Friday Must Read: OPD Swamped By Mental Health Calls; Democrats Criticize Brown’s Giant Water Tunnels Plan



Stories that East Bay progressive environmentalists shouldn’t miss:

1. The understaffed Oakland Police Department is being overwhelmed by calls for service that involve people with mental health issues and are not crime-related, the Chron$ reports. The department estimates that it gets about 7,000 such calls annually. Overall, OPD believes that it receives the most 911 calls per capita in the nation. The department and its consultants are studying the problem and looking for ways to solve it. "It's a losing battle to treat mental health issues through a 911 response," Sergeant Chris Bolton, chief of staff to Police Chief Howard Jordan, told the newspaper. "Deeper solutions are needed."

2. An Oakland police officer mistakenly shot a teenager, grazing his chin, while searching for suspects in an armed robbery outside Le Cheval restaurant in downtown, the Trib reports. According to Chief Jordan, the cop said the teen, who was not responsible for the robbery, had made “a threat” toward him, but did not elaborate. The case is under investigation by internal affairs and by the court monitor overseeing the department.

3. A group of about two dozen Democratic lawmakers is urging Governor Jerry Brown to reconsider his plan to build two massive water tunnels around the Delta, the LA Times$ reports. In a letter to the governor, Democrats asked him to examine a scaled-down proposal for a single water tunnel that would be much cheaper to build and would be less damaging to the environment. Brown’s big water tunnels are designed to bypass the Delta and ship freshwater to the southern Central Valley and Southern California.

4. A federal environmental study strongly urges the removal of four dams on the Klamath River, noting that the project would restore historic salmon runs from southern Oregon to California’s North Coast, SFGate reports. Removal of the hydroelectric dams would cost about $1 billion, but it would be cheaper than maintaining the facilities.

5. A large ice sheet in the Peruvian Andes that took 16,000 years to form has melted in less than three decades, The New York Times$ reports, citing a new groundbreaking study. The report is just the latest example of the wide-ranging impacts of global warming.

6. Former Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado, a moderate Republican, is preparing to run against Jerry Brown in the 2014 election, SFGate reports.

7. And a new Pew Research Center poll shows that a majority of Americans — 52 percent — now favors legalizing marijuana for recreational use nationwide, the Washington Post reports.

$ = news stories that may require a paid subscription to read in full.