Thursday Must Reads: Judge Recommends $7.3 Million Fine Against Uber; Berkeley Council Adopts Stricter Balcony Requirements


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Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. An administrative law judge with the California Public Utilities Commission is recommending that Uber be fined $7.3 million and lose its business license for a year because of the company’s refusal to hand over documents to state regulators, the LA Times$ reports. Judge Karen V. Clopton ruled that Uber has repeatedly failed to release information about whether drivers are providing rides fairly to all passengers, as state law requires. The fine and suspension must still be approved by the full CPUC.

2. The Berkeley City Council adopted strict new rules for apartment balconies in the wake of a tragic incident in which six people were killed last month when a rotted balcony collapsed, the Trib$ reports. The rules mandate the use of non-corrosive materials and proper ventilation of balcony structures.

3. About 20 percent of the groundwater used for drinking water in the state is laced with toxic chemicals, a revelation that raises concerns about public health because groundwater is unregulated in California, the AP reports, citing a new US Geological Survey study.

4. State regulators adopted new rules that ban new lawns from being built around commercial buildings and restrict residential lawn plantings because of the drought, the Chron$ reports.

5. Legislation in Sacramento would curb the ability of law enforcement to seize cash and property through asset forfeiture laws, UT-San Diego reports (h/t Rough & Tumble).

6. Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that makes professional sports cheerleaders employees rather than independent contractors — a move that ensures they will be paid the minimum wage, the LA Times$ reports. The new law stemmed from the revelation that the Oakland Raiders were underpaying their cheerleaders.

7. SEIU Local 1021, the City of Oakland’s largest public-employee union, is threatening to call for a strike as contract negotiations with the city continue to drag on, the Trib$ reports.

8. Many Bay Area homeowners will face a hike in their property taxes this year because counties are reassessing property values as the housing market heats up, the Chron$ reports.

9. And AC Transit had decided to add double-decker buses to its transbay service after a pilot program proved to be popular with riders, the Chron reports.