The City of Oakland sent a strong message last week to Major League Baseball that it intends to fight to keep the A's. The city council voted 6-2 to use $750,000 in redevelopment funds to pay for an environmental study of a proposed new ballpark for the Oakland A's in Jack London Square, the Oakland Tribune reported. Council members Ignacio De La Fuente and Nancy Nadel voted "no."
De La Fuente argued that the city should not spend any funds until it receives a commitment from Major League Baseball that the A's will stay in Oakland. But council President Jane Brunner contended that if the city didn't fund the study, then it would effectively mean that Oakland wasn't interested in stopping the A's from moving to San Jose.
Cal Prof Judgeship Blocked
UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu, once touted as possibly the first Asian American to reach the US Supreme Court, likely won't even make it onto a federal appellate court during President Barack Obama's first term. The Associated Press reported that US Senate Democrats, with approval from the White House, quietly agreed in recent weeks to kill Liu's nomination to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in exchange for Republicans approving some of President Obama's less controversial judicial nominees.
Liu, a liberal, came under fire from conservatives in part because he once strongly criticized right-wing Justice Samuel Alito. Liu has since shown contrition for his remarks, but Republicans decided to block Obama's other nominations as long as Democrats kept pushing Liu and three other liberals for judgeships. And because the GOP picked up Senate seats in the November election, Liu's nomination appears to be dead until at least 2013.
President Obama ended his first two years in office with a flurry of political victories. Last week, he signed the repeal of the Pentagon's bigoted "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. The US Senate also approved the START nuclear arms reduction treaty that the president negotiated with Russia. And the Senate finally approved the 9/11 responders' bill that will provide aid to those who helped at Ground Zero in Manhattan.
No New Seats
California will not pick up any Congressional seats for the first time in ninety years because of slow population growth, the Contra Costa Times and San Francisco Chronicle reported, citing new Census figures. The state grew by about 10 percent from 2000, its population rising to 37.2 million. By contrast, Census data shows that Texas' population increased by 20 percent, meaning that it will pick up four Congressional seats. Florida will add two seats.
Oakland City Attorney John Russo filed lawsuits against three motels in the city that police say have become havens for prostitution, the Tribune and Chronicle reported. The lawsuits request that the motels be shut down for a year and each pay $25,000 fines unless they solve their prostitution problems. The worst of the three, according to Russo, is the Economy Inn at 122 E. 12th St., near Lake Merritt. The other two are the Sage Motel at 4844 MacArthur Blvd., near Mills College, and the National Lodge at 1711 International Blvd.
Police Video Works
For years, Oakland police refused to videotape interviews with suspects, claiming that doing so would hurt their ability to solve crimes. But then in late 2008, the department changed course after a scandal involving its failure to videotape an interrogation involving the alleged killer of journalist Chauncey Bailey. Now, two years later, videotaping has proven to have no effect on the department's ability to obtain confessions. In fact, the Trib reported, it's helping county prosecutors obtain convictions.
Six men were ordered to stand trial in the brutal gang rape of a sixteen-year-old girl outside a Richmond High School homecoming dance. ... Before its San Bruno pipeline exploded and killed eight people, PG&E strongly advocated for the flawed inspection process that failed to detect problems in the line, the Chron reported. .. The FCC adopted net neutrality rules that will make it tougher for cable and telephone companies to discriminate against content providers. ... Oakland police shot and killed a man that they said flashed a gun at them after a high-speed chase. ... Stung by criticism of building a "train to nowhere," the California High-Speed Rail Authority voted to spend another $1.2 billion so that the first segment of the state's bullet train will connect Bakersfield to Fresno, the San Mateo County Times reported. ... East Bay residents are less likely to smoke than the average Californian, but surprisingly, that's not true of San Franciscans. ... Unfortunately, taking Echinacea does not significantly improve your ability to beat the common cold, according to a new study. ... And GM sold its first Chevy Volt in the Bay Area, helping launch the era of plug-in hybrids.