Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday Must Read: No June Election and Redevelopment Saved — for Now; Oakland Candidates Jockey to Replace Russo

Robert Gammon —  Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 7:05 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Jerry Brown and Democratic lawmakers called off plans for a June election that would have asked voters to approve the governor’s proposed tax-extension measures after Brown declared yesterday that budget talks with Republicans were dead, the Chron, CoCo Times, and SacBee report. Brown and organized labor are now looking at launching an initiative drive for a November election. But such a move likely would require the state to issue IOUs this fall to stay afloat financially.

2. The move also means that redevelopment agencies throughout the state are safe — at least for now. Brown needed Republican votes to kill redevelopment and for his tax measures proposal. Brown blamed the Republicans’ last-minute laundry list of demands, including tax breaks for corporations, for his decision to end the budget talks. The GOP leadership had issued a seven-page list of demands last Friday. Republicans, meanwhile, blamed labor unions and other Democratic constituencies for allegedly failing to compromise on their proposals to slash public-employee pensions and enact a state spending cap.

3. It looks as if several candidates will be vying to replace Oakland City Attorney John Russo, who was selected over the weekend to become Alameda’s new city manager. The Trib and Chron report that Councilwoman Jane Brunner, a longtime labor attorney, is interested in the position. Russo, meanwhile, has been advocating for one of his top deputies — Barbara Parker. The Trib also reports that Brunner’s law partner, Dan Siegel, who is also Mayor Jean Quan’s unpaid legal advisor, may be interested in the job. The paper also says that Councilwoman Desley Brooks hopes that another top Russo deputy, Randolph Hall, will become the new city attorney. The Chron, meanwhile, reports that former Councilman Danny Wan, Morgan Hill’s city attorney, is not interested.

4. Russo may be leaving, but Police Chief Anthony Batts tells the Trib that he’s staying in Oakland. Unlike Russo, Batts says he has a good relationship with Mayor Quan and is focused on doing more with less. Trib columnist, Tammerlin Drummond, meanwhile, declares today that Quan is the “anti-Dellums,” because of her Energizer-Bunny-like schedule.

5. UC Berkeley may reinstate the men’s baseball team after alumni raised $9 million from donors, the Trib reports. The large donations came close to meeting UC Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s requirement that the team raise $10 million in order to be reinstated for ten years.

6. Former Oakland A’s star Jason Giambi and his brother Jeremy, who also once played for the A’s, testified yesterday that they obtained designer steroids from Barry Bonds’ trainer Greg Anderson, California Watch and the Mercury News report. However, both men said they never saw Bonds take steroids himself. Bonds is on trial in federal court on charges that he lied to a grand jury about his alleged steroid use.

7. People who stop eating packaged foods or foods kept in plastic containers can immediately — and substantially — reduce the amount of bisphenol A in their bodies — a chemical that has been linked to myriad health problems, including autism and birth defects, the Chron reports, citing a new study.

8. And the state legislature approved a landmark climate-change law yesterday that will require California utilities to obtain at least one-third of their power from renewable energy sources by 2020, the Chron and Merc report. Governor Brown is expected to sign the bill.

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