Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday Must Read: Oakland Targets Fruitvale Gang; Cause of PG&E Blast Unknown

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 7:02 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland City Attorney John Russo and Police Chief Anthony Batts are seeking a gang injunction against the violent Nortenos gang in the city’s Fruitvale District, the Chron and Trib report. The court injunction, if granted, would target 42 members of the Nortenos, and bar them from hanging out with each other, loitering, and possessing guns. The ACLU immediately condemned the proposal, arguing that Russo and Batts should have waited until the gang injunction issued in North Oakland earlier this year is assessed. Batts contends that gang injunctions have worked in other cities.

2. A preliminary report from federal investigators failed to find an exact cause for PG&E’s deadly pipeline blast in San Bruno, the Chron reports. Investigators with the NTSB confirmed that a power failure prior to the blast boosted pressure in the pipe, but it might not have been strong enough to cause the explosion. Investigators also found no obvious signs of pipeline corrosion. They did reveal, however, that PG&E waited 34 minutes before dispatching crews to turn off the gas. The federal probe is expected to take up to a year to complete.

3. An off-hand comment by Jerry Brown during Tuesday night’s debate could aid the cause of anti-gay-marriage forces, the Chron reports. The attorney general said during the debate that Prop 8 backers could defend the anti-gay-marriage law in court. That issue, however, has not yet been decided, so Brown’s comment could help the argument of Prop 8 supporters who contend that they have the right to defend the measure.

4. Target and Wal-Mart stores have been selling kids products with high levels of lead, California Watch reports, citing a new study by the Oakland-based group, Center for Environmental Health. The group has been examining lead levels in kids’ products on behalf of the state. Upon learning the news, Target stopped selling bean bag chairs that had lead levels that far exceeded federal rules, but Wal-Mart only pulled its lead-laced products from the California market.

5. The recent abundance of cheap natural gas in North America is driving down the demand for renewable energy — and for dirty sources of energy, such as coal, AP reports. Natural gas production skyrocketed after energy producers found a new — and controversial — way of extracting it from buried shale fields. And its sudden proliferation promises to slow the growth of green energy, while also curtailing the use of coal.

6. And Facebook and Microsoft are teaming up on a new social networking search engine that will allow users to learn what their online friends like when searching for goods and services, the Mercury News reports. The new venture could prove to be a significant rival to search-engine giant, Google.

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