Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday Must Read: Cuts to K-12 Education Less than Expected; Occupy Movement Has No More Plans to Blockade Ports

By Robert Gammon
Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 6:58 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Governor Jerry Brown announced that state budget cuts to K-12 education will not be as severe as some had thought because the California economy is showing signs of recovery. The Chron reports that the state will slash about $327 million from public schools — far lower than the $1 billion that many had feared. Overall, California must slash $1 billion in total spending on January 1 because state tax revenues are less than what had been anticipated early last year. Other cuts include $100 million each to the UC and CSU systems, and $102 million to community colleges.

2. Occupy Oakland plans to shift its focus away from blockading the Port of Oakland and has no more plans for that type of confrontational action, the Chron reports. Monday’s blockade of the port, although successful, sparked a backlash against Occupy, particularly among labor groups. The local Occupy movement now intends to focus its attention on foreclosed homes.

3. Two Oakland police officers have been reassigned, at least temporarily, for their roles in shooting a bean-bag round at videographer Scott Campbell during an Occupy protest, the Chron reports, citing anonymous sources. Both the officer who allegedly shot Campbell in the leg, and his supervisor, Captain Ersie Joyner III, are being investigated over the incident. However, Campbell said that OPD’s internal affairs division has yet to contact him.

4. A judge has refused to issue an injunction against Oakland police for allegedly violating its own crowd-control policies during two Occupy protests, the Trib reports. Judge Richard Seeborg ruled that the ACLU and the National Lawyers’ Guild could not prove that OPD systematically ignored its policies — as required for an injunction. Nonetheless, the ACLU declared victory, noting that OPD has greatly toned down its responses to Occupy demonstrations since the lawsuit was filed.

5. Public records show that Oakland police did not share their plans with Mayor Jean Quan to use tear gas against Occupy protesters during the October 25 raid on the City Hall plaza encampment, AP reports. Quan has maintained that she was unaware of police plans to use tear gas, but has been blamed by Occupy protesters for authorizing police to use it.

6. The Oakland Tribune editorialized today against the proposed recall of Quan, saying that while the paper has disagreed with her actions over the past year, she does not deserve to be recalled from office. The Trib said that mayors should only be recalled if they’re incompetent or corrupt, and said that Quan is neither.

7. Motorists would be given a parking meter grace period under a new policy being considered by the Oakland City Council, Bay City News reports. The policy, if adopted, would prohibit parking tickets against a motorist for an expired meter if they return to their vehicle as a parking attendant is about to write them up.

8.. Chuck E. Cheese, the restaurant chain, has been fined for violating child labor laws, the Mercury News reports. And Lowe’s, the home-improvement chain, is facing a boycott because of its decision to pull ads from a reality TV show about Muslim Americans, AP reports

9. And the NTSB is recommending a total nationwide ban on cellphone use and texting while driving, the Chron reports.

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