Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Must Read

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Apr 23, 2010 at 11:02 AM

Today’s stories that you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland schools will remain open during the one-day teacher’s strike on April 29, the Chron reports. The school district plans to staff classrooms with substitutes. The teachers’ union is holding a one-day walkout to protest the school board’s decision to unilaterally implement a contract that includes no raises. The cash-strapped district is facing another $37 million in budget cuts because of the economy and has no money available to meet the union’s demands for a 15 percent raise over three years. The Trib’s editorial page also praised the school board today for its stance against the teachers’ union, noting that raises could return the district to insolvency.

2. County prosecutors decided not to file hate crime charges against the two young black men who brutally attacked and killed a 59-year-old Asian father last Friday. The Chron reports that prosecutors said that there’s no evidence that the two assailants attacked Tiansheng Yu and his son because of their ethnicity. Prosecutors said the attackers, Lavonte Drummer and Dominic Davis, were motivated by rage and likely would have assaulted anyone who they came in contact with.

3. A judge refused yesterday to block the City of Oakland’s attempts to revoke the permit of a medical marijuana dispensary, the Trib reports. City officials say the dispensary, Oakland Patients Group, was sold without notifying the city in violation of Oakland law.

4. Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums told the Chron that problems discovered by state auditors in a review of federal stimulus fund expenditures have been fixed and that the matter has been overblown.

5. BART fired police officer Anthony Pirone for his role in the death of Oscar Grant on January 1, 2009, the Trib and Chron report. Pirone is now the third officer to be out of a job because of the deadly incident.

6. The state Supreme Court is set to take up the issue of whether cities need to complete expensive environmental impact reports before banning plastic bags, the Chron reports. Oakland abandoned its plastic bag ban after a lower-court judge agreed with the plastic bag industry that such environmental reports were necessary. The case before the Supreme Court involves a plastic bag ban in Manhattan Beach.

7. The state Air Resources Board may relax emissions rules for diesel trucks because of the economy, the Fresno Bee reports. The recession has resulted in fewer trucks on the road, and thus less pollution. But it’s not clear how a relaxation of the big rig emissions rules will affect the Port of Oakland’s tough ban on dirty, older trucks.

8. And the state Assembly approved Republican moderate Abel Maldonado as California’s lieutenant governor, the Sacramento Bee reports. The move should help Maldonado in the campaign this fall against likely Democratic Party nominee Gavin Newsom.

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