Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Must Read: Kamala Harris Looks Unbeatable; Oakland Museum May Break from City

By Robert Gammon
Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 7:02 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Kamala Harris appears to have built an insurmountable lead in the California attorney general’s race. According to the latest totals from the Secretary of State’s Office, the Democratic San Francisco DA leads Republican Steve Cooley by more than 40,000 votes. As of Friday, there were an estimated 500,000 ballots left to count, the Chron reported. And many of the uncounted ballots are in voter-rich Los Angeles County, where Harris is pummeling Cooley, even though it’s his home, 53 percent to 39 percent.

2. The nonprofit foundation that co-runs the Oakland Museum is considering breaking off from the City of Oakland, because of the city’s continuing budget problems, the Trib and Chron report. The nonprofit foundation and the city co-operate the museum but city budget woes forced a hiring freeze at the museum in 2008, and city employees at the museum are required to take furlough days. The nonprofit foundation believes it may be able to run the museum more efficiently.

3. UC Berkeley is pushing forward with its plan for a $96 million renovation of a new UC Berkeley Art Museum site in downtown even though it’s about $20 million short of funds, the Chron reports. The campus plans to make up the shortfall, but has yet to identify a funding source, although it says it won’t be from student tuition or state budget allocations.

4. Holiday travel this Thanksgiving is expected to be robust, and frustrating, in the wake of the TSA’s new, controversial security measures at the nation’s airports. Full-body scans and invasive pat-downs are expected to make long lines longer, and could cause tempers to flare as a backlash against the new measures strengthens. Last week, San Diego traveler, John Tyner, became an Internet sensation after resisting both the scan and the pat-down, telling a TSA screener: “If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.”

5. Ski resorts in the Sierra Nevada will be open this holiday weekend thanks to heavy snow from recent storms, the Chron reports. The snow elevation level dropped to 2,000 feet in some areas because of the cold front that hit California over the weekend.

6. Some state lawmakers are urging the California Public Utilities Commission to hire more pipeline inspectors in the wake of a Chronicle report that revealed the state has the worst inspection record in the nation. The question, however, is whether ratepayers or PG&E and other regulated utilities will pay for the new inspectors.

7. And Tribune columnist Dave Newhouse blasts the new owners of the Golden State Warriors for dissing Oakland and holding their tip-off event at a San Francisco restaurant.

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