Friday’s Briefing: Oakland Housing Market Is 3rd Most Competitive; State to Allow Mega Cannabis Farms

Plus, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin under investigation for campaign finance violations.

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Stories you shouldn’t miss for Nov. 17, 2017:

1. The Oakland metro’s extremely tight housing market is the third most competitive in the nation, behind only San Francisco and San Jose, reports Richard Scheinin of the Mercury News$, citing a new analysis from the real estate firm Redfin. In the Oakland market, 63 percent of home sales, including condos and townhomes, were for above asking price last month. Analysts attributed the soaring costs to the severe shortage of homes for sale. In Oakland, 25.5 percent fewer homes sold in October than the previous year as the median sales price reached $690,000, a 13.1 percent increase.

2. California regulators finally released a comprehensive set of new rules for the legal cannabis market and have decided to allow mega-pot farms in the state, reports Rachel Swan of the San Francisco Chronicle. The new rules, which take effect Jan. 1, when the sale of pot for recreational use becomes lawful in the state, could draw large agricultural interests into weed growing. The new regulations also limit cannabis deliveries to automobile only—and ban bicycle deliveries.

3. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin is under investigation by the city’s political watchdog agency for possibly violating campaign finance laws during last year’s election, reports Frances Dinkelspiel of Berkeleyside. Records show that Arreguin’s campaign failed to reimburse his chief of staff for expenditures during the election as required by city law, thus turning the spending into illegal donation loans.

4. Despite efforts by President Trump to sabotage Obamacare, signups for California Care, the state version of the federal health care law, surged by 23 percent during the first two weeks of November compared to last year, reports Catherine Ho of the San Francisco Chronicle$.

5. The UC Board of Regents admonished UC President Janet Napolitano for approving a plan that resulted in two of her top staffers improperly interfering in a state audit earlier this year, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Napolitano apologized, citing poor judgment. But the regents unanimously concluded that they want her to remain president.

6. BART police shot and seriously wounded a man they said was carrying a rifle at the Richmond BART station, the East Bay Times$ reports. The 21-year-old man was taken to a hospital for surgery.

7. The GOP-controlled Congress passed a sweeping overhaul to the federal tax code that will provide tax cuts to the wealthy and large corporations, while increasing taxes on low-income earners and on millions of middle-class families, especially in California, The New York Times$ reports. The Republican-controlled Senate is expected to vote on its version of the plan after Thanksgiving.

8. PG&E plans to cut down about 25,000 trees that suffered damage in the Northern California wildfires in October, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. The utility is concerned that the damaged trees could down power lines during winter storms.

9. The chinook salmon population on the Mokelumne River is surging this year, reports Peter Fimrite of the San Francisco Chronicle$. “The large number of salmon, which are inspired by the first rains of the season to swim upriver and spawn, validate the effectiveness of a series of streambed, habitat and health improvements made over the years by [East Bay MUD] and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.”

10. And the controversial Keystone Pipeline leaked about 210,000 gallons of dirty tar sands oil in South Dakota, The New York Times$ reports.

$ = news stories that may require payment to read.

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