Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thursday Must Reads: President Announces Fixes to Obamacare; Number of Mentally Ill Homeless Surges in East Bay

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Nov 14, 2013 at 9:45 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. President Obama announced changes to the Affordable Care Act today that would allow insurance companies to continue selling health-care policies that previously were to be canceled, the Washington Post$ reports. The president’s announcement was intended to address a controversy that erupted when millions of Americans began receiving notices in recent weeks that their insurance policy was going to be canceled because it didn’t meet the coverage requirements under Obamacare. The cancellation notices sparked a firestorm of criticism because the president had promised repeatedly that people could keep their insurance policy if they liked it. Under the changes announced today, insurance companies can continue selling existing plans for the next year. The president cautioned, however, that some insurance companies might choose not to sell the old plans.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday Must Reads: Oakland Council Panel Rejects Curfew Plan; Radioactive Shards Found on Treasure Island

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Nov 13, 2013 at 9:34 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland City Council’s Public Safety Committee shot down a proposal from Councilmember Noel Gallo to institute a youth curfew in the city, the Chron reports. Three of the four members on the committee said they would not vote for Gallo’s plan, noting that the understaffed police department does not have the capacity to enforce a curfew. This is at least the third time in the past few years that the Oakland council has rejected a proposed curfew in the city. Previously, the council rejected similar plans from Gallo’s predecessor, Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday Must Reads: Warriors’ New SF Arena Plan Still Faces Opposition; Climate Change Will Likely Fuel Monster Storms

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Nov 12, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The owners of the Golden State Warriors unveiled revised plans for a San Francisco arena in the hopes of easing opposition to their proposal, but groups that beat back another waterfront development last week say they will still fight to block the team’s scaled down plan, the Chron reports. The Warriors’ new proposal shrinks the height of the planned arena from 135 feet to 125 feet, but critics call the changes “window dressing” and note that they oppose an accompanying real estate development that would include a 175-foot-tall condo tower and two 105-foot-tall hotels. The team says it needs that development to finance the costs of building the new arena.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday Must Reads: Anti-Transgender Measure Headed for Ballot; Warriors’ Plans for San Francisco Arena to Go Before Voters

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Nov 11, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A coalition of conservative groups says it has gathered more than enough signatures for a statewide ballot measure that would roll back rights for transgender youth in California, the AP reports. The ballot measure would overturn a landmark law that allows transgender students to choose whether they want to play on girls or boys sports teams and what bathrooms they want to use. The conservative groups, led by some of the same organizations that ran the Prop 8 anti-gay marriage campaign, say they collected 620,000 signatures; the measure needs 505,000 to qualify for the ballot.

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Common Household Products May Be Linked to Kids' Behavior Problems

by Lindsey Konkel of Environmental Health News
Sat, Nov 9, 2013 at 7:05 AM

Insecticides commonly used in households may be associated with behavior problems in children, according to a new study. Conducted by researchers in Quebec, the study is one of the first to investigate potential human health effects of pyrethroids, which are used in more than 3,500 commercial products, including flea bombs and roach sprays.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Must Reads: BART May Slash Operating Hours for Safety Reasons; FDA to Ban Trans Fats

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Nov 8, 2013 at 9:54 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. BART official told state legislators that the agency may have to cut back on its operating hours because of new safety protocols following the death of two workers during last month’s strike, the CoCo Times reports. BART officials also came under heavy fire from lawmakers for failing to improve safety conditions earlier, despite a previous death. Legislators noted that BART has a history of fighting state safety requirements rather than quickly implementing them.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bay Area Air District Moves Forward with Ambitious Climate Change Goals

by Jean Tepperman
Thu, Nov 7, 2013 at 5:41 AM

The Bay Area officially embarked on an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with the unanimous adoption of a climate protection resolution by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) yesterday. The resolution commits the BAAQMD to a goal of reducing the region’s greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent of their 1990 level by 2050, mirroring the statewide goal, as well as to developing a regional climate protection strategy and a work plan to implement it. Many BAAQMD board members and staffers praised environmental groups, especially 350.org, 350 Bay Area, and the Sierra Club for promoting this policy and working with staff to shape it.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Oakland to Further Study Richmond's Anti-Foreclosure Program

by Jean Tepperman
Wed, Nov 6, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Oakland may soon study the possibility of creating an aggressive program to protect homeowners from foreclosure, inspired by Richmond’s program that includes the possibility of seizing mortgages through eminent domain. In a special session on November 5, the city council decided that at its next meeting, November 19, it would consider two similar but competing resolutions, both of which would commend the City of Richmond for its pioneering program and launch an investigation into whether Oakland should adopt a similar strategy.

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The Express Wins a National Journalism Award for Science Reporting

by Express staff
Wed, Nov 6, 2013 at 2:50 PM

The Express has won a national award for journalism excellence in science reporting from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The paper won for Azeen Ghorayshi’s May 1 cover story “Warning: Quake in 60 Seconds.” Her in-depth report explored efforts by scientists at UC Berkeley to develop a statewide early warning system for earthquakes.

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Wednesday Must Reads: Oakland Kills Deal with Surveillance Contractor; San Francisco Vote Could Be Bad News for Warriors’ Owners

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Nov 6, 2013 at 9:54 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The City of Oakland has killed a deal with its surveillance contractor because the company is connected to nuclear weapons makers in violation of city law, the Trib reports. As a result, Oakland is looking for a new contractor to build its controversial surveillance center. As the Express first reported, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), has a troubled background that the city failed to fully investigate before hiring the company to build the surveillance center. Then after the council approved the contract, SAIC revealed that it has connections to nuclear weapons manufacturing — which violates a 1988 law approved by Oakland voters.

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