Every May for the past six years, Matt Hopkins has flown from his home in New York to San Francisco to party with friends at the Bay to Breakers race. This year was notable, he said, not because it was the centennial running of the 7.46-mile race, but because it was the year organizers cracked down, hiring guards to confiscate booze and banning the race’s iconic floats.
Gov. Jerry Brown, facing mounting pressure to walk away from his stalled budget plan, is refusing to yield and will seek to reinvigorate his campaign for a public vote on taxes with the revised spending package he releases Monday. But there will be a new twist: Having failed to win enough Republican votes to put the taxes on the ballot in June, the governor is expected to ask lawmakers to impose at least some of the levies first and seek Californians’ blessing after the fact, said officials with knowledge of Brown’s plan.
The Oakland Police Department, reeling from budget cuts, is planning an organizational overhaul that will push more officers onto the streets, but could undermine its ability to investigate murders and other serious offenses at a time when the homicide rate is soaring. The changes involve disbanding the Criminal Investigation Division and consolidating the division’s individual units, including homicide and assault, into a new major crimes unit in which officers will be responsible for investigating a variety of offenses.
For the past couple of years, medical marijuana has been a booming business in San Jose, but now it’s also a promising new source of tax revenue, according to new figures released by the city’s finance department. San Jose officials say the city’s medical marijuana collectives paid $290,000 in the first month the city levied a 7 percent tax on businesses selling the drug.
This wasn’t exactly a case where the Sharks coughed up a third-period lead and let a well-deserved victory slip away. No, Game 1 of the Western Conference finals Sunday night was one where the Sharks seemed more surprised that they held the lead before two goals 79 seconds apart by defenseman Kevin Bieksa and center Henrik Sedin sent them to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks.
A Colma man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after a multivehicle crash that closed lanes on the Golden Gate Bridge and injured three people Sunday night, a California Highway Patrol officer said. Syed Ali, 37, caused the crash by rear-ending his 2007 Mercedes SL550 into a 1990 Mercedes 300CE driven by San Francisco resident Mara Lefkowitz, 39, in the southbound lane of U.S. Highway 101 on the bridge about 8 p.m., CHP Sgt. Marcus Bartholomew said.
…On Tuesday, the Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors, which oversees taxi operations, will consider raising rates for the first time in more than seven years. Under the scenario proposed by the agency’s taxi staff, meter rates would rise to 55 cents per fifth of a mile – an increase of 10 cents. Rates charged for traffic delays or waiting time would also increase by 10 cents, to 55 cents per minute.
An unprecedented national conference on fighting child exploitation will unfold in San Jose this week, when a thousand law enforcement officials huddle in the South Bay, including U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The conference, which opens Tuesday and runs through Friday at the San Jose convention center, will largely focus on ways to nab child predators and on efforts at keeping children safe from sexual abuse and slavery. U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, the Bay Area’s top law enforcer, will help kick off the conference Tuesday morning.
Ever so slightly, Austin Whitney’s hands trembled as the 22-year-old paraplegic pulled his body up from his wheelchair and walked seven steps toward the future. And not only toward his own prospects, as he graduated from UC Berkeley on Saturday with 2,100 other seniors, but toward the future of the exoskeleton, a device designed by UC Berkeley researchers that enabled him to move his legs during the walk across the stage. “We did it! We did it!” Whitney called to the engineers after lowering himself back into his wheelchair and rolling down the ramp and off the stage. High-fives and hugs ensued.
Because James Durbin did not finish in the top three on “American Idol,” the rest of the country will not get to experience what happened Saturday in Santa Cruz. For the estimated 30,000 who did, the event is likely to linger in Santa Cruz’s cultural memory for a long time. The 22-year-old singing sensation was the center of attention on “Durbin Day” in Santa Cruz, which culminated in a free hourlong concert on the bandstand at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. With the late afternoon sun turning the Monterey Bay silver and an enormous carpet of screaming, hand-waving fans surrounding Durbin on all sides, it’s a sure bet no “Idol” homecoming party was more picturesque.
Established six years ago to showcase the state’s geographic diversity, the Amgen Tour of California will now unfold without two of its most celebrated, scenic regions. Blame nature’s fickle ways. After originally delaying and shortening the race’s opening road stage because of snow and slick road conditions Saturday night, the race’s plan to showcase Lake Tahoe for the first time was canceled Sunday.
Jon Brooks writes mostly on film for KQED Arts. He is also an online editor and writer for KQED's daily news blog, News Fix. Jon is a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S.