Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Must Read: Brown’s Plan to Kill Redevelopment Wins Key Vote; Oakland Moves to Tie Up Redevelopment Dollars

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 7:04 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The state legislature is poised to kill redevelopment in California as early as next Tuesday after Governor Jerry Brown’s plan won a key vote yesterday in Sacramento, the Chron and SacBee report. The legislature’s joint conference committee, made up of members of both the Senate and Assembly, approved Brown’s plan to eliminate redevelopment. The committee also agreed to do away with tax enterprise zones and approved sweeping cuts to social services in a move that critics say will shred the state’s social safety net. Both houses of the legislature are expected to vote on the governor’s full budget package next Tuesday or Wednesday.

2. The Oakland City Council, meanwhile, voted unanimously to tie up millions in redevelopment funds yesterday in an emergency session, the Trib reports. The move mirrored actions by cities and counties throughout California over the past several weeks. The council acted because the governor’s plan is now moving quickly in the state capital. At this point, it appears that the only way to stop the elimination of redevelopment is for cities and counties to sue the state — which now seems likely.

3. Meanwhile, the California Chamber of Commerce, the state’s largest business group, says it will protect state legislators, Democrats and Republicans, who vote for Brown’s budget package, including his plan to put a tax measure on the June ballot, the CoCo Times reports. The chamber will fund campaign ads for the legislators who side with the governor.

4. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, along with other mayors and Congresswoman Barbara Lee, also decried proposed federal cuts being pushed by Republicans in Washington DC, the Trib reports. The GOP proposal would devastate local education, job training, housing, public safety, and other programs.

5. The PG&E gas line that exploded and killed eight people in San Bruno because of a faulty seam weld was riddled with other bad welds, too. From the Chron: “The girth welds holding together the pipe sections at the explosion site were ‘rejectable by virtually every welding code in existence’ and ‘grotesquely at odds with industry standards and specifications,’ said Doug Chisholm, a pipeline consultant from Virginia who reviewed a National Transportation Safety Board metallurgy report released this week.” Nonetheless, a representative of the gas industry claimed the San Bruno line, as bad as it was, was only an “anomaly.”

6. Employees of card clubs in Emeryville and San Bruno raided this week by authorities were allegedly involved in loan sharking and drug dealing, the Chron reports. The alleged illegal activities occurred in Asian gaming sections of Oaks Card Club and Artichoke Joe’s over a two-year period. Employees are said to have commingled loan sharking and drug dealing profits with card club proceeds.

7. And UC protesters who chained themselves to a ledge above Wheeler Hall agreed to come down last night after apparently striking a deal with campus officials to drop charges against other demonstrators, the Chron reports. The students were protesting fee hikes and campus cutbacks.

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