- Drain Hetch Hetchy Reservoir? San Francisco voters may get the chance in November to start the process (SJ Mercury News)
Beginning a new chapter in one of America’s oldest conservation battles, environmental groups Monday are expected to turn in enough signatures to qualify a November ballot measure in San Francisco that would require the city to draw up a plan to drain Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. The reservoir in Yosemite National Park and the Tuolumne River that flows into it are the main water source for 2.5 million Bay Area residents who live in San Francisco or on the Peninsula, as well as in parts of San Jose and Alameda County.
- GGNRA dog leash issue far from settled; final rule now due in 2014 (Marin Independent Journal)
AFTER A DOZEN years of wrangling on the hot-button issue, National Park Service officials now say it will be at least two more years before they issue final dog leash rules for federal parklands in Marin. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area recently announced the process to implement a final dog management ruling will be delayed after an outpouring of public comment over proposed rules issued early last year.
- Occupy the Farm activists reoccupy UC Berkeley farm plot in Albany (Contra Costa Times)
About 60 Occupy the Farm activists returned to the Gill Tract on Saturday morning to weed and harvest crops planted earlier this spring. The activists broke a lock on a gate and entered the 10-acre plot of land around 9:40 a.m. and remained on the property until shortly after noon.
- After a false start, California school districts prepare to start transitional kindergarten (Oakland Tribune)
After a monthslong guessing game about its fate, a new, two-year kindergarten program will open in hundreds of California school districts in August. Transitional kindergarten, as it’s called, is an extra year of school for “fall babies,” the roughly 125,000 children who turn 5 between Sept. 1 and Dec. 2. The mandate is written into a law that will gradually move the kindergarten entry date from Dec. 2 to Sept. 1; transitional kindergarten is for children whose birthdays fall in-between. This year, children must turn 5 by Nov. 1 to enroll in a standard kindergarten class.
- Kim-Shree Maufas far outspends school board cohorts (SF Chronicle)
For the third time in less than four years, The Chronicle has uncovered a pattern of excessive and questionable spending by a San Francisco school board member, a practice that has continued despite district promises to increase oversight. Board member Kim-Shree Maufas spent almost twice as much as any of the six other board members through April of the past school year, spending thousands of dollars on meals and transportation in San Francisco, personal computer and phone equipment, books and photocopies, among other expenditures charged to taxpayers.
- Wage disparity: Bay Area’s lower-paid workers fail to keep up with inflation, while top earners see bigger checks (Contra Costa Times)
Puny wage increases that have been chewed up by inflation have left hundreds of thousands of Bay Area workers worse off than they were 10 years ago. But top wage earners have seen their paychecks soar by 26 percent over the same period when adjusted for inflation. That’s widened the gap between those on the top and bottom of the workforce.
- Fellow scientists attack provocative finding by scientists at NASA-Ames and Menlo Park U.S. Geological Survey (SJ Mercury News)
A provocative finding by scientists at NASA-Ames and Menlo Park U.S. Geological Survey came under attack by fellow scientists on Sunday night, challenging the presumption that life could exist in hostile environments far from planet Earth. The original 2010 research described how a bacterium in Mono Lake takes a startling detour from normal metabolism, swapping the common element phosphorus for toxic arsenic, and flourishes…Two new reports, released by Science on Sunday night, dispute the original findings. Phosphorus, a building block of life, is still essential for life, they assert.