The county will transfer $375,000 for the health center to hire a full-time physician and a part-time nurse practitioner for OB-GYN services at the health center, which serves low-income families and individuals. MayView, which runs clinics in Palo Alto, Mountain View and Sunnyvale, has seen staff leave due to "unexpected changes in market conditions," according to a county staff report.
"Salaries for medical professionals have spiked and neighboring health care providers have attracted away physicians and nursing staff from MayView," the report states.
The Sunnyvale location has been operating on reduced hours in recent months. The funding will allow the county to run normal business hours without impacting patient care, according to Simitian's office.
"The Fifth Supervisorial District (which includes cities in the North County and West Valley), is the only district without a county health clinic," Board President Simitian said in a press release. "That means that we rely on a network of community health clinics and non-profits to provide these essential services."
The transfer was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors at its April 17 meeting under its consent calendar, which includes a number of items the board can choose to approve without discussion.
—Palo Alto Weekly staff
Median housing prices hit record
Housing prices in the Bay Area jumped 14.7 percent from 2017 and hit a new peak of $820,000 in March 2018, according to data released today by housing research firm CoreLogic.
San Mateo County had the highest median sale price at $1.3 million, followed closely by San Francisco, Santa Clara and Marin counties, according to CoreLogic.
Solano County had the lowest median price at $425,000, and Sonoma and Contra Costa counties both stayed below $600,000.
Santa Clara County is currently seeing the highest rate of change in year-over-year estimates, according to CoreLogic. Median home prices jumped 33.6 percent from $898,000 in March 2017 to $1.2 million in March 2018.
Researchers said "jumbo loans," which allow more expensive loans in high-cost areas, helped finance 62.6 percent of all home purchases in March 2018.
In the last 30 years, the organization says home prices in the Bay Area have gone up by 39.8 percent. A total of 7,122 homes were sold in the Bay Area in March alone.
—Bay City News Service
Bay Area air quality among worst in nation
The Bay Area has some of the worst air quality in the nation but numbers have gradually improved over the last few years, the American Lung Association said in a report released last week.
The Bay Area ranked sixth in the list of most-polluted metropolitan areas for short-term particle pollution and 10th in most-polluted cities for year-round particle pollution, according to the lung association's State of the Air 2018 report.
In Santa Clara County, the ozone level received a "F" grade and short-term particle pollution levels, measured within a 24-hour span, was given a "C" grade according to the report. The average year-round particle pollution received a passing grade.
Bakersfield was ranked worst for short-term particle pollution while Fairbanks, Alaska, was worst for the long-term pollution, the report said.
Despite the poor rankings, the lung association said strong state and local clean air programs in California are driving progress.
The Bay Area — the report added San Joaquin County to the region in the results — experienced a 70 percent drop in unhealthy ozone days since 2000 and an 80 percent drop in unhealthy particle pollution days since 2004.
The lung association's senior director of air quality and climate change Bonnie Holmes-Gen said unhealthy levels of pollution can cause premature death, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer if conditions do not improve.
"We must continue the life-saving work of cutting air pollution and slowing climate change," Holmes-Gen said in a statement.
—Bay City News Service
VTA unveils zero emission buses
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority last week unveiled five all-electric buses expected to roll out in May.
Elected officials and representatives from partners of the project gathered at the VTA Cerone bus yard in San Jose last week to talk about the concept, design and execution of the buses as well as their use in meeting California's statewide goal for all transit fleets to have zero emissions by 2040.
The buses, which are charged through a new pilot system designed by Oakland-based Kisensum to reduce the impact on the state's electricity grid, are anticipated to run through a number of routes starting in early May, according to the VTA.
One of the test routes will be the Airport Flyer, or Route 10, which is a free airport connection from the Santa Clara Transit Center to the Metro Airport station located at Mineta San Jose International Airport.
The emission-less buses are 42 feet long, have 40 seats and can travel around 200 miles on one charge. They take an estimated eight hours to charge on ChargePoint machines, but the VTA is working on making chargers that will do the same in four hours a practical feature.
A function provided by supplier Clever Devices tracks the amount of energy buses use while in operation and provides dispatchers real-time information about that usage and predicts the amount of energy needed to complete the day's work plan.
The buses also have batteries that are "regenerative," which means that they get re charged during the act of braking, an asset that VTA's hybrid buses have too.
The charging pilot project will act as a major case study for transit agencies across America and the research driven will be handled by the National Renewable Energy Lab based out of Colorado.
Mayor Sam Liccardo said he believed that the buses will help local efforts to try to make green options available to everyone.
VTA confirmed that the cost of the new buses, which average $925,000 each, will not impact fare prices. The initiative is paid for by a grant offered by the California Energy Commission for researching energy management for large vehicles.
Proterra Inc. CEO Ryan Popple, whose company manufactured the buses, said that his company "invested heavily" in the project because they believed in the vision of giving everyone access to electric vehicle technology.
"The opportunity to give this to every single person in the community who wants a clean, healthy ride ... that's what this is all about," Popple said. "We thought, 'What vehicle technology is the most accessible?' but also 'What vehicle technology is going to be the first to electrify?' Buses are the best place to start."
The VTA's current plan is to add more of the buses, made in City of Industry, California, in the coming years until their entire fleet is electric.
Right now, an estimated 75 percent of VTA's buses are diesel hybrid electric, but that number will be lowered when five more buses are anticipated to be added in 2019.
The life expectancy of the buses is expected to be just as long as diesel, which is approximately 12 to 15 years, VTA officials said.
—Bay City News Service
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