Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thursday Must Read

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 7:06 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The jury in the Johannes Mehserle murder trial may begin deliberating as early as today. Jurors will have a choice of second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, or acquittal as possible verdicts for the ex-BART cop in the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant, the Chron and Trib report. If jurors believe that Mehserle got angry, stood up, and purposely shot Grant in the back, then its second-degree murder. If they believe that Mehserle unrealistically thought Grant was reaching for a gun — when Grant wasn’t — and then shot him in the back, then it’s voluntary manslaughter. If jurors believe that Mehserle meant to use his Taser, but mistakenly and recklessly fired his gun instead, then it’s involuntary manslaughter. And if they believe that Mehserle accidentally fired his gun instead of his Taser because he was so poorly trained by BART on how to use a Taser, then he’s not guilty.

2. Some Oakland merchants are attempting to protect their stores from possible vandalism and rioting in the event of a not-guilty verdict by putting up posters of Grant in their windows, the Trib reports. However, others are worried that the posters could incite violence.

3. Oakland mayoral candidate Don Perata downplayed Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan’s announcement yesterday that she’s officially running for mayor, too, saying “it kind of reminded me of the first time I ran for something when I was much, much younger,” the Trib reports. The ex-state senator was referring to his unsuccessful bid for mayor of Alameda in 1975. As for Oakland Councilwoman Jean Quan, the other major candidate in the race, she expressed concerns that she and Kaplan will split the progressive vote in Oakland.

4. Perata has decided to postpone his cancer-research ballot measure until the 2012 election, the Trib reports. The ex-state senator had originally wanted the measure, which would raise the tax on cigarettes by $1 a pack, to be on the November 2010 ballot when he will be seeking the mayor’s office.

5. AC Transit bus drivers are willing to make some wage concessions, but are refusing a demand by management that would save the cash-strapped agency $15.7 million a year through work-rule changes and making co-payments to their health-care plans, the CoCo Times reports.

6. Oakland City Center has sold for $360 million to CB Richard Ellis Investors, the Trib reports. The 1.6-million-square-foot office and retail center across from City Hall had been owned by Shorenstein Development Company and the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio.

7. Oakland schools superintendent Tony Smith finished his first year in office — a turbulent one that included massive cuts because of the recession and a stand-off with teachers over their demand for pay increases, the Trib reports.

8. And whooping cough is on the rise in the East Bay, possibly because not enough children are being vaccinated, the Trib reports.

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