Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday Must Read: Cal Students Sue over Police Brutality; Telegraph Residents Complained About Building that Burned

By Robert Gammon
Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. UC Berkeley students and protesters sued the university and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office in federal court, alleging police brutality when cops hit nonviolent demonstrators with their riot batons, the Chron reports. Video of the over-the-top police response went viral and made national headlines. The incident also prompted an apology from Cal Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. But Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern maintains that the protesters had attacked his officers first — although none of the numerous videos taken of the incident corroborates his claim.

2. Tenants of the Telegraph Avenue apartment building that burned earlier this month say it had numerous electrical problems and fire hazards, the Berkeley Voice reports. The massive fire displaced about seventy people and destroyed several businesses, including Café Intermezzo and Raleigh’s pub. Berkeley officials, however, say they were unaware of the alleged problems in the building. The fire department is still investigating the cause of the blaze.

3. Some Oakland police believe the brazen shooting in West Oakland that injured seven people, including a one-year-old boy, may have stemmed from a longtime feud between rival gangs, the Trib reports, citing anonymous law enforcement sources. To prevent retaliation, police have stepped up patrols of the area. One-year-old Hiram Lawrence, who was shot in the head, remains in grave condition.

4. The state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst has issued a blistering critique of the California’s plans for high-speed rail, the Bay Area News Group reports. The analyst contends that the $99 billion project may prove to be a boondoggle, because it relies heavily on federal funding that may never materialize. Congress has repeatedly refused to fund high-speed rail projects during the past two years, so if California goes ahead with its project, it may never have enough money to finish it.

5. And the federal judge who presided over California’s water wars and most recently issued a favorable decision to a Central Valley water district that wants more water from the fragile Delta has taken a job with that very same water district, the Fresno Bee reports. Retired Judge Oliver Wanger will now be a lawyer for the Westlands Water District and will represent the district in state court actions.

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