Tuesday, September 20, 2011

No Vaccine, No School for Berkeley and Oakland Students

by Rachel Swan
Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Doubts about the efficacy of the whooping cough vaccine haven't hindered Berkeley Unified School District from instituting a ban against students who haven't received their Tdap booster shots. The 30-day grace period ends September 29, after which point any seventh through twelfth grade student who hasn't gotten vaccinated will be prohibited from attending school, The Daily Cal reports.

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Tuesday Must Read: Brown’s Poll Numbers Rise; BART May Get to Ban Protesters

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Governor Jerry Brown’s approval ratings have gone up in recent months, at the same time that other politicians’ poll numbers have been taking a nosedive, the SacBee reports, citing a new Field Poll. The poll showed that Brown’s approval ratings rose three points to 49 percent, while those for President Obama and Senator Dianne Feinstein are plummeting. Voters also don’t think much of the state Legislature — only 20 percent approve of the job it’s doing.

Pollsters, however, warn that Brown’s numbers could tank in January when the state will likely have to enact deep cuts to public schools because of declining tax revenues.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Must Read: Obama Unveils Tax-the-Rich Plan; New BART GM to Meet with Protesters

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Sep 19, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. President Obama unveiled his new plan for requiring wealthy Americans to finally pay their fair share of taxes. The president dubbed the proposal the “Buffett Rule,” after billionaire Warren Buffett, who has noted that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary under current IRS loopholes. Republicans immediately decried the plan, calling it “class warfare,” to which the president responded: “This is not class warfare; it’s math,” noting that it’s not mathematically possible to make a substantial dent in the nation’s budget deficit without new revenues.

Buffett and Obama
  • Buffett and Obama

The president’s plan would slash the deficit by $3 trillion over the next decade. Obama also vowed to veto any legislation that calls for more cuts without higher taxes on the rich.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Must Read: UC Regents Table Tuition Hike Plan: Student Loan Defaults Rise

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Sep 16, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The UC Board of Regents tabled a plan to further increase student tuition by 8 to 16 percent annually for the next four years, the Chron and CoCo Times report. Instead, the regents want to search for other ways to close UC’s projected $1.5 billion budget gap. The fee hikes, proposed by the UC administration, would have raised tuition from $12,000 up to $22,000 a year.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

International Green Schoolyard Conference This Weekend in Berkeley and SF

by Nate Seltenrich
Thu, Sep 15, 2011 at 3:05 PM

Green schoolyards are about more than just vegetable gardens. They may be edible, as in the case of Alice Waters’ lauded program at Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Junior Middle School, or they may be simply sustainable: solar panels, rainwater harvesting, bicycle programs. The entire range of possibilities, from outdoor classrooms to unpaved playgrounds, is the subject of Engaging Our Grounds, the first International Green Schoolyard Conference to be held in the United States, running tomorrow and through Sunday in San Francisco and Berkeley.

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Thursday Must Read: BART Promises to Stop Faking the News; Oakland Home Values Plummet by $12.2 Billion

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Sep 15, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. BART board President Bob Franklin promised that the embattled agency would stop trying to push fake news, after the Bay Citizen reported on a clumsy media manipulation strategy that was hatched by BART spokesman Linton Johnson. Johnson had unsuccessfully tried to recruit loyal passengers to attend a press conference and read from a BART-friendly script he wrote.

  • Johnson
Johnson even spent public funds on limos to ferry the loyal passengers — although none of the passengers ever showed up. Franklin said the agency has decided to never do that again. However, Johnson’s direct boss Jennifer Barton said it was not the first time that the public agency had given loyal customers “talking points” to use with the news media.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Berkeley High Cracks Down on Crime

by Rachel Swan
Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 4:06 PM

A spate of firearm incidents must have put Berkeley High administrators on edge, because they decided to crack down this school year. According to the Daily Cal, the school has decided to report such crimes as robbery and gun possession to the Berkeley police department, rather than just handling them in-house. The new policy is partly a reaction to parent complaints and all the bad publicity that followed last year's campus crime spike. It's also an alternative to several proposed "security enhancements," like lockdowns and metal detectors, which don't necessarily hew to Berkeley's pacific ethos. In an interview with Daily Cal reporter Weiru Fang, director of student services Susan Craig insisted that the school's intent is not to criminalize students, but to promote safety. Now let's see if they can do anything about those parties.

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You Write Too Long: This Week's Feature, Bite-Sized

by Ellen Cushing
Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 3:43 PM

Ever wonder why San Francisco and Emeryville are filled to the street food while Oakland is, comparatively speaking, not, save for Fruitvale? or why those food trucks that do operate are forced to do so largely illegally, or only in the form of organized pods like Bites Off Broadway? Blame it on a mountain of red tape and a serious case of civic inertia: as intrepid food critic (and bang-up policy wonk) John Birdsall discovers, it may be a looooong time before we have a successful mobile-food truck policy. Read it and weep.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Oakland Makes It Official: Walter Cohen Is Out as CEDA Director

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Oakland City Administrator Deanna Santana has made it official: Walter Cohen, the embattled director of the Community and Economic Development Agency, will be leaving the city on October 28. "With nearly 20 years of experience working in planning and redevelopment in the public sector and 17 years of experience working in development and entitlements, the City organization commends Walter for his contributions," Santana said in a statement.

Cohen's agency came under fire earlier this year in a scathing report from the Alameda County Grand Jury, concerning blight abatement. He also has taken heat for a number of missteps, including the bungled roll out of Oakland's proposals for a new second campus for the Lawrence Berkeley Lab.

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Tuesday Must Read: Brown Finally Seems to Get It; Tea Partiers Cheer Over Letting Uninsured Die

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Governor Jerry Brown, like President Obama, finally appears to be getting the message that the GOP has no interest in reaching compromises right now. The LA Times reports that Brown struck a much more aggressive stance during a speech yesterday, calling out Republicans for opposing any increases in taxes even if it meant benefitting small businesses and construction projects. “There’s this idea that [if] you have a little extra tax, that somehow that’s an evil,” Brown said. “And we’ve got a group in California, that every time you try to raise a little money for more roads and more dams, for more bridges, for more train tracks, they block it.”

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