole lot of greenhouse gases – about as much as all of California’s cars and trucks produce in a week, according to new state estimates. This blast of emissions contributes negligibly to the planet’s overall warming, but […]

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Ballot measures taking aim at climate change fall short

Efforts to nudge the nation away from burning fossil fuels and toward harnessing renewable source of energy were rejected by voters Tuesday across a swath of resource-rich states in the western United States. Voters in Arizona, one of the nation’s most sun-soaked states, shot down a measure that would have accelerated its shift toward generating […]

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San Francisco ranks No. 1 in US in property crime

It’s official: Your backpack, laptop, tablet or phone — or the vehicle in which you left all these things behind — are more likely to catch the fancy of a thief in San Francisco than any other major metropolis in the country. FBI data released last week show the city had the highest per-capita rate […]

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Transit Week gets off to rough start as train delays disrupt officials’ commutes

San Francisco officials who took light rail Monday morning to kick off a citywide Transit Week event were held up when trains broke down on two Muni lines. What was supposed to be a celebration of mass transit became an indictment of the city’s unreliable light rail system. “This just shows how we need reinvestment […]

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