Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: Oakland Council Modifies A’s Lease Deal; Council Also Puts Measure Y Renewal and Ethics Measure on Ballot

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland City Council approved a ten-year lease extension for the A’s at the Coliseum — but with modifications that team ownership has opposed, the Trib$ reports. The council rejected the lease deal that had been approved by Coliseum officials, contending that it included language that could derail the city’s plan to build the privately financed Coliseum City project and a new stadium for the Oakland Raiders. The council’s decision sends the lease back to the A’s for consideration.

2. The Oakland council also voted to place a Measure Y renewal measure on the November ballot, along with a proposal to strengthen the city’s Public Ethics Commission (PEC), the Chron reports. The Measure Y parcel tax renewal generates about $20 million in revenues for the city for public safety and violence prevention programs. The ballot measure also includes a guarantee that the city’s police force will not drop below 678 officers. The ethics measure, which is backed by good government groups, would give the PEC more power and resources.

3. A conservative federal judge in Orange County declared that California’s death penalty is unconstitutional, the LA Times$ reports. Judge Cormac Carney, a Bush appointee, ruled that the state’s death penalty system represents unlawfully cruel and unusual punishment because it involves long delays and the selection of inmates to be executed has become arbitrary.

4. Bay Area home prices surged in June to near pre-crash levels, and the median home price in San Francisco topped $1 million for the first time, the Mercury News$ reports. The median home price in Alameda County was $650,000 — just 2.9 percent below its record peak.

5. Bay Area apartment prices, meanwhile, reached record highs in the first two quarters of 2014, the Mercury News$ reports. Alameda County experienced the largest gain, with the average rent jumping 12 percent compared to 2013, and reaching $1,928 a month.

6. And the state Water Resources Control Board approved fines of up to $500 for Californians who over-water their lawns. The move came after a recent report showed that Southern California residents have increased their water usage despite the drought and a request by Governor Jerry Brown to cut back.

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