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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New Opposition Emerges Against Smartphone Kill Switches

by Charlie Guese
Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 1:24 PM


As smartphone kill switch legislation moves toward passage in Sacramento, new opposition is emerging against the bill — and it’s not from cellphone manufacturers and carriers. Instead, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a San Francisco-based advocacy group that is generally aligned with progressive causes, has decided to come out against SB 962 on the grounds that it might allow the government to turn off people’s cellphones in certain instances.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday Must Reads: Kaplan Disbands Shady Ballot Measure Campaign; East Bay Cities May Collaborate on Minimum Wage Hike

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, who is running for mayor this year, has disbanded a ballot measure committee that appears to have violated campaign laws, the Trib$ reports. In 2010, Kaplan used the committee — the Coalition for Safe Streets and Local Jobs — to pay staffers who were working on her mayoral campaign and not on the ballot measure campaign, in apparent violation of city and state election laws. Kaplan’s political allies pressured her to kill the committee out of fear that it would harm her 2014 mayoral bid.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Must Reads: Google and Microsoft Compromise on Kill Switches; State Prisons Performed Illegal Sterilizations on Women

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Google and Microsoft agreed to install kill switches on their smartphones in a compromise deal with law enforcement officials, the LA Times$ reports. The companies, however, stopped short of making the kill switches automatic — as law enforcement had requested — and instead will install them on phones, but make them optional for users. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, nonetheless, praised the decision by the industry giants, noting that thefts of iPhones have dropped since Apple installed similar optional kill switch devices.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: Berkeley Council Okays $12.53 Minimum Wage; Oakland Moves Forward with Controversial West Oakland Plan

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Berkeley City Council unanimously voted to move forward with a plan to raise the city’s minimum wage to $12.53 an hour by October 2016, the Trib$ reports. The proposal will come back to the council on June 24 for final approval, and city officials are expecting opposition from restaurant owners. Under the plan, the city’s minimum wage would increase to $10 on hour on October 1 this year, and then to $11 an hour by October 1, 2015, before rising to $12.53 an hour the following year.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Controversial Temescal Obelisk Put on Hold

by Charlie Guese
Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 2:18 PM

The controversial Temescal obelisk that the Temescal Telegraph Business Improvement District (TTBID) and a local property owner were planning to install later this month has been halted — for now. In a meeting on Tuesday, the TTBID decided to postpone further work on the project, which called for a 20-foot blue obelisk with the neighborhood and city’s name to be placed at 52nd Street and Shattuck Avenue on a private lot.

The TTBID said that it plans to hold a community event in order to discuss the contested obelisk at a date yet to be determined.

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Oakland Moves Forward on Fossil Fuel Bans

by Jean Tepperman
Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Two Oakland City Council committees unanimously approved measures yesterday that would, in different ways, combat the harm being done by fossil fuels to the City of Oakland and to the planet. The Council Public Works Committee passed a proposal to ban the shipment of coal through the city and the Port of Oakland and to oppose the shipment of crude oil on railroad tracks through Oakland. And the council Finance Committee approved a measure that would remove city funds from investments in fossil fuel companies and urge public retirement funds and other local communities to do the same.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: Bates Pushes to Save Berkeley Post Office; Quan’s Car Crash Incident Remains Murky

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 9:40 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Mayor Tom Bates is pushing a plan that is designed to protect the downtown Berkeley Post Office and other historic buildings, Berkeleyside reports. Under the mayor’s proposal, thirteen historic structures around City Hall, including the post office, could not be used for commercial purposes. The proposal is meant to dissuade developers from purchasing the post office. The US Postal Service has been selling historic buildings around the country to raise funds. The language of Bates’ plan comes directly from a citywide ballot measure pushed by Councilmember Jesse Arreguin. But Bates opposes other aspects of that measure, because they would make it tougher to build housing in the downtown area.

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Friday, June 6, 2014

Legislators Who Voted Against Fracking Ban Pocketed Oil Industry Cash

by Ari Nussbaum
Fri, Jun 6, 2014 at 2:32 PM

Still wondering why the state legislature last week killed a proposed moratorium on fracking even though 68 percent of Californians support the idea? Perhaps it has to do with pay-to-play in Sacramento. According to an analysis by the nonpartisan, Berkeley-based Maplight.org, state senators who voted against the fracking ban legislation — SB 1132 — received, on average, fourteen times as much money from the oil industry in campaign donations during the past four years as those who voted in favor of the ban — a whopping $25,227 versus $1,772. 

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: Kaplan Enters Oakland Mayor’s Race: A’s on Verge of Signing Ten-Year Lease Extension at Coliseum

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Jun 5, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan officially entered the Oakland mayor’s race last night, and instantly became a front-runner in the contest. Kaplan has led mayoral polls that have included her as a candidate. In 2010, she came within about 2,000 votes of defeating Jean Quan, the eventual mayoral winner. Kaplan had said previously that she did not intend to run against Quan this year, but she told the Trib$ that she started to seriously consider entering the contest in April after the mayor suffered yet another series of missteps, including the loss of newly appointed City Administrator Fred Blackwell.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Updated: Despite Receiving a $50 Million Donation, Children's Hospital Oakland Is Still Refusing to Give Raises

by Charlie Guese
Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 3:54 PM

If you happen to run into any medical residents anytime soon, they may look a little fatigued and broke, especially if they happen to be residents or pediatricians of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital of Oakland. Today, the CIR/SEIU Healthcare union that represents resident physicians and pediatricians said it plans to rally in front of the hospital on Friday at 12:15 p.m. along with nurses and community leaders to demand better wagers and working conditions.

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