Thursday, May 14, 2020

Thursday's Briefing: May budget revise proposes excruciating cuts; Alameda County health officer predicts August surge in covid-19 cases

Former A's manager hospitalized with covid-19

by Steven Tavares
Thu, May 14, 2020 at 6:34 PM

Gov. Gavin Newsom - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom


News you don't want to miss for May 14:

1. Gov. Gavin Newsom's May budget revise provided loads of sobering news. The proposal calls for removing $19 billion in spending from the original budget, while reducing funding for education, new programs, and asks state workers to take a 10 percent wage cut, the Associated Press reports.

2. Alameda County interim health officer, Dr. Erica Pan, told the Board of Supervisors that she expects a peak surge sometime in August, the East Bay Citizen reports. For now, the county's hospital beds and ICUs are running at low-capacity, but loosening the shelter in place too quickly will likely mean more new cases.

3. An audit by the state's attorney general found Oakland has almost 1,200 untested rape kits, the second-highest number in the state, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Most of the untested kits are from cases before 2016. $$

4. A state audit questioned the justification for the California State University system to continue raising fees for students, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. By the way, the state's budget revise proposes to make 10 percent cuts to the Cal State and U.C. system. $$

5. "Berkeley is joining a growing list of Bay Area cities, including San Francisco and San Jose, looking to turn parking lots, streets and sidewalks into outdoor dining spaces for restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The proposal will come before the Berkeley City Council on June 2. $$

6. Add another covid-19 cultural casualty to the list: The world-famous Monterey Jazz Festival, scheduled for late September, is canceled for this year, the Monterey Herald reports. $$

7. Former A's manager Art Howe, who was played unsympathetically by Philip Seymour Hoffman in the movie, "Moneyball," is in a Houston ICU suffering from covid-19, ESPN reports.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Wednesday's Briefing: Oakland approves ordinance requiring paid sick leave for essential workers; Alameda County sheriff gets $318 million to hire more deputies

Alameda County gives in to Tesla

by Steven Tavares
Wed, May 13, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Oakland City Council chambers pre-covid-19. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Oakland City Council chambers pre-covid-19.


News you don't want to miss for May 13:

1. Oakland approved an emergency ordinance that provides 80 hours of paid sick leave for essential workers, the East Bay Times reports. The ordinance, authored by Councilmember Sheng Thao, requires businesses with less than 500 employees to pay workers at least two-thirds of their pay during sick leave, while larger businesses will pay the entire wage. $$

2. In dramatic fashion, Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle broke a 2-2 tie on Tuesday in favor of allocating $106 million annually for the next three years for the Sheriff's Department to hire hundreds of new deputies, the East Bay Citizen reports. The proposed hiring spree includes 265 deputies and 107 mental and behavioral health workers for Santa Rita Jail.

3. Alameda County officials said they will allow Tesla to resume manufacturing electric vehicles at its Fremont plant as early as Monday provided the company adheres to agreed upon safety rules to reduce the spread of covid-19, NBC Bay Area reports.

4. California National Guard jets made a flyover in the Bay Area in recognition of health care workers combating covid-19, KRON reports. The jets rumbled over Oakland around 10:45 a.m.

5. During the Great Recession, California's response was to significantly cut services, layoff employees, issue IOUs, and raise the sales and gasoline taxes, among other revenue-raising strategies. The Sacramento Bee looks at how the state might grapple this time around with an estimated $54 billion budget shortfall. $$

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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Tuesday's Briefing: Tesla defies Alameda County's shelter in place order; Port of Oakland expects reduction in cargo will get worse

Baseball could be back in July

by Steven Tavares
Tue, May 12, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Tesla Model S. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Tesla Model S.


News you don't want to miss for May 12:

1. Tesla defied Alameda County's shelter in place orders on Monday as employees returned to work at the Fremont factory and President Trump praised Tesla's action in a tweet. Alameda County health officials then sent Tesla a letter on Monday ordering the plant to cease operations while negotiations for its reopening continue, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. Dr. Anthony Fauci testified before a Senate health committee on Tuesday and warned against states reopening for business too quickly, CNN reports. "There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control," Fauci said.

3. Despite the shelter in order, Californians don't seem to have much enthusiasm for returning to many types of establishments. A poll of 800 Californians found 74 percent did not feel comfortable returning to the gym, and 65 percent felt the same about restaurants even with social distancing rules in place, KRON reports.

4. Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday that unemployment due to the covid-19 economic downturn in the state could reach about 25 percent, the East Bay Times reports. $$

5. Port of Oakland officials are projecting further decreases in shipping activity in May, especially a decline in containers imported into the port, KPIX reports.

6. Major League Baseball owners are sending a proposal to the players union for an 82-game season that would begin in early July and be played in empty home stadiums, ESPN reports.

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Monday, May 11, 2020

Monday's Briefing: Tesla sues Alameda County to reopen factory, flouts shelter in place; Richmond may furlough city employees

Federal aid for local cities could be on the way

by Steven Tavares
Mon, May 11, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Tesla founder Elon Musk has gone toe-to-toe with Alameda County health officers on several occasions during the shelter in place. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Tesla founder Elon Musk has gone toe-to-toe with Alameda County health officers on several occasions during the shelter in place.


News you don't want to miss for May 11:

1. The assembly line at Tesla's electric car plant in Fremont appears to be humming. Just days after filing a lawsuit against Alameda County to allow the factory to reopen, Tesla's parking lot is packed, KTVU reports. The lawsuit seeks an injunction to allow the plant to reopen during the shelter in place.

2. Richmond's projected $27 million budget deficit may lead to city employee furloughs and cuts to some city services, the East Bay Times reports.

3. But some help could be on the way. House Democrats are working on a bill that could pump up to $1 trillion into states and local cities to stem growing budget deficits created by covid-19, USA Today reports. The House could vote on the bill this week.

4. High school students will so begin be taking Advanced Placement exams this month. But unlike before, the test will be taken at home and with access to textbooks and the internet, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. Politico reports there is growing sentiment within Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's campaign that Sen. Kamala Harris is the best fit to be his vice-presidential nominee.

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Friday, May 8, 2020

Friday's Briefing: Schaaf warns Lake Merritt may close if social distancing doesn't improve; County fair is canceled

Oakland expands 'slow streets' program

by Steven Tavares
Fri, May 8, 2020 at 4:00 AM

The warmer weather has attracting larger numbers of people to local parks and meeting areas like Lake Merritt. - JOHN KIRKMIRE
  • John Kirkmire
  • The warmer weather has attracting larger numbers of people to local parks and meeting areas like Lake Merritt.


News you don't want to miss for May 8-10:

1. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned she may consider closing some city parks, including Lake Merritt, if social distancing rules are not followed, KTVU reports.

2. Oakland is closing five more miles of city streets to cars, SFGate reports. The program is intended to give pedestrians and cyclists more space to social distance. "Here is a list of the new "slow streets."

3. The national unemployment rate is a shocking 14.7 percent following a jobs report that showed 20.5 million Americans lost their jobs in April, CNN reports.

4. Alameda County officials are planning a November ballot measure for a half-cent sales tax increase to fund the county's responses to rampant homelessness, the East Bay Citizen reports.

5. Elon Musk is not only pushing the limits of civilian space travel, but also Alameda County's patience. The Tesla electric car factory in Fremont is again making an attempt to reopen despite the county's shelter in place order, SFGate reports. An email to Tesla workers said they planned to reopen the factory today.

6. The Alameda County Fair is canceled due to covid-19, fair officials announced on Thursday, according to KPIX. The cancellation is the first in the fair's 108-year history.

7. Camp Galileo, a popular summer camp program based in Oakland has filed for bankruptcy, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The company, which runs a number of camps in the Bay Area, made the move because of the covid-19 pandemic. $$

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Thursday, May 7, 2020

Thursday's Briefing: California projects a $54 billion budget deficit; East Bay grocery store accused of price gouging

Chronicle estimates 92,000 jobs lost in the Bay Area during pandemic

by Steven Tavares
Thu, May 7, 2020 at 4:00 AM

The state's large budget deficit could have grave effects on local county safety net services. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • The state's large budget deficit could have grave effects on local county safety net services.


News you don't want to miss for May 7:

Just a few months ago, California was sitting on an overflowing reserve fund. After covid-19, the state is now reconciling with a massive $54.3 billion deficit over the next fiscal year, Calmatters reports. The budget analysis is worrisome news for county social safety net programs, and funding for cities.

While some areas of the state are set to slightly reopen for business on Friday, the Bay Area and Los Angeles is taking a far more conservative approach by keeping its shelter in place orders virtually intact, the Los Angeles Times reports. $$

The San Francisco Chronicle's layoff tracker estimates 92,000 jobs have been lost in the Bay Area since the covid-19 shelter in place was ordered in mid-March. $$

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to waive property taxes late fees after April 10 for some homeowners and small businesses through May 2021, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

All Contra Costa County residents can receive a free covid-19 test regardless if they have any symptoms, KTVU reports. The county has eight testing facilities, including five drive-up sites.

The Alameda County District Attorney's office charged a Pleasanton store owner with nine counts of price gouging during the covid-19 pandemic, KPIX reports. Apna Bazar store is alleged to have been charging more than 10 percent above its pre-shelter in place prices, which is a violation of state law intended to keep prices stable during declarations of emergency.

A warehouse fire in San Leandro early Thursday morning is suspected to have been cause by an illegal drug lab, police said., SFGate reports.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Wednesday's Briefing: Fired Oakland police chief files whistleblower lawsuit; Alameda's Fourth of July parade is canceled

More local restaurants and coffee shops are permanently closing

by Steven Tavares
Wed, May 6, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Former Oakland Chief of Police Anne Kirkpatrick being sworn in. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Former Oakland Chief of Police Anne Kirkpatrick being sworn in.


News you don't want to miss for May 6:

1. Former Oakland Chief of Police Anne Kirkpatrick filed a lawsuit alleging the Oakland Police Commission, which fired her earlier this year, did so as retaliation for Kirkpatrick blowing the whistle on their own wrongdoing, including seeking personal favors, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. A new study is predicting a huge increase in traffic congestion in the Bay Area after the shelter in place orders are relaxed, SFGate reports. Understandably, people who typically use public transportation for commuting to work will be cautious about getting back on the bus and BART trains.

3. U.C. Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ said the fall semester will likely include a hybrid of in-person and online classes, and without any tuition refunds, KPIX reports.

4. The list of Bay Area restaurants and coffee shops permanently closing is growing, SFEater reports. In the East Bay, they include, Momo & Curry, La Guerrera’s Kitchen, Benchmark Oakland, Tertulia Coffee, Bica Coffeehouse, and Gaylord's on Piedmont Avenue, among others. In Berkeley, Lalime's and the Tartine Bakery in the Graduate Hotel has closed for good.

5. Here's more bad news for revenue side of the state's financial ledger: The state could lose $1.3 billion in gas tax revenues due to the shelter in place, according to a new study, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

6. Alameda's popular Fourth of July parade is canceled, the city council announced on Tuesday, the East Bay Citizen reports.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Tuesday's Briefing: U.C. wants to buy, maybe raze rent-controlled building in Berkeley; DeSaulnier released from hospital

FEMA trailers operational in Oakland, Alameda

by Steven Tavares
Tue, May 5, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier was injured while running and later spent nearly two months in the hospital recovering from pneumonia.
  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier was injured while running and later spent nearly two months in the hospital recovering from pneumonia.


News you don't want to miss for May 5:

1. "UC Berkeley is in negotiations to purchase — and then potentially tear down — a 111-year-old rent-controlled apartment building on Walnut Street where some residents have lived for more than 25 years," Berkeleyside reports.

2. Contra Costa County Rep. Mark DeSaulnier was released from a Washington, D.C. hospital over the weekend, Patch reports. DeSaulnier was injured while running last March, but he later suffered from pneumonia, which placed him in intensive care.

3. FEMA trailers to house the homeless in Oakland and Alameda are fully operational, ABC7 reports. A parking lot at the Oakland Coliseum includes trailers for up to 130 people, while Alameda has four trailer housing up to eight people at Alameda Point.

4. A man who allegedly shot and killed his former neighbor on Ney Avenue in Oakland last Friday afternoon had been previously released from jail by an Alameda County judge on Feb. 28 for making threats against the same neighbor, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. The California Citizens Redistricting Commission is running behind schedule for selecting the 60 Democrats, Republicans, and independents that will redraw the state's congressional districts, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. There are some indications that California will lose seats once the 2020 U.S. Census is finalized. One of those seats may be in the Bay Area. $$

6. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and other big-city district attorney are suing Uber and Lyft for failing to classify its drivers as employees and not independent contractors, Axios reports.

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Monday, May 4, 2020

Monday's Briefing: Newsom to allow some retailers to reopen; Alameda distillery gets James Beard Award nod

4.1 million unemployment claims in California since mid-March

by Steven Tavares
Mon, May 4, 2020 at 5:38 PM

St. George's Spirits is located at Alameda Point. - ST. GEORGE'S SPIRITS
  • St. George's Spirits
  • St. George's Spirits is located at Alameda Point.


News you don't want to miss for May 4:

1. Businesses such as bookstores, florists, clothing retailers, among others, can begin to reopen on Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced, according to the Associated Press. Restaurants and offices, however, will remain closed for now. Newsom also said the Bay Area, which has stricter order in place, can keep them in place.

2. After topping out at more than 2,300 covid-19 cases in California last Wednesday, the number has significantly decreased since, the East Bay Times reports.

3. But how many people contracted the virus in the Bay Area and how many recovered, may never be known, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. In Alameda County, the number of covid-19 cases, as of Monday, is 1,776. Sixty-three have died.

4. A number of East Bay cities are fearing for the worst as budget season commences. Meanwhile, Alameda County expects a $72.1 million budget shortfall for the coming fiscal year, the East Bay Citizen reports. The projected funding gap does not include covid-19 impacts, meaning the shortfall is likely much worse.

5. More than 4 million people have filed for unemployment benefits in California since mid-March, the East Bay Times reports. In addition, more then $7 billion in claims have been paid out. $$

6. St. George's Spirits in Alameda was nominated for the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for best wine, spirits, beer producer, SFGate reports.

7. An Alameda County judge ordered the release Derick Almena, the Ghost Ship defendant awaiting a re-trial for 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter, because of possible exposure of covid-19, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

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Friday, May 1, 2020

Friday's Briefing: Judge dismisses Oakland's lawsuit against the Raiders; Bonta's 'Green New Deal' bill done in by covid-19

Medical masks dumped on 880

by Steven Tavares
Fri, May 1, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Oakland's lawsuit against the Raiders was backed by Assemblymember Rob Bonta, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, and Oakland Councilmember Noel Gallo, in addition, to citizen advocacy. - 66TH AVENUE MOB
  • 66th Avenue Mob
  • Oakland's lawsuit against the Raiders was backed by Assemblymember Rob Bonta, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, and Oakland Councilmember Noel Gallo, in addition, to citizen advocacy.


News you don't want to miss for May 1:

1. Oakland's lawsuit against the Raiders and the NFL over the team's relocation to Las Vegas was dismissed by a federal court judge on Thursday, according to Bleacher Report. The city's lawsuit sought to recover damages, including lost revenue and investment in the team and Oakland Coliseum.

2. Oakland Assmeblymember Rob Bonta's marquee legislation for this year, the "Green New Deal," appears to have been upended by covid-19, Capital Public Radio reports. However, parts of the social equity and environmental package will move ahead.

3. The state Legislature is due back in session this month, but some legislators in the Assembly are reticent about returning due to health concerns over covid-19, in particular, for some older members, Politico reports.

4. This may be a harbinger of things to come for many state and local ballot measures. A statewide initiative to increase the amount of damages in malpractice lawsuits is pulling back its efforts because of uncertainty about the November elections due to covid-19, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Locally, Alameda expressed similar concerns about potential charter amendments for the November ballot. $$

5. It wasn't $100 bills strewn all over Interstate 880 on Thursday afternoon, but the next best thing these days. A man dumped boxes of medical masks on the freeway near the Whipple Road exit on northbound 880, SFGate reports. Some people stopped to pick up a few.

6. Hayward is putting $500 in the hands of residents who are ineligible for unemployment benefits, the East Bay Citizen reports. The first round of cash grants covers roughly 1,200 people.

7. What is up with a few planning commissioners in the East Bay? An Antioch planning commissioner could be removed from his seat Friday for a social media post saying covid-19 should be allowed to clear out the weak, the East Bay Times reports. Last week, a Vallejo planning commissioner threw his cat and took a swig of alcohol during a virtual meeting, and later resigned, ABC7 reports.

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