Tuesday’s Briefing: Housing Developers Still Bullish on Oakland; Trumpcare and Obamacare Repeal Appear to Be Dead

Plus, legislature approves Gov. Brown’s cap-and-trade plan.


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Courtesy of Trammell Crow Residential

Stories you shouldn’t miss for July 18, 2017:

1. In a sign that housing developers are still bullish on Oakland despite a spate of recent arson fires, Trammell Crow Residential broke ground on 243-unit housing project at 2330 Webster St. in Oakland, just a block from where a half-built apartment development burned down earlier this month, reports Blanca Torres of the San Francisco Business Times$. Bruce Dorfman, Trammell Crow Residential’s senior managing director of the Northern California division, called the most recent suspicious fire “terrorism,” but said “it doesn’t change the overall need and viability of our development and the tremendous need for quality housing in Oakland as well as regionally.”

2. Both Trumpcare and a Republican plan to repeal Obamacare outright appear to be dead, The New York Times$ reports. Trumpcare unraveled on Monday evening when more GOP senators came out against the proposal, leaving it without enough votes to pass. And then a backup proposal to repeal Obamacare and work on a replacement over the next two years fell apart today when three Republicans said they would oppose it. The Senate could not afford to lose more than two GOP votes for either plan to pass.

3. In a rare bipartisan vote, the state Legislature overwhelmingly approved Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to extend cap and trade, the state’s landmark climate change law, until 2030, the LA Times$ reports. The proposal secured enough Republican backing to win a supermajority vote in both the Senate and the Assembly, thereby insulating cap and trade from legal challenges. Many environmental groups, however, were disappointed in the final legislation because it bans local air regulators from placing greenhouse-gas emissions caps on oil refineries.

4. The gap between wages and soaring rent costs is widening in the Bay Area as the region becomes increasingly too expensive for residents, reports George Avalos of the Bay Area News Group$, citing a new analysis by the Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies. During the past five years, rental-housing prices have jumped by a total of 45.2 percent, while wages have grown by a total of just 14 percent. The report attributed the widening wage-rent gap to the Bay Area’s severe housing shortage.

5. The extreme lack of housing also pushed the median home price in Alameda County to $900,000 in June, a 12.1 percent hike over the previous year, reports Richard Scheinin of the Mercury News$, citing a new report by the California Association of Realtors. The median home price in Contra Costa County jumped to $660,000, and it soared to $1.47 million in San Francisco. Overall, the median Bay Area home price was $908,740.

6. Two Bay Area counties—Marin and San Mateo—sued 37 oil and natural gas companies, alleging that they knew for decades that burning fossil fuels causes global warming and sea-level rise but refused to do anything about it, reports Richard Halstead of the Marin Independent Journal$. Defendants include San Ramon-based Chevron, and the case resembles suits filed against Big Tobacco over its longtime knowledge of the health dangers associated with smoking.

7. A group of new bikes that are part of the East Bay’s new bikeshare program had their tires slashed at a North Oakland parking station at Telegraph Avenue and 58th Street, reports George Kelly of the East Bay Times$. FordGo Bike, sponsor of the bikeshare program, immediately replaced the vandalized bikes.

8. And former Berkeley City Councilmember Betty Olds died on July 16 at the age of 96, Berkeleyside reports. An environmentalist, feminist, and animal rights advocate, Olds served on the council for 16 years.

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Published July 18, 2017 at 11:13 AM

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