Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Must Read: Oakland Adopts a Budget, and Will Hire 22 Cops; Plus, How Long Will it be Before Cal Becomes the University of Out-of-State Students?

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Jul 1, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The City of Oakland will immediately hire back 22 police officers that were laid off last year under a budget plan adopted at last night’s city council meeting. Mayor Jean Quan broke a 4-4 deadlock on the budget, casting the deciding vote after two groups of councilmembers couldn’t agree on a few issues. Among them was a plan by one group to immediately hire back a total of up to 44 laid off cops, which the second group questioned as to whether it was financially sustainable. Ultimately, Quan sided with the second group, saying she just wanted to get a budget passed before last night’s deadline. Both groups had already agreed on most aspects of a budget that would keep all city libraries open, and would stave off major cuts to parks, arts funding, and tree maintenance thanks to substantial union concessions. The council also agreed to sell the shuttered Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center to Oakland’s Redevelopment Agency for $28.3 million and use much of the money to pay down the city’s debt and increase its reserve funds.

2. Cal appears to be on its way to becoming the University of Out-of-State Students. The Chron and CoCo Times report that enrollment of out-of-state students continues to rise at UC Berkeley, as the campus struggles with state budget cuts. Out-of-state students pay triple the tuition of California residents and now represent one-quarter of Cal’s incoming freshmen class. The number of out-of-state students also likely will continue to grow because Governor Brown’s budget slashes $650 million in funds for the UC system beginning today.

3. The City of San Jose is laying off 66 cops and eliminating 122 police officer positions today in a budget-cutting move, the Mercury News reports. The city had planned to lay off all 122 officers, but 56 of them already found jobs elsewhere after being warned previously that they would be laid off. San Jose officials blamed the layoffs in part on unsustainable police officer compensation and retirement packages.

4. Eight East Bay real estate investors have agreed to plead guilty in federal court for engaging in fraudulent foreclosure auctions, the Chron reports. The investors, including one from Oakland and one from Berkeley, admitted to rigging bids for foreclosed properties and then sharing the proceeds.

5. An internal PG&E investigation found that at least fourteen inspectors employed by the utility falsified inspections of underground facilities, the Merc reports.

6. And the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office says that a November ballot proposal in the city that would ban circumcision will become unconstitutional if the courts decide it cannot be applied to medical professionals, the Chron reports. Opponents of the measure say that only the state — and not a city — can regulate medical procedures, and the city attorney argued that if that’s true, then circumcision ban would only apply to nonmedical religious people who perform them and thus would violate their First Amendment right to freedom of religion.

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