Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thursday Must Read: Oakland's Pot Farms are Illegal; PG&E Operating Pipes Way Above Limits

By Ellen Cushing
Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 8:41 AM

Kung Hei Fat Choi, East Bay! Stories you shouldn't miss:

1. Looks like Oakland's pot farms ordinance is, in fact, illegal, according to the feds. In a letter received Tuesday, Melinda Haag, the US attorney for Northern California, warned the city that, essentially, people who operate pot farms would be doing so in violation of federal law, regardless of what Oakland and California law say, and that these individuals would open themselves up to criminal and civil prosecution. Haag's letter was responding specifically to the ordinance the city council passed in July (and later shelved precisely because of legal concerns), not the retooled ordinance proposed by Desley Brooks at Tuesday's council meeting. As we reported yesterday, Brooks' proposal is theoretically less problematic legally. Haag and her office haven't responded to the new proposal yet.

2. As the investigation into the San Bruno explosion marches on, PG&E has been found to have been operating at least four of its gas lines at levels much higher than legal safety limits, according to the Chron. The state Public Utilities Commission has ordered pressure on those lines to be cut.

3. The father of a three-month-old Oakland boy who died in 2007 pled no contest in court yesterday. Fernando Loughlin could face up to four years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.

4. In case you missed it, health care repeal went down in the senate.

5. And the situation in the Middle East continues to hurtle rapidly toward hell in a handbasket as protests in Egypt turn uglier and uglier, killing several and wounding hundreds. The president of Yemen is also stepping down, though analysts aren't convinced that'll do much to avoid another domino falling.

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