.Thursday’s Briefing: Bay Area Leaders OK Housing Pact; Big Tobacco Pumps $12.8B Into E-Cig Maker JUUL

Stories you shouldn’t miss for Dec. 20, 2018:

1. A Bay Area panel of mayors, transportation officials, and business leaders approved an ambitious housing plan that calls on cities and communities throughout the region to build 35,000 units of housing a year, reports Rachel Swan of the San Francisco Chronicle$. Slow-growth advocates blasted the plan, which is an advisory measure that is being forwarded to the Legislature, arguing that it would override local control of land use. But proponents of the plan, which also includes a regionwide cap on rent hikes and calls for $1.5 billion-a-year increase in taxes to pay for affordable housing, contend that local control of housing has caused the housing shortage.

2. Tobacco giant Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris, is pumping $12.8 billion into Bay Area e-cigarette maker JUUL, reports Catherine Ho of the San Francisco Chronicle$. The huge investment by big tobacco undercuts JUUL’s longstanding claim that its e-cigs are designed to help smokers quit. Health officials have argued that JUUL has been marketing flavored e-cigs to teens and has caused a huge increase in youth nicotine addiction.

3. Facing a judge’s threat of an arrest warrant, former Oakland City Councilmember Desley Brooks finally showed up in court on Wednesday to answer questions about why she has yet to pay a $215,000 judgment against her, reports David DeBolt of the East Bay Times$. Brooks’ debt stems from her 2015 assault on ex-Black Panther Elaine Brown. Brooks failed to show up to previous court appearances on the matter.

4. The toll to cross the Golden Gate Bridge may climb to $10 in the next five years to make up for a multimillion-dollar budget deficit, reports Rachel Swan of the San Francisco Chronicle$. The bridge tolls not only pay for upkeep of the iconic span, but also help fund bus and ferry transit.

5. President Trump is again threatening to shut down the federal government over Congress’ refusal to fund his controversial plan for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, the Washington Post$ reports. The Senate on Wednesday night approved a stopgap funding plan that included no money for Trump’s wall.

6. Oakland Raiders’ star Marshawn Lynch urged the Oakland Planning Commission last night to greenlight the Oakland A’s’ plans for a new ballpark at Howard Terminal on the city’s waterfront, reports Gary Peterson of the Bay Area News Group$. “We’re losing the Warriors,” Lynch said. “We’re losing the Raiders. Best not lose the A’s. Appreciate it.”

7. And that bright light trail that flashed across the Bay Area sky last evening was likely a meteor, according to the Lick Observatory, Berkeleyside reports.

$ = news stories that may require payment to read.


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