A.M. Splash: Calif. Cap-and-Trade Start Called a Success; HP Blames Aquisition for Huge Writedown; Dispute Could Slow Chevron Restart

  • California’s first cap-and-trade auction sells out, declared ‘a success’ (SJ Mercury News)
    State regulators on Monday celebrated the results of last week’s first-ever auction of California greenhouse gas emission permits, declaring the long-awaited kickoff to the nation’s first effort to put a price on carbon pollution a success. The state did not disclose how many companies participated in the historic auction. But there were three times as many bidders than buyers, a sign that the business community is taking the new carbon market seriously. A ton of carbon sold for $10.09 at the auction, just slightly above the $10 floor price established by regulators, according to data released by the California Air Resources Board. More important, all of the 23.1 million permits offered at the auction to cover 2013 emissions were purchased, raising $233 million and calming fears that the market would be under-subscribed.

  • Hewlett-Packard says its $10 billion Autonomy acquisition lied about finances (SJ Mercury News)
    Hewlett-Packard said a British company it bought for $9.7 billion last year lied about its finances, resulting in a massive write-down of the value of the business. CEO Meg Whitman avoided calling it a fraud, but said Tuesday that there were “serious accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and outright misrepresentations at Autonomy Corporation PLC.” HP is taking a charge $8.8 billion charge to align the accounting value of Autonomy with its real value. More than $5 billion of the writedown is due to the false accounting, the Palo Alto tech giant said.

  • Chevron pipe dispute could deter restart (SF Chronicle)
    Chevron’s reconstruction of its Richmond oil refinery has become embroiled in a dispute over what kind of pipe will prevent a repeat of last summer’s disastrous fire – with federal experts warning that the metal the company has chosen failed at another refinery this year. The dispute could jeopardize Chevron’s plans to have the refinery back in full operation by January, a company official said Monday.

  • Oakland police union welcomes a takeover (SF Chronicle
    The Oakland Police Department is sliding fast toward a federal takeover of some kind or another. You might think this would be the kind of thing the rank and file would strongly fight. But get this: They’re practically begging for a takeover. The police union, in a filing with U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson, said the department’s leadership was useless, even dangerous. Henderson will preside over a Dec. 13 hearing that could determine the future of the department.

  • Census: Over 250,000 young California college grads working menial jobs (Sacramento Bee)
    The number of young college grads working as waiters in California almost doubled between 2006 and 2011. So did the number of retail sales clerks. About 260,000 California college grads under 30 worked on the front lines of the food service, clerical, sales and personal services industries in 2011, up by 60,000 from 2006, according to a Bee review of new census data. Historically, low-level jobs in those sectors have gone to workers without a degree. The trend has a ripple effect: It’s hard for someone with only a high school diploma to compete for a job as a secretary or customer service rep when other applicants have a college degree.

  • Scott Wiener opposes free youth Muni (SF Chronicle)
    Letting the city’s young people ride Muni for free is one of those feel-good ideas that has everything San Francisco likes: It’s cutting-edge, generous and directed to the poor. So why is Supervisor Scott Wiener holding that wet blanket? Wiener introduced a resolution that will be voted upon at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday urging Muni to use the roughly $3 million that the free fares will cost for their original purpose – vehicle and equipment maintenance.

  • Residents, officials want answers about Santa Clara County Board President George Shirakawa’s spending (SJ Mercury News)
    Demands for accountability, censure or at the very least an explanation are mounting in the wake of reports on the questionable spending of taxpayer funds by Santa Clara County Board President George Shirakawa, who charged his constituents for jaunts to casinos, golf courses and upscale eateries. “The allegations against Supervisor Shirakawa are being taken seriously,” Supervisor Ken Yeager said in a statement Monday.

  • San Jose parish pastor resigns in wake of scandal over child molester volunteer (SJ Mercury News)
    The pastor of the Saint Frances Cabrini School and Parish resigned Monday, weeks after his defense of a convicted child molester at a parish festival infuriated parents and scandalized the Diocese of San Jose. In announcing the resignation of the Rev. Lieu Vu, the diocese also released a letter written by a former diocese human resources employee permitting convicted pedophile Mark Gurries to participate and volunteer at parish and school events.

  • Man suspected of wearing ‘bomb’ watch at Oakland airport released, no charges filed (Oakland Tribune)
    The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has declined to file charges against a Southern California artist and teacher arrested last week at Oakland International Airport for wearing a suspicious watch. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office on Monday did not elaborate on why charges weren’t filed against Geoffrey McGann, 49, of Rancho Palos Verdes. McGann was arrested at about 7:45 p.m. Thursday after airport security found him wearing a watch that looked like a timing device for an explosive, Alameda County sheriff’s Sgt. J.D. Nelson said.

  • California homeowners getting relief from bank settlement (Sacramento Bee)
    Easing some of California’s housing headaches, nearly 62,000 homeowners statewide got roughly $8.2 billion in mortgage relief between March and September this year, according to a report released Monday by the California Monitor for the National Mortgage Settlement. “The banks are delivering the relief a lot faster than we expected,” said Katherine Porter, a UC Irvine law professor who oversees California’s portion of the nationwide $25 billion settlement. “So in every way possible that’s positive. … It means more people are staying in their homes.”

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