Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday Must Read: Quan Gets Booed By Labor; Oakland Mayor Also Pushes Parcel Tax

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Apr 5, 2011 at 7:05 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Mayor Jean Quan was loudly booed by labor activists at a rally in front of City Hall yesterday when she warned the crowd that there would be layoffs of city workers because of Oakland’s $46 million budget deficit, the Bay Citizen reports. Quan attempted to talk over the chorus of boos, but was shouted down by the angry crowd until Josie Camacho, the executive secretary-treasurer of the Alameda County Central Labor Council, seized the microphone and calmed the activists. The incident occurred at a “unity” rally commemorating the 44th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

2. Quan, meanwhile, continues to push for an $80 a year parcel tax that would raise about $11 million annually for the city, is backed by labor, and would help Oakland avoid even more layoffs. The Chron reports that the city council will vote on the urgency measure tonight for a mail-in-ballot-only election in July. Three councilwomen — Rebecca Kaplan, Pat Kernighan, and Libby Schaaf — also planned to push for ballot measures that would further rein in the city’s labor costs, but fierce opposition from public-employee unions prompted them to back off. The measures would have required city workers to pay for their own pension plan costs, would have raised the retirement age to 55, and would have allowed volunteers to do jobs formally held by city workers.

3. The FBI is investigating two Richmond cops for allegedly supplying guns to two young men, and then attempting to lure the young men into drunken driving arrests, the Chron reports. The cops, Danny Harris and Ray Thomas, recruited the young men from the police department’s Explorer program to their private security firm and then allegedly bought guns for them illegally. Then when the young men became disgruntled, the cops allegedly hired a private investigator who, in turn, hired attractive young women who tried to coax the young men into driving drunk. The private investigator, Chris Butler, also is at the center of a police corruption probe in the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department.

4. Crews plan to demolish the old Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in East Oakland on Friday, the Trib reports. The eleven-story hospital is one of the last remaining buildings at the former Navy base. City Attorney John Russo was instrumental in obtaining funds to demolish the abandoned building.

5. A key prosecution witness in the Barry Bonds perjury trial found a tape recording over the weekend that may show that Bonds’ surgeon Dr. Arthur Ting lied under oath last week when he testified that he had not had conversations about Bonds’ alleged steroid abuse, California Watch reports.

6. And faced with stiff opposition from Whole Foods, A.G. Ferrari Foods has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed its Solano Avenue store in North Berkeley, the Trib reports.

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