Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Must Read

By Robert Gammon
Fri, May 7, 2010 at 10:31 AM

Stories that you shouldn’t miss:

1. John Russo is the first city attorney in California to publicly support Tax Cannabis 2010, the November ballot measure that would legalize marijuana for personal use, the Trib reports. The Oakland city attorney joins mayoral candidates Rebecca Kaplan, Don Perata, and Jean Quan in backing the measure, which also allows cities to tax and regulate cannabis.

2. The UC Berkeley student hunger strike against Arizona’s new anti-immigration law is continuing as tech-savvy protesters increasingly turn to Facebook and Twitter to gin up support, the Chron reports. Cal Chancellor Robert Birgeneau has refused the student's demand that the university join the Arizona boycott, but did say he was “horrified” by the new racial profiling law.

3. A group of Oakland parents and teachers plan to ride their bikes tomorrow to Sacramento in protest of the statewide underfunding of public schools, the Trib reports. The Ride for a Reason protest will highlight the fact that California lawmakers have slashed education funding by 14 percent since 2007-08 to balance the state’s budget.

4. The City of Oakland broke ground yesterday on a sweeping remake of Lake Merritt’s southern end, after bids for work on the project came in $8 million under budget, the Trib reports. The project will downsize 12th Street from 12-lane expressway to a six-lane landscaped roadway with crosswalks that allow more pedestrian and bicycle access to the lake.

5. The Peralta Community College District settled a lawsuit with two female students that had been disciplined for praying in a faculty room at the College of Alameda. The district promised to not treat prayer any differently from any other protected speech on campus.

6. And in a move closely watched by East Bay cities, Marin County jumped into the public power market yesterday in an attempt to increase renewable energy use, the Chron reports. PG&E, which fears losing market share, fought relentlessly to block Marin, but lost. However, the utility has spent more than $30 million on a June ballot measure that would effectively stop other cities and counties from following Marin’s lead.

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