Wednesday Must Reads: Big Soda Pours $1.4 Million Into Berkeley Campaign; San Francisco Posts Warning Signs On Soft-Story Buildings

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Beverage companies have pumped $1.4 million into a campaign to defeat Measure D, a proposed soda tax in Berkeley, Berkeleyside reports. In addition, Big Soda has poured $7.7 million into its campaign to defeat a similar tax measure in San Francisco — the second largest donation involving a ballot measure in the city’s history, the Chron reports.

2. The City of San Francisco has started to post signs on soft-story buildings, warning residents that they are prone to collapse in an earthquake, the Chron reports. The city hopes the signs will pressure landlords to retrofit the buildings. Oakland also has large numbers of dangerous soft-story structures that are expected to pancake in a quake, but the city has not posted warning signs about them.

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3. San Francisco also enacted regulations for Airbnb rentals that allows residents to rent out their homes for short periods of time, but places numerous restrictions on the rentals, the Chron reports. The new rules include the requirement that Airbnb rentals collect hotel taxes and that each rental carries at least $500,000 in liability insurance.

4. Newly released emails indicate that Michael Peevey, chair of the California Public Utilities Commission, solicited donations from PG&E in exchange for favorable treatment by state regulators, the Chron reports. Peevey denies wrongdoing.

5. Californians slashed their water consumption in August by 11.5 percent compared to last year — an improvement over previous months, but still well short of the 20 percent requested by Governor Jerry Brown because of the drought, the Mercury News$ reports.

6. And an air tanker fighting a fire near Yosemite National Park crashed yesterday afternoon, killing the pilot, the Chron reports.

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