( Gary Reyes )
Nine things to focus on for November's election

09/02/2014 05:13 AM PDT
With Labor Day behind us, Californians need to batten down the hatches for the tidal wave of ads, mailers, robo calls and door knocks between now and the Nov. 4 election. So for Bay Area voters hoping to cut through the noise and get straight to the important stuff, here are nine things to focus on:
 
Los Angeles mayor proposes $13.25 an hour minimum wage
09/01/2014 03:42 PM PDT - Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has used Labor Day to call for raising the city's minimum wage. Garcetti on Monday announced a proposal hike from the current $9 per hour to $13.25 in 2017. 

Cal Poly SLO seeks to cover up felon name on stadium scoreboard
09/01/2014 12:54 PM PDT - Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is asking a judge to allow the university to cover up the name of a convicted felon on its stadium scoreboard. 

Michael Tilson Thomas's 20th San Francisco Symphony season
09/01/2014 11:15 AM PDT - On Sept. 3, the San Francisco Symphony's music director and conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas, begins his 20th season. During an interview at his home in the Cow Hollow neighborhood, he spoke about mentors Igor Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein, about flipping out over the Beach Boys in 1966 and about unleashing the ferocity of Beethoven in 2014. Both icon and maverick, MTT has a high-tech vision for the future of classical programming.
 

California drought: Why doesn't California build big dams any more?
08/31/2014 05:42 PM PDT - Tougher environmental laws and spending rules ended the era of big dams. Might it be making a comeback amid the drought? 

California Legislature passes stiffest U.S. bill to protect K-12 students' online data
09/01/2014 10:21 PM PDT - The legislation awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature would prohibit the sale or disclosure of information, targeted ads based on school information and creation of student profiles not for educational purposes. It would also require educational tech data to be kept secure. 

Bipartisanship rules this year in Sacramento
08/31/2014 04:52 AM PDT - The legislative session that ended in the wee hours of Saturday morning proved to be one of the most bipartisan and productive in years. 

San Jose: Homeless MMA fighter training for a comeback fight
08/31/2014 01:39 PM PDT - Matt Major, a homeless MMA fighter, is training for a comeback fight and at the same time working to move off the streets and get a job.  

Political Blotter: Republican secretary of state candidate Pete Peterson says 'R' is for resume
08/30/2014 05:25 PM PDT - 'I have the least partisan resume of anybody' who has sought this office before or since June's primary election, said Peterson, who runs the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine University.  

Daly City: One dead, two injured after fall off seaside cliff
08/30/2014 09:10 PM PDT - The three victims fell up to 300 feet down a hillside to the beach early Saturday morning. 

California marijuana market poised to explode
08/29/2014 08:51 PM PDT - California in 1996 became the first state to legalize pot for medicinal reasons, but it has yet to approve it for the overall adult population, or so-called 'adult-use.' Despite that, it has the largest pot market in the nation, according to a widely referenced report last year by San Francisco-based marijuana research and investment firm ArcView Group.
 

California biker profile? Old, male, married and moneyed
08/29/2014 03:47 PM PDT - Who's riding motorcycles in California? Older, married, educated men with money -- and getting more so. New statistics prepared by the Motorcycle Industry Council show the median age of California motorcycle owners was 45 years old in 2012 -- having risen from 33 years in 1990, 38 years in 1998 and 41 years in 2009.  

California Legislature works into wee hours to pass flurry of bills
08/30/2014 08:12 PM PDT - The most contentious legislation passed Friday was a package of bills designed to regulate the pumping of groundwater for the first time in California history.
 

California vs. Texas in fight to attract and retain businesses
08/29/2014 06:00 PM PDT - When California rolled out a $750 million plan this year to attract and retain businesses, many aspects mirrored longtime perks used by Texas, where officials love nothing more than stealing jobs from the Golden State.  

Oracle v. SAP: Appeals court rebuffs Oracle bid to restore record verdict
08/29/2014 05:55 PM PDT - Federal appeals court rejects Oracle argument to restore much of $1.3 billion verdict against SAP, says software titan is entitled to about $356 million. 

Missing California student found dead in wrecked car
08/29/2014 09:12 AM PDT - BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- A California man who vanished while traveling to the University of Montana died in a car crash northeast of Boise, officials in Custer County said Friday. 

Apple vs. Samsung: Apple appeals judge's refusal to block sales of rival's smartphones
08/29/2014 05:56 PM PDT - Apple on Friday notifies judge it plans to appeal ruling earlier this week denying an injunction that would block the U.S. sales of Samsung smartphones found to have violated iPhone patents 

Wildfire in Siskiyou County reaches 50 square miles; evacuations continue
08/29/2014 07:03 AM PDT - HAPPY CAMP, Calif. (AP) -- A wildfire near the small Northern California logging and gold mining town of Happy Camp in the Klamath National Forest has grown to a vast 50 square miles, pushed by westerly winds that sent embers ahead of the main blaze. 

Uber, Lyft, Sidecar: New insurance requirements approved by California Legislature
08/29/2014 10:17 PM PDT - Online ride-sharing companies like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar will provide more insurance for drivers under a bill sent to the governor's desk -- the result of a deal struck earlier this week following months of hardball negotiations. 

Campus sexual assault: 'Yes means yes' bill clears California Legislature
08/29/2014 07:51 AM PDT - The California Legislature on Thursday sent to the governor Senate Bill 967, which would require all colleges taking student financial aid funding from the state to agree that in investigations of campus sexual assaults, silence or lack of resistance does not imply a green light for sex, and that drunkenness is not an acceptable defense. 

San Jose Mercury News hosts public forum in San Jose to discuss drought
08/28/2014 09:50 PM PDT - SAN JOSE -- The Bay Area is enduring a parched summer, with profound implications for many.The list of towns and districts with water restrictions -- both mandatory and voluntary -- is growing rapidly. 

California plastic bag ban passes Assembly; Senate approval expected
08/29/2014 06:00 AM PDT - If the state Senate approves Senate Bill 270 as expected, California would become the first state in the nation to ban single-use plastic grocery bags. 

Stanford law professor Cuellar confirmed to California Supreme Court
08/29/2014 08:30 AM PDT - Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, a longtime Stanford law professor, breezes to confirmation to California's highest court, adding a Latino and a well-known scholar to the fast-changing court. 

Mountain View shooting probe: Rapper Young Jeezy, 5 others plead not guilty in gun charges
08/27/2014 08:15 PM PDT - Hip-hop singer Jay 'Young Jeezy' Jenkins and five others pleaded not guilty Tuesday to illegal gun charges in Irvine following a fatal shooting at a tour stop in Mountain View last weekend, the Orange County District Attorney's Office said.  

Sacramento: Debate over plastic bag ban takes a weird but familiar turn
08/29/2014 12:02 PM PDT - What began several months ago as a relatively principled debate about the environment versus jobs has devolved into hot buttons and flash points that have little to do with the substance of the bag ban.
 

Medi-Cal asset seizure bill heads to Gov. Jerry Brown for consideration
08/27/2014 05:00 PM PDT - After passing the state Senate and Assembly unanimously this week, a bill limiting California's seizure of assets from the estates of Medi-Cal recipients is headed toward Gov. Jerry Brown's desk.
 

Lawsuit targeting FedEx-driver work conditions can proceed
08/27/2014 03:35 PM PDT - Federal appeals court restores key claims in class-action against FedEx over shifting costs to ground drivers 

California Senate passes new gun bill
08/27/2014 04:43 PM PDT - Family members and police could ask courts to take away a mentally disturbed person's guns under a bill inspired by May's UC Santa Barbara massacre and approved Wednesday by the state Senate.
 

Apple vs. Samsung: Judge refuses sales ban on Samsung smartphones
08/27/2014 03:52 PM PDT - Following a second trial in the smartphone wars, a federal judge denies Apple's bid for a block on U.S. sales of Samsung smartphones found to violate iPhone patent rights. 

Obamacare: Does Covered California really have you covered?
08/27/2014 12:26 PM PDT - A worrisome trend is emerging among some Californians who thought they were safe and secure under Covered California: Their plans are being canceled without consent and sometimes without notice.