Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Must Read

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Apr 16, 2010 at 10:14 AM

Today’s stories that you shouldn’t miss:

1. More money in Oakland politics? The City Council will discuss a “compromise” proposal on Tuesday to increase the individual donation limits to $1,000 and to $1,600 for committees. But it would maintain current caps on total campaign spending, the Trib reports. Vice Mayor Jean Quan, who is running for mayor this year, voted against the proposal, which was put forward by council President Jane Brunner.

2. BART took away Tasers from its police officers yesterday after a sergeant fired his at a teen-ager riding on a bike, in direct violation of agency policy, the Chron reports. BART said it needs to retrain its officers on how to use Tasers, which can sometimes prove deadly. The move came more than 15 months after ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle said he meant to use his Taser — and not his gun — when he shot Oscar Grant to death.

3. On the same day that the troubled Peralta Community College District hired longtime former administrator Wise Allen as interim chancellor, it learned that its bond rating might be downgraded because of its fiscal problems, the CoCo Times reports.

4. There likely will be a short commercial fishing season for chinook salmon this year and a limit on sport fishing, the Chron reports. As the Express reported earlier this week, many East Bay anglers would prefer no commercial season at all.

5. Several East Bay politicians now have egg on their faces for supporting a Richmond bingo parlor run by an ex-felon, according to the CoCo Times.

6. Legislators are reviewing the governor’s plan to sell off state buildings after an Associated Press investigation revealed that it would end up costing California billions of dollars.

7. Bay Area home sales and prices are up. But not all is rosy in the home market. President Obama’s mortgage-relief plan remains a bust, and the number of foreclosures could increase because banks won’t modify the loans of underwater homeowners.

8. Bad news for Carly Fiorina. Her former company, Hewlett Packard, is under investigation by the US Justice Department and the countries of Russia and Germany for bribery. The alleged bribery scheme occurred while Fiorina, a Republican candidate for US senator, was CEO of the company. Fiorina said yesterday that she had nothing to do with the scheme.

9. Why is state Attorney General Jerry Brown not going after Mercury Insurance, which has been accused of illegal wrongdoing by the state Department of Insurance? Is it because that Mercury is one of Brown’s big campaign donors?

10. US Senator Dianne Feinstein strongly defended UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu, who was nominated for a federal appellate court judgeship by President Obama, according to the Chron. Liu has been under fire from Republicans because of his liberal views.

11. UC Berkeley journalism school student Josh Wolf is facing a long suspension in connection with a campus student protest, the Chron reports. Wolf, who spent time in federal lockup for refusing to hand over a videotape to authorities, said he was at the Cal protest to film it for a news story.

12. And an estimated 10,000 Tea Partiers showed up at the Pleasanton fairgrounds yesterday to protest taxes, even though the taxes for 95 percent of Americans have gone down since President Obama took office.

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