Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday Must Read: Gang Injunction Gets Mixed Results; New Bill Would Ban Shark Fin Soup

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 7:18 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. City Attorney John Russo and Police Chief Anthony Batts say in a new report that the North Oakland gang injunction has been successful in part because drug arrests in that region of the city have plummeted nearly 70 percent, the Chron reports. However, the report also notes that some violent crimes, including assaults and robberies, have increased slightly. In addition, a drop in drug arrests does not necessarily mean that drug crimes have decreased. The report also notes that the city has spent a total of $761,128 to press the North Oakland injunction and the proposed one in Fruitvale in court — money that opponents say could have been better spent elsewhere.

2. Shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy, would effectively be banned in California under a new bill introduced by two Bay Area legislators, the Chron reports. The bill would prohibit the sale of shark fins in the state in an effort to halt the cruel practice of capturing sharks, cutting off their fins, and then throwing them back in the ocean to die. But opponents of the ban say it’s insensitive to Asian Americans and note that it would prohibit the use of shark fins from sharks that are caught for human consumption.

3. A budget proposal by House Republicans could decimate salmon and smelt populations in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the Chron reports. The GOP plan would gut federal efforts to restore salmon and smelt runs. Republicans say its all part of their plan to cut spending, but environmentalists contend that the GOP is attempting an end-run around federal environmental law in favor of big agribusiness.

4. If Republicans block Jerry Brown’s plan for a June tax measure, or if voters reject the proposal, it will result in devastating cuts to education and public safety, Chron reports, citing a new report from the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office. The LAO projects cuts totaling $7.2 billion to education and $2.6 billion to public safety and courts if the tax measure is blocked in the Legislature or it fails at the polls.

5. A judge in Ecuador has slapped an $8 billion judgment on Chevron, but the San Ramon-based oil giant is refusing to pay, the Chron reports. The large court judgment stemmed from an 18-year-old lawsuit in Ecuador over massive environmental damage. But Chevron contends that the legal case was illegitimate.

6. President Obama’s budget plan would provide a $130 million boost to the proposed BART extension to San Jose, and would allow the transit agency to break ground on the project next year, the Mercury News reports. However, Congressional Republicans may attempt to block the proposal in a cost-cutting move.

7. And Oakland-based Pandora, an online radio company, issued a $100 million initial public stock offering, the Trib reports. Pandora nearly went out of business three years ago but made a comeback after listeners petitioned Congress to reduce costly music royalty fees.

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