Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday Must Read: Oakland to Lose 700 Jobs; Jerry Brown Pushes for Executions

By Robert Gammon
Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 7:04 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland, which has an unemployment rate of close to 20 percent, is about to endure another economic setback as Clorox announced that it’s transferring up to 700 jobs to Pleasanton, the Trib reports. The job losses also promise to inflict damage on downtown Oakland restaurants, bars, and shops. Clorox, one of Oakland’s largest employers, said that it plans to keep its headquarters in the city, but that its new Pleasanton campus will create synergies for the company. The company also announced that it’s selling its STP and Armor All car products divisions, but they were not based in Oakland, Bloomberg News reports.

2. Though Jerry Brown personally opposes the death penalty, the attorney general is pushing to reinstate executions in California. The Mercury News reports that Brown’s office argues that the moratorium on capital punishment should be lifted because the state has instituted new, humane procedures for putting people to death. A San Jose federal judge said he will rule by Friday on whether to allow executions to resume next week. Brown’s actions could prove pivotal in the governor’s campaign, because capital punishment remains popular in California despite its astronomically high costs.

3. In a move that could prove decisive in the California attorney general’s race, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley ordered the arrest yesterday of eight top officials, including the mayor, of the City of Bell on charges of stealing from taxpayers. Bell, a Los Angeles suburb, has been the subject of intense media scrutiny after the LA Times revealed this summer that city officials were paying themselves huge salaries. Cooley, the GOP candidate for attorney general, has built his career on prosecuting public corruption cases.

4. Meg Whitman’s claim that California’s ailing economy and high jobless rate are the result of an “unfriendly” business climate is bogus, according to a new report by an independent economic research group. The Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy says that the state has higher unemployment than the rest of the nation because of the massive downturn in home-construction related jobs in the past few years — and not an alleged “unfriendly” business climate, the Chronicle reports.

5. California, however, does have a big problem with massive, unfunded public employee retirement obligations in the years ahead. And the Sacramento Bee has discovered that a large number of retired state employees who are collecting taxpayer-financed pensions are also receiving taxpayer-financed unemployment benefits. The retirees qualify for both because they got new jobs after retiring and then lost them during the recession.

6. And a judge ruled yesterday that the murder trial of Yusuf Bey IV, the former head of Your Black Muslim Bakery who is accused of assassinating Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey, will remain in Oakland for now, the CoCo Times reports. The judge said he will make a final decision during jury selection on whether to move the trial. Bey IV’s lawyers have argued that it will be impossible to find an unbiased jury in the Bay Area because of extensive media coverage of the case.

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