Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hard Times for Cal Football Recruitment

by Rachel Swan
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Looks like a rough road lies ahead for the Bears, with word of an incomplete roster for fall, despite high optimism just a few weeks ago. As the letters of intent come in, it appears that UC Berkeley is losing all its best prospects to schools like University of Washington, whose recruiters just filched two top-rated players — safety Shaq Thompson and wideout Jordan Payton, the Mercury News reports. Evan local hope Kenny Walker, a wide receiver from Kennedy High School in Richmond, was reportedly on the fence about committing to Cal.

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Quotes of the Day: On Occupy, Oakland Police, and the A’s

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 2:29 PM

The best quotes of the day:

1. "The city has to stand up with us now and say, 'Stop,' " said Mayor Jean Quan, referring to Occupy Oakland protests.

2. "I'm not condoning violence, and I'm not condemning it," said Occupy Oaklander Cat Brooks. "I'm just saying that 99 percent of the time when violence happens, it's police who start it. And you have to do what you have to do."

3. "I don't see a way for it to peacefully end," said former Oakland Councilman Wilson Riles Jr., a staunch progressive. "Like so much in Oakland, Occupy has tremendous potential, but it seems like that potential is being squandered. I think it's come to a point where the larger community is going to have to step in if anything is going to happen."

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Lawrence Livermore National Labratory's Wrongful-Termination Lawsuit Moves Closer to Court

by John Geluardi
Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Five former employees who are suing Lawrence Livermore Laboratory for wrongful termination held a press conference on Thursday to tell their personal stories as their case moves closer to trial set for late next month.

The five former employees talked about the humiliation, shame, and frustration they experienced when they were part of a massive layoff of 440 lab employees, most of whom were over the age of forty, in 2008, shortly after Congress turned over management of the lab to a partnership led by San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp.

130 of the laid-off employees have filed suits against the lab. The first five employees to go to trial are Elaine Andrews, Marian Barraza, Mario Jimenez, Greg Olsen and James Torrice; their trail date is set for Feb. 27. All of the former employees are being represented by the law firm of Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli & Brewer.

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Monday Must Read: Occupy Oakland Vandalizes City Hall; Dems Have Good Shot at Taking the Senate

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 7:59 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Occupy Oakland protesters used a crowbar to break into City Hall on Saturday night and then vandalized the historic building after a demonstration turned into chaos, the Chron and Trib report. The demonstrators grew angry after police blocked them from taking over the vacant Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, a publicly owned building on Lake Merritt. Protesters also streamed into the Oakland YMCA on Broadway while people were working out inside the facility. Mayor Jean Quan said the protesters had acted as if they were throwing a “tantrum,” and were treating the city as if it were their own “playground.” But protesters contended that Oakland police had overreacted.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Must Read: Sorry Planet, But More Toll Lanes Are Coming and Probably More Suburban Sprawl, Too

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 8:02 AM

The top five stories of the day:

1. Bay Area transportation officials are continuing their love affair with toll lanes, bringing the controversial lanes to the South Bay on Interstate 880 and 237, the Mercury News reports. Caltrans also hopes that the installation of toll lanes, which allow solo motorists to drive in the carpool lane for a price, will go much more smoothly than it did on I-680 in Fremont and Sunol. Although the jury is still out on whether toll lanes actually relieve traffic congestion, transportation officials plan to eventually extend them into carpool lanes throughout the region. But what the Merc doesn’t report is that toll lanes could inspire even more people to get into their cars and not take mass transit to work, thereby worsening the Bay Area’s greenhouse gas emissions.

2. Bay Area officials also are moving forward with plans to extend BART to Livermore, even though such rail extensions — along with toll lanes — could spur even more suburban sprawl by making it easier for suburban commuters to get to work. The CoCo Times reports that the Alameda County Transportation Commission, which is dominated by elected officials from suburban areas, voted overwhelmingly to include the $400 million BART to Livermore proposal in a sales tax measure that would go before East Bay voters. Commissioner Keith Carson, who represents Oakland and Berkeley, was the lone vote against the plan, saying more money should be spent on urban bus systems.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday Must Read: College Students Are More Liberal Than Ever; State to Adopt Strict Clean-Air Rules

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. College students across the nation are becoming increasingly more liberal, as conservative students are now embracing progressive views, the CoCo Times reports, citing a new major study from UCLA. A record 71.3 percent of freshmen students said they approve of same-sex marriage, and opinions on marijuana legalization, affirmative action, abortion, and immigration have steadily moved toward the left in the past few years.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Breaking News: StopWaste.org Approves Plastic Bag Ban in Alameda County

by Nate Seltenrich
Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 5:16 PM

The Alameda County Waste Management Authority board, operating as StopWaste.org, voted this afternoon to ban all single-use plastic bags at approximately 2,000 retail stores through the county. The ban is set to take effect on January 1, 2013, and applies only to large pharmacies and food-selling retailers.

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Wednesday Must Read: OPD Must Now Report to Court Monitor; Swanson Drops Out of Senate Race

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A federal judge effectively stripped Oakland Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan and city officials of their power, ordering them to consult with the independent monitor overseeing the department before making any major decisions about police, the Bay Citizen reports. Judge Thelton Henderson, angry about the police department’s lack of progress in implementing mandated reforms, also told Jordan, Mayor Jean Quan, and City Administrator Deanna Santana that if they choose to ignore the recommendations of monitor Robert Warshaw, a former police chief of Rochester, New York, then they must come to court to explain why. The extraordinary move by Henderson also apparently means that he does not plan to put the department in receivership right away.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How Long Would It Take Mitt Romney to Make What You Make in a Year?

by Rachel Swan
Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Lest you have any doubts about the income gap that separates you from Mitt Romney: Slate posted this cool little calculator widget that allows you to actually crunch the numbers. The app uses figures from the GOP candidate's 2010 tax return, which he released Monday, and which shows that more than half his $21.6 million earnings came from capital gains. Turns out it takes him seventeen hours, fourteen minutes, and eleven seconds to make what I earn annually, before taxes.

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Tuesday Must Read: Oakland Lowers Layoff Estimate; Richmond Wins Second Lab Campus

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 9:32 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and City Administrator Deanna Santana lowered the number of proposed city layoffs to 105 full-time employees after conducting a major reorganization of City Hall in the wake of the state’s decision to kill redevelopment, the Trib and Chron report. Quan and Santana also are proposing to slash funding to Children’s Fairyland and Oakland Zoo as part of $28 million in budget cuts. However, it will be up to the city council to make the final decision on the number of layoffs and on what cuts to make.

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