Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday Must Read

By Robert Gammon
Wed, May 12, 2010 at 7:01 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Richmond City Council approved a settlement deal with Chevron last night that will increase the amount of taxes paid by the oil giant each year, the CoCo Times reports. The agreement requires the city to drop plans for a November ballot measure that would have forced Chevron to pay even higher taxes. Council members agreed to the deal because the oil company planned to put its own measure on the ballot that would have kept its taxes low and lowered other local taxes, potentially costing the city millions.

2. It’s unusual for a US Attorney General to visit Oakland, but Eric Holder made an appearance at Youth Uprising in East Oakland yesterday to talk about ways to combat youth and gang violence, the CoCo Times and Chron report. Mayor Ron Dellums and Police Chief Anthony Batts also were on hand. Holder also praised the city’s proposal for a gang injunction in North Oakland.

3. CSU Chancellor Charles Reed agreed with Sarah Palin’s handlers that her speaking fee at a CSU Stanislaus Foundation event should be kept secret to avoid bad publicity, according to the Chron and California Watch, citing recently released university e-mails. “Bernie, I agree with you that the damage is done and the disclosure will just cause another round of newspaper stories,” Reed wrote to Bernie Swartz, president of the speakers’ bureau that represents Palin. The ex-Alaska governor typically charges at least $100,000 for such speaking engagements.

4. Steve Poizner may end up beating Meg Whitman after all. The state insurance commissioner is now in a virtual dead heat with the ex-eBay CEO, according to a new poll by Survey USA. The LA Times reports that Whitman’s once commanding lead is now down to 39 percent to 37 percent.

5. A UC Berkeley professor says he’s received leaked evidence that the oil-spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was caused by contaminated cement in the drilling rig, the LA Times reports. Robert Bea, a Cal professor who directs the school's Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, says a sound-wave test that apparently wasn’t conducted could have revealed the problems in the cement poured by Halliburton before the blast destroyed the rig.

6. Much-needed construction work on Interstate 880 in Oakland is causing a nightmare for some local motorists, the Trib reports.

7. And a new study confirms that an increasing number of wives are now the sole breadwinners because of the recession as more husbands are forced to become stay-at-home dads, the CoCo Times reports. The Express reported on the phenomenon in a recent cover story.

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