Thursday’s Top Five Stories: No Snowpack, No Water; SmartMeter Opt-Out Criticized


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Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. State water officials are worried about the meager snowpack in the Sierra as Northern California continues to experience a bone-dry winter. The Chron reports that measurements yesterday showed that the snowpack is only 37 percent of normal for this time of year. The state’s reservoirs are still in good shape, but that will change if the dry weather continues. California may need another “Miracle March” of wet weather to stave off water rationing this summer.

2. State regulators approved an opt-out program for PG&E’s SmartMeters, but opponents of the controversial devices decried the move because it requires residents to pay a $75 upfront fee and a $10 monthly penalty for using the old analog meters, the Mercury News reports. PG&E and California Public Utility Commission officials defended the program, saying that SmartMeter opponents should have to pay for the cost of employing meter readers.

3. Howard Jordan is Oakland’s new police chief now that Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and City Administrator Deanna Santana have removed “interim” from his title. Quan and Santana also appointed Teresa Reed, an assistant fire chief in San Jose, to be Oakland’s new fire chief. Reed, an Oakland resident, is the first woman to lead the department. Reed and Santana worked together in San Jose before Santana came to Oakland last year.

Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan

4. Some Occupy Oakland protesters who were arrested Saturday allege that they were abused by Oakland police and that they suffered abuse at Santa Rita Jail, which is run by Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. Jordan said that OPD is investigating the allegations, while the sheriff’s office says they have received no complaints, the Chron reports.

5. And the Susan G. Komen organization, which has raised millions for breast cancer research and prevention over the years, is experiencing a serious backlash over its decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood. The Komen organization is being accused of bowing to anti-abortion politicians who are bent on putting Planned Parenthood out of business.