Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tuesday Must Reads: Blacks Singled Out in Marijuana Arrests; Bill Lockyer to Retire from Office

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Jun 4, 2013 at 6:58 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Black people nationwide are four times more likely to be arrested on marijuana charges than whites even though they use pot at similar rates, The New York Times reports, citing new federal data. In some states, African Americans are singled out for cannabis arrests at even higher rates; in Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota, blacks are eight times more likely to be arrested than whites. Some experts blame federal funding formulas for spurring racial profiling in marijuana cases, because they provide financial incentives for police agencies to boost their drug arrests by focusing enforcement efforts on low-income neighborhoods.

Bill Lockyer
  • Bill Lockyer
2. Longtime East Bay politician Bill Lockyer has decided to retire from office next year and will not run for state controller as expected, the Trib reports. Lockyer, the state treasurer, was formerly California’s attorney general and was a longtime state Senator, representing central Alameda County. He said his troubled relationship with his wife, Nadia Lockyer, who was involved in a drug and sex scandal two years ago, did not play a role in his decision to retire.

3. Oakland police plan to crack down on sideshows, following a violent incident over the weekend in East Oakland, the Trib reports. The number of sideshows had plummeted dramatically in recent years but are now on the rise again.

4. Crime rates jumped across the Bay Area last year, with Oakland posting the largest increases, SFGate reports, citing new FBI data.

5. It’s unclear how California’s DNA law will be affected by the US Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a Maryland statute that allows police to take DNA samples from people after they’ve been arrested, the LA Times$ reports. California’s law, which was blocked in federal court pending the high court’s decision, is more expansive than Maryland’s.

6. PG&E failed to spend $50 million that it collected from ratepayers on upgrading its natural gas lines in the years before the deadly San Bruno explosion in 2010, the Chron$ reports, citing a new state audit.

7. And state lawmakers approved legislation that would alter California’s open meetings law and allow the governor to meet with elected officials behind closed doors, the LA Times$ reports. The bill was prompted by a closed-door confab between Governor Brown and LA County supervisors that legal experts said was unlawful.

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