Monday, September 30, 2019

Monday's Briefing: A's clinch playoff spot, will host Rays on Wednesday; Kamala Harris opens Oakland campaign HQ

Newsom signs 13 homeless-related bills

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Sep 30, 2019 at 4:00 AM

A's play the Rays Wednesday night in Oakland at 5 p.m.
  • A's play the Rays Wednesday night in Oakland at 5 p.m.


News you don’t want to miss for Sept. 30:

1. The Oakland A’s finished the regular season Sunday with an impressive 97 wins. The total means the A’s will host the one-game wildcard playoff against the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday evening in Oakland. A big crowd is expected for the team’s first home playoff game in six years, NBC Sports reports

2. Sen. Kamala Harris opened her campaign headquarters in Oakland last weekend. As Joe Garofoli notes in the San Francisco Chronicle the unveiling comes at a time when Harris’s poll numbers are tanking nationally, in California, and the Bay Area. $$

3. The Glenn Dyer Jail in downtown Oakland is now closed, but Phil Matier of the San Francisco Chronicle reports the air conditioning is still on and the cost to taxpayers is a cool $83,000 a month. $$

4. The U.S. Department of Energy selected the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to lead a $100 million project that seeks to lower the costs of desalination, the East Bay Times reports. $$

5. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed 13 bills last week that intend to alleviate California’s rampant homelessness crisis by removing some of the red tape for creating new housing units, the Associated Press reports.

6. A proposed ballot measure aiming to increase the monetary caps on medical malpractice payouts is in the works, the Associated Press reports. The measure has yet to begin the signature-gathering stage. The current cap on damages for pain and suffering is $250,000, but has not changed since 1975.

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Sunday, September 29, 2019

A's Deal as Wild Card Host

It's the Have-Nots vs. the Really-Have-Nots

by Kibby Kleiman
Sun, Sep 29, 2019 at 6:12 PM

You know the story, by now-- underfunded team in subpar ballpark playing before a scant number of fans with occasional threats of moving the franchise while overachieving against big swingers but never winning it all. And then there are the Oakland A's.

The Athletics have earned home field advantage for Wednesday's American League wild card game against the Oakland A's East, aka the Tampa Bay Rays. We are playing a fun house mirror of ourselves in this sudden death game. The A's have the 26th lowest payroll in baseball, Tampa is the lowest. The Rays scrambled last year to compete in the game innovating with "openers" rather than traditional starting pitchers, because starting pitchers cost too damn much. Last year's wild card playoff game featured the first ever use of an opener, in a post season game by none other than the Oakland A's.

In some ways, the Rays being in the Final Five is even more impressive, considering they have to play 40% of their league games against the Yankees and Red Sox. The Rays cobble together a winning team by using the same collection of Misfit Toys that we dig through. Rays Joey Wendle, Emilio Pagan and Eric Sogard, are in fact pieces we left out after the garage sale had shut down and got grabbed by Tampa Bay before they were taken to the dump. The A's are super tense, having failed twice in wild card tries, but this is the present tense, the first time the team has hosted such a game. In modern baseball, most every big league team has built smaller, more intimate ballparks. But most teams aren't the A's, who inhabit America's only fifty year old but not treasured stadium. Lacking quality, the Coliseum can at least boast quantity. Yes, the A's lead the big league in seats. Some distant, terrible, usually tarped but functional seats. More than 50,000 of them. It will be three days of build up and nine innings of drama (or knowing the A's history, thirteen innings or more), but whoever wins the narrative of being America's gutty underdog which beats hell out of being America's most wretched.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Friday's Briefing: San Leandro's first dispensary is burglarized; New saloon-style fare gates coming to BART

Oakland A's can clinch a playoff spot tonight

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Sep 27, 2019 at 4:00 AM

San Leandro first approved dispensaries back in 2015, but Blum San Leandro was the first to open its doors earlier this year. - CITY OF SAN LEANDRO
  • City of San Leandro
  • San Leandro first approved dispensaries back in 2015, but Blum San Leandro was the first to open its doors earlier this year.


News you don't want to miss for Sept. 27-29:

1. San Leandro's first-ever operational cannabis dispensary was burglarized, KRON reports. Blum San Leandro opened its doors earlier this year. Four suspects were arrested.

2. Friday's night scheduled high school football game between Oakland's McClymonds and San Leandro High was canceled because of safety concerns, NBC Bay Area reports. The game scheduled at Burrell Field in San Leandro will be played at a later date.

3. Howdy, pardner! The BART Board of Directors approved new fare gates for its station. Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle described them as "tall panels that swing open like saloon doors." However, funding for the 600 gates costing $150 million has yet to be identified. $$

4. It's becoming a monthly tradition in the Bay Area. Median home prices dropped to $810,000 in August, a 0.7 percent drop from the previous month, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. It's the sixth straight month of decreasing home values. $$

5. Oakland rapper G-Eazy heads the lineup for this weekend's Rolling Loud music festival at the Oakland Coliseum, Rolling Stone reports. Migos, Future, and Lil Uzi Vert are also headliners.

6. The Oakland A's magic number for clinching a playoff spot is now one after they beat the Seattle Mariners, 3-1, Thursday night, NBC Sports reports. For the layman, it means if they A's win just one of their last three games of the season they will likely meet the Tampa Bay Rays in a one-game wildcard match-up next Wednesday.

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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Thursday's Briefing: Contra Costa County voters to decide transportation sales tax measure next year; Kaiser, unions agree on tentative contract

PG&E shuts off power to 50,000 customers in Northern California

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Sep 26, 2019 at 4:00 AM

If Contra Costa County's proposed transportation sales tax measure is approved, it could create $3.6 billion in new revenues through 2055. - CONTRA COSTA COUNTY
  • Contra Costa County
  • If Contra Costa County's proposed transportation sales tax measure is approved, it could create $3.6 billion in new revenues through 2055.


News you don't want to miss for Sept. 26:

1. Contra Costa County supervisors backed a proposed half-cent sales tax to fund transportation projects for the next 35 years, the East Bay Times reports. The ballot measure will come before voters in March 2020 and create $3.6 billion in new tax revenue over the next three decades. $$

2. BART officials contemplated an idea to erect see-through walls on its platform that would open only when trains entered stations, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The plan proved too complicated. $$

3. A coalition of labor unions won a big victory Wednesday after they reached a tentative agreement with Kaiser Permanente on a new four-year contract, the Los Angeles Times reports. The tentative deal averts an Oct. 14 strike date announced last week by the unions. Roughly 4,900 Kaiser employees in the East Bay are affected by the new deal. $$

4. It was hot yesterday in the East Bay with temperatures in Oakland hitting 100 degrees. But a cold front is on its way ending the fall heat wave in the Bay Area, SFGate reports. Temperatures could quickly drop today by as much as 15 degrees in some places.

5. PG&E shut off power for 50,000 customers in seven Northern California counties in order to head off any wildfires from igniting, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The utility created the new policy earlier this year after its equipment was blamed for starting deadly wildfires in the region. $$

6. The San Francisco developer who initiated a previous data privacy ballot measure only to have it signed into the law by the California Legislature, is proposing an expanded version of the law for the 2020 ballot, Calmatters reports. The ballot measure petition, however, will be daunting, requiring nearly 1 million valid signatures in order to qualify for next year's ballot.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Wednesday's Briefing: East Bay congressmembers on board with impeachment inquiry against Trump; Peralta District chooses new chancellor

Oakland cop, who accidentally shot himself, is charged with obstructing investigation

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Sep 25, 2019 at 4:00 AM

President Trump
  • President Trump


News you don't want to miss for Sept. 25:

1. Speaker Nancy Pelosi set in motion the possible impeachment of President Trump, The New York Times reports. East Bay Reps. Barbara Lee, Mark DeSaulnier, and Eric Swalwell have supported impeachment for months. Rep. Ro Khanna finally joined the group Tuesday. $$

2. An Oakland police officer who accidentally shot himself at a Chili's in San Leandro last December, was charged by the Alameda Count District Attorney's office with obstructing the investigation into the incident, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The officer was also found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia. $$

3. The Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees selected Regina Stanback Stroud to be its next chancellor, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Stroud previously served as president of Skyline College in San Bruno. The district includes Berkeley City College, Merritt College, Laney College, and the College of Alameda. $$

4. Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro will be in Oakland today. Castro will tour the Fruitvale BART Transit Village and homeless encampment near the Home Depot on Alameda Avenue, the East Bay Citizen reports.

5. Earlier this year, Fremont approved a pilot program for its police department to use battery-powered Teslas as patrol cars. Last Friday, the East Bay Times reports, one of the cruisers ran out of juice while in pursuit of a suspect. $$

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: ALCO sheriff’s deputy said he was following rules when recording prisoners; new tenants groups forming in the East Bay

Contra Costa County supervisors may ban polystyrene containers

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Sep 24, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Alameda County Sgt. Jeff Russell was charged with eavesdropping on privileged conversations between inmates and their lawyers. - ACSO
  • ACSO
  • Alameda County Sgt. Jeff Russell was charged with eavesdropping on privileged conversations between inmates and their lawyers.


News you don’t want to miss for Sept. 24:

1. The Alameda County sheriff’s deputy charged with four felony counts of recording jailhouse conversations between suspects and their attorneys said he was just following the department’s guidelines, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. A newly formed tenants union in San Leandro is planning a “fair rent” ballot measure for sometime next year, the East Bay Citizen reports. The proposed measure is still in the draft stage but would seek to place an annual rent cap at around four percent, among other new tenants’ protections. In other housing activism news, Oaklanders are trying to form an African American Housing Union, KQED reports.

3. Former Gov. Jerry Brown is teaming up with a Chinese environmental leader to create the California-China Climate Institute, Calmatters reports. The institute will focus on solutions for combating climate change and will be located at U.C. Berkeley.

4. Contra Costa County supervisors will decide this morning whether to ban the use of polystyrene cups and containers, starting in May 2020, SFGate reports. If approved, the prohibition would only cover businesses in the unincorporated areas of the county.

5. A new California presidential primary tracking poll shows Sen. Elizabeth Warren roaring to the top of the field with 29 percent support in the state, Capitol Weekly reports, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (21 percent); and Joe Biden (18 percent). A new Iowa poll this week also showed Warren leading the pack for the first time.

6. Former Chez Panisse chef Cal Peternell opened a new restaurant in Old Oakland this week, SF Eater reports. The Lede is open only for lunch until expanded its hours for dinner starting Oct. 5.

7. On the backs of a 4-0 record, Cal jumped eight spots in the Associated Press college football rankings to No. 15 in the nation, SFGate reports. It’s the highest the Golden Bears have risen in the poll since 2009, when Jeff Tedford manned the sidelines at Memorial Stadium.

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Monday, September 23, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Beloved 98-year-old Richmond Park Ranger suffers stroke; Fire warning for East Bay Hills

Oakland Museum makeover will open it up to Lake Merritt

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Sep 23, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Betty Reid Soskin. - AK SANDHU
  • AK Sandhu
  • Betty Reid Soskin.


News you don't want to miss for Sept. 23:

1. Betty Reid Soskin, the beloved 98-year-old National Park ranger at the Rosie the Riveter Visitor Center in Richmond, suffered a stroke recently, her family said. While she recovers, a short documentary about Soskin make its debut tonight in Sausalito, SFGate report.

2. The National Weather Service issued a Fire Weather Watch for the East Bay Hills, Diablo range, and the North Bay Mountains from Monday night to Wednesday morning, the East Bay Times reports. The combination of dry brush and a forecast of dry gusty winds is the reason for the warning. $$

3. A pair of bills that would make it unlawful to smoke on state beaches and subject to fines has made its way to Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk for approval, the East Bay Times reports. East Bay state Sen. Steve Glazer is the author of one of the bills. Two similar bills by Glazer passed the Legislature in recent years, but were vetoed by former Gov. Jerry Brown. $$

4. Oakland's Ghost Ship fire and the boating disaster last month in Santa Barbara highlight the difficulties in proving negligence, Brian Melley reports for the Associated Press. The The acquittal and hung jury in the recent Ghost Ship trial is causing Southern California law enforcement officials to rethink prosecution of last month's Conception boat fire.

5. "Fifty years after it opened, the Oakland Museum of California is about to do something that should have happened long ago — open itself up to Lake Merritt," John King writes in the San Francisco Chronicle. The first phase of $20 million project to revamp the museum's relationship to the rest of the city starts Thursday with a ceremonial groundbreaking. $$

6. Cal State East Bay President Leroy Morishita will leave his post next spring, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Morishita has served as president since 2011.

7. Nurses at Alameda Hospital and San Leandro Hospital held a one-day strike last Friday, KRON reports. Negotiations for a new contract have languished for months. The nurses staged an information picket line last April.

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Friday, September 20, 2019

Friday's Briefing: 'Lives will be lost' if Alta Bates closes, Albany mayor says; Alameda Coast Guard commander charged

OPD has a plan to thwart sideshows this weekend

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Sep 20, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley is slated to close within the next decade. - ALTA BATES
  • Alta Bates
  • Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley is slated to close within the next decade.


News you don't want to miss for Sept. 20-22:

1. Albany Mayor Rochelle Nason said “lives will be lost” if Sutter Health closes Berkeley’s Alta Bates Hospital, the East Bay Times reports. $$

2. A U.S. Coast Guard commander from Alameda was charged with illegally importing Tramadol, an opioid pain medication, NBC Bay Area reports. James Silcox III was arrested last Tuesday at Coast Guard Island in Alameda.

3. The Alameda City Council unanimously approved a two-way dedicated bike lane to be constructed on Clement Street, Streetblog SF reports. The bike lane will extend for a lengthy portion of Alameda’s north shore.

4. Forty-one million disposable cups are used every year in Berkeley alone, said an environmental group that is launching a reusable cup program in the city, Bay City News reports. Businesses in the U.C. Berkeley campus and those along Telegraph Avenue will soon begin using the stainless steel cups.

5. After a recent heavily-attended sideshow, Oakland Police said they will barricade a popular spot at 42nd Avenue near Interstate 880 this weekend, NBC Bay Area reports.

6. A federal judge in Sacramento sided with President Trump’s lawyers in blocking a new California state law that requires presidential candidates in the state’s primary elections to release their tax returns, the Associated Press reports. The judge suggested the U.S. Constitution sets the rules for presidential elections, not states.

7. Imitation is the most sincerest form of flattery. A New York state senator is proposing a bill similar to East Bay state Sen. Nancy Skinner’s “Fair Pay for Fair Play” bill currently awaiting the governor’s signature, ESPN reports. The New York bill allows college student athletes to be paid, but also calls for universities to set aside 15 percent of their sports revenues to be divided among all student athletes.

8. The Impossible Burger is coming to the meat aisle at grocery stores, but not in the Bay Area, at least, not yet, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The makers of the plant-based meat product are located in Redwood City. $$

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Thursday's Briefing: PG&E rates are going up $5 next month; Harris goes all-in on Iowa

Judge to rule on Berkeley housing project within Shellmound site

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Sep 19, 2019 at 4:00 AM

PG&E's rate increase next month is for infrastructure improvements, but not power lines that caused recent California wildfires. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • PG&E's rate increase next month is for infrastructure improvements, but not power lines that caused recent California wildfires.


News you don't want to miss for Sept. 19:

1. An Alameda County Superior Court judge will soon rule whether a proposed 260-unit housing development near the old Spenger's restaurant in Berkeley was illegally denied approval, Berkeleyside reports. The project was slated to include a large number of units for low-income housing, but is also within the West Berkeley Shellmound area.

2. "The monthly gas and electric bill for the average Pacific Gas and Electric Co. residential customer is set to rise $4.80 starting Oct. 1 as a result of recent decisions by state utility regulators," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Expected more increases to come. $$

3. With her presidential campaign in a rut, Sen. Kamala Harris is planning to go all-in on Iowa, Politico reports. Harris will travel more frequently to Iowa and beef up staff on the ground. Polling this week shows her drifting toward the bottom of second-tier candidates.

4. The Trump administration's revocation of California's automobile emissions standards raise a number of questions, including, can the federal government tell a state how to regulate its own air quality? KQED takes a look at what comes next.

5. "Toll Booth Willie," the foul-mouthed toll taker created by comedian Adam Sandler won't have a job in the Bay Area soon. All seven of the region's bridges will be cash-less by 2022, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. But the conversion could be costly, around $55 million. $$

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: Trump is coming to the Bay Area, but nobody knows where; Newsom asks Trump for housing vouchers

Alice Waters doesn't like the name 'Gourmet Ghetto'

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Sep 17, 2019 at 4:00 AM

President Trump visiting California wildfires last November, along with Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • President Trump visiting California wildfires last November, along with Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown.


News you don’t want to miss for Sept. 17:

1. Don’t all get excited at once, but President Trump is scheduled to visit the Bay Area for the first time during his presidency today. But where the event is being held is somewhat of a state secret. Meanwhile, SFGate reports the ubiquitous balloon depicting Trump in baby diapers is likely to make an appearance.

2. Gov. Gavin Newsom is asking Trump for 50,000 additional housing vouchers to help California’s homelessness problem, the Associated Press reports. Last week, Trump administration officials were eyeing sites for possibly relocating homeless individuals to camps.

3. More than 1,200 students from 17 universities across the country, including U.C. Berkeley and Stanford are pledging not to work for software company Palantir because of its contract with U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement, The Hill reports.

4. Alice Waters, the founder of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, said she never liked the name “Gourmet Ghetto,” referring to the area where the world-famous restaurant is located, and thinks the name should be changed, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. East Bay brewers took home medals from the inaugural California Craft Brewers Cup last weekend, SFGate reports. Richmond’s East Brother Beer Co. won a gold medal for its Czech Pale Lager, while silver medals went to Berkeley’s Triple Rock Brewing Co. for its Scottish Ale, and San Leandro’s Drake’s Brewing Co. for its Rye IPA.

6. Cal football’s 3-0 start has earned them their highest ranking in nearly four years, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Golden Bears head to Mississippi on Saturday ranked 23rd in the nation. $$

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