Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. The number of people running for mayor of Oakland is ten, after three would-be candidates failed to qualify for the ballot, the Trib reports. Mayoral wannabes Tim Brown, Sharika Gregory, and Niki Okuk took out papers to run, but failed to gather enough signatures to make it into the November election. The ten candidates who qualified are Councilwomen Rebecca Kaplan and Jean Quan; ex-state Senator Don Perata; Peralta Community College trustee Marcie Hodge; Joe Tuman, a political science professor and ex-TV news pundit; Terence Candell, director of Candell's College Preparatory Academy; Arnie Fields, real estate broker; Greg Harland, retired businessman; Don Macleay, Green Party activist; and real estate agent Larry Lionel Young Jr.
2. But having so many candidates in the race is already causing headaches. In fact, the Sierra Club and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights are starting to stir controversy in the local blogosphere by their decision to only invite Kaplan, Perata, and Quan to a debate next week on green issues. The Sierra Club argues that inviting ten candidates for a 90-minute event would have been unwieldy and so they decided to only invite the frontrunners, calling Kaplan, Perata, and Quan the only “viable” candidates in the race.
3. The federal fight over gay marriage may not result in a sweeping decision that would legalize same-sex nuptials nationwide and instead may only apply narrowly to California, the Mercury News and Chron report. The reason is that the backers of Prop 8 may not be legally allowed to appeal the case since they can’t prove that they would be harmed by allowing gay marriages to go forward. Typically, state officials must appeal rulings that invalidate state laws, but Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and state Attorney General Jerry Brown have refused to defend Prop 8 because they believe it’s unconstitutional. As a result, the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals and the US Supreme Court may not allow the appeal of Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling overturning Prop 8 to proceed. If that were to happen, then same-sex marriage would be legal in California, but not in other states that have similar gay-marriage bans in place.
4. Alameda Fire Chief David Napier is under fire for routinely filling up his private vehicles for free at the city-owned gas station, the Chron reports. Napier claims he had a deal with the city to do so, but no one seems to be able to find proof of it. Napier has been fueling up his cars for years, but few cared until Alameda fell on rough economic times.
5. Latinos living in California’s Central Valley have suffered a disproportionate number of foreclosures in recent years, the Chron reports, citing a new study from the Center for Responsible Lending. Latinos experienced nearly half — 48.2 percent — of all foreclosures in the state from October 2006 to November 2009.
6. Children’s bouncy houses are laced with toxic levels of lead, the CoCo Times reports, citing a new study by the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland. The center conducted tests on 28 bouncy houses and found that all but one had lead levels that exceeded state and federal regulations, including some that had toxicity levels seventy times higher than the federal limit.
7. The number of adolescents with hearing loss has grown dramatically in recent years and it may not be due to personal music players and headphones, the Chron reports, citing a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Nearly one in five youths now has some hearing loss.