Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Must Read: OPD Court Monitors Approve of Jordan; Some Oakland School Board Members Backtrack on Closures

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland City Administrator Deanna Santana told the Chron that the federal court monitor in charge of evaluating Oakland police reforms said that new Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan “can move us in the right direction.” Santana, along with Mayor Jean Quan, appointed Jordan as interim chief yesterday, saying that they believe he is best suited to help the department avoid being put into federal receivership.

Santana
  • Santana
The Chron aslo reported that former Police Chief Anthony Batts retired just two days after federal court monitors issued another scathing report on OPD’s reform efforts and again criticized the department’s leadership. A federal judge has indicated that he might order OPD into receivership in January unless it makes significant progress. Santana also said that she does not plan to launch a national search for a new permanent police chief until after that January deadline.

2. At least two Oakland school board members who previously endorsed the idea of closing schools to save the district money have changed their minds, the Trib reports. Board member Noel Gallo is now calling the school-closure plan “a mistake,” while board member Alice Spearman said she hadn’t fully understood the situation when she approved a list of criteria for school closures earlier this year. Superintendent Tony Smith and a majority of the school board want to close five schools and consolidate several others because the cash-strapped district has too many schools and can’t afford them all.

3. PG&E plans to replace 1,231 miles of faulty plastic pipe — the same kind that sparked an explosion in Cupertino earlier this year, the Mercury News reports. The utility plans to dig up and replace plastic pipes that were installed prior to 1973 in communities throughout Northern California. PG&E also apparently wants ratepayers to pay for the whole thing.

4. The Great Recession has taken its toll on the nation’s birth rate, Talking Points Memo reports, citing a new Pew study. The number of births dropped throughout the country from 2007 to 2010. In California, the birth rate went down by 5.33 percent.

5. And the Occupy Wall Street movement came to Richmond yesterday as it continues to spread throughout the nation. A new Time magazine poll also shows that the Occupy Wall Street movement is now twice as popular as the Tea Party movement.

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