Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thursday Must Reads: Oakland Council Adopts Transparency Rules for Budget; Berkeley Picks Hayward Supe to be Its New Schools Chief

By Robert Gammon
Thu, May 23, 2013 at 7:03 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland City Council has adopted new rules that would prohibit last-minute budget proposals that the public has not had a chance to review, the Trib reports. The new rules are designed to improve transparency for the city’s budget approval process, and prevent a repeat of recent years in which councilmembers introduced major budget revisions on the night they needed to be approved under city law, thereby giving the public no chance to analyze them. Under the new regulations, proposals must be made at least three days before the meeting in which the budget must be adopted. Councilmembers Larry Reid and Desley Brooks voted against the new rules.

Donald Evans
  • Donald Evans
2. The Berkeley school board selected Hayward schools Superintendent Donald Evans to be its new schools chief, Berkeleyside reports. Evans is also a former Oakland schools administrator and is considered to be a rising star in the Bay Area’s education world. Berkeley has been without a superintendent since Bill Huyett retired last June and the board’s selection of a new schools chief last August withdrew from consideration after his anti-gay marriage views sparked a firestorm of controversy.

3. Mayor Jean Quan’s chief of staff, Anne Campbell Washington, is among twelve candidates vying to replace Oakland school board member Gary Yee, who is now the district’s interim superintendent, the Trib reports. Washington, who was also Mayor Jerry Brown's chief of staff, has two children in Oakland public schools. Other candidates for Yee’s spot include Jill Broadhurst, a former city council candidate. The school board plans to appoint Yee’s replacement on June 12.

4. Former Oakland mayoral candidate Joe Tuman, who is considering a run against Mayor Quan in 2014, is coming under criticism for asking his students at San Francisco State University to develop a campaign ad for him, the Chron$ reports. Tuman, who teaches political communications and finished fourth in the 2010 mayor’s race, contends that he was being sarcastic. But political ethics experts say Tuman may have crossed the line.

5. The lack of houses for sale in the Bay Area is being caused in part by the fact that many homeowners don’t have enough equity in their homes, the Mercury News reports. Many homeowners are reluctant to sell their homes for fear that they won’t make enough profit to afford a downpayment on a new home. The lack of homes on the market has spurred a feeding frenzy in the past year, with buyers outbidding each other.

6. And Tesla, the successful Palo Alto-based electric car maker, has paid back its $465 million loan from the federal government nine years early, the Mercury News reports. Last year, Republicans had called the Tesla loan a “loser” because they contended that the car company would never be able to repay it.

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