Wednesday Must Read

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Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Governor Schwarzenegger’s plan to eliminate California’s welfare-to-work program promises to be especially damaging in Alameda County, particularly in Oakland, the Trib reports. About 200,000 low-income families would lose assistance countywide, and it would deepen the county’s already large budget hole.

2. The cuts would be so devastating that the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office is recommending that the governor rethink his proposal, the Merc reports. The analyst’s office says the state should consider raising taxes and that Schwarzenegger may need to change his mind about reinstating funding for state universities.

3. A federal judge in Fresno appears ready to reverse himself and allow more water to flow from the fragile Delta to Central Valley agribusiness, the CoCo Times reports. US District Judge Oliver Wanger, who had agreed two years ago to limit water releases from the Delta to protect decimated fish populations, said yesterday that the government’s efforts to protect fish have gone too far and “are inflicting harm to humans and the human environment.” Wanger also appeared to be swayed by the state’s decision to side with agribusiness over the fish.

4. California’s three-strikes sentencing law is turning out to be hugely expensive, the Chron reports, citing a new audit by state Auditor Elaine Howle. Howle found that the state is spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on specialized medical care for elderly prison inmates, many of whom were sentenced to life in prison under the three-strikes law. The audit bolsters a new bill authored by San Francisco state Senator Mark Leno that would allow the state to “medically” parole sick, elderly inmates before their prison sentences expire. Howle’s report also estimated that the three-strikes law is costing the state an extra $19.2 billion because it has to keep so many people locked up for so long.

5. A $3.2 million judgment against the City of Oakland was upheld by a federal appellate court, the Trib reports. The judgment stemmed from a jury’s conclusion that Oakland police officers had planted a gun in suspect’s home. Despite the ruling, the two officers, John Parkinson and Marcus Midyett, remain on the force.

6. The Richmond City Council agreed to give the developers of a giant Indian-run casino at Point Molate another extension in order to reach a deal with the city, the CoCo Times reports. The developers now have until July 20.

7. The Oakland City Council agreed to give a $150,000 loan to the struggling Merritt Bakery and Restaurant, the Trib reports. However, the loan may not be enough to keep the ailing icon in business.

8. The Berkeley City Council joined the growing boycott of Arizona over it's draconian anti-illegal-immigration law, the Trib reports.

9. Bay Area sports teams, led by the San Jose Sharks and San Francisco Giants, are experimenting with changing ticket prices for each game, depending on demand and other factors, the Chron reports.

10. Oracle chief Larry Ellison has submitted a bid to purchase the Golden State Warriors, the Merc reports. But Ellison's reported bid of $315 million apparently is not the highest offer.

11. And Netflix slashed 160 jobs in Fremont because more consumers are streaming TV shows and movies rather than renting DVDs through the mail, the Trib reports.

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