Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Must Read: Whitman Is A Whore, But Brown Has to Apologize; Bill Lockyer Gives $1.1 Million to Wife’s Campaign

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Oct 8, 2010 at 6:59 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Meg Whitman cut a backroom deal to shield law enforcement unions from pension-plan cutbacks in exchange for their endorsements in the governor’s race. But in typical mainstream media fashion, the LA Times instead focused its report on Jerry Brown’s campaign apologizing yesterday because one of his staffers was overheard on a voicemail message calling Whitman a “whore” for what she did. Brown also can be heard on the voicemail complaining about the same quid pro quo that the cops’ unions were demanding of him — protect their pensions in exchange for their endorsements. A cornerstone of Whitman’s campaign has been about slashing unaffordable public employee pension benefits, but she has now exempted law enforcement employees from her proposal.

2. State Treasurer Bill Lockyer has donated $1.1 million to his wife’s campaign for a seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, the Trib reports. The huge contributions have allowed Nadia Lockyer to out-raise her rival, Liz Figueroa (Bill Lockyer’s ex-girlfriend) by a factor of nearly 20-1. Nadia Lockyer has raised $1.38 million in the campaign compared to Figueroa’s $74,000.

3. The state Legislature failed to pass a budget deal compromise last night after lawmakers introduced a flurry of last-minute, pork-barrel amendments, the LA Times reports. The eleventh-hour favors for special interests included a provision that would benefit an ethanol firm founded by a close ally of the governor.

4. About 500 students protested tuition fee hikes and budget cuts on the UC Berkeley campus yesterday, the Chron reports. The protests came despite the fact the Legislature’s budget deal includes far more money for higher education this year than last.

5. Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson notes today that the Richmond firefighters’ union, which launched a stinging attack this week on Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, has some skeletons in its own closet. The union admitted in the late 1990s to falsifying its campaign finance reports to get around city law.

6. Thieves stole seven bronze stars from the Oakland Hills Firestorm Memorial this week, apparently because bronze sells for about $4 per pound on the recycling market, the Trib reports. It was the second time in three years that metal objects were stolen from the memorial.

7. Scientists with the California Air Resources Board miscalculated and dramatically overestimated the amount of pollution generated by diesel engines, the Chron reports. The mistakes were caused by a flaw in how they calculated diesel consumption in the state and the failure to properly account for the decline in diesel use during the recession. The errors caused the board to overestimate diesel-caused pollution by at least 340 percent.

8. And Smartphones, tablets, laptops, are about to be turbocharged in the Bay Area, because the nations’ four largest wireless carriers are rolling out 4G networks, the Chron reports. The high-speed networks, however, won’t solve the problem of dropped calls and poor signal reception in some areas.

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