Monday, January 23, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Must Read: Brown Wants Fewer Tests for Students; Councilmembers Push Anti-Port-Shutdown Bill, Again

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 6:59 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Governor Jerry Brown, in a sharp break from the Obama administration, believes K-12 students in California are being forced to take too many standardized tests, the LA Times reports. As part of his education overhaul, Brown is pushing for fewer tests, contending that they stifle creativity — an argument that teachers have been making for years. The tests take “too damn long,” Brown told the LA Times editorial board. “Second-graders take five days of tests. That’s longer than I spent on the bar exam. I think that’s absurd. You've gotta have some room for creativity.” The statements by Brown, who has two charter schools in Oakland, come in stark contrast to the Obama administration’s call to increase testing.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Newt Gingrich Is Polyamorous

by Rachel Swan
Thu, Jan 19, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Lest you have any doubts about the legitimacy or viability of polyamory as a subculture, check this out: News from the campaign trail this morning convinced us that this alternative lifestyle isn't just the domain of outcasts, Burners, and experimentalists; it's also favored by an establishment GOP candidate. Turns out New Gingrich asked his ex-wife Marianne for an open marriage, but she refused. Marianne related that story in a tell-all interview with ABC's Nightline, excerpts from which have already leaked to the public (the whole thing airs tonight). When confronted about it, Gingrich dismissed the allegations, Politico reports. But it might be too late for the presidential hopeful and notorious adulturer to salvage his image. Marianne, who is evidently keen on disabusing voters of Gingrich's family values rhetoric, has also granted candid interviews to The Washington Post, among other media outlets. Within a few hours of its release, the story went massively viral.

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Thursday Must Read: Oakland Sends Out 2,500 Layoff Notices; Brown Opposes Plan to Extend Redevelopment Until April

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Jan 19, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The City of Oakland sent out 2,500 layoff notices yesterday, and raised the total number of potential job losses to four hundred as officials scrambled to deal with the fallout of Governor Jerry Brown and legislature’s decision to kill redevelopment statewide, the Chron reports. City officials decided to issue layoff notices to nearly every worker inside City Hall in order to provide the city council maximum flexibility in deciding how to overhaul Oakland government and deal with the loss of up to $30 million in redevelopment funds each year. The council will make the layoffs decision next week. The only departments exempted from the layoffs are police and fire because their union contracts prohibit more job cuts.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday Must Read: Court Monitors Slam OPD, Again; Oakland Ramps Up 100-Blocks Crime-Fighting Plan

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. In a new report, federal court monitors are strongly criticizing Oakland police again for failing to enact mandated reforms, and say that the department’s response to Occupy Oakland raises “serious concerns” about its ability to “hold true to the best practices in American policing,” the Bay Citizen reports. Court monitors, which include retired law enforcement officials from other cities, have issued a series of highly critical reports on OPD, especially on how it deals with allege police officer misconduct. The newest report also includes evidence that the department has engaged in racial profiling. Judge Thelton Henderson will review the latest report next week at a hearing in which he may place the department under federal receivership.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday Must Read: Bill Would Extend Redevelopment Until April 15; Brown Slashes $1 Billion from Prison Spending

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Jan 17, 2012 at 6:56 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Cities would have until April 15 to dismantle their redevelopment agencies under a bill introduced by state Senator Alex Padilla, a Southern California lawmaker, the LA Daily News reports (via Rough & Tumble). Cities, including Oakland, have been scrambling to meet the February 1 deadline to eliminate redevelopment. Oakland is sending out 1,500 layoff notices this week and plans to ultimately slash 200 jobs. Padilla said cities need more time, and he’s hoping that the extension until April 15 will give the legislature a chance to hammer out a way to resurrect redevelopment in some form. However, it remains unclear whether Governor Jerry Brown, who devised the plan to kill redevelopment, will go along with the extension.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Must Read: Oakland to Lay Off 200 Employees; PG&E Diverted $100 Million in Safety Funds for Profits

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 6:58 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. As expected, the City of Oakland plans to lay off about two hundred employees because of the state Supreme Court ruling that upheld Governor Jerry decision to kill redevelopment in California, the Chron and Trib report. However, because of union seniority and contract rules, the city actually plans to send out about 1,500 lay off notices in total. The large number of notices will give the city the flexibility to decide which departments to eliminate and who should be laid off, city officials said. The only departments that will be exempted from layoffs are police and fire. City Administrator Deanna Santana also hopes to renegotiate some public-employee contracts in order to reduce the number of layoffs.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

UC Berkeley Sees Massive Increase in Freshman Applications

by Rachel Swan
Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 12:02 PM

Maybe it's the outreach campaigns, or the slight tweaks to UC Berkeley's basic eligibility requirements, acting associate vice chancellor Anne De Luca postulated. (This year, middle school foreign language and math courses now count toward an applicant's 11 requirements.) Whatever the case, the university saw a massive increase in freshman enrollment applications for the 2012-2013 school year, up 16.5 percent from 2011. That jump reflects a similarly dramatic system-wide increase of 19 percent — UCs Santa Cruz, Irvine, Los Angeles, Riverside, Merced, Santa Barbara, and San Diego all saw their freshman applications rise by double-digits, according to data from the office of the president. It appears that most of these prospective students are highly qualified, too, with a mean GPA of 3.6, and an average SAT 1 score of 1909, up three points from last year. That means a lot of worthy applicants might ultimately be steered into community colleges. Interestingly, the number of transfer student applications hasn't increased, UC brass say. Rather, it's declined by about 2 percent, which might indicate that the rising cost of a university education is deterring at least one portion of the student population.

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Thursday Must Read: State Analyst Says Brown’s Budget Is Too Rosy; Number of California Millionaires Skyrockets

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst’s Office says that Governor Jerry Brown’s projections for state tax revenues appear to be overly optimistic — by as much as $3 billion, the Mercury News reports. The governor’s rosy budget projections could mean that the state will have to make even deeper cuts to state services than Brown proposes. The LAO says that Brown appears to be overestimating the amount of tax revenue from capital gains income. The governor apparently is relying on a tax revenue windfall from Facebook’s planned stock offering this year, Bloomberg News reports.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Oakland Raiders Fire Hue Jackson

by Rachel Swan
Tue, Jan 10, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Apparently, Tom Cable wasn't the only former Raiders head coach who had trouble with his superiors. His replacement, Hue Jackson, was deposed today, a source told ESPN. The decision came about a week after current owner Mark Davis (son of the late Al Davis) brought in Reggie Mackenzie to be the team's general manager, precipitating what Jackson would call a massive "gutting." It's rumored that Mackenzie has his own designs for the team, and that he'll start by recruiting a new coaching staff from the Packers.

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