CITIES CONSIDER UNIFORM PLASTIC BAG BAN: SAN JOSE (AP) — Several San Mateo County cities will meet to consider drafting a uniform law banning plastic bags.
San Jose's bag-ban law went into effect Sunday. It bans retailers from handing out single-use plastic bags. San Jose shoppers must bring reusable bags or buy paper bags for 10 cents each.
Leaders of peninsula cities will meet Jan. 18 to discuss enacting a similar law for other cities in the county.
San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Foster City and Millbrae have joined a county working group to craft an ordinance that could be uniformly adopted.
Plastic bags distributed at grocery stores and other retail establishments are seen as harmful to the environment and wildlife.
The uniform law proposes fines from $100 to $500.
SCHOOL DISTRICT FIGHTS BUS MISHAP COURT DECISION: PITTSBURG (AP) — A California school district is spending big to fight a small claims court victory by a mother whose 5-year-old daughter got lost after a bus driver dropped her off at the wrong stop.
A woman walking down the street in October 2010 saw the little girl and took her home. The school district says a substitute driver allowed the girl to get off the bus at the wrong stop.
Della Rocca sued Concord's Mount Diablo Unified School District for negligence and a judge ruled on Dec. 5 that the district must pay $1,000 in damages plus $85 in court fees.
The district has now hired a $185-an-hour Oakland law firm to appeal the ruling.
Rocca says it's a waste of taxpayer money.
PETITION TO REPEAL SJ POT LAW QUALIFIES FOR BALLOT: SAN JOSE (AP) — Medical marijuana advocates in San Jose have qualified a petition for the ballot that would repeal recent city-approved restrictions on pot clubs.
The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters concluded on Dec. 30 that the advocates had collected more than the required number of signatures for the petition.
They needed roughly 29,500 signatures. They collected about 1,500 more than that.
San Jose's ordinance would reduce the number of pot clubs from more than 100 to 10 and require them to grow all of the marijuana they distribute on site.
Mayor Chuck Reed said on Tuesday he would consider a compromise that would increase the number of city-allowed pot clubs to as many as 25 and allow some off-site cultivation.
DEMOLITION OF OLD SAN FRANCISCO JAIL SET TO BEGIN: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco's outgoing sheriff is set to end his tenure on a fitting note.
Michael Hennessey will be on hand on Wednesday morning, as a wrecking ball begins demolishing the city's old jail in San Bruno. Hennessey came into office 32 years ago vowing to do something about conditions at the Depression-era jail, which he and other critics called deplorable.
It was shut down five years ago after years of wrangling that included a federal class-action lawsuit. Although a new jail opened next door, the old building continued to stand.
Hennessey said he ran for sheriff because he believed it was wrong to have prisoners and deputies in such dangerous conditions. His administration ends on Sunday, when Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi will take over as sheriff.
SF TRANSIT OFFICIALS WANT TO REDUCE CAR USE: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco transit officials want to decrease vehicle use in the city.
The Municipal Transportation Agency set a goal on Tuesday of making public transit, walking or biking the mode of transportation for half of all trips in the city within six years.
They currently account for 38 percent of those trips, with motorized vehicles responsible for the rest.
It would require drawing people away from their cars. That could be accomplished by making driving more onerous, raising the allure of public transit, biking and walking or a combination of both.
SUSPECT IN SJ POLICE CHASE WAS WANTED: SAN JOSE (AP) — Court records indicate the man suspected of ramming a stolen SUV into four San Jose police cars had failed to show up for his jail sentence on a petty theft conviction.
Twenty-seven-year-old Alejandro Gonzalez was arrested on Tuesday after police say he carjacked an SUV from an elderly man at a gas station and then led officers on a chase.
Gonzalez allegedly hit the first patrol car a little after noon. The officer, who has not been identified, was taken to a hospital but is expected to survive.
Police say Gonzalez then continued driving, hitting three more patrol cars before he was arrested.
Gonzalez was sentenced to 19 days on the petty theft conviction. A warrant for his arrest was issued last month after he allegedly failed to show up. He also has two felony stolen property convictions.
MAN ACCUSED OF FLYING PLANE WHILE DRUNK: PETALUMA (AP) — A man is under arrest on suspicion of piloting a plane while intoxicated.
Authorities say two California Highway Patrol officers spotted a plane flying too low over Highway 37 in Sonoma County on Tuesday afternoon. They followed the plane to Petaluma Municipal Airport, where it landed.
A 62-year-old man got off the plane and was confronted by the officers, who smelled alcohol on his breath. He was arrested after failing a sobriety test.
Officers estimated the plane had been flying as low as 50 feet and within 100 feet of highway traffic — a federal violation.
The Penngrove man was booked on suspicion of operating an aircraft under the influence of an alcoholic beverage and in a reckless manner. His name has not been released.
TRASH WORKERS IN REDWOOD CITY TAKEN TO HOSPITAL: REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say three workers for the trash collecting company Recology were taken to the hospital after inhaling toxic fumes in Redwood City.
The fumes were released around 10 a.m. Tuesday from a pile of trash in a Recology truck. Redwood City spokesman Malcolm Smith said the two workers loading the truck reported hearing a loud burst as trash was being compacted.
Fumes then filled the air. Smith said the workers and a Recology supervisor who arrived at the scene vomited and showed other signs of inhaling toxins.
All three were taken to a hospital. Several nearby businesses were evacuated although there were no other injuries reported.
MAN ACCUSED OF BOGUS SF CLINIC FACES SEX CHARGES: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A man accused of posing as a San Francisco doctor to perform cosmetic surgery on a woman now faces new allegations that he touched another patient inappropriately during an exam.
Police say 49-year-old Carlos Guzmangarza ran the Derma Clinic in the city's Mission District, using the stolen identity of a physician's assistant. He allegedly performed a liposuction procedure in 2010 after which the patient developed a severe infection.
Guzmangarza pleaded not guilty last week to practicing medicine without a license, assault, false impersonation and other charges.
A second alleged victim has since come forward, telling police that he made sexual remarks and touched her inappropriately while treating her for a skin condition in July.