Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Must Read

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 7:15 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle took the stand yesterday in his own murder trial and said that Oscar Grant and his friends were angry when he arrived at the Fruitvale BART station because of how they had been treated by fellow BART cop Anthony Pirone, the Chron and Trib report. Mehserle also attempted to distance himself from the hot-headed Pirone, saying he is the “opposite of him.” Mehserle will return to the stand today to give his version of why he fatally shot Grant in the back as lay face-down on the ground. He is expected to say that he meant to pull out his Taser, but mistakenly grabbed his gun instead.

2. BART officials are quietly attempting to resurrect their plan for a $500 million rail extension to Oakland International Airport by cobbling together various funds, the CoCo Times reports. The airport extension, decried by transit activists as a boondoggle, was thought to have been dead when federal officials earlier this year revoked $70 million in funding because of BART’s civil rights violations.

3. Bus Rapid Transit will not be coming to Berkeley under a unanimous vote by the AC Transit Board of Directors as it made plans for the project’s final environmental impact report, according to the CoCo Times. BRT, which will create bus-only lanes, will only be planned for Oakland and San Leandro.

4. Oakland public school officials plan to effectively kill adult-education programs throughout the city because of massive state budget cutbacks, the Trib reports. The cuts mean that adults who want to go back to school to get their high school diplomas will not be able to do it in Oakland.

5. The recent proliferation of new restaurants in Oakland has prompted eatery owners to create a new trade group — the Oakland Restaurant Association, the Trib reports. Twenty to 25 new restaurants have opened in the city in the past eighteen months, many of them in the uptown and downtown districts.

6. Just weeks after wasting more than $40 million on a failed ballot measure, PG&E plans to raise its rates to pay for $366 million in system upgrades, the Chron reports.

7. California welfare recipients extracted at least $1.8 million at casino ATMs in the past nine months, the LA Times reports. The Times reported yesterday that most casino ATMs in the state allow welfare recipients to use their state-issued debit cards to take out money earmarked for food and clothing and use it on gambling instead.

8. And the Chron and Mercury News are gushing over the new fourth generation iPhone as consumers flock to stores to buy the new cell phone.

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