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POSTED April 4, 2012 8:08 p.m.

new vinyl seats

OAKLAND  (AP) — The Bay Area Rapid Transit Agency has installed new, easy-to-clean vinyl seats on four train cars.

The seats made their debut on Tuesday. The agency expects to have them in 100 cars by the end of the month.

BART agreed last year to spend $1.9 million to change the seats on 100 cars after a survey found riders were unhappy with the existing wool seats.

Riders complained that they were grimy and smelled.

BART officials say the vinyl material in the new seats is less likely to tear or scratch. The seats also have a graffiti-resistant coating.

If they are popular, the agency will consider using them as it replaces its 669-car fleet over the next decade.

Family awarded $1.25M in Gilroy police shooting

GILROY (AP) — A federal jury in San Jose has awarded $1.25 million to the family of a man who was shot and killed by a Gilroy police officer.

The 8-member civil jury awarded the money to 33-year-old Gurmit Singh's wife, Paramjit Kaur, and their two children on Tuesday.

Singh was shot by Cpl. Eustaquio Rodriguez on Feb. 8, 2008 after Rodriguez spotted him lying down on a highway, as other drivers swerved to avoid him.

Singh had apparently been left on the side of the road by family members after he allegedly attacked them in their car.

Police say Rodriguez tried to get Singh off the road and shot him when he blitzed Rodriguez.

San Francisco lawmakers at City Hall pot rally

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco lawmakers are speaking out against the federal crackdown on pot dispensaries as several attended a City Hall rally in support of medical marijuana.

Tuesday's rally came a day after federal agents raided Oaksterdam University, a medical marijuana training school in Oakland. The San Francisco Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/Hk9iOe) that about 200 people, some smoking marijuana, others wearing Oaksterdam hats and t-shirts, attended the rally.

Supervisor David Campos told the crowd the city opposes the federal government's stance on medical marijuana.

Oaksterdam University Executive Chancellor Dale Sky Jones says the school is still open, though managers are still determing where to hold next semester's classes.

SF Treasurer: Airbnb must pay city hotel tax

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Online home rental service Airbnb and companies like it have to pay San Francisco's hotel tax, the city's treasurer says.

The treasurer's office has issued a regulation that includes such companies in the city's hotel tax requirement.

San Francisco-based Airbnb connects travelers with people renting out their homes. Supporters say it is the type of technology company the city should be fostering, not burdening with such a tax, which was adopted in 1961.

City law mandates that anyone who rents out a guest room pay a 15 percent transient occupancy, or hotel, tax. Under the regulations put out on Tuesday, companies such as Airbnb would be responsible for collecting the tax and forwarding it to the city.

Airbnb has about 4,600 people who have rented out their homes in San Francisco, according to Rubey.

 

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