Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuesday Must Read: IRS Says Oakland Pot Club Owes $2 Million; Ignacio Predicts That Curfew Proposal Will Lose

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. In what could be a death blow to the medical marijuana industry, the IRS has ruled that Harborside Health Center in Oakland, the largest pot club on the West Coast, cannot write off routine business expenses and thus owes $2 million in back taxes, the Bay Citizen reports. Harborside says that if the IRS ruling stands, it will have to close its doors. Medical cannabis experts also say that the IRS’s decision could spell the end for pot dispensaries. The IRS concluded that Harborside can’t make routine deductions like other businesses because it’s allegedly engaging in “the trafficking of controlled substances.” Harborside plans to appeal the ruling.

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2. Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, who has been pushing for a curfew in the city, told the Chron that he thinks his proposal will lose at tonight’s council meeting. De La Fuente also predicted that his proposal to expand the city’s controversial gang injunctions to deep East Oakland and West Oakland will also fail to garner the needed votes. As the Express has previously reported, there is little evidence that curfews work, and such a law in Oakland appears to be unnecessary because youth crime has plummeted in the city over the past decade.

3. Oakland City Auditor Courtney Ruby blasted the $91 million Fox Theater renovation project, saying that poor oversight by the city resulted in major cost overruns, the Chron, Tribune, and Bay Citizen reported. Among Ruby’s audit findings: Oakland allegedly overpaid master developer Phil Tagami, but Tagami told the Chron that the payments were for legitimate expenses.

4. Unlike some school districts in the state, Oakland Unified does not plan to block kids from attending school if they have not had a whooping cough vaccination, the Trib reports. There’s been a resurgence of whooping cough, but as of yesterday, 1,300 Oakland students had either not been vaccinated or had not filled out the proper paperwork.

5. The cost of living for Bay Area families has jumped 18 percent since 2008, the CoCo Times reports, citing a study that uses new measures for analyzing the economic well-being of residents. The study examined the price of rental housing, child care, health care, and other basic needs rather than the standard cost-of-living index.

6. East Bay Assemblyman Sandre Swanson is seriously considering a run for state Senate against incumbent Loni Hancock, the Trib reports. Swanson is being termed out next year.

7. And White House e-mails show that some Obama administration officials had warned against the president visiting Solyndra, because of fears that the Fremont-based solar company might implode.

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