Thursday Must Reads: Oakland Police Union Blasts the Mayor’s Protest Ban; Oakland Council Delays Vote on Controversial Luxury Tower

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Stories you shouldn’t miss:

Libby Schaaf.
  • Libby Schaaf.
1. The head of the Oakland police officers’ union strongly criticized Mayor Libby Schaaf’s controversial ban on nighttime street protests, calling it “a failed policy” and a “failure of leadership,” the Trib$ reports. Union Chief Barry Donelan said the ban is unfairly pitting police officers against peaceful protesters. Civil rights attorneys plan to meet again with Schaaf next week to discuss the ban, which they contend is illegal. Independent Court Monitor Robert Warshaw, who has sweeping powers over OPD, will also attend the meeting. Schaaf did not consult with Warshaw before instituting the ban.

2. After nearly one hundred affordable housing activists and local residents blasted a proposal to build a luxury housing tower on public land near Lake Merritt, the city council decided to postpone a vote on the plan, the Trib$ reports. Some councilmembers also expressed skepticism about the legality of the city’s proposed sale of taxpayer-owned land to a market-rate developer. Under state law, municipalities are supposed to prioritize affordable housing on surplus public property.


3. The Oakland council also voted to accept a $4 million federal grant that would finance a controversial plan to remove eucalyptus trees in the Oakland hills, the Chron reports. Some groups oppose the plan, arguing that too many eucalyptus trees will be cut down, while others, including the Sierra Club, want to clear cut the eucalyptus to make way for native species.

4. Some Central Valley farmers have filed suit against Governor Jerry Brown, alleging that he conspired with Big Oil companies to allow them to inject toxic wastewater into underground aquifers used for irrigation, the Chron$ reports. The farmers note that Brown fired a top state regulator — Elena Miller — in 2011 after oil companies complained that she was holding up permits for underground injections. After Brown fired Miller, the number of wastewater injection wells soared.

5. The second steel rod that broke on the new Bay Bridge did not fail due to corrosion, but because of faulty workmanship, the Chron reports. Caltrans officials hailed the finding, saying it shows that steel rods on the new span are not corroding as some had feared, but experts say the news of bad workmanship is still troubling.

6. Berkeley City Manager Christine Daniels has resigned her position and taken a job as assistant city administrator in Oakland, working for new City Administrator Sabrina Landreth, the Trib$ reports. Daniels’ decision caught Berkeley city leaders by surprise.

7. Legislation that would require police agencies to provide to the state comprehensive data on police stops moved forward in Sacramento, the SacBee$ reports. Most police agencies do not track racial and demographic data on the people they stop, although the Oakland Police Department is required to do so under a federal order designed to eliminate racial profiling by police.

8. The state Senate approved a package of bills that are designed to curb the widespread practice of prescribing powerful drugs to troubled youth in foster care, the Mercury News$ reports.

9. And the Senate also approved legislation designed to further limit greenhouse gas emissions in the state — and to ban new offshore oil drilling in the Santa Barbara channel, the LA Times$ reports.

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