Laird Harrison

San Jose Earthquakes Fans Chant Their Undying Love

The San Jose Earthquakes didn’t have much stake in a game with Toronto last month. But when the two teams met at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, you could feel the bleachers shaking. Stand too close to the beer-soaked, half-naked jumping men in section 109 and you might endanger your eardrums. Unquestionably. you’d learn … Continue reading San Jose Earthquakes Fans Chant Their Undying Love →

San Jose Budget Restores Some Cuts

Two years ago San Jose’s budget looked grim. Mayor Chuck Reed warned the City Council that the city might have to close all its branch libraries, and lay off all its crossing guards and park rangers and some police. On Tuesday night the City Council was looking at a much brighter picture. It passed a $2.6 … Continue reading San Jose Budget Restores Some Cuts →

San Francisco Supervisors Pass TIC Condo Conversion Expansion

Update 5:50 p.m. Alex Emslie reports that as expected, the version of the TIC condo conversion ordinance backed by Supervisor David Chiu was initially approved by the Board of Supervisors, and that the version backed by Supervisor Mark Farrell failed. More on the vote from the Chronicle, which makes the point that the eight votes … Continue reading San Francisco Supervisors Pass TIC Condo Conversion Expansion →

East Bay Water District to Vote on 20% Rate Hike

After 18 years of increasing rates, the East Bay Municipal Utility District will vote Tuesday on a plan to hike rates yet again. If the district’s board of directors approves a proposed budget, water rates will go up 9.75 percent starting July 1 of this year and another 9.5 percent the year after. The average … Continue reading East Bay Water District to Vote on 20% Rate Hike →

San Francisco Is Ranked No. 3 in U.S. for Parks

When you think of parks in San Francisco, Golden Gate Park comes immediately to mind. In fact, Travel + Leisure magazine last month ranked the park No. 6 out of the 30 most beautiful in the world. But San Francisco boasts a remarkable diversity of open space, totaling 5,384 acres, or 17.9 percent of the … Continue reading San Francisco Is Ranked No. 3 in U.S. for Parks →

In Marin County, a Battle Between Salmon Survival and Property Rights

The Lagunitas Creek watershed in Marin County has been the scene of a low-key drama over the past couple of decades. The network of creeks draining toward Tomales Bay from Mount Tamalpais is home to one of the last viable wild populations of coho salmon on our part of the California coast. Coho are an … Continue reading In Marin County, a Battle Between Salmon Survival and Property Rights →

Sonoma Deal Aims to Combine Logging and Preservation

Can you preserve a forest by logging it? A land conservation group thinks so. The Conservation Fund announced Monday that, along with some partners, it had acquired 19,645 acres of forest in Sonoma County. The land had been slated for planting vineyards. Preservation Ranch will become part of a larger swath of 75,000 acres managed … Continue reading Sonoma Deal Aims to Combine Logging and Preservation →

Wal-Mart Admits Dumping Hazardous Waste in California

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will pay $81 million after pleading guilty to criminal charges the company dumped hazardous waste across California, a company spokeswoman said Tuesday. Wal-Mart entered the plea in San Francisco federal court to misdemeanor counts of negligently dumping pollutants from its stores into sanitation drains across the state, spokeswoman … Continue reading Wal-Mart Admits Dumping Hazardous Waste in California →

Economist Challenges Estimates on Bay Area Super Bowl Benefits

Ka-ching! You could see the dollar signs dancing in the eyes of Bay Area leaders when the National Football League announced that the region would host the 2016 Super Bowl. The championship game will take place at the 49ers’ stadium now under construction in Santa Clara. And no one sounded more jubilant than Santa Clara … Continue reading Economist Challenges Estimates on Bay Area Super Bowl Benefits →

Inventor Says ‘Jif’ Not ‘Gif’, KQED Newscasters Say Tough

It’s probably too late, but the inventor of the “gif” file format wants us to pronounce it “jif.” Like “jpg,” the Graphics Interchange Format, or “gif,” is used to display images on digital devices.  The news came at the 2013 Webby Awards, where Steve Wilhite was honored for the invention. He dropped his bomb by … Continue reading Inventor Says ‘Jif’ Not ‘Gif’, KQED Newscasters Say Tough →

San Francisco Online Rental Company Airbnb Suffers New York Setback

Short-term rentals just got harder.  A New York judge has ruled against Airbnb, an online service that connects people with space to travelers who need lodging. Although the ruling in New York doesn’t immediately affect other cities where Airbnb operates, it’s a setback for the San Francisco-based company that hoped to make New York a … Continue reading San Francisco Online Rental Company Airbnb Suffers New York Setback →

Big Bay Area Hospital Strikes: Who Will Be Affected and Why

It’s not a great time to get sick in the Bay Area. Workers are planning a strike at University of California San Francisco and the four other UC medical centers up and down the state Tuesday and Wednesday, May 21 and 22. Meanwhile, nurses in the East Bay are staging a separate strike at Sutter … Continue reading Big Bay Area Hospital Strikes: Who Will Be Affected and Why →

California Lacks Means to Evaluate Teachers

by Jackie Mader, The Hechinger Report  On a recent afternoon at California State University, Northridge, Nancy Prosenjak was attempting to quiet the graduate students spread out across conference tables in the back of her classroom. She was still missing nearly a third of the class, but she was eager to debrief with her students about … Continue reading California Lacks Means to Evaluate Teachers →

Made-Over Merida From ‘Brave’ Not Dead Yet

Update Friday: Disney issued a new statement on the Merida controversy: “The artwork used on Merida’s official social media sites has always been the imagery from the movie. We routinely use different art styles with our characters and this rendition of Merida in her party dress was a special one-time effort to commemorate her coronation. … Continue reading Made-Over Merida From ‘Brave’ Not Dead Yet →