Building inspectors have halted work on the home of a Berkeley official who has admitted to violating city construction laws, the Berkeley Daily Planet reports. Ryan Lau, a member of the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board, has confessed that he turned his garage into a living quarters without pulling the proper permits or paying for them. As a member of the zoning board, Lau is entrusted with upholding the very same laws he broke.
Two Texas oil companies, Valero and Tesoro, which both operate Bay Area refineries, are financing a statewide ballot initiative that would roll back California’s historic climate-change law. According to the CoCo Times, the big-oil backed initiative also would cripple the state’s green-energy industry.
In clear evidence that Californians have grown increasingly unhappy with the Democratic Party, a new poll shows that two Republican candidates are now in a virtual dead heat with longtime US Senate incumbent Barbara Boxer. The new Field poll shows GOP moderate Tom Campbell leading the liberal Boxer 44 to 43 percent, while the more conservative Carly Fiorina trails her by just 45 to 44 percent. Pollster.com, which aggregates poll results, has Boxer just barely ahead of Campbell:
The $40 million that Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman poured into her own campaign has paid off. According to pollster.com, which aggregates polling nationwide, Whitman now leads Democrat Jerry Brown after trailing by nearly 20 points a year ago:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated more than 1.6 million acres of critical habitat for the California red-legged frog in 28 California counties. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the “population has declined by at least 90 percent, and the frog is gone from 70 percent of its former range — only four areas now harbor more than 350 adult red-legged frogs.”
The Bay Area supports numerous populations of red-legged frogs including several in Eastern Contra Costa County and Alameda County. Although development can still occur in areas that have been listed as critical habitat, federal agencies must make extra efforts to protect the features of an area that are pertinent to the species, including space for population growth, breeding, and feeding.
Eight businesses have joined a class-action lawsuit against Yelp, including three Bay Area-based companies — Sofa Outlet of San Mateo, Astro Appliance Serviceof San Carlos, and Mermaids Cruise of San Francisco. As we previously reported, the San Francisco-based online user-review site has become the target of two recent lawsuits for alleged extortion.
In an amended complaint of the initial class-action lawsuit filed yesterday, businesses claim that positive reviews disappeared or negative ones appeared after they declined or stopped advertising with Yelp. The allegations are similar to the ones we printed in two stories about Yelp last year, and which are also quoted extensively in the lawsuit filing.
Republican US Senate candidate Tom Campbell is now just two percentage points behind Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer, according to a new poll. However, pollster Rasmussen, who conducted the survey, tends to lean more Republican than most other polls. The poll shows the liberal Boxer leading the moderate Campbell 43 to 41 percent, which Rasmussen is calling a statistical dead heat. About 10 percent of likely voters reported being undecided.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch has ordered the suburban East Bay city of Pleasanton to build more housing, in a move that promises to worsen suburban sprawl. According to the CoCo Times and the Chron, Roesch ruled that a 1990s era voter initiative that capped the number of homes in Pleasanton violates a state law that requires cities to meet their share of regional housing needs. Pleasanton has added tens of thousands of jobs in the past decade, but very few homes.