Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. Oakland-based Kaiser Permanente announced that it’s donating $7.5 million to Oakland public schools to help fund campus health centers, the Trib and Chron report. The huge donation comes on top of large grants that the school district has already received for the health centers. The district plans to have fourteen of the clinics up and running by the end of the school year. In addition, about $1.5 million of the Kaiser grant will help fund district Superintendent Tony Smith’s initiative to improve the academic achievement of black male students.
2. Ellis Partners, the private owners of most of the buildings in Jack London Square, plan to sell 98.5 percent of their stake to Divco West, a San Francisco investment company, in an effort to jumpstart the foundering $400 million development, the Trib reports. The proposed deal is scheduled to go before the Oakland Port Commission this afternoon. If approved, Ellis Partners, which is co-run by developer Jim Falaschi, would continue to handle day-to-day operations of the square.
3. Oakland police arrested the owners of goats that have been eating dense vegetation at the former Oak Noll Naval Hospital property after dozens of the animals were found dead or severely malnourished, the Chron reports. The dead goats, including young ones, were discovered in varying states of decomposition. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has charged the owners of the Orinda-based Goats R Us with animal neglect.
4. The state has levied nearly $5 million in fines against major health insurers for shortchanging doctors and hospitals, the CoCo Times reports. The health insurers also will have to pay tens of millions in restitution to those they underpaid. The fines, totaling $4.85 million, included $900,000 for Anthem Blue Cross, $900,000 for Blue Shield of California, $800,000 for United/ PacifiCare, $750,000 for HealthNet, $750,000 for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, $450,000 for Cigna, and $300,000 for Aetna.
5. California will send thousands of additional prisoners to out-of-state private prison companies under a new deal brokered by Governor Schwarzenegger, the Chron reports. The new deal brings the total number of California prisoners being housed in out-of-state prisons to more than 15,000. The governor has been sending prisoners out of state to relieve overpopulation in California prisons. But the move has been sharply criticized by civil libertarians who argue that the criminal justice system should not be privatized and note that private prisons have had safety problems.
6. About 70 percent of military personnel and their spouses say that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the US military won’t cause significant problems, according to a Pentagon study to be released soon, AP reports. The study is expected to reignite debate over the US military’s controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. The US Senate plans to vote on rescinding the policy before the end of the year.
7. And Cyber Monday likely broke sales records yesterday, topping more than $1 billion in sales as more consumers are buying holiday gifts this year online, AP reports. Online sales already have been robust this holiday season, rising about 15 percent over 2009.