Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. In a historic vote for civil rights, the US Senate repealed the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy over the weekend, paving the way for gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, the Chron reported. Overturning the gay ban was one of the top priorities of the Obama administration and Democrats and moderate Republicans pushed it through Congress before the Christmas break. If they hadn’t, it would have failed when the GOP takes over the House next month. The final Senate vote was 65-31. The House, still under Democratic control, previously voted to overturn the ban.
2. Conservative Senate Republicans, however, blocked approval of the Dream Act — immigration reform legislation backed by Obama that would have opened a path to citizenship for children of illegal immigrants who go to college or serve in the military, AP reported. Although the Dream Act had the support of a majority of senators, conservative Republicans blocked it by using the filibuster. The final vote on the act was 55-41 in favor, leaving it five votes short of the sixty votes needed. The vote effectively killed the Dream Act’s chances of passing until at least 2013.
3. The US Senate may take up today Obama’s final major piece of legislation this year — the START nuclear weapons proliferation treaty with Russia, the LA Times reports. Senate Republicans have vowed to try to block it, but the treaty may have enough votes to win passage before the GOP picks up more Senate seats next month.
4. California regulators voted to relax diesel emissions rules because of the recession and a miscalculation in measuring air pollution, the Chron reported. However, the vote by the California Air Resources Board was decried by environmentalists and health advocates who said the rule changes go too far.
5. An audit conducted on PG&E’s pipeline inspection process just four months before the deadly San Bruno blast found that the utility was apparently taking shortcuts, the Chron reported. The audit, performed by state regulators, found that the PG&E was not using proper inspection methods on its natural gas lines in urban areas.
6. Oakland developer Phil Tagami’s agreement with the Port of Oakland to redevelop the former Oakland Army Base has expired, and the port plans to start talking to other firms, the Trib reports. But Tagami, who is also attempting to redevelop the city’s half of the army base, said he still hopes to complete a deal for the port’s half as well.
7. Oakland’s free Broadway shuttle has proven to be so popular that the city is attempting to win grants to extend its hours until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, the Chron reports. Ridership on the daily 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. shuttle has already surpassed the city’s expectations and some Jack London Square businesses say it’s responsible for increased sales.
8. Governor-elect Jerry Brown and his wife have rented a one-bedroom loft in midtown Sacramento, the SacBee reports. The Browns will apparently live in Sacramento during the week and then come back to their Oakland hills home on the weekends.
9. A BART cop who was fired for allegedly lying in the Oscar Grant case is getting her job back, following a ruling made by an arbitrator, the Trib and Chron reported. The arbitrator ruled that Marysol Domenici did not lie as BART had contended.
10. And the weekend storm dumped 1.74 inches of rain on Oakland, the Chron reports. More rain is expected to hit the Bay Area this week through Christmas Day.