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Daily news roundup for Thursday, February 11, 2016

California Coast V, Ryan Lothian, used under CC license, cropped and resized

Here's what's happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW news:

Morro Bay: Coastal Commission fires popular executive director // San Jose Mercury News

"Defying a hostile crowd, the California Coastal Commission voted Wednesday night to fire Executive Director Charles Lester, a decision that environmentalists fear could weaken the agency's strict posture on development of the state's precious coastline."

"The commission made the vote in closed session at the conclusion of a marathon meeting in Morro Bay attended by hundreds of sign-waving Lester supporters. Commissioners rejected the notion that Lester's dismissal would damage coastal protection, and several lashed out at the media for portraying Lester's ouster as a struggle between pro- and anti-development forces."


Breaking: Sharper Future Abandons Plans For Clinic At Church And Duboce // Hoodline

"After an unexpectedly strong reaction from concerned residents of the community, Sharper Future has decided not to pursue plans to open a sex offender rehab clinic at 100 Church St."

"It was only three weeks ago that we broke the news of Sharper Future's plans to take over the former Out of the Closet location. Since then, the organization has tried to address local residents' concerns about its clients and services, both via a recent interview with Hoodline, and this past Monday at a tense community meeting. However, with so much opposition from the community, and possible new legislation looming that would likely delay the project, it appears that Sharper Future has decided the best path forward is to abandon the plan entirely."


State explores swap for gas tax // SF Examiner

"California officials foresee a future in which charging taxes based on gas consumption is dropped, and drivers instead pay taxes based on miles traveled."

"A pilot of the 'California Road Charge' will test such a future with 5,000 volunteers starting in July. The drivers will allow the state to measure how many miles they’ve traveled to estimate payment for it."

"The swap in tax streams is seen as key for a future replete with new technology — hybrid vehicles, electric cars, driverless vehicles — that will chip away at the gas tax. Without changing revenue streams, lawmakers say, funding to fix the state’s roads will be scarce."


Too Few Cooks in the Kitchen? There’s an App for That // Mission Local

"As many San Francisco restaurateurs say that they are having difficulties filling positions in their establishments, some are turning to tech for solutions."

"A new startup seeking to match job seekers with openings in their neighborhood aims to address a hiring gap that has left many restaurants understaffed. By promising to connect the two within a 24-hour period, the online hiring platform Instawork has steadily gained clients in the Mission District."


Is the Mavericks surf contest still a Bay Area phenomenon? // SF Gate

"For years after its 1999 debut, the big-wave surf competition at legendary Mavericks north of Half Moon Bay was a Bay Area phenomenon. Organizers would announce the event at the last minute — when a good swell picked up — and thousands of people would skip work and flock to the coast to watch."

"But as the event — now called the Titans of Mavericks — returns Friday morning, the question is whether it remains a cultural sensation or merely a surf contest. This year, there’s neither a gathering at the beach, a party at a nearby hotel parking lot nor a mass viewing at AT&T Park — options that were offered in past years."


The Secretive Campaign to Legalize Ferret Ownership in California  // SF Weekly

"Pat Wright loves ferrets — a forbidden love in California, where owning the animals has been illegal since 1933. The state's complex ecosystem and ferrets' outlaw reputation as chicken killers make the weasel-like creature verboten here and in Hawaii."

"Like many ferret owners whose malfeasance gets reported to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wright says he's paid a high price for his pets. He's served 17 days in a maximum security prison, performed 300 hours of community service, and shouldered civil lawsuits, all because he refuses to quit his decades-long crusade to grant ferrets the same legal standing as dogs and housecats."