Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday Must Read

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 7:14 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The percentage of out-of-state and international students attending UC schools this fall is rising by one-third, with the increase concentrated at UC Berkeley and UCLA, the LA Times reports. The jump in out-of-state and international students, who pay much higher tuition, is the result of a controversial attempt by the UC system to raise revenues. The increase — from 6 percent to 8 percent of the undergraduate student population — also means there will be fewer slots for California residents at the state’s top-ranked public universities.

2. UC Regents also strongly endorsed a plan yesterday to offer online-degree programs in an effort to raise even more funds from out-of-state and international students, the Chron reports. The regents approved a pilot program proposed by UC Berkeley law school dean Christopher Edley Jr. despite concerns raised by faculty members that online classes will harm UC’s reputation for academic excellence.

3. Supporters of Johannes Mehserle are planning a rally for him in Walnut Creek on Monday to protest the ex-BART cop’s involuntary manslaughter conviction, Bay Citizen reports. Supporters, including ex-cops, think Mehserle should have been found not guilty of all charges in the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant. It’s unclear whether counter-protesters who believe that Mehserle should have been convicted of murder will descend on the mostly white suburb.

4. Speaking of Mehserle, his sentencing has been rescheduled to November 5, the Chron reports. He faces a sentence of five to fourteen years in prison, but that could be reduced if his lawyer is successful in getting the gun-enhancement conviction thrown out.

5. Oakland police will only respond to 911 calls that report a crime in progress as a result of the layoff earlier this week of eighty cops, the Trib reports. People who want to report a crime after it happens will have to do it online or at police headquarters in downtown Oakland.

6. The number of home-default notices in the East Bay dropped by more than 50 percent last month compared to a year ago, raising hopes that the foreclosure crisis may be ending, the CoCo Times reports. However, the decline may also be the result of banks agreeing to modify loans or okaying short sales.

7. The sale of the Golden State Warriors has been delayed because team owner Chris Cohan is reportedly holding out for more money, the Trib reports. Cohan reportedly is seeking $450 million for the team.

8. Richmond led all large cities in Northern California in terms of solar installations per capita last year, the CoCo Times reports. Berkeley led Alameda County.

9. In an effort to increase solar installations, state Attorney General Jerry Brown sued Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac yesterday, because the mortgage giants have blocked a statewide solar-financing program, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports. The program, PACE, grew out of an experiment in Berkeley, and would have allowed homeowners in Alameda County and elsewhere to obtain loans to pay for solar panels. The mortgage lenders oppose the program because the loans result in liens placed on homes.

10. Republican sources told the Chron that Meg Whitman may write a check for $30 million to the state GOP in an effort to help California conservatives win office this fall, but Whitman’s campaign says she has no plans to do so.

11. And the state Board of Education is poised to declare an emergency for 1,000 public schools today, in a move that will allow students at those low-performing schools to enroll at any other public school of their choice, California Watch reports. The move could allow students at some Oakland public schools to begin enrolling in schools in nearby districts.

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