- U.S. senators introduce high-skill immigration bill in nod to Silicon Valley (SJ Mercury News)
Arguing that Silicon Valley and the nation are “losing talent and jobs by the day to countries like Canada, Chile and the United Kingdom,” a bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Wednesday introduced a bill to grant up to 75,000 green cards each year to immigrant startup entrepreneurs and 50,000 to students with advanced science and engineering degrees from American universities. The Startup Act 3.0 is one of a flurry of visa bills being introduced as Democrats and Republicans debate a large-scale overhaul of immigration laws.
- More support soda tax if for kids’ health (SF Chronicle)
An overwhelming majority of California voters believe that sugary sodas are a major cause of obesity and that such beverages should be taxed – but only if the money raised goes toward improving nutrition and fitness programs in schools, according to Field Poll results released Wednesday.
- Santa Clara: More ‘destructive devices’ found inside home of man charged with threatening state senator (SJ Mercury News)
The home search of a Santa Clara man accused of threatening a state senator will continue Thursday after authorities found more “destructive devices” inside Wednesday, having already detonated an unidentified substance on the front lawn the previous night. Bomb technicians initially planned to detonate the unspecified devices on the front lawn of the home after first burying and covering them with sandbags, but decided to instead summon a bomb chamber out of concern about the effects of an open-air explosion, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Sean Kennedy.
- Labor unions move to challenge California pension changes for public workers (Sacramento Bee)
Before they sought to persuade voters last year to raise taxes, Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders agreed on sweeping changes in pension law they said would save California government significant money over time. Just months after the election, however, the overhaul is under attack on two fronts across the state, as labor unions challenge elements of the package in one local agency after another.
- Forum on Delta braces residents for battle against state water tunnel plan (Contra Costa Times)
The future of the Delta hangs in the balance, and it will take an extensive grassroots effort to stop state plans that would negatively alter its ecosystem. That was the message relayed often Wednesday night to a capacity crowd of over 200 concerned East Contra Costa residents that packed the Discovery Bay Elementary school gymnasium.
- Federal college guide gives San Francisco Bay Area families a look at the bottom line (Oakland Tribune)
Families shopping for colleges now have a new kind of guide, brought to them by the federal government. Launched Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Education, the College Scorecard departs from the admissions-and-campus-life variety found in college guide books. Instead, reflecting growing concerns about rising tuition and a renewed government interest in holding the nation’s colleges accountable for their performance, it’s all about the bottom line. In a simple, easy-to-understand format, the score card shows how much students pay — and borrow — to attend an institution, taking into account grants and scholarships. It lists each school’s six-year graduation and loan default rates and promises to soon add the kinds of jobs students land after they graduate and what they earn.
- Barry Bonds seeks to overturn conviction (SF Chronicle)
Barry Bonds challenged his obstruction-of-justice conviction before a federal appeals court Wednesday and may have found a receptive audience in two judges, who questioned whether the former Giants star had tried to interfere with a grand jury’s investigation of drugs in sports.
- Tesla’s Elon Musk fires back at the New York Times (SJ Mercury News)
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has fired back at the New York Times, releasing vehicle logs that contradict the Times’ recent story about a road trip in a Model S Sedan and calling on the venerable news organization to “investigate the article and determine the truth.” Last week, New York Times reporter John Broder published a lengthy account of his trip from Washington, D.C. to Connecticut in a Model S that ended with the electric vehicle being loaded onto a flat bed truck. Broder reported that the car’s range fell far faster than he expected, forcing him to turn down the heat and set cruise control to just 54 miles per hour. Broder says the car ultimately “shut down,” forcing a tow truck to rescue him from a Connecticut exit ramp.
- Ex-cops like Dorner may own banned guns (SF Chronicle)
The case of fired Los Angeles police Officer Christopher Dorner highlights a significant exemption in California’s assault weapons ban: Law enforcement officers can purchase high-powered weapons that the general public is forbidden to possess, and they can keep them if they retire or are dismissed from the force. The exemption in the state’s stringent gun laws is one few lawmakers are likely to challenge, even as state leaders are pushing a wide array of bills to further restrict gun ownership and use.
- KSRO’s Jim Grady dies at 77 (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
Quick-witted radio broadcaster Jim Grady, for more than 50 years the voice of Sonoma County and one of its happiest advocates, died Wednesday at the age of 77. Grady first eased behind a microphone at KSRO-1350AM on April 1, 1960. For the past eight years, he told stories and let listeners hype their garage sales every Saturday and Sunday morning on KZST-100.1FM.