Friday, May 29, 2020

Friday's Briefing: Mayor Schaaf was tested for covid-19; Oakland city auditor slams Police Commission

Lawsuit asserts San Leandro Police 'stomped' on woman causing miscarriage

by Steven Tavares
Fri, May 29, 2020 at 1:50 PM

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf recently tested negative for the coronavirus. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf recently tested negative for the coronavirus.


News you don't want to miss for May 29-31:

1. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf was tested for covid-19 last week after having a sore throat, she told KCBS. The test came back negative. "It’s a little awkward, but it doesn’t hurt," Schaaf told the radio station.

2. "A blistering city audit of the Oakland Police Commission found that the civilian watchdog group has not completed several of its City Charter requirements, lacks organizational structure and suggested it wields too much power in its ability to fire the police chief," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. Workers at the Oakland McDonald's where at least 12 employees were infected with coronavirus, filed a complaint with the Alameda County Public Health Department, SF Eater reports. The complaint alleges the employees had worked while being sick since May 14.

4. A lawsuit has been filed alleging San Leandro Police caused a woman to have a miscarriage after an officer stomped on her stomach during a traffic stop in June 2019, Vice News reports.

5. About 60 protesters marched in downtown Oakland on Friday in the aftermath of George Floyd's death by Minneapolis Police, ABC7 reports. Oakland is expecting additional protests later tonight. Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose Police Departments issued a statement condemning the officer's actions, SFGate reports.

6. The coronavirus began spreading in the Bay Area sometime in late January and early February, according to a new report, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

7. Alameda County will reopen its traffic court for in-person cases starting June 16, the East Bay Times reports. The county courts will begin some business remotely beginning on June 1. $$

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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Thursday's Briefing: Travel ban to Lake Tahoe lifted; BART to employ social distancing on trains

Latonda Simmons named Oakland assistant city administrator

by Steven Tavares
Thu, May 28, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Lake Tahoe - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Lake Tahoe


News you don't want to miss for May 28:

1. El Dorado County, which includes Lake Tahoe, removed its covid-19 travel ban, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. But the move doesn't mean it wants travelers and vacationers to come visit just yet. $$

2. Amid an expected $54 billion budget deficit, Gov. Gavin Newsom has one proposal that is sure to make progressives very happy. Newsom hopes to save $400 million a year by closing two state prisons within the next three years, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. Meanwhile, California state senators are proposing the state balance its budget by using more reserve funds than Newsom proposed earlier this month, the Associated Press reports. Senate Democrats also want to hold $9 billion in payments to school districts for one year.

4. BART's effort to instill confidence in the transit system during the pandemic includes new social distancing rules on trains, SFGate reports. "BART will run long trains throughout the day to allow riders to spread out. Transit officials say that with no more than 30 people in a car, physical distancing of 6 feet can be preserved. With 60 people in a car, a 3-foot distance can be maintained."

5. A covid-19 outbreak infected 12 employees at the Cardenas Markets on Fruitvale Avenue in Oakland, the East Bay Times reports. $$

6. According to a statistical model created by the Center for Disease Control, Alameda County will have 164 covid-19 deaths by Sept. 1, the East Bay Times reports. As of Thursday, the county has suffered 94 deaths. $$

7. Oakland elevated City Clerk Latonda Simmons to assistant city administrator, the city announced Wednesday night. Known for promoting greater public accessibility to City Hall, Simmons may also be the most popular person in Oakland, as this 2015 profile in Oakland Magazine suggests.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Wednesday's Briefing: Oakland loses appeal in coal ban lawsuit; Alameda County surpasses 3,000 covid-19 cases

A's to furlough, cut salaries for some employees

by Steven Tavares
Wed, May 27, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Oakland developer Phil Tagami filed a lawsuit after the City Council approved a ban on coal shipments in Oakland. A federal judge sided with him in a May 2018 ruling. Oakland later appealed the decision. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Oakland developer Phil Tagami filed a lawsuit after the City Council approved a ban on coal shipments in Oakland. A federal judge sided with him in a May 2018 ruling. Oakland later appealed the decision.


News you don't want to miss for May 27:

1. A federal appellate court upheld a May 2018 ruling that Oakland's coal ban is illegal, the East Bay Times reports. The decision is a big win for Oakland developer Phil Tagami and plans for coal to be shipped through the bulk marine terminal at the former Oakland Army Base. $$

2. Alameda County's confirmed number of covid-19 cases surpassed 3,000 on Wednesday amid a spike in recent new cases. "Seven of the nine Bay Area counties have reported recent, significant upticks in cases, and the Bay Area as a whole recorded a nearly 40% jump in new cases last week over the week before," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. The pastor at Word Assembly Church in Oakland spent 10 days on a ventilator after contracting covid-19, KTVU reports. The experience is leading him to discourage other churches from opening before it is safe.

4. For most parts of the state, hair salons and barbershops can begin reopening, but not in the Bay Area, including Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, ABC7 reports. While the state moves toward Stage 3, places like Alameda County have only recently entered Stage 2.

5. Contra Costa County supervisors extended their eviction moratorium to July 15 on Tuesday, the East Bay Times reports. The revised ordinance, however, no longer allows large businesses to defer rent payments. Alameda County is expected to revisit its eviction moratorium on June 2. $$

6. Oakland A's management announced they would stop paying their minor league players a $400 a week stipend, while also moving to furlough team employees and cuts salaries for executives, the Associated Press reports. This comes after reports the A's notified the Oakland Coliseum Joint Powers Authority that they would not pay their $1.2 million rent for this year.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Tuesday's Briefing: Employees at Oakland McDonald's go on strike after covid-19 outbreak; Judge allows climate change lawsuit to move forward

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier reveals he was on a ventilator for four weeks

by Steven Tavares
Tue, May 26, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Workers at the McDonald's on Telegraph Avenue did not report for work on Tuesday. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Workers at the McDonald's on Telegraph Avenue did not report for work on Tuesday.


News you don't want to miss for May 26:

1. After four workers at a McDonald's in Oakland were infected with covid-19 last week, 22 employees at the restaurant went on strike Tuesday, the East Bay Times reports. In addition, there are allegations that employees were told to fashion dog diapers into makeshift masks. $$

2. Gov. Gavin Newsom released new guidelines on Monday for how places of worship can reopen soon, SFGate reports. Attendance will be limited 25 percent of capacity and a maximum of 100 people, and no singing. No date for the reopening was given, but expect Alameda County to be one of the last to put the guidelines into effect.

3. Covid-19 has fundamentally changed the calculus on many things over the past two months, including the November ballot measure to reform Proposition 13. "But the financial damage brought on by the disease is transforming the fight over a measure that would raise property taxes for many businesses into a struggle over the future of California," Joe Garofoli writes in the San Francisco Chronicle. $$

4. A federal judge ruled that a group of cities, including San Francisco and Oakland, can proceed in suing oil companies in state court for causing climate change, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. East Bay Rep. Mark DeSaulnier plans to resume his work in Congress, albeit virtually, after recovering from a medical issue that had him on ventilator for four weeks, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. DeSaulnier posted a video on Monday to announce his return and remark on the worldwide changes that have occurred since he was hospitalized on Mar. 13.

6. Oakland-based Clorox is one company that is booming during the pandemic, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Demand for its cleaning products has skyrocketed since March. Sales of some products are up by 500 percent. $$

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Friday, May 22, 2020

Friday's Briefing: California jobless rate hits 15.5 percent; Celebrate Memorial Day virtually!

Alameda dedicates area for those living in vehicles to park

by Steven Tavares
Fri, May 22, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Memorial Day is Monday. For those who have long ago lost track due to the shelter in place, today is Friday. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Memorial Day is Monday. For those who have long ago lost track due to the shelter in place, today is Friday.


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

1. California's unemployment rate is now 15.5 percent. The state lost 2.3 million jobs in April alone. It's the largest decrease in the state's history, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. By comparison, the state's jobless rate peaked at 12.3 percent during the Great Recession. The job losses are expected to get worse, the state's finance department predicts. Perhaps as high as 25 percent, before leveling out later this year at around 20 percent unemployment. $$

2. President Trump demanded that places of worship reopen this weekend. Gov. Gavin Newsom responded, saying the state will issue updated guidelines on Monday for how they will reopen, KPIX reports.

3. The Contra Costa County District Attorney's office is launching an investigation into to the Orinda nursing home where four people died and up to 50 were infected by covid-19, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

4. Reports earlier this week said that 750 U.C. Berkeley lecturers could be on the road to layoffs due to a recently imposed hiring freeze. But the university has now moved to exempt lecturers from the hiring freez, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. "The University of California will drop the SAT and ACT tests as admission requirements through 2024 and eliminate them for California residents after that, a landmark decision by the prestigious university system," the Associated Press reports. The vote by the U.C. Board of Regents on Thursday was unanimous.

6. Alameda will soon allow people living in cars and RVs to park at an area at the former Alameda Naval Air Station, the East Bay Times reports. $$

7. The San Francisco Chronicle provides a list of virtual activities for you to celebrate Memorial Day. Or, if you could just stay home, throw some burgers on the grill and struggle to remember what day of the week it is.

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Thursday's Briefing: Oakland bishop mulls outdoor Mass; Oakland Unified worries state cuts will delay reopening of its schools

Fourth OPD officer has covid-19

by Steven Tavares
Thu, May 21, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Bishop of Oakland Rev. Michael Barber. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Bishop of Oakland Rev. Michael Barber.


News you don't want to miss for May 21:

1. Several large school districts across the state, including Oakland Unified, sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom saying proposed state cuts to education will delay the reopening of their classrooms in the fall, KPIX reports.

2. A fourth Oakland police officer tested positive for covid-19, NBC Bay Area reports. The officer, who has been off-duty since last week, came in contact with up to 93 other officers.

3. "Oakland's Lake Temescal has closed again after a city pipe got clogged, likely with wipes, and allowed an unknown amount of sewage to flow into the body of water, according to the city and the park district," KTVU reports.

4. The Bishop of Oakland Rev. Michael Barber said he will not allow Catholic churches in the East Bay to reopen until "it's safe to do so," the East Bay Citizen reports. Barber suggested Mass could also be held outdoors, as was done during the 1919 flu pandemic.

5. U.S. marshals arrested a man in Southern California who is suspected of a hit-and-run killing of a woman in Oakland last January, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The woman was the mother of seven children. $$

6. Gov. Gavin Newsom's plan to use $750 million in one-time federal relief funds to procure hotel rooms for the unsheltered in the state is still light on details, Capital Public Radio reports.

7. A bit of history some Oaklanders may already have heard about. Smithsonian relives the arrest of Oakland Mayor John L. Davie during the 1919 flu pandemic for failing to wear a mask while in Sacramento. Davie's bail was $5. Of note: 1,400 Oakland residents died due to the flu pandemic.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Wednesday's Briefing: Local school districts will decide when to reopen; A's want to defer Coliseum rent payment

Oakland's Stork Club is closing

by Steven Tavares
Wed, May 20, 2020 at 4:00 AM

The state will give school districts, like Oakland, to ability to decide when to reopen classrooms. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • The state will give school districts, like Oakland, to ability to decide when to reopen classrooms.


News you don't want to miss for May 20:

1. State Superintendent Tony Thurmond will allow individual school districts to determine when they will reopen for classes in the fall, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. But when they do, teachers and students will be wearing masks, and classrooms will be frequently sanitized. $$

2. The A's want to defer their $1.2 million rent to play at the Coliseum, SFGate reports. The reason is simple, they said. They haven't used the stadium this season because of the pandemic.

3. After two days of zero covid-19 deaths in the entire Bay Area - the longest stretch in a month - an increase has returned. Alameda County was among them, reporting three deaths on Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The death toll in Alameda County is 88, as of today. $$

4. Latinos in Alameda County have the highest rates of infection for covid-19. The demographic is being particularly hit hard in Hayward and unincorporated Alameda County. Berkeleyside reports on the resources, that advocates say, is lacking for Latinos in the county.

5. U.C. President Janet Napolitano will take a 10 percent cut in pay, along with some other employees, as the U.C. system faces a $1.2 billion loss in revenue since March, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

6. In the East Bay, Hayward councilmembers voted to cut their pay by two percent, the East Bay Citizen reports. The city manager and executive team, along with two firefighters unions, agreed to forego two percent cost-of-living increases scheduled to kick-in in July.

7. The Stork Club on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland is closing because of high rent and covid-19, SFEater reports. Its owner hopes to reopen at another location.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Tuesday's Briefing: Bay Area homes sales plummet; Fund set up for East Bay artists

Trump touts funding for the Bay Area. Is it the hydroxychloroquine talking?

by Steven Tavares
Tue, May 19, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Alameda home for sale. - ZILLOW
  • Zillow
  • Alameda home for sale.


News you don't want to miss for May 19:

1. Bay Area home sales dropped in April by nearly 40 percent compared to the same month last year, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Any cause for great concern, however, is alleviated by no significant drop in the median sales price. $$

2. President Trump touted $700 million federal relief for Bay Area transportation in a tweet on Tuesday morning. Maybe it's the thought that counts or the hydroxychloroquine talking? But the CARES Act funds were allocated weeks ago, SFGate reports.

3. Local artists in the East Bay can apply for up to $2,000 in grants, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The East Bay/Oakland Relief Fund for Individuals in the Arts raised $625,000 for the project, with $300,000 earmarked for Oakland artists. $$

4. "California lawmakers are moving quickly on legislation authorizing a state takeover of Pacific Gas & Electric in case the company's bankruptcy exit plan falls short next month or other triggers occur," Politico reports.

5. A Bay Area lunch tradition for office drones is over. Specialty's Cafe & Bakery announced it's permanently closing due to the pandemic, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

6. Emeryville-based Peet's Coffee is moving forward with an initial public offering that hopes to raise $2 billion, KPIX reports. Peet's also has a roasting plant in Alameda.

7. Some East Bay restaurants and eateries are realizing another level of uncertainty due to covid-19, the frequent unavailability of some food stuffs needed to make their dishes and snacks, Berkeleyside reports.

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Monday, May 18, 2020

Monday's Briefing: Alameda County enters Stage 2, Newsom suggests Stage 3 is coming in June

Bay Area has seen plans for 114,000 layoffs since pandemic began

by Steven Tavares
Mon, May 18, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Gov. Gavin Newsom said stadiums could reopen in June, but without spectators. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom said stadiums could reopen in June, but without spectators.


News you don't want to miss for May 18:

1. Alameda County will allow retail stores to reopen with curbside pickup on Friday, the East Bay Times reports. The county and several other counties in the Bay Area waited a few weeks while other parts of the state entered Stage 2 of the economy's reopening. $$

2. Meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday said the state, in general, is nearing Stage 3 sometime in June, SFGate reports. That means the possibility that sports franchises can begin returning to the field (sans spectators), in addition, to gyms, barber shops and salons reopening with new social distancing protocols.

3. Bay Area businesses have issued plans for up to 114,000 layoffs since the pandemic started in mid-March, the East Bay Times reports. The largest being Tesla's furlough of 11,500 employees.

4. Republicans in Congress fear additional covid-19 relief funding for local cities will go to pay pension costs for union public employees, the Sacramento Bee reports. The issue is quite sensitive in the East Bay where a number of municipalities, like Oakland, Alameda, and Berkeley, have his levels of unfunded pension liabilities. $$

5. Alameda will close its school year six days earlier because of covid-19 and a belief the extra time will be better served on training teachers, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Alameda schools will close on May 29, instead of June 8. $$

6. An expanded hiring freeze has U.C. Berkeley lecturers on edge, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

7. "Alameda County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a 42-year-old man who authorities said shot at them from the second-floor balcony of a motel in unincorporated San Leandro on Friday evening," the East Bay Times reports. The suspect was alleged to be involved in a homicide this year in Oakland. $$

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Friday, May 15, 2020

Friday's Briefing: Twitter CEO donates $10 million to Oakland schools; Alameda County nears closer to Stage 2

Vendors and parking shut down at Lake Merritt

by Steven Tavares
Fri, May 15, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey.


News you don't want to miss for May 15-17:

1. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and school district officials have often bemoaned the "digital divide" in the city being exacerbated by the need for distance learning during the pandemic. In hopes of closing the divide, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey made a $10 million donation to a campaign that seeks to purchase laptops for Oakland students and ensure connection to the internet, KPIX reports.

2. Alameda County may be close to allowing some retail businesses to reopen with curbside pick-up, possibly starting next week, SFGate reports. Contra Costa County is also close to doing the same.

3. Food trucks and vendors will not be allowed at Lake Merritt, and parking lots around the lake will be closed, while street parking will not be allowed on Fridays through Sundays, KTVU reports. The move comes after repeated instances of large gatherings at Lake Merritt.

4. The push in Oakland to rethink how city streets are used could be one of the defining post-covid19 changes, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The "slow streets" movement has closed streets all over Oakland in order to allow bikers and walkers more space. Alameda, which has a small pilot program in place, may soon expand it to includes more streets. $$

5. Bay Area rapper E-40 is donating hand sanitizers for inmates at San Quentin and Lompoc prisons, ABC7 reports.

6. As a remainder to maintain the shelter in place, unseasonably wet weather is forecast in the Bay Area on Sunday and Monday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

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