Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday Must Read

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Jun 22, 2010 at 7:10 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland City Council is expected to lay off up to 150 cops on Thursday after talks with the police officers’ union broke down, according to the Trib and Chron. Councilmembers want cops to begin paying part of their own pensions like other city employees to help bridge a $31 million budget deficit. But the police union is refusing unless the council promises to shield cops from layoffs indefinitely. Councilmembers say such a pledge would be irresponsible because the city’s budget deficit in 2011 is expected to top $50 million.

2. Johannes Mehserle’s defense team will begin its case today in an attempt to convince the jury that the ex-BART cop killed Oscar Grant by accident, the Chron and Trib report. The prosecution rested its case yesterday after about a week of testimony that didn’t go as well as planned. However, prosecutor David Stein plans to present a rebuttal case after the defense rests, calling witnesses who will testify that Mehserle never said the shooting was accidental — or that he meant to use his Taser — after killing Grant.

3. Yusuf Bey IV, who is accused of ordering the assassination of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey, is attempting to get his murder trial moved out of Alameda County, the Chauncey Bailey Project reports. An attorney for the former Your Black Muslim Bakery CEO compared pretrial publicity in the case to that involving Mehserle. The same judge who ordered Mehserle’s trial moved to Los Angeles will decide where Bey IV’s trial is to be held.

4. Conservative rural counties require more than their fair share of state tax revenues to stay afloat and are heavily dependent on taxes paid by liberal urban areas, including the Bay Area, the Mercury News reports, citing a new study by the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office. The report reveals a deep disconnect in conservative rural areas which demand tax cuts and decry government spending yet depend more heavily on taxes and government spending than urban areas.

5. Solyndra, the Fremont solar company that recently hosted a high-profile visit by President Obama, is in financial trouble after losing $425 million in the last two years. And the Trib reports that the company’s decision to call off its initial public offering is raising a red-flag for the solar industry.

6. And tule elk, once brought to the brink of extinction in California, have made a strong comeback, McClatchy Newspapers reports.

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