Politics

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Must Reads: DeSaulnier Calls for Criminal Probe of Bay Bridge Work; Railroad Companies Block Safety System

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. State Senator Mark DeSaulnier of the East Bay is calling for a criminal probe of the shoddy construction work on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, the SacBee$ reports. A new report revealed that Caltrans knowingly accepted flawed and potentially hazardous work from a Chinese firm that welded the new span and tower.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Must Reads: A’s Owner Softens on Lease Deal; Six Californias Campaign Accused of Lying to Voters

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A’s co-owner Lew Wolff softened his stance on a proposed lease deal at the Coliseum, saying that his staff would seriously consider modifications made to the lease by the Oakland City Council this week, the Trib$ reports. Wolff had said previously that he would reject any changes to the pact. He attributed his change of heart to a phone call he received from Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, who is also a mayoral candidate. "Just based on her asking me alone is enough for me to tell [team President] Mike [Crowley] and the guys to look hard at it," Wolff said.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: Berkeley Moves Forward on Cellphone Warning Labels; Centrist Democrats Seek to Delay Cap and Trade

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 9:55 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Berkeley officials are moving forward with a proposal that would make Berkeley the first city in the nation to require retailers to put warning labels on cellphones about the dangers of radiation exposure, the Chron reports. Researchers are becoming increasingly convinced that radiation from cellphones could put users at higher risk of getting brain cancer. But the cellphone industry, which beat back a similar proposal in San Francisco, is expected to try to block Berkeley’s plan. Berkeley Councilmember Max Anderson is pushing the proposal, which is expected to go before the city council this fall.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday Must Reads: Homicides Plummet Throughout Bay Area; Nearly 80% of State Now Under Extreme Drought

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The homicide rate dropped 22 percent during the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period last year in the fifteen largest cities in the Bay Area, the Chron reports. And homicides are down 31 percent compared to the same period in 2012. The city of Richmond has experienced the steepest declines in homicides, and is on track to beating last year — which was the lowest in three decades.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Oakland Council Should Let Voters Decide on Redistricting Commission

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Jul 1, 2014 at 10:53 AM

The Oakland City Council is scheduled to vote tonight on whether to put a good government measure on the November ballot that would ask voters to establish a new independent commission that would draw council and school board district lines in the city. The proposed charter amendment, sponsored by Councilmembers Dan Kalb and Libby Schaaf, has been years in the making and is the product of a grassroots coalition that includes Oakland Rising and the League of Women Voters. Currently, Oakland councilmembers get to draw their own district boundary lines, thereby creating potential conflicts of interest. As such, the council should let city voters decide whether they want to revamp redistricting in Oakland, beginning with the 2020 Census.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Oakland Minimum Wage Increase Proposal Qualifies for 2014 Ballot

by Sam Levin
Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 11:03 AM

A coalition of activists and community groups is one step closer to raising the minimum wage in Oakland and setting new standards for paid sick days. Lift Up Oakland, the group leading the initiative, announced this morning that the Alameda County Registrar of Voters has verified the signatures on its ballot measure proposal to raise the minimum wage to $12.25 an hour. That means voters will have an opportunity to weigh in on the proposal in November. 

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Friday Must Reads: AC Transit Kills Bus Transfers; Kernighan Pushes to Tighten Campaign Finance Rules

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. AC Transit is eliminating 25-cent bus transfers effective Tuesday and is replacing them with a $5 day pass that allows unlimited trips, the CoCo Times$ reports. AC Transit also is reducing regular bus fares from $2.10 per trip to $2.00 if riders pay with a Clipper card. The changes are expected to speed up bus service, because they eliminate the need for passengers to purchase tickets each time they ride. But some passenger groups are upset, because the $5 pass likely will increase costs for some riders.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Marriage Equality Activists Push for Social Security Benefits

by Ari Nussbaum
Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 2:50 PM

In the past month, an online petition — on the campaign platform CREDO Mobilize — that urges Congress to extend Social Security benefits to same-sex couples has garnered more than 109,000 signatures. The petition is just one of many campaigns by advocacy groups backing the Social Security and Marriage Equality Act (SAME).

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New Opposition Emerges Against Smartphone Kill Switches

by Charlie Guese
Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 1:24 PM


As smartphone kill switch legislation moves toward passage in Sacramento, new opposition is emerging against the bill — and it’s not from cellphone manufacturers and carriers. Instead, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a San Francisco-based advocacy group that is generally aligned with progressive causes, has decided to come out against SB 962 on the grounds that it might allow the government to turn off people’s cellphones in certain instances.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

"Human Trafficking" Legislation Would Further Criminalize, Endanger Sex Workers, Activists Say

by Sam Levin
Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Legislation that purports to combat "human trafficking" in California would only serve to further criminalize, stigmatize, and endanger adult sex workers. That's the perspective of a group of sex workers' rights activists that is headed to Sacramento tomorrow morning to protest Senate Bill 1388, which would establish harsher fines and sentences for prostitution-related offenses. The bill, they say, would make their jobs more dangerous, lead to increased arrests and jail time for consenting adults, and would do nothing to stop child trafficking.

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