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Bay Area news briefs
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San Francisco launches Golden Gate anniversary
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco is launching the 75th anniversary celebration of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge with a string of parties, guided tours and festivals to be held along the waterfront.
Authorities, however, won't be throwing open the orange span for a mass public walk.
Officials tried that in 1987 for the 50th anniversary.
They closed down the bridge to traffic and hoped to replicate the opening-day festivities of 1937 when sprinters, roller skaters and tap dancers made their way across what was then the world's longest suspension bridge.
When an estimated 250,000 people walked across the 1.7-mile bridge from either end, there was a standoff in the middle that forced the span's majestic arch to flatten.
Santa Cruz could see higher taxes, police cuts
SANTA CRUZ . (AP) — A consultant has recommended police cuts and tax hikes to trim a ballooning Santa Cruz budget deficit.
City Manager Martin Bernal will ask the City Council on Tuesday to approve $400,000 in public safety and administrative cuts that would take effect in July.
The proposed cuts include elimination of some mid-level police management jobs and the SWAT team.
But that won't get Santa Cruz out of financial trouble.
Bernal has projected a nearly $5 million general fund shortfall by July 2013.
Novato firefighters battle arson blazes
NOVATO. (AP) — Novato authorities are investigating a series of suspicious small fires found around the city since the weekend.
There  have been as many as 26 blazes since 9:30 p.m. Saturday. The first one was confined to a trash bin, while others were brush fires.
The largest was found around 1:30 a.m. Monday in Rush Creek Open Space Preserve, where it burned less than an acre.
Novato Fire Captain Jim Berg told KTVU-TV that the pattern and timing of the fires indicate that they're all related arson cases. No suspects have been identified.
No homes have been damaged, but the fires have damaged a utility pole and the fence at a condominium complex.
San Francisco mayor fills vacant board seat
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Newly sworn-in San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee wasted no time in making his pick for an empty seat on the city's 11-member Board of Supervisors.
Lee announced Monday that he's appointing Christina Olague to represent District 5. The seat was vacated by Ross Mirkarimi, who was sworn in over the weekend as sheriff.
Olague was president of the city's Planning Commission and a longtime community activist who helped run last year's campaign to convince Lee to run for re-election.
The 50-year-old Fresno native was appointed to the Planning Commission in 2004 by the board's progressive majority.
As a supervisor, she'll represent neighborhoods including the Haight-Ashbury and Western Addition, some of the most progressive areas of the city.
Lee has said he wanted to pick someone who would be "electable" in November.
Berkeley city clerk
dies after fall at home
BERKELEY. (AP) — Authorities say Berkeley's city clerk died over the weekend after falling down a staircase in her home.
Thirty-seven-year-old Deanna Despain was found dead by her husband shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday, as their infant daughter slept in another room. She apparently had been dead for a few hours.
The Alameda County coroner's office says preliminary autopsy results on Monday showed the fatal injuries were consistent with a fall.