Tuesday's Briefing: Warriors Take Oakland to Arbitration Over Arena Debt; BART Says No to A's Jack London Station Plan

Plus, Oakland hills fire prevention fund runs out of cash.


Stories you shouldn't miss for Feb. 20, 2018:

1. The Golden State Warriors are taking the city of Oakland and Alameda County to arbitration in an attempt to avoid paying $40 million in debt on Oracle Arena after the team moves to San Francisco, reports David DeBolt of the East Bay Times$. The city and county maintain that the Warriors' lease at the Arena requires the team to pay off the bond debt on the facility, but the Warriors disagree. The bond debt was created in the 1990s when the Warriors demanded that the city and county refurbish the Arena.

2. BART General Manager Grace Crunican told the Oakland A's in a letter that the transit agency opposes a plan to build a new station in the city's Jack London district if the team were to construct a new ballpark at Howard Terminal, the San Francisco Chronicle$ reports. Crunican's letter was a blow to the Howard Terminal site because the A's have expressed concerns that the location is too far from the next closest BART station - 12th Street. Crunican said a new Jack London station would be too disruptive to the Transbay line.

3. The Oakland hills fire prevention fund is out of cash - until July 1 - raising concerns about the potential for devastating wildfires this summer following this year's extraordinarily dry winter, reports Kimberly Veklerov of the San Francisco Chronicle$. The funding problem is due to the fact that hills residents voted to kill a wildfire prevention tax a few years ago. The city council allocated $600,000 for vegetation management effective July 1.

4. About one-third of apartment dwellers and one-quarter of people in their 20s and 30s say they're struggling to afford housing in the Bay Area, reports Katy Murphy of the Bay Area News Group$, citing a new poll commissioned by the news media organization and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. "Bay Area residents under 40 were more than three times as likely to report they slashed other expenses 'a great deal' to cover their housing costs than those over 60, the survey found."

5. An oversight committee for the $600 million 2016 Oakland bond initiative, Measure KK, has yet to meet, reports Kimberly Veklerov of the San Francisco Chronicle$. The committee is supposed to keep track of how the city spends the bond money.

6. Fewer than 1 percent of the cannabis growers in California have received licenses under the state's new regulatory system, reports Lisa Krieger of the Mercury News$, citing a new report by the California Grower's Association. "Growers can't meet the cost of complying with regulations or are prohibited from growing due to local land-use policies, according to the report, 'An Emerging Crisis: Barriers To Entry In California Cannabis.'"

7. And the Trump administration is proposing to eliminate federal funding for the development of California's early earthquake warning system, reports Rong-Gong Lin II of the LA Times$. The warning system is designed to help Californians get out of harm's way before a big quake strikes, but the Trump administration said the system is not a priority.

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