Friday Must Reads: Schaaf Floats Idea to Use Public Bonds for Raiders Stadium; Caltrans to Blow Up Bridge Pier Tomorrow Morning

Libby Schaaf.
Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said her administration will consider the possibility of using “lease revenue bonds” to help finance a new stadium for the Raiders, the Chron reports. The public bonds would be paid back by revenues generated by the stadium, but the proposal raises questions as to whether taxpayers would be on the hook if the needed revenues fail to materialize. Schaaf has repeatedly vowed not to use public funds to build new facilities for Oakland’s professional sports teams.

2. Caltrans plans to blow up the last remaining underwater pier from the old Bay Bridge tomorrow morning, the Chron$ reports. Transportation officials plan to close the new bridge during the demolition, which is scheduled to take place between 6:45 and 7 a.m. BART will also shut off service to and from San Francisco through the Tube as crews detonate 600 charges of dynamite — totaling 20,000 pounds. The massive underwater explosion is expected to kill numerous marine species, including nearly 2,000 endangered Longfin smelt.

3. The Berkeley City Council this week voted to increase the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018 for larger businesses with more than 55 workers, Berkeleyside reports. Small business owners, who spoke out strongly against hiking the minimum wage, will have until 2020 before raising it to $15.

4. Tenants of the Berkeley apartment building where a balcony collapsed earlier this year killing six people said the building owners had ignored their concerns about fungi growing on the wooden structure before it gave way, the Bay Area News Group$ reports. The fungi were a clear sign that the balcony was rotting. The building contractor and owner are facing numerous lawsuits as a result of the tragedy.

5. Covered California, the state’s version of Obamacare, plans to spend about $29 million this year in an attempt to sign up about 750,000 state residents who are eligible for health insurance but have not yet enrolled, the Chron$ reports. About 2 million previously uninsured residents in the state have signed up for the government-run program.

6. A state panel gave final approval of a $54 million grant to Alameda County to expand Santa Rita Jail in Pleasanton, the Mercury News$ reports. The sheriff’s office, which operates the county jail, plans to use the funds to expand mental health services for inmates, but activists say the funds would be better spent on prevention programs outside of jail.

7. An appellate court decision overturning a lower court ruling that had invalidated the state’s death penalty law still leaves California’s capital punishment program in limbo, the LA Times$ reports. While the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday found that the state’s death penalty program is constitutional, experts said it’s unlikely that California will begin executing prisoners any time soon because of the ongoing controversy over lethal injection drugs.

8. And climate scientists reaffirmed their prediction that the massive El Niño weather pattern forming in the Pacific Ocean will bring heavy rains to Southern California this winter, and will, at minimum, produce a wetter-than-average year for Northern California, the Bay Area News Group$ reports.