Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. The Oakland school board voted 5-2 last night to close five schools at the end of this school year in a cost-cutting move, the Trib reports. The vote came after hundreds of parents protested the closure plan. Superintendent Tony Smith, however, noted that the district has way more schools than it needs and doesn’t have the funds to keep them all open. As the Express has previously reported, Oakland has far more schools than other similarly sized districts.
2. Occupy Oakland protesters returned to City Hall on Wednesday night, and called for a general strike for Wednesday, November 2, the Chron and Trib reported. Last night’s protest was mostly peaceful, as police allowed demonstrators to reconvene in front of City Hall. The Trib reports this morning that at least one tent went up in the old Occupy Oakland encampment. Mayor Jean Quan said at a press conference yesterday that the city would allow protests in front of City Hall, but not overnight camping.
3. The City of San Jose is poised to sell a key piece of land to Oakland A’s co-owner Lew Wolff, at a hugely discounted price, if Major League Baseball allows the team to move to the South Bay, the Mercury News reports. The city plans to sell the downtown San Jose property to Wolff for $6.9 million — about only half of what it’s likely worth on the open market. The land would be used for a new ballpark that Wolff wants to build there.
4. The California Supreme Court unanimously rejected Republican challenges to the state’s new legislative districts, the LA Times reports. The court’s decision means that the only way that the GOP can overturn the new districts would be through a statewide ballot measure. Republicans don’t like the new districts, which were drawn up by California’s new independent commission, because they say they favor Democrats.
5. Governor Jerry Brown plans to unveil a plan to overhaul the state’s public-employee pension system, the AP reports. Brown is calling for raising the retirement age of new public employees from 55 to 67, requiring workers to pay more into their pensions, and eliminating the controversial practice of “pension spiking.” Brown’s proposal, however, will surely face opposition from Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature.
6. And California’s booming solar power industry, particularly the giant solar plants in Southern California, is becoming a significant job creator for the state, the Mercury News reports.