Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesday Must Read: Labor to Fight Quan Recall; Council Pushes for Tougher Response to Occupy Oakland

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 6:59 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Alameda County labor leaders vowed yesterday to help Oakland Mayor Jean Quan fight the recall campaign, the Trib and Bay City News reports. Josie Camacho, executive director of the Alameda County Labor Council, which represents 120 unions with 120,000 members, called the recall “a waste of time and a waste of resources.” Camacho and other labor leaders said Quan does not deserve to be recalled from office and that union members will be working with mayor’s supporters to fend off the recall.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Must Read: Warren Hellman Dies; Middle-Class Taxes May Increase

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 7:45 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Warren Hellman, the wealthy San Francisco financier who launched the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival and the Bay Citizen news website, died of complications from leukemia. He was 77. The Bay Citizen, meanwhile, stated that its finances remain strong, despite Hellman’s death. Hellman founded the news website and donated $6.2 million to it. Hellman’s family also said the free annual bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park will continue.

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Chrome App Wages War Against Amazon's Price Check

by Rachel Swan
Sun, Dec 18, 2011 at 9:20 PM

A few days ago Marcus Books launched a petition against Amazon's Price Check app, the little piece of software that turns consumers into mercenaries by allowing them to scan barcodes and gather "price intelligence" at brick-and-mortar stores. Now, Chrome has advanced the war by making a clever app of its own, also meant to curb the powers of Price Check — symbolically, at least. The new Chrome extension clicks into gear every time your browser lands on Amazon.com, reminding you to get off the computer and go to a real bookstore.

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Andre Ward Takes the Super Six Super Middleweight Title

by Rachel Swan
Sun, Dec 18, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Not only did Hayward-raised boxer Andre Ward win Saturday's Super Six World Boxing Classic final in Atlantic City, he won handily. At least, that's the word from Merc correspondent Jon Marks, who praised the "superior quickness and elusiveness" — not to mention the fast left hook — that helped the 27 year-old East Bay pugilist trounce his British opponent, Carl Froch. That's no small victory. Though Ward is seven years younger than Froch, he was still considered the underdog in this match, which was hyped extensively via a behind-the-scenes Showtime documentary. Moreover, he's become something of a folk hero in Oakland, not only because he trained here, but because he still shows up to smoker matches at King's Gym, where his newspaper clippings plaster the wall. Oh, and get this — he also won the bout with an injured hand.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Must Read: Quan Jeered at Occupy Forum; Council Moves to Stop Future Port Shutdowns

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 6:59 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan was jeered last night by Occupy protesters during a forum on the Occupy movement in San Francisco, the Trib reports. Occupy protesters remain livid at Quan for twice ordering police to clear the Occupy encampment at Oakland City Hall. Quan praised the Occupy movement for furthering progressive goals, like taxing the rich, but expressed no regrets for her actions. She also criticized Occupy Oakland for not considering small downtown businesses in Oakland, particularly in Chinatown, that she says were harmed by Occupy protests.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Marcus Books — the Nation's Oldest Black-Owned Bookstore — to Amazon: No, Really. Stop.

by Rachel Swan
Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 11:52 AM

About a week after Amazon launched its infamous Price Check app promotion — with which it offered consumers $5 off any online purchase when they gathered price intelligence from brick-and-mortar stores — angry retailers launched their own protest. It's being spearheaded by Jasmine Johnson, whose grandparents founded the nation's oldest independent black bookstore, Marcus Books, in the Fillmore back in 1960. (It currently has branches in San Francisco and Oakland.) According to Colorlines , Johnson started a petition enjoining Amazon to jettison these types of "price checker" techniques, given that they only further enfeeble independent businesses, which have already suffered in the economic downturn. "Amazon’s Price Checker app goes beyond simple competition in a free marketplace," Johnson wrote in the petition, in which she also pointed out that the online storefront isn't burdened with the same taxes as regular small businesses, which makes its methodology seem even more unfair and predatory.

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Drowning in Dislikes, Jean Quan to Disable Her Facebook Page

by Ellen Cushing and Rachel Swan
Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Well, this was probably bound to happen: Now the target of not one but two recall campaigns — one led by progressives angry over her refusal to reappoint port commissioner Margaret Gordon, the other led by moderates who are in a huff over public safety issues — and after sustaining weeks and weeks and weeks of unmitigated internet vitriol, Jean Quan has decided to kill her Facebook page. "Mayor Quan will be disabling this facebook fan page," twoth her account about an hour ago, and honestly, we're surprised it took this long.

and boys!
  • and boys!

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Thursday Must Read: Telegraph Declared a Disaster Zone; Recall Campaign Launched Against Five Oakland School Board Members

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 6:59 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. State officials have declared Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley to be a disaster zone in the wake of last month’s massive fire that destroyed an apartment building and several small businesses, Berkeleyside reports. But Telegraph merchants are welcoming the disaster declaration because it makes them and tenants of the burned building eligible for federal aid.

2. Oakland has recall fever. Not only are there two recall campaigns involving three groups against Mayor Jean Quan, but angry parents have launched a recall effort against five school board members. The Trib reports that the parents are upset at the board members for voting to close five schools. The recall effort will require gathering signatures in each of the board member’s districts.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oakland Zoo Expansion Opponents File New Legal Appeal

by Nate Seltenrich
Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 9:00 AM

If you thought the Oakland Zoo had cleared the legal and environmental hurdles impeding its controversial expansion, you were mistaken. As you may remember from our first story on the conflict, opponents (including both neighbors and members of regional environmental groups) have argued since February, when the zoo released its mitigated negative declaration report, that the project's environmental impacts were unacceptable and illegally accounted for under the California Environmental Quality Act.

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Wednesday Must Read: Cuts to K-12 Education Less than Expected; Occupy Movement Has No More Plans to Blockade Ports

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 6:58 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Governor Jerry Brown announced that state budget cuts to K-12 education will not be as severe as some had thought because the California economy is showing signs of recovery. The Chron reports that the state will slash about $327 million from public schools — far lower than the $1 billion that many had feared. Overall, California must slash $1 billion in total spending on January 1 because state tax revenues are less than what had been anticipated early last year. Other cuts include $100 million each to the UC and CSU systems, and $102 million to community colleges.

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