A group of Oakland business leaders and A's boosters wants to lease the Howard Terminal on the city's waterfront as it works out details to build a new ballpark on the site. The group, which is calling itself The Oakland Waterfront Ballpark LLC, (OWB) sent a letter last week to Port of Oakland Executive Director Christopher Lytle, requesting that it enter into exclusive negotiations with the port in order to use the Howard Terminal for a "world-class" 38,000-seat facility. The January 15 letter was signed by business leaders Don Knauss of Clorox, T. Gary Rogers of Dreyer's Ice Cream, and Michael Ghielmetti of Signature Development, along with former planning commissioner Doug Boxer and San Francisco developer Seth Hamalian, who is planning to build a 28-story tower in Oakland's Uptown district.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected a request from a controversial oyster farm to overturn a previous court ruling that ordered the business to close. Drakes Bay Oyster Company had asked the full Ninth Circuit to hear its appeal after a three-judge panel of the same court ruled against the oyster business last year. The latest ruling means that the only way the oyster farm would be able to remain open is if it seeks and is granted a hearing in front of the US Supreme Court. Chances of that happening, however, appear to be slim after the oyster farm's request for appeal was rejected by the entire Ninth Circuit — not a single judge asked to hear the case.
The Oakland business leaders who are pushing the effort to build a new home for the A’s on the city’s waterfront apparently are not the deep-pocketed investors who would finance the plan to build a $500 million facility at Howard Terminal. It’s also clear that the cash-strapped city has no funds to contribute to the project — other than land provided by the Port of Oakland. So who is the real money behind the proposal? According to knowledgeable sources, the owners of the Golden State Warriors are part of one of at least three potential investment groups who are interested in buying the A’s and building the new ballpark in Oakland on their own.
Hundreds of police and sheriffs’ officers — about half of them donning military battle fatigues — converged on downtown Oakland's Marriott Hotel today for the first day of Urban Shield, one of the nation's largest security conferences and weapons shows. Outside the Marriott, dozens of community members representing churches and racial and economic justice organizations, rallied against the event. United under the name Facing Urban Shield, the coalition said the militarized tone of the event reflects the worsening human rights records of police forces around America, and the waste of billions on jails and state prisons. They also said the presence of arms dealers in the city undercuts Oakland's efforts to stem gun violence.
Inside the Urban Shield conference, dozens of vendors showed off robots, drones, assault rifles, and computer software to officers and staff from police agencies all around Northern California.
Some good news for East Bay cyclists today: The BART Board of Directors unanimously voted to permanently end the rush-hour ban on bikes. This decision comes during a pilot period that launched in July, which has allowed BART riders to bring their bikes on the train ruing all hours of operation. The trial apparently convinced the board that permitting bikes during rush hour is not a huge problem — and cycling advocates are celebrating this latest development as a major victory for commuters.
“By making full access for bikes on BART a permanent policy change, East Bay residents will have a new healthy and convenient commute option,” Renee Rivera, executive director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition said in a statement. “This particularly benefits those who commute within the East Bay on BART lines where there is ample room for bikes, but who are restricted from bringing bikes on board by the current rules.”
Keep in mind, however, that there are still some restrictions!
BART unions plan to go on strike tonight after negotiations unraveled today with management over workplace rules. One of the unions, ATU, tweeted this afternoon that it had reached a deal with the transit agency on wages, healthcare, and pensions, but that management insisted on changing work rules of BART workers or it would not agree to a deal. Federal mediator George Cohen, who had been credited with brokering substantial progress during negotiations this week, then announced that he had given up, and said he was heading home to Washington DC.
Short public service announcement this Friday afternoon: The heavy smoke in the air in Oakland and throughout much of the East Bay is actually coming from Suisun City, where officials say an eight-alarm fire is burning. There is apparently some sort of grass fire that has impacted a structure as well.
Due to high winds, smoke and ash has drifting throughout Berkeley and Oakland, according to an alert from Oakland city officials. The Oakland Fire Department reported this afternoon that it has additional units patrolling the Oakland Hill area, but emphasized that there is no fire in Oakland at this time.
Below are some Twitter pics of the smoke and fire:
A federal appellate court handed environmentalists a total victory today when it ordered a controversial oyster farm to close at Point Reyes National Seashore. The 2-1 decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco also paves the way for the creation of the first marine wilderness on the West Coast.
Very bad news tonight for the thousands of East Bay families who are fans of Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp. It burned down today, according to John Miller, spokesman for the US Forest Service. Owned and operated by the City of Berkeley, the beautiful and popular camp along the Tuolumne River near Yosemite National Park has been around since 1922. But today, it fell victim to the massive Rim Fire, which is still burning out of control in the Sierra.
A massive wildfire near Yosemite National Park has prompted evacuations at two camps that have long been popular with East Bay residents: Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp and Camp Tawonga. The director of Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp, which is run by the City of Berkeley, is bringing home counselors from the camp tonight because the 11,000-acre "rim fire" is closing in on the camp, Berkeleyside reports. And sheriff''s deputies have ordered the evacuation of nearby Camp Tawonga, MyMotherLode.com reports.