Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Councilmembers Propose Moving Oakland Animal Services From Police Department

by Sam Levin
Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 9:59 AM

In January, we reported on an ongoing controversy at Oakland Animal Services (OAS), the city-run shelter, surrounding allegations of chronic understaffing and an overall lack of adequate resources. Since then, critical news coverage of the shelter has not stopped — and yesterday two Oakland City Council members proposed a reform of the city's shelter system that they say could address some of these problems: that is, to move Oakland Animal Services from its current management within the Oakland Police Department and instead establish civilian staff oversight.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Stingray Spotted in Lake Merritt!

by Sam Levin
Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 3:51 PM

Last fall, Lake Merritt made headlines when, for the first time in decades, someone spotted a river otter swimming around, sparking debates about the ongoing revitalization of the body of water.

Turns out otters aren't the only newsworthy creatures roaming the lake. Reader Ashley Garver, who lives near the lake, spotted a stingray this morning, and sent us photographic proof. Images below!

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Consumer Advocates Protest Wells Fargo's Annual Shareholders Meeting for Third Year Running

by Darwin BondGraham
Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 11:37 AM

From 2006 through 2013 Wells Fargo foreclosed on upwards of 6,100 loans in Alameda County, giving the San Francisco-based bank the distinction of foreclosing on more homes in the region than any other financial institution.

In 2011, despite being smack in the middle of the foreclosure crisis, Wells Fargo's top six executives were awarded a combined $55 million in pay. In 2012, pay for the bank's six-person executive team shot upward to $71 million, just shy of the $76 million Wells Fargo dedicated to first lien principal reduction on home loans in Alameda County through the National Mortgage Settlement.

Roxanna Zamora, a homeowner from Whittier, California who is attending Wells Fargo's annual meeting in San Antonio. - GISELE MATA AND JOSH ZINNER
  • Gisele Mata and Josh Zinner
  • Roxanna Zamora, a homeowner from Whittier, California who is attending Wells Fargo's annual meeting in San Antonio.

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Tuesday Must Reads: State Legislature Tables Soda Labeling Bill; Berkeley Has Worst Income Inequality in California

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. After intense lobbying from the soda industry, the California Senate has tabled legislation that sought to require warning labels on sugary beverages, the LA Times$ reports. Although the author of SB 1000, Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel), had argued that the legislation would save the state millions in health-care costs related to obesity and diabetes, opponents of the bill convinced senators that the annual $370,000 in estimated costs to enforce the new labeling rule would be too onerous. Health-care costs related to obesity cost taxpayers an estimated $52 billion a year.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Oaklandish to Open Oakland Supply Co. in Jack London District

by Sam Levin
Mon, Apr 28, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Oaklandish, the popular apparel company known for its civic pride-themed merchandise, is opening a new shop in the city's Jack London district — one designed to showcase local wares and American-made goods. This "concept shop," called Oakland Supply Co., will host an opening reception this weekend to unveil the new business, located at 291 3rd Street.

The shop will stock a wide range of items, including tools, leather goods, jewelry and accessories, grooming and beauty merchandise, and kitchen and artisan food products, according to an announcement today from the Oaklandish team.

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Monday Must Reads: FBI Probe Extended to Oakland City Hall; NBA Players Call for Maximum Penalty for Racists Comments

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Apr 28, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The FBI probe that snared state Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco extended to Oakland City Hall with an undercover agent meeting with at least two Oakland city councilmembers, the Chron reports. Posing as a developer from Atlanta, the undercover agent met separately with councilmembers Larry Reid and Lynette Gibson McElhaney. The same agent was part of the sting that netted Yee and reputed San Francisco Chinatown gangster Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Must Reads: Senate Rejects Smartphone Kill Switch Bill; BART-Oakland Airport Connector Proves Costly

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. After heavy lobbying by the smartphone industry, the state Senate narrowly rejected legislation that would have required all cellphones to come equipped with kill switches that render the phone inoperable when stolen, the LA Times$ reports. Law enforcement officials had pushed hard for the kill switch legislation — as did Oakland political leaders — because smartphone theft has led to a robbery epidemic nationwide. But cellphone makers like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung oppose kill switches because stolen phones are a huge boon to the industry — victims must buy new phones when theirs are ripped off.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: A’s End Lease Negotiations at Coliseum; Warriors Say They Will Leave East Bay Taxpayers on the Hook for $62 Million

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland A’s President Mike Crowley said the team is ending negotiations for a ten-year lease extension at the Oakland Coliseum, following a dispute with Coliseum officials over millions of dollars in unpaid fees and public subsidies, the Trib$ reports. Crowley was angry about comments made Wednesday by Coliseum board President Nate Miley, who said the A’s owed the City of Oakland and Alameda County, which share ownership of the Coliseum, $5 million in parking revenues. Miley also stated that the A’s, as part of the team’s ten-year lease request, proposed to keep that money. Miley also said the A’s had expressed interest in possibly building a new ballpark at the Coliseum site.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Albany Bulb Eviction Lawsuit Settled, Homeless Residents to Receive Cash Payments

by Sam Levin
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 at 2:58 PM

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.

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Wednesday Must Reads: Oakland A’s Reject Ten-Year Lease Deal at Coliseum; Bates Proposes Higher Minimum Wage for Regional East Bay

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Apr 23, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The owners of the Oakland A’s, who have been publicly pushing for a ten-year lease extension at the Oakland Coliseum, rejected such an offer last night from the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, the Chron and Trib$ report. It’s not clear why the A’s ownership turned down the deal — details of what each side wants in a lease extension remain confidential. East Bay officials, however, said they disclosed the details of their offer to Major League Baseball.

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