Friday Must Reads: State Orders Oakland to Pay $32.5 Million; Bay Area Activist Medea Benjamin Heckles Obama Over Guantanamo and Drones


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Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland officials announced that the state Department of Finance has ordered the city to hand over $32.5 million in proceeds from last-minute real estate deals that Oakland made just before the state killed redevelopment, SFGate reports. Oakland officials had expected the move and had set aside the money in a separate account. However, the state’s decision means that Oakland’s finances are much tighter than hoped as the city council decides in the next month whether to spend millions of additional dollars on the police department or restore cuts to public services over the next two years.

Medea Benjamin
  • Medea Benjamin
2. Bay Area civil rights activist Medea Benjamin, the founder of Global Exchange and Code Pink, heckled President Obama yesterday during his national security speech, criticizing the president for failing to close Guantanamo Bay prison as promised. Benjamin also harangued Obama for the administration’s deadly drone strike program, which has killed at least four Americans, including an innocent 16-year-old boy.

3. The Boy Scouts voted for the first time to allow gay and lesbian youth join the organization, but will continue its ban on gay and lesbian adults, the Chron$ reports. The vote angered religious conservatives who wanted to maintain the total ban on gays and lesbians, and it frustrated progressive and LGBT activists because the Boy Scouts decided to keep discriminating against adults.

4. The Oakland school board voted to keep its adult education program alive for at least one more year, EdSource reports (via Rough & Tumble). Earlier this year, the board had voted to eliminate the $1 million program, expecting that Governor Jerry Brown would transfer adult education to community colleges this fall. But the governor’s plan now would not take effect until 2015. Over the years, Oakland and other school districts have greatly downsized adult education programs in budget cutting moves.

5. BART has decided to conduct at least one more test before allowing bikes on all trains, SFGate reports. BART has already conducted two successful tests of the program.

6. Kaiser Permanente announced that it will aim for LEED gold standards in all its new buildings, the SF Business Times reports (via Rough & Tumble).

7. Health insurance costs under Obamacare in California will be lower than expected for consumers, the Chron$ reports.

8. And Chez Panisse, which suffered extensive fire damage in March, plans to reopen on June 21 with a 2,500-a-plate dinner, the Mercury News reports.