Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wednesday Must Reads: AC Transit Strike Averted; Blame for Oscar Grant’s Death to Shift to Anthony Pirone

By Robert Gammon
Wed, Aug 7, 2013 at 7:09 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. AC Transit bus drivers called off their planned strike for today after reaching a tentative deal on a new contract last night with the transit agency’s management, the Trib reports. The new deal calls for a 9.5 percent raise over three years, and would require drivers, mechanics, and dispatchers to pay an increasingly larger share of their health-care costs.

Oscar Grant
  • Oscar Grant
2. Blame in the killing of Oscar Grant likely will shift in the upcoming civil trial to BART police supervisor Anthony Pirone, the cop who pulled Grant off a BART train shortly before he was shot to death by fellow BART officer Johannes Mehserle, SFGate reports. A federal appeals court ruled last week that Pirone did not appear to have legitimate cause to detain Grant. Grant’s family members and civil rights activists have long maintained that Pirone — and thus BART management — should be held partially responsible for Grant’s death.

3. Oakland and seven other school districts received a one-year waiver from No Child Left Behind — the strict federal education law that judges schools based on test scores — from the Obama administration, SFGate reports. However, to receive a long-term waiver, the school districts must establish a method for evaluating teacher performance — a requirement that teachers’ unions have adamantly opposed.

4. A citizen’s group represented by an ultra-conservative legal firm has sued to block Plan Bay Area — the regional plan that is designed to address greenhouse gas emissions — saying they object to the plan’s requirement that future growth be funneled to urban areas near major transit hubs, the Chron$ reports. The citizen’s group is represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation.

5. Nine East Bay cities, including Berkeley, Oakland, and Richmond, have agreed to streamline their permitting processes for rooftop-solar installations, the Mercury News reports. The new process promises to speed up solar-installation approvals and lower costs.

6. The amount of wind power generation doubled in 2012 nationwide, and wind power was the single largest source of new energy in the country, according to a new federal study, Rewire reports (via Rough & Tumble).

7. And despite decades of aerial pesticide spraying, the state’s attempt to eradicate the Medfly have failed, as the fruit fly is now firmly established in California, according to a new study, the LA Times$ reports.

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