Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday Must Read: Brown’s State Parks Plan is Illegal; Mehserle to be Released Soon

By Robert Gammon
Tue, May 31, 2011 at 11:24 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Portions of Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to close seventy state parks appear to be illegal because sixteen of the parks on the list received federal funds, the Mercury News reported. “The funding is a grant to the state, like a contract,” Jon Jarvis, director of the National Park Service in Washington DC, told the Merc. “It says the state makes a commitment to provide these places for public use in perpetuity. To not do that is essentially a breach of that contract.”

Castle Rock State Park
  • Castle Rock State Park
The park service also says that if Brown closes the parks, then California could become ineligible for future federal grants, a potentially huge blow to the state park system. The Merc has previously reported that Brown’s plan to close state beaches violates the California constitution because beaches cannot be closed to the public.

2. Ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle is scheduled to be released from prison in a few weeks after serving an eleven-month sentence for the fatal shooting of unarmed train rider Oscar Grant, the Trib reports. Grant’s family says Mehserle’s relatively light sentence proves that justice has not been done.

3. East Bay county jailers told the CoCo Times that they cannot afford to absorb more prisoners without more money. Governor Jerry Brown plans to transfer tens of thousands of nonviolent state prison inmates to county jails. In addition, the US Supreme Court ordered California last week to release 30,000 state prison inmates because of serious overcrowding. Brown wants to transfer many of them to county lockups.

4. Oakland is considering overhauling rules governing taco trucks in the city, but some city councilmembers say food trucks hurt brick-and-mortar businesses and are magnets for crime, the Chron reported.

5. And East Bay MUD’s plan to raise rates by 6 percent because too many of its customers are conserving water is sparking controversy, the CoCo Times reports.

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