Thursday’s Briefing: Rockridge/Temescal Among Toughest Places to Build Housing; Anthem to Exit CA Insurance Market

Plus, firefighters contain 50 percent of East Bay hills’ blaze overnight.


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Pat Mazzera/File photo

Stories you shouldn’t miss for Aug. 3, 2017:

1. The upscale Rockridge/Temescal districts of North Oakland are the second toughest place to build housing in the Bay Area because of their exclusionary zoning rules that ban new apartment buildings on most neighborhood streets, reports Riley McDermid of the San Francisco Business Times$, citing a joint analysis with BuildZoom. West Berkeley, which also tightly restricts the construction of apartments, is the No. 1 toughest place to build housing in the Bay Area.

2. Insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross of California has decided to exit much of the state’s individual insurance market, citing uncertainty over President Trump’s repeated threats to cut off funding to Obamacare subsidies as one of its main reasons, reports Tracy Seipel of the Mercury News$. “Anthem, which sells Blue Cross and Blue Shield brand individual plans in Obamacare exchanges in 14 states, has also announced it is leaving other markets, including Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Nevada.”

3. Firefighters managed to gain 50 percent containment of a 20-acre fire in the crackling dry Oakland and Berkeley hills overnight, reports Sarah Ravani of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Grizzly Fire forced the closure of Grizzly Peak Boulevard and some UC Berkeley facilities, but no structures were damaged and no injuries were reported.

4. A dangerously close airline disaster at San Francisco International Airport last month was due in part to a radar glitch that lost track of an Air Canada plane for 12 seconds, reports Matthias Gafni of the Bay Area News Group$, citing a new National Transportation Safety Board finding. The Air Canada jet nearly crashed into four fully loaded planes on the SFO taxiway.

5. The nation’s largest police departments were forced to rehire nearly one-quarter of law enforcement officers fired for misconduct during the past decade, the Washington Post$ reports. Many of the rehirings were ordered by arbitrators, who cited strict policies against firing cops accused of wrongdoing.

6. Scientists have discovered a second giant plastic garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean—this one about 1.5 times the size of Texas, reports Dianne de Guzman of the San Francisco Chronicle. The garbage patch is in the Southern Pacific and consists mostly of tiny, broken-down pieces of plastic that are toxic to ocean wildlife.

7. During a heated phone conversation earlier this year, President Trump repeatedly tried to get Mexican President Peña Nieto to stop saying publicly that Mexico would not pay for Trump’s controversial plan to build a border wall between the two countries, the Washington Post$ reports, citing transcript of the call that the newspaper obtained. Trump acknowledged in the call that Mexico would not be required to directly pay for the wall—despite Trump’s promises to the contrary during last year’s presidential campaign—but repeatedly urged Nieto to stop talking about it to the press, saying it was harming Trump politically.

8. And Anchor Brewing, an iconic San Francisco company that has brewing beer in the city for 121 years, has been purchased by Japan’s Sapporo Holdings Ltd., reports By Alyssa Pereira of the San Francisco Chronicle$.

$ = news stories that may require payment to read.                                                

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