A.M. Splash: Stanford Economist Wins Nobel; Chevron Workers Warned of Pipe Weakness; Court to Review Marijuana Classification

  • Guest Stanford prof wins economic Nobel (SF Chronicle)

    A visiting Stanford University professor was awarded the Nobel economics prize Monday for research that helped improve the performance of markets. Alvin Roth, 60, is a professor at Harvard University but is currently a guest scholar at Stanford. He will share the award with Lloyd Shapley, 89, a professor emeritus at UCLA.

  • Chevron blaze linked to fire in 2011 (Contra Costa Times)
    The suspected cause of the massive fire at the Chevron refinery in August has been linked to a fire there last year, according to state safety inspection documents in which two refinery workers complained the company was ignoring the issue. “We’re afraid something is going to fall through the cracks,” one worker told Cal/OSHA safety inspector Carla Fritz during her inspection visit to the refinery after the October 2011 fire.

  • Port official blows $4,500 at strip club (SF Chronicle)

    A high-ranking Port of Oakland official is in hot water for throwing down $4,500 in public funds for a party at a Houston strip club. Port commissioners met in an emergency closed session late Friday to discuss the case involving Maritime Director James Kwon and his $4,537 bill for a “drink and dinner reception” at Treasures, an upscale gentlemen’s club where Kwon entertained about a dozen shipping industry executives during a 2008 conference in Houston.

  • Court To Review Marijuana’s Medical Benefits (Huffington Post)
    It started with a coalition of disgruntled Americans, then a handful of governors took up the cause last year, and now — for the first time in nearly 20 years — a federal court will hear oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging the classification of cannabis as a dangerous drug without medical benefits. In the case, Americans for Safe Access v. Drug Enforcement Administration, the court will be presented with scientific evidence regarding the medicinal effects of marijuana, and is expected to rule on whether or not the Drug Enforcement Administration acted appropriately in denying a petition to reclassify cannabis, filed by a collection of public interest organizations back in 2002.

  • California’s retiring state workers cash in vacation for big bucks (Bay Area News Group)

    They could leave their hearts in San Francisco — or any of the Golden State’s other big vacation spots — but thousands of California’s state workers won’t even leave their desks. An analysis of the last three years of government salary data shows state employees are continuing to store up massive banks of vacation, instead of heading to Big Sur or hitting the slopes at Lake Tahoe. They’re cashing in by retiring with whopping final paychecks worth, in some cases, more than $500,000 in unused time off.

  • Man fatally shot in Oakland’s 100th homicide of year (Oakland Tribune)

    A 21-year-old man was fatally shot early Monday in East Oakland, becoming the city’s 100th homicide of the year. The man’s name was not released pending notification of relatives… It is the fourth time since 2008 that Oakland has recorded at least 100 homicides in a year. Of the 100 so far this year, 96 are considered murders and the other four, including a fatal police shooting, have been determined by the district attorney to be justifiable homicides. Last year there were 110 total homicides in the city, including 92 at this time last year. There were 95 homicides in 2010, 110 in 2009 and 125 in 2008.

  • San Francisco to release preliminary ranked-choice votes on election night (SF Examiner)

    For the first time, preliminary results of ranked-choice voting will be released on Election Night, which should help to calm nerves and lessen suspense. In the past, the Department of Elections would wait days to run the first tabulation of ranked-choice voting, which left many guessing where people’s second- and third-place votes would go in the close races.

  • Delicate fish species showing rebound in West Marin creeks (Marin Independent Journal)
    The news is good for two of Marin’s sensitive fish populations: Recent counts show the number of young coho salmon in West Marin creeks is higher than average — and there are more young steelhead than had been counted ever before. Marin Municipal Water District biologists spent recent weeks painstakingly capturing and counting juvenile fish in Lagunitas Creek and its two main tributaries, San Geronimo Creek and Devil’s Gulch.

  • School official targeted special education program to cut costs (Bay Citizen)

    A San Francisco Unified School District administrator urged teachers to re-evaluate whether to offer summer school to special education students as a way to cut costs, a move that special education teachers and attorneys say violates federal regulations. Lisa Miller, the district’s head of middle school special education, said in a Jan. 4 email to her staff that the cost of summer school – known as extended school year, or ESY – had become “exorbitant” and instructed all middle school special education staff not to authorize the service without her approval.

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