Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Must Read: FBI Investigates Elihu Harris; GOP Gives Brown Seven-Page List of Demands

By Robert Gammon
Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 7:02 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The FBI is investigating Elihu Harris, the ex-chancellor of the Peralta Community College District, for his role in steering a $950,000 no-bid contract to his friend and business partner, Mark Lindquist, the Chron reports. Federal agents also questioned Peralta Vice Chancellor Sadiq Ikharo, who administered the contract. Last year, the Peralta board decided to not renew Harris’ contract as chancellor after the CoCo Times published a series of investigative stories about the Harris-Lindquist connection and lavish trips Harris took on Peralta’s dime.

2. Budget talks between Governor Jerry Brown and Republican leaders broke down again late last week when the GOP issued a seven-page list of demands, the LA Times and SacBee reported. Republicans said they want the governor to give in to their demands if they’re going to vote to put his tax-extension measures on the June ballot. But Brown is asking the GOP to streamline its list and be reasonable. The Republican list included pension cuts, a state spending cap, saving redevelopment agencies, and ending teacher seniority in layoffs. The governor and legislative Democrats are expected to decide this week whether to go forward with a June election without Republican votes or launch an initiative drive for an election in November.

3. The Oakland Police Department’s rank-and-file officers are still resisting the Riders-settlement reforms that were supposed to be implemented years ago. The Bay Citizen reports that last year the rank and file selected as their “officer of the year” a veteran sergeant who had been fired for lying about following procedures required by the Riders’ settlement. A federal judge has repeatedly chastised OPD for failing to live up to the reforms.

4. The second-annual Oakland Marathon went off smoothly yesterday as a Berkeley mom, Anna Bretan, won the women’s division and an Ethiopian-born San Jose resident, Tegenu Beru, won the men’s, the Chron reports. About 7,300 runners participated in the Oakland Running Festival, which cost organizers about $750,000 to put on, including $100,000 in overtime paid to 100 Oakland police officers.

5. Oakland teachers, students, and parents packed into Oakland City Hall on Saturday to protest potential teacher layoffs and deep budget cuts, the Trib reported. The district is preparing to make the cuts in case Governor Brown’s tax measures fail.

6. State regulators allowed PG&E eleven years ago to severely curtail a program to replace old gas pipelines throughout Northern California, the Chron reports.

7. An increasing number of Americans, including many California residents, are unable to buy enough food for their families, the Chron reports, citing a new Gallup survey.

8. And a class-action, sex-discrimination lawsuit brought by a Berkeley attorney against Walmart is scheduled to go before the US Supreme Court tomorrow, the Chicago Tribune reported. The so-called “Berkeley vs. Bentonville” lawsuit, brought by Berkeley civil rights lawyer Brad Seligman, alleges that Walmart systematically denied raises and promotions to women.

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