Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday Must Read: Oakland Council Considers Tax Measures; Oakland Cop Who Shot Man in Back Must Be Rehired

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 7:03 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland City Council plans to vote tonight on two tax measures being pushed by Mayor Jean Quan for the June ballot in an effort to close a $46 million budget gap, the Trib reports. One of the measures that the council will consider at the emergency meeting is a proposed $11 million parcel tax over five years, and the other is a $1.99 phone tax. The parcel tax would require a two-thirds vote, while the phone tax requires a simple majority. The council also may look at a ballot measure that would cap public-employ pension benefits.

2. An Oakland cop who killed two men during a seventh-month stretch, including shooting one of them in the back, must be rehired by the city, an arbitrator ruled, the Chron reports. The arbitrator ruled that Officer Hector Jimenez should get his job back because the cop said he saw Mack “Jody” Woodfox III reach for his waistband and run in the direction of another officer. The police department fired Jimenez after concluding that he had no reason to shoot Woodfox in the back three times in 2008. John Burris, lawyer for Woodfox’s family, was shocked at the arbitrator’s decision, and said that the cop should have been tried for murder.

3. The Oakland school board will vote on a plan this week to send more than five hundred layoff notices to teachers, counselors, and librarians, the Trib reports. The school district is preparing for mass layoffs in case Republican lawmakers block Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to put a tax measure on the June ballot or if voters reject the measure on Election Day. Under state law, the school district must notify teachers by March 15 if they may be laid off.

4. Several groups are planning to file lawsuits against the state if the legislature this week approves Brown’s plan to eliminate redevelopment agencies and tax enterprise zones and slash social services, the SacBee reports. The groups contend that killing redevelopment agencies violates Prop 22, a statewide measure that protects local funding and was approved by voters last November.

5. Brown, meanwhile, says that the Oakland Raiders’ stadium debacle is one of the reasons for why he’s proposing to kill redevelopment agencies, the Chron reports. However, no redevelopment money was involved in the costly remodel of the coliseum in 1995.

6. Quan continued her series of public town hall meetings over the weekend, listening to a large audience assembled in East Oakland, the Trib reports. Quan is holding the town hall meetings throughout the city.

7. Investigators are examining whether a Contra Costa Sheriff’s deputy was framing husbands for drunken driving as part of a scam involving a private investigator who was working for the men’s wives, the Chron reports. The PI, Christopher Butler, also would use beautiful women to entice husbands into cheating on their wives. The investigation is part of an expanding corruption probe in CoCo County.

8. The state routinely denies restitution to people who have been wrongly convicted of crimes, California Watch reports. Experts say the state’s requirements to qualify for restitution are absurdly difficult and inconsistently applied.

9. And residents of Albany, Emeryville, and Piedmont have the longest life expectancy in Alameda County at 85 to 88 years, the CoCo Times reports. The newspaper also reports wide disparities in life expectancy based on race and place of residence.

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