Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thursday Must Read

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 7:07 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Alameda City Councilwoman Lena Tam is under fire for allegedly leaking confidential city information to SunCal, the private developer of Alameda Point, and to the city firefighters’ union, Alameda journalist Michele Ellson and the Chronicle report. City officials allege that the information leaked by Tam undermined the city’s negotiating position with SunCal and with the firefighters’ union and have asked the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office to investigate. Tam claims the charges are politically motivated because she’s running for reelection this year.

2. Berkeley will tax and regulate up to eleven large medical marijuana growing operations and four cannabis dispensaries if voters approve two ballot measures in November, the Trib reports. The city council voted unanimously to put the measures on the ballot. They would also prohibit pot clubs from being within 600 feet of both public and private schools.

3. A home solar-financing program that grew out of an experiment in Berkeley is on hold because of objections raised by major mortgage lenders, the Mercury News reports. Lenders say the program, PACE, developed by former Berkeley city staffer Cisco DeVries, will harm the ailing housing industry because it places financial liens on homes that go solar. Alameda County and other counties in the state had proposed banding together to use the program after the Berkeley experiment showed that it doesn’t work in just one city.

4. At least 2,200 people have paid a $5,000 deposit to purchase Tesla’s new $40,000 electric car when it comes on the market in 2012, the Mercury News reports. There’s also a waiting list for the Nissan Leaf electric car, which is scheduled to go on the market this December.

5. Electric car users will be able to drive solo in carpool lanes throughout California until 2015 under a bill signed yesterday by Governor Schwarzenegger, the Mercury News reports. The bill also applies to plug-in hybrids. Both General Motors and Toyota plan to introduce plug-in hybrids in the next two years.

6. US Senator Barbara Boxer is clinging to a three point lead over Republican Party nominee Carly Fiorina in the latest Field Poll, the Chron reports. Boxer is ahead 47 percent to 44 percent. Her approval ratings have plummeted in recent months because of Republican attacks and anti-incumbent sentiment caused by frustrations over the continuing recession.

7. California lawmakers agreed to pay Jaycee Dugard $20 million in part because state parole agents allegedly met her and one of her daughters while she was being held hostage and failed to do anything about it, the Associated Press reports, citing a newly released report from the Attorney General’s Office.

8. And jurors in the Johannes Mehserle murder trial are scheduled to have their first full day of deliberations today. Deliberations were canceled Tuesday because of a juror’s illness and were cut short yesterday because of a juror’s medical appointment.

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