Friday, March 16, 2012

Why You Should Never Attend a Ringling Bros. Circus

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Mar 16, 2012 at 4:16 PM

Alex Baldwin tells why in a piece for PETA on the cruel treatment of elephants:

Jerry Brown's Compromise with Millionaire's Tax Was Smart

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Mar 16, 2012 at 11:54 AM

In recent weeks it was becoming increasingly clear that Governor Jerry Brown’s tax measure proposal was headed for defeat, because it included an unpopular sales tax hike. Numerous polls showed that it was trailing the rival Millionaire’s Tax — which proposed to only raise income taxes on the wealthy — by a substantial margin. Backers of the Millionaire’s Tax also had repeatedly — and rightly — rebuffed requests by Brown to drop their more popular measure in favor of his less popular one. So Brown, instead of pushing on with his doomed measure, decided to strike a deal with the sponsors of the Millionaire’s Tax and combine the two measures into one. It was a smart move.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan Should Not Resign

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan screwed up when he sent police spokeswoman Mary Kusmiss to the home of Bay Area News Group reporter Doug Oakley late at night to correct a story that had been posted online. Meehan should have waited until the next morning to request the correction; he has acknowledged as much, and has apologized. And though his decision to dispatch Kusmiss to Oakley’s house at 12:45 a.m. was a mistake, the firestorm over his actions have been overblown and calls for him to resign have been off base.

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SEIU Pulls Endorsement From Joel Young

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 9:27 AM

On February 6, the powerful Service Employees International Union endorsed all three candidates for the 18th Assembly District in the East Bay. However, a month later the union took the unusual step of withdrawing its backing for one of the candidates, AC Transit board member Joel Young, for using the union's confidential questionnaire against his two opponents, according to a source with direct knowledge of the union's deliberations.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Occupy Oakland Overhauls Media Strategy

by John C. Osborn
Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 1:01 PM

The foundation of the Occupy movement is that it is a vehicle from which all people can, theoretically, express themselves openly without fear of censorship or the nasty tactics that politics often produces. But the purity of idealistic optimism, however good-intentioned and necessary to improve the current state of things, often runs into the iron wall of reality; there will always be people who use the mechanisms of openness in ways that, unchecked, can become a destructive force for the whole.

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UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau to Leave Post

by Rachel Swan
Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Higher education watchdogs were all a-Twitter today about UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's surprising announcement that he plans to abscond his post at the end of the calendar year and return to academia. Apparently, he'd wanted to do so all along, and had only sustained an 8 year tenure as chancellor to help mend the university's financial struggles. A vehement critic of cuts to education funding and fervent advocate for accessibility, Birgeneau became a target of recent protest movements at the university, owing to his symbolic association with the police crackdown at Occupy Cal. Students called for the chancellor's resignation when he appeared at an Associated Students of the University of California meeting in December.

Chancellor Robert Birgeneau
  • Chancellor Robert Birgeneau

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Ignacio De La Fuente's Defense of Desley Brooks

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Throughout much of the past decade, Councilmembers Ignacio De La Fuente and Desley Brooks were fierce political foes. The two occasionally traded allegations of corruption, and tried to oust each other from office by backing opposing candidates. But over the past year or two, the De La Fuente-Brooks feud has thawed considerably. Then last week, the onetime enemies engaged in what amounted to a public lovefest as De La Fuente rushed to Brooks’ defense after she was implicated in political wrongdoing.

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Are Stay-Away Orders Against Occupy Oakland Protesters Constitutional?

by John C. Osborn
Fri, Mar 9, 2012 at 12:54 PM

In an attempt to punish and deter Occupy Oakland protesters, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has employed the use of stay-away orders on at least fourteen protesters after the January 28 move-in marches and the subsequent mass arrest of 408 protesters, including journalists. But those stay-away orders are now being challenged in the courts on the grounds that they violate the constitutional rights of protesters, particularly those who have not yet been convicted of any crimes.

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Coliseum City: Oakland’s Only Shot at Keeping the A's

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Mar 9, 2012 at 10:35 AM

The Oakland City Council made the right call this week to move forward with the Coliseum City project, a proposed privately financed development that could provide new homes for the A’s, the Raiders, and the Warriors amid a large retail, housing, and entertainment district. Although it appears to be a long shot as to whether Coliseum City will ever get built, the project may represent the only hope Oakland has at keeping its sports teams. In fact, without Coliseum City, it’s a good bet that Oakland will lose all three.

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Can Oakland Drop the Goldman Sachs Swap?

by Darwin BondGraham
Fri, Mar 9, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Last month's City Council meeting in which dozens of activist packed the chambers to demand action on the city's toxic interest rate swap deal with Goldman Sachs seems to have lit a fire under the council and administration. On February 23, the Rules and Legislative Committee tasked Administrator Deanna Santana's office with drafting a full report on the deal with Goldman Sachs, including recommendations for action. The council has scheduled April 24's Finance Committee meeting to be a discussion of options, including ways to terminate the deal.

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