Law Enforcement & Crime

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: Oakland Council Modifies A’s Lease Deal; Council Also Puts Measure Y Renewal and Ethics Measure on Ballot

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland City Council approved a ten-year lease extension for the A’s at the Coliseum — but with modifications that team ownership has opposed, the Trib$ reports. The council rejected the lease deal that had been approved by Coliseum officials, contending that it included language that could derail the city’s plan to build the privately financed Coliseum City project and a new stadium for the Oakland Raiders. The council’s decision sends the lease back to the A’s for consideration.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday Must Reads: Homicides Plummet Throughout Bay Area; Nearly 80% of State Now Under Extreme Drought

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The homicide rate dropped 22 percent during the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period last year in the fifteen largest cities in the Bay Area, the Chron reports. And homicides are down 31 percent compared to the same period in 2012. The city of Richmond has experienced the steepest declines in homicides, and is on track to beating last year — which was the lowest in three decades.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: Berkeley Council to Vote on Soda Tax Tonight; Oakland’s Revamped 911 Center Still Can’t Take Cellphone Calls

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Jul 1, 2014 at 9:25 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Berkeley City Council is scheduled to vote tonight on whether to place a soda tax measure on the November ballot, the Chron reports. The proposal, which appears to have no opposition on the council, would levy a one-cent-per-ounce tax on companies that distribute sugary beverages. San Francisco voters will consider a two-cents-per-ounce soda tax this fall as well. In 2012, the soda industry spent more than $2.5 million to defeat a soda tax measure in Richmond.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Must Reads: Google and Microsoft Compromise on Kill Switches; State Prisons Performed Illegal Sterilizations on Women

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Google and Microsoft agreed to install kill switches on their smartphones in a compromise deal with law enforcement officials, the LA Times$ reports. The companies, however, stopped short of making the kill switches automatic — as law enforcement had requested — and instead will install them on phones, but make them optional for users. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, nonetheless, praised the decision by the industry giants, noting that thefts of iPhones have dropped since Apple installed similar optional kill switch devices.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: Oakland Council Votes to Ban Oil-By-Rail Shipments; Anti-Tunnels Activists Gear Up to Fight Water Bond

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland City Council voted this week to ban train shipments of crude oil, coal, and petcoke within city limits, the East Bay Citizen reports. The legislation is advisory, because only the federal government has the power to regulate the nation’s railways. But environmentalists hope that if enough cities oppose oil-by-rail shipments, it could prompt the feds to tighten regulations. Concerns over crude oil trains have heightened since one exploded in Canada last year, killing 47 people. Coal shipments, meanwhile, worsen air pollution. The council also urged the city to divest from publicly traded fossil fuel companies.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: OPD Makes More Progress on Reforms; SoCal Lawmakers to Take Control of Legislature

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland Police Department has achieved its highest-ever level of compliance with federally mandated reforms, the Trib$ reports, citing a new report from Court Monitor Robert Warshaw, who also is the compliance director of the department. Warshaw credited Police Chief Sean Whent for the department’s progress, noting that OPD is in compliance with all but six of 51 of the mandated reforms stemming from the infamous Riders scandal. Warshaw, however, cautioned that OPD still has work to do, and expressed concern about a recent department report that showed Oakland police officers are still disproportionately targeting African Americans in car stops and searches.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wednesday Must Reads: Teachers’ Union Vows to Appeal Tenure Ruling; EBMUD Hikes Water Rates, Again

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 9:56 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The California Teachers Association (CTA) is vowing to appeal a Los Angeles judge’s ruling that declared the state’s teacher tenure laws to be unconstitutional, the Chron reports. The teachers’ union contends that Judge Rolf Treu overlooked the importance of safeguarding academic freedom and that teachers should not be subjected to "the whim and caprice" of employers. But Treu ruled that the state’s cumbersome laws for firing teachers makes it nearly impossible to get rid of bad instructors — and that children in schools in low-income neighborhoods are being disproportionately harmed by the current system.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: Oakland May Take Animal Shelter Away From OPD; ALCO Sheriff Sued for Forcing Female Inmates to Take Pregnancy Tests

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 9:52 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland City Council is considering a proposal to take the city’s troubled animal shelter away from the police department and put it under civilian control, the Trib$ reports. Animal rights activists have pushed for this change for years, but previous Oakland police chiefs opposed it. However, new Police Chief Sean Whent supports the plan because it would relieve the overburdened department from having to run the shelter and enable OPD to reassign officers to more pressing police duties. Other Bay Area cities, like Berkeley, have already moved to civilian control.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: Oakland Tax Revenues $30 Million Higher Than Expected; Lawmakers Shelve Plan to Insure Undocumented Immigrants

by Robert Gammon
Tue, May 27, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Fueled by the real estate boom, the City of Oakland’s tax revenues are about $30 million higher than expected, the Trib$ reports. Mayor Jean Quan is proposing to use the extra funds to pay for two more police academies in the next year in an effort to boost the size of the city’s police force to more than 700 officers. Quan also is proposing to pay for sewer projects, a jobs resource center, and technology improvements — and she wants to increase the city's rainy-day reserve.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: Ex-Cop Who Killed Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Still on Oakland’s Payroll; Tea Party Gubernatorial Candidate Still Leads Among Republicans

by Robert Gammon
Thu, May 22, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The FBI agent who shot and killed a Boston Marathon bombing suspect in 2013 is a former Oakland cop who is still collecting a disability pension from the City of Oakland, the Boston Globe reports. Oakland city officials say they are investigating why FBI agent Aaron McFarlane is still receiving $52,000 a year from the city when he had retired from OPD on disability. After retiring, MacFarlane then passed the FBI’s stringent physical tests before the agency hired him. Then last year, MacFarlane fatally shot Ibragim Todashev, a friend of bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, during an interrogation in which Todashev allegedly confessed to helping Tsarnaev pull off the bombing. In Oakland, MacFarlane had been repeatedly disciplined for police misconduct and was accused by a prosecutor of lying under oath.

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