Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday Must Read: BART Promises to Stop Faking the News; Oakland Home Values Plummet by $12.2 Billion

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Sep 15, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. BART board President Bob Franklin promised that the embattled agency would stop trying to push fake news, after the Bay Citizen reported on a clumsy media manipulation strategy that was hatched by BART spokesman Linton Johnson. Johnson had unsuccessfully tried to recruit loyal passengers to attend a press conference and read from a BART-friendly script he wrote.

  • Johnson
Johnson even spent public funds on limos to ferry the loyal passengers — although none of the passengers ever showed up. Franklin said the agency has decided to never do that again. However, Johnson’s direct boss Jennifer Barton said it was not the first time that the public agency had given loyal customers “talking points” to use with the news media.

2. By the end of 2012, the foreclosure crisis will have cost Oakland homeowners about $12.2 billion in lost property values, the Trib reports, citing a new study. The hardest hit local ZIP code is 94605, an area of East Oakland that is expected to lose more than $700 million in property value from 4,800 foreclosures. Other battered areas in Oakland include the 94601, 94603 and 94621 zip codes, which cover Fruitvale and most of East Oakland. The housing crisis also has laid waste to city tax revenues.

3. MTC plans to pay $150,000 for a poll to determine whether to put 10-cents-gallon fuel tax on the ballot in the Bay Area, the Chron reports. The proposed tax hike would be used for road projects and to help fund local transit agencies. It also comes at time when MTC is under investigation for its plan to use bridge toll proceeds to buy a massive warehouse in San Francisco for its new headquarters and rent portions of it out.

4. The City of Richmond is grappling over what to do with Point Molate now that the federal government has ruled that Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians cannot build a casino on the site, the CoCo Times reports. Earlier this year, the Richmond City Council also voted against the casino.

5. And law enforcement officials mistakenly raided the Alameda home of a local television news reporter, not realizing that suspect they were after had sold the house and moved across the street, the Chron reports.

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