A previously approved commercial cannabis permit was pulled by the Hayward City Council last week after a police investigation found links between the suspect of an alleged large-scale cannabis grow site and the applicant. In addition, two other proposed cannabis permits were removed from consideration after the city received information of alleged ties to other unpermitted cultivation sites in Hayward.
An attorney representing Vista Development Enterprises, the applicant of a commercial cannabis permit slated for Davis Avenue in Hayward, argued the man arrested by Hayward Police last January, Erik Salko, was not part of the company's management or investment team, merely a consultant.
After Salko's arrest, Hayward Police received a warrant to search his home. During the investigation, police said they found evidence that Salko was more than a consultant for Vista Development Enterprises, including an operations manual for the company, an estimate for flooring improvements to the Davis Avenue property in Salko's name, and evidence of business transactions that included "significant sums of money into the millions of dollars," Senior Assistant City Attorney Michael Vigilia said.
"His relationship with Vista was more than a consulting relationship," he said. "It was more consistent with someone who is engaged in a management or investor activity with respect to that." The omission of the relationship from the cannabis operator's application is grounds for rescinding the permit, which still had required approval of a land-use permit by the city, he said.
Scott Candell, an attorney for both the applicant, Igor Goldenberg and Salko, did not deny the presence of the binder and flooring receipts and said the evidence is not particularly compelling. "All of the things we are talking about are consistent with a consultant relationship," said Candell.
Meanwhile, Always on Time Consulting and Precision Apothecary, both cannabis microbusinesses, could be at risk of losing a chance for operating in Hayward. City Manager Kelly McAdoo urged the council continue the discussion on the two applications "until further evaluation and investigations can be done based on the information that was provided."
Six other permits were approved by the council Tuesday. They include BAS Research, Empress Extracts, and Gurpreet Sing for manufacturing; Meristematic, Inc. for cultivation; CBRA, Inc. for delivery; and Mijosa, LLC for distribution.
Miley is Running for Re-election as Supe
During a 2016 re-election campaign that, in hindsight, only appeared difficult, Alameda County Supervisor said he would likely not run again for the District 4 seat he has securely held for nearly two decades. In an interview last week, Miley said he has changed his mind and will seek another four-year term in the March 2020 primary.
"I'm running for another term," he said. But assuming he wins re-election, Miley added, "I don't think I'm going to serve past 2024."
Miley turned 68 years old last week, but doesn't feel like he's lost of step as a county supervisor, an elected office that is viewed as the most difficult in terms of complexity and time in all of Alameda County.
"I have a family, other things I want to do," he said of his future plans four years from now. "I have grandkids now."
District 4 includes parts of East Oakland, unincorporated Castro Valley, and Pleasanton.
Fire Department Takes Major Heat for Holiday Card
A holiday card depicting Alameda County firefighter in tradition Chinese attire created a firestorm of criticism from local leaders, activists, and elected officials last week. The incident also underscores a woeful lack of diversity inside the Alameda County Fire Department.
In a statement last week, Assemblymember Rob Bonta asserted that 77 percent of the fire department's personnel is Caucasian. In addition, of the remaining 23 percent, no other group exceeds 10 percent. At an appearance before the San Leandro City Council last week, Alameda County Fire Chief David Rocha refuted some of those statistics, but acknowledged the department is constantly working on greater diversity within in its ranks.
Rocha said he believes roughly 7 percent of the fire department is of Asian American heritage. He estimates around 15 percent is Latino.
Aside from a lack of ethnic diversity, the Alameda County Fire Department also struggles with bringing more women firefighters into the fold. Although, higher than the national average, Rocha said women make up about 5-6 percent of their workforce.
College Trustee 'Dobie' Gelles Dies
Dobie Gelles, who was first to the Chabot-Las Positas Community College Board in 1998, died May 2. He was 80. The cause of death was congestive heart failure, according to reports.
Gelles was most recently re-elected to his seat representing Castro Valley and parts of Oakland last November.
"On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are deeply saddened and send our condolences to the Gelles family," Chabot-Las Positas Community College Board President Edralin Maduli said in a statement. "We will remember Dobie for his two decades of service, dedication and leadership to our students and community."
In Other News ...
The Port of Oakland received more shipping containers last month than in any other month in its history, due to companies moving swiftly to import items before President Trump's tariffs on China fully kick in, KQED reported. ... A former Ghost Ship tenant testified that she moved out of the Oakland warehouse two years before the tragic December 2016 fire that killed 36 people out of fears the "place could burn down." ... Oakland is interested in creating a safe injection site for drug users, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The City Council could soon endorse 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. ... Oakland is contemplating a ban on the use of facial recognition software by city departments. ... The Berkeley Unified School District selected Brent Stephens, chief academic officer at the San Francisco Unified School District, as its next superintendent, Berkeleyside reported. ... Oakland's Mormon Temple opened its doors to the public for the first time in 55 years. ...
After a third year of lower ridership, BART could pursue higher fares, the Chronicle reported. ... The Trump administration disclosed a plan to make more land available for oil and gas development in parts of the Santa Cruz Mountains and East Bay hills, the Chron reported. ... A jury in Oakland ruled Monsanto, the makers of Roundup 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 facility in which the Oakland Athletics and Oakland Raiders play will soon be known as the Ring Central Coliseum. ... Oakland Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers threw the eighth no-hitter in team history.