Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Must Read: Oakland May Close Ten Schools This Year; Solyndra’s CEO May Have Lied to Congress

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Sep 9, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland school district may close up to ten schools this year, as the district increasingly realizes that it has many more campuses than it can afford, the Trib reports. Oakland has far more schools than other districts of similar size in the state and the unneeded campuses are draining the district’s scarce funds, as the Express reported last year.

  • Smith
The school district released a tentative list of school closures this week, but it is likely to change as the school board and Superintendent Tony Smith hash out the final details. The closure plan also is sure to spark controversy, as parents object to schools closing in their neighborhoods.

2. Congressional Democrats and Republicans are raising questions as to whether the CEO of Solyndra, the Fremont-based solar company that went bankrupt after receiving a $520 million federal loan, lied about the company’s financial health when he testified on Capitol Hill, the Mercury News reports. Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison testified in front of Congress in July that the company was “in a strong financial position and in no danger of failing,” said Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman of Los Angeles. The FBI raided Solyndra’s closed offices yesterday, but it remains unclear exactly what the federal probe is about.

3. President Obama delivered a powerful and passionate speech to Congress last night, detailing his $447 billion plan to put Americans back to work. The forcefulness of Obama’s speech contrasted sharply with the dispassionate, compromising approach the president has taken during the past three years, and was reminiscent of his 2008 campaign for office.

4. Governor Jerry Brown reached agreement with some Assembly Republicans on a new corporate tax deal, but the pact may not have enough votes to pass the state Senate, the SacBee and LA Times report. Brown’s proposal raises about $1 billion in taxes mostly from out-of-state corporations and steers that money to California businesses and individuals.

5. Environmental groups are concerned about a bill that is being rushed through the state legislature that would allow the governor to personally green-light major development projects in California and restrict environmental challenges to them, the LA Times reports. The bill began as a special environmental exemption for a new NFL stadium in Los Angeles but then was extended to include all development projects statewide valued at more than $100 million.

6. And Oakland-based Dreyer’s Ice Cream, a subsidiary of Nestle, is expanding its operations into Walnut Creek, but will keep its headquarters on College Avenue in North Oakland, the CoCo Times reports.

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