Tuesday Must Reads: AC Transit Official Charged with Stealing Church Funds; Oakland Parks Consider Selling Naming Rights to Raise Money

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Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Prosecutors have charged AC Transit’s chief financial officer, Lewis Clinton Jr., with felony theft and say he embezzled $500,000 from Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, the Chron and Trib$ report. Clinton, who was arraigned Monday in court, is accused of using his position as board president of two church-run nonprofits that provide housing to low-income Oakland residents to steal money. The charges do not relate to his position with AC Transit, but the bus agency put Clinton on paid leave on Monday.

Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland.
  • Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland.
2. The cash-strapped Oakland Parks and Recreation Department is considering a plan to sell naming rights to public parks facilities to generate money for maintenance and repairs, the Chron reports. The department has a backlog of about $112 million in unfunded capital projects. Under the proposal, corporations and businesses would be able to attach their names to parks in exchange for large donations — much like cities have done with professional sports facilities.

3. State Senate leader Darrell Steinberg is pushing a plan to use 40 percent of revenues generated by California’s cap-and-trade program to pay for affordable housing, the LA Times$ reports. Under the Sacramento Democrat’s proposal, 30 percent of cap-and-trade funds would go to mass transit, 20 percent would go to high-speed rail, and the rest would be used for environmental and green-energy projects.

4. Natural gas wells produce up to 1,000 times more methane emissions than federal regulators had estimated, the LA Times$ reports, citing a new study on well drilling in Pennsylvania. Methane gas is up to thirty times more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of greenhouse-gas emissions. As a result, the US government appears to be drastically underestimating the climate change impacts from the nation’s natural gas boom.

5. And the Washington Post and the Guardian newspaper shared the Pulitzer Prize for public service journalism for their investigative reports on NSA spying — which were based on documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

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