Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Must Read

By Robert Gammon
Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 7:02 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A right-wing extremist from the Sierra foothills shot at CHP officers in Oakland over the weekend, forcing the shut-down of westbound Interstate 580 for most of Sunday. The mother of the shooter, Byron Williams of Groveland (near Yosemite National Park), told the Chron that he was angry because of “the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items.” Williams’ mother, Janice Williams, also appeared to be a militant conservative, saying she kept the guns that her son used to shoot at police, because “eventually, I think we're going to be caught up in a revolution.” CHP officers were not injured in the shootout, and Bryon Williams is expected to survive because he was wearing a bullet-proof vest.

2. The Oakland City Council is considering at least seven tax measures for the November ballot in an effort to raise revenues and avoid more police layoffs, the Chron reports. The proposals include a parcel tax, utility taxes, and garbage and water fees. However, at least one councilmember, Ignacio De La Fuente, said he won’t support the measures because Oakland police officers still don’t contribute to their pensions. And police union officials told the Chron that they won’t back the measures either if city officials “keep blaming” them for Oakland’s financial woes.

3. The labor dispute between AC Transit management and bus drivers is heading to binding arbitration as a result of a judge’s ruling on Friday, the Chron reports. The move is viewed as a victory for the bus-drivers’ union. However, the judge allowed AC Transit management to keep its imposed contract in place until an arbitrator makes a ruling. AC Transit says it needs $15 million in concessions from the bus-drivers’ union to balance its budget.

4. The East Bay led the region in job losses in June, shedding 3,800 positions, as the Bay Area lost 10,300 jobs overall, the Trib reports. In addition, a new UC Berkeley study shows that the job market for blacks is particularly bleak. The nationwide jobless rate among blacks stood at 15.4 percent in June, compared to 8.6 percent for whites and 12.4 percent for Latinos, the Trib reports.

5. The City of Oakland is on the cusp of striking a deal with Kroger Foods to open two new major grocery stores in East Oakland, the Trib reports. The stores, under the Kroger brand, Food Co., would serve areas of the city that have not had grocery stores for years and are overrun with liquor stores.

6. The City of Walnut Creek is preparing for a pro-Johannes Mehserle demonstration this afternoon — and possibly a pro-Oscar Grant counterdemonstration, the CoCo Times reports.

7. And Apple’s Steve Jobs said the company would offer iPhone 4 customers a free bumper case to solve the smartphone’s problem of dropping calls, the Chron reports. However, the defiant Jobs maintained during a press conference on Friday that the iPhone 4’s antenna problems were not unusual among smartphones. Jobs’ announcement followed a decision by Consumer Reports magazine to not recommend the iPhone 4 because it drops calls when you hold it wrong.

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