Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday Must Reads: Oakland Schools to Get More Money from State Budget; Apple Agrees to Put Kill Switch in iPhones

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 6:49 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland public schools will receive a funding boost next year under a budget deal reached by Governor Jerry Brown and state legislative leaders yesterday. The Mercury News reports that the deal includes the governor’s proposal to direct more money to schools — like those in Oakland — with high numbers of students from low-income families. The deal also calls for increased spending on social service programs for the poor — a provision that state Democratic lawmakers had pushed for.

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2. Apple became the first US smartphone maker to agree to install kill switches on its cellular devices in order to address the epidemic of cellphone robberies nationwide, SFGate reports. Oakland, in fact, has become the robbery capital of the nation mostly because of smartphone thefts. The kill switch will allow smartphone owners to make their devices inoperable if stolen. Smartphone companies have been reluctant to install the switches because robberies force victims to buy new phones, which has become a financial boon to the industry as "Apple picking" has gotten out of control.

3. US Senator Dianne Feinstein said she believes that Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old employee of a defense contractor who leaked classified information about the federal government collecting phone data on all Americans, is “guilty of treason,” The Hill reports (via Rough & Tumble). Civil libertarians have called Snowden a “hero,” and are asking President Obama to pardon him. Feinstein has long been a staunch advocate of prosecuting government whistleblowers.

4. Five members of the Oakland City Council have agreed to discuss a controversial plan that would allow the city to divert $3 million from a fund that is supposed to help pay down the city’s long-term debt and use it instead to finance raises for civilian employees, the Trib reports. Council President Pat Kernighan and Councilwoman Libby Schaaf oppose the plan, but councilmembers Larry Reid, Desley Brooks, Noel Gallo, Lynette Gibson-McElhaney, and Dan Kalb agreed to schedule a public hearing on it this Thursday.

5. And state tax revenues were 12 percent — or $596.6 million — higher than expected in May as the state’s economy continues to rebound, the LA Daily News reports (via Rough & Tumble).

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