Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday Must Read: Report: Democrats Manipulated Independent Redistricting Process; Oakland Council Tables Use of Force Measure Against Occupy

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Dec 22, 2011 at 6:45 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Democrats, led by members of Congress, manipulated California’s redistricting process by enlisting lobbyists, union officials, and community groups to influence the state’s new independent redistricting panel, ProPublica reports. At open hearings in front of the independent panel that drew up new boundaries for Congressional and state legislative districts, numerous people with ties to the Democratic Party portrayed themselves as average citizens. The resulting districts heavily favored Democrats in California and short-circuited reform efforts designed to create more competitive political races in the state.

2. The Oakland City Council late Tuesday tabled a proposal that would have ordered police to crack down harder on future large Occupy protests, the Chron and Trib report. The urgency measure, put forward by moderates on the council, failed to gain the six votes needed to proceed and was sent to committee. Mayor Jean Quan, meanwhile, expressed doubts as to whether Oakland police could block future large Occupy demonstrations, telling the Chronicle editorial board that such efforts could take up to five hundred cops at a cost that the cash-strapped city cannot afford.

3. At the same time, Quan and City Administrator Deanna Santana appointed an investigative team yesterday, led by former Baltimore police commissioner Thomas Frazier, to examine police use of force against Occupy protests on October 25 and November 2-3, the Trib reports. Oakland police have been criticized for overreacting to Occupy protests and for firing tear gas and other less-than-lethal weaponry at demonstrators unnecessarily.

4. Ex-state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata announced that he is not running after all for a seat on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, the CoCo Times reports. Perata, who moved to Orinda after losing to Quan in the Oakland mayor’s race, had said that he was seriously eyeing a run for the CoCo County board. But in a letter to supporters, he said he decided that his health and his “family would be better served if he remained a civilian.” Perata has battled with prostate cancer.

5. The Oakland City Council has authorized a lawsuit against the City of Piedmont over its plans to build a controversial sports park on narrow Moraga Avenue, the Trib reports. Oakland leaders say the new sports facilities at Blair Park will create traffic and public safety issues.

6. And members of the California Nurses’ Association plan to hold a one-day strike today at hospitals throughout California, including Alta Bates Summit medical centers in Oakland and Berkeley, in protest of contract proposals by Sutter Health, the Chron reports. The last time nurses held a mass one-day strike many hospitals then locked them out for an additional four days, and a patient died because of a mistake made by a replacement nurse.

Must Read will return on Tuesday, December 27. Have a good holiday weekend.

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