Ed Lee will announce today that he is running for a full four-year term as San Francisco mayor, vaulting himself to the top of a crowded field of candidates while breaking a promise not to run that sealed his appointment as interim mayor seven months ago.

“I’ve changed my mind,” Lee told The Chronicle in an interview Sunday. “I know it might be hard for people to understand that change … but my change of mind in seeking this office has everything to do with wanting what’s best for this city.”

If, as expected, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee takes out papers today to run for a full term, he will be the instant front-runner.

According to a recent CBS 5-SurveyUSA poll of 528 San Francisco voters, Lee would get 35 percent of the vote if the election were held today.

Santa Clara County’s housing authority could have spent $16 million of federal funds to help more struggling families put a roof over their heads. Instead, it chose to more than double the value of its employees’ retirement benefits.

That may sound unusual, but federal housing officials say it was an allowable expense. Still, the switch from a 401(k)-style retirement plan to a pension allowing workers to retire early — with guaranteed lifetime payments — is raising eyebrows at a time when generous public employee pensions are under fire.

Amid growing fears of a double-dip recession — punctuated by the stock market’s harrowing plunge — Gov. Jerry Brown’s bet on a $4 billion tax surge to bolster the state’s coffers is looking illusory at best, economists say.

And that means in a matter of months California’s students, poor and disabled could be paying big-time for the state’s gamble on a rebounding economy. Without a bull market pumping out a generous batch of capital gains, Californians can expect another round of severe budget cuts in January.

Oakland’s job picture could be brightening a bit as workers are expected to return to the job soon at the site of Oakland International Airport’s new control tower.

Hundreds of airport construction projects were left in limbo and 60 workers were furloughed in Oakland as the Federal Aviation Administration was partially shut down for two weeks. But Congress passed legislation last week restoring the FAA’s operating authority

How much should California University University presidents get paid? The controversial subject is back in focus as a special committee of the CSU Board of Trustees discusses how those executives are selected and compensated.  The committee meets in Long Beach at the Chancellor’s Office, 401 Golden Shore, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and again on Aug. 24.   As The Bee’s Laurel Rosenhall has reported, CSU trustees voted last month to award the new president of San Diego State a salary $100,000 higher than his predecessor’s. The same day, they hiked tuition.

A few days after his recent nomination to the California Supreme Court, UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu found himself in familiar territory.

Conservative Republicans were calling him a “bad choice” for the state’s high court. Foes of gay marriage branded him biased and unfit for the job. Critics tried to tar him with the ghost of former Chief Justice Rose Bird, Gov. Jerry Brown’s most infamous and ill-fated past Supreme Court choice.  But for the 40-year-old Liu, the latest slings and epithets are old hat…

Anthony Taylor is a cyclist from Minneapolis, Minn., and just in town for the weekend, but he knows a lot about the biking scene in Oakland and the East Bay.
The names roll off his tongue: Oakland Yellowjackets, Red Bike and Green, Bikes for Life, Richmond Spokes, The East Bay Bike Coalition, and the scraper bike movement.
“That’s what I know about Oakland,” he said.
Taylor is the vice president of the National Brotherhood of Cyclists, a network of predominately African-American cycling clubs around the country that promotes the health benefits of cycling and wants to bring more diversity to the sport.
The group is holding its second-annual conference in Oakland this weekend.

Morning Splash: SF Mayor Ed Lee Changes Mind; CSU Prez Salaries Get Closer Look; Brown’s Bet On Tax Surge; Conference For Diversity in Cycling 8 August,2011Rachel Dornhelm

  • Moravecglobal

    Downgrading of Cal: most expensive most overrated public university in USA. Like any addiction, admitting you have a problem is the first step toward correcting it. University of California Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau ($500,000 salary) has forgotten that he is a public servant, steward of the public money, not overseer of his own fiefdom.

    Recruits (using California tax $) out of state, foreign $50,600 tuition students who displace qualified sons, daughters of Californians from Cal.
    Spends $7,000,000 + for consultants to do his & vice chancellors work
    (Prominent East Coast University accomplishing same 0 cost).
    University accrues $150 million of inefficiencies over his 8 year reign.
    Pays ex Michigan governor $300,000 for lectures.
    In procuring $3,000,000 consultant failed to receive proposals from other firms.
    Latino enrollment drops while out of state jumps 2010(M Krupnick Contra Costa Times)
    Best in nation rank: # 70 Forbes
    Academic rank: QS academic falls below top ten.
    Tuition to Return on Investment drops below top 10.
    Cal most expensive USA public university
    NCAA absence senior management oversight, basketball program on probation.

    These are not isolated examples: it’s all shameful. There is no justification for such irregularities by a steward of the public trust. Absolutely none.

    Birgeneau’s practices will not change. University of California Board of Regents Chair Sherry Lansing must do a better job of vigorously enforcing financial oversight by President Yudof over Birgeneau who treat’s the university as his fiefdom.

    I have 35 years’ consulting experience; have taught at UC Berkeley, where I observed the culture & the way senior management works. No, I was not fired or downsized & have not solicited contracts from UC/Cal.


Rachel Dornhelm

Rachel Dornhelm has worked as a reporter, editor and producer in public radio for the last twelve years. She got her start in New York City at WNYC and went on to work with the national business program Marketplace, WBUR’s “On Point” and KQED News in San Francisco. Her work has been honored by the LA Press Club and the SF-Peninsula Press Club.

Rachel has a BA with honors in anthropology from Rice University and did graduate work at NYU.

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