Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday Must Read

By Robert Gammon
Thu, May 20, 2010 at 6:58 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The City of Oakland is seriously considering laying off 180 police officers to bridge a $42 million budget gap, the Chron and Trib report. The city also is hamstrung by Measure Y, because it requires that Oakland lay off 67 cops funded by the voter-approved initiative before laying off any regular officers. It should be interesting to see if the police officers’ union will agree to more compensation concessions rather than watch fellow cops lose their jobs.

2. The City of Richmond, meanwhile, should avoid layoffs this year because of the settlement agreement with Chevron, the CoCo Times reports. Under the agreement, the oil giant will pay the city $10 million more this year in taxes than previously scheduled.

3. The San Leandro City Council gave a greenlight earlier this week to AC Transit’s plan for Bus Rapid Transit, the Trib reports. Oakland recently made a similar move, but Berkeley — the third city in the BRT plan — did not.

4. The cash-strapped University of California hopes to save $500 million through system-wide efficiency measures, the Sac Bee reports.

5. However, the three leading candidates for governor — Republicans Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner and Democrat Jerry Brown — have no realistic solutions for the state’s budget crisis, the Chron reports, citing fiscal experts.

6. Brown, meanwhile, has regained his lead over Whitman, according to a recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California. The state attorney general leads the ex-eBay CEO 42 percent to 37 percent. Brown also leads Poizner, the state insurance commissioner, 45-32 percent. And Whitman’s once commanding 50 point lead over Poizner is now down to 9 percent, according to the poll.

7. The same poll also showed that Senator Barbara Boxer has regained her lead over the leading GOP candidate for her seat, Tom Campbell. Boxer leads 46-40 percent. Boxer also leads Republican Carly Fiorina 48-39 percent.

8. In a little-noticed move, the Democratic Party officially came out against the death penalty, enshrining its opposition in the party’s platform, the Chron reports.

9. And the Trib has a tribute today to Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele, a longtime stalwart in East Bay politics, who is retiring this year.

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