Friday, November 29, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Animal rights activists protest Whole Foods in Oakland; Black Friday in Fremont interrupted by gunfire

How Oakland's skyline is changing rapidly

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Nov 29, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Protesters held a "sidewalk fast" last Wednesday through Thanksgiving afternoon at the Whole Foods in Oakland. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Protesters held a "sidewalk fast" last Wednesday through Thanksgiving afternoon at the Whole Foods in Oakland.


News you don't want to miss for Nov. 29-Dec. 1:

1. Animal rights activists held a "sidewalk fast" outside the Whole Foods in Oakland Thursday to protest alleged animal cruelty by four suppliers used by Amazon, the store's parent company, NBC Bay Area reports.

2. Another violent crime incident came to the bedroom communities of the Tri-Cities last night after shots rang out near a Target in Fremont, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Five suspects were arrested at the Fremont Hub. Earlier this week, two boys were killed by a gunman in Union City. $$

3. With Thanksgiving behind us, it's time to buy a Christmas tree. But you might find the price of Douglas Firs and other types of holiday trees continue to rise. The Associated Press explains the issue is dwindling supply in Oregon. More than 400 fewer suppliers exist in Oregon than 15 years ago.

4. The local Dungeness crab season is being held up for environmental concerns, but in years past it has been delayed by an outbreak of high levels of domoic acid, which is harmful to humans. The San Francisco Chronicle profiles the federal lab in Richmond tasked with making sure our holiday crab cioppino is safe to eat.

5. The ever-present cranes tell the story. New construction in Downtown Oakland is booming. Roland Yi in the San Francisco Chronicle takes a looks at the trend that will reshape the city for decades to come, but could also boost Oakland's lagging tech sector.. $$

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Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving Day Briefing: Hard rains coming this weekend; Bankruptcy judge says PG&E still liable for wildfires

Oakland Airport losing some direct flights to Europe

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Nov 28, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Dinner. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Dinner.


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

1. Hide the women and children! An "atmospheric river" is on the horizon. Heavy rains in the Bay Area and snow in the Sierras is expected to arrive starting this weekend, SFGate reports. The deluge could continue for most of the next week.

2. Tuesday night's hard rain was too much for the new $1.4 billion Chase Center in San Francisco. "Light flooding" occurred at the arena in a few rooms because of a broken pipe, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. That noise yesterday was the sound of thousands of Oakland fans snickering. $$

3. A federal bankruptcy judge ruled against PG&E's bid to overturn a state law that puts the utility on the hook for liabilities stemming from the wildfires its equipment started in California, the Associated Press reports. The fires in 2017 and 2018 cost PG&E up to $20 billion in damages.

4. The PG&E bankruptcy case also affects the 2016 Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland. The San Francisco Chronicle reports families of the victims asked a judge to lift the suspension on lawsuits against PG&E in order to allow for their claims to move forward. $$

5. Oakland International Airport is losing two non-stop summer routes to Denmark and Sweden, SFGate reports. Direct flights on Norwegian Air to Copenhagen and Stockholm will cease next summer. Oakland recently lost non-stop flights to London and Barcelona.

6. High demand and limited space in Bay Area's shelters and warming centers is continuing problem, KQED reports. And when it rains, as one person noted, there's no shelter for those waiting in line to be admitted to the actual shelter.

7. So maybe you burned the turkey or forgot to fully thaw your bird this week. Tofurky, a tofu substitute is becoming more popular this Thanksgiving season, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. But, here's the herb rub: Americans are still consuming considerable amounts of turkey.

8. Meanwhile, don't mess with wild turkeys. They will mess you up. Video here.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Wednesday's Briefing: Oakland will appeal Measure AA ruling; Parents file excessive force claim against OUSD

Coliseum tells MC Hammer, "U Can't Touch This,' cancels tonight's concert

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Nov 27, 2019 at 4:00 AM

MC Hammer's reunion concert tonight in Oakland was cancelled at the last minute. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • MC Hammer's reunion concert tonight in Oakland was cancelled at the last minute.


News you don't want to miss for Nov. 27:

1. Oakland is appealing a ruling last month in Alameda County Superior Court that invalidated Measure AA, the 2018 parcel tax to fund early education, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The measure was purported to need a two-thirds majority to pass, but fell short. $$

2. Nine Oakland parents filed a lawsuit against the Oakland Unified School District alleging its police officers used excessive force during a wild Oct. 23 school board meeting in which protesters attempted to jump a barrier between them and the school board members, EdSource reports. The parents are led by Oakland civil rights attorney Dan Siegel.

3. Last night's heavy rains caused a power outage at the Oakland International Airport, SFGate reports, causing a major disruption on the one of the busiest travel days of the year.

4. Berkeley's year-end budget update is showing the city's coffers have some extra cash lying around, Berkeleyside reports. The city council could use the money to pay down its unfunded liabilities, fortify its general funds, but also use it to address illegal dumping and street safety.

5. The arrest of an African-American man eating a sandwich at the Pleasant Hill BART station may not have been a isolated incident. The San Francisco Examiner reports that out of 55 riders cited for eating and drinking at BART stations since 2014, 80 percent were African-American.

6. A reunion concert scheduled for tonight at the Oakland Coliseum Arena, featuring MC Hammer, Tony! Toni! Tone!, Digital Underground, En Vogue, and Luniz is cancelled, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Coliseum officials pulled the plug on the celebration of Oakland music because the concert's promoters failed to meet unnamed obligations. $$

7. Brandon Rivera, better known as the Contra Costa County rapper, "B-Dawg" was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for his involvement in the theft of more than 100 firearms and other items from a warehouse in Concord, Mashrival reports.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: Lawsuit claims Alameda County Sheriff's Dept. forced some inmates into slavery; Hayward man admits to being an agent for China

Suspect in Orinda shooting pleads not guilty to gun charges

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Nov 26, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern. - SHANE BOND/EAST BAY CITIZEN
  • Shane Bond/East Bay Citizen
  • Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern.


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

1. A class-action lawsuit filed last week alleges the Alameda County Sheriff's Department forced some pre-trial and immigration prisoners into unlawful involuntary servitude by not paying them for work provided to the Santa Rita Jail's food concession vendor, The Appeal reports. The lawsuit was filed last Wednesday by attorneys on behalf of eight plaintiffs. Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the department, confirmed the inmates are not paid for their work.

2. A suspect in the Halloween night shooting in Orinda that claimed the life of five people, plead not guilty on Monday to two counts of felony gun-related charges, KTVU reports.

3. Rain will return to the East Bay sometime Tuesday afternoon, SFGate report. It's been a long time coming. The storm is the first of the rainy season, which began in October. Significant snowfall is also expected in the Sierras.

4. Hayward resident Xuehua Edward Peng plead guilty to be being an unregistered agent for the Chinese government, the Associated Press reports. "Prosecutors said Peng, under orders from a handler in China, left cash in hotel rooms in exchange for classified national security information on small electronic storage devices."

5. Unemployment checks for roughly 774,000 California are being delayed because of a disruption in the state Employment Development Department's computer system, the Sacramento Bee reports. Checks could starts going out on Wednesday. $$

6. "Ramone Sanders, a McClymonds High School and Laney College football player and member of McClymonds' state championship team who was diagnosed with bone cancer in November 2018, succumbed Friday to the disease. He was 20," SFGate reports. A tribute in his honor was held last weekend in Oakland.

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Monday, November 25, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Police shut down encampment in front of Oakland City Hall; U.C. chancellor supports dropping SAT for enrollment

Software to identify bad cops in Oakland goes online

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Nov 25, 2019 at 4:00 AM

The sight of tents at Frank Ogawa Plaza over the weekend evokes memories of the Occupy Oakland protests in 2011. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • The sight of tents at Frank Ogawa Plaza over the weekend evokes memories of the Occupy Oakland protests in 2011.


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

1. No repeat of Occupy Oakland here. Oakland Police arrested 22 activists who set up an encampment on the lawn in front of Oakland City Hall, the East Bay Times reports. The protest was organized to highlight the city's treatment of the homeless.

2. UC Berkeley chancellor Carol Christ supports ending the use of SAT testing for incoming freshman, EdSource reports. A U.C. task force is studying the issue. Last month, several groups threatened to sue the U.C. system if the test, which they said puts minority students at a disadvantage, is not discontinued.

3. Two boys were killed at an elementary school in Union City on Sunday morning, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Police are still searching for suspects. Police said the boys were sitting in a van at 1:30 a.m. when an unknown gunman shot into the van. $$

4. It's kind of like the Minority Report, but for police. Oakland will begin using software today pools various data streams on its police officers, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The software uses the information to flag potential problem officers. $$

5. Next year, California voters will decide whether to scrap Proposition 13, the landmark 1978 measure that significantly crimps the amount some home and commercial property owners pay on their property taxes. KQED reports on the grassroots effort already underway to defeat Prop. 13.

6. Tal Kopan of the San Francisco Chronicle goes behind-the-scenes to report the tick-tock of East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell's day last week serving on the House Intelligence Committee that is investigating the possible impeachment of President Trump. $$

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Friday, November 22, 2019

Friday's Briefing: FPPC wanted stiffer fines for CoCo official who used campaign funds for vacations; ATF issues reward for Orinda shooting suspects

Exhibit by former Mills College art professor is canceled by Chinese government

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Nov 22, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Former Contra Costa County registrar Joe Canciamilla was also a former state legislator, county supervisor, and mayor.
  • Former Contra Costa County registrar Joe Canciamilla was also a former state legislator, county supervisor, and mayor.


News you don't want to miss for Nov. 22-24:

1. The fine against the former Contra Costa County registrar who misused $130,000 in campaign funds for vacations and home improvements will stand, the state's Fair Political Practices Commission found Thursday. But they also said the $150,000 fine against Joe Canciamilla is not enough, the Sacramento Bee reports. FPPC commissioners said they will ask the Legislature next year to consider raising the limit on such egregious acts. $$

2. U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) officials are offering a $20,000 reward for information on the Halloween night shooting at an AirBNB in Orinda that left five dead, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Earlier this week, the Contra Costa County District Attorney's office declined to press charges against five suspects who were arrested on Nov. 14. $$

3. "The California Restaurant Association sued Berkeley over the city’s natural gas ban on Thursday, arguing it violates existing law and would hurt businesses," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Last summer, Berkeley approved an ordinance that bans all new homes, town homes, and small apartments from being equipped with natural gas. A commercial ban may follow. $$

4. A social media posting led to rumors at St. Mary's College in Moraga that the campus was under threat of gun violence, KTVU reports. Campus police quickly determined there was no threat. The posting showed a photo of the campus juxtaposed with a photo of a firearm.

5. A proposal by the Cal State University system to require a fourth year of mathematics is being criticized by some who believe the change will unfairly hamper minority students and do little to improve graduation rates, the Los Angeles Times reports. $$

6. An art exhibit by Oakland artist Hung Liu scheduled for next month at a Beijing museum was abruptly cancelled by the Chinese culture ministry, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. One piece depicted Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao. Hung is a retired Mills College art professor.

7. The Cal men's basketball team came into Thursday's game against Duke, the top-ranked team in the nation, with a 4-0 record. But the Bears were blown out by Duke, 87-52, in the first round of the 2k Empire Classic in New York City, the East Bay Times reports. $$

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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Thursday’s Briefing: Alameda releases secret recording of councilmembers; Hundreds protest Ann Coulter event in Berkeley

Cursed? Warriors suffer historic 48-point loss in Dallas

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Nov 21, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Alameda's secret audio recording, however, revealed sharp divisions between the city administration and Alameda's powerful firefighters union. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Alameda's secret audio recording, however, revealed sharp divisions between the city administration and Alameda's powerful firefighters union.


News you don’t want to miss for Nov. 21:

1. Alameda released the much-anticipated secretly-made audio recording of two councilmembers by its former city manager on Wednesday, the East Bay Citizen reports. The recording, however, did not reveal a smoking gun showing Councilmembers Jim Oddie and Malia Vella exerting extreme pressure on former City Manager Jill Keimach to hire a candidate backed by the local firefighters union as fire chief.

2. Hundreds protested a speech given by conservative firebrand Ann Coulter in Berkeley on Wednesday night. Several arrests were made and one person was injured in the aftermath of the speech, Berkeleyside reports. Although Coulter’s blunt style and support of President Trump has often rankled liberals over the years, she has since become a major critic of the president.

3. The California Legislative Analyst’s Office is projecting the state will have a $7 billion surplus during the next fiscal year, the Associated Press reports. “However, nearly $2 billion of the initial $7 billion projected surplus depends on whether the Trump administration lets California tax organizations that manage the state’s Medicaid plans.”

4. The opening of the local Dungeness crab season, previously set for this Friday, will be delayed to Dec. 15, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Officials fear high numbers of whales near Half Moon Bay could be endangered by crab fisherman. $$

5. Cannabis consumption has been legal in California for a few years now and the scent of joints has become ubiquitous. Capital Public Radio reports some are beginning to question why the past uproar over second-hand smoke from cigarettes doesn’t seem to stick to cannabis smoke.

6. Barely a scant amount of rain has fallen on the Bay Area over the past few months. The wait could be over next week. "I would say the storm door is cracked open," a meteorologist told the SFGate, but don’t expect the so-called “atmospheric river” of rain to flow.

7. Did East Bay Warriors fans put a curse on the team as payback for moving to San Francisco? An almost unbelievable rash of injuries to its top stars has rendered the team a virtually expansion team. On Wednesday, the Warriors suffered the team’s worst defeat since 1973, losing to Dallas, 142-94, SFGate reports.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Wednesday's Briefing: Child, not bears, cracked window at Oakland Zoo; No power shut-offs in the East Bay

Vallejo recording artist nets five Grammy nominations

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Nov 20, 2019 at 4:00 AM

OAKLAND ZOO
  • Oakland Zoo


News you don't want to miss for Nov. 20:

1. A revised weather forecast means PG&E power shut-offs in the East Bay hills are not likely to occur this week, SFGate reports. Furthermore, expected rainfall next week may preclude any further shut-offs in the near future.

2. A man was stabbed and killed at the South Hayward station on Tuesday afternoon, KGO-TV reports. The victim was attempting to stop the suspect from stealing another person's property.

3. Don't expect to see wild grizzly bears roaming the streets of Oakland. A cracked glass window in the bear enclosure is safe, but the damage was done by a child who was repeatedly throwing rocks at the window, SFGate reports. The repairs will cost the zoo $67,000.

4. Oakland dropped its lawsuit against the county selling a portion of the Coliseum to the A's, but Oakland Councilmember Larry Reid believes getting a stadium deal done will not be made on the team's preferred timetable, writes Phil Matier in the San Francisco Chronicle. $$

5. Oakland Assembly, a 40,000 sq. ft. food hall set to open next summer in Jack London Square, announced a line-up of vendors, Eater SF reports.

6. Vallejo singer-songwriter H.E.R. received five Grammy nominations, including album of the year, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. She is also nominated for song and record of the year.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: No charges filed in Orinda shooting; East Bay congressman drops a bomb on TV... or did he?

PG&E power shut-offs to affect East Bay Hills starting on Wednesday

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Nov 19, 2019 at 4:00 AM

East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell was a top trending topic on Twitter on Monday night - MSNBC
  • MSNBC
  • East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell was a top trending topic on Twitter on Monday night


News you don't want to miss for Nov. 18:

1. Contra Costa County prosecutors said they will not file charges against five suspects alleged to be involved in the Oct. 31 shooting at an AirBNB in Orinda that killed five people, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. Another round of PG&E power shut-offs could affect the East Bay starting Wednesday through Thursday morning, NBC Bay Area reports. Strong winds are forecast for those days. The shut-offs may hit the Berkeley, Oakland, and San Leandro hills, along with the Lamorinda and Richmond areas.

3. Landlords across the state are moving quick to issue eviction notices in advance of the state's new rental housing restrictions that become law on Jan. 1. Calmatters reports on what some cities are doing to limit evictions in the meantime.

4. More sobering news for Sen. Kamala Harris's presidential campaign. A new statewide poll shows her languishing at eight percent in the March 2020 primary, Calbuzz reports. It gets worse: Harris is polling at just nine percent in the Bay Area. Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren lead the poll with 24 percent and 23 percent, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders at 17 percent.

5. The Hayward man accused of being a spy for China purchased a series of hotel properties in the Bay Area, including the Red Lion in Oakland, with money wired by his sister from China, KPIX reports.

6. East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell may have inadvertently united a deeply divided nation with a never-ending belly laugh on Monday. Buzzfeed reports Swalwell allegedly and loudly passed gas while appearing on MSNBC. He denied it. So did the show. "Full exoneration," Swalwell later tweeted. But #Fartgate quickly became the top trending topic on Twitter last night.

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Monday, November 18, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Oakland Police are making fewer traffic stops, but with same results; Multiple gunmen in Orinda shooting

Oakland man pardoned by Newsom

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Nov 18, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Fifty-five percent of all traffic stops in Oakland last year were African American drivers.
  • Fifty-five percent of all traffic stops in Oakland last year were African American drivers.


News you don't want to miss for Nov. 18:

1. Oakland Police are making far fewer traffic stops, but the racial breakdown of those pulled over have barely changed, the San Francisco Chronicle. African Americans still make up more than half of all the traffic stops in Oakland last year. $$

2. Investigators in the Orinda shooting believe multiple gunmen open fired at the large AirBNB house party, the East Bay Times reports. Five were killed during the shooting on Oct. 31. $$

3. PG&E CEO Bill Johnson is scheduled to appear at a legislative oversight hearing in Sacramento today, the Associated Press reports. Meanwhile, PG&E may shut-off power this week to about 250,000 homes in Northern California, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

4. California Democratic Party leaders are beginning to question whether Sen. Kamala Harris' presidential campaign is on its last legs, Politico reports. “I don’t think she can last until California," one political consultant said.

5. California's illegal cannabis market is estimated to be three times larger than the state's legal market. The Associated Press reports there appears to be no solution for how state regulators will fix the problem.

6. Gov. Gavin Newsom issued pardons Friday to three Bay Area immigrants convicted of crimes and scheduled for deportation, the Associated Press reports. The cause of one of those pardoned, Saman Pho of Oakland, had become a cause celebre for some local immigrant activists.

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