SF Bay Area transit agency, unions to resume talks
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The chief negotiator for the San Francisco Bay Area rapid transit agency says he will present a new offer to two of its unions as the stark possibility of a second transit strike in less than three months looms.
Negotiator Thomas Hock says that the BART board has given him the authority to present the offer to the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 as bargaining resumes Thursday afternoon, just hours before a 60-day, state-mandated cooling off period expires at midnight.
Hock would not comment on the specifics of the proposal but says the parties are still "a lot of millions" apart.
ATU President Antonette Bryant says the unions are anxious to look at the agency's new proposal, and they remain optimistic about reaching a deal.
WOMAN DEAD-HOSPITAL STAIRS
Foul play ruled out in SF hospital patient's death
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A spokesman for the family of a San Francisco woman whose body was found in the stairwell of a hospital where she was a patient says investigators have ruled out foul play in her disappearance and death.
The spokesman, David Perry, told reporters Thursday that while the coroner hasn't established a cause or time of death for 57-year-old Lynne Spalding, investigators don't think she was the victim of an attack.
Spalding's body was found Tuesday in a fire exit stairwell at San Francisco General Hospital. She was admitted to the city-owned hospital with an infection on Sept. 19 and reported missing from her room two days later.
Meanwhile, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced Thursday that he's hiring an independent consultant to investigate the hospital's security and search protocols.
Law will expand use of drug to combat overdoses
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation that will expand use of a treatment to restore breathing after a drug overdose.
A drug known as naloxone is used in hospitals and by paramedics to revive individuals who may have overdosed on a prescription or illegal drug. The new law also will allow other health care providers to prescribe the drug.
Bill author and Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco says enacting the bill will save lives. There were more than 2,700 drug overdose deaths in California in 2010, according to a legislative analysis of the bill.
Brown announced signing the bill Thursday. It was sponsored by the Harm Reduction Coalition, which works to reduce consequences to drug use, and the California Society of Addiction Medicine.
XGR-COMMUNITY COLLEGE FEES
Gov. signs bill for pricier comm. college classes
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that would allow California's community colleges to offer additional courses at inflated prices during short summer and winter sessions.
Brown issued a statement when signing the bill Thursday, saying the pilot program "seems like a reasonable experiment."
The measure sponsored by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, would allow community colleges to make courses available between the traditional fall and spring semesters.
It does not provide additional state funding to pay for the extra classes. Instead, students would be charged the nonresident rate of $200 per unit, compared with $46 for state-subsidized credits during traditional semesters.
Several community college systems and student and faculty groups opposed the bill, saying it would put lower income students at a disadvantage.
Assembly speaker announces 2014 bid for controller
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Assembly Speaker John Perez says he is running for state controller next year.
The Los Angeles Democrat, who will be termed out of office in 2014, announced his campaign plans this week. He says he wants to help ensure continued improvement with the state's finances.
Democrat John Chiang, the current state controller, also is termed out next year. The office is in charge of dispersing state money and helping administer two of the largest pension funds in the country.
Perez was elected to the Assembly in 2008 and has served as speaker since 2010. In a statement announcing his bid, Perez touted his work on state budgets, health care coverage and a college scholarship for middle-class students.
Board of Equalization member Betty Yee also has announced her candidacy for controller.
Ecoterrorism suspect pleads guilty in Oregon
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A woman accused of taking part in ecoterrorism firebombings pleaded guilty to arson and conspiracy charges on Thursday in an Oregon federal court.
Rebecca Rubin spent seven years fleeing from investigators until last year, when she surrendered to the FBI for her role with the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front.
She faces five to seven years in prison.
Defense attorney Richard Troberman says Rubin first tried to surrender in 2009, but California authorities at first pushed a sentence she found too long.
Investigators blame the groups for 20 fires across the West from 1996 to 2001 that did $40 million in damage. They burned a ski resort in Colorado, wild horse corrals in Oregon and Northern California, and lumber mills and Forest Service offices in Oregon.
Safeway 3rd-quarter net income drops
PLEASANTON, Calif. (AP) — Safeway says its third-quarter net income fell 58 percent, hurt by a software impairment charge, higher theft and lower property gains.
The grocery also says it's exiting the Chicago market by early 2014 to focus on more profitable business. It operates 72 Dominick's stores in Chicago that have been losing money.
Supermarkets have been working to cut costs as they fight off competition from discount and dollar stores.
Safeway's net income fell to $85.8 million, or 27 cents per share. That compares with $157 million, or 66 cents per share, in the prior-year quarter. Excluding a software impairment charge, net income was 30 cents per share. Analysts expected net income of 16 cents per share.
Revenue rose 1 percent to $8.62 billion. Analysts expected revenue of $8.52 billion.