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POSTED March 9, 2012 8:52 p.m.

BART service cuts unlikely

OAKLAND (AP) — The Bay Area Rapid Transit Agency has more than enough money to cover its operating costs next year, but should set aside money for new rail cars.

That was the message from BART budget planners, as the agency's board of directors began the process on Thursday of setting a budget for the fiscal year set to begin on July 1.

BART Executive Manager of Budget and Planning Carter Mau said BART benefited from larger-than-expected ridership and an unanticipated jump in sales tax revenue.

That means BART will be able to cover its operating expenses without making cuts next year.

But Mau also said the system needs to set aside money for badly needed capital improvements, including replacing its rail cars. He recommended it put away $40 to $50 million a year for several years to speed up production of new cars.

Berkeley police chief apologizes over death

BERKELEY  (AP) — Berkeley's police chief has apologized for the department's handling of an incident that ended with the beating death of a 67-year-old man.

The Contra Costa Times says Chief Michael Meehan made the apology Thursday at a community meeting.

Meehan says police ignored a non-emergency report of a trespasser from Peter Cukor on Feb. 18 because the department was changing patrol configurations to keep an eye on a planned Occupy Oakland march and was only answering emergencies.

A 911 call from Cukor's wife 14 minutes later said he was being beaten. Police answered that call immediately.

Twenty-three-year-old Daniel Dewitt was found covered in blood near Cukor's home. He's been charged with Cukor's murder. Dewitt's parents say he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. He hasn't entered a plea.

Illegal immigrant youth plan cross-country walk

SAN FRANCISCO  (AP) — Four illegal immigrant youth activists will walk from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., to push for a bill to give legal status to illegal immigrant college students.

Nico Gonzalez, one of the walkers, says the group will depart from the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday with the hope of reaching the nation's capital by Nov. 2.

Gonzalez says the walkers will meet with community groups and give speeches at points along the way.

 

Over the last two years, illegal immigrant students have publicly revealed their status in rallies and demonstrations across the country to drum up support for the bill and protest against existing immigration policies.

A similar walk was held from Florida to Washington in 2010.

Masked man who walked into Oakland pharmacy left

OAKLAND (AP) — Authorities say a possibly armed, masked man who walked into an Oakland pharmacy demanding to speak to the manager left before police arrived.

The Friday morning incident led to the evacuation of the pharmacy's employees and a police perimeter around the building.

But police say surveillance video later led them to determine the man had left before officers arrived.

The unidentified man apparently walked into the CVS pharmacy in north Oakland wearing a ski mask around 6:45 a.m., 15 minutes before the store was set to open.

It was not clear what his intentions were or whether he had a gun, but Oakland police said they assumed the worst.

 

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