Monday’s Briefing: Asbestos Halts Rockridge Retail Development; Republicans Try Again to Repeal Obamacare

Plus, UC Berkeley’s right-wing “Free Speech Week” is in doubt.


Workers found asbestos in the old Chase bank building while tearing it down. - LISA FERNANDEZ/COURTESY OF KTVU
  • Lisa Fernandez/Courtesy of KTVU
  • Workers found asbestos in the old Chase bank building while tearing it down.

Stories you shouldn’t miss for Sept. 18, 2017:

1. A large retail development in Oakland’s Rockridge district has been halted indefinitely because of the discovery of asbestos in an old Chase bank building that was being demolished, reports Lisa Fernandez of KTVU. Crews discovered the cancer-causing fibers earlier this year at the project at Broadway and Pleasant Valley Avenue. The high costs of remediating the asbestos also has the developer, TRC, rethinking its plans for the project, especially in light of the downturn in the retail industry. City officials say they would prefer housing on the site.

2. Senate Republicans are trying one more time this month to repeal Obamacare and are pushing forward with a revised health-care plan, The New York Times$ reports. Under the GOP bill, “millions could lose coverage, Medicaid would see the same magnitude of cuts that earlier repeal bills extracted, and insurers in some states could charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions.”

3. The right-wing “Free Speech Week” planned for next week at UC Berkeley is in doubt because college conservative organizers failed to pay the required deposits for event facilities on campus, reports John King of the San Francisco Chronicle$. The event speakers were scheduled to include far-right firebrands Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, and Steve Bannon.

4. Donald Trump would be ineligible for the 2020 presidential ballot in California unless he makes his tax returns public, under legislation sent to Gov. Jerry Brown late last week, reports David Siders of Politico. However, it’s unclear whether Brown, who also has refused to disclose his tax returns, will sign the bill.

5. A federal appeals court reinstituted California’s ban on foie gras, but chefs vowed to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary, the LA Times$ reports. California’s ban on foie gras, which requires inhumane treatment of ducks and geese to make, was blocked by a federal judge in 2015 who ruled that the state law illegally interfered with interstate commerce. The Ninth Circuit, however, overturned that decision.

6. East Bay MUD officials told Alameda Point customers that they can resume drinking tap water after tests showed the water is clean, reports Peter Hegarty of the East Bay Times$. Officials had told Alameda Point customers not to drink tap water for a few days last week after it became contaminated.

7. And Hurricane Maria has strengthened into a powerful Category 3 storm and is on track to slam into Puerto Rico, CNN reports. Maria is expected to become a Cat 4 hurricane when it hits the U.S. territory in the Caribbean islands.

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