Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday Must Reads: Bay Area Lawmaker Reportedly Arrested on Corruption Charges; Oakland Councilwoman Introduces Pro-Bicyclists Law

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. State Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco has been arrested by the FBI on public corruption charges, NBC Bay Area reports, citing anonymous sources. KCRA-TV in Sacramento reports that law enforcement officials are raiding Yee’s capitol office this morning. The FBI is also searching locations in San Francisco, the Chron reports. Yee is a candidate for secretary of state.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: OPD Still Targeting African Americans; Explosive Fracked Oil to Be Shipped Through the East Bay

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Despite a decade-long reform effort, Oakland police are disproportionately stopping black motorists in the city, the Trib and Chron report, citing a new OPD analysis. Blacks accounted for 62 percent of all OPD stops from April to November of last year, even though they represent 28 percent of the city’s population. OPD officers also were far more likely to search African Americans during traffic stops, doing so 47 percent of the time compared to 17 percent for whites and Asians. Searches of black motorists, however, were no more likely to recover illegal items than searches of other ethnic groups. In addition, black motorists also were often stopped — 39 percent — even though they had not violated any traffic laws.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Must Reads: Feds and State to Truck Salmon to Delta; Nate Silver Predicts GOP Will Take Senate This Year

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Because of the drought, federal and state wildlife officials plan to ship millions of hatchery-born baby salmon by truck downriver to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to give them a better chance of surviving their migration to the Pacific Ocean. The SacBee$ reports that the US Fish & Wildlife Service plans to begin trucking up to 12 million salmon this week from ta hatchery near Red Bluff and ship the fish downstream to a point on the Sacramento River near Rio Vista, because the river does not have enough water for the fish to survive the journey on their own. The state plans similar trucking operations along the American River. The moves are designed to keep the Bay Area’s salmon fishery from completely collapsing this year.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Oakland Council Backs Higher Wages for Recycling Workers and Pushes for Bulk-Waste Pickup for Apartment Dwellers

by Jean Tepperman
Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Workers who handle Oakland’s recycled materials will have “good, family-supporting wages and benefits,” and all Oakland residents — including those in multifamily complexes — will have a full range of recycling services, according to a resolution passed by the city council this week. These were the key goals of a coalition of recycling workers, community and environmental organizations, workplace safety advocates, and clergy, which had been pushing for these measures for two years.

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Friday Must Reads: Oakland to Pay Injured Bicyclist $3.25 Million; Young People Now Approve of Obamacare

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland City Council has agreed to pay $3.25 million to a bicyclist who was badly injured when she crashed on a pothole-laden road, the Trib$ and Chron report. The cyclist, Dulcey Bower, crashed on Mountain Boulevard between Ascot Drive and the Highway 13 onramp in 2011. Prior to the crash, the city had received numerous complaints about potholes on Mountain. The city says it has since fixed the area where Bower was hurt, although Oakland has a backlog of road repair jobs due to a lack of city funds. The $3.25 million payout was the second major one this week — the city, as the Express first reported this morning, also has agreed to pay $4.5 million to Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen, who was severely injured when Oakland police shot him with a beanbag round during an Occupy Oakland protest.

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Oakland to Pay $4.5 million to Iraq War Vet Scott Olsen

by Ali Winston
Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 7:31 AM

The City of Oakland has agreed to pay a $4.5 million legal settlement to Scott Olsen, the 24-year-old Marine Corps veteran who was critically wounded by Oakland Police on the night of October 25, 2011 during a chaotic confrontation between law enforcement and Occupy Oakland demonstrators. Police had evicted the Occupy Oakland encampment from Frank Ogawa Plaza that morning, prompting thousands of people to return to downtown that afternoon.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

California Offers Financial Aid to Rape Victims Previously Denied Due to Sex Work

by Sam Levin
Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Last year, the California Victim Compensation Program made headlines when it scrapped a regulation that barred the state from helping victims of violence who were involved in prostitution. This discrimination against sex workers had sparked intense criticisms of the state program, which provides financial aid to victims of violent crimes (and was the subject of a recent Express series).

Today, three months after the program eliminated the controversial regulation, the state announced that it has reversed more than a dozen of its past denials — meaning a group of victims who were previously rejected will now get the financial support they had originally requested.

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Oakland Council Pushes for Smartphone Kill Switches

by Elly Schmidt-Hopper
Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 12:52 PM

This week, the Oakland City Council unanimously approved a resolution in support of California Senate Bill 962 (SB 962). If passed, the law will require that all smartphones and tablets sold in the state include a kill switch. The resolution was introduced by Councilmember Dan Kalb, who began advocating for a state law requiring kill switches last year.

“The goal of SB 962 is to eliminate the lure that smartphones and other devices present to thieves by eliminating their resale value, which will help to reduce the epidemic of armed robberies,” Kalb said in a press release. Kalb was robbed of his smartphone at gunpoint in 2012 in North Oakland.

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Analysis: Oakland Tenants Did Well in Deal with Landlords

by Jean Tepperman
Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Oakland tenant organizations and their supporters are claiming a victory this week after the City Council voted Tuesday night to approve what Robbie Clark of Causa Justa/Just Cause called “the first solid tenants’ rights legislation in over ten years.” Tenant advocates had been campaigning to close two major loopholes in the city’s rent control law — loopholes that allow landlords to increase rents to pay them back for money they spent on capital improvements and repayment of debts. Because of that loophole, some tenants have been faced with huge rent increases, sometimes more than 100 percent.

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Thursday Must Reads: Children’s Hospital Oakland Merges with UCSF; Feinstein Joins Brown in Opposing Pot Legalization

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Children’s Hospital Oakland has finalized its merger with UC San Francisco, in move that officials hope will stabilize Children’s’ finances, the Hayward Daily Review$ reports. Children’s has faced monetary difficulties because it specializes in serving low-income kids on Medi-Cal. Under the merger, UCSF will take charge of Children’s’ finances and provide the Oakland hospital with more staff. Top management at Children’s also will become employees of the University of California.

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