Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: Warriors win Game 5, lose Durant; BART can't take the heat

'Allie' the humpback seen near Alameda

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Jun 11, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Kevin Durant suffered another injury during Game 5. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Kevin Durant suffered another injury during Game 5.


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

1. The Warriors overcame a major injury to Kevin Durant to win Game 5 of the NBA Finals Monday night, 106-105, CBS Sports reports. Toronto now leads the series, 3-2. Game 6 returns to Oakland on Thursday for what will be the final game ever at Oracle Arena.

2. Ghost Ship trial: Defense witness Sharon Evans said she overheard "Spaniards" at a taco truck near the burning warehouse fire that the were “happy about the way it was burning.” She meant Mexican-Americans. Prosecutors, though, worked diligently to highlight inconsistencies in her testimony, KQED reports.

3. "A former Contra Costa County inmate sued the Sheriff’s Office on Monday, claiming that deputies at the county jail in Martinez turned 'a blind eye' toward Norteño gang members who beat him," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. An attorney also alleged the department favored imprisoned members of the gang. $$

4. Monday's excessive heat not only melted your ice cream cone, but also BART tracks. System-wide delays related to track equipment riddled BART all day, SFGate reports.

5. 'Allie' the humpback whale continues to make a rare appearance in the bay waters near Alameda's Seaplane Lagoon, the East Bay Times reports, but the animal's health is in question.

6. Here's a story about a fence in San Leandro and how it may make life difficult for a San Leandro elected official. Councilmember Victor Aguilar, Jr. admitted that he willfully built an illegal fence on his property at the same time he was using a fence controversy against then-incumbent Lee Thomas to register an upset victory last November, the East Bay Citizen reports. Aguilar, Jr. is seeking a variance to keep the illegal fence without any modifications.

7. Have it your way: The Impossible Burger is now available at all 111 Burger King restaurants in the Bay Area, SF Eater reports. Impossible Foods' meatless burger patty is made in Oakland.

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Monday, June 10, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Record-breaking heat in the East Bay; PG&E preemptively shuts off power in Northern California

BART's 'blitz' against fare evaders is working

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Jun 10, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Friendly reminder. Don't look straight into the sun. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Friendly reminder. Don't look straight into the sun.


News you don't want to miss for June 10:

1. PG&E is taking no chances this time around. After a high risk of fire and gusty winds were forecast for Saturday, PG&E shut off power for up to 20,500 customers to lessen the possibility of a devastating wildfire like those seen over the last two years, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

2. This weekend's heat wave broke records and the sweltering weather will continued through Tuesday, KRON reports. The temperature at Oakland Airport reached 91 degrees on Sunday, topping the previous record of 86 degrees set in 2008. Monday is also a Spare the Air day.

3. Teachers in Union City and South Hayward will return to their classrooms Monday morning after ending a 14-day strike. New Haven school district teachers ratified a tentative new contract on Sunday, KPIX reports.

4. BART's emphasis in recent months on thwarting fare evaders appears to be paying dividends, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The transit agency said ticket sales have increased 10 percent and calls to law enforcement have dropped by 50 percent. $$

5. Kaiser Permanente has helped 300 homeless seniors off the streets of Oakland and into housing this year, The Mercury News reports. $$

6. Kamala Harris's record as San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general received a dose of fact-checking from The New York Times over the weekend, again rehashing some of the obfuscations about her record, in particular, when it comes to police accountability. $$

7. Meanwhile, Eric Swalwell's own presidential campaign continues to flounder and the candidate who said he would exit the race for Swalwell's congressional seat if the incumbent ever returned, abruptly dropped out of the race. State Sen. Bob Wieckowski raised eyebrows Friday by announcing he is dropping out just over three weeks since joining he race, the East Bay Citizen reports. Does this mean Swalwell is ending his presidential campaign much sooner than anyone predicted?

8. Is this the end of the Warriors' dynasty or just the beginning of the greatest moment in their illustrious five-year run? Kevin Durant appears likely to return for tonight's do-or-die Game 5 of the NBA Finals in Toronto, CBS Sports reports. The Raptors lead the best-of-seven series, 3-1.

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Friday, June 7, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Second inmate dies in Alameda County jails within a week; California voters against impeachment

Hot weather coming this weekend

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Jun 7, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Santa Rita Jail - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Santa Rita Jail


News you don't want to miss for June 7-9:

1. A second inmate has died in the custody of the Alameda County Sheriff's Department within the last week, the East Bay Times reports. A 39-year-old was found dead Wednesday. Another inmate died on May 29. $$

2. Ghost Ship trial: A witness for the defense testified Thursday that she heard other boast of setting the deadly warehouse fire in December 2016, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The defense for Derick Almena and Max Harris has asserted the fire that killed 36 people was started by arsonists. $$

3. Maybe Nancy Pelosi is right? A new poll finds 52 percent of California voters are against Congress starting impeachment proceedings against President Trump, Capital Public Radio reports. Two-thirds of Democrats in the state, however, favor impeachment, along with 9 percent of Republicans, and 39 percent of independents.

4. The Hayward City Council took an initial step toward creating a policy for an independent investigation of cases when Hayward Police use deadly force, the East Bay Citizen reports. The request follows the fatal shooting of Agustin Gonsalez by Hayward police officers last November.

5. "Atmospheric river" meet the "widespread heat event." Translation: It's going to be hot in the East Bay this weekend, SFGate reports.

6. The man who shoved Toronto Raptors player Kyle Lowry during Game 3 of the NBA Finals was identified as Mark Stevens, a billionaire venture capitalist and Warriors minority owner, SFGate reports. He apologized, but not before getting his with a $500,000 fine, in addition, to being banned from attending NBA games for one year.

7. Two peregrine falcon chicks nesting atop U.C. Berkeley's Campanile flew the coop, Berkeleyside reports. The birds had captured the imagination of some Berkeley residents who were able to monitor their daily movements via webcam.

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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Thursday's Briefing: Prosecution wraps up its case in Ghost Ship trial; Foul called on Oakland official for taking Warriors tickets

Grand jury seeks removal of Contra Costa County assessor

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Jun 6, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Firefighters putting out the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland in December 2016. - SEUNG LEE
  • Seung Lee
  • Firefighters putting out the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland in December 2016.


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

1. Ghost Ship trial: The prosecution rested its case Wednesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, ending more than four weeks of testimony against Derick Almena and Max Harris, who are facing 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter following the deadly December 2016 warehouse fire. $$

2. State legislation to encourage new housing around transit hubs may have been sidetracked, but that isn't stopping Oakland. A proposed 23-story tower with 1,000 housing units, office and retail space next to the West Oakland BART station is coming before the Oakland Planning Commission, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. A Contra Costa County Grand Jury is seeking to remove Assessor Gus Kramer from office following allegations he created a hostile work environment and made offensive remarks about minorities in the office, KPIX reports. The accusations were filed in Contra Costa County Superior Court.

4. A seldom used fossil fuel plant near Jack London Square is about to become a battery installation after East Bay Community Energy board members approved a contract with the owners of the plant, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. Oakland Councilmember Nikki Bas Fortunato blamed her staff for a mix-up involving two tickets to the NBA Finals Game 6 matchup at Oracle Arena, The Mercury News reports. Chief of staff for Bas Fortunato said the councilmember did not plan to attend the game, which will be the final game ever at Oracle Arena, and will give the tickets to city workers and members of the community. $$

6. Toronto's clutch shooting and a seriously depleted Warriors roster led to the Raptors 123-109 victory in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, CBS News reports. Toronto leads the series, 2-1. The Warriors were without Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Kevon Looney, but were boosted by 47 points from Stephen Curry.

7. Meanwhile, the Raptors were lucky to get to Oracle Arena in time for the game based on a tweet from the team announcing their arrival in the Bay Area on the Golden Gate Bridge, SFGate reports. Of course, the correct span would be the Bay Bridge.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Wednesday's Briefing: BART director wants to rollback fare increases; Oakland City Council decriminalizes shrooms

Pride flag will fly in Dublin after backlash

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Jun 5, 2019 at 6:00 AM

BART Board Director Debora Allen is moving toward reversing recently approved fare increases. - ERIC FISCHER
  • Eric Fischer
  • BART Board Director Debora Allen is moving toward reversing recently approved fare increases.


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

1. Conservatives love BART Board Director Debora Allen and daily BART riders may also, too. Allen wants to rollback a previously approved schedule of fare hikes because she believes the increases will turn away more customers than help boost falling fare revenues, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. "The Oakland City Council passed a resolution Tuesday night that decriminalizes certain natural psychedelics, including mushrooms, a move that makes Oakland the second city in the nation to do so," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. "With little fanfare, the Bay Area has seen a dramatic drop in its homicide rate, driven by a considerable decrease in deadly shootings," The Guardian reports. In fact, a 30 percent drop over the past decade that is well below the national average.

4. The Dublin City Council had a change of heart Tuesday night, KTVU reports. Two weeks after voting against a proposal to recognize LGBTQ Pride Month by flying the rainbow flag at city hall, Dublin Mayor David Haubert apologized for his opposition to the proposal, and the council voted to reverse course and raise the flag after all.

5. Question of whether Hayward police officers receive sufficient de-escalation and mental illness training was already being asked by some city officials even before a KTVU report showing video of the police response to a 2015 incident resulting in the death of Roy Lee Nelson, Jr, an individual who suffered from schizophrenia.

6. A U.S. District Court judge threw out a case against three members of the Rise Above Movement, a group that was accused of engaging in hand-to-hand combat with protesters at political rallies in Berkeley, Huntington Beach,and San Bernardino, the Association Press reports. The men believed they were acting as counterweights to Antifa protesters at the events. The judged ruled their actions were free speech.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: Oakland budget battle over Department of Transpo heats up; Haggerty wants Pride flag on county buildings

Oakland's Commis is a two-star Michelin for the fourth straight year

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Jun 4, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Commis on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland received two Michelin stars, it was announced Monday. - FLICKR
  • Flickr
  • Commis on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland received two Michelin stars, it was announced Monday.


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

1. Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan's proposal to eliminate the city's new Department of Transportation continues to make news, along with further illuminating the growing rivalry between her and Mayor Libby Schaaf. For Schaaf's part she tweeted in defiance Monday night the hashtag #SaveOakDOT. StreetsblogSF adds to the story, reporting Oakland transportation activists were blind-sided by Kaplan's budget cut.

2. A mural in honor of Oscar Grant, along with a street sign naming "Oscar Grant III Way" will be unveiled Saturday at the Fruitvale BART station, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined Hawaii, Maine, and the District of Columbia in a lawsuit filed against pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma alleging the makers of OxyContin undersold the risk of addition to patients, the Associated Press reports.

4. Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty wants to amend its policy for flying flags over county buildings, the East Bay Citizen reports. In the meantime, Haggerty wants the Board of Supervisors Tuesday to approve a resolution directing the LGBTQ Pride flag to be raised on county buildings immediately in recognition of Pride month, which began on June 1.

5. New Haven Unified School District teachers began the third week of their strike, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Teachers in Union City and parts of South Hayward are negotiating for higher wages, but the duration of the strike is quickly threatening to bleed into finals week for some students. $$

6. It could be a highly volatile night at the Hayward City Council tonight. Two weeks ago, the Alameda County District Attorney's office found insufficient evidence to prosecute two Hayward police officers in the fatal shooting of Agustin Gonsalez. The family's frustrations with city officials and police were at a fever pitch during last week's council meeting. Now comes an appearance by Hayward Police Chief Mark Koller, who will address the council Tuesday night, the East Bay Citizen reports

7. This year's Michelin awards for excellence in fine dining were announced Monday. Oakland's Commis maintained its status as a two-star restaurant, SF Eater reports.

8. Klay Thompson will likely be listed as questionable for the Warriors' NBA Finals Game 3 matchup on Wednesday, CBS Sports reports. Thompson suffered a strained hamstring Sunday, while Kevon Looney fractured his collarbone, and Kevin Durant has yet to return to action after injuring his calf in the second round of the playoffs.

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Monday, June 3, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Kaplan's budget proposal includes cutting Department of Transportation

Warriors win, even up NBA Finals

Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 1:35 AM

Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan - BERT JOHNSON
  • Bert Johnson
  • Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan


News you don't want to miss for June 3:

1. Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan released a two-year budget proposal that includes, among other cuts, the elimination of the city's new Department of Transportation and its director, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. Buoyant rhetoric at the start of the year by California state leaders searching for solutions to the housing crisis have thus far fizzled as the legislative season reaches the mid-year, the Associated Press reports, but some bills remain possibilities like one establishing rent caps. Others, for example, Oakland Assemblymember Rob Bonta's just-cause renters' bill is done for the year after failing to receive a vote last week.

3. Southern California labor leader Rusty Hicks was elected chair of the California Democratic Party on Saturday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Richmond resident Kimberly Ellis again fell short, finishing a distant second. $$

4. During a CNN presidential town hall Sunday evening East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell declined to call for the impeachment of President Trump. "If that's where we're headed, I want to be backed into it," Swalwell said, "showing that we've exhausted every other remedy and have the American people with us. I think that's where we are right now." Swalwell has been one of Trump's most vociferous detractors.

5. A rally in Oakland to support of Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign attracted an estimated 6,500 people to the soccer field at Laney College Friday night. Warren was late, but extended the appearance another two hours until 11 p.m. to converse with voters and take selfies, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

6. After a rocky start, the Golden State Warriors evened the NBA Finals at one game apiece Sunday after defeating the Toronto Raptors, 109-104, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The series moves to Oakland for Game 3 on Wednesday. $$

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Friday, May 31, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Alameda County deputy may have broken the law, but case was not referred to DA

California Democratic Party Convention in SF this weekend

by Steven Tavares
Fri, May 31, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Richmond's Kimberly Ellis nearly won the state Democratic Party chair race in 2016 and is a leading candidate for the position this weekend. - CLAYTON J. MITCHELL
  • Clayton J. Mitchell
  • Richmond's Kimberly Ellis nearly won the state Democratic Party chair race in 2016 and is a leading candidate for the position this weekend.


News you don't want to miss for May 31-June 2:

1. The Alameda County Sheriff's Department did not pass along a case where one of its deputies was found to have taken prescriptions from crime scenes for his own personal use, even though the department's internal affairs concluded the officer had broken the law, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. Ghost Ship trial: The defense again raised the possibility Thursday that the December 2016 deadly warehouse fire in Oakland was caused by arson, KQED reports, while also suggesting investigators did not fully explore all leads as to the cause of the fire.

3. Democrats from across the state, along with half of the gargantuan presidential field, will begin the party's state convention today through Sunday in San Francisco, CalBuzz reports. Aside from the presidential aspirations on display this weekend, Democrats will elect the next chair of the state party. Richmond resident Kimberly Ellis, Los Angeles labor leader Rusty Hicks, and party vice chair Daraka Larimore-Hall are the leading contenders.

4. There are more signs the Bay Area housing market is cooling, or, at least, witnessing a brief plateau in housing prices, Kathleen Pender writes in the San Francisco Chronicle. While median home prices rose by 2.4 percent in April over the previous month to $850,000, the figure was unchanged from a year ago. $$

5. Legislation that would have placed a statewide moratorium on charter schools and another to place a cap on charter schools hit road blocks Thursday after failing passage out of their houses of origin, the Los Angeles Times reports. $$

6. A bluegrass band from Baltimore has created a catchy tune inspired by Oakland's "Pothole Vigilantes," a growing group of residents who fill potholes by the light of moon, SFGate reports.

7. The Warriors dropped Game 1 of the NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors Thursday night, 118-109, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Sunday evening in Toronto. $$

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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Thursday's Briefing: Assembly approves legislation to help renters and freelance workers

Warriors begin quest for their third straight title tonight

by Steven Tavares
Thu, May 30, 2019 at 6:00 AM

A flurry of bills were approved in the state legislature Wednesday.
  • A flurry of bills were approved in the state legislature Wednesday.


News you don't want to miss for May 30:

1. The California Assembly approved a rent-cap bill, but only after a compromise deal was reached. It now heads to the state Senate. "Under the deal, the measure would limit annual rent increases to seven percentage points above the regional change in the cost of living, rather than the five percentage points plus inflation that [Assemblymember David] Chiu originally proposed," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. "California residents working for companies like Lyft and Uber would get the rights of employees entitled to a minimum wage and workers compensation under a law the state Assembly passed on Wednesday," the Associated Press reports. Some industries would be exempt under AB 5, such as physicians and insurance agents.

3. BART officials ascribed to the notion that "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste" after using the huge traffic snarl on the Bay Bridge Wednesday to to make the case that Congress needs to move forward with their application for $1.25 billion in federal transportation funds, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

4. The Adeline Corridor Specific Plan in Berkeley was presented to the public Wednesday night, Berkeleyside reports. The proposal could add up to 1,450 new housing units--50 percent which could be affordable--over the next 20 years around Adeline Street and Shattuck Avenue.

5. Eric Swalwell’s underperforming presidential campaign may get the boost they have been looking for this Sunday when the East Bay congressman is featured in a CNN town hall at 6 p.m, The Hill reports.

6. A study by the pro-business Bay Area Council estimates the Oakland Athletics’ proposed Howard Terminal ballpark project will generate $7.3 billion in economic benefits to the city, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The estimate accounts for the decade after the entire ballpark district is completely built out with retail, restaurants, office space, and other businesses. $$

7. The Warriors begin their quest for a third consecutive championship and fourth in the last five years as the NBA Finals begin tonight. The Warriors and Toronto Raptors tip-off at 6 p.m. Sports Illustrated has a preview.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Wednesday's Briefing: Schaaf unleashes 'Pothole blitz' to repair Oakland streets; Police use-of-force bill passes state Senate

Hayward councilmember calls for independent investigation of police shooting

by Steven Tavares
Wed, May 29, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Friends of family of Agustin Gonsalez calling for an independent investigation of Hayward Police during a Hayward City Council Tuesday night. - STEVEN TAVARES
  • Steven Tavares
  • Friends of family of Agustin Gonsalez calling for an independent investigation of Hayward Police during a Hayward City Council Tuesday night.


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

1. A few weeks after so-called pothole vigilantes repaired Oakland streets like Batman with hot asphalt, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf unleashed a "pothole blitz" Tuesday aiming to fill up 7,000 potholes over the next three weeks, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. "The California Senate approved legislation Tuesday requiring officers across the nation's most populous state to be trained in ways to avoid using deadly force, one of two measures intended to deter shootings by police," the Associated Press reports. The bill heads to the Assembly for consideration.

3. A week after an Alameda County District Attorney's investigation found insufficient evidence to prosecute two Hayward police officers in the November 2018 shooting death of Agustin Gonsalez, the family heavily criticized the report for a number of inconsistencies and slammed the city for a lack of transparency, the East Bay Citizen reports. Hayward Councilmember Aisha Wahab said she will formally ask the council to open an independent investigation of the incident at next week's council meeting.

4.Ghost Ship trial: The mother of a Ghost Ship resident testified Tuesday that Derick Almena, the master tenant charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter, laughed when she urged him to make safety improvements to the warehouse during a meeting in 2013, NBC Bay Area reports.

5. Kamala Harris said at an MSNBC town hall on Tuesday that she would protect abortion rights by requiring the Justice Department to approve any restrictions enacted by states on access to abortions, Politico reports. The proposal is based on the Voting Rights Act and would focus on states with a recent history of undermining abortion rights.

6. Striking New Haven school district teachers from Union City and Hayward enter their second week of walking the picket lines, KPIX reports. After lengthy Memorial Day weekend negotiations, the teachers' union dropped its contract demands from a 10 percent raise to 7 percent over two years, while the school district raised its offer from 1 percent to 2 percent, and a 3 percent bonus.

7. A backlash against the Dublin City Council's decision last week to turn away a plan to fly the LGBTQ Pride flag at city hall continues to build. Emeryville will raise two Pride flags at city hall on June 8 - one for Emervyille, one for Dublin - and some Dublin councilmembers who voted against the flag raising are taking heat on the political front, the East Bay Citizen reports.

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