Thursday, February 28, 2013

Obama Administration Urges Supreme Court to Allow Same-Sex Marriage in California and Seven Other States

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 4:30 PM

The Obama Justice Department urged the US Supreme Court today to overturn Proposition 8, California’s anti-gay marriage law. The DOJ, however, stopped short of calling for all anti-gay-marriage laws nationwide to be invalidated. Instead, the administration stated in its legal brief that California is a special case.

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The Real Reason Telegraph Avenue Is Vacant?

by Kathleen Richards
Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates wants to make over Telegraph Avenue, bringing more businesses to vacant storefronts, according to today’s Chronicle.

“While Berkeley's other commercial districts have thrived, even in the downturn, sales tax revenues on Telegraph have plummeted, and empty storefronts abound. The intersection of Haste and Telegraph is marred by two vacant lots, and the former Cody's bookstore — once a hub of intellectual life — has sat empty since 2006,” the article states.

The vacant lot at Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street.
  • Judith Scherr
  • The vacant lot at Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street.

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Tomorrow's First Friday Will Be Shorter, Smaller, and More Subdued (Probably)

by Ellen Cushing
Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 11:11 AM

After the tragic shooting of high school senior Kiante Campbell at last month's First Friday, it was inevitable that the event would change in some way; last week, I wrote about some of the specifically drinking-related changes, but yesterday the City released an official statement enumerating the ways in which tomorrow's event will be different — namely, the footprint will be significantly smaller, stretching along Telegraph between 27th and West Grand rather than down to 16th; public drinking "will not be allowed," meaning cops will be issuing tickets; the (officially sanctioned) portion of the evening will end at 9 instead of 10; and there'll be several events and attractions oriented toward promoting peace and honoring Campbell.

All of which will hopefully help tamp down some of the chaos, though as I think we've seen, First Fridays has taken on something of a life of its own, and it's really, really hard to get 10,000 people to do much of anything in an orderly fashion — let alone follow new rules for an event that's essentially had none for the past several months. And though Sean Maher, the Mayor's communications director, said the City doesn't discuss specific numbers when it comes to how many cops will be out on the street tomorrow night, it's safe to say the ratio won't be in their favor when it comes to issuing citations of clearing the streets — unless, of course there's a significant drop in attendance (which is definitely possible!). Anyway, we'll let you know what happens.

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Thursday Must Read: Californians Support Same-Sex Marriage; Voting May Become Tougher for Minorities in Red States

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A strong majority of California voters — 61 percent — now supports allowing same-sex couples to get married in the state, the Mercury News reports, citing a new Field Poll. The support for gay marriage is the highest ever recorded in a state poll, and represents a major shift in the public’s attitude since state residents voted in 2008 for Prop 8, California’s anti-gay-marriage law. The poll results also show that if the US Supreme Court decides this year to uphold Prop 8, then state voters appear ready to overturn the measure at the ballot box.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesday Must Read: Californians Want to Legalize Pot; State Has Eleventh Highest Youth Incarceration Rate

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Thanks to the Bay Area, a majority of California voters — 54 percent — now favor legalizing marijuana, taxing it, and regulating it like alcohol, according to a new Field Poll, the Chron reports. In the Bay Area, 66 percent of voters want to legalize pot for recreational use. Statewide, senior citizens were the only group that favors keeping cannabis illegal. An overwhelming majority of residents — 72 percent — also favor keeping medical pot legal.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday Must Read: Californians Want Stricter Gun Control Laws; Controversial Oyster Farm Gets Reprieve

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A large majority of California residents favor stricter gun control laws in the state and are far more concerned about gun violence (61 percent) than Second Amendment rights (34 percent), according to a new Field Poll, the Bay Area News Group reports. The poll results are particularly significant because California already has some of the toughest gun control measures in the nation. The gender gap on gun control also is substantial in California with 69 percent of women favoring stricter measures compared to 52 percent of men. Democrats are also far more likely to favor more gun laws (80 percent) than Republicans (31 percent).

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Monday, February 25, 2013

What Researchers Learned About Gun Violence Before Congress Killed Funding

by Joaquin Sapien of ProPublica
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 10:50 AM

President Obama has directed the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence as part of his legislative package on gun control. The CDC hasn't pursued this kind of research since 1996 when the National Rifle Association lobbied Congress to cut funding for it, arguing that the studies were politicized and being used to promote gun control. We've interviewed Dr. Mark Rosenberg, who led the agency's gun violence research in the nineties when he was the director of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

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Monday Must Read: Innocent Man from Oakland Freed from Prison; Lake Merritt Channel Partially Reopened

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. An Oakland man who spent nearly seven years in state prison for a crime he didn’t commit was released from custody on Friday, the Trib and Chron report. Ronald Ross had been locked up as a result of shoddy investigative work by the Oakland Police Department. Ross was freed with the help of the Innocence Project at Santa Clara University and the law firm of Keker & Van Nest, which showed that OPD had arrested the wrong man.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Must Read: Californians Overwhelmingly Back Path to Citizenship; Governor’s Plan for Green Energy Funds Comes Under Fire

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Feb 22, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. An overwhelming majority of Californians — 90 percent — supports a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants under certain conditions, the Bay Area News Group reports, citing a new Field Poll. The conditions include having been in the country for a number of years, having a job, and paying taxes. The Obama administration and Democrats also support the so-called path to citizenship but many Congressional Republicans are continuing to oppose such a plan.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Union Workers at Castlewood Country Club Finally Get a New Contract

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Food service workers at Pleasanton’s tony Castlewood Country Club, locked out for nearly three years, finally have a new contract. Unite Here Local 2850, the labor union representing 45 cooks, servers, and bartenders at the club announced the approval today of their new three-year deal. The union also has called off its boycott of the club.

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