A good UC gig

Aug 9, 2017

The University of California's salary policies continue to amaze: UC Berkeley ex-chancellor to receive $434,000 leave.


The Chronicle's NANETTE ASIMOV: "Nicholas Dirks stepped down as UC Berkeley’s chancellor this summer but will receive almost all of his executive salary, $434,000, for another year though he won’t teach or run campus programs."

"The paid year off is a benefit provided under a policy approved by the University of California regents at least 17 years ago that rewards executives who are also tenured pofessors and will return to the classroom."


"The purpose “is to allow top-flight academics to get back up to speed in their field and begin research, which they weren’t able to do while in their administrative role,” said Dianne Klein, a UC spokeswoman..."


"Last year, The Chronicle revealed that UC Berkeley had allowed a former vice chancellor to receive the salary perk even though the former executive had been forced out of the administrative position for violating UC’s sexual harassment policy."


Here's what you need to know about the government report on climate change. For starters, it's real.


LA Times' ALEXANDRA ZAVIS/RAOUL RANOA: "The conclusions contained in a draft federal report on climate change are unequivocal: Human-induced global warming is real, and left unchecked, the consequences could be dire."


"Although not new, the findings are at odds with claims by President Trump and members of his administration, who continue to assert that the extent of the human contribution to climate change is not clear."

"In June, Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the agreement reached in Paris in 2015, in which nearly 200 countries pledged to reduce emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, saying the deal was bad for the country."


READ MORE related to EnvironmentFederal report sees human-caused changes to California's climate -- The Chronicle's CAROLYN LOCHHEAD


By firing engineer, Google shows what you can say -- and what you can't -- at work.


Google's TRACEY LIEN: "In a country known for its reverence of free speech, in a state strict with labor codes, in an industry steeped in libertarian and progressive ideals, if an employee has something to say, he should just be able to say it, right?"

"Not quite, as one Google employee learned the hard way when he was fired Monday after writing and internally circulating a memo in which he criticized the company's diversity efforts as unfair and discriminatory."


"When the memo became public, women and under-represented groups in tech decried it and Google denounced it. But by Monday night, after Google fired the engineer, claiming he’d violated the company’s code of conduct, the conversation shifted. Some in tech were incredulous that someone could lose his job for expressing dissent. People took to Twitter: Whither free speech?"


City-state dispute over Prop. B waterfront limits goes to trial.


The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "A voter-approved limit on the height of new buildings alongside San Francisco Bay is going to trial next month after a court ruling that was at least a preliminary victory for supporters of the ballot measure."

"Proposition B, passed by 59 percent of the city’s voters in June 2014, was challenged by the state Lands Commission, which argued that California law authorizes only the state — and not local governments or their voters — to regulate waterfront development. But San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos ruled last week that the law does not ban all local regulatory measures, only those that “subjugate statewide concerns to local interests."

"She scheduled a nonjury trial for Sept. 11 to determine whether either of the two projects approved by voters under Prop. B’s rules — a residential development at Pier 70 in the Dogpatch neighborhood and the San Francisco Giants’ high-rise Mission Rock residential and commercial development at Pier 48 — has illegally elevated local interests over statewide concerns about the waterfront."


McClellan base polluted drinking water supply, districts say. They want $1.4B from feds.


Sacramento Bee's SAM STANTON: "In a sweeping legal fight that could affect drinking water supplies for thousands of Sacramento-area residents, two water districts near the old McClellan Air Force Base are suing the federal government for $1.4 billion to clean up the cancer-causing chemical hexavalent chromium from the area’s groundwater supplies."

"The lawsuits, filed by the Sacramento Suburban Water District and the Rio Linda Elverta Community Water District, name the U.S. Air Force and 10 major firms that were involved in supplying chromium products and chemicals to the base for decades as workers there performed aircraft maintenance and other duties."

"Officials with Sacramento Suburban, which serves 175,000 customers just east of the old base, and Rio Linda Elverta, which serves about 15,000 customers to the west of the base, say the water they currently are providing is safe."


America no longer seems Kim Jong Un as a joke.


McClatchy DC's STUART LEAVENWORTH/ANITA KUMAR: "Commentators laughed last year when a photograph emerged of Kim Jong Un standing next to an orb, which a North Korean newspaper stated was a miniaturized nuclear weapon. “That’s a weird looking disco ball,” joked one intelligence contractor on Twitter."

Not many are laughing anymore."

"On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that a U.S. intelligence assessment concluded North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead, a disclosure that rapidly intensified an already tense standoff with the rogue nation. Soon after the report, President Donald Trump warned Kim against making further threats, saying North Korea “will be met with the fire and the fury like the world has never seen."


$910 million and counting: Report warns of rising costs for state tech upgrade.


Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON: "It may be time to recalculate the cost of the most expensive technology project in California state government."

"A 12-year-old effort to remake the state’s accounting network is behind schedule and burning up funds it had budgeted for unexpected contingencies, according to independent review by the state Department of Technology."

"The report is the second outside study this year that says the $910 million Financial Information System of California – commonly called FI$Cal – likely will come in late and over budget."


Speaking of tech and digital, Disney will offer two streaming services and end its movie distribution agreement with Netflix.


LA Times' DANIEL MILLER/MEG JAMES: "Walt Disney Co. will launch two Netflix-like streaming services — one for sports and another for films and television shows — in one of the boldest moves by an entertainment company to address the changing media landscape."


"The stand-alone subscription services would appeal to younger audiences who are turning away from traditional media and flocking to Netflix and other digital platforms."


"The ESPN service, which would be available next year, is expected to feature 10,000 sporting events annually, among them Major League Baseball games.


The Disney-branded film and TV offering, set to debut in 2019, would include original content developed by Walt Disney Studios."


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