Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Must Read: Man Fatally Shot Near Occupy Oakland; Experts Criticize Police Use of Force at Occupy Cal

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Nov 11, 2011 at 8:56 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A man was shot and killed near Occupy Oakland, but witness accounts vary as to whether the killing was related to the encampment in front of City Hall, the Trib reports. The shooting may have been related to a small fight that broke out earlier at the camp. But witnesses also said that the incident was unrelated to the camp and that medics from Occupy Oakland were the first to respond to the shooting victim while occupiers tried to break up a fight right before the killing. Mayor Jean Quan renewed her call for the tent city to disband voluntarily, while city council President Larry Reid said again that the occupiers should be forcibly removed.

2. Experts on police use of force criticized UC Berkeley police and Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies who clubbed demonstrators with batons as the protesters tried to establish an encampment at Cal, the Chron reports. The experts said the cops overreacted and their actions were unnecessary. UC police responded that they had no choice but to beat protesters because they had linked themselves arm-in-arm — a move that cops called “violent.” Civil liberties activists derided UC’s position as ridiculous.

3. State tax revenues continue to lag behind expectations, raising more concerns that the state government will have to dramatically slash spending, the Chron reports. For the first four months of the fiscal year, which begins July 1, state revenues are $1.5 billion less than anticipated. Tax revenue in October was particularly disappointing; it was $811 million less than expected.

4. The California Supreme Court appeared to be skeptical about claims by cities that Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to kill redevelopment agencies is unconstitutional, the Chron reports. If the court upholds Brown’s plan, it would be financially devastating to cities — especially Oakland — that depend on redevelopment money to revitalize blighted areas.

5. California cities and counties can ban medical cannabis dispensaries, a state appellate court has ruled, the LA Times reports. The decision, if upheld by the state Supreme Court, will represent a major blow to the medical pot industry statewide.

6. Congress appears to be poised to pass a law that would allow states to force online retailers, like Amazon.com, to charge sales taxes to their customers throughout the nation, the LA Times reports. The so-called Marketplace Fairness Act has bipartisan support in Washington.

7. And the Obama administration has decided to put off making a final ruling until late 2012 on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring dirty tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast, the LA Times reports. The White House says it plans to look at alternative routes for the pipeline; the current route would cross a major aquifer that supplies water to Midwest farms, raising concerns that a major oil spill could devastate US agriculture.

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