Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday Must Read

By Robert Gammon
Mon, Jun 14, 2010 at 7:07 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland A’s proposed move to San Jose may have received a boost from last week’s victory at the polls by the San Francisco 49ers, the Mercury News reports. San Jose officials were buoyed by the fact that a large majority of Santa Clara voters approved plans to spend more than $100 million in public funds on a new stadium for the 49ers. However, before putting a similar measure on the San Jose ballot, officials will have to wait for the results from Major League Baseball’s blue-ribbon panel, which is studying ballpark sites in San Jose and Oakland’s Jack London Square.

2. As the summer fire season gets underway, Oakland police and fire officials are warning the public that they plan to step-up enforcement in the tinder-dry hills like they did last year, the Trib reports.

3. A bill that would exclude 4-year-olds from kindergarten is gaining momentum in Sacramento as experts increasingly realize that young kids may not be ready for all-day school, the Chron reports. The legislation would require that kids turn five by September 1 to gain entrance to kindergarten just like other states. Currently, California children don’t have to turn five until December 1.

4. California’s high school graduation rate worsened in the past decade, bucking a nationwide trend and dropping five percentage points between 1997 and 2007, the reports, citing a new study from Education Week. California’s graduation rate is now six points below the national average.

5. A young friend of Oscar Grant wept openly on the stand during the murder trial of ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle, as he watched and listened to a video he made of the fatal shooting, the Chron and Trib report. The sobs by 17-year-old Jamil Dewar temporarily halted the trial, and then when it resumed, Mehserle attorney Michael Rains attempted to portray Dewar as a faker.

6. Barry Bonds likely will escape conviction on charges of lying about steroid use in the wake of an appellate court decision that disqualified the most damning evidence against him, the Chron reports.

7. Pension spiking — the practice of using accrued sick time and vacation leave to substantially raise the annual pension payments for retired public employees — likely will continue under new legislation that fails to solve the costly problem, the CoCo Times’ Daniel Borenstein reports.

8. Voter turnout in last week’s California primary was a dismal 30 percent, which is particularly troubling for Democrats as the fall campaign gets underway, the Chron reports.

9. The planned use of the pesticide methyl-iodide on strawberries is raising questions as to whether farm workers can be adequately protected from the known carcinogen, California Watch reports.

10. And climate change is causing trees to start growing at higher elevations in search of water and cooler weather, the Chron reports.

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