Law Enforcement & Crime

Thursday, April 10, 2014

East Oakland Dump Sites Allow Residents to Legally Trash Bulk Items

by Sam Levin
Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 10:14 AM

As is clear to anyone who lives in Oakland, the blight of illegal dumping has increasingly plagued neighborhoods throughout the city — a problem we chronicled in last year's cover story, "What a Waste." While the city has focused efforts on enforcement through harsher penalties for those trashing the streets, some have questioned whether officials could do more to make it easier for residents to legally get rid of their junk. Now they have — at least for five days starting this Saturday.

Councilmember Desley Brooks announced this week that there will be ten different "legal bulk dumping sites" operating in East Oakland from April 12 to 16. At these sites (full list below), residents will find "HUGE waste containers placed for no questions asked large scale dumping," she wrote in a press release. Brooks announced six sites last week, but apparently due to the "instant enthusiasm from residents and city officials," she decided to partner with other council offices and expand the so-called "amnesty dumping program."

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Thursday Must Reads: Oaklanders Strongly Back Measure Y Reauthorization; Feinstein Lobbies for Big Ag Over Environment

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. An overwhelming majority of Oakland residents — 82 percent — say they support reauthorizing Measure Y, a parcel tax that pays for police, fire prevention, and violence prevention programs, the Trib$ reports, citing a new city-commissioned poll. The $98-a-year tax is set to expire this November. However, support for doubling the tax to $196 annually — to pay for more police officers — drew only 53 percent support. The measure needs 66.7 percent to prevail.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wednesday Must Reads: Fracking Ban Moves Forward in State Legislature; Kaplan Calls for No-Layoff Guarantee for Oakland Police

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A state Senate committee approved a bill that would place a moratorium on fracking in California until regulators finish examining the impacts of the controversial oil and gas-extraction method, the LA Times$ reports. However, the future of the bill — SB 1132 — remains in doubt because some moderate Democrats abstained from voting on it and the Natural Resources and Water Committee only passed it with a bare minimum of five votes. Moderate Dems say they fear that a fracking ban could hurt California’s economy.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: Blackwell Sought to Leave Oakland Last Fall; Oakland Council Bumps Warshaw’s Pay By $165,000

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland City Administrator Fred Blackwell, who is leaving this June to take over as CEO of the San Francisco Foundation, applied for the job last fall when he still was an assistant city administrator, the Chron and Trib$ report. Blackwell said he didn’t tell Mayor Jean Quan that he had applied for the other position when she promoted him to become Oakland city’s administrator a month ago, because he said he didn’t think he would get the San Francisco job. However, the San Francisco Foundation said it began to actively pursue Blackwell in January — before he accepted the city administrator’s position in Oakland. Quan, meanwhile, confirmed that she is appointing former Oakland City Manager Henry Gardner to take over on an interim basis from Blackwell in June.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wednesday Must Reads: Supreme Court Strikes Down Campaign Donation Limits; Grand Jury Indicts PG&E on Criminal Charges

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. In a ruling that is expected to expand the influence that wealthy donors have on politics in the United States, the US Supreme Court today struck down some limits on how much money private individuals can give to politicians’ campaigns, The New York Times$ reports. In another 5-4 decision, the court’s conservative majority ruled that the aggregate cap placed on individual donors of $48,600 over two years is an unconstitutional infringement on free speech. The court said the same thing about the aggregate cap of $74,600 on individual donations to political parties. The decision means that wealthy donors can now contribute to as many candidates as they want, although they will still be limited to giving no more than $2,600 to any single candidate for federal office. Liberal Justice Stephen G. Breyer called the decision a blow to American democracy, saying “today’s decision may well open a floodgate” for money in politics.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Must Reads: PG&E Likely Facing Criminal Charges; Oakland Port Commission Votes to Move Forward on Waterfront Ballpark

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Mar 28, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. PG&E expects to face criminal charges for the 2010 San Bruno blast that killed eight people and destroyed a neighborhood, the Chron and Trib$ report. PG&E’s parent company made the disclosure in a recent securities filing. The utility also is facing up to $2.5 billion in fines for the gas pipeline explosion. PG&E also has agreed to spend $2.7 billion on upgrading its aging pipeline network. Critics of the utility, including state Senator Jerry Hill of San Mateo, contend that PG&E diverted hundreds of millions of dollars from safety upgrades to bonuses for executives.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: Mayor Quan Says ShotSpotter Won’t Be Cut; Leland Yee Charged with Corruption and Gun Trafficking Conspiracy

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Mar 27, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said she has no plans to disband the city’s gunshot detection system, even though Interim Police Chief Sean Whent has said that funding for ShotSpotter should not be a high priority, the Trib$ reports. Quan’s comments came in response to a letter from Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan and Larry Reid, who are demanding that the city not shelve ShotSpotter. Chief Whent has questioned the effectiveness and necessity of ShotSpotter and has said that he would rather have funding for the department’s helicopter and other needs.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mike Honda Asks House Committee to Remove Barriers for Reducing Rape Kit Backlog

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 5:14 PM

Across the country there is an estimated backlog of nearly 500,000 rape kits awaiting testing, including about 2,000 in Alameda County alone. To alleviate the backlog, Bay Area Congressman Mike Honda asked a House Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday to allow the FBI to eliminate a time-consuming bureaucratic step. Honda, along with FBI Director James Comey, also recommended Alameda County serve as a pilot for the plan.

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Wednesday Must Reads: Bay Area Lawmaker Reportedly Arrested on Corruption Charges; Oakland Councilwoman Introduces Pro-Bicyclists Law

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. State Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco has been arrested by the FBI on public corruption charges, NBC Bay Area reports, citing anonymous sources. KCRA-TV in Sacramento reports that law enforcement officials are raiding Yee’s capitol office this morning. The FBI is also searching locations in San Francisco, the Chron reports. Yee is a candidate for secretary of state.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: OPD Still Targeting African Americans; Explosive Fracked Oil to Be Shipped Through the East Bay

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Despite a decade-long reform effort, Oakland police are disproportionately stopping black motorists in the city, the Trib and Chron report, citing a new OPD analysis. Blacks accounted for 62 percent of all OPD stops from April to November of last year, even though they represent 28 percent of the city’s population. OPD officers also were far more likely to search African Americans during traffic stops, doing so 47 percent of the time compared to 17 percent for whites and Asians. Searches of black motorists, however, were no more likely to recover illegal items than searches of other ethnic groups. In addition, black motorists also were often stopped — 39 percent — even though they had not violated any traffic laws.

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