Part of San Ramon services-tax lawsuit may go to U.S. Supreme Court

SAN RAMON — The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to review the law establishing this city’s facilities tax on property owners, claiming part of it hampers residents’ First Amendment rights of free expression. On Wednesday, The Pacific Legal Foundation — on behalf of the Building Industry Association of the Bay Area — filed a motion to ask the highest court in the land to rule on what a foundation attorney on Friday called a “poison pill” within the facilities tax measure. Specifically, Anthony Francois from the Sacramento-based legal foundation contends that anyone who succeeds in overturning the tax measure would be penalized with a full or partial cutoff from… Read More

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Report: Sale of Shell Martinez refinery progressing

MARTINEZ — The owners of the Shell Martinez Refinery are in talks with at least two potential buyers of the 102-year-old facility, several months after the first news reports of the refinery’s possible sale, according to the London-based news service Reuters. Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell, which has sold refineries in Bakersfield and Wilmington over the past 15 years, is reported to be talking with PBF Energy, a New Jersey-based company which operates refineries in that state and others in Torrance (Los Angeles County), Delaware, Louisiana and Ohio; and Los Angeles-based NTR Partners III LLC. The Martinez refinery is now Shell’s only such facility in California. Published reports last year said… Read More

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California air regulators vote to keep tough fuel standards

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — California air regulators voted Friday to keep the state’s tough vehicle emissions standards through 2025. The state Air Resources Board voted unanimously at a meeting in Riverside to continue with the standards for 2022 to 2025 after reaching a conclusion similar to one by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama administration. Related Articles Stanford, former Assemblyman Rich Gordon among water conservation award recipients Koko the gorilla calls man ‘stupid’! Saratoga weeds out confusion, waives fees Monsanto weed killer caused cancer, Californians allege in new lawsuit Oakland: ‘Impossible’ meatless burgers ramp up production at new facility More recently, however, President Donald Trump said he wants… Read More

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Biz Break: Social networks vie for coveted rights to Thursday NFL games

Top of the Order: Who Wins The Coin Toss?: As much as I love baseball, and my beloved, hometown Seattle Mariners (sorry A’s and Giants fans), I can’t deny that football is America’s Game. Sure, the U.S. won the recent World Baseball Classic, and Opening Day is barely a week away. But the National Football League owners meeting in Phoenix next week is likely to be covered with at least as much attention (if not more) than President Donald Trump’s efforts to get Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The NFL is “event television.” And if the NFL likes to do anything, it likes to make an… Read More

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Elon Musk hints at new products, shares glimpse of Model 3

A peek at the Model 3. Hints for ordering solar roofs. The CEO’s travel plans. Related Articles A further sign of tech discontent with Trump Tesla seeks major cash influx for Model 3 production Elon Musk promises Australian power woes fix in 100 days Sign of discontent outside Tesla Biz Break: Elon Musk shows he’s different by meeting with Trump It’s not only President Donald Trump stirring up followers on Twitter. Tesla CEO Elon Musk Friday took to social media for his occasional series of product promotion, fan Q&A and company cheerleading. Musk posted a six-second video of a production-ready Model 3 driving along a dark street. The company plans… Read More

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B.C.’s working poor: Meet the people whose jobs don’t pay the bills

More than half a million people in B.C. live in poverty, nearly a quarter of them children whose families struggle every day to provide the basics of life: nutritious food, warm clothing and safe shelter. The solution to improving the lives of these families is not as simple as: “Get a job.” That’s because a significant number of impoverished British Columbians are already working. They are the working poor — people who report to their bosses each day, pay taxes, and yet don’t have enough income to cover all their bills. A family of four is impoverished, according to Statistics Canada, if it has an annual after-tax income of $41,866… Read More

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The Tech Industry Joins the Political Fray

However expansive its ambitions to change the world might be, the tech industry is not known as a hotbed of activism. Historically, tech employees went to work, got the job done, and didn’t talk much about politics. But in the wake of Donald’s Trump’s election, political talk is nearly everywhere—at company-wide meetings, in discussions among coworkers in the cafeterias, and in employee resource-group meet-ups. For obvious reasons: Many of the policies and views of the Trump administration are anathema to most of the tech industry. In particular, the sector is heavily populated by immigrants—many founders and senior leaders are immigrants, and 60 percent of STEM employees in Silicon Valley are… Read More

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Steven Mnuchin Wants You to See The LEGO Batman Movie

Before his confirmation, the most controversial part of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s past was his role running a bank that critics dubbed a “foreclosure machine” at the height of the financial crisis. But it’s his role as the executive producer on The LEGO Batman Movie that is landing him in his first dustup. At an event held by the online news outlet Axios, Mnuchin was asked about the many movies on which he has served as a producer. Mnuchin at first hedged: “Well, I’m not allowed to promote anything that I’m involved in. So I just want to have the legal disclosure that you’ve asked me the question and I… Read More

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Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Policies Are Scaring Eligible Families Away From the Safety Net

NEW YORK CITY—As the evening rush hour peaked, Blanca Palomeque stationed herself by the carts selling roasted corn, tamales, and ice cream at the exit to the 90th Street-Elmhurst Avenue subway stop in Queens. She spotted a woman pushing a baby in a pink stroller and tugging along two school-aged girls with pigtails. “Excuse me, good afternoon, how are you?” Palomeque said in Spanish. “Do you have food stamps for your children? Here is some information.” She pushed a flyer into the mother’s hand before rushing over to a pregnant woman to speak with her as well. Palomeque repeated this process over and over again until the trains became less… Read More

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Steve Mnuchin Is ‘Not Worried at All’ About Machines Displacing American Workers

On Friday, during a conversation with Mike Allen of Axios, the newly minted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that there was no need to worry about artificial intelligence taking over U.S. jobs anytime soon. “It’s not even on our radar screen,” he told Allen. When pressed for when, exactly, he thought concern might be warranted, Mnuchin offered “50 to 100 more years.” Just about anyone who works on, or studies machine learning would beg to differ. In December of 2016, about one month before President Trump officially took office, the White House released a report on artificial intelligence and its impact on the economy. It found that advances in machine… Read More

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