In an effort to close a $25 million budget gap, BART directors will have to layoff employees or raise fares and slash service again, the Chron reports. At its meeting on Thursday, the BART board will consider a 25-cent surcharge on trips through the Transbay Tube, a 2 percent general fare hike, and a daily parking fee based on market rates. The agency also will consider eliminating direct service from Richmond and Fremont to San Francisco. The changes could save BART $23.5 million. But there is one way that BART could avoid many of the fare increases and service cuts — kill the controversial Oakland airport connector.
Having your power shut off because you fall behind on your bills can be a debilitating event, especially in winter. But Pacific Gas & Electric Company plans to ramp up the number of people who will have to go without heat and electricity in the next few years with the help of the utility’s controversial new smart meters. The Chron reports that the utility says the smart meters will allow it to turn off power to at least 85 percent of its customers who fall behind on their payments. In 2008, before PG&E began installing the meters, the utility shut off power to just 37 percent of eligible customers.
Ott, whose pedicab business is the subject of this week's Culture Spy, has styled himself as a city booster of sorts, with a mission to turn Oakland into a more dense, compact downtown. For the past several months he has driven a three-seater bicycle around downtown Oakland, offering free rides to clubgoers. Ott says he plans to continue his operation, albeit at a reduced level. "I'll see how I can change the service to preclude these types events," he wrote. "I wouldn't want to stop doing this work."
This isn't one of those tricky, gotcha kind of headlines—but for all the publicity that Cal men's basketball has received (none), you would have every right to be suspicious that this was going to be a gimmick. But, it's for real. The Golden Bears are in fact, in first place in the Pac-10. Granted the Pac-10 is terrible; no teams ranked in the top thirty, and that the difference between first and last place in the league is the difference between slim and none, but with 40% of league play completed, the Cal men are the best of their peers, and that's got to be worth a strange but true header.
UC Berkeley is selling personal seat licenses to Cal football fans to finance the $320 million retrofit of Memorial Coliseum. The CoCo Times reports that the university hopes that the licenses, which give fans lifetime rights for choice seats and are selling for $2,700 and up, will pay off the bonds it’s floating to pay for the retrofit. The coliseum straddles the Hayward Fault and requires a major rehab to be made safe.
Gays and lesbians have made a lot of progress in the past decade in their long struggle for equality, but if the opinions of two Bay Area newspapers are any indication, then they still have a long way to go. Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, the hometown paper of one of the largest gay and lesbian communities in the world, preached “tolerance” for those who spend large sums of money to strip gays and lesbians of a basic human right.
When the Berkeley City Council voted in 2004 to block medical marijuana dispensaries from being within 1,000 feet of public schools, it seemed like a sensible move. After all, few people would argue that kids should spend most of their day next to a pot club, even if the facility does provide legitimate, important services. But the council apparently neglected to include private schools, preschools, and day care centers in its ordinance. So, now, six years later, a medical marijuana club is planning to move to a site in West Berkeley close to both a private elementary school and a day-care facility, and the schools, along with local businesses, may end up going to court to stop it.
What tops an A?
God, for one. Oakland A's prospect Grant Desme chose a different path than his Single A stats suggested as he made the announcement today, that he is leaving baseball for the priesthood. Please no jokes about trading Desme to the Padres.
A small group of pro-life protesters assembled today in front of Family Planning Specialists Medical Group, an Oakland abortion clinic. In response, members of several groups including the ANSWER Coalition, World Can’t Wait, Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights, and Bay Area Radical Women staged a counter-protest across the street on the 200 block of Webster. Police officers were on the scene, calmly talking amongst themselves as a man in a cowboy hat continuously shouted that the pro-choice protesters were “pot-smoking, government butt-kissers!”
Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson argues today that gay rights activists have crossed the line in their attempt to oust Prop. 8 backer Lorenzo Hoopes from the Paramount Theatre board of directors. Johnson says that although he disagrees with Hoopes’ opposition to gay marriage, the campaign against him has been “mean-spirited.” But Johnson’s argument is nothing more than defending bigotry.