Saturday, April 30, 2011

More on the Prison Guards

by Ellen Cushing
Sat, Apr 30, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Those still interested in the ever-evolving clusterfuck that is California's relationship with its prison guards should check out the opinion section of today's Wall Street Journal, in which writer Allysia Finley takes the analogically-tenuous-but-rhetorically-interesting tack of comparing the value of a Harvard degree with that of a guard job in one of the state's prisons:

Roughly 2,000 students have to decide by Sunday whether to accept a spot at Harvard. Here's some advice: Forget Harvard. If you want to earn big bucks and retire young, you're better off becoming a California prison guard.

The job might not sound glamorous, but a brochure from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations boasts that it "has been called 'the greatest entry-level job in California'—and for good reason. Our officers earn a great salary, and a retirement package you just can't find in private industry. We even pay you to attend our academy." That's right—instead of paying more than $200,000 to attend Harvard, you could earn $3,050 a month at cadet academy.

Read the whole thing here.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Who’s Worse: Obama or the Chron?

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston has sharp criticism today for the White House’s decision to threaten banishment for San Francisco Chronicle reporter Carla Marinucci, and views it as a continuation of open-government hypocrisy in the Obama administration. But Johnston also has some tough words for the Chron itself for allowing Obama staffers to complain about Marinucci and threaten the paper anonymously, thereby violating basic journalistic ethics.

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UC Berkeley Professor Proves He’s an Academic Fraud — Again

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Notorious UC Berkeley law school professor John Yoo has proven once again this week that he’s a partisan huckster and an academic fraud. Throughout much of the past decade, Yoo staked his academic and legal reputation on the argument that the US Constitution calls for a powerful presidency. While on sabbatical as a lawyer in the Bush Justice Department, Yoo even went so far as to say that the Constitution gave the president the power to ignore US and international law and order that suspected terrorists be tortured.

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Brunner Backs Off Lobbying Changes — for Now

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Oakland City Councilwoman Jane Brunner has tabled her proposal to gut the city’s already weak lobbying law — at least for now. Council President Larry Reid announced yesterday at a Rules Committee meeting that Brunner has decided to consult first with the League of Women Voters, an organization that has sought to strengthen Oakland’s lobbying and open government laws — not weaken them.

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Friday Must Read: Russo Accepts Alameda City Manager’s Job; Brown Kills New Death Row

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 6:50 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland City Attorney John Russo has accepted an offer to become Alameda’s city manager and is expected to make an official announcement soon, the Alameda Journal reports. The Alameda City Council is expected to approve Russo’s $215,000-a-year contract on Tuesday. It offered him the job on April 19, and he accepted, city staffers said. Russo, who is friends with Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore and Councilwoman Lena Tam, and was one of their biggest campaign donors last year, was widely expected to get the job. He also was unhappy in Oakland and had several high profile feuds with councilmembers and Mayor Jean Quan. Once Russo makes the announcement official, the Oakland council will have sixty days to name his replacement. If it fails to do so, then there will be a special election.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Former UC Berkeley Health Services MD Charged with Sex Crimes

by Rachel Swan
Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 10:40 AM

So here's something to make your skin crawl. This morning representatives of the Alameda County District Attorney's office filed charges against Robert Kevess, a physician who engaged in illegal sexual conduct with students at the UC Berkeley TANG center. Sworn affidavits released this morning charged Kevess with19 counts of sexual assault and battery — including penetration of an unconscious person with a foreign object — all committed under the auspice of his profession. According to Chron reporter Henry K. Lee, Kevess, who is 52, assaulted at least 6 male patients since 2006. Kevess, who graduated from New York University School of Medicine and also served as medical director of the Berkeley Free Clinic, was arrested on Wednesday night and posted $745,000 bail. He will be arraigned today in an Oakland courtroom.

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Thursday Must Read: Tax the Rich to Pay for Schools; Feds Open Criminal Probe of PG&E

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 7:05 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Californians want to maintain funding for public schools and they want the rich to pay for it with higher taxes, the Chron reports, citing a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California. The poll showed that 68 percent of voters support raising the personal income tax rate for wealthy Californians in order to avoid more cuts to K-12 education — a proposal supported by the state teachers’ union, but not by Governor Jerry Brown or state Democratic leaders. By contrast, voters overwhelmingly oppose Brown and the Democrats' proposal to restore a tax increase on all residents that expired in January and a 1 percent sales tax hike that will sunset on July 1.

2. Democratic state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, meanwhile, seconded a proposal made by Treasurer Bill Lockyer to target Republican districts for service cuts if GOP legislators continue to block Brown’s tax measure proposals, the CoCo Times reports. “It's basic fairness,” Steinberg told reporters. “You don't want to pay for government, well, then you get less of it.” Steinberg said the cuts would involve “convenient services to adults” and would not be targeted at children in Republican strongholds.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

You Write Too Long: This Week's Feature, Bite-Sized

by Kathleen Richards
Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 11:39 AM

As part of our special Education & Careers issue, this week's feature explores the exciting world of DIY entrepreneurship, wherein young twenty- and thirtysomethings find themselves — whether because of economic necessity or because social media makes it easier — to start their own unique niche businesses. From baristas who sell jewelry on Etsy to video editors who make spicy jam, these East Bay'ers aren't sitting idly, giving credence to the cliche that necessity is the mother of invention.


Oakland's Pothole Blitz by the Numbers

by Nate Seltenrich
Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 10:16 AM

This week, Oakland launched its annual pothole blitz. A word like blitz is guaranteed to garner attention, and sure enough, twelve reporters showed up at Public Works’ opening-day press conference to get the story on the city’s ramped-up efforts to repair its run-down streets, said spokesperson Kristine Shaff. Two years ago we gave more than 1,000 words to pothole repair, too. But like most things in Oakland these days, behind the good news is a massive helping of bad news. The pothole blitz is a tiny Band Aid on an open wound, and only addresses streets that are still in generally good shape. Streets bad enough to require repaving are overlooked, because the city can’t afford it. Here’s the full story, as told by the numbers themselves.

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