A LITTLE MORE TO THE LEFT: The cities of Berkeley, El Cerrito and Albany have all made the list of Top 10 Liberal Cities in the United States in a new ranking from a Palo Alto-based political startup.
The ranking is based on which federal and state candidates their city residents have donated to since 1980. For example, donations to more left-of-center candidates such as Bernie Sanders garnered more points than donations to Hillary Clinton, widely viewed as the mainstream Democratic candidate.
As a result, the three East Bay cities edged out San Francisco, long considered a haven for liberal politics. The top spot for the country’s most liberal city went to Vashon Island, Washington, which has a population of roughly 10,000 people, 94 percent of whom are white.
The most conservative city in the country according to the ranking is Hereford, Texas, also known as the “Beef Capital of the World” for its abundant cattle farms. An estimated 15,000 people live in Hereford, although the demographics are more mixed, with about 70 percent white residents and 25 percent reporting as “other.”
The goal of the ranking was to highlight the growing polarization of the country, with liberals much more likely to live on the East or West coasts and conservatives in the Midwest.
The list was compiled by Crowdpac, a nonpartisan tech startup based in Palo Alto that says its mission is to inform citizens about politicians. To read more about the survey, including which other cities made the list, visit http://wapo.st/1m2l3AU.
CLEARING THE AIR FOR THE KIDS: When Catherine Borquez first saw the smoke blowing onto the Willow Cove Elementary School campus, she thought it was from a house fire. So Borquez, the Pittsburg school’s principal, and Vice Principal Kenny Winkler walked across campus to an adjacent residential back yard, where they found a man burning old leaves and dead branches.
“It looked like a bonfire, and it was right under a eucalyptus tree. Smoke just started permeating the campus of the school,” she said.
The fact that eucalyptus trees themselves are known to be highly combustible fire hazards did not escape the principal’s discerning eye. She called the Contra Costa County Fire District, which sent people to talk to the man with the fire.
Less than an hour later, the smoke returned, as had the bonfire. This time Borquez called Pittsburg police, who also came to talk to the burning man. The air cleared soon after.
Borquez said it was a matter of protecting her students.
“I’ve got asthmatic kids here, and all that smoke is just not healthy,” she said.
POT OF GOLD: There’s always an angle for enterprising entrepreneurs. Take — or don’t — “420 Tours” in Colorado, which in 2012 legalized recreational marijuana. 420 claims in an email that it is the nation’s largest “cannabis tourism company.” Some of its attractions might seem obvious, such as “all-inclusive cannabis vacations perfect for honeymoons (or) bachelor/bachelorette parties.”
And, of course it would offer “cannabis friendly” transportation from the Denver airport and tours of industrial pot farms and hash makers.
The puffs and suds tours of growers and breweries is a thoughtful touch.
But 420 has its own eye on the flush generation of foodies. For them it offers “cannabis pairing dinners” and the Eye’s favorite, a sushi and joint-rolling class.
“No! No! The fish and rice go on the seaweed!”
Staff writers Karina Ioffee, Sam Richards and Andrew McGall contributed to this report.