The long-awaited, often-delayed report on last November's pepper-spraying of student protesters at UC Davis has been released, with a 12-member panel concluding that the incident could have been avoided and recommending a top-to-bottom overhaul of the campus police department. Video of the incident gave the campus, which is not particularly well known outside California, an international profile.
From Nanette Asimov in the Chronicle: "The study sheds light on what led UC police officers to coat about 20 protesters with pepper spray as the group sat huddled in a line the afternoon of Nov. 18."
"The students, protesting rising tuition, were surrounded by other students who booed and screamed as the spraying began. Video of the spraying went viral, sparking international condemnation and threats against at least one officer."
"Former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso led the 12-member task force that produced the report. On Wednesday, they hosted a forum at UC Davis, webcast live, to discuss their findings and answer questions."
And here's a report on the incident from Capitol Weekly's Richard Chang.
"The response from students was muted, in comparison to the outpour of support last Nov. About 400 members of the UC Davis community attended the town hall meeting, in contrast to the thousands that gathered on the quad for a rally in support of those who were pepper-sprayed."
"Bryan McPartlan, a senior political science major, expressed concern about the administration’s handling of recent Occupy protests, which involved shutting down student services and the campus U.S. Bank branch."
“The pepper-spray incident is holding back the chancellor’s ability to respond to these protests,” McPartlan said."
The Bay Citizen, which was founded and financed by the late philanthropist Warren Hellman, and the New York Times are parting ways: For two years, the Bay Citizen's staff has covered the Bay Area and provided news for the NYT's print edition in Northern California. But no longer: The Bay Citizen has been subsumed by the Center for Investigative Reporting, and the Times doesn't want to continue the partnership.
From the Bay Citizen's Peter H. Lewis: " The final Bay Area pages in The New York Times will appear April 29; control of The Bay Citizen will be transferred to CIR the following day."
"The Times has been immensely proud to publish The Bay Citizen’s enterprising news report in our pages and on our website for nearly two years,” said Jim Schachter, associate managing editor of The Times. “We would have liked to continue the relationship. This undertaking, from our perspective, has met all its objectives. We understand that CIR wants to use its journalistic resources differently, and we fully respect that.”
"Phil Bronstein, executive chairman of the merged organization, said California Attorney General Kamala Harris approved the proposed merger of the two nonprofit news organizations earlier this week. Formal certification of the merger is expected from the California secretary of state on April 30."
Meanwhile, the state Supreme Court is expected to decide a thorny issue that has been rattling around for years -- meal and rest breaks for workers.
From the AP's Jason Dearen: "In a case that could affect thousands of California employers and millions of workers, the state Supreme Court will decide whether managers must order workers to take rest and meal breaks at regular intervals throughout the workday."
"The question is whether California labor law requires an employer to simply "provide" meal and rest breaks to employees, or whether it must also "ensure" those breaks are taken at certain times during shifts. The court's decision could also greatly reduce the numerous class action lawsuits surrounding the issue, which cost companies embroiled in the cases millions of dollars in legal costs."
"The closely watched case was filed in 2004 by restaurant workers employed by Brinker International, which owns Chili's and other eateries. The company's attorneys argue that businesses cannot control workers' breaks, and that break timing should be left to an employee's discretion. The workers' lawyers counter that by not ordering breaks at regular intervals throughout the workday, employers are taking advantage of employees who don't want to leave colleagues during busy times."