Morning Splash: Budgets Just Make It; Berkeley School Board Approves Gun Plan; High-Speed Rail PR Firm Walks; Suit Filed Against Circumcision Ban

After a veto fight with his own party and unresolved differences with Republicans, Gov. Jerry Brown signed an on-time $85.9 billion spending plan Thursday that slashes higher education and the safety net while counting on a windfall of tax revenues.

With California’s one-percentage point drop in sales tax kicking in Friday, essentially making that dollar bar of soap almost a penny cheaper, reaction in the marketplace was swift and spirited, ranging from joy to disgust, except among those who really didn’t care either way.

The rate increases, which were expected, mostly affect policyholders in plans offered through small businesses. Depending on the plan and the carrier, hikes will average from 3 percent to more than 17 percent, but some individuals within the plans could see much higher jumps.

In what city leaders called the most dire budget shortfall in modern Oakland history, Mayor Jean Quan cast a deciding vote Thursday to pass a budget that will preserve libraries and fire stations while imposing furlough days on most city staffers.

The City Council argued bitterly for several hours, half the members calling for the immediate rehire of 44 police officers and others arguing that the method for making those hires would be unsustainable.

Golden Gate Ferry service will run on its regular schedule this morning, transit officials announced. The Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District initially canceled Larkspur and Sausalito ferry service early this morning in response to a potential one-day strike by ticket agents.

In a brief filed in San Francisco County Superior Court Thursday afternoon, the city builds on an earlier suit filed by Jewish and Muslim groups. That suit says that only the state – not a city – can regulate the actions of medical professionals. If that is true and the ballot initiative is approved by voters in November, the city would be preventing only religious figures, like Jewish mohels who are not necessarily medical professionals, from freely exercising their religion, the city said.

The Chancellor of the California State University will ask its trustees to increase tuition by 12 percent, the CSU Office of Public Affairs announced Thursday. The announcement came shortly after Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state budget, which cuts $650 million from the CSU system.

Ogilvy Public Relations had signed a 4½-year, $9 million contact with the California High-Speed Rail Authority in 2009 but some officials think the firm hasn’t earned the money. Although the project has major political and union backers, it suffers from significant statewide and even national perception issues, especially among Republicans, fiscal conservatives and Peninsula residents. Most recently, the GOP-led House Budget Committee bestowed its “boondoggle award” upon the project, while others have called the initial leg of construction in the Central Valley “the train to nowhere” and Peninsula cities have sued to stop the Bay Area-to-Southern California rail line.

The recommendations follow six incidents earlier in the year in which seven students were arrested and expelled for bringing the weapons to school. In one incident, a gun was fired in a bathroom, but no one was injured. The recommendations by a safety committee of students, teachers, administrators and parents include increasing police on campus, adding more security guards, adding four “monitors” who look for suspicious activity at the entrances to the school, providing uniforms for the security guards, gun violence and prevention education for students, new procedures for visitors to the high schools, and increasing collaboration with the police department. The increased staffing will cost an extra $270,000 annually.

BART’s morning delays were caused by a woman who jumped on the tracks at the Glen Park Station in San Francisco, lay between the rails as a train rolled over her and then somehow emerged and climbed to safety, an agency spokesman said. The woman, who is in her 40s, was spotted on the southbound tracks by a train operator at about 8:50 a.m., agency spokesman Linton Johnson said. The operator hit the “stop” button, but the train couldn’t halt in time and several cars rolled over the woman.

To demonstrate just how large a number that is, Twitter decided to do the math and see how many books could be written with 200 million tweets. According to its calculations, a day’s worth of tweets would be enough to write a 10-million-page book or 8,163 copies of War and Peace. Every second, 2,400 tweets are sent through Twitter’s servers, enough for 1.4 billion tweets per week.

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