Thursday, February 4, 2016

Thursday Must Reads: State Lawmakers Seek to Dissolve CPUC; Iconic West Oakland Arts Studio American Steel May Close

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 9:35 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

click to enlarge Mike Gatto.
  • Mike Gatto.
1. Several lawmakers are proposing a statewide ballot measure that would break up the scandal-plagued California Public Utilities Commission, the SacBee$ reports. The plan, spearheaded by Assemblymember Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, would allow the state legislature to create a new regulatory agency to oversee the state’s troubled investor-owned utilities. The CPUC, which has been accused of being too cozy with the companies it regulates, has been rocked by scandals in recent in years, including the massive gasline leak in Southern California and the deadly pipeline blast in San Bruno.

2. The iconic West Oakland industrial arts studio, American Steel, may be forced to close to make way for new offices or retail outlets, the Chron$ reports. The owner of the American Steel warehouses, Maurice Kanbar, and his holding company, KS Properties One LLC, are trying to sell the property and demolish the buildings. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has met with the owner in an attempt to find an alternative home for the 200 artists who use the sprawling arts studio.


3. The states of California, Oregon, and Washington are refusing to help pay for an earthquake warning system, even though it could save thousands of lives when the next Big One hits, the LA Times$ reports. The states argue that the federal government should shoulder all the costs of the early warning system, while the feds say the states should pay their fair share.

4. Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that eliminates a March 1 deadline for regulating medical marijuana in the state, the SacBee$ reports. Cities and counties throughout California have been rushing to ban medical cannabis activities because of fears that if they didn’t do so by March 1, then the state would take over regulatory powers from them.

5. East Bay state Senator Steve Glazer said he and other elected officials will actively oppose a proposed BART bond measure unless the transit agency agrees to eliminate the right of workers to go on strike, the CoCo Times$ reports.

6. A supermajority of Californians — 78 percent — favors requiring health warning labels on sugary drinks, the SacBee$ reports, citing a new Field Poll. In addition, 68 percent of state residents said they support new taxes on sugary beverages to fund school nutrition and physical activity programs.

7. And Ken Stabler, the Oakland Raiders star quarterback who died last year, suffered from CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a degenerative brain disease that’s caused by repeated blows to the head.  

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