Alex Baldwin tells why in a piece for PETA on the cruel treatment of elephants:
In recent weeks it was becoming increasingly clear that Governor Jerry Brown’s tax measure proposal was headed for defeat, because it included an unpopular sales tax hike. Numerous polls showed that it was trailing the rival Millionaire’s Tax — which proposed to only raise income taxes on the wealthy — by a substantial margin. Backers of the Millionaire’s Tax also had repeatedly — and rightly — rebuffed requests by Brown to drop their more popular measure in favor of his less popular one. So Brown, instead of pushing on with his doomed measure, decided to strike a deal with the sponsors of the Millionaire’s Tax and combine the two measures into one. It was a smart move.
Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan screwed up when he sent police spokeswoman Mary Kusmiss to the home of Bay Area News Group reporter Doug Oakley late at night to correct a story that had been posted online. Meehan should have waited until the next morning to request the correction; he has acknowledged as much, and has apologized. And though his decision to dispatch Kusmiss to Oakley’s house at 12:45 a.m. was a mistake, the firestorm over his actions have been overblown and calls for him to resign have been off base.
On February 6, the powerful Service Employees International Union endorsed all three candidates for the 18th Assembly District in the East Bay. However, a month later the union took the unusual step of withdrawing its backing for one of the candidates, AC Transit board member Joel Young, for using the union's confidential questionnaire against his two opponents, according to a source with direct knowledge of the union's deliberations.
The foundation of the Occupy movement is that it is a vehicle from which all people can, theoretically, express themselves openly without fear of censorship or the nasty tactics that politics often produces. But the purity of idealistic optimism, however good-intentioned and necessary to improve the current state of things, often runs into the iron wall of reality; there will always be people who use the mechanisms of openness in ways that, unchecked, can become a destructive force for the whole.
Higher education watchdogs were all a-Twitter today about UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's surprising announcement that he plans to abscond his post at the end of the calendar year and return to academia. Apparently, he'd wanted to do so all along, and had only sustained an 8 year tenure as chancellor to help mend the university's financial struggles. A vehement critic of cuts to education funding and fervent advocate for accessibility, Birgeneau became a target of recent protest movements at the university, owing to his symbolic association with the police crackdown at Occupy Cal. Students called for the chancellor's resignation when he appeared at an Associated Students of the University of California meeting in December.
Throughout much of the past decade, Councilmembers Ignacio De La Fuente and Desley Brooks were fierce political foes. The two occasionally traded allegations of corruption, and tried to oust each other from office by backing opposing candidates. But over the past year or two, the De La Fuente-Brooks feud has thawed considerably. Then last week, the onetime enemies engaged in what amounted to a public lovefest as De La Fuente rushed to Brooks’ defense after she was implicated in political wrongdoing.
In an attempt to punish and deter Occupy Oakland protesters, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has employed the use of stay-away orders on at least fourteen protesters after the January 28 move-in marches and the subsequent mass arrest of 408 protesters, including journalists. But those stay-away orders are now being challenged in the courts on the grounds that they violate the constitutional rights of protesters, particularly those who have not yet been convicted of any crimes.
The Oakland City Council made the right call this week to move forward with the Coliseum City project, a proposed privately financed development that could provide new homes for the A’s, the Raiders, and the Warriors amid a large retail, housing, and entertainment district. Although it appears to be a long shot as to whether Coliseum City will ever get built, the project may represent the only hope Oakland has at keeping its sports teams. In fact, without Coliseum City, it’s a good bet that Oakland will lose all three.
Last month's City Council meeting in which dozens of activist packed the chambers to demand action on the city's toxic interest rate swap deal with Goldman Sachs seems to have lit a fire under the council and administration. On February 23, the Rules and Legislative Committee tasked Administrator Deanna Santana's office with drafting a full report on the deal with Goldman Sachs, including recommendations for action. The council has scheduled April 24's Finance Committee meeting to be a discussion of options, including ways to terminate the deal.