Stories that you shouldn’t miss:
1. The Oakland teachers’ union appears to have moved a step closer to going on strike indefinitely, the Trib reports. The union membership, which held a one-day strike last week, voted on a measure yesterday that would allow union leaders to call an indefinite strike without another vote from the entire rank-and-file. Union President Betty Olson-Jones told the Trib that she thinks that a majority of union members approved the measure.
2. A group of Cal students have started a hunger strike to demand that the university officially oppose Arizona’s new anti-immigration law, the Chron reports. The students also are demanding that UC Berkeley drop charges against protesters who occupied Wheeler Hall earlier this year, rehire laid-off janitors, and turn the campus into a “sanctuary” for undocumented immigrants.
3. Hundreds of truckers were banned from the Port of Oakland on Monday because of a state bureaucratic snafu. According to the Trib, the California Air Resources Board failed to send out stickers to truckers who had been granted an extension until June 30 to retrofit their diesel-spewing rigs.
4. Declining ridership because of the recession coupled with soaring employee salaries and benefits are putting Bay Area transit agencies on a “road to ruin,” the Trib reports, citing a new study by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The report also notes the inefficiency of having 28 separate transit agencies in the Bay Area that each requires its own staff and budget.
5. State regulators are clamping down on PG&E’s illegal attempts to coerce Marin County residents into not supporting the region’s effort to launch a public power agency, according to the LA Times. Pacific Gas & Electric is desperate to block the proliferation of public power, which could increase renewable energy use, out of fear it will lose market share. The utility also is bankrolling a June ballot measure that would make the expansion of public power nearly impossible.
6. State officials are staunchly opposing a new federal mandate that trees growing in Sacramento River levees be chopped down, the CoCo Times reports. The new mandate to remove trees comes from the US Army Corps of Engineers in the wake of the massive levee failures in New Orleans during the Hurricane Katrina disaster. But state officials say that clear-cutting provides few flood-control benefits and will be costly because state environmental law will require extensive studies and the replanting of forests elsewhere.
7. Wal-Mart stores in California have agreed to pay $27.6 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that they had illegally dumped hazardous materials around the state, according to AP.
8. The Oakland Tribune editorial board called on Mayor Ron Dellums again to not run for reelection in the wake of the disclosure that he had broken his promise to take a 10 percent pay cut last year.
9. And the Sac Bee today has an in-depth profile on Oakland’s Richard Lee, the founder of Oaksterdam University and primary backer of Tax Cannabis 2010 — the statewide November ballot measure that would legalize marijuana in California.