Friday Must Read: Hate Crimes Increase at Cal; Alameda Spanked Over Drowning

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Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Hate crimes rose significantly at UC Berkeley last year, jumping from just three reported incidents in 2009 to eighteen in 2010, the Bay Citizen reports. The news about the spike in hate crimes comes the same week that campus Republicans sparked allegations of racism when they held a highly controversial “bake sale.” It appears that a significant portion of the hate crimes increase involved anti-Semitic religious bias, as numerous swastikas appeared on campus last year.

2. An independent report strongly criticized Alameda police and firefighters for standing around earlier this year while a man drowned in chest-high water in the bay, the Chron and Trib report. The report described cops and firefighters as confused and disorganized.

3. Alameda, meanwhile, appears to have completely abandoned plans to build lots of housing on the former Naval Air Station. Yesterday, the Navy handed over the closed air base to the city for free after Alameda said it planned to use the base for commercial and industrial development — and not housing, the Chron and Trib report. The Navy had previously asked for $83 million for the land because it would have to do a more thorough job cleaning up the polluted base for housing than it will have to do for industrial and commercial uses.

4. The FBI is investigating Solyndra for fraud, and is examining whether the bankrupt solar manufacturer cooked its books and lied to the government about its financial health, the Chron reports, citing an anonymous FBI source.

5. Governor Jerry Brown is forging ahead with his plan to transfer thousands of nonviolent prison inmates to county jails in an attempt to relieve prison overcrowding and satisfy federal court rulings, the Mercury News reports. But some law enforcement officials say that county jails have no room for the inmates either.

6. The US has the lowest taxes of any developed country in the Western world, and it has the highest military spending, the Orange County Register reports.

7. Bank of America is planning to charge customers $5 a month for using their debit cards for shopping, the CoCo Times reports. The move follows a test project by Wells Fargo and Chase to charge $3 a month for debit card use in some markets.

8. A debt-ridden private school in El Cerrito may have to shut down in two weeks unless parents can come up with $1 million, the Chron reports. Windrush School, like many private schools, has lost a substantial number of students in the recession as more parents have decided to send their kids to public schools.

9. And an administrative law judge ruled that a $28 million fine leveled against PG&E for a deadly blast in Sacramento was too small, the Chron reports.

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