Environment

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday Must Reads: Bay Area Rents Soar to Record Levels; Smartphone Companies Finally Propose Kill Switches

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Apartment rent prices jumped nearly 10 percent in the Bay Area during the first quarter of 2014 compared to the previous year and have now reached record levels, averaging more than $2,000 a month, the Mercury News$ reports. Rents in Oakland soared 12.3 percent and now average $2,187. The average in San Francisco is $3,057. Overall, the average in Alameda County is 1,814, and in Contra Costa County, it’s $1,544. Economists warn that if rent prices continue to skyrocket, they could choke off the Bay Area’s economic recovery.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

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

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 9:08 AM

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.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Opinion: Don’t Be Fooled by Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s Supreme Court Petition

by Amy Trainer
Mon, Apr 14, 2014 at 12:03 PM

The Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s relentless push to overturn the congressional wilderness designation for Drakes Estero got closer to the end of the road on Monday when the company’s army of corporate lawyers filed a petition for review to the US Supreme Court. The millions of advocates for our national parks, wilderness, and coastal protection refuse to let the Koch Brothers-funded Pacific Legal Foundation — the oyster company’s main proponent — and their public lands exploitation interests destroy Drakes Estero, the ecological heart of the Point Reyes National Seashore.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Must Reads: School Bus Crash in Northern California Kills Ten; Major League Baseball Backs Oakland’s Coliseum City

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A big rig slammed head-on into a bus full of high school students on I-5 in Northern California yesterday evening, killing ten people, including five teenagers, along with the drivers of both vehicles and three adult chaperones, the AP reports. The bus was carrying low-income and first-generation prospective college students who were on a trip to visit Humboldt State University. Most of the 44 students escaped before the bus exploded into flames.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: Oaklanders Strongly Back Measure Y Reauthorization; Feinstein Lobbies for Big Ag Over Environment

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. An overwhelming majority of Oakland residents — 82 percent — say they support reauthorizing Measure Y, a parcel tax that pays for police, fire prevention, and violence prevention programs, the Trib$ reports, citing a new city-commissioned poll. The $98-a-year tax is set to expire this November. However, support for doubling the tax to $196 annually — to pay for more police officers — drew only 53 percent support. The measure needs 66.7 percent to prevail.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wednesday Must Reads: Fracking Ban Moves Forward in State Legislature; Kaplan Calls for No-Layoff Guarantee for Oakland Police

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A state Senate committee approved a bill that would place a moratorium on fracking in California until regulators finish examining the impacts of the controversial oil and gas-extraction method, the LA Times$ reports. However, the future of the bill — SB 1132 — remains in doubt because some moderate Democrats abstained from voting on it and the Natural Resources and Water Committee only passed it with a bare minimum of five votes. Moderate Dems say they fear that a fracking ban could hurt California’s economy.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: Gentrification Linked to Health Impacts; Children’s Hospital Oakland Gets Big Gift and New Name

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Alameda County Public Health Director Muntu Davis contends that gentrification should be examined in terms of health impacts because of the displacement and stress it causes for low-income residents, the Bay Area News Group$ reports. "We're not saying that development shouldn't happen," Davis told the news organization. "We're saying that development should happen, but it should also maintain the stability of housing for the existing residents." Davis’ comments coincided with the release of a new report on gentrification that concludes that it’s displacing African-American families in Oakland and San Francisco and is worsening income inequality. The county health department collaborated on the report, which was produced by the tenants’ rights organization Just Cause/Causa Justa.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: Spring Storms Have Little Impact on Drought; Obamacare Signups Surge Past 7 Million Nationwide

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The series of spring storms that have drenched Northern California over the past week have had little impact on the state’s historic drought, the Chron reports. California water officials expect that the Sierra snowpack will still only be about a third of normal for this time of year during measurements this week. Yesterday’s storm, however, delivered a series of blows to the East Bay. In Berkeley, a bolt of lightning exploded a 70-foot-tall redwood tree, Berkeleyside reports. A woman in downtown was also hit by lightning, but was not injured.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Environmentalists Sue to Block Explosive Fracked Oil Shipments in Richmond

by Jean Tepperman
Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 2:49 PM

The fight against shipping crude oil by rail through Bay Area communities intensified late last week when environmental groups filed suit to stop Kinder-Morgan from shipping highly explosive Bakken crude oil through its rail yard in Richmond. The groups are also suing the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) for approving Kinder-Morgan’s switch to transporting crude oil with no public notice or comment, which they say is a violation of the California Environmental Quality Act.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Richmond and Berkeley Oppose Fracked Oil and Tar Sands Rail Shipments

by Jean Tepperman
Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 2:28 PM

The city councils of both Berkeley and Richmond unanimously passed resolutions last night calling for tighter regulation of the shipping of crude oil by rail through the East Bay. The Berkeley resolution went further, committing Berkeley to oppose all shipment of crude oil by rail through the city until tighter regulations are in place.

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