Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Must Read: Russo Accepts Alameda City Manager’s Job; Brown Kills New Death Row

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 6:50 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland City Attorney John Russo has accepted an offer to become Alameda’s city manager and is expected to make an official announcement soon, the Alameda Journal reports. The Alameda City Council is expected to approve Russo’s $215,000-a-year contract on Tuesday. It offered him the job on April 19, and he accepted, city staffers said. Russo, who is friends with Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore and Councilwoman Lena Tam, and was one of their biggest campaign donors last year, was widely expected to get the job. He also was unhappy in Oakland and had several high profile feuds with councilmembers and Mayor Jean Quan. Once Russo makes the announcement official, the Oakland council will have sixty days to name his replacement. If it fails to do so, then there will be a special election.

2. Governor Jerry Brown has jettisoned a controversial plan to build a swanky new Death Row at San Quentin Prison in Marin County, saying it’s too expensive, the Chron reports. The new facility, which was to replace the aging one at San Quentin, was expected to cost at least $356 million to construct. Brown said it was “unconscionable” to spend that much money during a budget crisis and at a time when the state is drastically cutting services.

3. Philip and Nancy Garrido pleaded guilty yesterday to kidnapping and sexually enslaving Jaycee Dugard, the Chron reports. The move means that Dugard — who was repeatedly raped by Philip Garrido during her eighteen-year enslavement — and her daughters will not have to testify. Philip Garrido will be sentenced to life in prison, while Nancy Garrido will spend up to 36 years behind bars.

4. The White House banned veteran San Francisco Chronicle reporter Carla Marinucci from future press pool reports after she posted a video last week of demonstrators who interrupted President Obama’s Bay Area fund-raiser to protest the administration’s treatment of suspected WikiLeaks source, Private First Class Bradley Manning. The White House, which has often touted the value and power of new media, contends that Marinucci, as a pool reporter selected to cover the event, was only authorized to write a pen-and-paper news story about it — and not video-record it.

5. And the death toll from a series of devastating and deadly tornadoes that struck the South over the past few days may top three hundred. AP reports that as of last night at least 297 people were reported dead from massive twisters that obliterated entire neighborhoods and towns. Alabama was hit the worst.

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