News Roundup from San Francisco and the Bay Area for Thursday, May 5, 2016

Three Lightning Strikes Send 1 to hospital, Start Grass Fire

One person at an Oakley school was taken to a hospital after the school was hit by lightning this morning, according to a dispatcher with the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.
Fire crews responded at 9:19 a.m. to O’Hara Park Middle School at 1100 O’Hara Ave. on a report of the lightning strike.
A representative of the Oakley Union Elementary School District was not immediately available to say who the person is or provide information on their condition.
One minute later, fire crews responded to a home nearby on O’Hara Court that was hit by lightning, according to the fire dispatcher.
Three people affected by the two strikes were encouraged to seek medical care, but only the one person did.
Another lightning strike reported at 9:18 a.m. at Wilbur Avenue and Bridgehead Road damaged a transformer and started a small grass fire, the dispatcher said.
The Wilbur Avenue and Bridgehead Road intersection is near state Highway 160 and the Antioch Bridge.

Measure Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Use Headed for November Ballot

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and others today announced that an initiative legalizing the recreational use of marijuana for adults has collected enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
Supporters said the measure, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, has collected more than 600,000 signatures, well over the 365,880 it needs to qualify for the Nov. 8 ballot.
The measure would allow adults 21 and older to possess, transport and use up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational purposes and grow up to six plants. It would also tax retail sales at 15 percent, although it allows local communities to opt out of licensing retail sales.
Speaking today at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Newsom said the measure had been carefully developed to address issues that had emerged in other states where marijuana has been legalized, and to provide flexibility to lawmakers to address any problems as they emerge.
“We’re not doing this lightly, we’re doing it very thoughtfully,” Newsom said.
He said the legislation was essential to address the failed war on drugs, and its costs both in dollars and in impacts on the lives of those arrested for marijuana use.
“You do not have to be pro-marijuana to be pro-legalization, that’s not what this is about,” he said, noting that he personally was not a fan.
Newsom spoke today with a group of backers that included U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, University of California at San Francisco Hematology-Oncology division chief Donald Abrams, former Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Stephen Downing and state National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President Alice Huffman.
A previous measure seeking to legalize marijuana, Proposition 19, was defeated by 53.5 percent in 2010. In the time since then several other states have legalized marijuana and backers of this measure said they believe public opinion has shifted.
A Bay Area Council poll of Bay Area residents released today found that 50 percent supported legalizing recreational use of marijuana in California and another 10 percent answered “don’t know.” The measure would require a simple majority to pass. Support was strongest in San Francisco at 56 percent and in the North Bay at 54 percent. Support was weakest in San Mateo County, the only county where opponents slightly outnumbered supporters, at 43 percent.

AAA Offering Free “Tipsy Tow” Service During Cinco De Mayo Festivities

Drivers who need a tow home after drinking during Thursday’s Cinco de Mayo festivities will be able to find one through a special AAA service, the organization’s officials announced today.
The free service, referred to as the Tipsy Tow, will be offered from 6 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday throughout Northern California, according to the nonprofit.
The organization is opening up the service to everyone, not just AAA members, officials said.
Although it has to be within ten miles, any motorist can call (800) 222-4357 and ask for a free one-way ride home that includes a vehicle tow, according to AAA.
Additional passengers who need a ride will be taken to the driver’s home as well if there is enough room for them to be taken safely in the tow truck, according to AAA. Reservations for the service cannot be made in advance.

(News Roundup via Bay City News)