- San Jose City Council members issue a call to cut their own pensions (SJ Mercury News)
[A]mid growing employee outrage over proposed pension cuts — which Mayor Chuck Reed wants to take to voters in June — he and some other council members now say it’s unseemly for them to keep their own pensions, whose costs also are climbing. “With the council pursuing pension reform, the mayor and council members should personally lead by example by eliminating defined benefit pensions for City Council members,” Councilman Pete Constant said. On Wednesday, a committee headed by Reed unanimously approved Constant’s proposal that the council on Jan. 24 consider steps aimed at terminating the mayor and council’s pension plan.
- With eye on K-12, community colleges to revamp (Contra Costa Times)
Inundated with unprepared students, California’s community colleges next week will consider a slate of reforms to improve graduation and transfer rates — and to help high schools improve their own graduates. A panel that spent a year examining low success rates at the state’s 112 community colleges will recommend Monday that the statewide Board of Governors take swift action to boost dismal figures in several key areas. In its report, the task force calls the 22 recommendations “a vision for our community colleges in the next decade.”
- Senator’s bill would cap CSU presidents’ salaries (SF Chronicle)
The salaries of California State University campus presidents would be capped, and discussions about their pay would be held in public, under a bill being proposed by a state senator frustrated that CSU has been raising executive pay as well as tuition.
- Through hard times, S.F. killings at historic lows (SF Chronicle)
San Francisco extended a three-year run of historically low homicide totals in 2011, a decline that defies easy explanation as it stretches through tough economic times.
- S.F. Chamber of Commerce raises supervisors’ grade (Andrew S. Ross, SF Chronicle)
…A solid majority [of SF supervisors] voted in favor of jobs, the economy and government efficiency more than 75 percent of the time,” the chamber notes in its Paychecks & Pink Slips Scorecard for 2011. For its efforts, the board gets a B-minus in overall business friendliness – not exactly honors level, but a “marked improvement” over 2010’s D-minus, said the chamber.
- Police use of pepper spray had spotty record in Berkeley last year (Berkeley Voice)
Berkeley police used pepper spray on combative people nine times last year, but officers found it effective in just five of those cases, according to reports published on the city’s website. Policymakers in Berkeley declined to talk about the reports, but the police department defended its use, saying anecdotal evidence over the years shows it can be an effective tool in crime fighting.
- Season opens for Mavericks surf contest (SF Examiner)
The three-month window for the 2012 big-wave Mavericks Invitational has officially opened, but if you were expecting to watch the one-day competition of world-famous surfers from the shore, think again. Contest organizers this year are requiring pre-purchased tickets for anyone to get near the beach.
- Lone wolf causes stir as it stays in California’s far north(Sacramento Bee)
A wild wolf has been back among us for a week now, the first in nearly 90 years. True to form, he is beginning to cause a stir.The 2-year-old male wolf known as OR7 crossed from Oregon into California’s Siskiyou County on Dec. 28. Initial speculation that he might soon turn back to Oregon has been laid to rest.
- California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly says loaded gun in carry-on was a ‘mistake’ (Sacramento Bee)
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly had a quick explanation Wednesday for why he brought a briefcase containing a loaded .45-caliber firearm into Ontario International Airport: He goofed.
- Black Entrepreneurs Gain a Foothold in Silicon Valley (Bay Citizen)
…California’s cradle of innovation, while very good at spawning successful technology companies, is not so good at encouraging entrepreneurship among African-Americans. A recent report by CB Insights, a venture capital information database, found that fewer than 1 percent of venture capital-backed tech companies in California were founded by African-Americans.