Hello, party people. Here are the stories you shouldn't miss:
1. A controversial proposal to give local governments the authority to tax their residents is being tabled til 2012, according to the LA Times. Interestingly enough, this comes just as a new poll indicates Californians would be amenable to voter-approved local taxes on stuff like cigarettes, liquor, and soda.
2. In order to bridge a monumental budget gap — and facing a tax-averse political climate — the state of California is increasingly turning to fee increases, reporteth the Sacramento Bee in a fascinating story from Sunday's paper. That means a 20 percent hike in student fees in the UC and CSU systems, double-digit increases for state park users, and major spikes in vehicle registration fees; plus the introduction of new fees like a $150 "fire charge" for rural homes. Yikes.
We knew it was coming, and here we have it. Critics of the Oakland Zoo's expansion into upper Knowland Park officially filed suit today against the zoo for failing to perform an Environmental Impact Report. The suit was filed by the California Native Plant Society, a Sacramento organization with an East Bay chapter geared toward preserving California's native flora, and Friends of Knowland Park, a community organization that has fought to represent neighbors and the park itself ever since changes to the expansion, first approved in 1998, were proposed four years ago. If successful, it could delay or further alter the expansion plans.
Good morning, East Bay. Stories you shouldn't miss:
1. Looks like the Raiders and 49ers could very well be sharing a stadium in the near-ish future. Though the two teams have been in discussion for awhile now, a couple recent developments are expected to push the project forward, according to the Trib: first, the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, which is expected to be ratified sometime within the next few hours, provides more financing for new stadiums* around the league — and could, therefore, give The 49ers much of the money they need to go ahead with a new stadium in Santa Clara, which the team has discussed subleasing to the Raiders. But at the same time, Oakland city officials unveiled a plan to build a new stadium right next to the Coliseum, which officials said could host both NFL teams, in addition to other sporting events. Either way, there's still a lot of negotiations ahead before any project moves forward; we'll keep you posted.
2. The family of Derrick Jones, the unarmed East Oakland barber who was shot and killed by cops back in November, has filed a $10 million civil rights suit against the city. Though Alameda County prosecutors have previously ruled that officers Eriberto Perez-Angeles and Omar Daza-Quiroz broke no laws in shooting Jones, the suit, filed in federal court, argues that they used excessive force.
Five words, friends: Best Of the East Bay. With this week's feature, you get none of the measured, long-winded bloviating on civic issues of the typical EBX cover story. Instead: forty-plus pages of completely partial, totally ADD-friendly little paragraphs about awesome topics such as bikes and boozing and tattoos and comic books korritos(!) and weed, with nary a nut graf in sight: YOU'RE WELCOME. Learn more about all the people, places, institutions, and trends that make the East Bay the best ever in the whole world here; get the results of our annual readers' poll here; and assorted comments and witticisms collected from you guys, our dear readers, here. Hooray!
The biggest day left for the Oakland Athletics in the 2011 season happens on celluloid. The limping A's, having just gotten rolled by the Detroit Tigers are now 14 games back from the first-place Texas Rangers. In other words: Out. Of. It. But this season has one last bit of sour magic left to play. On Friday September 23rd, the Moneyball movie, is opening in theaters. That's the day after the actual A's home season ends. Sometimes you don't get any of the bounces.
Big fun last night as the Oakland City Council debated a number of contentious issues and set the ballot for this fall's special election. The bullet points:
Barbara Parker, who's been acting as the city attorney since John Russo left for Alameda, was officially appointed City Attorney with a 5-3 vote. Voting for her appointment — which will fill out Russo's term and end in January 2013 — were Councilmembers Larry Reid, Pat Kernighan, Rebecca Kaplan, Nancy Nadel, and Libby Schaaf; Desley Brooks, Ignacio de la Fuente, and Jane Brunner voted against. Of particular note: Councilwoman Brunner — who's openly said she wants the job and whose (now removed and cached) web site said so as recently as yesterday afternoon — didn't abstain, nor did she say anything when a deputy city attorney asked the council if any of them would also be seeking the office (and would therefore have a conflict of interest). Regardless, Parker enjoyed massive public support at the meeting: Of the dozens of speakers during public comment, not one spoke against her, and the chambers were filled with folks wearing neon "I Support BJP" stickers.*
This year, one item on every East Bay city’s wish list is the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s proposed second campus. Ah, the romance! Beyond improving the Port of Oakland and keeping the A’s stadium, Mayor Jean Quan hopes a new lab at the Brooklyn Basin along East Oakland’s waterfront could be the big-ticket item to win Oakland’s future.
Here's something sweet. Faced with increased violent crime in the Richmond area, community organizers found a solution that may, on its face, seem counter-intuitive: Send kids out on the streets. With supervision, that is. This year, Contra Costa Public Health department partnered with a cluster of youth organizations at the Nevin Community Center to form what they call the "walking school bus," a group walk to escort kids home from elementary schools, in Richmond. The kids walk together in pairs, led by adults in yellow traffic vests. "What we thought was going to something that maybe would work, has completely transformed this neighborhood," health department representative Shannon Ladner-Beasley told a KTVU reporter, as she led her walking school bus through the Iron Triangle. Kids say they like getting the exercise. Proponents say that walking helps instill a healthy lifestyle, and will hopefully make the children less fearful in their own communities.
The East Bay has one sporting feat to cheer about (other than hosting two baseball games in one day Saturday): Jason Haller, who hails from Berkeley and played at St. Mary's High School, is now a gold medal performer in football. Who knows how they fit the whole team up on top of that little podium?
More than 500 inmates at five state prisons are currently refusing food to protest living conditions, particularly the presence of a solitary housing unit at Pelican Bay, which is used to confine inmates for up to 22 hours at a time. The hunger strike was a topic of discussion on today's KQED Forum, and it's elicited a strong response from activists in the Bay Area. The organizations Communities for Peace and Justice, Poor magazine, the Revolution Club, World Can't Wait, and Youth Defending Youth organized a rush hour march through downtown San Francisco, set to begin at 5 p.m. at UN Plaza. Commuters, be advised.