Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Must Read: State Lawmakers to Lose Their Cars; Quan Says She Doesn’t Have Secret Poll

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 7:05 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A state commission voted yesterday to strip California legislators of their taxpayer-issued cars, thereby ending a much-maligned perk that was unique to the state, the Chron and SacBee report. State lawmakers will lose their state-issued cars effective in December and it will be replaced by a $300-a-month car allowance. Lawmakers also will no longer receive taxpayer-funded car insurance. The SacBee reported last weekend that the state had paid out more than $750,000 in the last five years for lawmakers’ car accidents. The Citizens Compensation Commission, which voted to end the car perk, decided to not slash legislators’ pay.

2. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan told the Tribune she does not have a copy of a secret poll that she says shows her proposed $80-year parcel tax measure has a good chance of passing. Quan also said the poll was commissioned by private business groups and labor, and that she was only shown a summary of it, and has not seen the entire poll. Quan, through her unpaid legal advisor Dan Siegel, has turned down requests for the poll, saying it’s not a public record because it was paid for by private groups. City Attorney John Russo disagrees, telling the Trib the poll is a public record that should be released. Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan said she also saw the poll summary and would make it public it if were up to her.

3. Governor Jerry Brown pivoted from crime to education yesterday, visiting a Stockton school to highlight the likely effects of deep budget cuts on public schools should Republicans continue to block his tax measure plans. On Wednesday, Brown posed with top law enforcement officials, who argued that crime would go up without the tax measures. The CoCo Times reports, however, that Brown remains confident that he can strike a deal with centrist Republicans. He cited a Sacramento fund-raiser he attended earlier in the week in which moderate Republicans openly mocked the sharp criticism they’ve been receiving from Tea Partiers for their negotiations with Brown.

4. Bay Area home sales jumped last month to their highest levels for March in four years, the CoCo Times reports. In Alameda County, however, home sales dropped 7 percent from March of 2010. The Bay Area’s median home price also decreased by 5.3 percent from a year ago.

5. And a fire inside Kincaid’s restaurant in Oakland’s Jack London Square forced an evacuation of the waterfront building, the Trib reports. The extent of the damage, however, was not immediately clear.

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