Wednesday, August 31, 2011

You Write Too Long: This Week's Feature, Bite-Sized

by Ellen Cushing
Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Guys, it's fall!! Can't you tell from the crisp fall air, autumn leaves crunching under your feet, and untraceable but ever-present scent of chestnuts roasting on an open fire?! Uhhh at any rate, regardless of the autumnality* — or lack thereof — going on outside, it's time for our annual Fall Arts special issue, in which we tell you damn near everything you need to know about this season's arts offerings. We've got Jason Victor Serinus on the Oakland East Bay Symphony (Community-oriented! Totally awesome!); Claudia Bauer on all that the East Bay dance world has to offer this season (Water ballet! World-acclaimed flamenco! So much more!); Rachel Swan on what the big East Bay theater companies have in store this year ("Vibrant and relevant" programming!); and finally, Kelly Vance on the next few months in film (One word: Moneyball!). Grab a cup of hot apple cider and read the whole thing here.


*totally not a real word; sorry. But shouldn't it be?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Single Adults Now Comprise 73 Percent of Alameda County's Homeless Population

by Rachel Swan
Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 3:52 PM

So says the local non-profit organization EveryOne Home, which just released its biennial homeless count. While the organization indicated that Alameda County's overall homeless count has decreased 13.6 percent, it did note that single adults now comprise 73 percent of the population, a detail that caught the attention of Daily Cal reporter Noor Al-Samarrai. EveryOne Home's executive director, Elaine deColigny, attributed these changes partly to the Obama administration's new Opening Doors policy, which favors children, families, and veterans, and to cuts in General Assistance funding, which goes to single adults and emancipated minors. As a result, we're seeing fewer families, veterans, and children on the streets, as well as fewer mentally ill people (mostly thanks to Berkeley's emphasis on mental health services). In contrast, sub-populations of chronic homeless, unsheltered homeless, and elderly homeless are rising, at the same time that more young adults are joining the so-called "hidden poor."

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Tuesday Must Read: Feds Blame PG&E for Deadly San Bruno Blast; Cal Prof on His Way to State Supreme Court

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Federal regulators today blamed PG&E for last year’s deadly pipeline blast that destroyed a San Bruno neighborhood, the Chron and Mercury News report. The National Transportation Safety Board cited PG&E’s “litany of failures” as the prime reason for the explosion, noting that the pipeline that blew up was defective when it was installed in the 1950s and that PG&E never adequately inspected it. The NTSB also ruled out a 2008 sewer pipeline repair job as possible reason for the blast. PG&E and state regulators have tried to pin partial blame on the sewer repair job as contributing to the weakening of the nearby gas pipeline that exploded. But the NTSB found no evidence of that assertion.

Liu
  • Liu
2. UC Berkeley law school professor Goodwin Liu appears headed for certain confirmation to the California Supreme Court because no conservative groups have signed up to speak out against him, the Mercury News and Chron report. Republicans had previously derailed Liu’s nomination by President Obama to a federal appeals court, claiming he’s too liberal. Liu was then nominated to join the state Supreme Court by Governor Brown.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Must Read: Legislature Stonewalls on Salaries; Another BART Protest Tonight

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The state legislature has released some salary data for staff members, but political watchdogs say that Sacramento politicians are still trying to keep many of their expenditures secret, the LA Times and SacBee report. Leaders in the Senate and Assembly have been under fire to reveal how much money they hand out as rewards to loyal legislators and how much they withhold from those who defy them. The controversy was sparked by Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Portantino who has charged that Assembly Speaker John Perez slashed his office budget as payback for voting against this year’s budget.

Perez
  • Perez
The legislature has exempted itself for years from state open records laws and has long kept secret exactly how it spends taxpayer money on salaries and office expenses. Legislators also routinely refuse to reveal when and how often they meet with lobbyists and special interest groups.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Must Read: New Bill Would Block Amazon.com Ballot Measure; Shark Fin Ban Moves Forward

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. State Senator Loni Hancock of Berkeley unveiled new legislation that would short-circuit a ballot-drive effort by Amazon.com, the Chron reports. The bill would replace a law enacted earlier this year that forces Amazon.com to collect sales taxes from its customers. And Amazon.com would be prohibited from trying to overturn the new bill at the ballot box because Hancock’s legislation requires a two-thirds majority vote of the legislature. Such legislation cannot be overturned by voters.

Hancock
  • Hancock

Hancock and Democrats are also hopeful they can gain the Republican votes necessary to pass the replacement bill because eBay recently expressed support for the new legislation.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday Must Read: BART to Establish Cellphone Shutdown Policy; MTC Plan to Move to SF Will Be Audited

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 9:53 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The BART board of directors agreed yesterday to establish a policy that calls for shutting down cellphones only in the most serious emergencies, the Chron and CoCo Times reports. The board’s vote effectively acknowledged that BART should not have killed cellular service earlier this month in order to disrupt a demonstration — although the board stopped short of admitting that it had made a mistake.

Johnson
  • Johnson
Meanwhile, anonymous hackers released a photo that they said shows BART spokesman Linton Johnson flashing his genitals at a party. The hackers have demanded that BART fire Johnson because of his harsh criticism of protesters and his staunch defense of the cellphone shutdown decision.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Steve Jobs Resigns as Apple's CEO

by Rachel Swan
Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 5:21 PM

And, in a letter to staff at the company he helped create in 1976, he recommended chief operating officer Tim Cook to be his successor. Cook was actually on the short list since Jobs took medical leave in January. He's been running day-to-day operations at Apple for 13 years. It looks like the company heeded Jobs' advice, since it announced in a press release issued today that Cook will be taking Jobs' place in the executive office. Jobs, meanwhile, will serve as chairman of the board while he battles cancer and other undisclosed ailments. This afternoon tech analysts were all a-Twitter, opining about Jobs' resignation and legacy. Merc columnist Chris O'Brien contends that the Apple titan "reshaped Silicon Valley in his own image." Many call it a tectonic shift, but also admit they knew this day was coming.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oakland Tribune to be Renamed East Bay Tribune

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 12:31 PM

The Oakland Tribune will be renamed the East Bay Tribune effective this November, its parent company, the Bay Area News Group, announced today. In addition, the West County Times, the Alameda Times-Star, the Daily Review of Hayward, and the Argus of Fremont, will be renamed as the East Bay Tribune — although each paper will have a separate local news section that covers its community.

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Tuesday Must Read: 49ers Cancel Future Exhibition Games with Raiders; Wall Street Got $1.2 Trillion Bailout from the Fed

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 10:03 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. San Francisco 49ers President Jed York said he plans to ask the NFL to “postpone” indefinitely any future exhibition games against the Oakland Raiders, because of the widespread fan violence before, during, and after Saturday night’s contest at Candlestick Park, the Mercury News and Chron report. The 49ers also plan to curtail tailgating and beer sales at all games. Drunken fans were at the center of shootings and fights at the Niners-Raiders’ matchup. Police also attributed some of the violence to rival gang members who were on hand. The 49ers also said they would crackdown on season ticket holders who sell their exhibition game tickets for cheap.

Ben Bernanke
  • Ben Bernanke
2. The Federal Reserve loaned Wall Street banks and other financial institutions a staggering $1.2 trillion during the height of the subprime mortgage meltdown, Bloomberg reports, citing newly released data that the Fed had wanted to keep secret. The massive bailout for banks that bought and sold risky mortgages and exotic mortgage-backed securities came in stark contrast to the government’s lackluster efforts to help millions of homeowners across the nation who are underwater on their mortgages.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Andronico's Files for Bankruptcy

by Ellen Cushing
Mon, Aug 22, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Rumors and reports about the Berkeley-founded grocery chain's financial troubles have been swirling for awhile, but today, it's official: Andronico's has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to the Chron, and is in negotiations to be bought by a venture-capital firm.

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