Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wednesday Must Read: Giants to A’s: Not So Fast; California Lowers Prison Population

By Robert Gammon
Wed, Dec 28, 2011 at 6:50 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. One of the owners of the San Francisco Giants said that the team will fight to block the Oakland A’s planned move to San Jose, the Chron reports. In addition, Peter Magowan, who is also the Giants former managing partner, said he does not believe that baseball commissioner Bud Selig will go back on his word and allow the A’s to go to San Jose. Selig has repeatedly said that the Giants own the territorial rights to the South Bay and that no other team can infringe on them. Rumors that Major League Baseball was ready to approve the A’s move also appear to be untrue. The issue is not even on the baseball owners’ meeting agenda next month. And A’s co-owner Lew Wolff disavowed a recent San Jose Mercury News report that said he was “confident” that MLB would approve the San Jose move, telling the Chron he didn’t know where that story came from.

2. California has dramatically lowered its prison population and is close to meeting a court-mandated target, the Chron reports. As of yesterday, the state’s prisons held 134,804 inmates, about 1,800 more than the 133,000 target mandated by the courts, which ruled that the system was woefully overcrowded. State prisons have been shedding nearly 1,000 inmates a week since Governor Brown’s realignment plan was enacted in October. That plan transfers non-violent prisoners to county jails. The state must lower its prison population to 110,000 by the spring of 2013.

3. A team of lawyers, including a former appeals court judge, is suing to overturn a key portion of Prop 13, which requires a two-thirds vote of the legislature to raise taxes, the Chron reports. The attorneys contend that Prop 13 was an unlawful revision of the state’s constitution, because it dramatically altered how government operates and handed veto power to a legislative minority that opposes all taxes. Anti-tax groups said they are taking the lawsuit seriously, but believe it will not prevail.

4. Occupy Oakland has established a new encampment in West Oakland with more than a dozen tents, the Trib reports. The encampment is on a vacant lot on Peralta Street near Mandela Parkway and is being called the Cypress Triangle. Oakland police have cleared all of the previous encampments in the city.

5. And Oakland City Hall gadfly Sanjiv Handa has died. Handa was a fixture at city council, planning commission, and port commission meetings for the past two decades. Family and friends told the Trib that Handa had fallen ill over the past week before he was found dead at a friend’s house. He was 55.

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