Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Must Reads: Assembly Okays Plastic Bag Ban; EPA Says Brown’s Water Tunnels Are Illegal

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. In a surprise development, the state Assembly approved legislation that would ban single-use plastic bags in California and the bill is expected to be approved by the state Senate and by Governor Jerry Brown, the Mercury News$ reports. The plastic bag industry had spent huge sums on lobbying against the bill, but Assembly members who had previously voted against the bag ban reversed their positions after talking to environmentalists about the benefits of it.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: Noose Left on Oakland City Truck; Brown Administration Delays Massive Tunnels Plan

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland police launched a hate-crime investigation after a noose was left on a city-owned truck at a Public Works Department parking lot, the Trib$ reports. Two African-American city employees discovered the noose — an ugly symbol of lynchings of black people in the South. Public Works employees said it was the second noose left on city property — an earlier one was found in a desk. Interim City Manager Henry Gardner said that if a city employee was responsible for leaving the noose, the worker would be fired immediately.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday Must Reads: Federal Probe of West Contra Costa Schools Deepens; Senate Votes to Require Warrants for Drone Use

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The federal investigation of the West Contra Costa school district’s construction bond measure program has deepened, with Securities and Exchange officials issuing an extensive subpoena for documents, the CoCo Times$ reports. The subpoena shows that the SEC is probing the possible misuse of taxpayer funds in the school district’s $1.6 billion bond program. West Contra Costa includes Richmond and El Cerrito schools.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mills Officially Opens to Transgender Students

by Sarah Burke
Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Mills Hall.
  • Mills Hall.
Mills, an Oakland women's college, has recently decided to officially define its acceptance policy toward transgender and gender fluid applicants. According to what Brian O'Rourke, the school's vice president of enrollment and admissions, told the San Francisco Chronicle, Mills accepts three to five students every year who don't identify with their birth-assigned gender. There are a number of women's colleges across the nation that have also been accepting transgender and gender fluid students for some time now, especially on the East Coast, but none have explicitly outlined the practice in their policy before. Mills has now done just that, with a unanimous vote from the trustees enrollment committee in May.

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Tuesday Must Reads: Brown Signs Kill Switch Law; Moderate Democrats Block Plastic Bag Ban

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

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1. Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation yesterday requiring smartphone manufacturers to install kill switches on their devices that make them inoperable when stolen, the Mercury News$ reports. The new law, which was backed by Oakland city leaders and law enforcement officials, is designed to stem the cellphone robbery epidemic nationwide. The new law takes effect in July 2015, and mandates that kill switches are a default function on all smartphones sold in California.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Must Reads: Brick Buildings Fared Badly in Napa Quake; 75% of Oakland Residents Back Minimum Wage Hike

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Brick buildings — even ones that had been retrofitted — fared poorly in the Napa earthquake as many unreinforced masonry structures suffered significant damage in the 6.0 shaker, the LA Times$ reports. One thirteen-year-old was critically injured in the quake by a collapsing chimney. The quake emanated from a little-known fault about 6.7 miles beneath the surface and was felt as far away as Fresno, the Chron reports.
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: Hundreds in Oakland Protest Police Brutality; Judge Appoints Investigator to Probe Oakland Police Misconduct

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Aug 21, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Hundreds of protesters gathered in downtown Oakland last night to demonstrate against police brutality, the Chron and Trib$ report. The demonstrators decried the officer-involved shooting last week in Ferguson, Missouri and fatal shootings by police in the Bay Area.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: Popularity of Obamacare Surges; Giant Solar Farm Is Incinerating Thousands of Birds

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 9:49 AM

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Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The popularity of Obamacare is surging in California with 56 percent of residents now reporting that they support and are satisfied with the Affordable Care Act, the Chron reports, citing a new Field Poll. In addition, 60 percent of Californians reported that they were happy with how the state rolled out the program. About 3.4 million state residents signed up for coverage under Obamacare.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Waste Management Sues Oakland Over Garbage Contract Fight

by Sam Levin
Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Waste Management worker in San Leandro. - STEPHEN LOEWINSOHN/FILE PHOTO
  • STEPHEN LOEWINSOHN/FILE PHOTO
  • Waste Management worker in San Leandro.
The dirty fight for Oakland's trash just got a lot messier. Waste Management, the Texas-based corporation that currently collects the city's trash, filed a lawsuit this morning against the City of Oakland, weeks after the City Council awarded the entire $1 billion waste contract to a different company, California Waste Solutions (CWS). The council unanimously voted against the recommendation of city staffers when it chose CWS, a company that has never had a residential garbage contract before and was, based on the city's analysis, ill-prepared to do the job starting July 1, 2015. 

And according to the lawsuit filed today, CWS was not only the inferior choice, it also illegally won the bid as a result of the city violating numerous provisions of its own request-for-proposals (RFP) process. 

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Monday Must Reads: Big Soda Sues Berkeley Over Proposed Tax; PG&E’s Coziness With Regulators Deepens

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Major beverage makers are financing a lawsuit against the City of Berkeley over its proposed soda tax measure on the November ballot, the Trib$ reports. The lawsuit contends that Berkeley’s proposed one-cent-per-one-ounce tax on sugary beverages is “false, misleading, and illegally biased.” Backers of the measure are accusing Big Soda of bullying tactics.

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