Friday, May 24, 2019

Friday's Briefing: BART proposes 16% fare increase over 6 years; Oakland owner-occupied duplex, triplex exemption is gone

Lonely Island spoofs the "Bash Brothers" in new Netflix comedy

by Steven Tavares
Fri, May 24, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Andy Samberg and Lonely Island's Netflix comedy "The Unauthorized Bash Brothers," was released Thursday to an unsuspecting public and features numerous East Bay references. - NETFLIX
  • Netflix
  • Andy Samberg and Lonely Island's Netflix comedy "The Unauthorized Bash Brothers," was released Thursday to an unsuspecting public and features numerous East Bay references.

News you don't want to miss for May 24-26:

1. BART Board of Directors on Thursday proposed a 3.7 percent fare increase every two years starting in 2022 and running through 2028, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The board may also install new entry gates to ward against chronic fare evasion. $$

2. "Owner-occupied duplexes and triplexes will no longer be exempt from Oakland’s rent control and tenant protection laws. City Council members voted early Wednesday morning to end the exemption, which tenants rights’ activists called a “loophole” often abused to drive up longtime tenants’ rents or force them out," the East Bay Times reports. $$

3. The bill for Kamala Harris's presidential kickoff rally in Downtown Oakland is now due. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the city sent Harris's campaign an invoice for Oakland Police service that was $187,000 alone. $$

4. The police lobby in Sacramento is surrendering to legislation that would raise the standard for when law enforcement can use lethal force from a reasonable fear of imminent danger to necessary use, the Associated Press reports.

5. Dublin's population increased by 4.5 percent from 2017 to 2018, making the Tri-Valley city the fastest-growing in California and 11th fastest-growing in the U.S., the East Bay Times reports. Dublin's high rate of housing construction, however, has mostly excluded affordable housing. $$

6. Lonely Island, the comedy troupe featuring Berkeley natives, including Andy Samberg, released a surprise Netflix special Thursday night spoofing the "Bash Brothers," the late 1980s era Oakland Athletics home run-hitting duo of Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, A.V. Club reports. Spoiler: The comedy also features other East Bay landmarks and references.

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Thursday's Briefing: Oakland approves funding for paving streets; Dublin rejects flying LGBT flag

Draymond and Klay honored for their stellar defense

by Steven Tavares
Thu, May 23, 2019 at 1:24 AM

Pothole relief is coming to Oakland. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Pothole relief is coming to Oakland.

News you don't want to miss for May 23:

1. "Oakland City Council voted Tuesday to begin spending the first $35 million of a $100 million project to repave city streets," the San Francisco Chronicle reports, "a compromise reached after city leaders clashed over whether to include more city workers and delay completion by four years." $$

2. Ghost Ship trial: A survivor of the warehouse fire who suffered brain damage and extensive burns to his body, testified Wednesday that he thought he was going to be burned alive, KRON reports.

3. Twenty-eight affordable housing units at 4868 Calaveras Avenue in Oakland were added to the rental market recently, SFGate reports. More than 4,000 people applied for a chance to become a tenant.

4. Amid a number of crude comments by members of the public, the Dublin City Council voted against a proposal to celebrate its LGBT community by raising the Pride flag over city hall, the East Bay Citizen reports. "“Not supporting flying the flag does not mean we don’t support the LGBT community,” said Dublin Mayor David Haubert. “It means we may have other ways to do it.”

5. Sen. Kamala Harris has missed nearly one-quarter of her votes in the U.S. Senate since beginning her bid for the White House earlier this year, the San Francisco Chronicle reports $$

6. NBA championships are usually built on a stingy defense. Two Warriors, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, were named to the All-Defense second team Wednesday, Yahoo Sports reports. Green earned the honor for the fifth time in his career, Thompson for the first time.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Wednesday's Briefing: Newsom names homeless task force in Oakland; OUSD loses its new CFO

Fire marshal refutes claim that Ghost Ship fire was an act of arson

by Steven Tavares
Wed, May 22, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Homeless camp under Interstate 880 in Oakland. - DARWIN BONDGRAHAM
  • Darwin BondGraham
  • Homeless camp under Interstate 880 in Oakland.

News you don't want to miss for May 22:

1. Gov. Gavin Newsom was in Oakland Tuesday to announce the formation of a homeless task force, along with $1 billion in funding to help solve the problem, the Associated Press reports. Newsom named Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas as co-chairs of the task force.

2. Dollars and cents have never been the Oakland Unified School District's strong suit. Now, after recently eliminating its chief business officer position, the beleaguered school district is losing its newly hired chief financial officer, EdSource reports.

3. Alameda resident Greg Barron believes the six-story edifice on his property is art. The city says it's a building that requires proper permits, SFGate reports. In the meantime, the object, which was featured at Burning Man, has racked up more than $20,000 in fines from the city.

4. "The Oakland City Council passed a resolution Tuesday calling for an independent audit of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office budget after a number of inmate deaths at the county jail, complaints by pregnant inmates and revelations that deputies had illegally recorded juveniles," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. California sued the Trump administration for the 50th time Tuesday. This time to prevent it from canceling nearly $1 billion in federal funding awarded in 2010 for the state's high-speed rail project, Reuters reports.

6. Ghost Ship trial: Last week, defense attorney Tony Serra asserted the December 2016 warehouse fire that killed 36 people in Oakland was an act of arson. The East Bay Times reports an Oakland fire marshal strongly refuted the claim in court Tuesday. $$

7. Speaking at a pro-choice rally in Washington, D.C., East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell said the decision to have children belonged to his wife, the Washington Free Beacon reports. In recent weeks, Swalwell's presidential stump speeches have deferred to women. For example, he pledges to choose a female running mate, if he wins the Democratic presidential nomination.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: Desley Brooks files lawsuit, blames city attorney for costing her re-election

Warriors are heading to their fifth straight NBA Finals

by Steven Tavares
Tue, May 21, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Former Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks filed a lawsuit against the city in Alameda County Superior Court. - STEVEN TAVARES
  • Steven Tavares
  • Former Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks filed a lawsuit against the city in Alameda County Superior Court.

News you don't want to miss for May 21:

1. Former Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks lost her re-election by a large margin last November. Most political observers viewed the defeat as a referendum on Brooks' role in an altercation involving former Black Panther Elaine Brown in 2015 in which the city was ordered by a judge to pay damages of $2.2 million to Brown. In a lawsuit filed by Brooks in Alameda County Superior Court, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, Brooks claims the city attorney's handling of the case cost her re-election to her council seat and is asking for reimbursement of the nearly $80,000 she was ordered to pay Brown. $$

2. The NBA Finals is coming to Oakland for a fifth straight year after the Warriors defeated the Portland Trailblazers in overtime Monday night, 119-117, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Warriors swept the Trailblazers, 4-0, in the series and will face either Milwaukee or Toronto for a chance at a three-peat starting on May 30. $$

3. Ghost Ship trial: A former resident of the Ghost Ship testified Monday that Child Protective Services and Oakland Police had been inside the warehouse in the months prior to the December 2016 fire that killed 36 people, ABC7 reports.

4. Berkeley's Disaster and Fire Safety Commission is recommending the city quickly procure and install an outdoor warning system to alert the public of wildfires and earthquakes, Berkeleyside reports. Oakland, Richmond, and U.C. Berkeley have warning systems.

5. A judge ruled Monday that the parents of a West Point cadet from Concord who died in a skiing accident can use his sperm to produce a child, the Associated Press reports. The family has not indicated, though, whether they will do so.

6. "Across California, at least 20 companies providing care for the elderly, disabled and mentally ill continue to operate illegally after being cited for failing to pay their workers more than $1.4 million in back wages and penalties," Jennifer Gollan reports for Reveal.

7. The Trump administration is threatening to cut federal funding to California fire departments at a time when wildfires are becoming more frequent and more deadly, the Sacramento Bee reports. The threat comes after the U.S. Forest Service accused the state of over-billing the federal government. $$

8. Randy's Donuts, the iconic Southern California chain that features a 32-foot donut atop one of its locations, is expanding to the Bay Area, including one store in Berkeley, SF Eater reports.

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Monday, May 20, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Measles at Berkeley Bowl; Richmond cop involved in Celeste Guap scandal got his job back

Trump's tariffs helping Central Valley garlic industry

by Steven Tavares
Mon, May 20, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Employee at Berkeley Bowl. Shoppers at Berkeley Bowl may have been exposed to measles on May 7. - FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo
  • Employee at Berkeley Bowl. Shoppers at Berkeley Bowl may have been exposed to measles on May 7.

News you don't want to miss for May 20:

1. "A Berkeley resident may have exposed shoppers at Berkeley Bowl to measles, officials announced Friday", SF Gate reports. "The infected individual visited Berkeley Bowl, at 2020 Oregon St., on May 7 between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., Berkeley Public Health said in a press release."

2. A Richmond cop who was involved in the Celeste Guap police misconduct scandals in 2016 was reinstated to his job despite the protests of the city manager, the East Bay Times reports.

3. President Trump's tariffs are causing great concerns for many U.S. industries, but not Gilroy's Christopher Ranch, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The garlic producer has long been losing ground to cheap garlic from China. Trump's 25 percent tariff on Chinese garlic is boosting the company's hopes. $$

4. A bill introduced earlier this year by San Mateo state Sen. Jerry Hill attempted to inoculate PG&E ratepayers from paying for damages related to wildfires caused by the utility. That bill was placed on hold by a budget subcommittee, the Sacramento Bee reports. PG&E's rates are set by the California Public Utilities Commission, but Hill's legislation would have added legislative oversight to the process. $$

5. A report by the California Energy Commission said a reason for the state's inflated gas prices may be "market manipulation," the Associated Press reports. Large gas retailers like Chevron, Shell, Exxon, Mobil, and 76 have doubled their gas prices over that of smaller retailers and unbranded stations even though they all sell basically the same product.

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Friday, May 17, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Oakland Police raid arrests 16 gang members; SB50 is dead for this year

Alameda County homeless count is up 43 percent

by Steven Tavares
Fri, May 17, 2019 at 6:00 AM

  • File Photo
News you don't want to miss for May 17-19:

1. A large-scale raid led by Oakland Police on a "super cell" of three Oakland gangs led to the arrest of 16 people suspected of causing an increase in violent crime in North Oakland, KRON reports. In addition, to Oakland, raids occurred in five other East Bay cities: Antioch, Hayward, Richmond, San Leandro, and Vallejo.

2. Ghost Ship trial: "Defense attorney Tony Serra on Thursday accused fire officials of attempting to shield the City of Oakland from liability in a civil lawsuit" over saving the lives of those inside the fiery warehouse, KQED reports.

3. SB50, the high-profile legislation to spur the approval of housing construction near transit hubs met its surprising demise Thursday after the state Senate Appropriations Committee voted to designate the legislation as a two-year bill, essentially mothballing the effort until 2020, Cal Matters reports.

4. Even though the housing crisis is on the radar of every Alameda County city, the rate of homelessness is not slowing. According to new data gathered last January, there are 8,022 homeless people in Alameda County, an increase of 43 percent over the previous year, the Mercury News reports.

5. Brian Hofer, the Oakland paralegal who has led the fight against the rise of the surveillance state in the East Bay, is profiled in The New York Times. This week, San Francisco approved a ban on facial-recognition technology that was advocated by Hofer, and Oakland is likely to soon follow. $$

6. New DNA evidence in a 44-year-old Bay Area cold case led to a suspect living in Hayward, ABC7 reports. John Getrue was arrested for the 1974 murder of Janet Taylor after DNA on the victim's clothing linked him to the crime.

7. The plant-based burger patty made by Impossible Burger, which is produced in Oakland, is partnering with Burger King, but Tara Duggan in the San Francisco Chronicle reports on the ethical quandary the company is facing by rapidly expanding with a chain known for some unsavory business practices. $$

8. After trailing by as much as 15 points in the third quarter, the Warriors came from behind to beat the Portland Trailblazers, 114-111, to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven NBA Western Conference Finals, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Thursday’s Briefing: Cal Fire determines PG&E was cause of devastating Camp Fire; Water tax dries up

Bob Wieckowski to run for Swalwell's seat in Congress

by Steven Tavares
Thu, May 16, 2019 at 6:00 AM

News you don’t want to miss for May 16:

1. The Camp Fire, which killed 85 people and leveled Paradise, Calif. last November, was caused by a PG&E transmission line, Cal Fire said in a report, according to CNBC. The finding is not entirely surprising. Earlier this year, PG&E admitted it was “probable” the utility was responsible for what became the most destructive fire in the state’s history.

2. A state water tax proposed earlier this year by Gov. Gavin Newsom to address the need for clean drinking water in poor areas of the state appears dead, the Sacramento Bee reports. A state Senate budget subcommittee rejected the plan and is "recommending finding $150 million elsewhere to finance a safe and affordable drinking water fund.”

3. More than 500,000 California residents that receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will be eligible, beginning next month, to also receive the state's food assistance benefit known as CalFresh, the Orange County Register reports. The change stands to greatly help seniors. $$

4. Presidential candidate Eric Swalwell angered some on the left Wednesday when he tweeted an image of the "Blue Lives Matter" flag in support of law enforcement, the Sacramento Bee reports. Swalwell's father was a police chief and his brother currently works for the Alameda County Sheriff's Department. But the flag has also been appropriated by white supremacists. $$

5. East Bay state Sen. Wieckowski is running in the 15th Congressional District race to replace Swalwell, who is running for president, the East Bay Citizen reports. Wieckowski filed paperwork with his name misspelled Wednesday and joins Hayward Councilmember Aisha Wahab in a field that has been stymied by speculation Swalwell may eventually forego his presidential aspirations and run for re-election to the seat.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Wednesday's Briefing: Master tenant said Ghost Ship was unoccupied, says fire captain; Audit of Ahern's sheriff's department gains steam

Here comes the rain again: storms arriving Wednesday, this weekend

by Steven Tavares
Wed, May 15, 2019 at 6:00 AM

News you don't want to miss for May 15: .

1 Ghost Ship trail: An Oakland fire captain testified that Derick Almenda, the master tenant, told him nobody was living in the warehouse when he toured the location more than two years before the tragic fire that killed 36 people, Bay City News reports.

2. A video recording device was found in a bathroom stall on the campus of U.C. Berkeley, Berkeleyside reports. Campus police said images of 5 people were recorded last March, in addition, to 13 more last October.

3. A resolution urging the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to audit the Alameda County Sheriff's Department was approved by an Oakland City Council committee Tuesday, KTVU reports. The legislation, backed by Councilmember Nikki Bas, follows calls by state Sen. Nancy Skinner for greater oversight of the sheriff's department.

4. East Bay state Sen. Bob Wieckowski has authored legislation that would give struggling college graduates a tax break of up to $1,000 a year on interest paid on their school loans, San Jose Spotlight reports.

5. Although uncommon for May, heavy rains are expected to hit to the Bay Area starting today, KRON reports. A second major storm is expected this weekend.

6. Warriors, without Kevin Durant, made quick work of the Portland Trailblazers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals Tuesday night in Oakland, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Meanwhile, Portland point guard and Oakland native Damian Lillard arrived at Oracle Arena wearing an A's jersey, USA Today reports. Portland fans can't be happy about that.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: Schaaf wants safe injection site in Oakland; Port approves Howard Terminal term sheet with A's

Jury awards Livermore couple $2 billion in claim Round Up caused their cancers

by Steven Tavares
Tue, May 14, 2019 at 6:00 AM

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

1. Oakland is interested in creating a safe injection site for drug users, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The City Council could soon give its endorsement to an Assembly bill that will allow San Francisco to create its own location, while urging the legislation's author to amend the bill to include Oakland. $$

2. The Port of Oakland unanimously agreed to sign a tentative term sheet Monday with the Oakland Athletics to continue talks for leasing the 50-acre Howard Terminal property as the site of a new waterfront ballpark for the team, KPIX reports.

3. Welcome to the Ring Central Coliseum, home of the Oakland Athletics and Oakland Raiders. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the Coliseum Joint Powers Authority will receive $1 million a year over three years from the Bay Area telecommunications company for naming rights to the aging stadium. $$

4. With Oakland on the cusp of banning the use of facial recognition technology by the city, Sarah Holder and Tanvi Misra report in CityLab about the path Oakland privacy activists, starting with the protest of the Domain Awareness Center in 2013, got us to this point.

5. A jury in Oakland ruled Monsanto, the makers of Round Up weed killer, must pay $2 billion in damages to a couple from Livermore who said the product caused them both to be diagnosed with cancer, the Associated Press reports. The ruling follows two other large monetary verdicts against Monsanto in federal and state courts recently. Experts, however, believe the award will be greatly reduced after appeal.

6. A bill authored by a South Bay assemblymember would allow homeless college students to use the institution's parking lots to sleep in their cars, the Sacramento Bee reports. The bill, AB 302, has not received any opposition, although colleges and universities are tracking the bill. $$

7. The Warriors and Portland Trailblazers meet in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals tonight. The San Francisco Chronicle reports on what to expect from the series. $$

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Monday, May 13, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Port of Oakland's record-breaking month; McElhaney ask for help in finding son's killer

Newsom's state budget allocates $1 billion for homeless

by Steven Tavares
Mon, May 13, 2019 at 6:00 AM

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

1. The Port of Oakland received more shipping containers last April than any other month in its history, KQED reports, due to companies moving swiftly to import items before President Trump's tariffs on China fully kick in. The Port received more than 80,000 containers last month.

2. Port of Oakland commissioners will meet this afternoon to decide whether to sign a term sheet with the Oakland Athletics that could lead to the construction of a 35,000-seat ballpark at Howard Terminal. The A's will hold a noon rally at Jack London Square before the vote, featuring Rickey Henderson and Dallas Braden.

3. "Calling it “a stain on the state of California,” Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday vowed to use part of a historic budget surplus to tackle homelessness in the nation’s most prosperous state," the Associated Press reports. Newsom's revised budget calls for an allocation of $1 billion for the homeless. The entire budget calls for $213.5 billion in spending.

4. "The Trump administration brought its pro-drilling agenda to Northern California on Thursday, disclosing a plan to make more land available for oil and gas development, including parts of the Santa Cruz Mountains and East Bay hills," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. Two months after Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney's son was tragically killed by a gunman in Los Angeles following a botched robbery, she is asking Southern California residents for help in bringing his killer to justice, the Los Angeles Times reports. $$

6. It might not be a suggestion that Kamala Harris's campaign would like to persist, but John Bresnahan reports in Politico, "The Congressional Black Caucus may have found an answer to its Joe Biden dilemma: Vice President Kamala Harris." Although not mentioned in the article, East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee, is part of the CBC's leadership and one of Harris's biggest supporters in Congress.

7. Bay Area residents displaced by the housing crunch may now find it difficult to find salvation in some places of worship. That's because the housing crisis is also hitting some small churches all over the Bay Area who are struggling to pay rent on their houses of worship for a number of factors, including the loss of parishioners who have moved away, the Mercury News reports. $$

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