Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oakland Apparently Home to the Second-Dirtiest Hotel in the Country

by Ellen Cushing
Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 12:23 PM

...according to TripAdvisor, at least. This morning, the travel site released a list of what it's calling the "Dirtiest Hotels in America," based on user reviews, and it looks like Oakland's very own Jack London Inn is in the honorable position of second place. SFist has culled some of the Inn's best and most colorful user comments, and the TripAdvisor site itself is replete with capslocked declarations like "HORRIBLE, DIRTY, GROSS, NASTY, NOISEY, WORSE EXPERIENCE EVER" and “Terrible is too kind of a rating for this dump; NO ONE SHOULD STAY HERE.”

Charming! At least we're better off than the Grand Resort Hotel & Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Sports: Website Challenging Brian Wilson to a Fight Nothing More Than a Forum for Giants and A’s Fans to Duke it Out

by Chris Middleton
Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 9:20 AM

If you haven’t seen or heard about IWannaFightBrianWilson.com, you’re not missing much. In a nutshell: it’s an offer from an anonymous Oakland A’s fan to fight relief pitcher Brian Wilson of the San Francisco Giants over an altercation the two supposedly had before an A’s-Giants game last May. The site’s creator, “Nick," says he has nothing to gain from the fight, claiming he would donate “half of all proceeds to a local childrens charity and the other half Wilson can do what he wants with.”

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Tuesday Must Read: Richmond Wins Layoffs Case Over Unions; State Lawmakers Rack Up Fuel Charges

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 7:09 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The State Supreme Court ruled in favor of the City of Richmond yesterday, stating that public-employee unions have no say in whether cities can lay off workers, the Chron reports. “A local public entity that is faced with a decline in revenues or other financial adversity may unilaterally decide to lay off some of its employees,” Justice Joyce Kennard said in the unanimous ruling, which upheld lower-court decisions. However, the court also said that cities must negotiate with unions on how to implement layoffs. Still, the ruling is expected to put cash-strapped cities in a better negotiating position when trying to win concessions from unions.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Richmond High Gang Rape Victim Awarded $4M in Settlement

by Rachel Swan
Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 5:14 PM

The teenage girl who was beaten and gang-raped outside a school dance at Richmond High received $4 million from West Contra Costa Unified School Disctrict, the San Francisco Examiner reports. According to the settlement, the victim, who was 15 at the time of the incident, will receive $2.5 million up front, and the rest in installments. The rape happened in October, 2009, after the victim followed a friend to a dark corner of the school yard during a homecoming dance. Other students watched and videotaped on cell phones as she was beaten and assaulted for more than two hours. The victim has since relocated. Meanwhile, Richmond High installed new lights and security cameras in the part of campus where the rape took place.

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Menlo Hotel Owner Charged with Arson Scam

by Rachel Swan
Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Add yet another dramatic plot-twist to the saga of Oakland's Menlo Hotel: an arson scam. According to The Oakland Post and The San Francisco Chronicle, owner Richard Earl Singer plotted to burn down the dilapidated seven-story building in order to collect an insurance payout. This news comes just days after the property manager, RMD Services, served residents a notice to vacate immediately. Although RMD Services owner Ryan Isaac Nathan (real name Suren Narayan Swaminathan) told The Post, through a spokesperson, that he knew nothing of the alleged arson plot, there's clearly something fishy going on. According to Post reporter Lynda Carson, one of the informants was a former employee of RMD Services.

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With New Funding and New Pressures, Measure Y Street Outreach Team Looks Forward

by Alexa Vaughn
Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Fresh from a visit to Washington D.C., Mayor Jean Quan kicked off the training for the newest members of the Measure Y-funded Oakland Street Outreach Team this morning by mentioning that President Barack Obama told her he's got an eye on their progress with violence prevention.

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UC Berkeley Sees Record-High Number of Applications

by Ellen Cushing
Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Even with the UC system facing budget cuts left and right, UC Berkeley saw a record number of applicants this year, the Daily Cal reported today, citing a report released by the Office of the President earlier this month.

According to the Daily Cal, the University received a total of 142,235 freshman and transfer applications for this fall, which is a a 6.1 percent increase from last year. The University's announcement came just a day after President Mark Yudof announced that the University would have to reject some 20,000-30,000 eligible applicants as a result of funding cuts.

Monday Must Read: GOP Says No New Taxes Without Pension Reform; Bad Weld Cited in Deadly PG&E Pipeline Blast

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 7:04 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A leading Republican in the state Senate says that Jerry Brown’s plan for a June tax measure is dead in the water unless the new governor makes deep cuts to public-employee pensions, the CoCo Times reports. For his part, Brown says that he plans to deal with spiraling pension costs separately from his proposed budget deal. But even some Democrats acknowledge that Brown’s tax plan may not make it onto the ballot, let alone win passage, unless the governor addresses the state’s pension problem. Brown’s own pollster found last year that 62 percent of Californians view public employee pensions as a very serious issue.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Is There Another Reason for Why Batts Wants to Go to San Jose?

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Supporters of Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts have contended this week that he wants to be San Jose’s police chief because of substantial cuts to OPD in the past year. They contend that Batts became frustrated after the city council laid off eighty cops last summer when the police union refused to pay into its pension plans. For his part, Batts has not said publicly why he wants to leave Oakland, but if it’s because of police department budget cuts, then he’s walking into a very similar situation in San Jose.

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Friday Must Read: Oakland Changes Community Policing; Brown Declares Fiscal Emergency

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 7:09 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland Police Department has altered its community policing structure, assigning more officers to high-crime areas and reducing the number of cops serving low-crime neighborhoods, the Trib reports. Under the old community policing model funded by Measure Y, each of the city’s 57 police beats received its own problem solving officer. But that set-up frustrated police brass, who contended that high-crime areas in West and East Oakland needed more help. Now, with the size of the police force reduced substantially because of budget cuts, along with the November passage of Measure BB, the department has changed community policing so that high-crime areas get more cops. The move, however, is angering neighborhood leaders in wealthy low-crime areas, such as Rockridge and Montclair, because they still want their own community policing officers.

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