Thursday, October 31, 2019

Thursday’s Briefing: Santa Rita Jail inmates stage hunger strike; East Bay rep calls for PG&E to become a public utility

Stephen Curry breaks his left hand

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Oct 31, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Last weekend's death of an inmate at Santa Rita Jail was the eighth incident this year. - FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo
  • Last weekend's death of an inmate at Santa Rita Jail was the eighth incident this year.


News you don’t want to miss for Halloween:

1. Prisoners at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin staged a one-day hunger strike and work stoppage on Wednesday, the East Bay Times reports, to protest unsanitary living conditions. $$

2. An inmate also at Santa Rita Jail died last weekend after ingesting an unknown substance, KTVU reports. It’s the eighth time this year that a prisoner at the jail has died while in custody.

3. State regulators are investigating whether PG&E’s equipment started two fires last Sunday in Contra Costa County, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Meanwhile, Fremont Rep. Ro Khanna said PG&E should become a public utility, the East Bay Citizen reports. $$

4. Here’s a top-notch lede from Mattias Gafni in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Say what you will about Russian interference, it just might get us Northern Californians out of this year’s precarious fire season.” Rain is brewing in somewhere over Russia and forecast to fall in Northern California around Nov. 10. $$

5. Not a good sign for Sen. Kamala Harris’s struggling presidential campaign: Politico reports Harris is cutting staff at her Baltimore headquarters and reshuffling others to Iowa.

6. A potentially dismal season just got worse for the Warriors. Stephen Curry broke his left hand during last night’s loss to the Phoenix Suns, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

7. In observance of Halloween we present the tale of the Niles Canyon Ghost. Legend has it that she wanders the dark, woodsy road near Sunol, still wearing her white prom dress. Will she ever find the date who murdered her?

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Wednesday’s Briefing: Nancy Skinner 1, NCAA 0; ALCO Board of Supervisors ban mutton-busting

Advocates vow to sue if U.C. system does not drop SAT for admissions

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Oct 30, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Mutton-busting has long been a featured event at Castro Valley's Rowell Ranch Rodeo. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Mutton-busting has long been a featured event at Castro Valley's Rowell Ranch Rodeo.


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

1. East Bay state Sen. Nancy Skinner registered a major victory for college student athletes across the country after the NCAA announced it would allow them to be paid when their name, image, and likeness used, ESPN reports. Skinner’s “Fair Pay to Play Act” bill was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom last month. The NCAA had previously voiced strong opposition to the bill and had threatened to ban California universities from participating in championship events.

2. Advocates for African American, Latino and low-income students are threatening to file a lawsuit against the 10-campus University of California system if they do not drop the use of SAT and ACT admission tests for incoming freshman, EdSource reports. Critics said the admissions tests discriminate against minorities and the poor.

3. Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash will seek a ballot measure for next year asking voters to exempt its gig-workers from the landmark AB5 bill signed into law last month, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The bill was created in part to force the three tech companies to reclassify their workers from independent contractors to employees. The proposed statewide measure needs roughly 630,000 valid signatures to make the November 2020 ballot. $$

4. As firefighters continue to battle the Kincade Fire in Northern California, the air in the East Bay will continue to be smoky in some areas on Wednesday, the East Bay Times. The forecast is prompting the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to issue a third consecutive Spare the Air alert. $$

5. Mutton-busting, the rodeo ride that features little kids riding sheep like bronco-busting horses, is now banned in Alameda County, the East Bay Times reports. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors narrowly approved the ban. Animal rights advocates said the ride causes significant mental and physical trauma for sheep. $$

6. Finnish entrepreneur Samuli Seppälä received approval from the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board to convert a long-closed school into his personal residence. The building will also features an artists colony, Berkeleyside reports. Hillside School was closed in 1980.

7. Conspiracy! ESPN reports Kevin Durant hatched an exit strategy for leaving the Warriors and teaming up with two other NBA stars way back in 2016 during training camp for the Olympics. Durant and the others followed through on the pact often speculated about last summer and joined the Brooklyn Nets.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: East Bay will have smoky skies; DA wants Alameda to release secret recording of city officials

Blue Bottle Coffee is leaving Jack London Square for Sacramento

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Oct 29, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley wants Alameda officials to release the secret recording of two councilmembers - FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo
  • Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley wants Alameda officials to release the secret recording of two councilmembers


News you don't want to miss for Oct. 29:

1. The Kindcade Fire has now burned more 74,000 acres in Northern California, the East Bay Times reports. Although progress has been made in containing the wildfire, the return of high winds on Tuesday has firefighters worried. $$

2. The skies and the air will remain hazy and smoky in the East Bay today due to the Kincade Fire, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Consequently, a Spare the Air alert has been issued. $$

3. Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley urged Alameda's city attorney to release the controversial secret recording of Alameda Councilmembers Jim Oddie and Malia Vella made by former City Manager Jill Keimach, the East Bay Times reports. The recording roiled City Hall two years ago. O'Malley said the city should release the 55-minute recording in the spirit of transparency. $$

4. Blue Bottle Coffee is moving its roasting operation out of Oakland's Jack London Square, SFGate reports. Coffee for the West Coast will distributed out of Sacramento by the end of the year.

5. Former California Gov. Jerry Brown will testify before Congress today on the ramifications of the Trump administration's decision to rollback vehicle emissions standards in the stae, the Los Angeles Times reports. $$

6. Ice cream-stuffed donuts have arrived. The Daily Cal reports the San Francisco-based ice cream shopMilkbomb has opened a location in downtown Berkeley.

7. All is good on Warriors Ground, at least, for the time being. The Warriors beat the Pelicans, 134-123, for their first win of the season, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The win against a similarly undermanned New Orleans team comes after two dreadful losses to open the season. $$

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Monday, October 28, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Northern California is on fire; Strong winds stoke fires closer to East Bay

Rise in statewide evictions ahead of new rent control laws

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Oct 28, 2019 at 4:00 AM

The Kincade Fire raged on over the weekend while other conflagrations popped up closer to the East Bay, including Lafayette - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • The Kincade Fire raged on over the weekend while other conflagrations popped up closer to the East Bay, including Lafayette


News you don't want to miss for Oct. 28:

1. The Kincade Fire raged on over the weekend, burning more than 150,000 acres, SFGate reports. The flames were fanned by an extreme "windstorm," with gusts in the North Bay hitting 100 m.p.h. High winds also blew through the East Bay on Sunday.

2. Fires in Vallejo and Crockett surrounding the Carquinez Bridge shut down Interstate 80 on Sunday, KPIX reports. More than 150 acres were scorched.

3. Lafayette also faced a five-acre wildfire that consumed the The Tennis Club on Camino Diablo, KRON reports.

4. Meanwhile, PG&E is planning a third round of power shut-offs in Northern California this week, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Strong winds are again forecast for Tuesday. $$

5. A number of new statewide rent control are set to become law on Jan. 1. Calmatters reports there is growing evidence that landlords are rushing to evict tenants ahead of the new year.

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Friday, October 25, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Richmond, Oakland face dire financial futures, state auditor finds; DA won't charge Wilson Riles, Jr.

Did a PG&E transmission tower start the Kincade Fire?

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Oct 25, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Oakland's lack of funding for future pension and retirement costs was rated by the state auditor as the highest risk of any city in California. - VISIT OAKLAND
  • Visit Oakland
  • Oakland's lack of funding for future pension and retirement costs was rated by the state auditor as the highest risk of any city in California.


News you don't want to miss for Oct. 25-27:

1. Did it happened again? PG&E told state regulators that a transmission line malfunctioned in the vicinity of the still-blazing Kincade Fire near Geyserville, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. Richmond and Oakland were ranked, respectively, as the twelfth and thirteenth cities with the highest financial distress in the state, according to a report issued Thursday by the California state auditor. Oakland topped the list as the most financial at risk when it comes to future pension costs and funding set aside to pay other retirement costs.

3. Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley declined to file charges against former Oakland Councilmember Wilson Riles, Jr, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Riles was arrested last week by Oakland Police on suspicion of battery against a police officer. Riles said the arrest was unjustified. $$

4. The BART Board of Directors voiced opposition to a proposed ban on busking at its stations, the East Bay Times reports. At the same meeting, BART Board Director John McPartland made an embarrassing and patronizing gaffe when addressing an African American attorney for the ACLU, the East Bay Citizen reports.

5. Oakland's six-month adaptive bike-sharing pilot program was created out of the Mayor's Commission on Persons with Disabilities. Next City reports on how the program is helping those with other body types get around town.

6. With nearly five months until the March primary, Sen. Kamala Harris is still struggling to gain support in her own state , KQED reports. Sen. Elizabeth Warren leads the field with 28 percent, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Harris is fifth with just 8 percent.

7. The Warriors began the Chase Center era by falling behind the Los Angeles Clippers 14-0 before eventually dropping the opening game of the season, 141-122, CBS Sports reports.

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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Thursday's Briefing: Smoke from Kincade Fire could reach the Bay Area on Friday; Protesters arrested at OUSD meeting

Warriors new home could net them $700 million a year in revenue

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Oct 24, 2019 at 4:00 AM

The Warriors, formerly of Oakland, open the new Chase Center tonight in San Francisco. - NBA
  • NBA
  • The Warriors, formerly of Oakland, open the new Chase Center tonight in San Francisco.


News you don't want to miss for Oct. 24:

1. The Kincade Fire in Sonoma County has now consumed roughly 15 square miles of land near Geyserville, prompting evacuations, the Associated Press reports.

2. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District expects smoke from the Kincade Fire to begin reaching the Bay Area sometime late Friday morning, SFGate reports.

3. Six protesters were arrested at an Oakland school board meeting Wednesday night, KPIX reports, after they jumped a barrier between the public and the school board members.

4. A Berkeley man was found dead last Sunday after falling off Mt. Sill, one of California's tallest mountains, the Associated Press reports. Twenty-three-year-old Neil Karpe fell 400 feet to his death, authorities said.

5. The Golden State Warriors open their regular season tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers. It marks the team's first game at the Chase Center in San Francisco. The Athletic reports estimated annual revenues from the new arena could net the Warriors $700 million.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Wednesday’s Briefing: Oakland reaches tentative labor agreement with two largest unions; More summer-like weather is coming

Michael Jordan says Steph Curry is not a Hall of Famer yet

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Oct 23, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Members of SEIU Local 1021 protesting in front of Oakland City Hall in 2018. - DARWIN BONDGRAHAM
  • Darwin BondGraham
  • Members of SEIU Local 1021 protesting in front of Oakland City Hall in 2018.


News you don’t want to miss for Oct. 23:

1. Oakland city officials and members of its two largest labor unions – IFTPE Local 21 and SEIU Local 1021 – agreed to a tentative contract agreement, the East Bay Times reports. Prior to the announcement, the unions were set to ask its members to authorize a strike. $$

2. A fire on the Oakland side of the Transbay Tube shut down BART trains smack in the middle of the Tuesday evening commute, KPIX reports.

3. The housing crisis in California and rabble-rousing Oakland developer Gene Gorelick received page one treatment in The New York Times. Earlier this year, Gorelick showered a few homeless people in Oakland with $100 bills in an attempt to persuade them to move their encampment.

4. There’s an Indian summer, then there’s the hot weather forecast for the East Bay. Temperatures could reach close to 90 degrees in Oakland on Thursday, SFGate reports.

5. Oakland Raiders Hall of Fame cornerback Willie Brown died Tuesday, ESPN reports. Brown was 78. Brown personified the team’s dominance in the 1970s and his interception touchdown return in Super Bowl XI was immortalized by NFL Films.

6. Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley will not file charges against Toronto Raptors executive Masai Ujiri, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Ujiri allegedly shoved an Alameda County sheriff’s deputy who blocked him from joining the Raptors NBA Finals victory on the Warriors then-home court in Oakland. $$

7. Keep in mind the NBA is a master at PR and Tuesday was opening night, but Michael Jordan said he believes Warriors star Stephen Curry is not yet Hall of Fame material, SFGate reports.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Tuesday’s Briefing: Former Oakland councilmember arrested; ‘Notorious RBG’ visits Berkeley

BART's lawyers find ban on panhandling at stations is legal

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Oct 22, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg assured guests in Berkeley that her health is good. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg assured guests in Berkeley that her health is good.


News you don’t want to miss for Oct. 22:

1. Former Oakland Councilmember Wilson Riles, Jr. was arrested last Thursday on suspicion of battery on a police officer, KTVU reports. Riles said he was tackled by OPD following a visit to the Oakland Planning and Zoning Department about a sweat lodge on his property. He believes the arrest was unjustified.

2. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made and appearance at U.C. Berkeley and said she’s feeling “very well,” the East Bay Times reports. Ginsburg gave a speech Monday night in honor of a new lecture series named after her late friend and colleague. $$

3. Fluorescent green Lime scooters dot the downtown landscape of Oakland and users of the electric bikes appear plentiful, but not revenue. Cory Weinberg in The Information reports Lime will lose a staggering $300 million this year. One reason is the scooters break down before the company can generate enough money off them.

4. PG&E began notifying customers in 16 Northern California counties that another round of power shut-offs may occur this week due to dry brush and hot weather, the Associated Press reports. Alameda County is not yet one of them.

5. There has been some hesitancy among some BART board directors toward a proposal to ban panhandling at its stations. The San Francisco Chronicle reports a legal analysis by BART's staff stated the proposed prohibition is not a violation of the First Amendment. $$

6. Sports stadiums and arenas situated on coast lines could face significant issues in the future because of rising sea-levels. The Washington Post looked at the growing problem through the proposed waterfront ballpark the Oakland A’s hope to build at Howard Terminal. $$

7. Ben Rothman, the world champion of golf croquet, showed up for practice near Lake Merritt. Who’s Ben Rothman? The San Francisco Chronicle reports Rothman’s fans did not show up. $$

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Monday, October 21, 2019

Monday's Briefing: More PG&E power shut offs coming? Bleak housing future for millennials hoping to become homeowners

Oakland Roots play before a sellout crowd at Laney College

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Oct 21, 2019 at 4:00 AM

The Oakland Roots played to a 1-1 draw Saturday night. - OAKLAND ROOTS
  • Oakland Roots
  • The Oakland Roots played to a 1-1 draw Saturday night.


News you don't want to miss for Oct. 21:

1. A sequel to PG&E's panned massive power shutoff in Northern California two weeks ago could be coming, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Rising temperatures this week has the utility again worried about the threat of wildfires. $$

2. Meanwhile, the planned shut offs could be with us for the next decade, PG&E's CEO said, according to KQED. It will take that long for the utility to improve its infrastructure, which has been blamed for starting several deadly wildfires in recent years.

3. Some bleak numbers are coming from a recent survey of Bay Area millennials and their prospects of living in the region and owning a home, the Mercury News reports. Three in 10 surveyed expect to move in the next year. $$

4. The cause of a fuel tank explosion in Crockett and the resulting fire that shutdown I-80 remains unknown. The San Francisco Chronicle reports officials at the plant said nothing appeared amiss before the accident. $$

5. End of an era: Flora restaurant in downtown Oakland is closing on Nov. 8, SFGate reports. Business is still doing well, owner Tom Schnetz said, but it's time to move on to other opportunities.

6. Recent polls in California suggest otherwise, but Calmatters reports Sen. Kamala Harris continues to lead in the money department. But contributions this year are clearly downtrending in the state. Who's second in the field? President Trump.

7. The Oakland Roots soccer club ended the home schedule of their inaugural season Saturday night with a sellout at Laney College, SFGate reports. A crowd of 5,723 watched the Roots and the Los Angeles Force play to a 1-1 draw.

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Friday, October 18, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Moraga fire could have been a disaster, fire officials said; 300 housing units coming to Alameda

State unemployment rate hits a record-low

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Oct 18, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Kamala Harris's presidential campaign was skewered for posting this odd Twitter meme. - IAN SAMS/TWITTER
  • Ian Sams/Twitter
  • Kamala Harris's presidential campaign was skewered for posting this odd Twitter meme.


News you don't want to miss for Oct. 18-20:

1. The fire in Moraga earlier this week was contained, but was on the verge of a major disaster, fire officials told the East Bay Times. The fire, which is believed to have been accidental, was located near St. Mary's College and required an evacuation of some neighborhoods. $$

2. Your PG&E bill could increase by an average of $9 a month starting in January, the East Bay Times reports. The early advisory from PG&E comes at a time when the utility is facing considerable criticism for its handling of state wildfires and the recent Northern California power shut off. $$

3. More than 300 new housing units are coming to Alameda, the East Bay Times reports. The Alameda Planning Board approved the final phase of the Alameda Landing project, which is located near the Oakland Estuary. $$

4. Expect a dry winter, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued the forecast, but added weather can be fickle. Steady rainfall is predicted to resume by February. $$

5. California's unemployment rate reached a record-low in September, the Associated Press reports. The unemployment rate is now four percent. Job growth also increased for a 115 consecutive month, breaking a record set during the 1960s.

6. Kamala Harris's presidential campaign suffered a Twitter meme failure Thursday, SFGate reports. Her campaign posted the now iconic photo of Speaker Nancy Pelosi appearing to berate Donald Trump, but cropped out the president and replaced him with Harris and the comment, "Time for an upgrade."

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