A.M. Splash: Bullet Train to Las Vegas Planned; Water Tunnel Cost Unclear; Experts Try to Save Deer from I-280; Parking Meters Planned at SF Zoo

    • Bay Area to Sin City? Las Vegas bullet train backers gamble on record loan (Oakland Tribune)

      Lost in the fractious debate over California high-speed rail is a separate, little-publicized plan for a second bullet train that would connect the Golden State with Sin City. Private developers are wagering on the Vegas train, hoping the Obama administration in coming weeks provides a record rail loan to kick-start construction on the $8 billion-plus train line that could someday connect to California’s much-debated high-speed railroad near Los Angeles.

    • Cost of water tunnel plan not yet clear (SF Chronicle)

      Gov. Jerry Brown’s ambitious plan to drill two 35-mile-long tunnels 150 feet under the delta to move Sacramento River water south could cost $14 billion, as the governor has stated. Or, it could cost $19 billion. Or more – or less. The fact is, the cost of what would be the biggest public works drill the nation has ever seen – and even longer and wider than the Chunnel between England and France – has yet to be determined.

    • Saving deer from I-280 slaughter (SF Chronicle)

      Researchers from Caltrans, the state Department of Fish and Game and UC Davis are spending $300,000 to learn how deer successfully scamper – or not – across I-280, one of the least animal-friendly stretches of freeway in the Bay Area.

    • Berkeley Unified’s total spending on harassment case unknown (California Watch)

      After a Berkeley High School student complained of sexual harassment by her guidance counselor, the Berkeley Unified School District spent $94,000 on lawyers to fight her claim. Then in February, school officials made a $57,500 insurance payout to settle the girl’s lawsuit, according to court records and interviews. The financially strapped school district’s spending on the controversial harassment case probably was greater. But for the past year, school district officials have refused to disclose how much they spent.

    • Rec and Park hires new manager to oversee embattled police force (SF Examiner)

      The Recreation and Park Department is poised to hire a new manager to oversee its beleaguered park patrol unit. Robert Lotti, a veteran law enforcement officer who is the current chief of the Colma Police Department, will be formally introduced Aug. 14 as the new head of Rec and Park’s 25-member patrol unit.

    • Next plan: parking meters at SF Zoo (SF Chronicle)

      San Francisco transportation officials are quietly exploring the possibility of installing parking meters on the streets around the zoo, as they increasingly move to eliminate free parking at curbside spaces in neighborhoods around the city. They’re also looking at adding meters around San Francisco State University.

    • PG&E confronts poisons of the past (SF Examiner)

      A handful of Marina residents will relocate at PG&E’s expense this summer so the utility can remove chemical residues left behind by three former coal gas facilities during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

    • New rules on pesticide use aim to protect creeks around Marin (Marin Independent Journal)

      In an effort to better protect Marin and other creek ecosystems around California, a state agency has restricted the use of certain pesticides when the weather is wet. The new regulations — which took effect this month — prohibit pest control applicators and gardeners from applying pesticides when it rains, when puddles are present and over drains or natural drainage areas.

    • More uninsured in San Mateo County to receive health care (Bay Citizen)

      In an apparent about-face, the Peninsula Health Care District has approved $4.6 million in funding for a San Mateo County program that provides health care for uninsured, low-income adults.

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