Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: Berkeley Council to Vote on Soda Tax Tonight; Oakland’s Revamped 911 Center Still Can’t Take Cellphone Calls

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Jul 1, 2014 at 9:25 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Berkeley City Council is scheduled to vote tonight on whether to place a soda tax measure on the November ballot, the Chron reports. The proposal, which appears to have no opposition on the council, would levy a one-cent-per-ounce tax on companies that distribute sugary beverages. San Francisco voters will consider a two-cents-per-ounce soda tax this fall as well. In 2012, the soda industry spent more than $2.5 million to defeat a soda tax measure in Richmond.

2. Oakland police unveiled a revamped call center yesterday, but the upgraded facility still cannot accept 911 calls from cellphones, the Trib$ reports. Despite the $750,000 upgrade, the center is too small to employ enough dispatchers to handle emergency calls from cellphones. Those calls will still be directed through the CHP, thereby slowing down emergency response times.

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3. The minimum wage in California rises today from $8 to $9 an hour under legislation that Governor Jerry Brown signed last year, the Bay Area News Group$ reports. The state minimum wage is set to increase to $10 an hour in January 2016.

4. Kevin Lunny, the owner of the controversial oyster farm that lost its appeal at the US Supreme Court yesterday, said he has no plans to close his business and will search for ways to remain open, the Chron reports. The high court upheld lower court rulings that stated that the federal government was within its rights to not renew Lunny’s lease at Point Reyes National Seashore in 2012.

5. The US Supreme Court also denied an appeal that sought to overturn California’s ban on so-called gay-conversion therapy for youth, the LA Times$ reports.

6. Board of Equalization member Betty Yee now has a 484-vote lead over ex-Assembly Speaker John Perez in the race to make the November ballot for the office of state controller, the Bay Area News Group$ reports. Nearly all ballots have now been counted in the contest.

7. Oakland’s new superintendent of schools, Antwan Wilson, started his job today, taking over for retiring interim superintendent Gary Yee, the Trib$ reports. Wilson was an assistant superintendent in Denver public schools.

8. And President Obama vowed to take unilateral steps to reform immigration in the United States after the Republican-controlled House said it would not take up the issue this year, the Washington Post$ reports.

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