Friday Must Read: Redistricting Commission Releases New Maps; Alameda Firefighters Argued Against Cutting Water Rescue

You guys, today is national lasagna day. The world is a wonderful place. Here are some news stories for your perusal.

1. More than two years before an apparently suicidal man drowned himself at Crown Beach in Alameda as firefighters watched and did nothing, the Alameda firefighters union warned their superiors that cutting the department’s water rescue program could be disastrous. According to records dug up by the Trib, a leader of Alameda’s firefighters union filed a letter in February 2009 that spoke of the need for a water rescue team (and also argued that cutting the program violated the union’s contract, BTW) — claims which were both rejected by former interim fire Chief Dave Kapler and then-City Manager Ann Marie Gallant. Meanwhile, a recently released toxicology report shows the man, Raymond Zack, had no narcotics or alcohol in his system and that the official cause of death was drowning. An investigation into the drowning is currently underway and the results are expected to be presented in late September.

2. The group tasked with redrawing California’s congressional and legislative districts released final drafts of the new maps yesterday — and what they settled on has the potential to seriously impact state politics. Namely: the new maps would likely give Democrats a two-thirds supermajority — which is needed to pass new taxes — in the state senate, though they’d probs fall short of that threshold in the state assembly. It looks like no Bay Area democrats stand to lose a seat — though state rep Jerry McNerney, who represents Pleasanton, doesn’t live in his newly-drawn district, so he’s planning on moving. The group will officially vote on its proposed maps on Friday, after which the public will have two weeks to review them — ie, dispute them — before they’re totally finalized. Folks can also fight the new districts in court or by a ballot referendum.

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