In the News

August 27, 2012

San Mateo and two other counties will not forfeit extra property taxes to the state under a proposal by Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, that tweaks an early redevelopment cleanup bill and means more than $1 million annually for local schools, cities and special districts.

The trailer bill eliminates the provision that counties with excess Educational Revenue Augmentation Funds after funding local schools not receive the balance. For San Mateo, Napa and Marin counties, that part of the redevelopment agency bill passed in June meant the loss of $3.2 million.

August 27, 2012

Sacramento -- Facing a Friday deadline for passing legislation, state lawmakers sent dozens of bills to Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday, including one that grew out of the deadly Pacific Gas and Electric Co. pipeline explosion in San Bruno two years ago.

The state Senate also approved a ban on the hunting of bears and bobcats using dogs, a bill that had been strongly opposed by hunters and some rural residents.

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August 23, 2012

California State Parks officials intend to create a hole in the annual sandbar at Pescadero Marsh later this year in hopes of preventing an annual die-off of native fish and endangered species.

Under the plan, the state agency will allow officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dig a channel twice over the coming months. The channel will create an estuary between the marsh lagoon and the ocean, keeping oxygen levels stable and, they hope, averting a mass suffocation of fish.

August 22, 2012

Nearly two years after the San Bruno explosion that killed eight people, PG&E hasn't backed away from its outrageous assumption that ratepayers should shoulder the cost of bringing the utility's pipelines up to acceptable standards.

PG&E maintains that its customers should pay for about 85 percent of the safety work that the utility skimped on to drive up profits. The PUC will make a recommendation soon on who will foot the $5 billion bill. The regulators should make it clear that PG&E shareholders should pick up the bulk of the costs.

August 20, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO -- Assemblyman Jerry Hill said Monday that PG&E's customers should not have to pick up the nearly $5 billion tab for proposed work to fix the company's "gross mismanagement" of its "failed" gas pipeline system.

Instead, state regulators should force Pacific Gas & Electric to use shareholder money to pay for the safety upgrades the company announced in the wake of the deadly San Bruno blast, said Hill, D-San Mateo, standing before the Public Utilities Commission building.

August 07, 2012

City and state leaders, transportation officials and residents gathered at the steps of San Bruno City Hall today to kick off—in old time fashion—the 100th anniversary celebration of the first paving of El Camino Real.

As speakers recalled how far the Peninsula thoroughfare has come since the first segment was paved at El Camino and San Bruno Avenue in 1912 in San Bruno, others joined in the celebration to be part of the historic moment—some with vintage costumes and cars, thanks to the San Mateo County Historical Association and Mid-Peninsula Old Time Auto Club.

July 31, 2012

SAN JOSE -- In his strongest language yet, a Santa Clara County judge threw out almost $30,000 in attorney's fees charged to the trust of a disabled San Jose man whose fight against excessive charges in the local probate court is spawning sweeping reforms.

While Judge Franklin Bondonno said he lacks the power to strike down another $145,000 in attorney's fees billed to the trust of Danny Reed, the judge -- in a highly unusual gesture -- implored a higher court to overturn his decision.

July 31, 2012

Given just a few more minutes last Friday night, the party bus carrying Natasha Noland and fellow passengers home to Santa Cruz would have encountered the notorious, mountainous turns of Highway 17. Their churning stomachs might have persuaded them, after a night of drinking and partying, to shut up and sit down. We'll never know.

July 31, 2012

SAN JOSE - The operator of a party bus involved in a fatal accident Friday on Highway 17 was fined for violations in 2010, but passed an inspection in March, state regulators say.

Natasha Noland, 25, died near Los Gatos after she and another woman somehow toppled out of the moving bus after the two had been fighting and Noland was run over by the bus, California Highway Patrol officers said.

July 30, 2012

The death of a Santa Cruz woman who tumbled out of a moving party bus returning from a concert shows the need for tighter restrictions on so-called booze cruises, a supporter of tougher laws said Monday.

Doug Studebaker, 59, whose 19-year-old son, Brett, was killed in a 2010 car crash after spending several hours drinking on a party bus, said the state Legislature needs to pass pending legislation to help prevent future tragedies.