Friday Must Reads: BART Workers Issue Strike Notice; Frazier Rips OPD Response to Zimmerman Verdict Protests



Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. BART employee unions issued a 72-hour strike notice last night, warning that they plan to go on strike before the Monday morning commute, the Merc reports. Union leaders and BART management remain far apart in negotiations, although both sides said they would continue to bargain this weekend to reach a settlement deal. BART management plans to use 95 charter buses to help transport commuters should there be a strike on Monday.

Thomas Frazier
  • Thomas Frazier
2. Oakland police compliance director Thomas Frazier strongly criticized OPD’s response to protests following the not-guilty verdict of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin, the Trib reports. Frazier said poor planning and a weak intelligence gathering system led OPD to be unprepared for the demonstrations. Interim Police Chief Sean Whent has said that command staff did not realize that the Zimmerman jury would be deliberating on a Saturday and so the department did not have enough officers in place to deal with protesters who vandalized downtown businesses. Frazier also reported that tensions between his office and City Hall officials have subsided.

3. About 400 BART workers and their supporters, including actor Danny Glover, rallied in downtown Oakland yesterday, urging union leaders to remain strong at the bargaining table, the Trib reports. "You can't allow to be taken for granted and to continue to give up and give back," Glover said at the rally. "We understand that if we concede, that we will continue to concede. ... We have to stand up now, we make this work."

4. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Paul Seeman, who had been charged with 32 felonies for stealing $1 million from his elderly neighbor, agreed to a lenient plea deal with prosecutors that will allow him to avoid prison time, the Trib reports. Under the deal with county District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, the judge pleaded no contest to one count of elder abuse and one count of perjury and was sentenced to five years probation. Seeman, who gave up his seat on the bench after he was arrested, also forfeited his law license and agreed to return $300,000 of the money he stole.

5. And Gary Bell, the Richmond political candidate who won a seat last year on the city council but was never able to take office because of a serious illness, died yesterday from complications related to a severe bacterial sinus infection that had required two surgeries and had left him in a coma, the CoCo Times reports. Bell was 54.