Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday Must Read: Brown Delays Budget Vote; Blacks Continue to Flee Oakland and Richmond

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Governor Jerry Brown asked the state legislature to delay its planned vote on his budget package as he continues to meet with a group of centrist Republicans, the SacBee reports. Brown had set a deadline of today for approval of his plan, but he has yet to garner enough GOP votes to put his tax measures on the June ballot. Democratic leaders of both the Senate and Assembly agreed to delay the budget vote while Brown and the so-called GOP Five are still negotiating.

2. Blacks continued to move from the East Bay’s urban core to the suburbs last decade, the Trib reports, citing new US Census data. Black populations in Oakland and Richmond dropped 23 percent each from 2000 to 2010, and declined 20 percent in Berkeley. Meanwhile, the number of blacks in the Contra Costa County suburb of Antioch doubled, and in Brentwood, it quadrupled. So-called “black flight” from the East Bay’s urban core began in the 1990s.

3. At the same time, many East Bay cities experienced a surge in Latino residents — except for Oakland’s Fruitvale district, the CoCo Times reports. Latinos now represent 39.5 percent of Richmond’s population, surpassing blacks as the largest ethnic group in the city for the first time.

4. The proposed Indian-gaming casino for Richmond’s Point Molate moved forward this week toward an April 5 decision, the CoCo Times reports. The Richmond City Council voted 4-1 on Tuesday night to approve the project’s environmental impact report, and plans to vote on the project itself on April 5.

5. The federal probe of Emeryville’s Oaks Card Club, which strongly opposes the Point Molate Casino proposal, continued as the director of the club’s Asian gaming section, Hoa The Nguyen, was accused of hiding nearly $1 million in transactions in his personal bank accounts, the Trib reports.

6. Environmentalists and residents of Niles Canyon are attempting to block Caltrans’ ongoing expansion of Niles Canyon Road in southern Alameda County, the Chron reports. Caltrans has already cut down eighty trees in its widening project and plans to remove a total of five hundred. Environmentalists say the project threatens the restoration of a steelhead run in Alameda Creek.

7. The number of chinook salmon off the Northern California coast is at its highest peak since 2006, the Chron reports. The fall-run of chinook in the Sacramento River jumped last fall from an all-time low of 39,500 in 2009 to 153,000.

8. And the nation’s solar industry experienced a banner year in 2010, growing by 67 percent in total value, the Mercury News reports.

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