Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Must Read: Oakland Girds for Mehserle Sentencing; Kolakowski-Creighton Race Still too Close to Call

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Nov 5, 2010 at 7:02 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Some downtown Oakland merchants are boarding up their businesses in anticipation of unrest following the scheduled sentencing this afternoon of Johannes Mehserle, the Chron reports. The ex-BART cop’s sentence could range from probation to a maximum of fourteen years in prison for fatally shooting train passenger Oscar Grant. Oakland was plagued by some rioting this summer after Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and a gun-enhancement charge.

2. The race for Alameda County Superior Court judge between Victoria Kolakowski and John Creighton is still too close to call, and the outcome of the contest likely won’t be known until next week. Kolakowski, who would become the first transgendered superior court judge in the nation, leads Creighton, a county prosecutor, 50.28% to 48.71% — a difference of 3,720 votes.

3. The Alameda County Registrar of Voters still has to count nearly 120,000 late absentee and provisional ballots. And the count is proceeding slowly. The registrar was only able to tabulate about 3,700 of these ballots yesterday. Nonetheless, the registrar plans to go ahead and run the ranked choice voting program this afternoon for undecided races in Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro, even though the results may prove erroneous.

4. The passage of Measure BB in Oakland, coupled with attrition in the police department, means the city likely will not have to lay off 120 cops in January as planned, the Trib reports. Measure BB restores about $20 million in annual parcel tax revenues for the city and about 25 cops have resigned or retired in the past several months.

5. Nancy Pelosi may remain in Congress after all and make a run for House minority leader, the Chron reports. The former House speaker’s power in the Democratic caucus was actually strengthened this week because so many moderate “Blue Dog” Democrats were defeated by Republicans. That left the Democratic contingent in Congress much more liberal than before.

6. The race for California Attorney General between Kamala Harris and Steve Cooley could take weeks to sort out, because there are more than 2 million late absentee and provisional ballots to count statewide, the LA Times reports. The Secretary of State’s Office reported last night that Harris leads Cooley by 11,837 votes.

7. And PG&E’s deadly pipeline blast in San Bruno is expected to cost the utility at least $1 billion, the Mercury News reports.

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