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Morning Wrap: 12/6/11

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jerry Brown unveils tax initiative, UC Davis appoints a pepper-spray task force, record number of applicants at Cal State, Mitt Romney to dodge press on Bay Area visit, and more inside.

Top of the morning’s news
  • Taking to Twitter, Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled a tax initiative asking voters to raise levies on the wealthy and increase the state sales tax by half a cent to restore California’s fiscal stability. LA Times; In an open letter to Californians, the governor says raising taxes is the only way to avoid further cuts to schools and other vital services. Contra Costa Times 
Media and Media People
  • One-time Chronicle reporter and ex-Washington Post Pulitzer Prize winner Jose Antonio Vargas has a Q&A with an upstate New York newspaper about his status as an illegal immigrant. The Ithacan
  • Veteran LA Times columnist George Skelton gets a tribute that includes a video with lots of celebrity cameos at a dinner in Sacramento honoring 50 years of his covering California politics. PolitiCal
  • GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will be in Burlingame tomorrow for a lunch fundraiser but his campaign says there are no plans for a media availability. Chronicle Politics Blog
  • Democrats, who already hold 34 of California’s 53 congressional seats, are likely to gain more next year under new districts drawn by an independent commission, according to an assessment by the University of Virginia. Capitol Alert
Other news
  • Air quality regulators are asking Bay Area residents to voluntarily refrain from burning wood fires at least through today to prevent the first Spare the Air alert of the cold season. Contra Costa Times
  • Massive construction projects for the 2013 America’s Cup will begin soon at Pier 27 and that means moving day is near for dozens of merchants who’ve called the waterfront home for years. Chronicle
  • The woman accused of burglarizing “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek’s San Francisco hotel room last summer won’t face a three-strikes charge that could have sent her to prison for 25 years to life. AP
  • UC Davis named a dozen people to a task force to investigate the pepper-spraying of student protesters there. AP
  • Whoever shot and killed six birds at Newhall Park in Concord over the weekend is likely responsible for at least 22 geese and ducks that have been found dead there over the past month, police say. Chronicle
  • The California Supreme Court reversed a death sentence Monday for the first time in two years. Chronicle
  • A disgraced former Fry’s executive has asked a judge for leniency prior to his sentencing for masterminding a kickback scheme, saying that a gambling addiction made him do it. Mercury News
  • The long-shuttered Novato Theater moved a step closer to reopening after the Novato City Council approved its sale to a nonprofit that plans to renovate it. Marin IJ 
  • For the third year in a row the Cal State system has received a record number of undergraduate applications. Mercury News

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