Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Must Reads: State Regulators Fine PG&E $14 Million; SF District Attorney Pushes Measure to Reduce Prison Population

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The California Public Utility Commission fined PG&E $14 million for withholding records that showed that its San Carlos natural-gas pipeline was riddled with bad welds, the Chron reports. The fine is separate from a $2.5 billion penalty that the state likely will slap on PG&E for the deadly San Bruno blast in 2010. PG&E, meanwhile, is asking the state to allow it to raise gas rates on consumers by nearly 13 percent to pay for upgrades to its pipeline system, Bay Area News Group$ reports.

George Gascón
  • George Gascón
2. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón is backing a statewide ballot measure that would relieve overcrowding in state prisons by reducing some felony crimes to misdemeanors, the Chron reports. The measure also would use the money saved from not incarcerating people “to fund crime prevention, trauma recovery services, and mental health and substance abuse treatment.” Under the measure, drug possession would be reduced to a misdemeanor and the threshold for thefts to be felonies would increase from $450 to $950.

3. The City of Oakland owes $2.3 million to motorists who overpaid on parking tickets from 2008 to 2010, the Chron reports. Motorists are owed refunds for mistakenly paying too much or for paying the same parking ticket twice.

4. In an attempt to reduce child prostitution and sex trafficking in the city, Oakland public schools are launching a new program this spring to teach seventh graders about sexual exploitation and how to stop it, the Chron reports.

5. Oakland A’s co-owner Lew Wolff said once again that he and his partners have no interest in selling the A’s, the Trib$ reports.

6. And residents of the 415 area code who get new phone service starting in 2015 will have a new area code — 628 — because 415 numbers are oversubscribed, the Chron reports. People with existing 415 numbers will be allowed to keep them.

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