Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday Must Reads: Alameda County Sheriff Cooperating with ICE; Shadowy Group Trying to Overturn Rent Control in Richmond

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 9:59 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

Greg Ahern.
  • Greg Ahern.
1. Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern has leapt at the chance to cooperate with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in the wake of the killing of a Pleasanton woman by a undocumented immigrant this summer in San Francisco, the Mercury News$ reports. Ahern has notified ICE officials of at least one hundred inmates who were about to be released from custody in the past seven weeks, regardless if the person committed a violent or nonviolent crime. Some counties are only notifying ICE of undocumented inmates with a violent criminal record. Immigrant rights activists oppose such notifications — and liberal San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi said he has no plans to cooperate with ICE.

2. A mysterious group is pushing a petition drive in Richmond to overturn the city’s new rent control law, Bay City News reports (via the CoCo Times$). Landlord groups strongly opposed the new law, which the city council approved on August 5. Rent control advocates are running a counter-campaign to defeat the petition drive.

3. Firearms experts say UC Berkeley Police Chief Margo Bennett has no one to blame but herself for getting her gun and badge stolen from her car along the shoreline earlier this month, the Chron$ reports. Experts said Bennett should not have left her gun and badge in the trunk of her car when she went running.

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Friday, August 28, 2015

UC Berkeley Researchers Map Oakland Gentrification and Displacement

by Gillian Edevane
Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 3:37 PM

Rendering showing future development in West Oakland, one of the city's rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods. - CITY OF OAKLAND
  • City of Oakland
  • Rendering showing future development in West Oakland, one of the city's rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods.
UC Berkeley researchers at the Project For Urban Development released a study this week that pinpoints Bay Area locations undergoing rapid gentrification. The data — which incorporates property prices, migration patterns, and prevalence of low-income households — suggests that gentrification is extreme in a handful of Oakland neighborhoods, while other parts of the city are either “at risk” of gentrification or are currently experiencing displacement. Displacement in the study refers to neighborhoods that are currently losing low-income and affordable housing.

Oakland neighborhoods that are experiencing "advanced gentrification," according to the study, include Lower Bottoms, Old Oakland, and Northgate/Koreatown. The researchers define "advanced gentrification" as areas that have experienced significant demographic changes and high levels of real estate investment. Those areas are also very vulnerable to gentrification due to their locations near transit, historic housing stocks, rising house prices, and high rates of market-rate developments. Meanwhile, Lake Merritt, Temescal, and Adam's Point are also currently undergoing gentrification or are at risk of undergoing it in the near future. 

The researchers also said “the crisis is not yet half over” and that the city can expect the displacement of lower-income households to accelerate in coming years. 

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Oakland Launches New Planning Process for Downtown

by Melissa Wen
Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 2:19 PM

  • City of Oakland
The City of Oakland announced today that it is launching a new planning process for downtown, following the passage last year of similar neighborhood redevelopment plans that are aimed at revitalizing districts — but have also led to increased concerns about gentrification and displacement.

The city will host a public event on September 3 to mark the start of the so-called "Plan Downtown" process. The plan, set to take form over the next two years, is intended to create a detailed framework for growth in the downtown area with a focus on transportation, economic development, affordable housing, and other development issues, according to the city.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thursday Must Reads: Super-Majority of Californians Want to See Police Body Camera Footage; Voters Also Want to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 9:49 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

A police body camera.
  • A police body camera.
1. A super-majority of Californians — more than 70 percent — say that police body camera footage should be made available to the public when a cop uses force or is accused of misconduct, the LA Times$ reports, citing a new poll commissioned by the ACLU. Police departments throughout the state have been withholding body camera video, because California has some of the strictest anti-transparency laws in the nation. The poll also revealed that 80 percent of Californians say they believe that the public should have access to investigations of police officers. Currently, state law — which was pushed by politically powerful police unions — mandates that investigations of police misconduct remain secret.

2. A super-majority of Californians — 68 percent — also favor raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021, the SacBee$ reports, citing a new Field Poll. The survey also found that 67 percent of voters favor increasing the tobacco tax by $2 a pack.

3. Despite the drought, California farmers enjoyed near-record revenues and employment gains last year, the LA Times$ reports, citing a new study by the Oakland-based Pacific Institute. The state’s agricultural sector added 417,000 jobs in 2014, mostly in the Sacramento and Salinas valleys, easily making up for employment losses in the extremely dry San Joaquin Valley.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday Must Reads: Coliseum City Developer Gets Chilly Reception; Near-Super Majority of Californians Like Obamacare

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 9:30 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Coliseum City developer Floyd Kephart got a chilly a reception from East Bay officials and sports teams yesterday, as no members of Mayor Libby Schaaf’s office, the Raiders, the A’s, or the county board of supervisors showed up to his press event, the Trib$ and Chron report. Kephart rated the chances of his proposal succeeding at “fifty-fifty.” Kephart has yet to reveal how he would finance the planned $4 billion project, which would include a new stadium for the Raiders, and perhaps one for the A’s.

2. About 62 percent of Californians now support Obamacare — up from 52 percent in 2010 before the Affordable Care Act went into effect, the Mercury News$ reports, citing a new Field Poll. Californians also gave the state high marks for its implementation of the healthcare law — which went much more smoothly than the federal rollout.

3. The same Field Poll also showed that 58 percent of state residents now support extending Obamacare health coverage to undocumented immigrants in the state — up from 51 percent last year, the SacBee$ reports.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday Must Reads: Factory Farm Ground Beef Tainted by Super Bugs; Governor to Sign High School Exit Exam Exemption

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 9:26 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A substantial amount of factory farm ground beef sold in the United States is tainted with antibiotic-resistant “super bugs,” the Chron$ reports, citing a new Consumer Reports study. Eighteen percent of conventionally farmed (factory farmed) ground beef tested in the study contained the super bugs. By contrast, 9 percent of sustainably grown ground beef (no antibiotics) had super bugs. Researchers purchased the ground beef at markets in 26 cities, including San Francisco.

2. Governor Jerry Brown said he will sign a bill that is designed to fix a bureaucratic snafu that left thousands of California high school graduates without diplomas, the SacBee$ reports. The students have been denied diplomas because they didn’t pass the California high-school exit exam — a test that the state no longer administers.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Oakland Schools Interested in Building Affordable Teacher Housing on 12th Street Remainder Parcel

by Darwin BondGraham and Robert Gammon
Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 10:05 AM

Members of Eastlake United For Justice, the community group that fought the luxury tower proposal for the 12th Street Remainder Parcel. - BERT JOHNSON / FILE PHOTO
  • Bert Johnson / file photo
  • Members of Eastlake United For Justice, the community group that fought the luxury tower proposal for the 12th Street Remainder Parcel.
On Wednesday, the Oakland Unified School District board will consider a proposal to build affordable teacher housing on the 12th Street Remainder Parcel, the one-acre plot of land near Lake Merritt that was previously going to be developed into a 300-unit luxury apartment tower. In a report to the board, school district staffers wrote that the plan would be a win-win for the City of Oakland, which owns the 12th Street property, and the school district, because it would provide affordable housing and help retain teachers. Furthermore, the plan would add to the adjacent Marcus Foster Educational Leadership Complex, an OUSD development project that will include new facilities for Dewey High School, new sports fields and gyms, and new administration buildings for OUSD.

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Monday Must Reads: Big Oil Targets Climate Change Bill; Pacific Garbage Patch Much Larger than Thought

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 9:29 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The oil industry is mounting a full-scale attack on climate change legislation in Sacramento, CALMatters reports (via the Chron$). The bill, SB 350, would cut in half the amount of gasoline used by California vehicles by 2030 and is backed by Governor Jerry Brown. The Big Oil industry organization Western States Petroleum has been funding attack ads against the bill through an innocuous-sounding group, the California Drivers Alliance.

2. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a mass of plastic garbage floating in the ocean between Hawaii and California, is much larger than thought, the Chron$ reports, citing the results of a mega expedition of the patch funded by a young Dutch entrepreneur. Previous estimates of the patch pegged it as twice as large as the state of Texas.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Oakland Talks with Raiders and A’s While Waiting for Coliseum City Developer

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 4:48 PM

Claudia Cappio.
  • Claudia Cappio.
With a Friday deadline for Coliseum City developer Floyd Kephart to present his final financial proposal to city and county leaders, Oakland’s point-person on the project, Assistant City Administrator Claudia Cappio signaled today that other options are also being pursued for stadiums to house the Raiders and Athletics. “We’re still working on what I believe will be a very serious offer in the near term to both sports stadiums in order to keep them here,” Cappio said at a press conference Friday afternoon in front of Oakland City Hall.

The exclusive negotiating agreement (ENA) that the city and Alameda County officials signed last year with Kephart’s group is due to expire on September 24.

Cappio described stadium discussions with both Raiders and Athletics officials in positive terms. “There is honesty and forthrightness at both sides of the table,” she said.

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The Express Views Videos of Recent Fatal Encounters with Oakland Police

by Darwin BondGraham
Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 2:12 PM

Lieutenant Roland Holmgren describing the moments leading up to the fatal shooting of Nathaniel Wilks by several Oakland police officers. - DARWIN BONDGRAHAM
  • Darwin BondGraham
  • Lieutenant Roland Holmgren describing the moments leading up to the fatal shooting of Nathaniel Wilks by several Oakland police officers.
This morning the Oakland Police Department held a second screening of officer body camera video clips from two recent fatal incidents: the death of Richard Linyard on July 19, and the death of Nathaniel Wilks on August 12.

OPD spokesperson Johnna Watson said earlier week that Police Chief Sean Whent had asked her to invite the Express to the earlier showing of the video to select journalists, but that she had neglected to do so. As a result, OPD offered the second viewing this morning to me.

I was shown footage taken from two officers who were in pursuit of Nathaniel Wilks, and two other officers who were in pursuit of Richard Linyard. The video clips were segments of much longer body camera videos that have not been released or shown to anyone outside of OPD in their entirety. The video clips represent a small amount of the total video footage in OPD’s possession related to each incident. OPD has declined multiple Public Records Act requests to release video footage of both incidents.

See also: Oakland Police Let Media Watch Body-Cam Footage of Fatal Incidents, But Refuse to Publicly Release Videos

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