Friday, February 26, 2010

Oakland’s Parking Ticket Blame Game

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 10:37 AM

So who was responsible for exempting two wealthy Oakland neighborhoods from last year’s parking ticket blitz? It depends on whom you ask. But at least the city has halted its double-standard parking practices, according to the Chron. In fact, City Administrator Dan Lindheim told the paper that residents of low and middle-income neighborhoods that were blanketed with tickets between July 24 and November 12 last year might be eligible for refunds.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

More Evidence of Cancer in Oakland Mayor’s Race

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 10:54 AM

The Berkeley Daily Planet has uncovered more evidence of Don Perata using his cancer-research initiative to bolster his campaign for mayor of Oakland. Columnist Jesse Allen-Taylor discovered that Perata paid a consultant $30,600 last year from his cancer-research initiative and nothing from his mayoral campaign, even though that person, Bruce Goddard, had worked as a spokesman on the mayoral campaign.

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Bloody Brunches at the Claremont

by Anneli Rufus
Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 10:32 AM

The Meritage Restaurant at the Claremont Hotel, Club & Spa has just launched a red-hot new feature for its Sunday brunches: a build-your-own bloody Mary bar.

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Oakland Exempts Wealthy from Parking Tickets

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 10:00 AM

The City of Oakland has exempted two wealthy neighborhoods from its parking ticket blitz since last summer, and instead has targeted low and middle-income neighborhoods, the Chron reports. The city apparently exempted the upscale Montclair and Broadway Terrace neighborhoods after residents there complained about Oakland’s decision to begin issuing tickets en masse last summer to boost revenues. But the decision has resulted in parking tickets being issued disproportionately in low and middle-income areas.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Class-Action Lawsuit Filed Against Yelp

by Kathleen Richards
Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 11:37 AM

A class-action lawsuit was filed against Yelp by two firms in Los Angeles federal court yesterday. The lawsuit alleges unfair business practices against the San Francisco-based user-generated review site, and, in particular, that the company “runs an extortion scheme in which the company’s employees call businesses demanding monthly payments, in the guise of ‘advertising contracts,’ in exchange for removing or modifying negative reviews appearing on the website,” according to the official press release.

Yelp

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Layoff Blues Tempered by Green Jobs

by Phil Marshall
Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 9:45 AM

It’s been a roller-coaster month for Oakland. On Tuesday, Feb. 16, the city council approved layoffs to multiple city departments from the police to information technology. However, the decisions came amidst other announcements this month that Oakland will receive more federal funding for green projects.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

El Niño Is Likely Cause of Pelican Deaths

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 11:40 AM

El Niño might be bringing much-needed rain to California, but it’s also likely causing a surprising die-off of hundreds of brown pelicans in the Bay Area, the Chron reports. The El Niño weather pattern has stirred up ocean currents, and made it more difficult for the pelicans to find fish, and so they’re dying of starvation. “We think it's probably related to El Niño and the big storms,” Esther Burkett, a wildlife biologist for the California Department of Fish and Game, told the newspaper. “When the ocean gets all mixed up, the fish are moving around and the birds cannot find them. The majority of birds we found were just weakened by the lack of food.”

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Will Berkeley Become a Fair Trade Town?

by Anneli Rufus
Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 11:04 AM

A campaign is afoot to transform Berkeley into a Fair Trade Town, a designation that asserts a municipality's commitment to sustainable farming practices and higher standards of living for farmers worldwide. After Media, PA became the nation's first Fair Trade Town in 2006, thirteen others — including Taos, NM and Highland Park, NJ — have since joined the list.

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Has the Tide Turned for Ron Dellums?

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 6:28 AM

Ron Dellums’ successes in 2009 have convinced some Oakland leaders that his mayoral tenure needs to be reevaluated. During his state of the city speech last night, City Council President Jane Brunner said Dellums deserves much credit for positioning the city for growth, according to the Chron. Brunner also called Dellums’ success in attracting a record $163 million in federal funds last year “phenomenal.”

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Fish or People?

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 7:05 AM

US Senator Dianne Feinstein's proposal to divert huge amounts of water to California agribusiness may end up hurting city dwellers more than fish in the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the CoCo Times reports. That's because California environmental laws might still protect the already devastated fish populations if Feinstein's proposal goes through, meaning that the extra water for agribusiness will have to taken from urban and suburban water users.

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