Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday Must Read: Second Quan Recall Petition Surfaces; Middle Class No Longer in the Majority

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 7:02 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The proposed recall of Mayor Jean Quan is already fracturing before it has started, as a second group opposed to the mayor has surfaced to do a recall of its own. The Chron reports that the second group, headed by ex-mayoral candidate Greg Harland, is frustrated with the first group, which is run by Gene Hazzard, a photographer for the Oakland Post newspaper. The Oakland City Clerk officially certified Hazzard’s recall petition yesterday, but Harland’s group doesn’t believe that Hazzard can gather the requisite 19,000 signatures. However, it’s unclear whether having two recall petitions going on simultaneously is legal.

2. The middle class no longer represents the majority of California’s population, as the income gap between rich and poor continues to widen, the CoCo Times reports, citing a new study from the Public Policy Institute of California. The middle class now represents just 49.7 percent of the state’s population, down from 60 percent three decades ago. The study defines middle class as families who earn between $44,000 and $155,000 a year.

3. Academic researchers are blaming the widening income gap on state and federal government policies, the Chron reports. At a Sacramento hearing yesterday, leading academics told legislative leaders that the nation’s economic woes will continue unless the wealthy and large corporations pay more taxes and more money is spent on education and social programs.

4. Occupy San Francisco protesters returned to Justin Herman Plaza last night after police tore down their two-month old encampment earlier in the day, the Chron reports. However, it’s not clear whether Occupy SF will try to rebuild. Police arrested about seventy protesters and cleared the 142-tent encampment yesterday morning.

5. The longshore workers’ union, ILWU, is refusing to back the planned blockade of West Coast ports this Monday by the Occupy movement, the Chron reports. The lack of support from the ILWU could make it very difficult for the proposed blockade to be successful. The ILWU is apparently unhappy that Occupy protesters did not consult with them before announcing the planned blockade.

6. The Richmond City Council awarded permits to three medical cannabis dispensaries this week despite the recent crackdown, the CoCo Times reports. There had been a moratorium on pot clubs in the city.

7. Doctors at Children’s Hospital in Oakland have told the family of one-year-old Hiram Lawrence Jr. that he is brain dead, the family says, according to the Trib. The family, however, wants a second opinion and does not want the hospital to take the little boy of life support. Hiram was gravely injured in a brazen shooting in West Oakland that police believe involved rival gangs.

8. The cable TV show Mythbusters says it’s sorry for accidentally shooting a cannonball through a Dublin family’s home, the Chron reports. No one was hurt in the incident, but the cannonball careened past a small child. Mythbusters was using the nearby Alameda County ordnance range when the accident occurred.

9. OpenTable’s stock is nose-diving amid investor concerns that the online restaurant reservation service will face heated competition, Bloomberg News reports.

10. And results from the Mars rover have convinced scientists that large amounts of water once flowed on the surface of the planet, Chron reports.

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