Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday Must Read: State Water Bond Delayed; East Bay Judge Halts Furloughs

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 10:24 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Both houses of the state legislature voted last night to delay Proposition 18, the controversial $11 billion water bond, until the November 2012 election, AP reports. Governor Schwarzenegger is expected to finalize the delay as early as today. The bond measure has been heavily criticized by environmentalists because it would allow private corporations to own and operate taxpayer-built dams and reservoirs and could pave the way for a peripheral canal around the delta.

2. An Alameda County Superior Court judge has temporarily halted a plan by Governor Schwarzenegger to put state workers on unpaid furloughs beginning this Friday, the LA Times reports. Judge Steven Brick ruled in favor of state unions who sued to stop the furloughs. Schwarzenegger plans to appeal Brick’s ruling as early as today. If the judge's ruling is upheld, it could curtail the ability of public agencies to lessen public employee compensation.

3. Rank and file members of the Oakland police union agreed to start paying into their own pensions — as long as city voters approve a $50 million parcel tax this November. The vote by the rank and file affirmed a tentative deal reached by union leadership and the city council. Under the agreement, if the parcel tax wins, then the cops will begin paying 4 percent to their pensions next year, rising to 9 percent by 2013 — the same amount paid by other city employee unions, the Chron reports. But if the parcel tax loses, then the cops will continue to not contribute to their pensions, and more than 120 officers likely will be laid off this January.

4. The owners of Piedmont Gardens retirement home in Oakland laid off at least 38 striking union workers and replaced them with non-unionized employees over the weekend, the Trib reports. Union leaders say management is determined to break the union. Management says they replaced the striking workers because they didn’t know how long the strike would last.

5. And crews began digging the fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel yesterday in a move that promises to be bad for the environment and the economy of Oakland and Berkeley. The fourth bore, which is the antithesis of smart growth, will make it easier for workers who live in Berkeley and Oakland to commute to the eastern side of the hills, thereby luring more jobs to the suburbs. And by relieving traffic congestion on the reverse commute, the new bore also will entice more workers from Oakland and Berkeley to use their cars rather than take BART.

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