Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. A shadowy political group with strong ties to Oakland mayoral candidate Don Perata and the state prison guard’s union have blanketed Oakland with two mailers in recent days, attacking Vice Mayor Jean Quan and other city leaders for the city’s budget problems and the cop-layoff plan, the Trib and Chron report. The hit pieces arrived in residents’ mailboxes as talks between the city council and the police union are failing to produce an agreement that would avoid the layoffs, the Chron reports. Police are demanding that the city protect them from layoffs for two years if they start paying into their pensions. But council members say that can’t make that promise because of a projected budget deficit next year.
2. A defense witness hired by Johannes Mehserle’s attorneys said the ex-BART cop would have been justified in using his Taser on Oscar Grant because he was resisting arrest, the Chron and Trib report. But during cross-examination by prosecutor David Stein, the witness, retired Los Angeles police Captain Greg Meyer, admitted that he also believed the cops who beat Rodney King did not use excessive force. Mehserle is paying Meyer at least $44,000 for his testimony.
3. The launch of Oakland’s Broadway shuttle, which will connect the city’s uptown and downtown with Jack London Square, has been delayed until the end of summer, the Chron reports. The free shuttle was scheduled to begin service tomorrow.
4. Plans for a 3,100-unit condo development on the city’s waterfront got the greenlight from the state Lands Commission, the Trib reports. The commission ruled that a “public trust” designation on the land that would have blocked the Oak-to-Ninth condo project from being developed by Signature Properties can be transferred to the former Oakland Army Base.
5. The US Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision yesterday that colleges and universities do not have to subsidize student groups that exclude gays and lesbians, the Chron reports. The ruling stemmed from suit filed by a Christian student group against UC Hastings College of Law in San Francisco.
6. Roy Ashburn, the closeted state senator who was one of the most anti-gay politicians in California, is starting to support gay rights, the Fresno Bee reports. Ashburn admitted he was gay after a drunken driving arrest.
7. The cell phone industry has canceled its plans for a large convention in San Francisco following that city’s decision to require cell phone companies to disclose the amount of radiation their devices emit, the Chron reports.
8. And users of the new iPhone 4 say the cell phone’s camera and video conferencing functions don’t work properly, the Mercury News reports. Users have now reported several bugs with the popular new device, which sold 1.7 million copies in its first three days on the market.