Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Albany City Council Adopts Resolution to Oppose Cutting Trees in State Park

by Angela Kilduff
Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Last night, the Albany City Council adopted a resolution opposing the "Richardson Grove Improvement Project," a Caltrans construction project slated to begin in 2011.

It would mean cutting down 54 trees from Richardson Grove Park to widen a 1.1-mile stretch of Highway 101 for large trucks to pass through safely. According to Caltrans publications, the project wouldn't cut down old-growth redwoods — the largest tree to be removed is seven inches in diameter.

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  • Courtesy of Caltrans

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Jerry Brown Scores Endorsement from Perata’s Employer

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 1:00 PM

The powerful California prison guards’ union has endorsed Jerry Brown’s candidacy for governor. The endorsement should come as no surprise considering that one of the prison guards’ union’s main political consultants over the past year has been ex-state Senator Don Perata, a longtime ally of Brown. The prison guards have paid Perata at least $409,000 since early 2009. Perata also has donated at least $15,000 to Brown’s campaign this summer, according to the Trib.

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Appeals Court Tosses Desley Brooks’ Suit Against Chip Johnson

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 10:42 AM

A state appeals court has thrown out a libel suit filed by Oakland City Councilwoman Desley Brooks against San Francisco Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson. The three-judge panel unanimously upheld a lower court decision that also went against Brooks. In an unpublished opinion, the appellate court agreed with the lower court that it didn’t matter whether Johnson wrote false things about Brooks — as long as his article, taken as a whole, was "substantially true."

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Tuesday Must Read: PG&E Gas-Line List Is Incomplete: AC Transit to Slash Weekend Service

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 7:03 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. PG&E released a list of its 100 riskiest pipelines yesterday but the disclosure appears to be incomplete. The Chron reports that the list is missing gas-lines that the utility has previously said are at risk of failure, including the San Bruno line that blew up and incinerated a neighborhood, killing at least four people. Last year, PG&E warned state regulators about a section of the line that exploded, saying the “likelihood of a failure makes the risk of a failure at this location unacceptably high.” It’s not clear why that section was not on the list PG&E released yesterday because the pipeline has not been fixed. The list includes eight pipeline sections in the East Bay that PG&E says need to be repaired or replaced — four in Livermore, two in Sunol, and one each in Fremont and San Pablo.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Why I’m Rooting Against the Niners

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 1:34 PM

As a San Francisco 49ers fan for the past thirty years, I never thought I would write that headline. But I’m rooting against the team tonight, for the rest of the season, and for as long as Mike Singletary is head coach. The reason is simple: He’s an embarrassment to the franchise.

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Monday Must Read: PG&E Lied About Pipe Pressure, Uses Unreliable Tests: Judge Threatens OPD

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 7:00 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The federal investigation of PG&E’s pipeline explosion in San Bruno has revealed that the utility was operating the line at dangerously high pressure levels for an old pipe — and at a higher pressure than PG&E had previously disclosed, the Mercury News reported. PG&E was operating the line at up to 386 pounds per square inch — not 375 as the utility had said publicly. Too much pressure has caused other pipelines to explode, and experts said that the San Bruno line might have been too old and worn out to handle that much pressure.

2. At the same time, industry experts told the Chronicle that PG&E has been using outdated tests to examine its natural gas pipelines, including the San Bruno line. In fact, the utility’s claim that the line recently passed inspection was based on one of those out-of-date tests. The inferior testing method doesn’t adequately check for pipeline corrosion — another possible reason for why the San Bruno line blew up. PG&E says newer, more effective testing methods are too expensive.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: New Poll Shows Perata Leads a Close Oakland Mayor’s Race

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 12:55 PM

A new poll commissioned by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is showing a tight Oakland mayor's race with a little more than six weeks to go until Election Day. Ex-state Senator Don Perata leads Councilwoman Jean Quan, 26 percent to 22 percent, with Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan in third with 12 percent, said Scott Peterson, the chamber’s public policy director. Perata also has a slight lead when counting first and second choices under the new ranked choice voting system to be used in Oakland this year. He leads with 38 percent over Quan’s 34 percent. Kaplan, again, comes in third with 18 percent. The poll included 600 Oakland registered voters and has a 4 percent margin of error, meaning that Perata’s lead over Quan falls within that margin.

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Friday Must Read: Was It Pipe Corrosion, SmartMeters, or too Much Pressure in PG&E’s Pipeline; Reports of Gas Odors Appears to be a Rumor

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 10:41 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. PG&E had been worried for at least a year that possible corrosion might cause its San Bruno pipeline to explode, the Chron reports. Investigators are now looking at whether corroded pipes led to the deadly explosion that killed four people last week and incinerated a neighborhood. Meanwhile, a consumer’s group, Californians for Renewable Energy, is raising questions as to whether PG&E’s controversial SmartMeters may have sparked the blast, the Chron adds. The group filed a complaint with federal regulators, alleging that SmartMeter wireless transmissions could have created an electrical current in the pipe and ignited the natural gas.

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Woodfin and Workers Settle

by Madeleine Bair
Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 10:32 AM

The East Bay’s most contentious labor dispute in recent years has finally come to an end. Housecleaners at Emeryville’s Woodfin Suites Hotel have argued for four years that they were underpaid under the city’s Measure C, a living-wage law for hospitality workers. But after an order by the city, a ruling by an Alameda County Superior judge, and a three-year boycott could not compel the hotel to ante up $200,000 in back pay to more than fifty employees, they have finally agreed to hand over the cash.

Some of it, at least.

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Violent Crime Wave Strikes Cal

by Anneli Star Josselin Rufus
Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 10:17 AM

The new fall term at UC Berkeley is starting off with a violent crime wave.

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