Friday Must Read: PG&E’s SmartMeters Pass Flawed Test; Jerry Brown Awakens from Long Slumber

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Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. PG&E’s controversial SmartMeters don’t overbill customers, but the utility’s service reps are nasty and incompetent, the Chron reports, citing a newly released study by consulting firm hired by California regulators. The study, however, came under instant criticism because investigators only interviewed twenty of the 1,378 PG&E customers who complained of being overcharged on their utility bills. In addition, the study did not examine the potential health problems posed by the new meters.

2. Jerry Brown has finally decided to awaken from his yearlong slumber and mount a real campaign for governor, the Chron reports. Brown says he decided to wait until two months before the election to launch his campaign in earnest because he didn’t want to deplete his $23 million warchest. But did he wait too long? According to Pollster.com, a compilation of polls, Meg Whitman is leading Brown by 4 points, 46 percent to 42 percent.

3. Oakland Mayoral candidate Don Perata is opposing the $50 million parcel tax on the November ballot that would allow the city to avoid more police layoffs, even though the measure is backed by his strong ally — the Oakland’s police union, the Chron reports. Perata had previously supported a sales tax increase that would have given Oakland the highest sales tax rate in Northern California.

4. Christina Romer, who chaired President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, will return to teaching at UC Berkeley next week, the Chron reports. Romer has said that she had long planned to only serve for two years, but she also created waves at the White House because she pushed hard for a larger stimulus package. Most liberal economists, including Paul Krugman, agree that last year’s stimulus was too small to turn around the struggling economy.

5. And Alameda Fire Chief David Kapler, who came under fire for fueling his private car for free at a city-owned pump, was put on paid administrative leave, pending an investigation into the matter, the Chron reports.

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