Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Public-Employee Pensions Are Not the Only Problem

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 9:53 AM

The current frustration over public-employee pensions is understandable. During the past several decades, private companies have stopped providing pensions for their workers, replacing them with 401k-style retirement plans, or nothing at all. And so it’s no surprise that private-sector employees, who represent the majority of the electorate, are now unhappy that their public-employee brethren receive guaranteed pensions when they do not.

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Friday, June 8, 2012

EBX Wins Two Alt-Weekly Awards

by Ellen Cushing
Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 5:21 PM

WELL, WELL, WELL. Looks like EBX staffers/awesomest humans Robert Gammon and Nate Seltenrich each scooped up trophies at the annual Alt-Weekly Awards, which encompass alternative newspapers throughout the US and Canada, and which were presented at the Association of Alternative Newsmedia's annual conference, held this year in Detroit. Bob won third place on the political columns category for newspapers with a circulation under 50,000 for a series of Full Disclosures from last year (Cops Charging Overtime to Clubs, Marcie Hodge Loses, Again, and The Absent Police Chief). Nate, meanwhile, took first place in the short-form news category for his environmental stories The Blair Park Project, Solar Is Still Humming, and How Organic Is Organic?. It's been a great couple of months for us, and we're super-grateful. This is basically what the office looks like right now:

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Mayor Quan Commits to East Bay MUD's Public Power Plans. Will the Council Follow Suit?

by Darwin BondGraham
Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 10:05 AM

In a move that could dramatically increase the amount of renewable energy that East Bay residents use, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan is now supporting East Bay MUD's exploration of a public power program under the model of Community Choice Aggregation. In a May 23 letter sent to the East Bay MUD General Manager Alex Coates, Quan wrote, "the City of Oakland is interested in exploring with other East Bay cities and with EBMUD the possibility of forming a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) partnership." Quan added that, "I see this as an opportunity to create green jobs in the region...." The Express learned of the letter after going to press with our feature story last week, "When Will We Go Green?"

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Rob Bonta and Abel Guillen Head to Runoff, Joel Young Eliminated

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 8:54 AM

Rob Bonta and Abel Guillen are headed for a November runoff for the 18th Assembly District, after finishing first and second in yesterday's primary. Joel Young was eliminated from the race, after coming in third. Only the top two finishers go to the November runoff under California's new primary system.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Costco Fined $3.6 Million for Improper Handling of Hazardous Wastes in East Bay

by Nate Seltenrich
Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 3:14 PM

After a tip came in from San Joaquin County that big-box retailer Costco was improperly storing, handling, and disposing of hazardous wastes, 29 California District Attorneys banded together to find out more. Here in the East Bay, inspectors rifled through landfill-bound detritus from five Alameda County Costco stores. Elsewhere in the state, another three trash inspections took place. The searches confirmed the DA's suspicions: Costco was illegally dumping a variety of hazardous waste materials including pharmaceuticals, in-house cleaning products, and tire repair cement.

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Mark Your Calendars: EBX Editorial Happy Hour June 27

by Kathleen Richards
Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Have a juicy story tip for the Express writers? Ideas about how we can improve the paper? Or, perhaps, are you just dying to tell us how much you love us?? Join the Express editorial staff for a happy hour at The Night Light (311 Broadway, Oakland ) on Wednesday, June 27, from 6-8 p.m. The event is an opportunity for readers to interact with writers and editors, give us feedback, and, well, get drunk together. There will be drink specials, and El Taco Bike will be parked out front. Please join us!

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Despite what Romney Says, Green Energy Is the Answer

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Jun 4, 2012 at 1:34 PM

During Mitt Romney’s surprise visit last week to the East Bay, the Republican presidential nominee made it clear that renewable-energy subsidies will be at the center of his campaign. At the shuttered Solyndra solar plant in Fremont, Romney characterized public investment in green energy as an assault on free enterprise and an example of big government excess. The free market, Romney contends, doesn’t need help from Uncle Sam, and Solyndra was the number-one “failure” of President Barack Obama’s first term.

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However, as much as Romney and the Republicans want to demonize public subsidies for green energy, the truth is, they still pale in comparison to the taxpayer giveaways for aging, polluting industries like fossil fuels and nuclear power. Indeed, even though Obama’s Energy Department made the wrong bet on Solyndra and it’s expensive solar technology, the amount of taxpayer subsidies for nuclear power and fossil fuels remains astronomically high. Currently, oil and gas companies receive at least $4 billion in direct annual subsidies from the US government — and that figure doesn’t include the hundreds of billions of dollars we have spent in the past two decades on foreign wars whose true intent is to protect our oil supply.

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Congratulations to All the Indie Awards Winners!

by Ellen Cushing
Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 4:44 PM

Every year, the Oakland Indie Awards is one of the events the Express is happiest and proudest to help put on, and the 2012 festivities — which went down at the Kaiser Center — were no different: There were DJs! There were people on stilts! There was free soda! And possibly even more importantly than stiltwalkers and free soda, there were nine local businesses, nonprofits, and individuals (plus approximately a gazillion very-worthy nominees) being rewarded and celebrated for their contributions to the community. Without further ado, the winners:

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Best of the East Bay Voting Is Live!

by Kathleen Richards
Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 10:49 AM

It's that time again! Vote for your favorite people, places, and businesses for this year's Best of the East Bay issue, which comes out July 18, 2012. This year's theme is Revolution, which means we're highlighting all the groundbreaking, game-changing, subversive, and irreverent things in the East Bay. Scoot on over to our online ballot and submit your favorites now! Voting ends June 30, 2012.

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Assembly Candidate Joel Young Plays Race Card, Lies Again

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 10:22 AM

Embattled Assembly candidate Joel Young is now playing the race card. In a mailer from Young’s campaign that arrived in East Bay mailboxes yesterday, his mother, Carol Draizen, strongly implies that the numerous allegations against him, which range from violence to unethical behavior, are racially motivated. “Raising my African American sons,” Draizen writes, after addressing the allegations of domestic violence against Young, “I witnessed the harm that racial bias could create …”

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