Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday Must Read: Cops and Firefighters Unload on Richmond Mayor; Grocery Store Planned for West Oakland Moves Forward

By Robert Gammon
Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 7:03 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Richmond police and firefighters unions launched a political attack against Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, digging up some serious dirt from her past. The unions hired an opposition researcher who uncovered a bankruptcy filing in which McLaughlin stated that she couldn’t pay back more than $100,000 in student loans because “serious psychiatric disabilities” kept her from holding down a full-time job. McLaughlin made the court filing before being elected to the Richmond City Council in 2004; she was elected mayor in 2006. McLaughlin admitted yesterday to suffering from depression and says she’s still paying back the student loans, the CoCo Times reports. The unions don't like the liberal McLaughlin, because she opposed the hiring of more firefighters and upgrading the cops’ benefits packages. They also object to her opposition to the Chevron refinery expansion and the proposed Indian gaming casino at Point Molate.

2. West Oakland took a step closer to finally getting a supermarket when the city council approved changes last night to its eminent domain policy, the Trib reports. Kroger Foods, a national supermarket chain, wants to open a store at West Grand Avenue and Market streets, but had been stymied by city rules, limiting the use of eminent domain in the area. The city plans to use eminent domain to buy private property and then sell it to Kroger so that low-income residents in West Oakland will finally have access to fresh, healthy food. Councilwomen Jean Quan and Rebecca Kaplan, who are both running for mayor, voted for the eminent domain changes.

3. The Oakland City Attorney’s Office appears to be making plans to expand gang injunctions to other parts of the city, KALW news reports. Public records show that the City Attorney’s Office has contracted with outside law firms to look at gang injunctions for the Nortenos gang and criminal gangs in East Oakland. A judge earlier this year approved a gang injunction in North Oakland. Police Chief Anthony Batts believes gang injunctions help suppress crime and violence.

4. Nicky Diaz, Meg Whitman’s illegal immigrant ex-maid, said yesterday that she is not connected in any way to the Jerry Brown campaign, the Chron reports. Whitman has alleged that Brown orchestrated Diaz’s decision to come forward last week, noting that Diaz’s lawyer, Gloria Allred, is a longtime Democratic Party supporter. Allred also denied yesterday that she had coordinated — or was even contacted — by Brown or his campaign, but she would not reveal who referred Diaz to her.

5. A conservative lawyer who wrote Arizona’s controversial racial-profiling law is challenging a California statute that allows illegal immigrant students to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities if they went to high school in the state. The lawyer, Kris Kobach, told the state Supreme Court at a hearing yesterday that California law is unfair because it allows illegal immigrant students to pay lower tuition than US citizens who live out of state, the Chron reports.

6. The Bay Area is ground-zero for the clean-tech industry in the United States, the Mercury News reports, citing a new survey.

7. And smartphones that use Google’s Android operating system are now outselling Apple’s iPhones and Blackberrys, the Chron reports.

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