Monday, May 30, 2016

Warriors Return to NBA Finals After Epic (But Not Improbable) Comeback


by Nick Miller
Mon, May 30, 2016 at 8:52 PM

Memorial Day evening in Oakland felt serious. Bernie Sanders was downtown talking revolution. And a few miles east at Oracle Arena, Warriors fans arrived earlier than usual, in their seats and unleashing frequent and ferocious chants long before the opening tip.

It wasn’t the Finals, yet it was a big deal: Only nine teams had ever come back from a 3-1 deficit to win an NBA playoff series before tonight.

Now, make that 10.

The Warriors rode a hot-hand and fiery defense by MVP Steph Curry in the second half to a 96-88 victory in game seven of the Western Conference Finals.

The Warriors clawed back from a 3-1 hole in a series and after getting torched twice on the road by the hottest team in the league, the Thunder.

Err, former hottest team in the league.

The Thunder were prone to choking in the fourth quarter all regular season, and that translated to a seven-game series tonight in Oakland.

Curry was the most aggressive version of himself tonight, perhaps save for that overtime game-four blitz versus the Portland Trailblazers. He owned the second half and ended the night with 36 points on 7-12 shooting from behind the arc.

The Thunder held the advantage going into halftime. Except for a couple spurts by Klay Thompson in the middle of the second quarter, the Warriors offense was worse than anemic in the first two quarters. They were playing tight.

Save for the final two minutes, when Curry started warming up by draining trays after getting the switch on Steven Adams. And, similar to the final minutes of game six in Oklahoma, forcing the Thunder to cough it up on a couple of key possessions.

For a moment, it appeared that Russell Westbrook would make a statement going into the locker room, with a three-point play converted at the stripe. But then, with less than six seconds on the clock, Curry ran the court and kissed a layup off the glass with his left as time expired, which foreshadowed his second-half dominance.

The Warriors will be a tough juggernaut to slow down in the Finals after this comeback. They’ve seen bottom this postseason, and it’s unlikely this momentum will fade against Cleveland on Thursday night.
Like the song playing when the Warriors came out of the locker room tonight, the team appears to be headed “All the Way Up.” Again.

Curry’s momentum continued into the third, as the Warriors went on a run for the entire quarter. Shaun Livingston and Anderson Varejao put in strong minutes off the bench on both ends of the court. They held the Thunder to just 12 in the third, and the Dubs took at 71-60 lead into the final quarter.

Friday, May 27, 2016

UC Berkeley Report: Affordable Housing is Best Way to Combat Gentrifcation

by Darwin BondGraham
Fri, May 27, 2016 at 1:24 PM

A recently proposed 258-unit all market-rate apartment building for downtown Oakland.
  • A recently proposed 258-unit all market-rate apartment building for downtown Oakland.
According to a new report by UC Berkeley researchers, the best way to prevent gentrification and displacement is to build affordable housing in cities and neighborhoods where rents and home prices are rising fastest.

The Berkeley report is a rebuttal to an earlier, widely circulated report by the state Legislative Analyst Office that claimed the best way to prevent displacement of low-income households is to simply build more market rate housing as fast as possible.

According to UC Berkeley researchers Miriam Zuk and Karen Chapple, the LAO report was not a "nuanced" study capable of determining how the construction of new market-rate housing affects different groups at the neighborhood-level. Zuk and Chapple cite prior research that found "market-rate construction can simultaneously alleviate housing pressures across the region while also exacerbating them at the neighborhood level."

Miriam Zuk. - UC BERKELEY
  • UC Berkeley
  • Miriam Zuk.
But because the LAO "omitted" affordable housing production data from its study, wrote Zuk and Chapple, the agency was unable to see how new market-rate housing can both alleviate housing pressures while at the same time causing displacement and gentrification in specific neighborhoods. The LAO also failed to compare market-rate and affordable housing to see which type is better suited to reduce displacement of low-income people.

The Express tried to obtain records from the LAO to see who influenced its housing study, and how they chose the methods they used. But the LAO declined most of the request, writing their communications with outside parties are exempt from public disclosure under the Legislative Open Records Act.

Zuk and Chapple wrote that market rate housing production does reduce the displacement of low-income households at a regional level, but it doesn't address the gentrification pressures that specific neighborhoods face (think the Mission or West Oakland).

Karen Chapple. - UC BERKELEY
  • UC Berkeley
  • Karen Chapple.
And timing matters too. After new market rate housing is built, it takes decades for the market to trickle-down benefits to lower-income households in the form of lower median rents.

That's because of something called "filtering." The LAO study assumed that as new market-rate housing is added to the region's overall housing stock, older homes and apartments become available for lower-income households to purchase and rent. Zuk and Chapple wrote that there is some truth to this, but the filtering process takes a lot longer than the LAO realizes. Furthermore, in some Bay Area cities like San Francisco and Oakland, older housing stock is now coveted by higher income groups and has become unavailable through the filtering process.

The filtering process can take generations, meaning that units may not filter at a rate that meets needs at the market’s peak, and the property may deteriorate too much to be habitable. Further, in many strong-market cities, changes in housing preferences have increased the desirability of older, architecturally significant property, essentially disrupting the filtering process.
To further debunk the idea that filtering will help make housing more affordable, Zuk and Chapple ran some statistical models using Bay Area data. Here's what they found:

Initial results indicate a filtering effect for units produced in the 1990s on median rents in 2013. Yet market-rate development in the 2000s is associated with higher rents, which could be expected as areas with higher rents are more lucrative places for developers to build housing. Furthermore, development in both the 1990s and 2000s is positively associated with housing cost burden for low-income households. Thus, while filtering may eventually help lower rents decades later, these units may still not be affordable to low-income households.
Zuk and Chapple's ultimate conclusion?

"The development of market-rate housing may not be the most effective tool to prevent the displacement of low-income residents from their neighborhoods, nor to increase affordability at the neighborhood scale ... to help stabilize existing communities we need to look beyond housing development alone to strategies that protect tenants and help them stay in their homes."

Monday, May 23, 2016

Oakland Police Sex Scandal Expands to Other Law Enforcement Agencies

by Darwin BondGraham
Mon, May 23, 2016 at 1:47 PM

The woman at the center of the Oakland police sex scandal may have been involved with law-enforcement officers in other agencies, according to an analysis of her social-media accounts.

Today, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that its internal-affairs unit is looking at Facebook interactions that a deputy sheriff had with Celeste Guap, the daughter of an Oakland police dispatcher.

On October 7 last year, Guap posted a status update on her Facebook timeline alluding to sex and relationships:

“Just because he’s fucking you don’t mean he’s fucking WITH you…A man can be deep inside you && not really feeling you at all…,” Guap wrote in the post.

Eric Chaloner, a deputy with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, replied to the post: “Hmmmm.”

Guap then replied directly to Chaloner by tagging him in a comment: “Eric Edward Chaloner get it? Lol.”

Deputy Chaloner responded: “But of course I do.”

The Express reached out to Chaloner though Facebook for comment, but received no reply.


Sergeant J.D. Nelson of the Sheriff’s Office said that internal-affairs investigators were made aware of the Facebook interaction after a newspaper contacted him. But Nelson said he couldn’t comment as to whether a case has been opened as a result of Chaloner's post. Nelson said only that Chaloner is still on duty.

In another Facebook interaction from last October, Guap posted a picture of herself lying on exercise equipment in a gym. Chaloner replied to the post: “Hold that pose for like 60 minutes at a time and rotate arms……great for your……hmmmm….shoulders maybe.”


The Express reached out to Guap for comment on the posts and interactions, but she did not reply.

The Oakland Police Department has declined to name the two current and two former officers it is currently investigating for alleged sexual misconduct involving Guap, possibly while she was still under age.

As the Express previously reported, OPD's sex scandal is linked to the suicide of Oakland Police Officer Brendan O'Brien last year. OPD sources say O'Brien left a suicide note that included information about the sexual misconduct. O'Brien's wife died in 2014 from a gunshot wound to the head. OPD ruled her death a suicide, but it was briefly investigated as a possible homicide.

Last week the East Bay Times reported that Oakland police officers Terryl Smith and James Ta'ai have both resigned as a result of the sex misconduct investigation.

Anonymous Punks Launch Boycott of Legendary 924 Gilman Music Venue, Accuse Leadership of Discrimination

by Nick Miller
Mon, May 23, 2016 at 1:04 PM

Update: The Boycott 924 Gilman Street" Facebook page appears to have been taken down, as of Monday afternoon.


Last week, anonymous punk-scene activists launched a boycott of legendary Berkeley music venue 924 Gilman. The group, which has yet to come forward, dropped a litany of grievances against the nonprofit's leadership on a Facebook page titled "Boycott 924 Gilman Street."

The most weighty accusations focus on Gilman collective leaders and bookers allowing toxic environment of sexual and ethnic discrimination. Specifically, they complained about Gilman allowing bands to perform songs with what they viewed as hate speech against Muslims or women. They also claimed that the collective's leadership would not add the words "no transphobia" to a sign that showcases the venue's house rules until after much debate, and that they also refused to designate the restrooms as gender neutral. They also accused Gilman leadership of ignoring discrimination and violence against fellow women and transgender volunteers.

Comments on boycott's Facebook page grew to nearly 300 as of this posting. Some called the boycotters "crybabies" and "PC," and many criticized the group for not putting their names on the boycott.

924 Gilman co-founder Kamala Parks released a statement calling the protesters "too cowardly to openly stand behind this boycott." She did add that claims of discrimination "absolutely deserve serious attention."

Several local punk bands — including Composite, Silent Era, and Negative Standards — have publicly expressed respect or support for the boycott.

Some have accused legendary punk magazine Maximum Rocknroll, whose founder also founded Gilman in 1986, as the force behind the boycott. MRR denied this. But "the magazine supports the boycott," a spokesperson told the Express, adding that it will publish its thoughts on Gilman in next week's issue.

The Express reached out to the Gilman community via email and will add their thoughts to this discussion as soon as possible.

Look for more coverage of the Gilman boycott in an upcoming issue of the Express.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Mayor of Oakland: 'The Most Dangerous Place in America is Donald Trump's Mouth'

by Nick Miller
Wed, May 18, 2016 at 7:25 PM

  • Photo courtesy Google Commons
It's on!

First, the New York Times dropped a campaign-trail feature on Donald Trump this morning. Writer Robert Draper asked the presumptive GOP presidential nominee whether he'd ever visit Iraq.

“'Never!'” he said, sounding horrified by the thought," Draper wrote.

He followed up by asking Trump about the most dangerous place in the world:
“[T]here are places in America that are among the most dangerous in the world. You go to places like Oakland. Or Ferguson. The crime numbers are worse. Seriously.”
Got that? Oakland is as high-risk a city as Baghdad.

Anyway, Trump was clearly speaking in not-so-veiled code to GOP voters, but his comments also  blew up on Bay Area social media, the prevailing attitude being for Trump to stay the hell out of the 510.

And now, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has responded:
"The most dangerous place in America is Donald Trump's mouth."
Indeed, I'm at a loss to think of a more treacherous, unpleasant place ...

Three Causes to Alameda County's Housing Crisis: Declining Wages, Low Supply, No Money

by Darwin BondGraham
Wed, May 18, 2016 at 4:28 PM

The housing crisis in Alameda County is getting worse and it's caused by three factors.

Declining wages for half the population, a massive shortfall in the construction of affordably priced homes and apartments, and the evaporation of state and federal funds to build new housing is doing serious harm to East Bay renters.

That's according to a new report released by the nonprofit California Housing Partnership Corporation.

According to the report, cuts in state and federal funding have caused Alameda County's investment in affordable housing to decline by $105 million annually since 2008, a 68 percent reduction.

As a result, the county is now short 60,911 affordable housing units just for the lowest income renter households who earn less than 50 percent of the area's median income.

Median rents have increased by 19 percent, while the average renter household's income has fallen by 4 percent.


The average worker in Alameda County now needs to be paid $43.54 an hour to afford the average market rent. But there are hundreds of thousands of workers making far less than this amount. While some cities like Oakland and Emeryville have recently increased their minimum wages, even these pay boosts are too low to make up the gap.

Affordable housing developers are witnessing the crisis in the form of avalanches of thousands of applications for new affordable housing developments.

"The need is great and impossible to fully meet with current resources," said Beth Fraker of Mid-Pen Housing, a developer and property manager that builds affordable housing in the Bay Area. "We routinely receive thousands of applicants for every new community we open. As an example, we’re in the midst of leasing up a brand new 64 unit community in Fremont for which we received over 4,000 applications."

Alameda County is considering a $500 million housing bond which could make up for some of the shortfall in affordable housing production. But most experts say the real solution's price tag is in the many billions of dollars.


Bernie Sanders To Crowd at Bay Area Rally: 'Legalize Marijuana'

by Nick Miller
Wed, May 18, 2016 at 3:52 PM

  • Photo courtesy of YouTube
At a rally today in San Jose, Sen. Bernie Sanders told a crowd that he would vote "yes" for the Adult Use Marijuana Act, which will be on California's ballot this November.

"If I lived in California, I would vote ‘yes’ to legalize marijuana," the Democratic presidential hopeful said, according to David Siders of The Sacramento Bee.

Hillary Clinton has said she supports relaxing marijuana laws, including removing it as a Schedule 1 narcotic to facilitate research. But she does not support full legalization and has yet to chime in on California's AUMA measure.

Read more cannabis-legalization coverage on AUMA by East Bay Express contributor David Downs here.

Trump Calls Oakland One of Most Dangerous Cities in the World

by Nick Miller
Wed, May 18, 2016 at 9:33 AM

  • Illustration by DonkeyHotey
The New York Times asked Donald Trump the following:
“What’s the most dangerous place in the world you’ve been to?”
Dangerous is relative. And typically I'm not one to judge; if you think a place is "dangerous," fine. And I get that danger evolves. For instance, I've traveled to spots on this planet that I probably would not visit again, out of fear of getting shot up or beheaded.

But Trump clearly has a unique world view, so of course his concept of what is dangerous doesn't align with, say, the 420,000 of us living in Oakland. Consider:
“[T]here are places in America that are among the most dangerous in the world. You go to places like Oakland. Or Ferguson. The crime numbers are worse. Seriously.”
Read the whole story here.

There's really no need to respond to Trump, Oakland. Just play this song, loud, on repeat.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Documentary on West Oakland Recyclers Debuts Tonight on PBS

by Nick Miller
Mon, May 16, 2016 at 2:59 PM

West Oakland's Alliance Recycling Center is where hundreds of low-income East Bay residents trade in plastic and cans to earn a living. But, after 38 years, Alliance is slated to close later this summer.

More on that in an upcoming issue of the Express. Until then, you can tune into KQED/PBS tonight for Dogtown Redemption, a locally produced documentary film on recyclers in West Oakland. 

The doc followed three people in West Oakland for seven years as they hustled to make ends meet by recycling at Alliance. It will premiere tonight at 10 p.m., but there are repeat airings on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday (here's KQED's listings).

Eight Things Warriors Need to do to Win Eight More and Repeat

by Nick Miller
Mon, May 16, 2016 at 10:04 AM

I'm from Sacramento. I'm a Kings fan. And I'm unaccustomed to thinking about what a team needs to do to win an NBA championship — let alone repeat. (And, If I did make a need-to-do-to-win list, I'd only include one item: Break Robert Horry's fingers.)

Anyway, before I go sit in a dark room and sulk about my choke-dog Kings, I would like to chime in on the Bay's sweet Dubs. I was at Oracle last week, the night they clinched against the Portland Trailblazers. Amazing, to have a player like Steph Curry, who you just know is going to pull out the W for in the clutch.

But it won't be easy street to win eight more games and repeat. Nope. The Oklahoma City Thunder have made stride. They might be the hottest squad in the league. Oh, except for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who haven't lost yet this postseason.


But you got this, Warriors fans. Just follow this recipe of eight ingredients to win eight more games. No problem. Splash!

Defend home court
Obvious, right? But critical: Oklahoma City snatched two games in San Antonio last series. Who saw that happening? That’s double the number of games that the Spurs lost during 41 regular-season home-court appearances. And this after the Spurs torched the Thunder in game one, in San Antonio, by 32 points!
What’s this mean? It means the Warriors foregoing home court could lead to an all-bets-are-off scenario. Bad news for a team that lost only nine games all season.
Absolutely positively must defend home court.

Protect the arc
Who wasn’t having nightmares about Allen Crabbe draining open trays last week?
The Thunder’s unsung guards – mostly Dion Waiters — are going to find their way open, and the Thunder (like the young Blazers) will move the rock and get them shots. Warriors need to step up their perimeter D and converge on three-point shooters.
That’s going to be hard when, like Damian Lillard, Kevin Durant and Russell Westrbook will be chucking up shots from farther behind the line than most squads they face during the year. Dame brutalized the Dubs from as far back as 32 feet (a taste of their own medicine) in crunch time. If those shots start going in this series with any regularity, that will be a problem.

Don’t get torched
Warriors gave up on average 104.1 points per game during the regular season. Not incredible. But they held opponents to 43.5 percent from the field, third best in the league. That’s solid.
But, in the playoffs, Golden State has given up more points per game than any remaining postseason team. That’s not saying much, sure. But they allowed a ridiculous 114 points a game versus the Trailblazers. Yikes.
Remember, this is the playoffs: A shootout is not the answer.

Be on the rebound
Remember that game against Oklahoma City when Steph Curry sank the nearly-half-court, 37 footer in overtime? Of course you do. That was the East Bay Web Gem of a lifetime.
But do you remember that the Thunder out-rebounded the Warriors by 35 that game? Thirty-five rebounds.
You don’t win in the playoffs if you don’t crash the boards. Period.

Make Russ cough it up
Russell Westbrook is like Russell Wilson on the one-yard line with less than a minute to go in the Super Bowl. He likes to cough it up. So, Warriors need to make sure Westbrook — who averaged 4.3 turnovers a game during the regular season — doubles that number in a few games.
It’s also worth saying this now, right there, since we’re talking about boneheaded play: During the regular season, the Warriors averaged just 9.7 turnovers against the Thunder, the lowest total of any team in the league. (For the record, the Dubs averaged 12 turnovers a game against Cleveland. And, yeah, a second-worse-in-the-league 16 against the Raptors.
My point: Keep it up against the Thunder (and thankfully the Raptors don’t stand a chance).

Keep Klay Thompson hot as ish
This postseason, Thompson is averaging a smidgen better percentage from behind the arc than he is from the field. Baffling. And during the playoffs, what with Curry’s absence, he’s tallied five more points per game than in the regular season. In game five against the Trailblazers, Thompson was vital. He’d racked up 33 points — at the end of the third quarter (he ended up with that total, though, as Curry took over in the final twelve minutes).
Anyway, Thompson is playing out of his mind this postseason — and he’ll likely need to go even more loco for the Dubs to repeat.

Shut down … Steve Adams and Enes Kanter?
Yup. Will Adams average a double-double, as he did against during the final three games against the Spurs? Hope not. And will Kanter defend the rim, swat balls and scoop up defensive rebounds at will? If so, could be a short series for the Dubs. Put these two unsung heroes of the Spurs series in check.

Get lucky
Thunder haven’t been healthy in the playoffs for years. Last time they were, they made it to the finals.
Warriors are somewhat healthy — Curry's knee pain persists, and Andrew Bogut is a question mark. The team’s going to need some good juju. Eat your broccoli.
They’re also going to need some luck from the refs. Warriors don’t want another Scott Foster moment, a la when he tossed Shaun Livingston in the Blazers series.
In the end, with two teams like these, who are playing at such a high level, it’s not really about execution and hitting shots, right?
It’s about hitting lucky shots, and getting those fortunate breaks down the stretch.

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