Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday Must Read

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 7:18 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. UC Berkeley officials bungled their response to student protests late last year, the Chron and CoCo Times report, citing a newly released UC-commissioned study. The hard-hitting report found that Cal officials didn’t take the protest over fee hikes seriously at first, thereby angering students, and then campus police seriously overreacted, further inflaming the situation.

2. A federal judge overseeing the Prop. 8 trial seemed skeptical of the claims by gay-marriage opponents that the primary reason for marriage is procreation, the Chron reports. Judge Vaughn Walker also appeared to be mystified that gay-marriage opponents had only called two witnesses to bolster their case, according to the Mercury News.

3. Despite the city boycott of Arizona over its new anti-illegal-immigration law, the Oakland City Council went ahead with its lucrative billboard deal with Clear Channel Outdoor, the Trib reports. The council voted 7-1 for the deal in part because of Clear Channel’s assertions that its headquarters are in San Antonio, Texas and not in Phoenix.

4. The LGBT organization, Oakland Pride, hosted the grand opening of its Jack London Square office yesterday and is readying plans for a September 5 celebration in the city’s Uptown district, the Trib reports.

5. Two East Bay office buildings — one in downtown Berkeley and one near downtown Oakland — have fallen into mortgage default as the region’s commercial property market continues to founder, the Trib reports.

6. Ex-BART cop Anthony Pirone, who manhandled Oscar Grant, swore at him incessantly, and hurled a racial slur at him, is taking center stage in the murder trial of fellow-ex-BART officer Johannes Mehserle, the Chron reports.

7. Four state-employee unions have agreed to pension and pay concessions, the Mercury News reports. However, the concessions only will save the state about $72 million a year. And even if all 21 of the state’s unions agree to similar concessions the state will save about $1.2 billion annually, falling well short of the funds needed to bridge a $19 billion deficit.

8. Teachers can by laid off without regards to seniority in certain circumstances under a bill introduced by State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Educatedguess.org reports. The bill would allow school districts to ignore teacher seniority in cases where layoffs are unfairly harming schools in low-income areas. The bill follows a recent successful court case brought by the ACLU in Los Angeles.

9. And massive interest in Apple’s new iPhone overwhelmed AT&T yesterday and forced the suspension of preorders for the new cellphone, the Mercury News and Chron report.

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