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POSTED October 18, 2012 9:38 p.m.

OAKLAND MAY HIRE CONTRACT POLICE OFFICERS: OAKLAND  (AP) — The undermanned Oakland Police Department may contract with outside law enforcement agencies to patrol its crime-ridden streets.

Sheriff's deputies and California Highway Patrol officers would be hired for several months while the city's police academy cadets finish up their training.

The department currently has 629 officers, down from a high of 837 four years ago.

Major crimes are up 20 percent in Oakland this year. Burglaries are up about 40 percent over last year and the city has already recorded 100 homicides.

The Oakland Tribune says the outside officers would boost Police Department ranks without the red tape involved in hiring new officers.

Councilmember Libby Schaaf discussed the idea this week with Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern.

SCHOOL DISTRICT SEEKS $3.6M FROM EX-BUSINESS CHIEF: WOODSIDE  (AP) — A Northern California school district is seeking $3.6 million in restitution from an ex-business chief who will be sentenced next week for embezzling public funds.

San Mateo County prosecutors say Timothy Hanretty falsified documents to obtain a loan that that was $2 million more than what the Woodside Elementary School District authorized.

The Palo Alto Daily News says Hanretty pleaded no contest to six felony counts of misappropriation of public funds and he's facing four years in prison when he's sentenced on Monday.

The school district's reimbursement claim asks the judge to order $3.6 million in restitution for a loan it did not authorize, interest on the loan and attorney and accountant fees.

SAN FRANCISCO HIRES QUAKE SAFETY CZAR: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A building permit consultant has been hired as San Francisco's first earthquake safety czar.

Patrick Otellini is a certified building inspector who served on the mayor's task force examining soft-story building risks.

So-called soft-story buildings have a garage or storefront on the first floor, making them prone to collapse in a major quake.

As director of earthquake safety, Otellini will implement a 30-year plan to reduce the city's most dangerous risks in a future earthquake, including retrofitting soft-story buildings, private schools and some concrete buildings.

Otellini will be paid between $108,000 and $138,000 a year.

OFFICIALS TO BEEF UP AIR MONITORS NEAR REFINERIES: RICHMOND  (AP) — Local air quality officials have approved a new plan to more tightly monitor pollution near refineries after gaps in the system were exposed during a fire at Chevron's Richmond refinery.

The Contra Costa Times reports that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District approved the plan at its meeting Wednesday.

The new strategy sets an 18-month timetable for creating a new rule to more accurately measure toxic air pollution from refineries.

The move comes after the Aug. 6 fire that destroyed a crude unit at Chevron's Richmond refinery and sent billowing black smoke into the air. Thousands of nearby residents flooded local hospitals complaining of breathing and eye irritation problems.

Jack Broadbent, the district's executive director, says the new plan will "significantly" enhance monitoring of the facilities.

OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE ROBBED AT GUNPOINT: OAKLAND  (AP) — An Oakland City Council candidate was robbed at gunpoint after attending an anti-crime meeting in his district.

Dan Kalb said Thursday that he had just gotten out of his car when a man poked a gun in his back demanding his iPhone and wallet shortly after 8:30 p.m. Wednesday near his home in North Oakland.

The 53-year-old environmental policy director said he initially dropped his phone before handing over his wallet to the armed robber who ordered him to run. The candidate said the robber also found his phone before speeding away.

Kalb called the police when he got home. He was not injured.

Police say no arrests have been made.

POLICE SEARCH OAKLAND CAMPUS AFTER GUNMAN REPORTS: OAKLAND  (AP) — Students and staff at an Oakland college and elementary school have been ordered to stay indoors while police investigate reports of a possible gunman.

Authorities say police received a report about an armed man on the campus of Holy Names University in the Oakland hills around 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Police told the Oakland Tribune ( that about 200 students and employees at Holy Names were sheltering in a gymnasium while a SWAT team searched the 68-acre campus in the Oakland hills.

Nearby Redwood Heights Elementary School was placed on lockdown after school officials heard reports of the possible gunman.

FEDS SAY LAW SCHOOL ADMISSION TESTERS DISCRIMINATE: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge has let the federal government join a California lawsuit alleging that administers of the law school admission test discriminate against the disabled.

The judge's order Thursday granting the U.S. Department of Justice request to join expanded the case nationwide. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing originally filed the lawsuit in April on behalf of California test takers.

The lawsuit alleges that the Law School Admission Council fails to properly process request for accommodations for the so-called LSAT resulting in improper denials. The lawsuit also alleges the council improperly discloses the identities of those afforded extra time to law schools.

The nonprofit corporation denies the allegations in court papers. It says most applications are granted. Some 150,000 prospective law students take the test each year.


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