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POSTED March 29, 2012 8:55 p.m.

$1.5B deal approved to electrify Caltrains

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A $1.5 billion deal has been approved to electrify Caltrain lines for eventual sharing with California bullet trains.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve the two-track sharing plan.

Using two tracks rather than the proposed four tracks will mean slower travel times and fewer trains.

Sharing a pair of tracks with Caltrain could take California high-speed trains 45 minutes to travel between San Francisco and San Jose on their way to Los Angeles. It would take 30 minutes with four tracks.

The slower travel time raises questions about whether the state can meet its legal mandate to whisk bullet trains between San Francisco and Los Angeles in 2 hours, 40 minutes.

10 arrested as Oakland school board meeting erupts

OAKLAND  (AP) — Oakland's school board is planning to resume a meeting cut short by a raucous sit-in opposing the district's plan to close five schools.

Nine adults and one minor were arrested early Thursday morning for refusing to leave Oakland Unified School District headquarters.

Board members walked out of the Wednesday night meeting when a crowd of parents, teachers and activists began shouting and chanting.

Some protesters vowing to occupy the building stayed and were arrested when they allegedly refused orders to leave.

School board officials said they planned to meet again Thursday to discuss the school closures, which the district says are financially necessary.

Further closures in the 38,000-student district have been put on hold due to what officials have called the district's improving financial picture.

UC leaders nix exec pension program

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The University of California's governing board has taken steps to limit the pensions of its top-earning executives who had threatened to sue the college system over what they claimed was a promise to increase their retirement packages.

UC's Board of Regents voted Thursday to rescind a policy, adopted in 1999, that would have based the system's share of pension contributions on the executives' full salaries instead of a $245,000 cap allowed under federal tax rules.

Under the canceled program, the cost to finance bigger pensions for about 200 vice chancellors and deans who make more than $245,000 would have cost the university $61 million.

Court upholds time limit for clergy abuse claims
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California's highest court sided with Oakland's Roman Catholic bishop and refused Thursday to reinstate a lawsuit brought by six brothers who allege they were molested by a priest during the 1970s.

The ruling could doom at least eight other pending cases involving decades-old clergy abuse claims.

The California Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that the brothers had waited too long to bring their abuse claims involving the priest, Donald Broderson, who was forced to retire amid similar allegations in 1993 and died in 2010.

The state Legislature opened a one-year window for old clergy abuse complaints in 2003, and the men lost their chance to sue the diocese that hired Broderson as an associate pastor in Hayward when that timeframe ended, the court said.

 

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