Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday Must Read

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 10:09 AM

Today’s stories that you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland school board voted unanimously last night to unilaterally implement a teachers’ contract that includes no raises, the Trib reports. The board noted that the cash-strapped school district is facing a $37 million deficit next year and the teachers’ demands for a raise could push the district back into insolvency. The teachers’ union likely will strike over the issue on April 29.

2. State Attorney General Jerry Brown has promised to post his last ten years of tax returns on his website by May 5, the Mercury News reports. But so far, ultra-wealthy Republican gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner have refused to follow suit.

3. Chevron has pumped $250,000 into a proposed statewide ballot measure that would make it nearly impossible for cities and counties to increase a wide-range of fees that fund local services. The so-called “Stop Hidden Taxes” measure would make it much more difficult for local governments to balance their budgets. The Chron reports that the California Chamber of Commerce, the chief sponsor of the measure, is also the biggest donor so far, contributing $425,000. The San Francisco-based Wine Institute has donated $75,000.

4. Oakland has four of the top ten “hottest” zip codes for home sales in the nation, the Chron reports, citing a new study from Zip Realty. Properties in the zip codes, 94608, 94621, 94606, and 94603 are selling above the asking price so far this year. All of these zip codes — one in North Oakland and three in East Oakland — are in areas hard hit by the foreclosure crisis, where the availability of homes is scarce. That’s because banks are holding foreclosed properties off the market, and forcing bidding wars.

5. US Senator Dianne Feinstein has endorsed ex-state Senator Don Perata's campaign for mayor of Oakland, according to the website Oakland North. Meanwhile, a new website — NotDon.org — has spung up that highlights Perata's ethically challenged political career.

6. And plans for the impressive new Transbay Terminal in San Francisco are to be unveiled today. The Chron reports that the proposed $1.189 billion terminal would include a 5.4-acre rooftop park.

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