Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuesday Must Read: Brown’s Tax Plan Comes Up Short; Community Colleges Approve Overhaul

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Jan 10, 2012 at 7:01 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Jerry Brown’s tax proposal for the November ballot will bring in about $2 billion less a year than the governor projects, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, the LA Times reports. Brown says that his tax measure, if approved by voters, would generate about $6.9 billion annually, but the LAO says it likely will bring in only $4.8 billion each year. If the LAO is correct, then the governor’s plan could force even deeper cuts to state services than he has proposed — even if his ballot measure passes.

2. It will soon be tougher for many California community college students to get into classes because of a sweeping overhaul plan approved yesterday by the state’s governing board, the Chron reports. Under the plan, which supporters said is needed because of state budget cuts, priority admission will be given to students who move quickly toward an associate art’s or vocational degrees. As a result, students who take longer to get their degrees, along with older adults who take classes for personal enrichment, could be blocked from taking many courses.

3. Berkeley City Clerk Deanna Despain died on Saturday after she apparently fell down a staircase in her Oakland home, police said, according to the Tribune. Authorities said there was no evidence of foul play, and that her injuries were consistent with a fall. Despain, who was well-liked in Berkeley city government, became the city’s clerk in 2009.

4. East Bay Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi yesterday called her shoplifting spree at San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus an “absent-minded error,” the CoCo Times reports. Hayashi backed away from her lawyer’s claim last week that a benign brain tumor was responsible for her taking $2,450 worth of clothes without paying for them. Hayashi pleaded guilty to a lesser charge last week and was sentenced to three year’s of probation.

5. Occupy Oakland protester Marcel “Khali” Johnson will not be charged under the state’s three-strikes law, Alameda County prosecutors said yesterday, the Chron and CoCo Times report. Johnson, who has six prior felony convictions, is charged with assaulting an Alameda County sheriff’s deputy after he was arrested at an Occupy Oakland demonstration. Occupy protesters and supporters had been concerned that Johnson would be charged under the three-strikes law and could face a sentence of 25 years to life in prison. Although Occupy protesters rallied yesterday on Johnson’s behalf, he was beaten by occupiers in October after he had become violent at the City Hall encampment, and his beating was cited by Mayor Jean Quan as a major reason for why she green-lighted the first raid on Occupy Oakland.

6. And plans for the former Oakland Army Base are finally taking shape as the private development team working with the city is putting the finishing touches on an $830 million proposal that would turn the property into a major support center for the Port of Oakland, the Tribune reports.

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