Wednesday Must Read: Court Monitors Slam OPD, Again; Oakland Ramps Up 100-Blocks Crime-Fighting Plan

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Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. In a new report, federal court monitors are strongly criticizing Oakland police again for failing to enact mandated reforms, and say that the department’s response to Occupy Oakland raises “serious concerns” about its ability to “hold true to the best practices in American policing,” the Bay Citizen reports. Court monitors, which include retired law enforcement officials from other cities, have issued a series of highly critical reports on OPD, especially on how it deals with allege police officer misconduct. The newest report also includes evidence that the department has engaged in racial profiling. Judge Thelton Henderson will review the latest report next week at a hearing in which he may place the department under federal receivership.

2. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and top law enforcement officials said the city is ramping up its crime-fighting plan that targets the one hundred most violent blocks in the city, the Trib reports. However, Quan and Oakland police are still refusing to identify the specific city blocks so as not to stigmatize them — the blocks are mostly in West and East Oakland. The mayor also said that budget cuts would not deter the plan.

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3. Caltrans will close the upper deck of the Bay Bridge during President’s Day weekend — weather permitting — as part of the replacement project of the eastern span, the Bay Citizen reports. People trying to get to San Francisco from the East Bay that weekend will have to take BART or ferries. Caltrans says the construction will allow the agency to finish the new eastern span earlier than projected.

4. The West Oakland woman who kept nearly one hundred cats in her home is facing felony charges for alleged animal cruelty, the Chron reports. Oakland Animal Control officers say most of the cats in Jan Van Dusen’s home were suffering from emaciation, diarrhea, severe parasite infestations, and other problems. Van Dusen, however, claims that the animal control had no right to take her cats in a raid last fall. Last summer, Van Dusen won a legal case against the IRS when a court said she could deduct $14,000 in annual expenses that she spent on her cats.

5. And it turns out that gossiping is both good for your health and for maintaining social order, according to a new UC Berkeley study, the Chron reports. In test-case scenarios, people’s stress levels went down when they were allowed to gossip after seeing others cheat. The experiments also showed that people are less likely to cheat if they know that others will then gossip about them.

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