Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday Must Read: Occupy Protesters Shut Down Port of Oakland; Big Majority Supports Brown’s Tax-the-Rich Plan

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 6:44 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Thousands of Occupy protesters marched on the Port of Oakland in waves yesterday, closing down the vast majority of operations in both the day and evening shifts, the Chron and Trib report. The successful protests and blockade came despite opposition from most unions, including the longshore workers’ union, and public officials, including Mayor Jean Quan. At a press conference last night, Quan called the port shutdown “economic violence” because it had hurt dock workers and small, independent truckers who can’t afford to lose a day’s wages.

2. Not everyone agrees with the Occupy movement’s tactics, but the message of the 99 Percent appears to be finally getting through. A new poll shows that 65 percent of California voters support Governor Jerry Brown’s tax-the-rich plan, the Chron reports. Brown’s ballot measure proposal would raise income taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year, and raise the state sales tax by one-half percent. The poll by the Public Policy Institute of California also showed that voters are concerned about more budget cuts to K-12 education. However, the poll did not measure how Brown’s plan stacks up against several other tax-the-rich proposals that are also vying for the November 2012 ballot.

3. East Bay state Senator Mark DeSaulnier has introduced a bill that would halt controversial plans by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to move from Oakland to San Francisco, the CoCo Times reports. The bill would stop the planned move until the state auditor completes an examination of whether MTC’s use of bridge toll money to buy a large San Francisco warehouse and rent it out to private entities is legal.

4. The large diesel fuel spill at UC Berkeley has flowed through Strawberry Creek and into San Francisco Bay at the Berkeley Marina, the CoCo Times reports. However, there have been no reports yet of wildlife being harmed by the fuel spill. The spill occurred over the weekend at Stanley Hall on campus. Meanwhile, the bay was further polluted by a World War II era tugboat that sank at Point Richmond on Sunday and leaked fuel into the water, the Chron reports.

5. And Caltrans has agreed to halt its hotly contested plans to cut down hundreds of trees along Alameda Creek as part of its proposal to widen Niles Canyon Road, the Fremont Argus reports. Caltrans’ decision was part of a settlement agreement with environmental groups that sued to stop the project. Caltrans, however, has not given up on the project; it has only agreed to rescind and redo its environmental analysis of it.

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