California Attorney General Kamala Harris has joined Richmond residents and environmental organizations in sharply criticizing plans for a proposed expansion of Chevron’s Richmond oil refinery. In a ten-page letter to the City of Richmond planning department, Harris detailed criticisms of the city’s Draft Environmental Impact Review (EIR) of the project, which was released in April. The EIR is based on plans and information Chevron submitted to the city.
Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern issued a department-wide memorandum today barring his deputies from enforcing immigration detainer requests from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Ahern's memorandum, which is in effect as of today, is a landmark in local law enforcement and brings Alameda County in line with San Francisco and Santa Clara counties, where local authorities are also choosing not to enforce immigration detainers. However, Sheriff Ahern's order is the most sweeping refusal to abide by federal immigration detainers in the Bay Area.
More than two dozen homeless residents of the Albany Bulb along the East Bay shoreline will each receive $3,000 from the city — that is, if they leave the site and remove all of their personal property by Friday. These are the key terms of a settlement agreement announced today, effectively marking the end of the high-profile eviction battle between City of Albany officials and a group of housing advocates representing the Bulb's homeless residents.
The news today comes months after the city began pushing forward with its plans to move residents out of Albany Bulb, which has grown into a well-known homeless camp and artist community over the years. A group of residents in response sued the city and requested a temporary restraining order in hopes of at least postponing the winter eviction until there was a plan in place to provide them access to housing. The city's long-term plan is to turn the Bulb over to the East Bay Regional Park District and California State Parks to incorporate it into the Eastshore State Park.
Security guards forcibly removed Paul Paz y Miño, an employee of the environmental group Amazon Watch, from a Chevron-sponsored event today in Oakland because he was carrying flyers that he said he had planned to distribute outside the building after the program. When Miño, who had paid $75 for a ticket to the public event, refused to leave, guards forcibly removed him.
Oakland's new City Administrator Fred Blackwell is planning to give up his post soon take over as the new CEO of the San Francisco Foundation, a major nonprofit. Mayor Jean Quan had just hired Blackwell after she had ousted former City Administrator Deanna Santana. Sources said Blackwell will remain in his current post until June, and then will be replaced by Henry Gardner, a former city manager. Gardner will be the interim city administrator while Oakland conducts a search for a permanent replacement.
Port of Oakland staffers are recommending that the agency enter exclusive negotiations with a group of Oakland business leaders who are proposing to build a waterfront ballpark for the Oakland A's at Howard Terminal. The port published the recommendation this afternoon. The Oakland Port Commission is scheduled to take up the recommendation at its March 27 meeting.
Developers finally have a plan for the Jack London Square plot that has gone unused for years since Barnes and Noble's departure back in 2010. This morning, Jack London Square Ventures and Trifecta Management Group unveiled plans for a "major dining and entertainment concept" for the Pavilion Building at 98 Broadway — a project that will include "luxury bowling lanes" and a "large outdoor beer garden."
The development will transform the 34,000-square-foot indoor site and 15,000-square-foot outdoor plaza in the heart of Jack London Square, according to the announcement from Jack London Square Ventures, which is a joint project of two companies, Ellis Partners LLC and DivcoWest.
There has been a great deal of speculation about who will be running for the Richmond City Council in November, and on Thursday, the Richmond Progressive Alliance, which has been the strongest political force on the council in recent years, announced the names of four candidates who will be running in what promises to be a series of hotly contested races against large corporate interests, labor unions, and well-funded candidates.