Thursday Must Reads: Berkeley Okays Warnings for Cellphones, Backs Off E-Cig Restrictions; Californians Go on Swimming Pool Binge


Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Berkeley City Council approved a new law that requires cellphone retailers to post warning notices about the health hazards associated with the devices, Berkeleyside reports. The notices must inform consumers about the cancer risks associated with keeping cellphones close to their bodies when not in use, such as in their pockets. Cellphone manufacturers have vowed to sue to overturn Berkeley’s new law.

2. The Berkeley council, however, backed away — at least for now — from a plan to ban the sale of tobacco and e-cigs within 1,000 feet of schools and parks, the Trib$ reports. Small business owners strongly opposed the proposal. City staffers reported that the ban would impact 64 of the 85 tobacco retailers in Berkeley (75 percent).

3. Despite the record drought, Californians built 11,000 swimming pools last year — the most since 2007, Capital Public Radio reports (h/t Rough & Tumble). And this year, the state is on track to break last year’s mark.

4. Federal regulators are requiring PG&E to re-examine the seismic risks at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, concluding that newly discovered earthquake faults near the facility could produce temblors stronger than the utility anticipated, the Chron$ reports.

5. Governor Jerry Brown, stung by criticism that he has done little to fight poverty in California, is proposing a tax credit for the very poor, the LA Times$ reports. The credit would apply to people who make less than $13,870 annually.

6. The Oakland school board voted unanimously last night to prohibit the suspension of students for defiant acts, the Chron reports. Oakland schools join a handful of other districts in the state that reserve suspensions for more serious offenses.

7. And the US EPA announced that it is building a large solar farm on the Hayward shoreline atop a former dump in collaboration with nineteen cities, sanitary districts, fire departments, and recreation areas, along with UC Berkeley, the Chron$ reports.