Environment

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday Must Reads: Quan Leads Oakland Mayoral Poll; Hot Weather, Fire Season Arrive Early

by Robert Gammon
Mon, May 12, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Mayor Jean Quan has a lead in the Oakland mayor’s race and is ahead of Councilmember Libby Schaaf, 53 to 47 percent in ranked choice voting, the Trib$ reports, citing a new poll from the Oakland Jobs and Housing Coalition. In terms of first-place votes, Quan leads with 20 percent, followed by Schaaf with15 percent; San Francisco State professor Joe Tuman at 8 percent; Port Commissioner Bryan Parker at 7 percent; civil rights attorney Dan Siegel at 5 percent; and City Auditor Courtney Ruby at 4 percent. The poll did not include Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, who led previous polls but has not yet decided whether she will enter the race. The poll also showed that nearly three-quarters of city residents back a plan to raise the minimum wage to $12.25 an hour.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: AC Transit Loses $15.3 Million Legal Case; Californians Back Oil Extraction Tax Proposal

by Robert Gammon
Thu, May 8, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. An Alameda County jury has ordered AC Transit to pay $15.3 million to a woman who suffered serious back injuries when a bus sped over a speed bump in 2011, the Trib$ reports. The verdict, the largest ever personal injury judgment against AC Transit, followed testimony that included a video showing the victim, Maria Francisco, 20, getting thrown into the air, her back slamming against the roof of the bus, and then the bus driver verbally berating Francisco and accusing her of faking her injuries. AC Transit officials also refused to admit liability. Francisco has subsequently had three surgeries on her back and her medical bills have topped $1 million.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wednesday Must Reads: Scientists Say Climate Change Has Arrived; Baby Shorebirds Shredded to Death in Downtown Oakland

by Robert Gammon
Wed, May 7, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A large scientific panel has concluded that human-induced climate change from the burning of fossil fuels has arrived with a vengeance, as dry regions of the country are experiencing intense water shortages while wetter areas are being slammed more frequently by monster storms, The New York Times$ reports. “If greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane continue to escalate at a rapid pace, they said, the warming could conceivably exceed 10 degrees [Fahrenheit] by the end of this century. ‘Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,’ the scientists declared in a major new report.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: Berkeley Councilman Targets Tall Buildings; State Senate to Reconsider Kill Switch Legislation

by Robert Gammon
Tue, May 6, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Berkeley Councilmember Jesse Arreguin is backing a proposed ballot measure that would require tall buildings planned for the city’s downtown area to meet strict environmental standards, Berkeleyside reports. Any buildings more than 75-feet tall would be required to meet LEED platinum standards. In addition, tall buildings also would have to include at least 30 percent affordable units. Opponents of the measure say it would effectively block new development planned for downtown Berkeley. The proposal also appears to conflict with a measure adopted by Berkeley voters in 2010 that sought to increase density in the city’s downtown area.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday Must Reads: Young Sea Lions Starving in Record Numbers; State Hires Rookies to Inspect Refineries

by Robert Gammon
Mon, May 5, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A record number of young sea lions are starving and turning up dehydrated along the California Coast, and researchers are trying to figure out why the emaciated pups are beaching themselves as well, the Chron reports. A suspected cause is toxic algae blooms that have plagued the Monterey Bay area. The toxins in the algae move up the food chain and can “cause memory loss, tremors, convulsions, and death.”

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: Greenhouse Gases Reach Highest Levels in More than 800,000 Years; Berkeley to Consider Taxing Airbnb

by Robert Gammon
Thu, May 1, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, has reached record levels in the earth’s atmosphere, averaging more than 400 parts per million for the first time last month, the Chron reports. CO2 is produced from burning fossil fuels, including oil, coal, and natural gas, and triggers climate change. Climate scientists have long been concerned about CO2 crossing the 400 parts per million threshold. Scientific data going back 800,000 years has never recorded atmospheric levels that high.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Stingray Spotted in Lake Merritt!

by Sam Levin
Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 3:51 PM

Last fall, Lake Merritt made headlines when, for the first time in decades, someone spotted a river otter swimming around, sparking debates about the ongoing revitalization of the body of water.

Turns out otters aren't the only newsworthy creatures roaming the lake. Reader Ashley Garver, who lives near the lake, spotted a stingray this morning, and sent us photographic proof. Images below!

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday Must Reads: Oakland A’s Reject Ten-Year Lease Deal at Coliseum; Bates Proposes Higher Minimum Wage for Regional East Bay

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The owners of the Oakland A’s, who have been publicly pushing for a ten-year lease extension at the Oakland Coliseum, rejected such an offer last night from the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, the Chron and Trib$ report. It’s not clear why the A’s ownership turned down the deal — details of what each side wants in a lease extension remain confidential. East Bay officials, however, said they disclosed the details of their offer to Major League Baseball.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Must Reads: OPD Overseer Endorses Interim Chief Whent; UC Berkeley Accepts Fewer California Students, More Out-of-State Applicants

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Apr 21, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland police overseer Robert Warshaw praised the work of Interim Police Chief Sean Whent and criticized the city’s drawn out hiring process for a permanent chief, the Trib$ reports. In a report, Warshaw also said that the lack of a permanent chief has harmed OPD’s efforts to comply with federally mandated reforms. Mayor Jean Quan said through a spokesman that she plans to name a permanent chief in May.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Environmental Activist Forcibly Removed from Chevron-Sponsored Event in Oakland for Mocking the Company's 'News' Website

by John Geluardi
Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Security guards forcibly removed Paul Paz y Miño, an employee of the environmental group Amazon Watch, from a Chevron-sponsored event today in Oakland because he was carrying flyers that he said he had planned to distribute outside the building after the program. When Miño, who had paid $75 for a ticket to the public event, refused to leave, guards forcibly removed him.

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