Friday Must Reads: PG&E Wants to Fine City Residents for Going Green; West Coast Sea Lion Pups Still in Trouble


Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. PG&E is seeking to penalize residents of cities that opt to create or join clean energy consortiums, the Chron$ reports. Critics contend that PG&E’s request to penalize residents is yet another attempt by the utility to maintain its monopoly over energy distribution and to dissuade cities from going green. The penalties, which still must be approved by state regulators, would force Marin Clean Energy’s customers, for example, including residents of Richmond, to pay $30.6 million. PG&E maintains that it needs to institute the penalties in order to remain viable.

2. The sea lion population off the California coast is still in bad shape — likely because of unusually warm ocean temperatures that are impacting the animals’ food supply, the Chron reports. Numerous emaciated California sea lion pups have been stranded on beaches, and the pups weighed 31 percent below their normal weight this fall — the lowest average in more than four decades.

3. A longstanding agreement to remove four dams on the Klamath River in order to free up more water for salmon is in jeopardy because of Republican intransigence in Congress, the LA Times$ reports.

4. Oakland A’s president Billy Beane made the list again of the East Bay’s biggest water hogs, although he lowered his water usage from 6,000 gallons a day to 3,565, the Bay Area News Group$ reports. Other big name water wasters include “San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey; Roy Jacuzzi, inventor of the namesake whirlpool tub; and Motley Crue lead singer Vince Neil.”

5. Hundreds of teachers in the West Contra Costa school district, which includes Richmond and El Cerrito, rallied for higher wages this week, the CoCo Times$ reports. On average, teachers in the district are paid $5,000 less than the county average and $10,000 less than their peers in Alameda County.

6. And Uber took a potentially significant hit this week when a judge expanded the class of drivers who could be considered employees of the company rather than independent contractors, the Chron$ reports. Federal Judge Edward Chen also ruled that drivers may be entitled to the IRS mileage reimbursement of 57 cents a mile.