Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Must Read

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Jul 2, 2010 at 7:13 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Jurors in the Johannes Mehserle murder trial likely will begin deliberating this afternoon, the Chron and Trib report. However, a verdict seems unlikely today, because closing arguments ran long yesterday and will not finish until this morning. If there's no verdict, the jury will resume deliberations on Tuesday after the three-day weekend. Yesterday, prosecutor David Stein pushed hard for a second-degree murder conviction for the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant, telling the jury: "It can never be lawful to shoot an unarmed man, when that man is face-down in the process of putting his hands behind his back." Mehserle’s lawyer, Michael Rains, countered that the shooting was accidental and that jurors should acquit the defendant, saying: "Let's pack our bags and go home."

2. The new higher tolls during commute hours on the Bay Bridge didn’t cause any serious problems when they debuted yesterday, the Chron reports. However, casual carpoolers apparently don’t keep up on the news, because many of them failed to realize that they need to obtain a FasTrak transponder to cross the bridge.

3. The Oakland Raiders have begun surveying fans to gauge whether they would be willing to pay for new seat licenses to finance a new football stadium in Oakland, the Trib reports.

4. The Berkeley Marina Doubletree Hotel is in mortgage default, although it remains open for business, the Trib reports.

5. The AC Transit board of directors unilaterally implemented a contract on bus drivers in an attempt to generate $15.7 million in savings for the cash-strapped agency, the CoCo Times reports. The bus drivers’ union is hoping a judge will send the dispute to arbitration.

6. Jaycee Dugard and her daughters will receive a $20 million settlement from the state of California for failure by state agents to properly monitor the sexual predator who kidnapped her, impregnated her, and kept her and her children in custody for eighteen years, the CoCo Times reports.

7. Meg Whitman’s campaign is attacking Jerry Brown over his longtime former confidante, Jacques Barzaghi, who was paid more than $100,000 a year by Oakland taxpayers while sexually harassing female city employees, the Chron reports.

8. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered state employees’ pay be reduced to the federal minimum wage because state legislators failed to pass a budget by the June 30 statutory deadline, the Chron reports. But state Controller John Chiang is refusing to implement the order.

9. Google has decided to increase compensation for gay and lesbian employees in domestic partnerships to make up for their inability to obtain federal tax credits awarded to married employees, the Mercury News reports.

10. Even though iPhones and Androids are all the rage, Blackberry continues to lead the smart phone market, although its fortunes are slipping, the Chron reports.

11. And the state Assembly approved a bill that would ban Bisphenol-A from plastic products made for children three years and under, the LA Times reports. The chemical has been linked to numerous health problems.

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