- High-speed rail, Bay Area plan to split $1.5 billion cost to supercharge rail line (SJ Mercury News)
Hoping to bring the bonanza of California high-speed rail funds to the Bay Area much quicker, local and state leaders on Wednesday unveiled a strategy to split the $1.5 billion cost to electrify the Caltrain line. The plan would pave the way for quicker commuter trains to zip between San Francisco and San Jose as early as 2018 and for statewide bullet trains to run sooner than expected.
- Richmond council moves forward with plan to double marijuana dispensaries (Contra Costa Times)
Richmond has cleared the way to double its number of medical marijuana dispensaries. The City Council early Wednesday approved an ordinance permitting as many as six of the cannabis shops in the city, provided they don’t share a property line with a residence, and there aren’t more than three within a square mile.
- UC violates law in delaying pepper-spray report release, experts say (Bay Area News Group)
The University of California is violating state law by refusing to release portions of an investigative report on a police officer’s pepper-spraying of Occupy protesters, public-records experts said Wednesday. An Alameda County judge ruled this week that the university could release all but a few sections of the report to the public. But UC lawyers refused to release the document to this newspaper, which had requested it under the California Public Records Act.
- Surf’s not up for Mavericks (Bay Area News Group)
With the window for the competition set to close March 31, it does not appear the right combination of wind and ocean conditions will materialize in time, said Jeff Clark, head of Mavericks Invitational Inc. He said the window will not be extended. “Although we are hopeful, it does not look like the swell we need for the contest will show before the window closes,” Clark said in a statement.
- Asian population swells in Bay Area, state, nation (SF Chronicle)
The country’s Asian American population grew faster than any other ethnic group over the past decade, and in few places can that explosion be seen more vividly than in San Francisco’s nearest neighbor – Daly City.
- City Council debates Quan’s 100 block plan (Oakland North)
A discussion about Measure Y funds developed into a debate about Mayor Jean Quan’s “100 block” public safety plan at the Oakland City Council meeting Tuesday night. Quan isn’t required to attend city council meetings, but she happened to have just arrived when councilmembers were discussing the need for transparency concerning her public safety plan, which began in October and focuses on crime prevention within the 100 blocks in Oakland where most of the city’s violent crime occurs.
- SMART moves to tap millions in bond funds for Marin-to-Sonoma rail project (Marin Independent Journal)
…With the repeal effort out of the way, the SMART board Wednesday agreed to move the bond money out of escrow and to switch the funds from a low but risky variable interest rate of about 1 percent to a more costly but stable fixed interest rate of 4.3 to 4.5 percent.
- Safeway to stop using ‘pink slime’ for ground beef (Contra Costa Times)
Bowing to public pressure, Safeway said Wednesday it will no longer use a controversial filler called “pink slime” in its hamburger meat. Safeway, the nation’s second-largest supermarket chain, joins several other stores, including Whole Foods, Costco and Nob Hill Foods, in rejecting hamburger with the filler, called lean finely textured beef by retailers, the meat industry and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Whole Foods and Costco say their hamburger has never contained the filler.
- Report: Social Workers Failed to Ensure Proper Care for Distressed Veteran (Bay Citizen)
Social workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Palo Alto made “no attempt” to ensure a mentally ill Iraq war veteran was admitted to the hospital in the days before he killed himself by stepping in front of a train May 2010, according to a report released Wednesday by the VA’s Office of the Inspector General in Washington, D.C.