Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Must Reads: PG&E Wants to Raise Rates on Low-Income Residents; Mentally Ill Man Gets 15 Years for Fake Bomb Plot

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. PG&E is proposing to raise rates on customers who don’t use much energy, which includes many low-income residents in the Bay Area. The Trib$ reports that PG&E also wants to reduce rates for people who use lots of energy, which tend to be wealthy residents with large homes. The utility contends that the big energy users are paying more than their fare share, and that people who conserve energy need to pay higher rates. PG&E’s proposal, which is headed to the state Public Utilities Commission, thanks to a bill, AB 327, signed into law by Governor Brown last year despite strong opposition from environmental groups.

2. A San Jose man who suffers from severe mental illness was sentenced to fifteen years in federal prison for a fake bomb plot in Oakland, the Bay Area News Group$ reports. The FBI had targeted the man, Matthew Aaron Llaneza, after he posted a series of rants on the Internet and then supplied him with a fake bomb and showed him how to “detonate” it. Civil libertarians strongly criticized the FBI for the case because it’s doubtful that Llaneza would have been able to carry out a bomb plot without law enforcement’s help.

Jeff Adachi.
  • Jeff Adachi.
3. Five current and one former San Francisco police officers were indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly stealing from poor people in a residential hotel, the Chron reports. According to prosecutors, the cops stole money, personal belongings, and marijuana from low-income residents of the San Francisco hotel. The case came to light thanks to SF Public Defender Jeff Adachi.

4. The BART board of directors rejected a proposed ballot measure that would have called for a ban on transit strikes, the Chron reports. The proposal from board President Joel Keller of the East Bay got no support from his colleagues.

5. The University of California and AFSCME, the union representing 8,300 custodians, food workers, and gardeners, reached a tentative contract deal and avoided a possible strike next week, the LA Times$ reports.

6. A state appeals court ruled that motorists can look at maps on their handheld smartphones while driving in California, the Mercury News$ reports. The case stemmed from a driver who got a ticket while checking a map for directions on his phone.

7. A security company with ties to the former Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland used fake documents to win a lucrative contract from Alameda County, the Bay Area News Group$ reports.

8. And electric-car maker Tesla also plans to manufacture batteries for energy storage use in homes, businesses, and the electric grid, the Chron reports.

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