- Bullet train project nearly triples in cost — $98.5 billion — from earlier projections (SJ Mercury News)
Faster than a speeding bullet train, the cost of the state’s massive high-speed rail project has zoomed to nearly $100 billion — triple the estimate given to voters and more than enough to run the entire state government for a year. What’s more, bullet trains won’t be up and running until at least 2033, much later than the original estimate of 2020, although that depends on the state finding the remaining 90 percent of the funds needed to complete the plan. The new figures come from a final business plan to be unveiled by the California High-Speed Rail Authority on Tuesday, though some of the details were leaked to the media, including this newspaper, on Monday. Officials at the rail authority did not respond to repeated requests for comment Monday.
- S.F. sheriff defends deputy in Scott Olsen videos (SF Chronicle)
San Francisco Sheriff’s Department officials expressed concern today that a deputy who took part in Tuesday’s night’s police action against Occupy Oakland protesters had been accused online of injuring Scott Olsen, the Iraq war veteran who suffered a skull fracture.
- 4 S.F. cops fired this year, documents show (SF Chronicle)
Four San Francisco police officers have been fired this year for departmental violations ranging from using force without justification to obtaining confidential information about people from a law-enforcement database, records show.
- Berkeley quakes put city on edge, but don’t herald a major temblor (Contra Costa Times)
Many Berkeley residents opened an alarming email following the rash of small quakes shaking the city at all hours since Oct. 20. It warned of a 30 percent chance of a major quake striking within the next two or three weeks, credited to scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey who allegedly met with Berkeley city officials. It’s bogus, said Keith Knudsen, deputy director of the USGS Earthquake Science Center in Menlo Park.
- California school kids’ test scores remain dismal (SF Chronicle)
In the race for educational excellence, California hovered near the rear again with only Mississippi and the District of Columbia languishing further behind, according to 2011 math and reading scores released today.
- Report finds shortened school calendars hurting underprivileged students (San Mateo County Times)
Shortening the instructional calendar is helping school districts in San Mateo County and across the state balance their tight budgets. But that strategy is stunting the progress of students, particularly those who are from low-income families or learning English as a second language, a new report said.
- Hearings today on state park closures (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
Two state Assembly committees today are discussing the impacts of closing state parks and looking for ways to avoid the closures. The hearings, which began at 9 a.m. in Sacramento, are being held by Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, chairman of the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, and Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, chairman of the Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review Committee
- Stanford surgeons prepare long, delicate procedure to separate conjoined San Jose twins (SJ Mercury News)
Stanford surgeons seek to give two sisters a life apart, dividing their shared bodies into two in a long, delicate and risky surgery. Without the procedure, San Jose conjoined twins Angelica and Angelina Sabuco — fused at their liver — would face a troubled future, with curved spines, muscle problems and the emotional challenges of intimately shared lives. Tuesday’s surgery could give the 2-year-olds, and their family, a chance to lead normal lives.