Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Tuesday's Briefing: U.C. Berkeley eyes removal of controversial names from its buildings; A's open short season on July 24

Alameda restaurant is closing because owner is running for parliament

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Jul 7, 2020 at 4:00 AM

U.C. Berkeley has been in the process of reconciling its past with the renaming of some buildings named after controversial figures. - BERT JOHNSON
  • Bert Johnson
  • U.C. Berkeley has been in the process of reconciling its past with the renaming of some buildings named after controversial figures.


News you don't want to miss for July 7:

1. U.C. Berkeley is likely to rename LeConte Hall, which was named after scientists who owned slaves and helped the Confederacy fine-tune its recipe for gunpowder. SFGate reports a building named after anthropologist Alfred Kroeber could also be changed. The scientist's work with an indigenous man is coming under greater scrutiny.

2. The University of California Board of Regents will choose a successor for outgoing U.C. President Janet Napolitano on Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Napolitano announced last year that she will be stepping down from the post held since 2013. $$

3. Alameda's Park Street business corridor is taking another hit. Mama Papa Lithuania Restaurant is permanently closing because its owner is running for parliament in Lithuania, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The establishment was the only restaurant serving Lithuanian cuisine in the Bay Area.

4. California Democratic Party leaders want officials to stop accepting political contributions from police unions, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Although the local election season in the East Bay is just beginning, several progressive candidates have already weaned themselves off police union money. $$

5. The State Assembly will not reconvene next week after an assemblymember and others who work at the capitol tested positive for the coronavirus, the Associated Press reports. In the meantime, the assembly will be cleansed and sanitized.

6. The Oakland A's will open their truncated 60-game season on July 24 against the Los Angeles Angels, MLB.com reports. The A's will only play teams within their own division and the National League West, which includes the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Monday, July 6, 2020

Monday's Briefing: AC Transit may steeply cut bus services due to covid-19; Illegal fireworks to blame for Fourth of July fires

Testing issues block A's from beginning workouts

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Jul 6, 2020 at 3:42 PM

AC Transit is losing $5 million in lost fare revenue each month during the pandemic, officials said. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • AC Transit is losing $5 million in lost fare revenue each month during the pandemic, officials said.


News you don't want to miss for July 6:

1. AC Transit is looking at the possibility of slashing bus service by up to 30 percent due to a sharp decline in ridership due to the pandemic, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Weekday ridership has dropped from 189,000 to 53,000, as of late May. $$

2. Fourth of July sparked a large number of fires in the Bay Area, including a few significant blazes in Contra Costa County on Saturday night, ABC7 reports.

3. Crowds at Lake Merritt on Saturday night hindered Oakland firefighters from quickly attending to a medical emergency in the area, SFGate reports. The call should have taken 2-3 minutes for firefighters to respond, said a spokesperson for OFD, but, instead, took 14 minutes.

4. Two supporters of President Trump, attempted to cover up a large Black Lives Matter mural painted on a street in Martinez, the Bay City News reports.

5. A problem with its covid-19 testing stopped the Oakland A's from conducting their first workouts at the Coliseum over the weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The delay in receiving covid-19 tests was exacerbated by the holiday weekend. $$

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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Thursday's Briefing: Nancy Skinner blasts state prisons' handling of covid-19 cases; State extends unemployment benefits

A's fans can attend games via a cardboard cutout

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 4:00 AM

State Sen. Nancy Skinner. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • State Sen. Nancy Skinner.


News you don't want to miss for July 2:

1. State Sen. Nancy Skinner tore into state prison officials for their failures in protecting inmates, and the general public, from the spread of the coronavirus, KQED reports. Skinner made her comments during a state Senate public safety committee oversight hearing on Wednesday.

2. "Jobless Californians could get up to seven additional weeks of unemployment benefits," according to the state Employment Development Department, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. A vehicle containing four people was shot at on 106th Avenue in Oakland near the Interstate 580 freeway on Wednesday afternoon, ABC7 reports. All four were injured. Police are investigating the incident.

4. Parking at state beaches will be closed during the Fourth of July weekend in order to limit attendance and the spread of the coronavirus, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. The upcoming season at the Oakland Coliseum will be fanless, but diehards can have their image printed on a cutout placed in the stands for up to $129, Bay City News reports. The premium price allows fans to keep a foul ball if it hits their cutout.

6. The Oakland Roots soccer club is leaving its league to help form another with seven other local teams, SFGate reports. The newly-formed National Soccer League Pacific Division includes teams from Contra Costa County, San Leandro, San Francisco and San Jose.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Wednesday's Briefing: Oakland Zoo is at risk of closing due to covid-19, executive says; Berkeley cuts police budget

Oakland city attorney sues three landlords for illegal evictions

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Oakland Zoo officials contend the facility should be viewed as an outdoor museum, a type of business already allowed to reopen. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Oakland Zoo officials contend the facility should be viewed as an outdoor museum, a type of business already allowed to reopen.


News you don't want to miss for July 1:

1. The Oakland Zoo is at risk of closing due to the covid-19 pandemic if it does not reopen soon, the East Bay Citizen reports. The zoo has burned through federal stimulus money and been forced to layoff workers and cut pay for others, a zoo official told Alameda County supervisors on Tuesday.

2. A number of Alameda County cities officially boosted their local minimum wage to $15 an hour today. The San Francisco Chronicle reports on the added costs to businesses during the pandemic and possibility that the extra cash will lead to increased consumer spending. $$

3. The Oakland City Attorney's office filed a lawsuit against three landlords for allegedly harassing and attempting to illegally evict tenants during the pandemic, the Mercury News reports.

4. Oakland councilmembers voted to amend its recently approved budget in three weeks, in a move that could add further cuts to the Oakland Police Department, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The council voted last week to cut $14 million from OPD's budget. $$

5. Meanwhile, Berkeley officials voted to cut $9 million from its police department's budget on Tuesday night, KTVU reports. Similar to other local cities that recently made to cuts public safety, the cost-savings will come from police officer hiring freezes and a reduction in overtime.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Tuesday's Briefing: Berkeley councilmember wants unarmed civil servants to enforce traffic and parking laws; Alameda County public health officer is leaving

Alameda County pauses reopening plans

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Jun 30, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Berkeley Councilmember Rigel Robinson. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Berkeley Councilmember Rigel Robinson.


News you don't want to miss for June 30:

1. Berkeley Councilmember Rigel Robinson is proposing for the city to use unarmed civil servants for traffic and parking enforcement, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. If approved, Berkeley would be the first in the nation to shift enforcement away from its police department. $$

2. An Oakland police officer was arrested on suspicion of staking and threatening a city employee, NBC Bay Area reports. The officer had a previous relationship with the city employee.

3. Alameda County public health officials pressed pause on plans for further reopening the economy, SFGate reports. The county last loosened its rules on June 19, but will now make decisions about reopening every 4-6 weeks.

4. Interim Alameda County Public Health Officer Dr. Erica Pan is leaving after being named California state epidemiologist, the San Francisco Chronicle reports Pan led the county's effort to contain the coronavirus and notably tussled with Tesla's Elon Musk over the rapid reopening of the Fremont electric vehicle factory. $$

5. A mixture of events that occurred around Memorial Day, including barbecues, large-scale protests in support of George Floyd, and graduation celebrations likely kickstarted California's current surge of coronavirus infections, the Los Angeles Times reports. $$

6. Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., known as the "Golden State killer," admitted to 13 murders and dozens of rapes, the Associated Press reports. DeAngelo admitted to 161 total crimes involving 48 people, including a woman in Contra Costa County.

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Monday, June 29, 2020

Monday's Briefing: Long-time Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele dies; Barbara Lee to co-chair the state's DNC delegation

Contra Costa County postpones reopening of bars, gyms, indoor dining

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Jun 29, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Between stints in elected office, former Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele founded the Eden Youth Center. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Between stints in elected office, former Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele founded the Eden Youth Center.


News you don't want to miss for June 29:

1. Former Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele passed away on Friday, the East Bay Citizen report. Steele, who represented the Hayward area on the Board of Supervisors for 18 years before retiring in 2010, also served eight years on the Hayward City Council. Her service to the public focused strongly on advocating for the well-being of the county's youth.

2. East Bay progressive beacons Reps. Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna will lead the California Democratic delegation as co-chairs for this summer's presidential convention, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis is also a co-chair. $$

3. Lee also got an unexpected boost from a Washington Post opinion writer who believes the long-time East Bay congresswoman should be considered as Joe Biden's running mate. Noting another wave of progressive wins in Congress recently, James Downie wrote, "If Biden wants to show he’s listening to these voters, there’s one name that apparently isn’t on his current vice-presidential shortlist, but should be: Rep. Barbara Lee." $$

4. Contra Costa County is putting the brakes on its planned reopening of bars, gyms, indoor dining and other types of businesses, KTVU reports. An increase of covid-19 cases is leading county health officials to postpone the reopening plan that was scheduled for this Wednesday.

5. Fourth of July fireworks displays are canceled throughout the Bay Area this weekend, SFGate reports. That is, official fireworks show will be canceled.

6. Illegal fireworks are being blamed for a vegetation fire that occurred on early Sunday morning in the Oak Knoll/Golf Links area of East Oakland, the East Bay Times reports.

7. "All Lives Matter" was spray-painted on a black-owned home in Oakland, "ABC7 reports. In addition, the same phrase was spray-painted on cars in Alameda that is home to a black family.

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Friday, June 26, 2020

Friday's Briefing: Trump says Oakland is like 'living in hell'; BART director praises Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee

Oakland to close some streets for outdoor dining

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Jun 26, 2020 at 4:00 AM

President Trump and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf again engaged in a war of words. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • President Trump and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf again engaged in a war of words.


News you don't want to miss for June 26-28:

1. President Trump said living in Oakland and a number of other U.S. cities, is "like living in hell," during an interview on Fox News. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf responded on Twitter with "Hell is another four years of this racist in the White House," KRON reports.

2. For some reason, BART Board Director John McPartland felt the need to praise Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee during a meeting on Thursday, SFGate reports. Partland called Lee an "exemplary general" while discussing the transportation agency's budget. McPartland represents Hayward, Dublin, Pleasanton, and Castro Valley on the BART board.

3. "BART plans to shift police away from calls related to homelessness, drug use and mental health crises as the transit agency heeds reform calls from the Black Lives Matter movement," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

4. A complaint that sought to sue U.C. Berkeley for increasing student enrollment and thereby negatively impacting Berkeley neighborhoods was reinstated by an appeals court, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The complaint had been previously dismissed by an Alameda County Superior Court judge. $$

5. Oakland is beginning a program to allow restaurants and businesses to use sidewalks, closed city streets, and parking lots for dining and retail activity, NBC Bay Area reports.

6. After a flood of complaints over the slow pace of approving jobless claims and reports of poor customer service, state lawmakers are calling for an audit of the state Employment Development Department, the Los Angeles Times reports. Since mid-March, the state has paid out $33.5 billion in benefits. $$

7. Some local staycation spots are reopening in the Bay Area. Muir Woods National Monument will reopen on Monday, SFGate reports. Santa Cruz County will open its beaches on Friday, the Mercury News reports. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has been partially open since earlier this month. Its rides, however, are not open. $$

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Thursday, June 25, 2020

Thursday's Briefing: OUSD eliminates its police department; State constitutional amendment reversing ban on affirmative action heads to the ballot

Former Richmond police chief resign in Tucson

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Jun 25, 2020 at 4:00 AM

ousd_police.jpg


News you don't want to miss for June 25:

1. The Oakland Schools Police Department will soon be no more after Oakland Unified School District trustees voted on Wednesday night to eliminate the force and redirect its funding to other school programs, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. Tony Thurmond, the state superintendent of public instruction, believes some type of law enforcement is needed at public schools to keep students safe, the Associated Press reports. Thurmond called for a "re-imagining" of police at public schools that would focus on protecting students from violent incidents, but stray from disciplining them.

3. A 40-year-old veteran was tased five times by Alameda police officers in 2018 and lost consciousness, and later died in the hospital, according to records obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle. The City of Alameda settled a claim with the mother of the man earlier this year for $250,000. $$

4. Former Richmond police chief Chris Magnus resigned as head of the Tucson Police Department after video was released of an in-custody death of a man that included three of its police officers, AZCentral reports. Magnus was viewed a police reformer during his tenure in Richmond.

5. California voters will be asked in November to overturn Proposition 209, the 1996 initiative that banned affirmative action for state college admissions, hiring and contracts, Calmatters reports. State legislators approved placement of the state constitutional amendment on the Nov. 3 ballot on Wednesday.

6. A McDonald's restaurant on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland that suffered from an outbreak of covid-19 among its employee will remain closed, a judge ordered, according to the East Bay Times. Employees contend the owner of the franchise failed to enact sufficient health and safety measures during the pandemic. The restaurant has been closed since May 26.

7. The number of cases of covid-19 at San Quentin State Prison has recently skyrocketed from four dozen to more than 450. Health experts warn the situation at the jail could spread to the entire Bay Area, if not remedied soon, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Specifically, they have called for reducing the prison's jail population by one-half. $$

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Wednesday's Briefing: Oakland passes budget with fewer cuts to OPD than proposed; AG will seek injunction forcing Uber, Lyft to comply with AB5

Outside Lands is canceled for 2020

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Oakland Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas said the council usurped democracy after approving a budget that was not properly noticed, she alleged on Twitter. - STEVEN TAVARES
  • Steven Tavares
  • Oakland Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas said the council usurped democracy after approving a budget that was not properly noticed, she alleged on Twitter.


News you don't want to miss for June 24:

1. Oakland councilmembers approved a budget for the upcoming fiscal year that fell short of the $25 million in cuts to the Oakland Police Department sought by Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Bas blasted her colleagues on Twitter after the vote. "5 Councilmembers who passed Oakland budget tonight just killed democracy. They passed budget that was not even published publicly on city website. I didn’t receive it until today’s meeting had already started, and I didn’t receive the policy directives at all," Bas tweeted. $$

2. New cases of covid-19 are rising at a rapid clip across the state, but while Santa Clara County's public health officer is expressing concerns in the South Bay, the situation elsewhere in the Bay Area is stable, SFGate reports. This comes despite large-scale protests and the loosening of restrictions. As of Wednesday, Alameda County has reported 5,140 total cases and 120 deaths.

3. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra plans to seek an injunction against Uber and Lyft in an effort to force the tech companies who rely on gig workers to comply with AB5 and reclassify workers as employees, Politico reports.

4. We've seen and heard the rockets red glare as evening and late-night fireworks "shows" have proliferated across the county. The displays, some beautiful, but mostly nuisances for residents and pets, are driving people crazy and have also started a number of fires recently in Oakland, SFGate reports.

5. The Outside Lands musical festival, previously scheduled for this August, has been cancelled due to covid-19, Rolling Stone reports. The popular concert event, however, will return in 2021 with a slate of acts already announced.

6. Oakland libraries and those in other Alameda County cities now offer curbside pickup of books, SFGate reports. If you don't want to go outside, here's a pro-tip: Oakland libraries have an excellent selection of e-books. However, the wait time for popular e-book titles like Hilary Mantel's "Wolf Hall" is 40 weeks(!).

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Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Tuesday's Briefing: Schaaf opposes plan to defund OPD; Skinner to lead oversight hearing on covid outbreak in jails

Large covid outbreak at Concord nursing home

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Jun 23, 2020 at 4:00 AM

State Sen. Nancy Skinner chairs the senate public safety committee. - STATE SENATE
  • State Senate
  • State Sen. Nancy Skinner chairs the senate public safety committee.


News you don't want to miss for June 23:

1. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is opposing a proposed $25 million cut to the Oakland Police Department's budget, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Oakland Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas last week proposed the budget cuts, which would be reallocated to a long list of social services. $$

2. State Sen. Nancy Skinner will lead a Public Safety Committee oversight hearing on the spread of covid-19 in state prisons, the East Bay Times reports.

3. Fifteen people have died from covid-19 at a nursing home in Concord, the East Bay Times reports. Seventy-five others have also been infected. $$

4. "The Oakland Unified School District will be scrutinized for the next three years to ensure that girls have equal access to sports programs and facilities, following proposed budget cuts that illuminated the underlying gender inequities of sports in Oakland schools," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. Major League Baseball appears set to return with a 60-game season. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the Oakland Athletics will soon be able to use the Coliseum for workouts. A health and safety plan offered by the team has been approved by the Alameda County Public Health Department, and its rent dispute has been resolved. $$

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