Thursday Must Read: Foreclosures Are Bad for Your Health; Illegal Immigration Plummets

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Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Losing your home to foreclosure is not only devastating to your finances, it’s also bad for your health, the CoCo Times reports, citing a new study released today by the Alameda County Public Health Department. The department conducted extensive surveys of Oakland residents caught in the foreclosure crisis in the past few years and found that they’re much more likely to suffer from physical and mental health problems than the rest of the population. Oakland has been particularly hard-hit because about 25 percent of all homeowners in the city entered into foreclosure between 2006 and 2009 — far more than the state and national averages.

2. According to Fox News and Republican politicians, illegal immigration in the United States has reached epidemic levels, but in truth the number of immigrants who entered the country unlawfully in 2009 declined for the first time in two decades, California Watch reports, citing a new study from the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center. Overall, the number of illegal immigrants plummeted 8 percent last year nationwide, a decrease of about 1 million people. In California, the number of illegal immigrants dropped 3.8 percent.

3. Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts says the city’s police department remains productive despite the lay-off of eighty cops in July, the Trib reports. Batts said the recent uptick in crime in Oakland mirrors crime spikes during summer months in recent years.

4. US Senator Barbara Boxer traded barbs with GOP rival Carly Fiorina in an East Bay debate last night, calling the former head of Hewlett Packard a failed “Wall Street CEO,” the Trib reports. For her part, Fiorina attacked Boxer’s long record in the Senate. The two also differed on nearly every political issue. Boxer, for example, wants to end the Bush tax cuts for the rich while Fiorina wants to continue them, and Boxer is seeking climate-change legislation while Fiorina opposes such efforts. Right-leaning columnist Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee called the debate a draw — until the end, saying Boxer finished stronger.

5. California environmentalists suffered a series of setbacks when the state Legislature failed to enact several bills before yesterday’s deadline after intense lobbying from chemical manufacturers, the LA Times reports. State lawmakers voted down an attempt to ban plastic bags in grocery stores and an effort to prohibit the use of the toxic chemical bisphenol-A, which is used in baby bottles and sippy cups. The Legislature also failed to vote on a bill that would have required state utilities to increase their use of renewable energy to 33 percent.

6. And Santa Cruz County is poised to become the first county in the state to place a moratorium on PG&E’s SmartMeters in part because of concerns about their health effects, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports. Last month, the Santa Cruz County city of Watsonville became the second city in California, after Fairfax in Marin County, to enact a ban on SmartMeters.

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