In May, San Francisco International Airport began deploying millions of dollars worth of new baggage-screening machines, to be paid for by the Transportation Security Administration. Yet the agency’s former administrator calls the machines overkill and says they reflect a failure to understand the true purpose of airport security.
“It’s too expensive to stop every dangerous thing,” according Kip Hawley, who ran the agency from 2005 to 2009.
“We need to stop the catastrophic loss of an airplane.” Read More
If the Transportation Security Administration changed its screening protocols, it could improve airport security while simultaneously lifting pressure on overworked baggage screeners who allegedly violate security rules, the agency’s former administrator argues.
Kip Hawley, who led the TSA from 2005-2009, believes the airport security system established after 9/11 is in “critical need of an overhaul.” Baggage screeners are expected to look for small items that rarely or never represent genuine threats — a tedious job that Hawley says “dulls their edge.” Read More
Baggage screeners at San Francisco International Airport warn that the Transportation Security Administration has disabled a key function of the multimillion-dollar X-ray machines that scan the contents of every bag leaving SFO. Read More
A visa program that puts rich foreigners who invest in the U.S. on the road to citizenship is picking up steam and could one day lead to hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in Bay Area investments, backers say.
In recent years, the once-sleepy EB-5 visa program has become the focus of global entrepreneurs on the hunt for secure investments and U.S. officials looking for ways to buoy a flailing U.S. economy. Read More
Pacifica and Burlingame voters appeared to pass separate parcel tax measures on Tuesday, based on unofficial results, to raise funds to run their school districts.Both parcel taxes aim to raise money for school operations at a time when state funding has dwindled.The Pacifica School District’s Measure L was designed to pay for library services, classroom computer instruction, the retention and attraction of qualified teachers and student achievement in math, science, reading and writing programs, according to district reports. Read More
Unofficial results from Tuesday’s election had Marge Colapietro and Wayne Lee leading the pack for three City Council seats, with Robert Gottschalk and Anne Oliva in a tight race for the last spot.The hard-fought race centered on economic uncertainty, exacerbated by the departure of many businesses over the past year, which has led to chipping away of city services, staff and pensions. Also central to the race was the Police Department, which reached a crisis point earlier this year after struggling to do its job with limited staff and no full-time chief. Read More
County voters passed a $30 million bond measure from the Millbrae School District on Tuesday night, while the San Bruno Park School District’s $40 million bond and the San Mateo Community College District’s $564 million bond were rejected.All three bond measures were designed to pay for modernization and upgrades to existing facilities and technology. Many schools in the three districts are more than 50 years old. Read More
The results of the Redwood City Council election brought no surprises.
Four incumbents — Alicia Aguirre, Ian Bain, Rosanne Foust and Barbara Pierce — retained their open seats, while outsider Paul McCarthy, a Highway Patrol sergeant who spurned the media spotlight, failed in his bid for office.
Candidates sought to lead a city with falling revenues, increasing costs, and large upcoming payments for its redevelopment association, an entity Bain strongly supported.
The candidates campaigned on various ways to further pare the budget without dipping into reserves. Read More
Voters in Foster City and Redwood City approved hotel tax hikes Tuesday, a victory for the cash-hungry municipalities.
Under Redwood City’s Measure I, which goes into effect in January, the tax charged to hotel guests in will rise from 10 to 12 percent. And under Measure P, Foster City’s hotel tax will increase from 8 to 9.5 percent.
Both cities proposed the measures to capitalize on the growing number of visitors to San Mateo County. Read More
A tight field for three seats on the Redwood City School District board features three incumbents and one newcomer.On Tuesday, voters will have a choice between incumbents Alisa MacAvoy, Shelly Masur and Dennis McBride and challenger Lea Cuniberti-Duran, a mother of three children who attend Redwood City public schools. Read More
The hot topic in the San Mateo Community College District election is how a district that has slashed funding and lost $20 million in annual state funding will accommodate the record numbers of students trying to enroll.As tuitions rise and more unemployed people seek job training, the district has been forced to turn students away.Incumbent board members and their challengers both agree that course offerings need to be expanded, yet the challengers ask where officials’ priorities lie. Read More
Sequoia Union High School District enrolls students from the winding back streets of East Palo Alto to the palatial homes of Woodside and Menlo Park, a situation that has led to a so-called “achievement gap” falling largely along ethnic and geographic lines.With an election just days away, five candidates for Sequoia’s three open board seats agreed that the achievement gap is one of the district’s biggest issues. Read More
Unless voters approve Measure G next week, San Mateo may no longer be able to require developers to build affordable housing.Some 1,200 people are on the city’s affordable-housing wait list, and some 1,000 applicants recently applied for 67 affordable units in a new development, according to city data. But the city’s requirement that more affordable housing be built could be undone by a 2009 a lawsuit known as the Palmer case. Read More
He may be just a rookie, but when it comes to firing off new bills, Rich Gordon doesn’t miss very often. With 15 of 19 bills signed by the governor, Gordon, the first-year Democratic assemblyman from Menlo Park, had the highest percentage of bills signed into law of anyone in the Assembly.
“They’re not the most controversial bills, but they are bills that make sense,” said Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, who only got eight bills on the governor’s desk in her first session. Read More
DUI offenders required to wear an electronic anklet that monitors their alcohol use are considerably less likely to be arrested for another DUI than offenders who do not, according to a recent report by a company that helps counties track the devices.
Yet the company’s president says Bay Area judges too rarely administer the tool, especially judges in San Mateo County, which has the Bay Area’s most overcrowded jails. Read More