Both PG&E and its regulator have had a longstanding culture of simply checking off boxes, rather than deeply considering the safety of their system, according a blistering report released Thursday by an independent panel.The independent panel was assembled last fall by the California Public Utilities Commission to assess the factors that contributed to the explosion of a Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. gas pipeline in San Bruno last September, which took the lives of eight people and destroyed dozens of homes. Read More
The head of a federal investigation into the gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno criticized Pacific Gas & Electric on Wednesday for only recently revealing records about a previous leak on the same line.
Later the same day, state regulators granted PG&E more time to turn over records about the safety of its pipelines. Read More
San Francisco will lose power in state government. A portion of The City could be unrepresented in the state Senate for two years. And a host of career politicians’ futures are flailing wildly in the winds of redistricting.
Those are the wild possibilities confronting San Francisco’s political leadership this week, after the first peek at how the state’s independent Redistricting Commission — California’s first-ever attempt at politics-free district drawing — may reapportion the lines of power in California. Read More
In an attempt to cut down on the notoriously long delays at the Department of Motor Vehicles in San Francisco, the office’s new managers have introduced a policy that frequently forces customers to line up outside, regardless of the weather.
So as if waiting in line at the DMV weren’t miserable enough, now you may be doing it in the rain.
But DMV officials say it’s either wait in the rain or wait longer inside. Read More
In retrospect, losing $155 million of public funds in a single day was like a bad hit to the immune system. Alone, it wasn’t enough to kill the patient, but it sure didn’t help when the patient caught a bad flu right afterward. Nearly three years after San Mateo County took the biggest hit from the collapse of Lehman Brothers of any municipality in the nation, financial leaders on the Peninsula say the loss is still being felt, especially in the county’s school districts. Read More
Budget cuts could shut down community college classes in Half Moon Bay, forcing Coastside residents to travel farther to go to school.
Three years ago, the College of San Mateo began offering classes from two classrooms and a computer lab in downtown Half Moon Bay.
About 10 percent of the community college district’s students come from the coast, but until then, those students had to drive half an hour north to San Bruno’s Skyline College, or 20 minutes over the hill to College of San Mateo. Read More
Cities around the county have toyed with the idea of banning plastic bags — but they tend to drop the idea as soon as the word “lawsuit” is heard from bag manufacturers.
In an effort to fend off legal challenges, several cities are now calling for the City/County Association of Governments to conduct a countywide environmental review of the project — a move they say could free each city to choose to ban the bags without worrying about repercussions. Read More
The new chairman of California’s stem cell agency could have a salary of more than $500,000, making him one of the highest-paid public officials in the state.
Or, he could be paid a mere $150,000 — for a half-time position.
Exactly what the new leader’s salary will be — and just as importantly, what his role will be — has deeply divided the leadership of the state’s $3 billion research-funding agency, the taxpayer-backed California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. Read More
The vision is ambitious: tear down a county office building and replace it with a more energy-efficient venue, replace another building with a park and turn a car-clogged loop of a road into a pedestrian haven.That is now the plan for the San Mateo County Center, endorsed Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors. Read More
After California voters banned same-sex marriage in 2008, the gay community was abuzz with talk of going back to the ballot in 2010 to reverse it. Ultimately, potential organizers concluded that waiting until 2012 would give them time to gather resources and build support.
Yet with 2012 approaching, there is no consensus whether the time is right to ask voters to grant gay people the right to marry. Some say it would be more prudent to wait for the federal courts to decide the issue; others say a legal remedy is uncertain and that waiting would be folly. Read More
What would be worse for San Bruno’s Glenview neighborhood than the fire that brought devastation and trauma?Another fire.Right now, the neighborhood that burned to the ground after September’s pipeline explosion is a wide, windy grassland, which, some residents point out, could be a bad combination with San Bruno’s relaxed fireworks policy. Read More
The first ever changing-of-the-guard at California’s stem cell agency moved forward Monday, with two men nominated to take the helm of the $3 billion public agency.
The two nominees named by Monday’s deadline are both business leaders, one an investment banker and the second a partner in a medical device company. Read More
When Carolyn and Charley Gray’s house went up in smoke during the San Bruno pipeline fire, they gave themselves some time to decide whether to move or rebuild. But a few months later, they needed to make a decision. So they created a list of pros and cons. Read More
Every American could look up their neighborhood on a database and find out if it’s sitting on top of a massive pipeline carrying explosive gas, under one provision of a new enforcement order the Obama administration will roll out in August. Read More
The northernmost stretch of Interstate 280 could be demolished and turned into an Octavia Boulevard-like parkway under options being considered by the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
The freeway currently ends around Fourth and King streets, near AT&T Park. But documents obtained by The San Francisco Examiner show it could be removed north of 22nd Street to accommodate high-speed rail, which is expected to travel through the Peninsula along Caltrain’s route. Read More