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Minimum Wage in Hayward to Rise to $15 in July

Plus, Schaaf recommends interim city administrator in Oakland, and Emervyille to reconsider license plate readers.

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A push for Hayward to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour had languished for several years before it was resuscitated last fall. But whatever objections city officials may have harbored in the past had clearly dissipated by last week, when the city council unanimously approved increasing its minimum wage to $15 an hour, starting July 1, for Hayward businesses with more than 25 employees.

It's an increase of $2 an hour over the state-mandated $13 an hour initiated last month in Hayward.

The council's move was an aggressive effort to bring Hayward closer to the schedule that neighboring cities had enacted in recent years. Hayward staff had recommended bringing the minimum wage to $15 an hour for larger businesses starting in January 2021.

"We have consistently provided subsidies for businesses," Hayward Councilmember Aisha Wahab said, "but we know wages have not kept up with the cost of living, and, I think, I'm tired of ignoring that fact, and it's us that can actually make the difference."

Wahab first offered the council referral to raise the minimum wage last fall. Yet small businesses with 25 or fewer employees may have received a break due to an error in Wahab's motion. A $1 escalator in pay for small businesses to reach $15 an hour in 2021 was accidentally omitted. After the meeting, Wahab acknowledged the mistake.

But workers at such businesses will still receive a $2 an hour bump in pay to $14, starting on July 1.

Yearly wage increases will be tied to the Consumer Price Index until the rate automatically increases to $15 an hour in January 2023 under state law, and then increases incrementally thereafter.

Councilmember Al Mendall, who had previously backed raising the minimum wage in Hayward on three occasions, welcomed the wage hike for large corporations, but also voiced concern about how it will affect Hayward's small businesses. "We're probably going to lose some and that scares me," he said.


Schaaf Recommends Former Lafayette City Manager For Interim Oakland Post

In a letter to the City Council last week, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf offered the appointment of former Lafayette city manager Steven Falk as interim city administrator.

"I am confident that Mr. Falk will carry out the functions and duties of the position of the city administrator with the highest ethical standards and in a manner consistent with the charter and municipal code of the City of Oakland, while we conduct our search," Schaaf wrote in the letter to the council.

Last December, Oakland City Administrator Sabrina Landreth announced her resignation from the post, effective Mar. 11. Oakland councilmembers will discuss Falk's possible employment at its Feb. 18 meeting. Schaaf indicated that Falk is not an applicant for the permanent position.

Falk previously served 23 years as Lafayette city manager. He abruptly resigned in 2018 after suffering a crisis of conscience over the Lafayette City Council's strong opposition to dense housing near transit and his own personal beliefs.

If approved by the city council next week, the interim hiring will be the second time in recent years that he's provided a stopgap for a progressive East Bay city. Following upheaval at the city manager's office in Richmond last year, Falk was tabbed as its interim city manager.

 


Emeryville Scuttles Proposed Contract With License Plate Reader Firm

A proposed Emeryville parking management program was already controversial. But included in the pending contract for additional metered parking in the city's business district was a subcontract with Vigilant Solutions, a data management firm that has worked in the past with the U.S. Homeland Security and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In response to concerns that Vigilant's inclusion in the contract could violate Emeryville's sanctuary city policy, the city council decided last week to omit the company from the contract.

Emeryville already has ties with Vigilant Solutions. Its police department currently uses three automated license plate readers provided by the company for traffic enforcement, according to a city staff report.

Emeryville Councilmember John Bauters raised concerns about the appearance of Vigilant Solutions in the staff report for the Feb. 4 meeting, according to a letter he sent to city staff.

The council was not persuaded by a letter sent by a representative from Vigilant Solutions to the City of Emeryville on Jan. 31 said the company does not sell or share ALPR data with any federal law enforcement agencies and that Emeryville has full control of the data it compiles.


Swalwell Wrote a Book on Trump's Impeachment

One day after the acquittal of President Trump came news that Rep. Eric Swalwell has written a book that aims to provide an inside look into the impeachment of the president.

Abrams Books, a New York publisher, announced the publication of Swalwell's literary debut, titled, "Endgame: Inside the Impeachment of Donald J. Trump." The 256-page book is set to be released on April 7.

"In Endgame, Congressman Eric Swalwell offers his personal account of his path to office and how he and his colleagues resisted, investigated, and impeached a corrupt president," according to the publisher.

"Swalwell takes readers inside Congress and through the impeachment process, from Trump's disgraceful phone call with the Ukrainian president, just one day after Robert Mueller testified to Congress, to depositions in the SCIF, from caucus meetings and conversations with the Speaker to the bombshell public hearings and the historic vote, and then what followed next — the holding of the articles, the news of more possible witnesses, and the sham trial in the Senate."


In Other News ...

Speaking of impeachment, the Senate voted to acquit Trump on both articles.  Protesters subsequently did their thing all over the Bay Area, KPIX reported. ... Vote-by-mail ballots in California will begin arriving this week. ... Oakland Assemblymember Rob Bonta endorsed Tom Steyer for president on Wednesday because of the billionaire's opposition to the fossil fuel industry, the East Bay Citizen reported. ...

The first scores from California's new science test show that only 28 percent of eighth-graders met or surpassed the minimum standards for the test, EdSource reported. African American and Latino students fared particularly poorly. ... A faculty task force recommended that the University of California system should keep the SAT and ACT test for admissions even after concerns by activists that the tests put lower-income students at a disadvantage, SFGate reported. ... Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to suspend for three years a statewide test used to gauge the physical health of students, the Associated Press reported. The plan comes as the percentage of fifth-graders receiving healthy scores has dropped over the last five years. Newsom said the test also leads to bullying. ...

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf's State of the City address touted successes involving her plan for homelessness and ending the housing crisis, KRON reported. ... A new statewide rent control initiative is coming to the November ballot, the Associated Press reported. Voters turned away a similar initiative in 2018. ... The groundbreaking for the 28-story Telegraph Tower in Oakland is near, Curbed SF reported. The 875,000 square feet of office space hopes to entice tech companies to Downtown Oakland. ... Berkeley Councilmember Rigel Robinson thinks cars should be banned from driving on Telegraph Avenue, the East Bay Times reported. ...

Months after the pro-downtown ballpark Oakland Chamber of Commerce released a poll showing support for a waterfront stadium at Howard Terminal, the San Francisco Chronicle reported a poll by an East Oakland group said residents want the new ballpark at the existing Coliseum property. ... The Warriors traded star guard De'Angelo Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves for promising forward Andrew Wiggins and draft picks. That after sending forwards Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson to the Philadelphia 76ers. ...

Emeryville's Pixar won the best animated feature Oscar for "Toy Story 4." ... Disney issued a mea culpa to the Berkeley PTA group it attempted to charge $250 for a screening of "The Lion King," Berkeleyside reported. Disney CEO Robert Iger apologized to the elementary school and pledged to make a personal donation to its PTA.

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