Politics

Friday, June 6, 2014

Legislators Who Voted Against Fracking Ban Pocketed Oil Industry Cash

by Ari Nussbaum
Fri, Jun 6, 2014 at 2:32 PM

Still wondering why the state legislature last week killed a proposed moratorium on fracking even though 68 percent of Californians support the idea? Perhaps it has to do with pay-to-play in Sacramento. According to an analysis by the nonpartisan, Berkeley-based Maplight.org, state senators who voted against the fracking ban legislation — SB 1132 — received, on average, fourteen times as much money from the oil industry in campaign donations during the past four years as those who voted in favor of the ban — a whopping $25,227 versus $1,772. 

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: Kaplan Enters Oakland Mayor’s Race: A’s on Verge of Signing Ten-Year Lease Extension at Coliseum

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Jun 5, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan officially entered the Oakland mayor’s race last night, and instantly became a front-runner in the contest. Kaplan has led mayoral polls that have included her as a candidate. In 2010, she came within about 2,000 votes of defeating Jean Quan, the eventual mayoral winner. Kaplan had said previously that she did not intend to run against Quan this year, but she told the Trib$ that she started to seriously consider entering the contest in April after the mayor suffered yet another series of missteps, including the loss of newly appointed City Administrator Fred Blackwell.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Supes Order More Environmental Study for Phillips 66 Refinery Expansion

by Jean Tepperman
Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Contra Costa residents and environmentalists fighting pollution from oil refineries scored two wins at the board of supervisors yesterday. On a proposal by Phillips 66 for a new project at its Rodeo refinery, supervisors voted to send the proposal back for another round of environmental review. And they moved toward adopting new, stronger requirements as part of the county’s Industrial Safety Ordinance.

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June Primary Election Results: Progressives Do Well; Corporate Dems, Not So Much

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Progressive political candidates scored a number of victories in yesterday's primary, outdistancing centrists in several key contests. In the East Bay's 16th Assembly District race, Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, who was heavily backed by organized labor, defeated corporate Democrat Steve Glazer in the race for the top two spots. Sbranti will face off against Republican Catherine Baker in the November election.

In addition, liberal Democrat Mike Honda trounced centrist Ro Khanna in the 17th Congressional District race, 48.6 Percent to 27.1 percent. The two will square off in November.

And in the race for state Superintendent of schools, liberal Democrat Tom Torlakson easily outdistanced centrist Marshall Tuck, 46.9 percent to 28.6 percent. They also will face each other in November.

Results of the races we've been watching are after the jump:

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Big Oil Killed Fracking Ban

by Ari Nussbaum
Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 2:02 PM

A proposed ban on fracking failed to gain passage in the state Senate twice last week, disappointing environmental activists across the state. The bill, SB 1132, would have placed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and acidization, which are well-stimulation techniques linked to air pollution, water contamination, and earthquakes. Environmental activists credit the bill’s failure to big oil’s aggressive lobbying; the coalition Californians Against Fracking estimated that groups such as the Western States Petroleum Association, which represents oil and natural gas interests, spent several million dollars lobbying against SB 1132 and previous moratorium proposals.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fracking Ban Legislation Headed for California Senate Floor Vote This Week

by Ari Nussbaum
Tue, May 27, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Late last week, the state Senate Appropriations committee approved a statewide moratorium on fracking, sending Senate Bill 1132 to the senate floor for a vote this week. The bill cleared the committee in a 4-2 vote just days after the estimate of extractable oil in the Monterey Shale was reduced by 96 percent from 13.7 billion barrels to 600 million.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan Is Getting Married

by Steven Tavares
Fri, May 23, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Save the date, Oakland. Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan is getting married, she announced this week. Last November, according to Kaplan’s office, the at-large council member “got down on one knee,” placed a tanzanite ring on her girlfriend’s finger and proposed.

Kaplan and her fiancée, Pamela Rosin, both 43, are set to be married in a private ceremony on July 26. The couple met two years ago and now share a home in North Oakland.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Californians Overwhelmingly Support a Ban on Fracking

by Ari Nussbaum
Thu, May 22, 2014 at 3:14 PM

A new poll shows that a super-majority of California residents — 68 percent — say they support a ban on fracking in the state. Hydraulic fracturing is a controversial oil- and natural gas-extraction method that involves shooting massive amounts of water and toxic chemicals into the earth. It’s been linked to groundwater and air pollution and to causing earthquakes. The new survey was published earlier this week by public policy opinion research firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, or FM3. Of the 807 California voters who were polled over the phone at random, 68 percent suppored a moratorium on fracking, with 45 percent of respondents stating that they “strongly” supported it.

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Thursday Must Reads: Ex-Cop Who Killed Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Still on Oakland’s Payroll; Tea Party Gubernatorial Candidate Still Leads Among Republicans

by Robert Gammon
Thu, May 22, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The FBI agent who shot and killed a Boston Marathon bombing suspect in 2013 is a former Oakland cop who is still collecting a disability pension from the City of Oakland, the Boston Globe reports. Oakland city officials say they are investigating why FBI agent Aaron McFarlane is still receiving $52,000 a year from the city when he had retired from OPD on disability. After retiring, MacFarlane then passed the FBI’s stringent physical tests before the agency hired him. Then last year, MacFarlane fatally shot Ibragim Todashev, a friend of bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, during an interrogation in which Todashev allegedly confessed to helping Tsarnaev pull off the bombing. In Oakland, MacFarlane had been repeatedly disciplined for police misconduct and was accused by a prosecutor of lying under oath.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: Jack London Condo Towers Plan Goes to Planning Commission; Brown’s Rhetoric on Climate Change Heckled

by Robert Gammon
Tue, May 20, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A proposal to build to two condo towers — one 26 stories tall, the other, 17 — in Oakland’s Jack London Square is scheduled to go before the city’s Planning Commission this week, the Trib$ reports. The plan, which would add 665 housing units to the area, appears to have widespread support in City Hall, but some local residents say the towers would be too tall and would block the waterfront. Under the proposal, Ellis Partners, a private developer that controls Jack London Square, would construct a 17-story tower at the corner of Broadway and Embarcadero, and a 26-story building near Harrison and Alice streets.

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