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Could Teens Vote in School Elections?

Oakland will decide if teenagers can vote in contests for the school board.

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Sixteen- and seventeen-year olds in Oakland could soon gain the right to vote in school board elections. The Oakland City Council approved a resolution on Tuesday afternoon to place the question on the November ballot.

"Allowing young adults to have a vote in elections directly impacting them, helps improve responsiveness of these governmental roles, and helps build empowered community members, with practical knowledge and skill set to make change in their community through the democratic process," said Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan. "In this era, as we face down threats of voter suppression and other efforts to silence marginalized voices in our democracy, it is all the more important that we work to ensure our communities are included."

The idea is not new to the East Bay. Berkeley voters passed a similar ballot measure in 2016 with 70 percent support. Five other cities in the country allow teens the right to vote in school board elections.

Supporters say that enfranchising teens not only widens the voting pool for school district elections, but also gives them a long-lasting early taste of democracy. "Research has proven that younger first-time voters are more likely to become life-long voters and make our parents more likely to vote as well," said Denilson Garibo, Oakland school board student director. "This will help us get more youth and young adults more civically engaged."


Hayward Firefighters Offer to Postpone Raise

The belt-tightening at Hayward City Hall due to Covid-19 is becoming more evident as the city faces a potential $17 million loss of revenues this year. In order to limit the toll on the city's finances, Hayward firefighters unions are offering to forego an upcoming 2 percent cost-of-living increase scheduled for July 1.

The offer and proposed memorandum of understanding before the Hayward City Council on Tuesday night between the firefighters' union and city administration appears to follow good-faith discussion between the parties.

On the same council agenda is an offer from Hayward City Manager Kelly McAdoo and the city's executive team to postpone their own 2 percent cost-of-living pay increases, or agree to a 80-hour furlough period in 2021.

Furthermore, the Hayward City Council has agreed to cut its salary by 2 percent, in addition, to slashing its budget for council travel and miscellaneous expenses by 50 percent.

The total savings to city's general fund from the Hayward firefighters alone is an estimated $480,000 for the next fiscal year, according to a city staff report. The cuts agreed to by the city administration and city council adds $18,300 in savings to the general fund.

Since the pandemic and local shelter in place began in mid-March, Hayward has continued to pay salaries and benefits to its full-time employees. However, layoffs to temporary staff have been previously issued. The city council has met in closed session with city employee unions several times recently, suggesting that layoffs and other cuts in pay may be coming.


Parole Reform Bill Advances

A bill that would bar the use of uncorroborated information from confidential informants at parole hearings was approved by the state Senate Public Safety Committee on Wednesday. Senate Bill 1064, authored by East Bay state Sen. Nancy Skinner, would also prohibit prison employees from basing alleged violations by inmates based on unverified claims from confidential informants.

SB 1064 was approved by the Public Safety Committee, 6-1, its first steps in the legislative process.

Violations of prison rules often form the basis for parole being denied to an inmate. In addition, the accused would be afforded the opportunity to question witnesses during a disciplinary hearing, under the proposed law. Skinner believes the practice is a violation of a prisoner's due process, and in many cases the inmate is unaware that allegations have been made to their file.


In Other News ...

Politico reported that California lawmakers are "moving quickly on legislation authorizing a state takeover of Pacific Gas & Electric" in case the utility's bankruptcy exit plan falls short next month or other triggers occur. ...

The University of California will drop the SAT and ACT tests as admission requirements through 2024 and eliminate them for California residents after that, the Associated Press reported. The vote by the U.C. Board of Regents on Thursday was unanimous. ...

It's official: BART is finally going to the South Bay, San Jose Inside reported. Officials from BART and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority say the Milpitas and Berryessa stations will begin passenger service on June 13, pending final regulatory approval. The 10-mile, $2.3 billion Berryessa project extends BART service from the Warm Springs in Fremont through Milpitas and on to North San Jose, marking its first venture into Santa Clara County in the transit agency's 55-year history. ... Emeryville-based Peet's Coffee is moving forward with an initial public offering that hopes to raise $2 billion, KPIX reported. Peet's also has a roasting plant in Alameda. ...

U.S. marshals arrested a man in Southern California who is suspected of a hit-and-run killing of a woman in Oakland last January, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The woman was the mother of seven children. ...

KTVU reported that Oakland's Lake Temescal has closed again after a city pipe got clogged—probably with wipes—and allowed an unknown amount of sewage to flow into the body of water, according to the city and the park district. The lake had a definitely ripe odor over the Memorial Day weekend.

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