Tuesday’s Briefing: Oakland May OK Soft-Story Fix; Bay Area Has 26K Homeless People

Plus, Berkeley finally greenlights e-scooters.


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A soft-story building.

File photo by Henry Norr

Stories you shouldn’t miss for Dec. 11, 2018:

1. The Oakland City Council is poised to adopt a proposal tonight to finally require owners of seismically unsafe apartment buildings, also known soft-story structures, to make them earthquake safe, reports Kimberly Veklerov of the San Francisco Chronicle$. The city has an estimate 24,000 housing units in soft-story buildings — dangerous older apartment structures that are two- to seven-stories tall built over garages. Both Berkeley and San Francisco already have programs in place to retrofit soft-story buildings.

2. There are an estimated 25,591 homeless people in the Bay Area — about 6,000 more than previously thought, reports Marisa Kendall of the Bay Area News Group$, citing a new analysis by the real estate website Zillow. In Alameda County, Zillow estimated there are 6,975 homeless people — about 1,300 more than previously estimated.

3. The Berkeley City Council finally greenlighted e-scooters, allowing up to 1,200 of them to operate in the city during a 12-month pilot period, reports Emilie Raguso of Berkeleyside. Electric scooters have proven to be a very popular, environmentally friendly mode of transportation in Oakland, San Francisco, and numerous other cities.

4. About 100 Oakland teachers walked off the job yesterday to demand higher wages and smaller classrooms, reports Jill Tucker of the San Francisco Chronicle$. The walkout was considered a wildcat strike because it was not authorized by the Oakland teacher’s union. The school district, which is facing a $30 million budget deficit, says it can’t afford teachers’ demands for a 12-percent raise over three years.

5. BART has been fined $7,500 by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for committing campaign finance violations in support of the 2016 Measure RR campaign, reports Rachel Swan of the San Francisco Chronicle$.

6. And in another disturbing climate change report, federal scientists say that during the past three decades, “the oldest and thickest ice in the Arctic has declined by a stunning 95 percent,” reports Chris Mooney of the Washington Post$. “The finding suggests that the sea at the top of the world has already morphed into a new and very different state, with major implications not only for creatures such as walruses and polar bears but, in the long term, perhaps for the pace of global warming itself.”

$ = news stories that may require payment to read.

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