Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday Must Read

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 7:05 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland City Council is poised to authorize, tax, and regulate four large medical cannabis farms tonight in hopes of raising millions in tax revenues. However, the proposal by Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan and Larry Reid has drawn opposition from mid-sized medical marijuana growers who worry they’ll be squeezed out of business. Kaplan, as a result, plans to propose licensing regulations for mid-sized growers this fall. In addition to growing cannabis, the four large farms likely will produce oils, tinctures, and baked goods made from marijuana and will be authorized to sell to any cannabis dispensary in the state. The city projects that over time, the large farms could generate $38 million a year in tax revenues for Oakland.

2. Supporters of Johannes Mehserle who rallied in Walnut Creek yesterday were outnumbered by Oscar Grant supporters during a noisy demonstration and counterdemonstration, the Chron reports. But the CoCo Times reports that even though racial tensions were evident as the two sides shouted at each other, the demonstrations remained peaceful and no violence ensued.

3. The Alameda City Council may sever its ties tonight with SunCal, the proposed developer of the former Naval Air Station, the Chron reports. City staffers are recommending that Alameda stop negotiating with SunCal and look at other development possibilities. However, SunCal, which has spent $12 million on the massive development project so far, hinted that it might sue the city if the council votes tonight to end negotiations.

4. Investigators suspect that the right-wing extremist who shot at CHP officers in Oakland over the weekend might have been part of a larger anti-government plot, the Trib reports. CHP investigators also think the heavily armed extremist, Byron Williams, was on his way to do a "very serious crime against either someone or a group of people" when he was pulled over by law enforcement. Williams also has a long criminal record and is likely facing life in prison under the state’s three-strikes law.

5. Oakland police still have no idea who shot at them on Sunday night as they were conducting a drug bust in West Oakland. The sniper sprayed bullets at officers, but no one was hurt, the Trib reports.

6. The City of Berkeley closed down a bingo parlor on San Pablo Avenue when it became apparent that the operation was not giving away it proceeds to charity as required under law, the Berkeley Voice reports. The city says the parlor made $5.6 million in the second-half of last year, but it’s not clear where the money went.

7. And even though a majority of Californians say they support gay marriage, polling remains the same on the issue as it was 2008 when voters banned gay nuptials, the Chron reports.


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