Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday Must Read: Global Warming Causes Cooler Temps in Bay Area; Californians Go Wild for Solar

By Robert Gammon
Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. In a seemingly strange twist, global warming is resulting in cooler temperatures and more rain in the Bay Area and along the California coast, while the Central Valley is heating up, the Chron reports, citing a new meteorological study. Although the cooling trend in the Bay Area may seem to give ammunition to climate-change deniers, it actually should be expected with global warming. That’s because rising inland temperatures are prompting more onshore breezes from the Pacific, bringing lower temps and more precipitation to coastal areas.

2. Solar power set a record last year in California, as state residents installed 194 megawatts worth of rooftop solar, a 47 percent increase over 2009, the Mercury News reports. PG&E now has 47,823 customers who use solar power as government incentives and new financing continue to spur more residents to go solar.

3. The East Bay Regional Park District has reached a tentative deal with residents who sued over a plan that would lower the fire danger in the East Bay hills by cutting down numerous trees, the CoCo Times reports. The legal settlement includes provisions to prevent over-logging, and directs the park district to focus on removing small trees and low-hanging limbs, rather than cutting down mature trees.

4. The Oakland City Council voted last night to hold a November election, although it remains unclear exactly what will be put before voters, Oakland North reports. The council voted 7-1 for the special election, with Councilwoman Libby Schaaf dissenting. The council is scheduled to vote later this month on a plan by Mayor Jean Quan to put an $11 million parcel tax on the ballot, and their also could be a special election for city attorney if the council can’t agree on a successor to John Russo.

5. A bill by state Senator Loni Hancock of Berkeley that would abolish the death penalty in California is scheduled to get its first hearing in Sacramento today, the Trib reports. The push to get rid of the death penalty comes at a time when legal experts are increasingly questioning the huge amounts of money that the state spends on capital cases. A study last month revealed that California has spent $4 billion on death penalty cases since 1978, but has only put thirteen people to death during that time.

6. The state of California paid more than 1,400 workers in excess of $200,000 last year, according to new data released by the controller’s office, the LA Times and Chron report. The highest paid were medical professionals in the state’s prison system.

7. California State University Chancellor Charles Reed (who made $399,000 last year) is proposing another 12 percent tuition increase for this fall because of additional statewide budget cuts, the Chron reports. CSU tuition is already slated to go up by 10 percent next month, and if the new increase is approved by the CSU board, then students will be paying more than double what they did just five years ago.

8. And the Bay Area cycling community is concerned about an experienced Berkeley cyclist who went missing while riding in the East Bay hills on Saturday, the Trib reports.

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