Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday Must Read

By Robert Gammon
Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 7:05 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The City of Oakland laid off eighty police officers last night after eleventh-hour negotiations between the cops’ union and city officials failed to produce a settlement agreement, the Chron and Trib report. The cops’ union rejected a final proposal from the city council that would have spread out police pension contributions over three years. The union said it wanted a guarantee of no layoffs until 2013 tied to the pension proposal. But council members said they could only agree to a one-year layoff moratorium because the city’s projected deficit for 2011-12 is worse than this year’s.

2. Oakland police, meanwhile, say they are investigating Councilwomen Jean Quan and Rebecca Kaplan for their roles during last week’s Mehserle verdict demonstrations, the Chron reports. Quan and Kaplan, who are both running for mayor this year, locked arms with peaceful demonstrators to act as a buffer between police and other protesters. The councilwomen contend that they were just trying to keep the peace, but some cops think they were interfering with police business. The investigation also has political overtones, because Quan and Kaplan have been outspoken about police contributing to their pensions, and the cops’ union strongly supports the councilwomen’s main competitor in the mayor’s race — ex-state Senator Don Perata.

3. Speaking of last week’s protest, Oakland officials say the demonstrations cost the city at least $1 million and they have approached BART about helping foot the bill, the Chron reports. After all, the protests were in response to a verdict involving a BART cop, and BART is sitting on a multimillion-dollar surplus, while the City of Oakland is laying off cops. But BART officials say they have no intention of helping pay the tab for the demonstrations.

4. Oakland moved a step closer to authorizing, taxing, and regulating four large medical cannabis grows when a council committee approved the plan last night, the Trib reports. The proposal made by Councilmembers Kaplan and Larry Reid is estimated to generate millions in tax revenues each year for the city, but it’s opposed by small-time growers who say they’ll be put of business.

5. Oracle founder Larry Ellison is reportedly close to buying the Golden State Warriors, the Chron reports. Ellison, a longtime Warriors fan, apparently has outbid several other groups interested in buying the team.

6. And Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s approval rating among state voters is now as low as that of ex-Governor Gray Davis just before he was recalled from office, the Chron reports, citing a new Field Poll. Schwarzenegger replaced Davis in a special election in 2003 when Davis was recalled.

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