Friday, October 18, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Moraga fire could have been a disaster, fire officials said; 300 housing units coming to Alameda

State unemployment rate hits a record-low

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Oct 18, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Kamala Harris's presidential campaign was skewered for posting this odd Twitter meme. - IAN SAMS/TWITTER
  • Ian Sams/Twitter
  • Kamala Harris's presidential campaign was skewered for posting this odd Twitter meme.


News you don't want to miss for Oct. 18-20:

1. The fire in Moraga earlier this week was contained, but was on the verge of a major disaster, fire officials told the East Bay Times. The fire, which is believed to have been accidental, was located near St. Mary's College and required an evacuation of some neighborhoods. $$

2. Your PG&E bill could increase by an average of $9 a month starting in January, the East Bay Times reports. The early advisory from PG&E comes at a time when the utility is facing considerable criticism for its handling of state wildfires and the recent Northern California power shut off. $$

3. More than 300 new housing units are coming to Alameda, the East Bay Times reports. The Alameda Planning Board approved the final phase of the Alameda Landing project, which is located near the Oakland Estuary. $$

4. Expect a dry winter, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued the forecast, but added weather can be fickle. Steady rainfall is predicted to resume by February. $$

5. California's unemployment rate reached a record-low in September, the Associated Press reports. The unemployment rate is now four percent. Job growth also increased for a 115 consecutive month, breaking a record set during the 1960s.

6. Kamala Harris's presidential campaign suffered a Twitter meme failure Thursday, SFGate reports. Her campaign posted the now iconic photo of Speaker Nancy Pelosi appearing to berate Donald Trump, but cropped out the president and replaced him with Harris and the comment, "Time for an upgrade."

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Thursday's Briefing: Oakland Diocese sued for decades-old abuse by priest; People living in vehicles skyrockets in Oakland

Bay Area observes the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Aerial view of a section of the Cypress Freeway in Oakland that collapsed following the Loma Prieta earthquake on this day in 1989. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Aerial view of a section of the Cypress Freeway in Oakland that collapsed following the Loma Prieta earthquake on this day in 1989.


News you don't want to miss for Oct. 17:

1. Three victims who were molested as children in the 1950s and 1960s by a Fremont priest are suing the Oakland Catholic Diocese, alleging church leaders were aware of the priest's actions, but did nothing to stop him, the East Bay Times reports. $$

2. The number of people living in vehicles in Oakland has risen considerably in just two years to 1,430, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, a 131 percent increase. $$

3. Meanwhile, someone is placing heavy logs on Poplar Street in Oakland in an attempt to stop vehicles from parking there, KRON reports. One witness said they have seen a forklift moving the logs into place.

4. Thirty years ago today the Bay Area was hit with a devastating magnitude 6.9 earthquake. A YouTube video of KGO-TV's coverage of the immediate aftermath of the Loma Prieta quake highlights the trickle of news that culminates with the collapse of a section of the Bay Bridge, the Cypress Freeway, and the realization Bay Area residents had just lived through a major catastrophe.

5. The Governor's Office of Emergency Services will officially unveil an app Thursday that will alert residents of an impending earthquake of a magnitude 4.5 or greater on the Richter Scale just it starts, NBC Bay Area reports. The "MyShake" app was created at U.C. Berkeley and uses the same system that creates Amber Alerts.

6. Six student housing developments in Berkeley were sold for $180 million to a Texas-based corporation, Berkeleyside reports. The properties include 343 units.

7. In a move that could possibly reverberate to the Bay Area, Los Angeles will study the feasibility of paying Uber and Lyft drivers a minimum wage of $30 an hour, the Los Angeles Times reports. The move comes on the heels of the passage of AB5. $$

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Wednesday's Briefing: Judge finds Oakland's Measure AA was defeated; Explosion in Crockett shuts down I-80

Oakland Raider accused of domestic violence

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Oct 16, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Rep. Barbara Lee, and Assemblymember Rob Bonta were strong supporters of Oakland's Measure AA. - MEASURE AA CAMPAIGN
  • Measure AA campaign
  • Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Rep. Barbara Lee, and Assemblymember Rob Bonta were strong supporters of Oakland's Measure AA.


News you don't want to miss for Oct.16:

1. An Alameda County judge determined that Oakland's Measure AA, the November 2018 parcel tax measure to fund early education, was not successful at the ballot box, the East Bay Times reports. Oakland administrators, including Mayor Libby Schaaf, believed Measure AA, which fell short of a two-thirds majority, required just a simple majority for passage.

2. Two tanks at the NuStar Energy plant in Crockett containing 250,000 gallons of ethanol exploded Tuesday afternoon, causing a fire that closed Interstate 80 for hours, KGO-TV reports. Now investigators are exploring whether Monday night's magnitude 4.5 earthquake may have been a cause of the accident.

3. Less than 24 hours after Monday's 4.5 quake, another moderately-sized temblor again hit Pleasant Hill, KRON reports. Tuesday night's shaker measured 3.4 on the Richter Scale.

4. Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would have allowed more cities and other jurisdictions to use ranked-choice voting, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The voting method allows voters to pick their top three choice. In the East Bay, ranked-choice is used only in Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro mayoral and city council races.

5. Actress Felicity Huffman began her two-week sentence in a Dublin women's prison on Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Huffman pleaded guilty last month to one count of conspiracy and fraud in the wide-ranging college admissions scandal. $$

6. Actor and playwright Sam Shepard's final play, "A Particle of Dread: Oedipus Variations," will debut at the Old Finnish Hall in Berkeley, starting this Friday, the East Bay Times reports. The play will run from Oct. 18 to Nov. 10. $$

7. A lawsuit was filed last week in Alameda County Superior Court accusing Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Trent Brown of domestic violence against his girlfriend, ESPN reports.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: Earthquake rattles the East Bay; Newsom said PG&E should pay rebates for power outage

Marshawn Lynch's restaurant to be featured on 'Bar Rescue'

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Oct 15, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Monday night's earthquake was centered in Pleasant Hill. - USGS
  • USGS
  • Monday night's earthquake was centered in Pleasant Hill.


News you don't want to miss for Oct. 15:

1. A magnitude 4.5 earthquake centered in Pleasant Hill provided a late evening jolt for East Bay residents, SFGate reports.

2. Just as power is nearly fully restored, PG&E continues to face the heat for its planned power outages last week. Gov. Gavin Newsom said the utility should pay rebates to customers who lost power, while state regulators want to reprimand PG&E, the East Bay Times reports. $$

3. Can't blame PG&E for this wildfire: Police believe the wildfire last Wednesday near St. Mary's College in Moraga was caused accidentally, the East Bay Times reports. The fire started amid PG&E's planned power shut off in the area. $$

4. Newsom vetoed a bill sponsored by state Sen. Nancy Skinner that would have required local jails release inmates only during daytime hours in order to ensure their safety, the Los Angeles Times reports. Newsom said the provision would be a costly expenditures for local governments. $$

5. Alameda County officials said they would sell their half of the Coliseum complex to Oakland for $78 million, but only if they paid up front, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The county later offered the A's a deal worth $85 million, spread out over several years. $$

6. In a blow to Sen. Kamala Harris's insistence that she was a progressive prosecutor during her time as state district attorney, Bloomberg reports she resisted efforts by the wrongly-convicted to receive compensation for their imprisonment.

7. Restaurant makeover show "Bar Rescue" is coming to Rob Ben's, to give Marshawn Lynch's restaurant in Emeryville a makeover, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Undocumented residents can now serve on state boards; Teenagers can sleep in on school days

Producer creates music album using voices of Oakland's homeless

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Oct 14, 2019 at 4:00 AM

The flurry of new laws coming out of Sacramento continued over the weekend.
  • The flurry of new laws coming out of Sacramento continued over the weekend.


News you don't want to miss for Oct. 14:

1. Non-citizens and undocumented immigrants can now be eligible to serve on state boards and commissions, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Saturday that only requires appointees to be older than 18 years old. $$

2. It's hard rouse kids out of their morning slumber. Biologically, kids need more sleep. That's the impetus behind a new law signed by Newsom that mandates middle school classes do not start before 8 a.m., and 8:30 a.m. for high schools, starting in 2022, EdSource reports.

3. The New York Times provides a behind-the-scenes tick-tock of PG&E's power shut off episode last week. Meanwhile, all those gas generators that were fired up during the power outages is causing concerns about the impact on the environment, the Associated Press reports.

4. Oakland-born producer Ian Brennan released a new album that relies on the voices and music of homeless people in Oakland, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, to highlight the worsening problem in the city. $$

5. Amid chatter of the A's moving to Las Vegas, two bills to help the team find a new home in Oakland were signed by Newsom last Friday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The new laws help streamline the CEQA process for a new A's stadium and create a tax district to fund infrastructure connecting the new ballpark to the city. $$

6. On this Indigenous Peoples Day, another reminder of how bad Christopher Columbus really was, this one from Vox, and the growing movement to eschew calling today's holiday Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples Day from The Hour.

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Fallout from PG&E power shut offs continues; 28-story office tower is coming to Oakland

Alameda County sheriff's deputy who crashed into a house while drunk is reinstated

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Oct 11, 2019 at 4:00 AM

A 28-story office tower is coming to downtown Oakland.
  • A 28-story office tower is coming to downtown Oakland.


News you don’t want to miss for Oct. 11-13:

1. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that the uproar over PG&E's blanket shutoff of power for large swaths of Northern California is less about climate change, and more about mismanagement. "It's decisions that were not made that is leading to this moment in PG&E history. This is not from my perspective a climate change story so much as it is a story of greed and mismanagement over the course of decades," Newsom said, according to the Associated Press.

2. PG&E bigwigs wined and dined at a Sonoma County winery on Monday and Tuesday just before instituting the massive power shut offs this week, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. The city of Berkeley took some heat for a tweet instructing residents who are dependent on life-saving medical devices to “use their own resources” to get to power sources during the PG&E power outages, the Mercury News reports. Mayor Jesse Arreguin said the tweet was poorly phrased. $$

4. A fire in Moraga was contained Thursday morning after consuming 50 acres, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The blaze near St. Mary's College led to the evacuation of about 150 families. $$

5. A 28-story office building is coming to the corner of Telegraph and West Grand Avenues, the East Bay Times reports. The 875,000 sq. ft. building will also include retail and a community theater. $$

6. An Alameda County sheriff's deputy who crashed his car into the Livermore home of a retired Oakland police sergeant and punched him is back on the job, NBC Bay Area reports. Deputy Gael Paredes had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit during the incident and is related through marriage to Alameda County Undersheriff Rich Lucia.

7. State Sen. Nancy Skinner appeared on KQED to discuss the fallout from the PG&E power outages and her legislative victories this year, including the "Fair Pay for Fair Play" act that could reform college athletics in the U.S.

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Thursday's Briefing: PG&E power outage continues, rankling residents; Trump picks on Steve Kerr

Felons can now serve on California juries

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Oct 10, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was criticized Wednesday by President Trump for not answering questions about the NBA's controversy with China. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr was criticized Wednesday by President Trump for not answering questions about the NBA's controversy with China.


News you don't want to miss for Oct. 10:

1. PG&E cut power to hundreds of thousands of customers Wednesday as part of a planned shut off, including residents in the Oakland Hills, SFGate reports. The North Bay, Lamorinda and parts of the Hayward Hills also experienced power outages.

2. Meanwhile, the unprecedented scope of PG&E's power shutdown is also fueling anger. A PG&E truck was reportedly shot at on Interstate 5 in Colusa County and someone threw eggs at a PG&E office in Oroville, prompting its closure, Fox News reports.

3. Convicted felons who have served their time can now serve on juries after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill authored by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, the East Bay Times reports. $$

4. The American Independent Party, a far-right political group, can keep its name after Newsom vetoed a bill that would have prohibited parties with "independent" in the name from appearing on the ballot, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Therefore, the tradition of newbie candidates registering as American Independents only to later learn it's a white supremacy movement shall continue for all our amusement. $$

5. Two Contra Costa County residents are alleged to have participated in a $4 million vehicle theft ring, the East Bay Times reports. Police said the suspects stole 84 cars. $$

6. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has been very vocal about the Trump administration in recent years. But on the controversy involving the NBA, China, and free speech, Kerr had few words. And Trump noticed, SFGate reports. “I watched this guy Steve Kerr and he was like a little boy, he was so scared to be even answering the question,” Trump said. “He was shaking, 'Oh, I don't know' ... he didn't know how to answer the question, and yet he'll talk about the United States very badly.

7. A's quality control coach Mark Kotsay interviewed for the open managerial position across the bay with the Giants, NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kotsay was a standout centerfielder for the A's in the early 2000s.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Wednesday's Briefing: Bay Area braces for PG&E power shut-offs; Schaaf confirms A's could leave if lawsuit is not dropped

Developer found guilty of illegal campaign contributions to Eric Swalwell

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Oct 9, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Mills College in Oakland is among several schools closed Wednesday due to the possibility of PG&E power shut offs.
  • Mills College in Oakland is among several schools closed Wednesday due to the possibility of PG&E power shut offs.


News you don't want to miss for Oct. 9:

1. PG&E shut off power to 141,000 customers in the North Bay as a planned preemptive move against potential wildfires, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Some areas of the East Bay may also face a loss of power. $$

2. U.C. Berkeley announced classes will be cancelled today due to the power shutdown, SFGate reports. Schools in San Leandro are closed today, as is Skyline High School in Oakland, Merritt College, and Mills College.

3. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said the A's could indeed move to Las Vegas, or elsewhere, if the city does not drop its lawsuit against Alameda County, the East Bay Times reports. The comments come after the Oakland City Council indicated it will meet directly with county officials, a decision meant to lower rising concerns that the team could skip town. $$

4. Should BART charge more than $3 for its coveted parking spots? The low cost may not persuade car drivers to explore other modes of getting to BART stations. Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle reports on the possibility of greatly increasing the price of parking. $$

5. Dublin developer James Tong was found guilty of making $38,000 in illegal campaign contributions to Rep. Eric Swalwell's congressional campaigns in 2012 and 2014, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Swalwell said he was unaware of the illegal donations. $$

6. Sen. Kamala Harris's presidential campaign continues to attract obituary-like press coverage. FivethirtyEight takes an analytical look at the plight of her campaign, speculating the campaign lacks clarity and, perhaps, voters are looking for something different than a candidate who evokes Barack Obama.

7. In a move that could boost voter participation and affect some high-profile races, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation that allows for same-day voter registration in California, the Los Angeles Times reports. $$

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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Tuesday’s Briefing: Dry, windy weather may force PG&E to shut off power in some areas of the East Bay

Voters will be asked to approved $15 billion school bond next March

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Oct 8, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Orinda hillside. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Orinda hillside.


News you don’t want to miss for Oct. 8:

1. Alameda and Contra Costa are two of seven Bay Area counties that could lose power due to PG&E's concerns over forecasts of dry and windy weather, KGO-TV reports. Customers in the Lamorinda areas of Contra Costa County may lose power from 4 a.m. Wednesday to Thursday afternoon.

2. Bacteria in the water at Berkeley’s Aquatic Park is getting worse, Berkeleyside report, and the city is unsure why. The city recommends avoiding all contact with the lagoon.

3. California primary voters will be asked to approve a $15 billion school construction bond measure, the Sacramento Bee reports. The measure will provide $9 billion for K-12, and $2 billion apiece for U.C., state universities, and community colleges. $$

4. A man who started a fire at a construction site on the Oakland-Emeryville border last year was sentenced to five years in prison, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. East Bay rap legend Keak da Sneak is out of prison after serving five months for illegal gun possession, KPIX reports.

6. A version of Brenda’s French Soul Food restaurant in San Francisco is opening in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, SF Eater reports. Among the Cajun delicacies served are ‘po boy sandwiches and beignets.

7. Laptops and desktop computers were stolen Sunday from the library and computer lab at Oakland’s Redwood Day School, KTVU reports. Two other instances of theft also occurred last Saturday.

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Monday, October 7, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Retrial date set for Ghost Ship master tenant; MLB warns Oakland to drop lawsuit

Early troubles with Berkeley's online parking permit program

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Oct 7, 2019 at 4:00 AM

An Alameda County jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict last month on 36 charges of involuntary manslaughter resulting from the 2016 Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland. - KTVU
  • KTVU
  • An Alameda County jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict last month on 36 charges of involuntary manslaughter resulting from the 2016 Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland.


News you don't want to miss for Oct. 7:

1. Derick Almena, the Ghost Ship master tenant, will face a retrial that is scheduled for November, NPR reports. A mistrial was declared last month for 36 charges of involuntary manslaughter against Almena. Max Harris, also charged with the same crimes, was acquitted.

2. Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is blunt in his assessment of Oakland's lawsuit against Alameda County that could threaten the A's proposed downtown ballpark. Manfred told Phil Matier in the San Francisco Chronicle that the A's could move to another city if the lawsuit is not dropped. $$

3. Sutter Health, the large Northern California hospital system, is set to go to trial over charges it significantly overcharged patients, The New York Times reports. Consolidation of local hospitals is one important factor. In Berkeley, Sutter Health is proposing to close Alta Bates Hospital. $$

4. Berkeley's new online parking permit program is off to a bumpy start, Berkeleyside reports. The city put the process of applying for parking permits online last summer in order to simplify it and offer instantaneous approval. No parking stickers are required.

5. With actress Felicity Huffman serving time at a women's prison in Dublin for attempting to circumvent university admissions rules, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that requires special admissions exemptions are approved by three campus administrators, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

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