Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Must Read: Today’s Planned Port Blockade Stirs Controversy; Occupy Berkeley Is Flourishing

By Robert Gammon
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 6:46 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The planned blockade of West Coast ports today is sparking controversy among labor groups, especially in Oakland where the longshore workers’ union officially opposes the Occupy movement’s protest, while some union members are helping organize it, the Chron reports. Blockades are planned from Anchorage to San Diego, but it’s unclear how successful they will be if dock workers’ refuse to cooperate. In Oakland, the only major union to officially support today’s protest is the teachers union.

2. The Occupy Berkeley encampment is more than two months old, and it’s thriving, the Chron reports. The encampment near Berkeley City Hall now has more than one hundred tents, and has sparked very little controversy, unlike its counterparts in Oakland and San Francisco. The Berkeley encampment has been peaceful, although that has started to change because of the recent influx of occupiers from those two cities.

3. San Francisco police, meanwhile, forcibly cleared the last remaining Occupy encampment in the city over the weekend, the Chron reports. The encampment was in front of the Federal Reserve Bank. Several occupiers moved to the encampment after San Francisco police cleared the main one at Justin Herman Plaza on Thursday.

4. An Occupy Oakland protest that took over a foreclosed home has angered the new buyer of the home who is in contract with the bank to purchase it, the Chron reports. Occupy protesters apparently didn’t realize that the home they took over was in the process of being sold — although they did have the permission to occupy the home from the woman who owned the house until the bank foreclosed on her.

5. Ex-state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata apparently will not be running for mayor of Oakland again should the recall campaign against Jean Quan make the ballot. The Chron reports that Perata is seriously eyeing a run for the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. Perata moved to Orinda earlier this year after losing to Quan in the 2010 mayor’s race.

6. A portion of a large diesel fuel spill on the UC Berkeley campus flowed into Strawberry Creek over the weekend, the Chron reports. About 1,700 gallons of diesel fuel leaked from an underground tank below Stanley Hall. Officials do not yet know what caused the leak.

7. And some California State University faculty are skeptical that a new remedial program will help the tens of thousands of students who enter CSU each year unable to do college-level English and math, the CoCo Times reports. Faculty say the 15-hour program won’t be enough to bring students up to speed. At Cal State East Bay, about 73 percent of entering freshmen are unprepared for college-level math, and about 60 percent can’t handle freshmen English. The numbers of students who require remedial work is staggering, considering the fact that CSU only accepts applicants who finish in the top one-third of their high school classes.

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