Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday Must Read: Oakland Councilmembers Brooks and Reid Broke Laws; School Board Revokes American Indian Charter Schools License

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland Councilmembers Desley Brooks and Larry Reid broke city laws in an attempt to steer a public contract to a construction firm that has ties to them, according to a new report from City Auditor Courtney Ruby, the Trib and Chron report. Ruby said she found that Brooks violated city laws on at least twelve occasions, and illegally interfered in city affairs concerning work on two teen centers. Brooks and Reid deny any wrongdoing, but Ruby said the evidence against them was conclusive. Ruby also found that one of Reid’s aides pressured city staffers to get rid of her parking tickets.

Ben Chavis
  • Ben Chavis
2. The Oakland school board voted 4-3 last night to revoke the licenses of the three American Indian Public Charter schools operating in the city, following revelations that the former head of the schools, Ben Chavis, allegedly steered public funds to himself, the Trib reports. The board’s decision means that the three schools will close at the end of the school year in June — unless the county or the state decides to provide them with new licenses. The schools have among the highest test scores in California.

3. Public support for Governor Brown’s plans for high-speed rail and two giant water tunnels near the Delta has declined, apparently because the multi-billion-dollar projects are so expensive, the Chron reports, citing a new poll. The survey from Public Policy Institute of California found that only 43 percent of state voters now approve of the high-speed rail plan compared to 54 percent who oppose it. The poll also found that 42 percent support the water project compared to 51 percent who are against it.

4. Several new bills in the state legislature would halt fracking in California as the controversial practice of extracting oil and natural gas spreads in the state, the Chron reports.

5. And MUNI has agreed to pay $900,000 to the widow of former longtime Oakland Tribune reporter William Brand, who was struck and killed by a light-rail train in 2009, the Chron reports.

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