Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Warriors Have Yet to Pay for Oakland's Championship Parade

City officials say they're still in talks with the sports team about parade-related costs.

by Darwin BondGraham
Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 11:05 AM

  • Photo by Nick Wong

Even before the Warriors clenched this year's NBA Championship, the city of Oakland was preparing for a massive celebration.

Numerous city workers installed barriers along the winding parade route through the downtown and around one side of Lake Merritt, and hundreds of Oakland police officers signed up to work overtime to provide security for an estimated one million fans.

And Warriors owner Joe Lacob promised Oakland that the sports team would pay for the costly celebration.

But after 54 days of trying to confirm whether or not the Warriors reimbursed the city for its numerous expenditures on the parade, the Express confirmed on Wednesday that the team hasn't yet paid.

"No payment has yet been made to the City," wrote Karen Boyd, spokesperson for Oakland's city administrator. Boyd said that the city is still "in conversation with the Warriors about parade-related costs."

There is also no evidence that the city has billed the Warriors for the costs of the huge celebration, which drew hundreds of thousands of people to the downtown area and Lake Merritt. Nor is there evidence that the city has figured out the total costs of putting on the parade.

The Warriors did not respond to repeated email and telephone requests to discuss the parade expenses incurred by the city.

  • Photo by Nick Wong

The Express filed a Public Records Act request on June 15 (the day of the parade) seeking information about how much the celebration cost the city, as well as any invoices submitted by Oakland to the Warriors, and copies of any payments the team has made to the city.

But according to the city, no such records exist.

The Oakland Police Department, however, provided records showing that 444 police officers worked overtime to provide security for the parade. It's unclear how much this extra police staffing cost taxpayers, but officers are paid 1.5 times their normal rate when working overtime.

The starting salary for an Oakland cop is more than $70,000, or about $33 per hour. So, a conservative estimate is that police security alone for the six-hour event cost more than $134,000. However, the total could be much higher because the average Oakland officer earns well above the department's starting pay.

OPD also spent $39,441 on vehicle rentals, and another $1,540 on bottled water, according to records.

Other city departments also incurred costs. Around 100 public works employees set up and broke down eight miles of barriers and had to sweep up confetti along the entire route using twelve street sweepers.

In 2015, the city reported spending $137,000 on police and $106,000 on public works for the Warriors' parade.

City officials have claimed that the celebrations are worth more than they cost because hundreds of thousands of visitors spend at local businesses like restaurants and stay in hotels, generating tax revenue. But Oakland has not attempted to gauge the economic impact of the Warriors parade and has no records measuring increased revenues, according to the city's finance department.

Thursday’s Briefing: East Bay Median Home Price Soars to $825K; Buyers Now Need to Make $181K a Year to Buy a Home

Plus, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris backs Medicare-for-all plan.

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 10:25 AM

Kamala Harris said she'll co-sponsor Bernie Sanders' single-payer health plan.
  • Kamala Harris said she'll co-sponsor Bernie Sanders' single-payer health plan.

Stories you shouldn’t miss for Aug. 31, 2017:

1. Home prices continued to soar in the Bay Area in July, with the median sales price in Alameda County reaching $825,000, a 11.2 percent increase over the previous year, reports Richard Scheinin of the Mercury News$, citing a new report from CoreLogic real estate information service. Housing experts blamed the continued price hikes on the extreme shortage of housing on the market. Home prices have increased 64 consecutive months, with the median in the Bay Area reaching $804,000 in July. It was $585,00 in Contra Costa County.

2. Homebuyers in the San Francisco metro area, which includes Alameda County, now need to make $181,000 a year, on average, to afford a home in the region, reports Riley McDermid of the San Francisco Business Times$, citing a new report from mortgage tracker HSH. And the amount homebuyers need to make is $216,000 a year if they pay 20 percent as a down payment.

3. U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., announced her support for Medicare-for-all legislation during an Oakland event on Wednesday, reports Casey Tolan of the Mercury News$. The bill, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, is essentially a single-payer plan that would provide health coverage to all Americans. Harris, the first senator to back Sanders’ bill, said she will co-sponsor it, because it’s “the right thing to do.”

4. BART will close a portion of its line through Oakland over the weekend to rebuild track between the Lake Merritt and Fruitvale stations, reports Michael Cabanatuan of the San Francisco Chronicle$. The shutdown means BART riders traveling to the Coliseum or Oakland airport will have to take shuttles between the stations.

5. Cities throughout the Bay Area are expected to break heat records today, especially in eastern Alameda and Contra Costa counties, where temperatures could top 110 degrees, reports Mark Gomez of the Mercury News$.

6. Volatile chemicals exploded at a Texas chemical plant after flooding from Hurricane Harvey rendered the facility inoperable, the Houston Chronicle reports. The Arkema chemical plant in Crosby is expected to have numerous explosions because of the unsafe conditions at the evacuated facility.

7. Wells Fargo admitted that its fraudulent credit card account problem is much worse than thought, revealing that its employees set up 3.5 million bogus accounts—about 70 percent more than previously reported, The New York Times$ reports.

8. And special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is investigating Trump-Russia collusion in last year’s presidential campaign, has teamed up with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Politico reports. The move undercuts President Trump’s ability to short-circuit Mueller’s probe by pardoning people, because the president has no power to grant pardons for state crimes.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Wednesday’s Briefing: Senators Say White Supremacists Are ‘Terrorists’; Berkeley Mayor Says Antifa Is a ‘Gang’

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 10:10 AM

  • Photo by Brian Krans
Stories you shouldn’t miss for Aug. 30, 2017:

1. A state Senate committee unanimously approved resolutions urging law enforcement agencies in California to treat violent white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups as terrorists, reports Jazmine Ulloa of the LA Times$. At least one Republican senator, however, said that after radical leftist violence marred demonstrations in Berkeley on Sunday, antifascists, known as antifa, should also be considered a terrorist group.

2. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin told KPIX TV that he thinks antifa should be considered a gang. “I think we should classify them as a gang,” Arreguin said to the local CBS affiliate. “They come dressed in uniforms. They have weapons, almost like a militia, and I think we need to think about that in terms of our law enforcement approach.”

3. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., was booed by constituents at a San Francisco event after she said she hopes President Trump “has the ability to learn and change — and if he can he can be a good president,” reports Casey Tolan of the Mercury News$. Feinstein also riled the crowd when she strongly implied that she does not believe Trump will be impeached. “Look, this man is going to be president, most likely for the rest of this term,” she said. “I think we have to have some patience — it’s eight months into the tenure of the presidency.”

4. A strong majority of Californians — 61 percent — oppose a new state law signed by Gov. Brown that allows counties to close polling places and push voters to use absentee ballots, reports John Myers of the LA Times$, citing a new survey from UC Davis’ California Civic Engagement Project. Nonetheless, the state plans to move forward with the planned voting overhaul, which would replace local polling places with a few multipurpose election centers in each county.

5. State regulators fined Oakland-based Kaiser Permanente $2.2 million for failing to provide data on patient care to the state’s Medicaid program, reports Chad Terhune of California Healthline (via the East Bay Times$). The large fine follows a $2.5 million penalty that the state slapped on Kaiser earlier this year.

6. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf called on state lawmakers and the governor to place a $6 billion affordable housing bond on the November 2018 ballot in an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle$. Gov. Brown and legislators are finalizing a package deal for a smaller bond — $4 billion.

7. Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett has filed an intent to run for state Assembly next year, reports Chantelle Lee of the Daily Cal. Bartlett joins an already crowded field to replace Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, who is running for state superintendent of schools.

8. And Hurricane Harvey smashed the U.S. record for rainfall with some areas of southeast Texas being deluged with more than 50 inches of rain since Friday, The New York Times$ reports. The massive storm has killed at least 30 people so far.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Berkeley Is Considering Full Family Leave

by Jessica Lynn
Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 4:21 PM

Berkeley will hold a town hall next month to hear input on a new ordinance that could bring 100 percent paid family leave to the city.

Since 2002, California has offered an insurance program through which the state pays new parents or people caring for a sick family member either 55 percent of their wages or a maximum of $1,173 per week. If approved, Berkeley’s new ordinance would require private businesses with 25 or more employees to supplement these payments so that workers receive full wages for up to six weeks.

Berkeley’s labor commission and commission on the status of women will be hosting the event on the afternoon of Sept. 30 and are taking the helm on collecting public comment about the draft ordinance.

City labor advocates see the ordinance as a step toward progress both for the city and more broadly, the United States, which, according to a Berkeley city memo is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not guarantee paid leave for new parents.

Low-income employees in California have been unlikely to participate in the state’s paid leave program, according to the city memo, in part because they are often unable to support themselves and their families while earning little more than half of their usual paycheck.

“I think for both women and men in Berkeley, the right to be able to be with their families in times of need is so fundamental,” said Emmaline Campbell, chair of the city’s commission on the status of women, in an interview. “The United States is so far behind.”

But as written, the legislation has already received some blowback from the city’s business interests. Berkeley Chamber of Commerce CEO Kirsten MacDonald called the current ordinance a “copy and paste” of San Francisco’s paid family leave policy and worried many aspects wouldn’t work in Berkeley’s small business-driven economy.

MacDonald added that local business owners who provide ample benefits to many part-time employees may not be able to survive the ordinance.

“We want to offer perspectives on how still support this important issue, but to make sure businesses don’t suffer because of it,” MacDonald said.

The Sept. 30 town hall will be held at the Tarea Hall Pittman South Berkeley Library from 2-4 p.m. The event will also feature a panel of labor law specialists, workers’ advocates, and community members who have been directly affected by the lack of paid family leave in the city.

Opinion: UC Berkeley Shouldn't Prohibit Right-Wing Speech, Even When It’s Racist and Hateful

But Cal does have the responsibility to ensure public safety—no matter the cost.

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 3:55 PM

  • Photo by Matt St. John
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin was wrong this week to call on UC Berkeley to cancel planned speeches in September by far-right provocateurs Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter. It’s Arreguin’s job, of course, to be concerned about campus violence that could spread onto city streets, resulting in injuries to demonstrators and vandalism of small businesses in downtown. But as the birthplace of the campus free speech movement, UC Berkeley can’t prohibit speech based on its content — even if it’s racist and hateful.

New UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ understands that fact. She has said that Coulter and Yiannopoulos, who were invited by conservative students, will be allowed to speak. But it’s also Christ and the university’s responsibility to ensure public safety — both on and off campus — during and after the speeches. If demonstrators turn violent and assault people, like some did during Sunday’s protests in downtown Berkeley, they should be arrested.

Yes, the cost of public safety for next month’s speeches will be high, but it’s a financial burden UC Berkeley can’t shirk. Free speech, after all, isn’t always “free.”

(And next time Cal has to raise student fees to pay its bills, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to place some of the blame on college Republicans, who seem to take sophomoric pleasure in provoking campus violence while ignoring the costs of pouring gasoline on a fire.)

That isn’t to say there is no clear line between the type of speech Cal should protect and the type it shouldn’t. UC, obviously, should never give a platform to white supremacists or neo-Nazis who openly call for violence. Urging people to harm others is not a First Amendment endeavor.

As mayor of a cash-strapped city that has become a frontline in the Trump-era Hate Wars, Arreguin is also worried about radical black-masked antifascists, known commonly as antifa. “I’m very concerned about Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter and some of these other right-wing speakers coming to the Berkeley campus, because it’s just a target for black bloc to come out and commit mayhem on the Berkeley campus and have that potentially spill out on the street,” Arreguin said.

But Arreguin — and Christ — also should be very concerned about the violent white supremacists who have made Berkeley a favored battleground. It was neo-Nazis who sparked violence earlier this year in Berkeley, and some of those same people showed up later for the deadly demonstrations in Charlottesville.

As the Express pointed out last week, many of these neo-Nazis and skinheads are, in reality, members of violent gangs, although the police and press rarely treat them as such. And unlike antifa, white supremacists publicly call for violence against people based on their race, religion, and gender identification. Antifa, by contrast, exists to combat fascism.

In recent days, much scorn has been heaped on antifa for episodes of violence on Sunday in Berkeley. Some of it was deserved. A few antifa members clearly broke the law, assaulting a few people. But the violence also has been portrayed as the most important thing that happened on Sunday, and that’s clearly wrong. Thousands of people marched peacefully against hate in Berkeley. Their effort and dedication should not go unnoticed.

Similarly, some of the organizers of the weekend’s alt-right rallies in San Francisco and Berkeley have been portrayed as being “innocent” when they were not. For example, Amber Cummings has contended that she’s a peaceful conservative, is not a Nazi sympathizer, and had organized the Berkeley rally in order to speak out against what she views as the pervasiveness of Marxism in Berkeley. But the Daily Cal noted that Cummings is far from innocent. Earlier this year, on Facebook, she hawked sticks and shields with Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman. He’s a prominent alt-right member who is charged with felony possession of an illegal weapon in the form of a stick for his violent activities during a Berkeley protest in March.

“Kyle is legend and will certainly go down in American History and even though these shields are expensive, they will no doubt have a priceless value at some point every shield will come with a hand written signature on it from the man himself,” Cummings wrote in a July 8 Facebook post, the Daily Cal reported. “Kyle needs this funding in order to continue on his journey and Kyle is setting fires in the hearts of men and women world wide.”

In other words, Berkeley can expect more violence in late September. But who said democracy and the right to free speech isn’t sometimes messy?

Feds Bust Gun Trafficking Ring Revealing a Pipeline of Illegal Weapons Into Oakland

The weapons included pistol-style machine guns capable of semi- and fully automatic fire.

by Darwin BondGraham
Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 2:42 PM

A Zastava Arms PAP M92PV (AK-47 pistol).
  • A Zastava Arms PAP M92PV (AK-47 pistol).

An Oakland man pleaded guilty today to charges that he trafficked upwards of 60 firearms from Nevada to Oakland as part of a pipeline moving illegal weapons into the East Bay.

Between March 2015 and September 2016, Edgar De La Cruz made multiple bus trips and wired money to Reno to purchase guns from six straw buyers, according to an indictment filed in federal court in April. Federal prosecutors allege that he was assisted by another Oakland resident, Andre Winn.

Most of the weapons were semi-automatic pistols like Smith & Wesson's Model SD40VE .40-caliber and Glock's Model 17 and Model 22 9mm.

Keltec PLR-16.
  • Keltec PLR-16.
But De La Cruz and his associates also brought pistol-style assault weapons to Oakland, including at least one Keltec PLR-16, which is capable of rapid semi-automatic fire, and can be fed ammunition through high-capacity magazines.

De La Cruz and his associates also smuggled several pistol-style AK-47s, including at least four Zastava Arms M92s and a Romarm Micro Draco.

As the Express has previously reported, many firearms used in Oakland crimes are illegally trafficked into the city from Nevada and other nearby states with less restrictive gun laws. High-capacity magazines that are illegal to own in California are also common in Oakland because they're smuggled in. And although many types of firearms are outlawed here, the state remains a major profit center for the gun industry due to the trafficking of weapons into California.

Many of these guns end up quickly in the hands of people intent on committing a crime. They're recovered in robberies, shootings, and other incidents frequently.

The Oakland Police Department has already recovered several of the weapons De La Cruz and his associates trafficked into the city, including two .40-caliber Smith & Wesson pistols and a Glock Model 23.

Another handgun was recovered by the Hayward police in March 2016, and the Oakland Housing Authority Police recovered yet another pistol last year.

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives investigated the case. The agency's Northern California field office didn't immediately return a phone call seeking more information. It's unclear how many of the other weapons trafficked into the East Bay by De La Cruz and his associates are still on the streets.

Clarification: the original version of this story stated that Keltec's PLR-16 is capable of fully-automatic fire. The gun is manufactured and sold only as a semi-automatic weapon, but it can be converted to a fully automatic machine gun.

Tuesday’s Briefing: Berkeley Mayor Wants Cal to Cancel Far-Right Speeches; Brown Reaches Deal on $4B Housing Bond

Plus, the state Supreme Court makes it easier to pass citizen-initiative tax hikes.

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 10:02 AM

Arreguin is concerned about more black bloc violence.
  • Arreguin is concerned about more black bloc violence.

Stories you shouldn’t miss for Aug. 29, 2017:

1. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin is calling on UC Berkeley to cancel planned speeches next month by far-right provocateurs Milo Yiannopoulos and Anne Coulter, saying he’s concerned the events will induce radical black bloc antifascists to trash his city, the San Francisco Chronicle$ reports. “It’s just a target for black bloc to come out and commit mayhem on the Berkeley campus and have that potentially spill out on the street,” Arreguin said. Cal officials responded that they will not cancel the events, because of UC Berkeley’s commitment to free speech.

2. Gov. Jerry Brown reached a deal with legislative leaders to put a $4 billion affordable housing bond on the November 2018 ballot, reports Liam Dillon of the LA Times$. The bond package also includes $1 billion in proposed housing subsidies for military veterans.

3. The California Supreme Court made it easier to pass citizen-initiative tax hikes, reports Liam Dillon of the LA Times$. The court said citizen-initiative tax proposals should be treated differently from those floated by public agencies. However, “no consensus has emerged over how far-reaching the ruling might be, but some said the decision could make passage easier for local tax increases to finance school, road, transit, or other specific repairs or expansions.”

4. A state judge struck down a new California law that would have allowed public funding of political campaigns, saying the measure violates a 30-year-old ban on the use of taxpayer dollars, reports Patrick McGreevy of the LA Times$. “Judge Timothy M. Frawley in Sacramento ruled that the financing law, which was signed last September, ‘directly contradicts’ Proposition 73, an initiative approved by voters in 1988 that bans use of public money for campaigns."

5. UC Berkeley’s chief legal counsel, Christopher Patti, was killed while riding a bicycle near Guerneville by a hit-and-run driver, reports Rick Hurd of the East Bay Times$. Authorities said Patti was well off the road and that the motorist appears to have been driving recklessly.

6. And the death toll from Hurricane Harvey in Texas has reached 10 and is expected to continue to rise as rescue crews search for survivors, The New York Times$ reports. Flooding in Houston and other cities has smashed records, with some areas receiving more than 40 inches of rain.

$ = news stories that may require payment to read.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Monday’s Briefing: Oakland Emergency Crews Headed to Houston; Piedmont Mayor Steps Down Over Bigoted Posts

Plus, the ACLU sues to block President Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military.

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 10:04 AM

A Harris County sheriff's deputy rescues children during historic flooding in Houston. - HARRIS COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Harris County Sheriff's Office
  • A Harris County sheriff's deputy rescues children during historic flooding in Houston.

Stories you shouldn’t miss for Aug. 28, 2017:

1. Oakland firefighters are heading to Houston as part of an emergency response to the massive flooding from Hurricane Harvey, reports Dianne de Guzman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Gov. Jerry Brown approved the emergency response in which Oakland firefighters will join those from Menlo Park and other California cities. Houston and nearby Texas cities and towns have experienced record-breaking rainfall since Harvey, a monster category 4 hurricane, struck early Saturday. Some areas have already received up to 40 inches of rain and much more is expected this week. Five people have died in the storm and the death toll is expected to rise.

2. Piedmont Mayor Jeff Wieler stepped down from his position on Sunday, just one day before the city council was expected to remove him from the mayor’s office because of bigoted posts he made on Facebook, reports Michael Cabanatuan of the San Francisco Chronicle. Wieler says he intends to remain on the council until his term ends in November 2018. He stirred outrage after he posted that “transgenders are mentally ill” and “Black Lives Matter encourages cop killing” on Facebook.

3. The ACLU has sued to block President Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military, contending that it’s unconstitutional, the AP reports. Trump directed the U.S. military in an order last week to prohibit transgender people from serving.

4. Ranking House Intelligence Committee member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said President Trump’s pardon of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of racially profiling people, could impact the Russia collusion investigation, Politico reports. Schiff noted that Trump surrogates and family members may no longer be inclined to cooperate with investigators, under the assumption that the president will simply pardon them.

5. And the Washington Post$ reports that Trump’s business was seeking to build a Trump Tower in Moscow and looking for favors from the Russian government while he was running for president.

$ = news stories that may require payment to read.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Liveblog: Thousands of Anti-Fascist Demonstrators Protest in Downtown Berkeley

A small number of far-right and white supremacist protesters were quickly driven out.

by Darwin BondGraham, Jessica Lynn, Matt St. John and Robert Gammon
Sun, Aug 27, 2017 at 12:55 PM

  • Photo by Jessica Lynn
Update at 3:20 p.m.: The large anti-fascist protest in Berkeley is winding down. Anti-hate protesters declared victory after marching from downtown to Ohlone Park. The small number of fascists never really stood a chance and were driven easily from the city. Hate lost again today.

In all, there were an estimated 2,000 to 4,000 protesters—the vast majority of whom were there to demonstrate against white supremacists and far-right members who started the day with an “anti-Marxism” rally. A substantial number of the counterprotesters were black-masked members of antifa. A few antifa members violently beat up a couple of alleged neo-Nazis.

Police said there were 14 arrests. Police took some white supremacists into police custody for their own protection.

Update at 2:45 p.m. The small number of white supremacists and far-right demonstrators who showed up at the beginning of today’s events are now all gone. Black-masked antifa members beat up a few of them, police arrested others, and some just fled the area.

And there are now thousands of anti-fascist demonstrators marching through downtown. East Bay comedian W. Kamau Bell is riding in the antiracist counterprotesters' truck chanting "love always wins."

Update at 2:10 p.m.: Antifa members badly beat up an alt-right demonstrator on a downtown street.

Shane Bauer, reporter at Mother Jones, is reporting on Twitter that Joey Gibson, an organizer of #patriotprayer rally in San Francisco yesterday, showed up at today’s demonstration in Berkeley and was promptly arrested by police.

Update at 1:45 p.m
.: What began today as an “anti-Marxism” rally by far-right activists and then turned into an anti-hate demonstration by East Bay residents, is turning into a massive anarchist protest with black masked demonstrators massing in the downtown Berkeley area.

At least one protester set off a smoke bomb. However, there have no reports of widespread violence. Most of the white supremacists and far-right protesters have left the area. Police announced that they have made 10 arrests so far today.

  • Photo by Darwin BondGraham

Update at 1:20 p.m
.: Berkeley police and cops from other jurisdictions have turned their attention to a large contingent of antifa that has shown up at the demonstration. Cops started to put on gas masks, a strong indication they may launch tear gas this afternoon.

  • Photo by Matt St. John
Update at 12:45 p.m. East Bay residents are coming out in large numbers today in downtown Berkeley, protesting against hate—much like anti-hate demonstrators did yesterday in San Francisco. By 12:30 p.m., there were 500 to 1,000 anti-hate protesters in the downtown area, compared to only a dozen or two far-right demonstrators and white supremacists.

Berkeley police have attempted to control the crowds and avoid violence by cordoning off Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park with heavy cement barriers. Police are also requiring all demonstrators to pass through a security checkpoint, in which cops are combing through bags and patting down people. The city has banned all sorts of items today, including sticks, clubs, etc.
  • Photo by Jessica Lynn
At about 12:30, there were a few hundred anti-hate demonstrators in the park, with hundreds more on the surrounding streets. Police have been pro-active so far in their attempts to stop fights, physically escorting people out of the park and the area when skirmishes erupt.

Counterprotesters have been assembling in other areas of the city today and many plan to march to downtown. In addition to Berkeley police, members of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, Alameda police, and the California Highway Patrol are on hand. Up to 500 area law enforcement officials are expected to be on hand today.
  • Photo by Jessica Lynn

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin has been spotted in his City Hall office, looking down on the park and the demonstrators, keeping an eye on the situation.
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin looks down on the demonstration from the 5th floor mayor's offices. - DARWIN BONDGRAHAM
  • Darwin BondGraham
  • Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin looks down on the demonstration from the 5th floor mayor's offices.

On Twitter, follow the Express at @EastBayExpress for more updates. Also, we’ll be updating the blog throughout the day.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Kyle "Based Stickman" Chapman Jailed, Barred from Possessing Sticks and Other Weapons

A judge told Chapman, "You are to have no weapons of any kind — sticks, knives, pepper spray."

by Darwin BondGraham and Ali Winston
Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 10:21 AM

Kyle "Based Stickman" Chapman was also ordered to stay away from downtown Berkeley. - ALI WINSTON
  • Ali Winston
  • Kyle "Based Stickman" Chapman was also ordered to stay away from downtown Berkeley.

Kyle Chapman, who is accused of engaging in violent brawls in Berkeley during pro-Trump and "alt right" rallies earlier this year, was cuffed and taken to jail from an Alameda County courtroom this morning after a judge set his bail at $135,000.

Chapman, a Daly City resident, is charged by the district attorney with possession of an illegal weapon in the form of a stick. Berkeley police officers wrote in charging documents that he was seen beating people with the stick and dousing people with pepper spray on March 4.

At a morning court hearing in Oakland, Judge Mark McCannon told Chapman that he can't possess any weapons until his case is resolved. "You are to have no weapons of any kind — sticks, knives, pepper spray," the judge said.

McCannon also imposed a stay away order on Chapman, preventing him from being within 300 yards of Berkeley's Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center, where Chapman repeatedly clashed with counter-protesters in spring. As another condition of his bail, Chapman must submit to a search of his person and vehicle by any law enforcement officer at any time.

"The allegations do cause me some concern," said McCannon during the arraignment.

About ten sheriff's deputies were present for the hearing to prevent any disruptions by protesters or supporters of Chapman. Security measures at Wiley M. Manuel courthouse were heightened on Friday because of prior disruptions by right wing activists at the arraignment of Eric Clanton, a Cal State University lecturer accused of assault.

Just before his case was called, Chapman rebuffed two reporters from Reveal who attempted to ask questions. "You guys are the one's writing the hit pieces about me," he said.

Chapman then went on to blame "commies" and "international domestic terrorists" for recent violence at right-wing rallies in California and other parts of the country.

Regarding Berkeley, he said the police failed to keep right-wing and leftist protesters separated during the first two rallies and that this resulted in violent clashes. For what he called "Berkeley 3.0," the third political rally in April, Chapman said the police "finally did their job," and this resulted in "not one incidence of violence."

He also denounced recent events in Charlottesville. "They weren't uniting the right," he said about the rally that ended in one person dying after a white supremacist drove a car into dozens of counter-protesters. He derided attendees of Charlottesville as "racist alt-right fuckin' Nazis."

Chapman's next court appearance will be in Department 7 of the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse on Sept. 5.

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