Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday Must Read: Quan Opposes Pension Ballot Measure; Oakland Retired Firefighter Criticizes Alameda for Drowning Incident

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan told the Chron that she opposes putting public-employee pension reform measures on the ballot, and intends to obtain union concessions at the bargaining table. Oakland public-employee unions vigorously oppose such ballot measures, and Quan said it would be counterproductive to start a fight with the unions while her administration is still negotiating. “I’m asking for a true ‘fair share’ budget where everybody gives. Can you get that when you’re beating people up? I don’t think so,” she told the paper. Quan also noted that her proposed parcel tax will likely lose if city leaders are battling with unions over pension-reform at the ballot box.

2. Quan’s administration, meanwhile, got a new radio system installed for the police department, replacing an older one that kept failing, the Trib reports. Oakland’s new system will be compatible over time with the county and other East Bay cities in order to be able to better coordinate during disasters — a problem that plagued Oakland during the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake and the 1991 Hills Firestorm.

Crown Beach
  • Crown Beach
3. Retired Oakland fire Lieutenant Daniel Lisker strongly criticized Alameda firefighters today in a Trib op-ed for their decision to simply watch a 52-year-old man drown himself in shallow bay waters last week. Alameda firefighters and cops have blamed city budget cuts of water-rescue training for their decision. But Lisker noted that firefighters didn’t even attempt to talk to Raymond Zack from a safe distance, and try to convince him to not take his own life. “This was not a water rescue; this was a case of wading out to the man, communicating with him, and walking him back to the beach,” Lisker wrote. “This was not a man treading water in the Oakland-Alameda estuary, where danger to personnel is great. At Crown Beach you can wade out for 200 yards and still be knee-deep in water.”

4. Indian Americans in Fremont are upset about a proposed redrawing of California congressional districts by a new independent state panel, arguing that it will dilute their influence, the Chron reports. The proposed new district would split up Indian American populations in central and southern Alameda County.

5. And no one is quite sure why there’s suddenly an abundance of sturgeon in San Pablo Bay, reports Express contributor Alastair Bland, writing for the Marin IJ.

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