12:12pm

Tue April 24, 2012
Early Afternoon News Roundup

Connecting the Dots: Top news stories for Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Oakland police department has announced it will reduce the number of officers in the city’s most violent blocks, following complaints from residents of the Oakland hills and North Oakland that burglaries have increased in their neighborhoods, according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle. Six months ago the 100 blocks identified as the most dangerous saw an influx of officers, under Mayor Jean Quan’s plan to increase police presence and the availability of social services there…

Across the Bay, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced on Monday that he would testify in hearings concerning suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. Yesterday's discussion before the city's Ethics Commission also touched on what should be allowable evidence. The city attorney’s office has still not received a copy of the video alleged to show Eliana Lopez, Mirkarimi’s wife, tearfully displaying a bruise he inflicted upon her. It's no clear whether the city attorney can force Mirkarimi to hand over his phone records…

The San Francisco Chronicle also reports that support for jobless Californians is on the wane. The federal program to supplement unemployment benefits in California will end in mid-May, because the state’s unemployment rate is no longer high enough to qualify. To receive the federal aid, the “state's average unemployment rate for the past three months must be at least 10 percent higher than the average rate in the same period in at least one of the three previous years..."

Other significant financial changes are happening within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which has proposed reducing its overall footprint by closing one prison, halting plans to build new ones, and ending contracts for housing California prisoners out-of-state, as reported in the Sacramento Bee. The move comes as the state’s prison population has been shrinking faster than expected, with less violent prisoners being moved to county jails. According to projections, the prison system will still be overcrowded by June of 2013, but it will be a lot closer to its federally mandated goal of 137.5 percent of capacity (down from 180 percent). The state will request a revision of that cap to 145 percent, but prisoner advocates would oppose such an increase…

In other prison news, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Californians will have the chance to vote this November on eliminating the death penalty. The sentences of current death row inmates would change to life in prison without parole…

The Los Angeles Times reports that individual UC campuses may be allowed to break out, if the recommendations of a recent proposal are approved. Each campus should receive greater latitude to set tuition levels, admit out-of-state students, and initiate construction, according to suggestions co-authored by UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and published online, yesterday, by UC Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education...

The unsurprising results of a recent study show a correlation between wealth and health in California counties, as reported by the Sacramento Bee. The well-off Bay Area counties of Marin, Santa Clara, and San Mateo rank among the top five healthiest in the state…

And judges from television reality shows are facing a healthy dose of criticism from quasi-celebrity judges in a survey, as reported by the Sacramento Bee. But, really now, would anyone actually object to facing Jennifer Lopez in family court?

Connecting the Dots brings the day's news together.

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