Wednesday Must Read: Berkeley Rents Skyrocket; Proposed Law Would Let Bars Stay Open to 4 a.m.

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Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Rents have jumped sharply in Berkeley as people are outbidding each other for access to a limited supply of housing, the Trib reports. The median rent for a two-bedroom in the city was $1,850 in the final quarter of 2012, up 8.8 percent from the year before. The median rent for a one-bedroom was $1,325, an increase of 6 percent from 2011. As we noted in this week’s cover story, some anti-growth activists in Berkeley have been using the state’s primary environmental law to block the construction of new housing in the city.

Leno
  • Leno
2. A new bill in the state legislature would allow cities to petition state regulators so bars can remain open until 4 a.m., the Chron reports. The legislation, by San Francisco Senator Mark Leno, is designed to let cities in California compete against those in other states for tourist dollars. The bill also would likely boost local economies.

3. Repair work has begun on Chez Panisse, which was damaged in a fire last week, but chef-owner Alice Waters has pushed back the reopening date until March 30, the Trib reports. The cause of the fire, which damaged the front of the iconic eatery, is still under investigation.

4. Current Oakland city officials are blaming the Dellums administration for why the city was forced to return more than $600,000 in federal stimulus funds, the Chron reports. The federal grant was supposed to be used for on-the-job training, but Dellums officials had attempted to steer the funds toward job training programs that provided no guarantee of work for graduates.

5. And the Trib has a good piece today on Congresswoman Barbara Lee annual tradition of taking East Bay students on a tour of the Deep South.

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