Alameda became one of the first East Bay cities to approve gun-safety ordinances that regulate safe storage of firearms in homes, and video surveillance of legal gun purchases at retail outlets and dealers.
"We're not trying to criminalize the legal possession of firearms," Alameda Councilmember Jim Oddie said. "What we are trying to do is prevent those legal firearms from getting in the hands of people who shouldn't have them."
The council's unanimous support for the legislation was bolstered by Councilmember Tony Daysog, often the most conservative vote on the council. "I don't think we went overboard with regard to people's Second Amendment rights, but I think we did more than do nothing and sit on our hands," he said.
Alameda's ordinance requires owners of firearms to lock their guns in safes or outfit them with trigger locks. Administrative penalties would result for violators of the safe storage ordinance. A previous proposal that included criminal penalties was eliminated from the ordinance. However, the council kept a 24-hour safe harbor period for gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to police without incurring any penalties.
Safe Alameda, a community group that advocates for gun safety, had urged for the ordinance to require that firearms be stored unloaded. But Deputy City Attorney Montague Hung said that doing so might set the ordinance up for a legal challenge. "An argument, I believe, could be made that if the firearm would be mandated to be locked and stored with a trigger lock, but also unloaded, it could significantly hinder what the court has found to be a Second Amendment right."
Video surveillance of lawful gun purchases, under Alameda's ordinance, will help thwart so-called "straw purchases" made by customers who then provide the firearm to individuals unauthorized by law enforcement to buy guns.
Alameda has just one gun dealer, Big 5 Sporting Goods, at the South Shore Center shopping mall. Some councilmembers voiced criticism for the presence of firearms within the view of children. The council also directed city staff to study a suggestion by Daysog to potentially regulate the display of firearms in retail stores. "I don't know why if a 10-year-old goes in to Big Five to buy a baseball mitt that they should be exposed to a row of what looks like semi-automatic weapons," Oddie said.
Vinnie Bacon Surges to Top, Declares Victory in Supervisors Race
With 60,000 remaining provisional ballots to be counted in Alameda County as of Tuesday morning, Fremont Councilmember Vinnie Bacon's lead atop an uncommonly close Alameda County District 1 Board of Supervisors race was extended as the number of uncounted ballots quickly dwindled. Bacon, who began his campaign for supervisor more than a year ago, declared victory shortly after another batch of election returns from last Tuesday's primary were released on Monday evening.
"With today's results I'm quite confident I can say I will at least be in the top two runoff this November," Bacon wrote to his followers in a posting on Facebook. "The registrar still has to count the provisional ballots, but it would take a rather radical swing in votes to change things."
Through a succession of updates by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters since Tuesday night, Bacon shot from second to first-place in the four-person primary on Saturday night, overtaking Dublin Mayor David Haubert, Bacon's likely opponent in the November runoff.
Bacon leads race for District 1 with 27.56 percent of the vote, followed by the early leader, Haubert, with 25.80 percent, as of Monday evening.
Dublin Vice Mayor Melissa Hernandez sits 645 votes behind Haubert, with 24.74 percent, followed by state Sen. Bob Wieckowski's disappointing 21.91 percent.
Bacon's ground game and ability to steer the debate toward housing and the demonization of developers helped his campaign rise to the top of the field. Bacon, the self-described "clean money candidate" also used his opponent's reliance on developer money, past and present, to great effect. Bacon is likely to continue his screeds against developer in the fall, especially, if his opponent is Haubert. During the primary, Haubert's campaign coffers were larded heavily with contributions from developers and real estate interests.
Several Ballot Measures Near Approval
Six ballot measures in Alameda County, primarily involving school parcel taxes and school bonds, are at or near the cusp of thresholds needed for passage. But time is running out.
Berkeley voters approved a trio of measures to support the city's schools, Measure E, which would enact a 12.4-cent-per-square-foot on building improvements (and a $25 annual levy on unimproved parcels); Measure G, a 10-year, $380 million school bond for completion of projects at Berkeley school facilities; and Measure H, which extended an existing special parcel tax.
Oakland's Measure Q, a parcel tax for maintenance of city parks, additional funding for the homeless, among other beneficiaries, stormed from the low 60 percent range to just a tad over two thirds in recent days. Measure Q has support from 66.88 percent of voters, as of Monday evening's updated election tallies.
Similarly, Alameda County Fire Department's Measure D bond measure steadily increased its support in recent days and now sits at 66.81 percent.
Several school district measures also have risen closer to two-thirds, and are on the doorstep towards passage. Alameda's Measure A school parcel tax reached its highest amount of support since last Tuesday's primary at 66.46 percent. Castro Valley's Measure I parcel tax, however, is less likely to pass two-thirds, despite a strong late run. Support for Measure I is at 64.43 percent, as of Monday evening.
In Other Election News ...
There were few surprises in the remainder of East Bay races, with incumbent officeholders doing what incumbent officeholders do, and winning their races in decisive fashion. Congresspersons Barbara Lee, Eric Swalwell, and Ro Khanna, California Assemblymembers Buffy Wicks, Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, and Rob Bonta, and County Supervisors Nate Miley and Keith Carson each received well more than a majority of the vote.
State Senator Steve Glazer and Assemblyman Bill Quirk each bested their opponents handily but failed to receive more than 40 percent of the vote. The Democrat Glazer seems destined to face Republican Julie Mobley of Danville. Only a couple hundred votes separated Quirk's competitors Son Nguyen and Alexis Villalobos as of the end of the day on Monday.
Attorneys Mark Fickes and Elena Condes will meet in a November runoff in the race to assume the judicial robe being left by retiring Alameda County Superior Court Judge Carol Brosnahan. Election returns showed a tight race between Fickes and Condes for first-place in the primary. Condes currently leads the three-person race with 41.73 percent (130,993 votes), followed by Fickes at 37.45 percent (117,565 votes). Administrative law judge Lillia Szelenyi came in a distant third with 20.82 percent (65,374 votes), according to returns posted by the Alameda County Registrar.
In Other News ...
The Grand Princess cruise ship docked at the Port of Oakland on Monday with up to 21 coronavirus patients among its 3,500 passengers, KPIX reported. Disembarking passengers will undergo testing and some will be ferried to military bases across the country. ... A Berkeley resident who traveled recently to Italy contracted the coronavirus, Berkeleyside reported. The case is deemed mild, and the patient is currently resting at home. ... BART ridership has dropped eight percent since the last week of February due to public concerns over the coronavirus, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, but anecdotal evidence suggested that current ridership is down far more than that modest decline. ... A host of East Bay schools have cancelled classes or events due to fears of the virus, including UC Berkeley, which intends to offer all classes via the Internet. ... Gov. Gavin Newson and state Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara directed insurance companies to cover the costs of testing for the coronavirus, the Sacramento Bee reported. ...
Oakland Unified School District trustees voted Wednesday to approve $20 million in budget cuts, KTVU reported. The plan to balance the district's budget includes issuing layoff notices to 100 staff members. ... Ousted Oakland chief of police Anne Kirkpatrick and Oakland Councilmember Noel Gallo want the police department's court-appointed federal monitor Robert Warshaw fired, KPIX reported. Kirkpatrick wrote an op-ed calling for OPD to continue police reforms on its own. ... Oakland will not only be looking for a new police chief, but also a new fire chief. The Chronicle reported that Fire Chief Darin White is leaving Oakland for the same post in San Rafael. ...
In a surprise move, Hayward Councilmember Al Mendall announced that he will not seek re-election to his seat on the City Council in November. Mendall, who was first elected to the city council in 2012, notified the public of his decision at Tuesday night's meeting. He said his decision to leave the council after two terms was due to family concerns and a grueling daily commute. "Traveling across the bay and trying to juggle two jobs and two kids — it's just become a little too much for me to do well," he said. ...
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry made his return to the basketball court and helped keep the team in a surprisingly close game against the reigning NBA champion Toronto Raptors. The once-struggling Dubs have won two of their last three games, and three of their last five.