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Editorial: A Train-Load of Trouble Rolls Toward Oakland

first_imgEditorial: A Train-Load of Trouble Rolls Toward Oakland FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享From the San Francisco Chronicle:The plan to ship 9 million tons of coal annually through West Oakland must be stopped. It’s bad enough that it’s environmentally threatening, fiscally dubious, and the product of duplicity and political chicanery.Even worse is the fact that a significant amount of public money is being invested in this ill-advised scheme.“This is a very bad idea on many, many levels,” said state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, author of legislation attempting to stop the coal-export facility at the former Oakland Army Base.“It undermines everything we’ve been doing for the past decade now to try to contain climate change,” Hancock added. “No. 1, it makes us look hypocritical.”And more than a little foolish — if not craven.Remember, Gov. Jerry Brown was at the international climate talks in Paris last December to extol the state’s innovation in reducing carbon emissions — and to implore the rest of the world to follow suit.A coal plant in China — where much of the coal going through the new Oakland depot would presumably be headed — would have the same impact on global warming as one in the Golden State.We invoke the governor’s own words of wisdom from last year:“It doesn’t make sense to be shutting down coal plants and then export it for somebody else to burn in a more dirty way,” he said. “But what we need is a national plan to reduce all fossil fuels. Certainly, coal would be at the top.”The climate impact alone should be enough to give anyone pause about a plan to ship coal on railroad lines from Utah to be loaded at the new Oakland shipping facility. But then there is the concern about local pollution, which is one of the reasons Mayor Libby Schaaf, Oakland City Council members and the Port of Oakland oppose the project.“Stop it immediately,” Schaaf wrote in a May 2015 email to the project’s well-connected developer, Phil Tagami, adding, “If you don’t do that soon we will all have to spend time and energy in a public battle that no one needs and will distract us from the important work at hand.”The battle has only escalated since then.It’s important to note that Tagami for years had vigorously denied rumors that coal shipments would be part of this $800 million cargo facility. In a December 2013 newsletter, he accused critics of spreading misinformation because his real estate firm had “no interest or involvement in the pursuit of coal-related operations at the former Oakland Army Base.”It’s now abundantly clear that coal is a key element of at least the near-term plans for the rail-to-ship transfer facility. In a March 14 Open Forum piece, a partner in Tagami’s company suggested that the “political threats to block coal” amount to “a taking of vested rights.”“Today it’s coal; tomorrow it’ll be wood pellets; and next week it will be genetically modified grain,” wrote Mark McClure of California Capital and Investment Group.Yes, today it is coal — one commodity the developer had specifically promised to exclude, in response to concerns about of its local and global environmental impacts.The questionable policies go well beyond Oakland. The Utah Legislature, looking to help get its state’s coal to foreign markets, just voted to commit $53 million in state money to help build that deep-water port in Oakland.Here’s where that deal really smells:The money is coming out of a fund from federal mining royalties that is supposed to be go to local projects in rural communities for roads, parks, public buildings, water and sewer systems. To get around that legal requirement, Utah legislators approved a scheme to dip into sales-tax revenue earmarked for transportation for the $53 million, put it in a newly created account — and then immediately reimburse it from the royalty fund.Utah’s Senate Democratic leader, Gene Davis, was quoted in the Salt Lake City Tribune as calling it “a shell game.”From a fiscal standpoint, considering the world’s shift away from coal — even in China — perhaps the best question of all was posed by Rep. Joel Briscoe, a Salt Lake City Democrat: “If this is such a great financial investment … where are the banks stepping up to fund this program?”California’s leaders need to intensify the pressure to keep coal shipments out of Oakland, whether it takes legislation, lawsuits or the project overseers simply recognizing the need to keep a promise.A trainload of trouble rolls toward Oaklandlast_img read more

Chelsea name Benitez interim boss

first_imgChelsea have appointed former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez as interim manager until the end of the season.Previous manager Roberto Di Matteo was sacked on Wednesday following the 3-0 Champions League defeat by Juventus.Benitez’s short-term appointment could pave the way for owner Roman Abramovich to make a summer approach for ex-Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.Benitez, 52, becomes the Blues’ ninth manager since Abramovich took over in 2003. A Chelsea statement said: “The owner and the board believe that in Benitez we have a manager with significant experience at the highest level of football, who can come in and immediately help deliver our objectives.“The two-time Uefa Manager of the Year comes with outstanding pedigree.” Benitez joined Liverpool from Valencia in 2004 and won the Champions League in 2005, as well as reaching the final in 2007, before leaving Anfield by mutual consent in 2010.He has been out of work since he was sacked by Inter Milan in December 2010 after just six months in charge despite winning two titles – the Club World Cup and Italian Super Cup.The Spaniard is due to meet the players at the training ground in Cobham on Thursday, before his first match in charge at home to leaders Manchester City on Sunday.Earlier, when asked if Chelsea had approached him, Benitez told Abu Dhabi-based website Sport 360: “I am looking for a club that can challenge for trophies and Chelsea is one of these clubs.”When he was asked about the prospect of managing on a short-term basis, he added: “I am just trying to go to a team that can win. So we will find ways to have a challenge like this.” Former Chelsea midfielder Nigel Spackman suggested Benitez’s appointment would be unpopular. He told BBC Radio 5 live: “You won’t find many Chelsea fans happy with an appointment of an ex-Liverpool manager.“Benitez has got a great CV and a good record, but the only way he will win the Stamford Bridge crowd over is getting the results. Now he had to focus on trying to win the Premier League.“He is the interim manager but if he does a good job maybe he will get it for longer.”Blues supporters’ groups had earlier reacted angrily to suggestions Benitez could be named Di Matteo’s successor. David Johnstone, spokesman for Chelsea fanzine cfcuk, told BBC Sport: “Rafa Benitez is not a Chelsea manager. Some people are born to play for or manage certain clubs and for us, Benitez isn’t what we want.“When he was Liverpool manager and Jose Mourinho was Chelsea boss there was a bit of ‘beef’ between them.“He was very dismissive of Chelsea, very rude towards us and my impression of him was, whenever anything went wrong it was always somebody else’s fault, not his.”But former Liverpool and Germany midfielder Dietmar Hamann, a Champions League winner under Benitez at Anfield, believes the Spaniard will improve Chelsea and target silverware.“He is a very talented and outstanding manager,” he told BBC Sport. “He’s a very meticulous worker and he puts a lot of emphasis on tactical exercises and you can see it – his handwriting is all over his teams.”The length of Benitez’s contract appears to indicate Abramovich’s determination to land Guardiola once the former Barcelona manager returns to the game.Guardiola, 41, is midway through a 12-month sabbatical having left Barcelona at the end of last season after winning 14 trophies in four years, including three titles and the Champions League twice.Di Matteo won the Champions League and FA Cup as caretaker manager last season and was given a two-year deal in June.But following the defeat to Juventus, which has left the Blues on the brink of a Champions League exit, he has left Stamford Bridge after just eight months in charge.last_img read more