Friday’s Briefing: Bay Area Home Prices Hit Record High; Ghost Ship Defendant Denied Release


Bay Area home prices hit a record high last month, as the median price rose to $850,000 in April — a 13.3 percent increase from the same time last year, according to CoreLogic. April also was the ninth consecutive month of double-digit year-over-year growth. (San Francisco Chronicle)

A federal jury yesterday found Taj Armon Reid guilty of conspiring to rig state construction contracts and accepting bribes. The son of Oakland Council President Larry Reid faces up to 20 years in prison and $750,000 in fines. (East Bay Express)

An Alameda County Superior Court judge will decide on June 7 whether to postpone the trial of Derick Almena and Max Harris, the two men charged in the deaths of 36 people in the 2016 Ghost Ship fire. The trial is scheduled to start July 16, but Harris’ attorneys asked that it be delayed until September or later. (Almena’s attorney is against the postponement.) (San Francisco Chronicle)

In related news, Harris will remain in jail until his trial after the California Supreme Court decided yesterday to review the recent Humphrey decision, a ruling by the First District Court of Appeal that said judges must factor a defendant’s ability to pay bail and consider offering non-monetary bail alternatives to those who can’t afford it. Harris’ attorney had filed a motion to release Harris in light of the Humphrey decision. (East Bay Times)

A record number of Californians died in 2017 after overdosing on the powerful opioid fentanyl. According to the California Department of Public Health, 746 people died from fentanyl overdoses last year — more than three times the amount from the year prior, and nine times higher than in 2013. (San Francisco Chronicle)

BART’s board of directors decided yesterday not to extend BART to Livermore, deferring instead to the newly created Tri-Valley-San-Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority, which is tasked with connecting the commuter train Altamont Corridor Express to BART. (East Bay Times)

About 200 animal rights activists led a funeral procession down University Avenue and buried a dead piglet at Civic Center Park, across the street from City Hall, to call attention to the mistreatment of animals. (Berkeleyside)

The Rodeo-Hercules Fire District voted to remove Ernest Wheeler as chair of the board after an internal investigation found that he threatened to “crucify” acting Fire Chief Bryan Craig over a disagreement on the use of district funds. (East Bay Times)

Three peregrine falcon chicks hatched atop UC Berkeley’s Campanile last month, and they’re expected to take flight next week. The university wants help naming them. (San Francisco Chronicle)