Law Enforcement & Crime

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Alameda County Sheriff Ends Detention Holds of Undocumented Immigrants

by Ali Winston
Wed, May 21, 2014 at 4:19 PM

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.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Report: When It Comes to Mortgage Loan Servicing, Banks Are Still Failing to Comply With the Law

by Darwin BondGraham
Tue, May 20, 2014 at 10:56 AM

A new report by the California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC) and the legal advocacy group Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA) shows that the nation's largest banks and mortgage servicing companies continue to violate standards and laws mandated by the National Mortgage Settlement, the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, and new federal mortgage servicing rules. The result is that many homeowners who qualify for loan modifications continue to be wrongfully foreclosed on, further damaging California's communities by displacing families, evaporating their savings, and depressing local tax revenues. The report, based on a survey of 66 HUD certified housing counselors who assist homeowners seeking loan modifications, asked whether new loan servicing rules are putting an end to illegal and sloppy practices that have led to an untold number of foreclosures.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Monday Must Reads: Violent Crime Plummets in Oakland; State Budget Analyst Says Brown Is Underestimating Revenue Surge

by Robert Gammon
Mon, May 19, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Violent crime has plummeted in Oakland this year, dropping significantly in every major category, including homicides and robberies, the Chron reports. Homicides are down 18 percent, and robberies have declined 38 percent. Shootings, meanwhile, are down 35 percent, and burglaries have dropped 11 percent. Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent credits the crime drops to the department’s Ceasefire violence prevention program, which targets street gangs, and to an increased emphasis on crime investigations. Decreasing crime also comes as good news for Mayor Jean Quan and her reelection campaign.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: California Targets Dark Money; Bay Area Home Prices Reach Pre-Recession Levels

by Robert Gammon
Thu, May 15, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that targets so-called dark money political campaigns — shadowy nonprofits that engage in political activity and keep their donors secret. In recent years, dark money groups, especially those funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, have wielded an outsized-influence over US politics. Under the new law, all dark money nonprofits that spend at least $50,000 in a year on politics must publicly reveal their top ten donors, along with any contributor who donates more than $10,000, the LA Times$ reports. The new law takes effect July 1.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wednesday Must Reads: Scientists Say Climate Change Has Arrived; Baby Shorebirds Shredded to Death in Downtown Oakland

by Robert Gammon
Wed, May 7, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A large scientific panel has concluded that human-induced climate change from the burning of fossil fuels has arrived with a vengeance, as dry regions of the country are experiencing intense water shortages while wetter areas are being slammed more frequently by monster storms, The New York Times$ reports. “If greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane continue to escalate at a rapid pace, they said, the warming could conceivably exceed 10 degrees [Fahrenheit] by the end of this century. ‘Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,’ the scientists declared in a major new report.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: Berkeley Councilman Targets Tall Buildings; State Senate to Reconsider Kill Switch Legislation

by Robert Gammon
Tue, May 6, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Berkeley Councilmember Jesse Arreguin is backing a proposed ballot measure that would require tall buildings planned for the city’s downtown area to meet strict environmental standards, Berkeleyside reports. Any buildings more than 75-feet tall would be required to meet LEED platinum standards. In addition, tall buildings also would have to include at least 30 percent affordable units. Opponents of the measure say it would effectively block new development planned for downtown Berkeley. The proposal also appears to conflict with a measure adopted by Berkeley voters in 2010 that sought to increase density in the city’s downtown area.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

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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Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Must Reads: OPD Overseer Endorses Interim Chief Whent; UC Berkeley Accepts Fewer California Students, More Out-of-State Applicants

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Apr 21, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland police overseer Robert Warshaw praised the work of Interim Police Chief Sean Whent and criticized the city’s drawn out hiring process for a permanent chief, the Trib$ reports. In a report, Warshaw also said that the lack of a permanent chief has harmed OPD’s efforts to comply with federally mandated reforms. Mayor Jean Quan said through a spokesman that she plans to name a permanent chief in May.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: AC Transit Official Charged with Stealing Church Funds; Oakland Parks Consider Selling Naming Rights to Raise Money

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Prosecutors have charged AC Transit’s chief financial officer, Lewis Clinton Jr., with felony theft and say he embezzled $500,000 from Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, the Chron and Trib$ report. Clinton, who was arraigned Monday in court, is accused of using his position as board president of two church-run nonprofits that provide housing to low-income Oakland residents to steal money. The charges do not relate to his position with AC Transit, but the bus agency put Clinton on paid leave on Monday.

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