- Oakland police chief unveils plan for department overhaul (Oakland Tribune)
Grappling with an expected bump in the summer crime rate and a force of officers quickly falling to what could be an all-time low number, Oakland police Chief Anthony Batts detailed this week a plan to dramatically overhaul the structure of the department he commands. The first steps of the plan go into effect Saturday: Bike and motorcycle cops will be taken off those duties and folded into regular patrol; the department will now split the city into two geographic regions, rather than three; and 15 sergeants will move into patrol, tightening the command structure there with more supervisors.
- Court bars enforcement of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ (SF Chronicle)
A federal appeals court ordered a halt today to the armed forces’ discharge of openly gay service members, citing the Obama administration’s disavowal of laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco had intervened in November to allow the government to continue enforcing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, despite a federal judge’s decision that the law was unconstitutional.
- Witness: Man Shot by BART Police Was Not ‘Running or Lunging’ at Officers (Bay Citizen)
The knife-wielding man killed by BART police Sunday night was “definitely” not “running or lunging” at the two officers when they shot him, a witness told The Bay Citizen Wednesday. “He wasn’t some spry young thing charging after them with death in his eyes,” said Myleen Hollero, a San Francisco resident. “He definitely was moving toward them, but it didn’t look like he was lunging toward them.”
- Adachi prods mayor on pension overhaul (SF Chronicle)
Looking every bit the trial lawyer he is by trade, Public Defender Jeff Adachi stood on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday, railing at Mayor Ed Lee’s pension reform measure and displaying charts and graphs he says proves his own measure is better…Adachi concluded his remarks by saying he would withdraw his pension reform ballot measure if Lee agreed to a compromise on how much the city’s 26,000 employees should pay toward their pensions. It’s too late for Adachi to change his initiative measure, but Lee still has time to revise his own as it wends its way through the Board of Supervisors.
- Sentencing postponed in Bailey murder trial (Oakland Tribune)
A judge Wednesday postponed the sentencing of two men convicted of murdering journalist Chauncey Bailey, saying he wanted to hear from a lawyer for the prosecution’s star witness who said in a newspaper interview last month that his client may have fabricated bits of his story. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon ordered attorney LeRue Grim to appear Aug. 12 to explain what he meant when he told Bay Area News Group investigative reporter Thomas Peele that the witness, Devaughndre Broussard, may have “committed a little bit of fabrication” in his story. Grim did not offer Peele any specifics, and it remained unclear Wednesday when or if any fabrication occurred. Reardon also ordered Peele and Bay Area News Group colleague Josh Richman to appear on the same date. Peele, Richman and reporter Matt Krupnick shared a byline on the story that was published June 11.
- Red Vic Movie House in San Francisco to close (SF Chronicle)
The already endangered repertory movie scene in San Francisco is taking yet another hit. Later this month, 31 years to the day after it became an instant landmark in the Haight-Ashbury, the Red Vic Movie House will close.
- Steinberg defends budget bill protecting teachers from layoffs (Sacramento Bee)
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg defended a last-minute budget bill protecting teachers from further layoffs and reducing district authority, saying that Democrats preserved class sizes and education jobs…Assembly Bill 114 has drawn fire from school fiscal officials because it reduces their authority, especially if the state imposes a midyear $1.5 billion classroom reduction should tax dollars fall short.
- Facebook introduces video call (San Jose Mercury News)
In a move that could push video calls into the mainstream, Facebook on Wednesday announced that its 750 million users can now video chat with each other through its website. CEO Mark Zuckerberg, declaring the new feature “super awesome,” said the one-on-one video-communication tool, dubbed Video Calling, is the next logical step in connecting people. The feature is just the first of many new social apps that will soon blossom across Facebook’s network.
- California affiliates hurt by tax bill targeting Amazon.com (Sacramento Bee)
…The state enacted a law last week requiring Amazon and other Internet retailers to begin collecting sales tax from California purchasers. Amazon says the law is unconstitutional and it won’t collect the tax. While legal experts expect Amazon to sue the state, the online giant already is taking action of a different sort. Hoping to exempt itself from the law, Amazon has fired its 10,000 California affiliates, cutting off their commissions. Scores of other e-commerce companies affected by the law, including Overstock.com and a slew of smaller firms, have done the same.
- Bill would let CA reject health insurance hikes (SF Chronicle)
A bill to give California regulators the power to reject excessive increases in health insurance premiums passed a key test Wednesday when it was approved by the Senate Health Committee. The bill requires insurers to receive approval from regulators before imposing a rate increase. Officials with the California Department of Managed Health Care and the Department of Insurance could reject the increase if they find the request to be “excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory.”
- Berkeley to ease sidewalk seating rules (SF Chronicle)
When Peet’s on Solano Avenue tried to put out sidewalk tables, the Berkeley planning process took three years and cost $1,000. But the city is changing its ways. Under new rules the City Council is expected to pass Tuesday, adding sidewalk seating would be so easy and inexpensive that every street may soon look like Paris.
- Families of missing Sonoma County fishermen fear search will be called off (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
The search continued Wednesday off Baja California for seven missing fishermen — including two Sonoma County men — amid fears from family members that the search-and-rescue effort would soon shift to recovery mode. At 2:30 a.m. Thursday, 96 hours will have passed since the 115-foot excursion boat Erik went down in the Sea of Cortez, dumping all 43 passengers and crewmen into the water.
- President Obama hosts lively Twitter town hall (SF Chronicle)
Taking questions on jobs, education, defense spending and collective bargaining – all of them tweeted in 140 characters – President Obama hosted his first Twitter town hall on Wednesday in his latest attempt to use social and mobile media to connect with Americans.
- Building in San Francisco’s Presidio could be oldest in The City (SF Examiner)
Recent archaeological findings have revealed four to six walls of the Presidio Officers’ Club could date back to 1776, which would make it the oldest building in San Francisco and perhaps the oldest in California — depending on your definition of “building.” Currently under renovation, officials at the Presidio Trust took a first look at the original adobe under the current exterior walls of the Officers’ Club in late May, and experts have said they could be part of the original 1776 fort built by the Spanish army by way of Indian labor.