Friday, August 30, 2013

Fast Food Workers Strike for Better Pay and Working Conditions

by Jean Tepperman
Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Around one hundred East Bay fast food workers from Fremont to Richmond participated Thursday in a national one-day strike calling for a living wage of $15 an hour and the right to form unions without retaliation. Workers in at least fifty cities across the country walked off their jobs at a range of fast-food restaurants including McDonald’s, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and more.

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Friday Must Reads: UC Berkeley Experts Say New Bridge Is Unsafe; Caltrans Never Approved Dangerous S-Curve

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Some UC Berkeley engineering experts are raising serious questions about the safety of the new Bay Bridge, even contending that the old bridge — now being dismantled — was a safer structure, California Magazine reports. Cal professor of civil and environmental engineering Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl said that considering the new bridge’s “2,300 faulty anchor bolts, the cracked welds, the corroded tendons in the girders, the basic flawed design — there’s no doubt in my mind that the old bridge is much, much safer than the new bridge. [The new span] should not be opened to the public. All the evidence that Caltrans has indicates this bridge will collapse when the Hayward Fault ruptures.”

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Questionable Contractor Is Training Alameda Sheriff’s Deputies and Oakland and San Francisco Police

by Darwin BondGraham and Ali Winston
Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 8:24 AM

As we reported this week, Oakland's surveillance contractor Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has a history of fraudulent practices, and city officials appeared to be unaware of the company’s troubled history. But the sweeping — and controversial — surveillance system that SAIC is building for Oakland isn't the only big law enforcement contract that the company has in the Bay Area. It also is in charge of training and planning efforts for a regional law enforcement endeavor called the Urban Area Security Initiative. In government acronym-speak, that's the UASI.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Governor May Sign Bill That Would Make It Tougher to Fire Dishonest Cops

by Joaquin Palomino
Thu, Aug 29, 2013 at 11:08 AM

There’s a common saying within law enforcement agencies: “If you lie, you die.” That means that most police officers convicted of lying are fired, and the ones that aren’t often become a burden for district attorneys, because whenever they testify in court prosecutors are obligated to disclose their past dishonesty. However, Governor Jerry Brown is currently reviewing a bill that would make it much harder for police departments to discipline police officers who are known to be untrustworthy.

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Thursday Must Reads: State Senate Dems Push Alternative Prison Plan; Costs of Fighting the Rim Fire Reach $39 Million

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Aug 29, 2013 at 9:43 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. State Senate leader Darrell Steinberg is proposing to spend $200 million for rehabilitation and drug and mental health treatment as an alternative to Jerry Brown’s $315 million plan to ship inmates to privately owned prisons, the LA Times$ reports. Steinberg said that Brown’s proposal had no chance of gaining approval from Senate Democrats, but the governor and Assembly Speaker John Perez quickly criticized Steinberg’s proposal as being “irresponsible.” Brown also doesn’t like the fact that lawyers for inmates who sued the state over its overcrowded prisons support Steinberg’s plan.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wednesday Must Reads: OPD Disproportionately Targets Black Youth; Larry Reid Decides to Not Run for Mayor of Oakland

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland police disproportionately target black youths for arrest and over half the arrests result in no charges being filed, raising concerns that police are engaging in racial profiling, the ACLU and other groups found in a new study, the Trib reports. The study, which examined arrest data from 2006 to 2012, determined that police have been arresting black youths at two-and-a-half times their proportion of the population. In addition, prosecutors refused to file charges in more than half of all arrests of black youth in the city because of a lack of evidence.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tuesday Must Reads: Yosemite Fire Threatens Giant Redwoods; Massive Blaze Fueled By Years of Budget Cuts

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Aug 27, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The massive Rim Fire is threatening two large groves of old-growth giant sequoia redwoods in Yosemite National Park, the Chron reports. Normally, giant sequoias, which live for thousands of years, are highly fire resistant, but the historic Merced and Tuolumne groves are vulnerable because the Rim Fire is burning super hot, with flames that have reached two hundred feet in height. The enormous and intensely hot fire, which grew to 180,000 acres overnight, is being fed by decades of forest undergrowth and fire suppression.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday Must Reads: Yosemite Fire Rages On; New Bay Bridge Passes Safety Tests

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Aug 26, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The massive Rim Fire is continuing to rage in the Sierra and has now burned nearly 150,000 acres — an area that is more than four times the size of Oakland. Yesterday, the blaze burned down Berkeley Family Tuolumne Camp, a popular destination for East Bay families for the past 91 years. The huge fire also has been moving closer to Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which is the primary water source for the City of San Francisco and supplies freshwater to communities throughout the Bay Area.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Updated: Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp Burns

by Robert Gammon
Sun, Aug 25, 2013 at 8:02 PM

Very bad news tonight for the thousands of East Bay families who are fans of Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp. It burned down today, according to John Miller, spokesman for the US Forest Service. Owned and operated by the City of Berkeley, the beautiful and popular camp along the Tuolumne River near Yosemite National Park has been around since 1922. But today, it fell victim to the massive Rim Fire, which is still burning out of control in the Sierra.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Enormous Fire Threatens Water Supply for San Francisco and Parts of East Bay

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Aug 23, 2013 at 12:54 PM

The massive Rim Fire is closing in on Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park and is threatening the main water supply for the City of San Francisco and numerous other Bay Area communities. As of this morning, the fast-moving blaze was about 2.5 miles from Hetch Hetchy, according to a map created by the US Forest Service. If the enormous fire reaches the tinder-dry forests surrounding the reservoir, it could pollute the freshwater with huge amounts of ash. That’s bad news for San Franciscans and other communities that depend on Hetch Hetchy because the reservoir is not equipped with a water-filtration system.

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