Connecting the dots: top news stories for Wednesday, June 23

http://www.flickr.com/photos/qthomasbower/3640362081/

The US soccer team lives to see another day in the World Cup after this morning’s riveting match against Algeria. The team came painfully close to elimination but managed to pull out a 1-0 victory with just minutes left. That’s something to cheer about! That is, unless you’re the Algerian team…

Gay workers also have cause for celebration today. The federal government is signing off on a new policy expanding family and medical leave rights to gay employees so they can care for their partners’ sick children…

The Obama Administration also has its hands full dealing with the environmental and economic mess caused by the BP oil spill in the Gulf. Yesterday, a federal judge in New Orleans blocked the president’s six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling, citing economic harm and a lack of evidence that all deep-water operations are risky. The federal government has already vowed to appeal the ruling…

Some vows are hard to keep, as Bay Area cities are learning. San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland all promised an economic embargo against Arizona after that state passed a contentious immigration law. All three cities still maintain ties to the Grand Canyon state…

While California can’t quit Arizona, Texan oil companies are quietly slipping their interests into California’s November elections. Oil big wigs Valero Energy Inc. and Tesoro Corp., along with other energy interests have contributed over $2 million to the campaign to suspend AB32, California’s greenhouse gas reduction and clean energy law. Golden State voters can now expect to see the proposition officially on the November ballot, along with a flood of ads…

Meanwhile, the state’s renewable power generators are showing major improvements in hitting their goals, according to the Public Utilities Commission. The state was aiming for 20 percentrenewable energy by 2010, and California is set to reach 18 percentby the end of the year…

California community colleges may be following in UC and CSU footsteps by dramatically increasing their unit fees—by over 50 percent, in fact. The motion has yet to pass through the state legislature, but the Legislative Analyst’s Office says the increase will bring in $150 million to the state while maintaining the system's status as the most affordable education network in the nation…

It’s budget season for Bay Area cities, and the hurt is being felt across the board. One hundred and seventy-six million dollars of unfunded pensions in Alameda has city council members scrambling to find solutions, starting with a workshop this Thursday. Still, the city’s pensions are only expected to inflate with time…

In nearby Oakland, Mayor Ron Dellums gave his blessings…to cut 80 police jobs before voters can have their say. The embattled mayor also proposed adding a new tax and changing the requisite police officer number originally stated in Measure Y. Meanwhile, the mayor has yet to be seen at any community meetings on the budget or union negotiations…

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors and School Board members are also tired this morning from a long night of city budget talks. The good news? Close to $8 million in property transfer taxes was found! The bad news? 113 million dollars worth of necessary cuts in San Francisco schools means the city’s students may not have art programs or summer school next year. Furthermore, 250 teachers and staff will be missing…

Depressed about the news? Don’t plan on drinking away your problems, San Franciscans. Your city might become the state’s first to impose a booze tax—about a nickel per drink—to add $15 million to the city coffers.

Connecting the dots brings the day’s news together.