Wednesday Must Read: San Jose Threatens to Sue to Get the A’s; Hundreds of Sea Lion Pups Starve on Central Coast

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Stories that East Bay progressives and environmentalists shouldn’t miss:

1. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed is threatening to sue Major League Baseball in an ongoing effort to bring the A’s to his city, telling baseball Commissioner Bud Selig that he wants to personally meet with him so as to avoid “litigation,” the Mercury News reports. Other San Jose officials have talked openly about suing MLB, because the A’s are currently prohibited by the league from moving to the South Bay because the San Francisco Giants own the rights to that territory. A lawsuit would seek to eliminate the Giants’ territorial rights.

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2. About 900 starving sea lions have beached themselves along California’s Central Coast so far this year, the SacBee$ reports. Most of the animals are sea lion pups. Scientists are unsure of exactly what’s causing the widespread starvation, but it could be because environmental changes in the Pacific Ocean have prompted sardines and anchovies — two major sources of food — to leave the coastal area.

3. UC Santa Cruz researchers, meanwhile, have discovered that sea lions have the ability to bob their heads to musical rhythms, proving for the first that pinnipeds possess the cognitive ability to understand music, the Chron$ reports. Researchers trained a sea lion named Ronan to respond to music; Ronan’s favorite song is Earth, Wind & Fire's "Boogie Wonderland."

4. California Highway Patrol officers yesterday physically removed tree-sitters who were protesting the expansion of Highway 101 in Willits, arrested six demonstrators, and cut down two large pine trees that the protesters were living in, SFGate reports. CHP officers also fired beanbag rounds at the protesters. One of the demonstrators pulled from a tree was 24-year-old Amanda "Warbler" Senseman, who had been tree-sitting for more than two months. Protesters contend that the freeway project will destroy wetlands and wildlife areas.

5. More than seven million California residents — about 19 percent of the population — live in areas that are threatened by flooding, the Chron$ reports, citing a new statewide study. The report also found that state and local agencies lack the ability to respond to major flooding events.

6. And the Associated Press announced yesterday that it will no longer use the term “illegal immigrant” in news stories. The move is considered significant, because most news organizations in the country follow the AP’s style guidelines. Immigration reform activists have long contended that the term “illegal immigrant” is a pejorative.

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