Thursday, February 28, 2008

Skateboarding at Six Flags

by Kathleen Richards
Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 11:39 AM

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo hopes to take advantage of skateboarding's mainstream appeal by opening two new skateboard-themed attractions this spring, reports the LA Times' travel blog. The Tony Hawk Big Spin is a rotating rollercoaster meant to simulate the skateboarder's trademark half-pipe spins, while the Fuzion Zone skate park will allow users to skate for real on a skateboard/scooter hybrid made by Emeryville's NextSport.

Suburbs the New Slums?

by Kathleen Richards
Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Local blogs are buzzing over a recent article in The Atlantic positing the question in light of soaring foreclosure rates, vacant lots, and people moving back to urban centers. Some wonder whether this could happen in the Bay Area, in places like Antioch or Brentwood, especially as local home sales hit a new low.

The Trib Criticizes OPD for Bailey Investigation

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 11:14 AM

The Oakland Tribune heaped criticism on the Oakland police today for its botched investigation into the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey. The unsigned editorial was especially critical of OPD brass for allowing homicide Detective Derwin Longmire to lead the investigation even though he had a long relationship with Yusuf Bey IV, the CEO of Your Black Muslim Bakery. Alleged gunman Devaughndre Broussard claims that Bey IV coerced him into confessing to Bailey's murder after Longmire allowed the bakery leader to meet privately with Broussard at police headquarters. The editorial was unusual because the Trib rarely criticizes Oakland police. One gripe, though. The editorial stated that Sunday's 60 Minutes program on the murder investigation "didn't break any ground." That's untrue. In the program, Broussard made a startling new claim — that Longmire had urged him not to finger Bey IV in the murder case.

Clif Bar Not Moving to Alameda?

by Kathleen Richards
Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 11:05 AM

That's what Alameda blogger Lauren Do, who keeps a close eye on local politics, reports on her Blogging Bayport Alameda. The Berkeley-based energy bar company had planned to relocate to a rehabilitated warehouse at Alameda Landing, as part of a massive redevelopment effort to turn the former Navy base into a mixed use, waterfront, sustainable community. But Do reports that Clif Bar has terminated its relationship with the developer, Catellus, because the project was moving too slowly. Catellus hit a snag last year after it was discovered that the wharf on the waterfront — adjacent to Clif Bar's building and an integral part of the development — was determined to have corroded pilings and in need of seismic retrofitting. In addition, it was determined that the building adjacent to Clif Bar's would need to be torn down, rather than rehabilitated in the "sustainable" vision that Clif Bar was hoping for.

More Americans in Jail than Ever Before

by Kathleen Richards
Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 10:30 AM

That's according to a report just released by the Pew Center on the States, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. About one out of every 100 people are either in jail or prison — the greatest ratio in US history. States spent about $49 billion on correctional facilities last year, about six times more than what we spend on higher education, and an increase from about $11 billion twenty years ago. The surge in the correctional population doesn't reflect a parallel increase in crime, the report noted, but rather because of tougher sentencing that results in longer prison stays.

No New Charter Schools For Richmond After All

Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 9:16 AM

Richmond will not be converting ten schools into charter schools after all, the Contra Costa Times reported. City leaders had feared that the West Contra Costa Unified School District planned to close some campuses or postpone long-needed renovations. But they were wrong, it turns out.

No Charges in Alleged Death Threats to GOP Leader

Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 9:12 AM

Prosecutors were unable to substantiate claims that the Contra Costa County GOP chairman received death threats, the Contra Costa Times reported. Nagaraja Rao had complained of receiving several phoned threats shortly after the party's central committee voted to oppose the recall of two Pinole city council members, Maria Alegria and Stephen Tilton. Rao told the city council last year that one caller had told him, "I'm watching you. You will be dead." Because Rao reported receiving some of the threats while he was in Berkeley, officials in Alameda County looked into his allegations. Assistant District Attorney Marty Brown told the Times that there is insufficient evidence to charge anyone.

Joint Genome Institute Expands.

Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 9:04 AM

Walnut Creek's federal Joint Genome Institute is expanding into larger digs, the Contra Costa Times reports. The institute is adding 18,000 square feet of room to its facility, which will now encompass a total of 80,000 square feet. The facility employs about 250 people.

State Ag Commissioner an "Unwelcome Intruder" in Berkeley

Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 8:57 AM

Berkeley and Oakland may join in Albany in opposing the use of aerial pesticides to combat the invasive Light Brown Apple Moth, the Oakland Tribune reports. At its regular Tuesday night meeting, the Berkeley council served state Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura notice that it opposes a proposal to spray airborne pheramones over urban portions of the East Bay this summer. State ag officials are worried that the invasive moth, an immigrant from Australia, may damage the state's multi-billion dollar agricultural economy. The Berkeley council voted eight to one to oppose the spraying and explore legal options to stop it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Baseball Blackout

Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 10:10 PM

Have you noticed that the A's don't look a lot like Oakland? The number of African Americans on the field and in the stands, or lining up to get Stomper's autograph has declined for a generation. And according to one source if the current state budget crisis plays as it's pitched, we may look back on today as a golden age for African American participation in the national pastime

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