Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Must Read: Russo Is a Finalist for Alameda City Manager’s Job; OPD Apologizes for Raid

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Feb 25, 2011 at 6:59 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Disgruntled Oakland City Attorney John Russo is one of three finalists to become Alameda’s new city manager, the Trib reports, citing anonymous sources. Russo has been unhappy in Oakland for some time, and has clashed repeatedly with Oakland council members and new Mayor Jean Quan. Last week, Russo acknowledged to the Express that he has considered quitting his post and admitted to the Tribune that he hadn’t attended a closed-session meeting with the council in at least two years. Closed sessions are where the council confers with the city attorney on pressing legal matters. Campaign finance records also show that Russo is a big supporter of new Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore, who is leading the city manager search.

2. Oakland police apologized yesterday for raiding Men of Valor Academy, an East Oakland Christian-based organization that helps ex-cons get their lives back on track, the Trib reports. OPD had invited TV cameras to record its raid on the academy earlier this week as officers searched for criminal suspects who claimed to live at the academy — even though academy officials had told police that the suspects did not. Police and TV crews ultimately did not find the suspects. The academy was founded by Bishop Bob Jackson, a longtime supporter of Oakland police.

3. The murder trial of Yusuf Bey IV, the former CEO of Your Black Muslim Bakery, will remain in Alameda County, a judge ruled yesterday, the CoCo Times reports. Bey IV, who is to be tried for the assassination of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey, had claimed that he couldn’t get a fair trial in the East Bay because of extensive media coverage of the case. But Judge Thomas Reardon said jury screening revealed that the jury pool is not biased against Bey IV.

4. An independent state panel recommends that California freeze its costly public-employee pension program and create a new one for new hires, the Chron reports. The Little Hoover Commission also recommends that the state cap the maximum salary used to calculate retirement benefits at $90,000. The CoCo Times, meanwhile, reported that Governor Jerry Brown offered yesterday to put a pension reform initiative on the June ballot if Republicans would agree to allow his proposed tax measure to go before voters as well. Republican leaders have pushed for pension reforms but are refusing to allow voters to weigh in on the governor’s tax proposal.

5. BART station agents are demanding better security, saying they’re being abused by some angry transit riders, the Chron reports. Some riders have been spitting, shoving, yelling, kicking, punching, and throwing soda cans at agents. In one instance, a rider flashed a gun when the agent refused to allow a snarling pit bull inside the BART gates.

6. And the Oakland marathon will return for its second year after making a successful comeback in 2010, the Trib reports. In addition to the marathon, the running festival will include a half-marathon and a twilight 5K run late next month.

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