Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday Must Read: Japan Meltdown Threat Worsens; Californians Want to Vote on Brown’s Tax Measures

By Robert Gammon
Wed, Mar 16, 2011 at 7:05 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Japan’s ongoing nuclear power plant crisis appears to be worsening as officials announced that a second reactor at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi facility might have ruptured and appeared to be releasing radioactive steam, the New York Times reports. The plant operator also evacuated workers from the facility for a time when radiation levels spiked.

2. Meanwhile, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced that it's increasing the number of radiation detectors on the West Coast, the Mercury News reports. The EPA, however, refused to divulge where the monitors would be stationed.

3. Experts say that Oakland and Alameda would be in harm’s way if a massive earthquake were to strike off the coast of Alaska and generate a giant tsunami, the CoCo Times. Once waves pass the Golden Gate, they likely would head straight for the Port of Oakland.

4. A new Field Poll shows that a large majority of California voters want Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed tax measures put on the June ballot, the Chron reports. The poll showed that 61 percent of voters want to weigh-in on the tax measures, and that 58 percent said they would vote for them.

5. A small group of centrist Republicans who have been negotiating with Brown over a budget deal want to gut California environmental law in exchange for their votes, the LA Times reports. The proposal from the so-called GOP 5 would exempt nearly all suburban housing developments from environmental review and allow telecommunications companies to erect more cell towers.

6. At least 19,000 teachers in the Bay Area received layoff notices this week as school districts prepare for deep budget cuts should Brown fail to reach a deal with Republicans, the Chron reports. Oakland public schools mailed 530 layoff notices, and West Contra Costa school district sent 100.

7. The City of Oakland has agreed to pay $412,500 to a San Francisco 49ers fan whose arm was broken by an Oakland cop during an Oakland Raiders game at the Coliseum, the Chron reports. The fan said that OPD targeted him and other Niners supporters who were wearing team jerseys at the game.

8. Under an agreement with federal regulators, several East Bay cities, including Oakland, Berkeley, and Alameda, agreed to step-up replacement of aging sewer lines in order to curtail sewage spills in San Francisco Bay, the CoCo Times reports. This winter, about 125 million gallons of diluted sewage spilled into the bay because of overwhelmed sewer lines.

9. And the United States now consumes more total wine each year than France for the first time, Bloomberg News reports. However, the French still drink much more wine per capita than we do — about 14 gallons per person a year compared to 2.6 gallons in the US.


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