Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Must Reads: Supreme Court Denies Oyster Farm Appeal; Oakland Housing Prices Continue to Soar

By Robert Gammon
Mon, Jun 30, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The US Supreme Court today refused to hear an appeal filed by Drakes Bay Oyster Company, thereby upholding lower court rulings that ordered the controversial oyster farm at Point Reyes National Seashore to close, the Chron and AP report. The high court’s decision also affirms one made in 2012 by then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who decided to let the oyster farm’s lease expire to make way for the first federally protected marine wilderness on the West Coast. Today’s decision means the oyster farm has no more legal appeals of Salazar’s ruling.

The courts decision means Drakes Estero will become the first marine wilderness on the West Coast.
  • The court's decision means Drakes Estero will become the first marine wilderness on the West Coast.
2. Housing prices in Oakland have more than doubled in the last four years, rising from a median sales price of $203,000 in 2010 to $449,000 this year, SF Gate reports, citing a new analysis from Red Oak Realty. No East Bay city has experienced such a rapid rise in home prices in the past half-decade.

3. The housing price boom also has generated a $29 million budget surplus in Oakland, and is prompting a scramble in City Hall as to how to spend the proceeds, the Chron reports. Councilmembers appear poised to use some of the money to finance another police academy this year and to create a rainy-day fund reserve.

4. The new state budget signed by Governor Jerry Brown, meanwhile, sets aside $872 million from California's cap-and-trade program for housing and public transit programs that would serve low-income residents in urban areas like Oakland, McClatchy reports (via Rough & Tumble). The housing price boom is being caused by a lack of housing units on the market, and it’s forcing some low-income residents out of the city.

5. Governor Brown also signed legislation that overturned a previous law that required bartenders and chefs to wear plastic gloves when handling food, the SacBee$ reports. Bar and restaurant owners had lobbied hard to overturn the glove law.

6. And in a 5-4 decision, the US Supreme Court’s conservative majority ruled that some corporations have the right to deny contraception to their employees on religious grounds under Obamacare, AP reports.

$ = news stories that may require payment to read.

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