Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday Must Read: Another Oakland tax proposal, more state furloughs, and a new Bay Bridge tower

By Stephen Buel
Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 1:00 AM

The Oakland School Board may place a $195-a-year parcel tax on the November ballot to raise an estimated $20 million for teacher raises, the Oakland Tribune reported. The proposed tax measure, which must be supported by four of the seven school board members at Thursday's board meeting, would join a proposed $360-a-year parcel tax being sought by the city council to enable it to rehire 80 laid-off Oakland police officers. The district's last attempt to raises taxes, in 2008, failed to secure enough votes. Oakland's teachers are among the lowest-paid in the Bay Area and yet still earn an average starting salary of $53,000 a year, the paper reported.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger reinstated his executive order requiring state workers to take three furlough days per month until a new state budget is passed, the Trib reported. The governor has threatened that he will not sign a new budget between now and his departure from office next January unless it addresses the state's $19 billion deficit by tackling pension, tax, and spending reforms.

The first tower section of the new Bay Bridge was raised into place on Wednesday, the Oakland Tribune reported. The black-striped white tower reportedly weighs 1,200 tons and rises 165 feet. Four similar pieces are set to be hoisted into place in the coming days.

Jerry Brown holds a slight lead over Meg Whitman in the California governor's race and Barbara Boxer holds a slight lead over Carly Fiorina in a new public opinion poll from the Public Policy Institute of California, the Trib reported. Brown leads Whitman 37 to 34 percent, and Boxer leads Fiorina 39 to 34 percent.

Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have entitled California farmworkers to receive overtime for more than an eight hour workday or forty-hour workweek, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. That would have made California farmworkers the only agricultural workers in the country to receive such benefits.

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