Friday Must Reads: Obama Officially Rejects Keystone Pipeline; Oakland to Unveil Fee to Pay for Affordable Housing

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Stories you shouldn’t miss:

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1. President Obama today officially rejected the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project, which would have brought dirty tar sands oil from Canada to refineries in the southern United States, The New York Times$ reports. The president’s decision — seven years in the making — represents a major win for the environmental movement, and comes in advance of the Paris climate change talks next month. The Keystone XL would have greatly expanded the excavation and use of tar sands oil and produced huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.

2. Oakland city officials plan to unveil a plan today that would establish a so-called “housing impact fee” on new market-rate developments in order to finance more affordable housing, the SF Business Times$ reports. The city is also considering development fees to fund transit and infrastructure upgrades. City officials shared the proposals yesterday with market-rate and affordable housing developers in a closed-door meeting. Both Berkeley and Emeryville already have housing impact fees.


3. Oakland Mayor Libby is enjoying high approval ratings — 68 percent, the Trib$ reports, citing a new poll commissioned by the chamber of commerce. The poll also showed that Oaklanders apparently feel safer — 45 percent of residents said crime was their top concern, compared to 61 percent last year.

4. The Oakland City Council is considering a $1 million plan — championed by Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan — to better track the sale and use of illegal firearms in the city, the Trib$ reports.

5. A Berkeley High School student has admitted to posting a racist message on a school library computer, the Chron reports. The message, which targeted African Americans, prompted about 2,000 Berkeley high students to stage a street protest in downtown Berkeley yesterday.

6. Students at Castlemont and Fremont high schools in Oakland will no longer be relegated to “sham" classes — like filing paperwork in school offices — as a result of a settlement of a lawsuit brought by civil rights attorneys against Oakland Unified and other school districts, the Chron reports.

7. Kaiser mental health workers plan to stage a one-day strike on November 16 to protest the fact that the healthcare giant employs too few mental health professionals, the Chron reports.

8. And the Golden State Warriors’ plans for a new arena on the San Francisco waterfront got the final greenlight from the San Francisco Planning Commission, the Chron reports.

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