Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Must Read

By Robert Gammon
Mon, Jun 21, 2010 at 8:07 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The first week of the Johannes Mehserle murder trial appears to have gone better for the defense than the prosecution. The Trib notes that several prosecution witnesses — including a friend of Oscar Grant’s — testified that Mehserle appeared to be “shocked,” “dumbfounded,” or “stunned,” immediately after shooting Grant to death last year. The testimony bolstered the argument by Mehserle’s attorneys that the then-BART cop killed Grant by accident, and it undermined the prosecution’s contention that the fatal shooting was intentional.

2. Fellow ex-BART police officer Anthony Pirone testified that Mehserle shouted: “I’m going to Tase” Grant immediately before shooting him to death with his gun, the Chron reported. The testimony substantiated the claim by Mehserle’s attorneys that he meant to use his Taser on Grant, but pulled out his gun instead. However, Pirone admitted that he never told investigators about what Mehserle had allegedly said, and acknowledged that Mehserle never told him after the shooting that he meant to use his Taser. Pirone was fired by BART for allegedly lying about the incident.

3. Hundreds of demonstrators who were protesting the Israeli attack on a human-aid flotilla headed for Gaza picketed the Port of Oakland yesterday, the Trib and Chron report. The protesters blocked an Israeli ship from unloading.

4. California State University trustees voted to raise student tuition by 5 percent for this fall, the Chron reported. CSU may raise student fees again by another 5 percent later this year if a Democratic budget plan in the legislature to help fund higher education fails to pass.

5. California lawmakers say they will remove a clause in an $11 million state water bond measure that could hand control of publicly funded dam projects to private interests, the Chron reported.

6. Fresh off its PR nightmare in this month’s election, PG&E announced that it will spend $100 million to finance solar panel installations throughout the West. The Chron reports that PG&E will fund SunRun, a solar company that leases and installs solar panels on homes to make them more affordable.

7. And Meg Whitman has begun to shift her politics back to the center, unveiling a new ad that denounces Arizona’s anti-illegal-immigration law, California Watch reports. Whitman began airing the ad — which is sure to anger right-wingers, while helping her with moderates and Latinos — during the World Cup soccer finals.

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