A so-called "rolling right turn" on a red light can land you up to $400 in the hole, if you do it at the intersection of Powell and Christie Streets, in Emeryville. It's been the bane of many drivers' existence since the city first installed them in 2004. Now, the Southern California city of Murietta is trying to alleviate the sting of its own red light cameras by donating the fines to charities, the Associated Press reports. Murietta city councilman Rick Gibbs put forth the idea as a way to convince drivers that safety, rather than greed, is the primary motivator for these cameras. East Bay cities — take note!
Eight months ago, Anthony Batts looked like he might become one of the best police chiefs Oakland has had in years. He’s charismatic, he said all the right things, and he appeared to really want to improve crime fighting in the city. But maybe all the adulation Oaklanders poured on him went to his head. It's hard to say. Because over the past eight months, Batts has displayed a different side to his leadership skills, and it's been an eye-opener:
In Berkeley, tree-sitters have had a lot of trouble measuring up to their tree-hugger counterparts. Now, a man who has occupied a tree in People's Park for the last three months has been charged with attempted murder, according to Berkeleyside. Fifty-four-year-old Matthew Dodt was arrested Friday afternoon after a six hour standoff with police. He allegedly tried to stab a man in the neck, after the man climbed up the tree for unclear reasons. Dodt said he'd brought the knife out in self-defense, though UC Police claim he'd actually invited the victim up for a conversation. Whatever the case, Dodt managed only to stab the man's hand. The man was treated at a local hospital and released. Dodt eventually agreed to come down from the tree after police brought a ladder and spent several hours negotiating with him. He was promptly arrested and taken to Alameda County Jail.
Finally, an Oakland political leader has mustered the courage to stand up to Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts and call him out in the press. Instead of begging Batts not to leave, as other city leaders have been doing, longtime Oakland City Councilwoman Jane Brunner said in today’s Trib that she believes Batts “needs to want be here.” Brunner also noted that Batts has failed to express his concerns with the city council or help find solutions.
San Jose apparently doesn’t think Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts is good enough to be its police chief. But Batts seems to still think he’s too good for Oakland. And a lot of Oaklanders apparently think the same thing, considering all the groveling they’ve been doing over the past two weeks trying to convince Batts to stay. Turns out all the begging was unnecessary. Batts wasn’t going to San Jose anyway. But the groveling now has a substantial downside. It’s emboldened Batts to publicly trash his bosses and the city he serves.
So much for the proscription on plastic bags, in Berkeley. Under apparent pressure from the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, city lawmakers have delayed the proposed ban until Alameda County completes an Environmental Impact Report on the environmental effects of plastic, the Daily Cal reports. Cities that instituted the ban without a full EIR were later sued by plastic bag enthusiasts — who might also be considered anti-paper-baggists. They cite the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires a well-rounded, well-researched report not only on plastic, but on the potential harms of paper, as well.
Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts apparently is not going to San Jose after all. The Mercury News, citing anonymous sources, reports this afternoon that San Jose City Manager Debra Figone has selected San Jose's acting Police Chief Chris Moore instead of Batts to be the city's next police chief. Figone is expected to make her recommendation to the San Jose City Council next Tuesday.Update, 8:14 p.m: the Trib is now reporting that Batts has confirmed he did not get the San Jose job, though he has apparently not committed to remaining in Oakland, either. "I have not made a final decision as to my future with this agency," the Trib story quotes Batts as saying in a news release.
Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to severely cut state health care funding for poor, sick people will end up killing some of them, health-care advocates contend, according to the Chron. The governor’s proposal includes limiting doctor’s visits for people on MediCal to ten per year, which would save the state $200 million annually. But critics say the restrictions could doom some patients. They note, for example, that dialysis patients need go to the doctor up to three times a week. "A lot of these recommendations will lead to the most dire of consequences - that people will lose their lives," said East Bay Democratic state Senator Mark DeSaulnier, chairman of the Senate subcommittee that is reviewing the health cuts.
Beavers: Nature’s wunderkind. That’s the message likely to be heralded at the State of the Beaver conference, scheduled for February 2-4 — only a week after President Obama’s State of the Union address: coincidence? — in the hallowed halls of Seven Feathers Convention Center and Resort in Canyonville, Oregon. There, the story of the East Bay’s most famous beavers — those who took up residence in downtown Martinez’s Alhambra Creek in late 2006 and have since become the focus of much civic conversation and controversy — will be shared as an example of how the crafty rodents can play a critical role in reviving aquatic ecosystems.
Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. About 100,000 people are expected to apply for Section 8 vouchers in Oakland this week even though there are currently only 650 of the subsidized housing vouchers available, the Chron reports. Thousands of people jammed into Oakland libraries yesterday to sign up for the vouchers after the city’s housing authority opened its waiting list. About 6,000 people signed up in the first three hours, authority officials said.