Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday Must Read

By Robert Gammon
Thu, May 13, 2010 at 7:04 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. BART has offered its police chief position to Kenton Rainey, a law enforcement veteran and former Fairfield police chief, the Chron reports. BART apparently hopes that Rainey, who is black, will help change the perception that the agency’s police engages in racial profiling.

2. UC Berkeley students ended their 10-day hunger strike after winning some minor concessions from Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, the Chron reports. Birgeneau indicated that students involved in the Wheeler Hall sit-in may be required to do community service rather than be suspended.

3. State Senator Gloria Romero, who is running for state schools superintendent, has cancelled her graduation speech at UC Berkeley because of an ongoing disagreement between the university and low-paid campus workers, AP reports.

4. The Peralta Community College District is thinking about implementing “free-speech zones" on its campuses, angering teachers and students who say the colleges should not restrict First Amendment rights, the CoCo Times reports. Peralta officials say the proposal is in response to disruptions caused by anti-abortion protesters.

5. State Attorney General Jerry Brown has decided not to investigate the Peralta colleges and its outgoing chancellor, Elihu Harris, the CoCo Times reports. Harris came under intense criticism last year for steering a lucrative, no-bid contract to his business partner. Brown’s office did not say why it wouldn’t investigate.

6. An Indian-run casino plan for just north of Richmond can go forward without a city-sponsored environmental impact report, under a decision by the state Supreme Court, the Chron reports.

7. State parks are facing another round of devastating cuts because of the governor’s decision to scuttle an offshore oil drilling proposal in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico disaster, the Chron reports. Schwarzenegger had planned to use $100 million from new oil drilling off Santa Barbara to finance the parks.

8. Auto insurers, led by Mercury Insurance, are outspending consumer’s rights advocates by a margin of 20-1 to pass Prop. 17, a June ballot measure, the CoCo Times reports. Prop. 17 would allow auto insurers to charge higher rates to people who have allowed their car insurance to lapse. Opponents say the measure would unfairly hurt low-income motorists.

9. PG&E has admitted that it has spent $35 million backing Prop. 16 so that it won’t have to spend millions fighting public-power proposals around the state, the Chron reports. Prop. 16 on the June ballot would make it nearly impossible for communities to jump into the public power market and increase their use of renewable energy.

10. The California teachers’ union is sponsoring a November ballot measure that would roll back $2 billion in tax cuts for corporations, the San Mateo County Times reports. The union says the money is needed for education, but opponents contend that the tax cuts help spur economic growth in California.

11. And politicians are going to great lengths to hide the fact that they’re politicians, the Chron reports.

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