Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday Must Read: Quan Takes 25% Pay Cut; Cal Sports May Be Violating Federal Law

By Robert Gammon
Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has voluntarily slashed her pay by 25 percent as the city grapples with a projected $40 million budget deficit, the Chron reports. Quan’s new annual salary will be $137,000 — that’s about $46,000 a year less than what Ron Dellums made. “We are going into some very, very tough times, and I wanted to lead the way,” Quan told the newspaper. “I don't ask people to do what I'm not willing to do.” It should be noted that most Oakland police officers now make more money than Quan, plus the new mayor contributes 8 percent to her pension plan, while cops are still refusing to do so.

2. UC Berkeley’s sports program may be in violation of federal Title IX rules, because the university eliminated some women’s sports teams last year, the New York Times reports. Cal’s athletic department killed women’s lacrosse and women’s gymnastics last year, along with men’s baseball, rugby, and gymnastics, in a cost-cutting move. But the elimination of the women’s sports appears to have put the university out of compliance with federal gender equity rules. As a result, Cal may be forced to reinstate the sports teams.

3. In a move that’s sure to gain attention from Fox News, the Berkeley City Council is scheduled to vote next week on a proposal to invite at least two former Guantanamo Bay detainees to live in the city, the Chron reports. The two ex-prisoners — a Russian ballet dancer and an Algerian chef — have both been cleared of wrongdoing by the federal government. Maybe they can live next to UC Berkeley’s infamous torture professor, John Yoo?

4. Berkeley also is the latest city to start placing boots on cars that rack up lots of parking tickets, the Berkeley Voice reports. The move will make it easier for car owners to pay off their fines and get their cars back, but it promises to be a drag for towing companies that contract with the city.

5. The typical high school bully is not some deranged, mal-adjusted kid, but instead is a teen who wants to be popular, the Chron reports, citing a new UC Davis study. Kids, according to the study, view bullying as “an instrument for social climbing.”

6. Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann has signed a contract for a primetime show on Al Gore’s San Francisco-based network, Current TV, the Chron reports. Gore apparently is hoping that Olbermann can turn around the fortunes of Current TV, much as he did for MSNBC.

7. President Obama’s proposal to spend $53 billion over the next six years on high-speed rail could be a boon to California’s bullet-train project, the San Mateo County Times reports. The president’s plan could result in California receiving $16 billion over the next six years. However, House Republicans are expected to try to block Obama’s proposal.

8. And the good news is that Zillow.com is predicting that California’s housing market will finally hit bottom this year. The bad news is that Zillow.com also predicts that it will stay at the bottom for a long time. Bay Area home prices decreased again last quarter for the second quarter in a row and are now 32 percent below their April 2006 peak, the Chron reports.

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