Monday, October 7, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Retrial date set for Ghost Ship master tenant; MLB warns Oakland to drop lawsuit

Early troubles with Berkeley's online parking permit program

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Oct 7, 2019 at 4:00 AM

An Alameda County jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict last month on 36 charges of involuntary manslaughter resulting from the 2016 Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland. - KTVU
  • KTVU
  • An Alameda County jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict last month on 36 charges of involuntary manslaughter resulting from the 2016 Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland.


News you don't want to miss for Oct. 7:

1. Derick Almena, the Ghost Ship master tenant, will face a retrial that is scheduled for November, NPR reports. A mistrial was declared last month for 36 charges of involuntary manslaughter against Almena. Max Harris, also charged with the same crimes, was acquitted.

2. Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is blunt in his assessment of Oakland's lawsuit against Alameda County that could threaten the A's proposed downtown ballpark. Manfred told Phil Matier in the San Francisco Chronicle that the A's could move to another city if the lawsuit is not dropped. $$

3. Sutter Health, the large Northern California hospital system, is set to go to trial over charges it significantly overcharged patients, The New York Times reports. Consolidation of local hospitals is one important factor. In Berkeley, Sutter Health is proposing to close Alta Bates Hospital. $$

4. Berkeley's new online parking permit program is off to a bumpy start, Berkeleyside reports. The city put the process of applying for parking permits online last summer in order to simplify it and offer instantaneous approval. No parking stickers are required.

5. With actress Felicity Huffman serving time at a women's prison in Dublin for attempting to circumvent university admissions rules, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that requires special admissions exemptions are approved by three campus administrators, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

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Friday, October 4, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Bay Commission has plan to help stave off rising seas; Cal cheerleader files suit for untreated concussions

Berkeley advocate for poor and homeless dies

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

The Bay Conservation and Development Commission made its decision this week to fill some shallow portions of the bay. - SAVE THE BAY
  • Save the Bay
  • The Bay Conservation and Development Commission made its decision this week to fill some shallow portions of the bay.


News you don’t want to miss for Oct. 4-6:

1. In order to create larger buffer zones for the San Francisco Bay to confront climate change, a plan was approved to fill-in some shallow portions of the bay in order to allow vegetation to take root, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. A Cal student filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court blaming U.C. Berkeley for forcing her to continue cheerleading despite suffering three concussions, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The student is now facing the possibility of brain damage from the untreated concussions. $$

3. Richmond’s Citizens Police Commission concluded that Officer Wallace Jensen mislead investigators after he fatally shot Richard Perez outside a liquor store in 2014, the East Bay Times reports. A report found Jensen “embellished” his story that Perez lunged towards him and attempted to take his weapon.

4. Warm weather will return this weekend along with low humidity, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. It’s a recipe for increased possibilities of wildfires. $$

5. Michael Diehl, the “mayor of Berkeley’s streets,” died this week after being struck by a car, Berkeleyside reports. He was 64. Diehl was a noted Berkeley advocate for the poor and homeless.

6. U.C. Berkeley is now a bee-friendly university, SFGate reports. Students made the declaration Thursday in order to bring attention to the plight of bees and their major role in our ecosystem.

7. San Lorenzo resident Isabella Albright died at 102-years-old last year. KGO-TV reports her family was surprised to have recently received an early termination bill from DirecTV for $160.

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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Thursday's Briefing: PG&E spending big-time on lawyers before paying wildfire victims; A’s season abruptly ends

Newsom signs bill allowing public banks in cities and counties

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at 4:00 AM

PG&E heavy spending before paying wildfire victim is drawing critics.
  • PG&E heavy spending before paying wildfire victim is drawing critics.


News you don’t want to miss for Oct. 3:

1. PG&E has already spent $140 million for attorney in its bankruptcy case, the East Bay Times reports, even before compensating victims of the wildfires the utility accidentally started. $$

2. In a Southern California case that has implications for several East Bay cities, a federal appeals court upheld Santa Monica’s short-term rental ban, the Los Angeles Times reports. Several local cities have passed similar prohibitions in the East Bay. $$

3. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that allows the creation of public banks in California cities and counties, the Sacramento Bee reports. A public bank in Oakland that possibly includes others areas of the East Bay has been in the works for several years. $$

4. The A’s season ended in a familiar after losing the winner-take-all wildcard playoff game versus the Tampa Bay Rays, ESPN reports. It’s the second consecutive year the A’s have lost the one-game playoff.

5. Meanwhile, baseball’s commissioner made it clear in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle that the city of Oakland’s lawsuit against Alameda County to stop the sale of half of the Coliseum complex to the A’s is being viewed negatively by Major League Baseball. $$

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Wednesday's Briefing: Oakland sues to block Alameda County's sale of Coliseum to the A's

Kincaid's at Jack London Square closes

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Oct 2, 2019 at 9:28 AM

Oakland's temporary restraining order puts the county's deal with the A's on hold at least until the next court date next month. - STEVEN TAVARES
  • Steven Tavares
  • Oakland's temporary restraining order puts the county's deal with the A's on hold at least until the next court date next month.


News you don't want to miss for Oct. 2:

1. The City of Oakland was granted a temporary restraining order to block the sale of Alameda County’s share of the Oakland Coliseum complex to the Oakland A’s, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The A’s planned to use proceeds from developing the land to help fund construction of its planned downtown ballpark at Howard Terminal. $$

2. Meanwhile, the A’s take on the Tampa Bay Rays at the Oakland Coliseum tonight, 5 p.m., in the American League wildcard game. The A’s will tab Sean Manaea to start the one-game playoff, ESPN reports.

3. Emeryville is building a homeless shelter for up to 25 families that will house Oakland residents, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The project is framed as an example of collaboration on a regional problem. $$

4. Automotive retailer Pep Boys agreed to pay $3.7 million to settle a lawsuit that it illegally disposed of car fluids and motor oil in Alameda County, Bay City News reports.

5. BART is putting together what could be the mother of all tax measures, the Mercury News reports. Among the projects to be funded by the potential $100 billion ballot measure is a second bay crossing. $$

6. Poor presidential campaign polling numbers are typically followed by staff shake-ups. Sen. Kamala Harris is no different after she added trusted leadership from her senate office to the campaign, Politico reports.

7. Kincaid’s, the venerable Jack London Square seafood restaurant, closed last weekend after three decades in business, the East Bay Times reports. The restaurant’s parent company has faced financial difficulty recently. $$

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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: Nancy Skinner’s bill allowing college athletes to be paid becomes law; Alleged spy for China was living in Hayward

Gas prices top $4 a gallon in Oakland and elsewhere

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Oct 1, 2019 at 12:21 AM

State Sen. Nancy Skinner's legislation could overturn the NCAA cartel by forcing member schools to pay their college athletes. - FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo
  • State Sen. Nancy Skinner's legislation could overturn the NCAA cartel by forcing member schools to pay their college athletes.


News you don’t want to miss for Oct. 1:

1. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed East Bay state Sen. Nancy Skinner’s bill that upends the NCAA’s business model by requiring member schools in California to pay student athletes for their name, image and likeness, while also allowing students to hire agents, ESPN reports. The law goes into effect in 2023.

2. The U.S. Department of Justice said Hayward resident Edward Peng is a spy for the Chinese government, KGO-TV reports. Peng is accused of delivering U.S. national information to China. Some of the transactions occurred at hotels in Oakland and Newark.

3. Ghost Ship master tenant Derick Almena wants an Alameda County Superior Court judge to reduce his bail, which is set at $750,000, KPIX reports. Almena was charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter, but his trial last month was declared a mistrial.

4. Oakland’s Tuff Shed program -- scratch that. Oakland’s community cabin project could be a success, according to housing activists, but is falling short, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. Gas prices have jumped to over $4 a gallon in many Bay Area cities, including Oakland, KTVU reports. Low supply at local refineries and the drone attack last month on a Saudi Arabian oil facility is the reason for the hike in gas prices.

6. The injury Warriors guard Klay Thompson sustained during the NBA Finals last June will keep him out a minimum of 55 games this upcoming season, according to Bleacher Report. But the post-All-Star break timetable could also be longer, perhaps, keeping Thompson on the shelf for the entire season.

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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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