Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Must Read: Boxer’s Lead Widens; Whitman Moves to the Center

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 7:04 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Barbara Boxer appears to be cruising to victory in November, as a new Field Poll shows her with a solid, six-point lead over GOP rival Carly Fiorina, 47 percent to 41 percent, the Chron reports. A previous Field Poll had Boxer ahead by just three points. Earlier this week, Public Policy Polling also showed Boxer leading by eight points. The Democrat's strong showing makes it increasingly unlikely that Republicans will win control of the US Senate this fall.

2. In the governor's race, meanwhile, Meg Whitman appears to realize that Tea Party-fave Fiorina may be too conservative for California voters, and so she took a step yesterday toward the political center. Whitman announced her opposition to Proposition 23, the anti-green-energy measure that Fiorina strongly supports, the Sacramento Bee reports. The move also helps blunt Jerry Brown’s seeming advantage on environmental issues. Prop 23 would roll back California’s landmark climate-change law.

3. The California Air Resources Board voted unanimously to require state utilities to increase renewable energy use to 33 percent, the Bee reports. The move promises to be a boon for the state’s growing green-tech sector. However, the new rules will be overturned if voters approve Prop 23 this November.

4. California’s record-breaking budget impasse may be close to being over as Governor Schwarzenegger and top legislators announced yesterday that they’re on the cusp of reaching a deal, the Chron reports. They hope to have the details worked out by early next week, although a disagreement over what to do about public-employee pensions could derail the talks.

5. State regulators appointed an independent panel to oversee the investigation of PG&E’s deadly pipeline blast in San Bruno, the San Mateo County Times reports. The investigators also will examine the utility’s systemic problems uncovered since the explosion.

6. Chevron is slashing about 750 jobs in the East Bay, including 95 at its Richmond refinery, the CoCo Times reports. The oil giant also will cut 500 jobs in San Ramon and 150 in Concord. The job cuts are part of the company’s restructuring plan and are not related to its stalled proposal to expand its Richmond refinery.

7. The murder trial of Yusuf Bey IV, the accused killer of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey, is scheduled to begin November 8, the CoCo Times reports. Bey IV’s attorneys had wanted more time to prepare, but the judge said he wants the trial to begin soon because taxpayers are paying their salaries.

8. And Facebook’s 26-year-old founder Mark Zuckerberg has leapt over Apple’s Steve Jobs on Forbes’ list of the world’s most wealthy persons, the Chron notes. Zuckerberg’s personal fortune is now estimated at $6.9 billion.

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