Saturday, October 25, 2014

Oakland: Mayoral candidates struggle to stand out in crowded field

Fifteen candidates are vying for the position of Oakland mayor, including the incumbent Jean Quan who is seeking a second term. But the candidate who gets the most votes for the post will not necessarily be the winner -- unless he or she wins an outright majority. That's because oakland uses an instant run off election procedure which essentially transfers votes among the candidates from second and third choices until one emerges with 50%.
A recent SurveyUSA poll showed two-term, at-large City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan getting the most first place votes with 19%, with Councilwoman Libby Schaff second at 17% and Mayor Jean Quan and Joe Tuman at 15% and Bryan Parker at 10%. Governor Jerry Brown's recent endorsement of Schaff appears to have given her campaign a boost. An earlier poll had showed civil rights attorney Dan Siegel in fifth place. Both Mayor Quan and Siegel have former ties to Pacifica Radio. Quan was a volunteer reporter at KPFA while a student at U.C. Berkeley in the 1970s. Siegel is a former member of both the KPFA Local Station Board and the Pacifica National Board. Tom Herriman filed this in-depth report on the Oakland mayor's race.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Richmond Election Pits Corporate Money Against Community Activists

Municipal elections in Richmond have drawn massive campaign funding from Chevron, the city’s biggest employer and taxpayer. Now a new group has formed to back what they call a progressive slate of candidates who will not be beholden to Chevron. Christopher Martinez files this report from Richmond.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lawsuit Filed For LGBT Prisoners Of San Bernardino County Jail

A class action federal lawsuit has been filed on behalf of current and former gay, bisexual and transgender prisoners of a San Bernardino County jail. The plaintiffs say they were held in a separate wing for their safety, but denied outside access and rehabilitation programs that would shorten their sentences. Pacifica's Dan Fritz reports from Los Angeles.

Police Brutality Protesters March on State Capitol

Civil rights and social justice activists rallied against police brutality at the state capitol Wednesday. It’s part of a nation-wide day of protest, with solidarity actions in Canada and New Zealand. The protesters say they want to end what they describe as “police terror.” Christopher Martinez reports from Sacramento.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nurses Demand Ebola Protections in Meeting with Governor Brown

Nurses are telling Governor Jerry Brown California hospitals are unprepared to deal with Ebola. The nurses from the California Nurses Association met with the Governor, urging him to push for more training and better protective equipment they say would protect nurses, patients, and the public. They say they’re hopeful the Governor will set a standard in California that could be a model for the nation. Christopher Martinez reports from Sacramento.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Berkeley and San Francisco Propose Soda Tax Measures

This November, residents in Berkeley and San Francisco are considering whether to vote for local measures that would impose taxes on sodas and other sweetened drinks; this in an attempt to discourage the consumption of the high-calorie beverages that have been linked to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems. Scott Baba reports.

Governor Brown Pushes Water Policy, Prop 1 at Water Conference

Governor Jerry Brown says water will be a top priority of his next term as governor if he’s re-elected, and a top priority of the legislature for years to come. He made a pitch for his water bond, Prop 1 on the November ballot, at a water conference at Stanford University Monday. Christopher Martinez reports.

Friday, October 17, 2014

County Transit Tax Draws Support in Alameda County

A measure to expand Alameda County’s sales tax for transit is drawing support from environmental groups and unions, as well as chambers of commerce and even an anti-tax group. The support marks a big change from the last attempt to extend the county transit tax in 2012, when environmentalists and advocates for poor and disabled transit users with-held their support, largely because they wanted more support for bus service. That measure narrowly failed at the ballot. The new version of the tax measure includes more funding for mass transit, as well as bus passes for youths and seniors. Christopher Martinez reports from Oakland.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nurses' Ebola Protest Draws Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders

Ebola has become a major issue in contract negotiations for nurses in California. Nurses in Oakland are locked in negotiations with Kaiser Permanente, where the nurses are seeking to include Ebola protections among the issues in their next contract. The nurses marched to Kaiser headquarters, with support from socialist senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. They’re calling for more equipment and training for nurses who may be called on to treat Ebola patients. Christopher Martinez reports from Oakland.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Earthquake Early Warning

A State Senate committee has held a hearing on progress toward developing an earthquake early warning system. The 80-million dollar program is scheduled to go on-line in about two years, giving advance earthquake warnings that could be critical for hospitals, trains, utility companies, schools, and other vulnerable services and communities. Christopher Martinez reports from San Francisco.