- CA vehicle emissions rules would sharply cut smog (SF Chronicle)
California is on the verge of approving the most stringent vehicle emissions regulations in the United States, forcing automakers to cut exhaust by two-thirds and begin mass-producing zero-emission vehicles and plug-in hybrids. The California Air Resources Board is expected to vote today on a package of laws that would essentially require a 34 percent reduction in smog and a 75 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.
- Kindergarten? Transitional class? More preschool? Shifting state law and budget has parents confused (SJ Mercury News)
For decades, California parents with kids nearing their fifth birthday knew that right about now, they needed to start thinking about registering for kindergarten. But a new law, a funding crisis and California’s Byzantine budgeting ways have turned that certainty on its head. Not only parents, but also schools and even state officials are confused about who can start school in August.
- Toll lanes coming soon to 237-880, but drivers fear they will make congestion worse (SJ Mercury News)
A major change is coming to one of Silicon Valley’s biggest commute bottlenecks when toll lanes are introduced at the Highway 237-Interstate 880 interchange next month. Only this time, traffic designers pledge it won’t be the debacle that occurred at the opening of the Bay Area’s first toll lane on Interstate 680 nearly a year and a half ago. Tolls won’t be charged until the end of February, but the double white stripes setting off the lanes were expected to be completed Friday at this jammed interchange, a primary gateway to Silicon Valley for East Bay commuters. Skeptical drivers are already predicting that these “improvements” will only make congestion worse.
- Judge says same-sex health-coverage ban biased (SF Chronicle)
A federal judge signaled Thursday that she’s likely to strike down a federal law that denies long-term health coverage to the same-sex domestic partners of state employees in California, saying it appears to be based on prejudice against gays and lesbians.
- 2011 a vintage year for sales of California wine (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
Despite a sluggish economy, California wineries last year posted their biggest increase in shipments in a decade and could soon face a shortage of some popular varietals that will drive up prices, experts said this week. Many wineries, however, still find it difficult to raise prices on store shelves, even as their suppliers boost prices for grapes and bulk wine.
- Google opens social network to users younger than 18 (SJ Mercury News)
Since its introduction last June, Google+ had banned users younger than 18 from joining the site. On Thursday, Bradley Horowitz, Google vice president of product management, said in a Google+ post that the site would begin allowing children as young as 13 to join the site now that it has established some new safeguards that it hopes provide a more protected online environment.
- Planners want to direct Bay Area residents to live in existing communities to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions (Contra Costa Times)
A Bay Area plan for where to build new houses, shops and offices in a way that helps cut greenhouse gases relies on increased population concentrations some communities may reject, a state homebuilding industry representative told Contra Costa business and political leaders Thursday.
- Proposal to cap California utility execs’ pay (SF Chronicle)
A potential bill under discussion in Sacramento would limit executive compensation at California utility companies – or at least change who pays.