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POSTED May 11, 2012 7:37 p.m.

SF teachers vote to support possible strike

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco schoolteachers have voted to support a strike if contract negotiations continue to stall.

About 1,900 teachers overwhelmingly passed the first of two strike votes. The United Educators of San Francisco said Friday the measure got 97 percent of the vote.

Negotiations on a new contract began in January.

District officials say they need to cover an estimated $80 million budget shortfall over the next two years, and they want $30 million in concessions from its teachers.

Meanwhile, the union is pushing for a 2-percent raise and taking issue with proposals to increase the size of K-3 and special education classes.

Union members still must take a second vote before going on strike. Leaders say the timing of that vote depends on the progress of negotiations.

Grant family wasn't told of ex-BART cop's appeal

OAKLAND . (AP) — Relatives of an unarmed man killed by a former Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer say they weren't told about the officer's hearing to appeal his conviction.

At a hearing Wednesday, lawyers for Johannes Mehserle asked the state appeals court to reverse his conviction. They argued that the shooting of 22-year-old Oscar Grant on New Year's Day 2009 was a tragic mistake, but not involuntary manslaughter.

Grant's uncle, Cephus Johnson said Friday that the family was outraged that prosecutors failed to notify them about the hearing.

Alameda County prosecutors acknowledged that they didn't properly notify the state Attorney General's office, which is supposed to inform victims' families. Prosecutor Kevin Dunleavy says that problem has been resolved.

Mehserle was released from prison last year after serving half of a two-year sentence.

Calif auditors blast city's accounting records

HERCULES . (AP) — California's top financial officer slammed a cash-strapped city for keeping what he said were such poor records that auditors could not perform a review of its finances.

State Controller John Chiang said in a pair of audits released Thursday that the Contra Costa County city of Hercules has the worst set of accounting records he had ever seen. The city may have to pay back $2 million in federal and state grants because of poor documentation, he said.

"The city's books were so poorly managed that I must question their use of every single federal and state dollar granted to the city," Chiang said.

Hercules is on the brink of bankruptcy and has laid off 40 percent of City Hall staff over the past year.

Mayor Dan Romero says the city did not misspend any state or federal funds. He blamed the bookkeeping problems on short staffing and turnover in the finance office.

"We are a city in turmoil," he said. "The state controller should work with us, not play politics."

Grants received by the city included two from the U.S. Department of Transportation totaling more than $1 million. The money was to be spent on building a transit depot and repaving a major roadway.

 

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