Thursday Must Read: Bratton’s Role in Oakland to be Diminished; Possible New Location Found for a Lake Merritt Dog Park

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Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan has decided to curtail the role that William Bratton, the former head of the New York and Los Angeles police departments, will have in the city, the Trib and Chron report. Bratton, who is on a consulting team that is helping Jordan formulate a comprehensive crime-fighting plan for the city, was originally supposed to be involved in a community-engagement process, but Jordan decided to limit Bratton’s role to mostly behind-the-scenes work because Bratton has generated a firestorm of controversy in Oakland. Jordan has also said that OPD will not adopt the aggressive, zero-tolerance form of stop and frisk that Bratton used in New York.

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2. Oakland officials may have located a new home for a controversial dog park proposed for Lake Merritt — a half-acre section of Snow Park at 19th and Harrison streets, the Trib reports. Mayor Jean Quan's Office has been looking for a new spot because the previous proposed location — the grassy field at the corner of Lakeshore Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard — generated substantial opposition.

3. Alameda County is moving to close Internet cafes that offer online sweepstakes games after state regulators determined that such establishments are illegal, the Trib reports.

4. The number of home-loan defaults and foreclosures declined significantly in the Bay Area and throughout California during the final months of 2012, raising hopes that the foreclosure crisis may finally be over, the Chron and LA Times report.

5. American women will finally be allowed to serve on the frontlines of combat under an order from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, AP reports. The order also will enable women to reach high levels of command in the US military.

6. And House Republicans backed away from their threat to cause a global financial meltdown unless Democrats agree to more federal budget cuts — at least for three more months, The New York Times reports.

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