Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Manslaughter In, First-Degree Murder, Out

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 2:25 PM

The judge in the Johannes Mehserle murder trial decided to allow jurors to choose either voluntary or involuntary manslaughter as possible verdicts, along with second-degree murder and acquittal, the Chron and Trib report. The ruling was a blow to Mehserle’s defense team, which sought to limit the verdicts to murder or acquittal in the hopes that the jury would not find enough evidence to sustain a murder charge in the killing of Oscar Grant and thus would be forced to find the ex-BART cop not guilty.

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A Message from Black Elected Officials and Clergy on the Upcoming Oscar Grant Verdict

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 1:18 PM

An Open Letter to the Community:

Within the next couple of days and/or weeks there will be a verdict in the Oscar Grant case. This case has struck a nerve in Oakland and around the world. In anticipation of the verdict the Black Elected Officials and Clergy of the Eastbay wanted to share some information with our community.

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Kaplan Officially in Mayor’s Race, Denounces Prison Guards

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Oakland Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan officially jumped into the mayor’s race today, citing job creation for Oakland residents, improving public safety, and reforming city government as her top priorities should she win election. Kaplan also used her official candidacy announcement at an art gallery in downtown Oakland to strongly criticize the California prison guard’s union for financing two hit-pieces in the past week that targeted her and Councilwoman Jean Quan, who is also running for mayor. Kaplan, visibly perturbed, labeled the hit-pieces “lying, deceptive mailers.”

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Wednesday Must Read

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 7:08 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Closing arguments in the Johannes Mehserle murder trial will take place Thursday now that both the prosecution and defense have rested their cases, the Chron and Trib report. The prosecution finished its rebuttal case yesterday follwing the testimony of a friend of Mehserle’s who said the ex-BART cop never mentioned after killing Oscar Grant that he meant to Tase him and not shoot him. Instead, Mehserle kept saying of Grant, “I thought he had a gun, I thought he had a gun.” Law enforcement officers are trained to not use Tasers if they believe a suspect has a firearm. Also, the jury is off today as the defense and prosecution argue key motions in the case. Among them is a defense request that the jury only be given the choice of murder or acquittal — and not be allowed to convict Mehserle of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Perata Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 10:47 AM

If the events of recent days are any indication, Don Perata’s candidacy for mayor is off to a very shaky start. Not only have the major dailies noted the many ties between the ex-state senator and a shadowy political group that blanketed the city with two political hit pieces over the weekend. But the glossy mailers sent by the Perata-linked group — Coalition for a Safer California — are full of ridiculous errors that raise serious doubts about the intellectual capacity of Perata’s close associates, while offering potential insight to how a Perata mayor’s office would function.

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Tuesday Must Read

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 7:04 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A shadowy political group with strong ties to Oakland mayoral candidate Don Perata and the state prison guard’s union have blanketed Oakland with two mailers in recent days, attacking Vice Mayor Jean Quan and other city leaders for the city’s budget problems and the cop-layoff plan, the Trib and Chron report. The hit pieces arrived in residents’ mailboxes as talks between the city council and the police union are failing to produce an agreement that would avoid the layoffs, the Chron reports. Police are demanding that the city protect them from layoffs for two years if they start paying into their pensions. But council members say that can’t make that promise because of a projected budget deficit next year.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Feed the Children — With E-mail Spam

by Anneli Rufus
Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 10:18 AM

Chipotle wants to turn junk mail into "junk-free" meals for kids.

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Express Wins Eleven Awards

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 9:56 AM

The Express won eleven awards, including five first-place awards, in the East Bay Press Club’s 2009 Excellence in Print Journalism Contest. The awards were announced Friday night June 25 at the club’s annual banquet in Oakland’s Chinatown District. Express Managing Editor Kathleen Wentz took home first place in the in-depth/investigative reporting category for “Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0” and “Yelp Extortion Allegations Stack Up.” The judges remarked: “Ms. Wentz’s investigation into Yelp and exposing the ugly side of their business practices is classic investigative journalism.”

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Monday Must Read

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 7:06 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Johannes Mehserle murder trial likely will come down to whether jurors believe the tears shed by the ex-BART cop were genuine or staged, the Chron reports. Was Mehserle telling the truth when he wept openly and told jurors: “I didn’t think I had my gun,” at the moment he fatally shot Oscar Grant in the back? Or will jurors question why Mehserle never told fellow officers after the killing that it had been accident — that he meant to pull out his Taser but mistakenly grabbed his gun instead. The case could go to the jury as early as the end of this week.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Feed the Children — With Wine

by Anneli Rufus
Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 12:43 PM

This summer, some East Bay restaurants are cutting their wine prices in half — and a fab gala in Napa featuring some of Northern California's top vintners and chefs will be part of Taste of the Nation®, the country’s leading culinary benefit.

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