Wednesday, August 14, 2019

A's in Splittsville

A bad place to be even when facing the Astros

by Kibby Kleiman
Wed, Aug 14, 2019 at 9:16 PM

The A's just finished winning one and losing one against the San Francisco Giants, that following a week in Chicago where Oakland won three and lost three. Which is not going to get this or any team into the playoffs unless they buy a ticket.

Coming up in the next two weeks is lots of Houston Astros and then excessive New York Yankees. We need to find some anti-entropic energy and fast!

Thursday is going to set the tone. The A's throw ace, Mike Fiers against the Astros worst starting pitcher. Failure to exploit the one game where we have an advantage will lead to a baseball shame spiral (also known as Justin Verlander). Part of what makes the past week's equilibrium so uneasy is that this is the part of the season where it is going to feel like victory to go .500. Best news of the week is the rebirth of Matt Chapman. Our platinum-glove winner brought back his booming bat, hitting two home runs against the Giants on a day he probably could have had three. Add that to Monday's good swings, Chapman is getting lethal again during this playoff drive; see Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Josh Donaldson as points of historical reference. The A's are one of three teams chasing two spots in the wild-card race and their rivals aren't losing...yet. Thursday might be the closet thing to a must-win game this season. The A's have to be better than even Steven Piscotty to make the Rays and Indians feel the pressure of the pennant race. Time to bring some serious imbalance to the ballpark this weekend.

Wednesday's Briefing: Kaiser workers to strike in October; Facial recognition software falsely IDs East Bay state senator as a criminal

Report: Shake Shack is coming to Oakland's Uptown Station

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Aug 14, 2019 at 4:00 AM

East Bay State Sen. Steve Glazer was one of 26 state lawmakers falsely identified as a criminal by facial recognition software. - GLAZER SENATE OFFICE
  • Glazer senate office
  • East Bay State Sen. Steve Glazer was one of 26 state lawmakers falsely identified as a criminal by facial recognition software.

News you don’t want to miss for Aug. 14:

1. "Kaiser Permanente workers in California have voted overwhelmingly to approve a strike in October that would be the largest in the United States in 20 years," SFGate reports. The strike would affect East Bay Kaiser facilities in Oakland, San Leandro, Pleasanton, and Fremont.

2. Amazon's facial recognition software falsely identified 26 California legislators as criminals, including East Bay State Sen. Steve Glazer, Vice reports. Recall, Oakland recently enacted a citywide ban on the purchase of facial recognition software.

3. Richmond hired Steven Falk as interim city manager Tuesday night. Falk served as city manager in Lafayette until last year when he famously quit out of frustration due to the city's rabid NIMBY elements. Richmond parted ways with former city manager Carlos Martinez last month.

4. "A coalition of 21 Democratic-led states sued the Trump administration Tuesday over its decision to ease restrictions on coal-fired power plants, with California’s governor saying the president is trying to rescue an outdated industry," the Associated Press reports.

5. PG&E is accused of attempting to avoid liabilities stemming from the 2017 Wine Country fires, the Mercury News reports. Meanwhile, a $105 million fund set up by PG&E to aid victims of recent wildfires will begin taking applications, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

6. Shake Shack is coming to downtown Oakland, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The gourmet burger joint is reportedly slated for the Uptown Station building on Broadway once owned by Uber.

7. The hometown A's fell to the Giants in San Francisco Tuesday night, 3-2, but not before A's fans attempted to take over McCovey Cove, NBC Sports reports.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: OPD officers file lawsuit alleging Police Commission lacks power to fire them; Lawmakers grill CSU officials over secret reserves

A's, Giants begin Bay Bridge Series tonight

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Aug 13, 2019 at 4:00 AM

  • File Photo

News you don’t want to miss for Aug. 13:

1. Five Oakland police officers which the Oakland Police Commission recommended to be fired for the killing of a homeless man last year, filed a lawsuit Monday alleging the commission lacks the authority to dismiss them, KTVU reports.

2. State lawmakers grilled Cal State University officials at a hearing Monday about a state audit that revealed the college system secretly built $1.5 billion in reserves at the same time approving steep increases in student tuition, Courthouse News reports.

3. Amelia Earhart was en route to Oakland for the last leg of an around-the-world trip in 1937 when her aircraft disappeared somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Now, Robert Ballard, the man who discovered the wreckage of the Titanic, will mount an effort to locate the famous aviator, The New York Times reports.

4. In response to the Gilroy shooting, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo is proposing a city ordinance that would require gun owners to have liability insurance, AXIOS reports. If such insurance is unavailable, gun owners would pay into a fund that would cover the costs associated with gun violence.

5. In a decision that could have ramifications for East Bay State Sen. Nancy Skinner’s legislation that would require the N.C.A.A. to pay student athletes when their names and likeness are used, comes a ruling by a San Francisco Appeals Court that a former U.S.C. football player was not an employee of the N.C.A.A. or the university while he played for the school, the Associated Press reports.

6. Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown may not retire after all. An arbitrator ruled Monday against a grievance he filed against the NFL to allow him to wear his preferred, albeit obsolete helmet, during games, USA Today reports. Controversy never stops with the Raiders. Brown reported to the team this month with frostbitten feet after stepping into a cryogenic device without property shoes. He later threatened to retire from football if he couldn't use his old helmet during games.

7. Yesterday, it was reported that Oakland is beating San Francisco in new housing units this year. Will the East Bay city’s dominance extend to the baseball diamond? The A’s travel to Oracle Park in San Francisco to face the Giants tonight in the first game of this year’s Bay Bridge Series, NBC Sports Bay Area reports. The Bay Area rivals will resume the series in Oakland next week.

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Monday, August 12, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Oakland is set to build more housing units than SF this year

Alameda County wins legal settlement with 7-Eleven

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Aug 12, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Oakland is expected to add 6,800 new housing units to the market this year. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Oakland is expected to add 6,800 new housing units to the market this year.

News you don't want to miss for Aug. 12:

1. Oakand is now outpacing San Francisco in building more housing units this year, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Oakland is slated to produce 6,800 new units to San Francisco's 4,700. $$

2. "Alameda County’s District Attorney’s office announced a $1.5 million settlement with 7-Eleven on Monday, saying the Dallas convenience store chain had failed to fully follow state law when training employees on handling hazardous materials," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. In a reversal of a trend in the East Bay recently, El Cerrito remvoed its just-cause renters protection ordinance from its books amid pressure from landlords, the East Bay Times reports. A similar chain of events occurred in Alameda two years ago before the city council re-introduced just-cause earlier this year. $$

4. Even before the Ghost Ship warehouse fire, artists in Oakland were struggling to keep a home. After the deadly fire it become worse. The San Francisco Chronicle reports what is left of available space for artists is being gobbled up by the lucrative cannabis industry. $$

5. Housing prices in the Bay Area are dropping. Make no mistake, they remain sky-high, but the Mercury News reports one symbol of the red-hot housing market is becoming rare, ultra-competitive bidding wars for homes. $$

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Friday, August 9, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Assault weapon seized from Gilroy shooter's home; Raiders owner has some profane words for A's management

No verdict yet in Ghost Ship trial

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Aug 9, 2019 at 4:00 AM

In addition, to an AR-15 assault rifle, authorities also seized high-capacity magazines. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • In addition, to an AR-15 assault rifle, authorities also seized high-capacity magazines.

News you don’t want to miss for Aug. 9-11:

1. Authorities seized an AR-15 assault rifle and three high-capacity ammunition magazines from the home of the suspected Gilroy Garlic Festival shooter, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The items, including a clown mask, were obtained during a search of the deceased assailant's home. $$

2. In response to the latest string of mass shootings in the U.S., San Rafael Mayor Gary Phillips ordered the North Bay city's flags to be flown at half-mast until Congress passes gun control legislation, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. Ghost Ship trial: After four and a half days of deliberations, jurors went home for the weekend without a decision in the deadly 2016 Oakland warehouse fire, NBC Bay Area reports. Derick Almena and Max Harris are charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter. Jurors have only asked two legal questions, and none since July 31.

4. "We're a totally peaceful, racist group," San Leandro chiropractor and frequent political candidate Don Grundmann told the Modesto City Council this week, SFGate reports. Grundmann is a co-organizer for a proposed "Straight Pride" event in the Central Valley city. Grundmann's verbal gaffe was met with rounds of hearty laughter. During his run for U.S. Senate last year, Grundmann included anti-transgender language in his ballot statement.

5. Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis blasted the Oakland Athletics' front office, its Coliseum co-tenant (at least for one more year), The Athletic reports. "Unfortunately, there’s a problem there. As far as the players and everybody, we love the A’s. We seriously do. But the front office has been real pricks. They’ve been really fucking around with us up there, taking advantage of the situation. Which, it is their right to do it, but it makes it hard." Davis said.

6. In The Athletic article, Mark Davis also called Oakland and Alameda County elected officials "dysfunctional," a description that may prove prophetic after Oakland officials sent county leaders a letter this week asking them to hold off from selling their share of the Coliseum site to the A's, the East Bay Times reports. The A's intend to redevelop the Coliseum in order to help fund a new ballpark at Howard Terminal. $$

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Thursday, August 8, 2019

Thursday’s Briefing: Hedge funds want a bigger piece of PG&E; Newsom backs rent cap and just-cause bill

Laney College football team to be featured on Netflix's “Last Chance U.”

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Aug 8, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Laney College's football team is the defending junior college national champions. - LANEY COLLEGE/DAN FIGUEROA
  • Laney College/Dan Figueroa
  • Laney College's football team is the defending junior college national champions.

News you don't want to miss for Aug. 8:

1. A pair of hedge funds are vying to inject up to $15 billion to help PG&E successfully emerge from bankruptcy, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Abrams Capital Management and Knighthead Capital Management, already own 7.3 percent of PG&E. $$

2. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he would sign an assembly bill that proposes a cap on rent increases in the state, the Los Angeles Times reports. The bill limits rent increases to seven percent over the next three years and includes a just-cause provision. $$

3. California’s Citizen Redistricting Commission is viewed as a potent antidote against politicians gerrymandering their own federal and state districts. But now a federal lawsuit in Michigan is arguing that state’s similar commission is unconstitutional because it forbids some from participating in the process. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the lawsuit could put California’s commission in jeopardy. $$

4. The aftermath of last week’s second Democratic presidential primary debates show Sen. Kamala Harris and Joe Biden received the biggest hits in the polls, SFGate reports. Harris and Biden saw the biggest decreases in support, while Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren had the highest increases.

5. This weekend’s Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco, for the first time, will allow the sale of cannabis on its premises, the Bay Cities News reports.

6. Laney College’s defending junior college national champion football team will be featured on the fifth season of Netflix’s popular documentary series, “Last Chance U.,” 12up reports. The series chronicles the ups and downs of junior college football.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

A's crush Jon Lester at Last

Revenge is a pitch best served old

by Kibby Kleiman
Tue, Aug 6, 2019 at 8:51 PM

We hate Jon Lester.

The 2014 American League Wild Card game still haunts.

The Oakland A's traded earlier that season for the alleged big -time ace pitcher, to have him ready for exactly the scenario that came to be--a one-game win or go home playoff contest. Which Lester choked.

We never liked his gunslinger vibe, we hated him never making pick-off throws to first base, and totally expected him to pack his ball bag for the highest bidder when he coughed up our last best chance to get value after trading Yoenis Cespedes.

So it was especially gratifying to beat his ass tonight in Chicago. Lester gave him base hits to pitchers, home runs to back up catchers, and he walked everyone else in the ball park. By the fourth inning, the A's were up 8-0, and cruising en route to an 11-4 whupping. Spell it Lester with an "L". We know a routine game in August does not make up for a searing defeat in October five years back, but every flubbed infield squib and ground ball with eyes provided a little warmth in the heart of A's fans who enjoyed tonight's kindling of a pitcher we are all too happy to torch

Treasure Island Music Fest is Off for 2019

Plus, recycling company closes all locations, and no mo joe or alco for a while.

by Stephen Buel
Tue, Aug 6, 2019 at 11:02 AM

The 2018 Treasure Island Music Festival - PHOTO BY JOSH WITHERS
  • Photo by Josh Withers
  • The 2018 Treasure Island Music Festival

The Treasure Island Music Festival, which last year was relocated to Oakland’s Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, was abruptly cancelled, the event’s promoters announced on Monday. The move came in response to a July cease and desist order that the Bay Conservation and Development Commission issued to the Port of Oakland, the park’s operator. The port apparently had been supposed to obtain commission permission for any events held at the park, but has consistently neglected to do so. Event organizers have no plans to relocate this year’s festival.

NIMBY neighbors of a new bar at 1780 Telegraph Ave. are protesting the issuance of a long-term liquor license to the facility because they are shocked — shocked!!! — to encounter signs of life in downtown Oakland after 10 p.m., the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The new bar Here’s How, which recently won a Best Of the East Bay award from this newspaper, is locked into a protracted battle with several NIMBY neighbors. Until the business can obtain a permanent license, liquor distributors are making the owner pay in advance for alcohol, eating into her operating capital. $$

California’s largest operator of recycling redemption centers abruptly closed its business on Monday, citing the dire economics of modern recycling, the East Bay Times reported. RePlanet had three redemption centers in Alameda, and 284 centers in total. The company cited decreased redemption value for aluminum and PET plastics, reduced state fee revenue, and increased costs of doing business as reasons for its decision, which will cost 750 people their jobs. $$

Jerome Singer, the East Bay scientist and inventor who pioneered the technology behind magnetic resonance imaging, died of natural causes at age 97, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The UC Berkeley professor emeritus of engineering was the first person to use magnets to align blood in the human body to enable advanced imaging that we now take for granted. Singer was eventually nominated for a Nobel Prize, but the award in that field was ultimately given to a later MRI researcher. Singer was married to the late cult expert Margarate Singer, and was father of public relations executive Sam Singer. $$

Fire from a cigarette has temporarily closed Berkeley’s memorably named Mo’Joe Café, and displaced three seniors from their adjacent homes, Berkeleyside reported. Owner Adil Mouftakir said the business could reopen later this week, if lucky.

The Safeway store at College and Claremont in Oakland can no longer sell alcohol after being caught selling liquor to underage buyers for the third time in three years, Berkeleyside reported. Shelves will be empty of liquor for the next two months, according to an official with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The store’s license will be on probation for two years after that.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Treinen Time Again. (That's a Bad Thing for the A's)

Athletics can't overcome Blake's breakdown

by Kibby Kleiman
Mon, Aug 5, 2019 at 9:37 PM

The A's engaged in a super tight battle in Chicago with the Cubs, a back-and-forth ballgame where it looked like one run would make all the difference. Until last year's A's closer, Blake Treinen gave up four, so naturally we scored three and lost.

Baseball lore says that the ball is an "ugly finder", that you can't hide trouble. Putting the ball anywhere near Treinen's glove this year turns out to be the Bad Place

Manager Melvin has a new closer for 2019, but the A's need to survive to get into the 9th inning to activate. Right now Blake is best used when we are trailing, which come to think of it, isn't something to cheer for either. The A's have five more in Chicago, two against the Cubs and three against the more relaxed White Sox. With the loss, the A's failed to take advantage of their two wild card rivals failing, and lost a little bit more confidence in last year's sure thing.

Monday’s Briefing: Police Report Surge in Thefts of Catalytic Converters

Prius owners should be on extra alert. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of state retirees are rolling in dough.

by Stephen Buel
Mon, Aug 5, 2019 at 12:11 PM

This is what it looks like once your catalytic converter has been stolen. - SETH SAWYERS-CREATIVE COMMONS
  • Seth Sawyers-Creative Commons
  • This is what it looks like once your catalytic converter has been stolen.

Berkeley police alerted members of the public of a sudden surge in thefts of catalytic converters from off of cars — chiefly Toyota Priuses. A police news release noted that there have been at least 14 such thefts in the past two weeks, the Daily Californian reported. The devices are stolen for their scrap value due the valuable metals that they contain, including platinum, copper and nickel.

More than 26,000 state government retirees now receive pensions that exceed $100,000 per year from the California Public Employees Retirement system, the East Bay Times reported. Back in 2005, only 1,841 people earned that much in state retirement. $$

Oakland and Hayward police staged joint sting operations along International Boulevard and in a Hayward hotel room where they arrested 43 johns and 2 pimps in a prostitution crackdown that was part of a larger national effort. The Alameda County District Attorney’s office announced that it helped with the four July operations. East Bay Times $$

BART is no longer selling paper tickets at its 19th Street Oakland station, the first step in a long-term initiative to wean all BART users off of paper tickets in favor of plastic Clipper Cards. San Francisco Chronicle. $$

Thanks to the state’s new gas tax and other revenue measures, Caltrans and various local governments are engaged in an unprecedented number of road improvement projects, the East Bay Times reported. Among the improvements is a sorely needed repaving of I-880 between Fruitvale and 23rd Avenues in Oakland. $$

After more than two years of negotiations, the University of California and the University Technical and Professional Employees-Communications Workers of America 9119 union reached a tentative five-year contract that could affect more than 13,000 employees. Members of the union now have until August 8 to ratify the contract, the Daily Cal reported.

Two thieves appear to have stolen filmmaking equipment and years worth of priceless footage from a Berkeley film production company, Berkeleyside reported. Surveillance footage of the apparent heist shows a man and woman removing several computers and several large boxes from the West Berkeley office.

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