Friday, September 9, 2016

Alameda County Prosecutor Can't Charge Seven Cops in East Bay Sex Crime Case Because Victim Sent to Florida by Richmond Police

Not a single police officer has been arrested or charged with a crime yet. Key witness Celeste Guap is stuck in a Florida jail. Alameda County DA O’Malley says she can’t prosecute officers until Guap returns.

by Darwin BondGraham and Ali Winston
Fri, Sep 9, 2016 at 5:58 PM

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley announced today that she intends to charge seven East Bay police officers for exploiting a teenage girl who calls herself Celeste Guap. The crimes include felony statutory rape, obstruction of justice, illegal use of a criminal justice computer system, and engaging in acts of prostitution.

Former Oakland Police Officer Terryl Smith may be charged with illegally using a law enforcement computer.
  • Former Oakland Police Officer Terryl Smith may be charged with illegally using a law enforcement computer.
Three of the cops identified for prosecution are current Oakland police officers: Giovanni LoVerde, Brian Bunton, and Warit Uttapa. One of the Oakland officers resigned from the department in May: Terryl Smith. Another retired earlier this year: Sergeant LeRoy Johnson. The two other East Bay cops are Ricardo Perez, a Sheriff’s deputy in Contra Costa County who recently resigned, and Livermore police officer Dan Black, who left his job yesterday.

But O'Malley’s office has yet to file any charging papers for the individuals she named earlier this afternoon. None have been arrested, and there are no warrants out for their arrest.

"If we don’t have a witness, we can't prosecute these cases," O'Malley said.

A search of the Alameda County State Superior Court’s criminal case files today confirmed that none of the named officers have been charged.

O’Malley said she cannot bring charges until the victim and key witness in the case, the 19-year-old woman who calls herself Celeste Guap, returns to California.

"Officers have not been taken into custody," said O’Malley. "We need to get the witness back to this state."

Former Livermore Police Officer Dan Black may be charged with engaging in an act of prostitution and lewd acts in a public place.
  • Former Livermore Police Officer Dan Black may be charged with engaging in an act of prostitution and lewd acts in a public place.
O'Malley added that her office had no part in sending Guap to Florida, and that she understands the public outcry about the teenager's secretive removal from California by another police agency whose officers are also under investigation for exploiting Guap.

The Richmond Police Department flew Guap to Florida and had her checked into a rehabilitation center on August 26, using state Victims Compensation Program funds. The Contra Costa County District Attorney helped process the application for VCP funds to send Guap out of state, according to a spokesman for the office. Guap was arrested on August 29 after allegedly attacking a security guard at the rehab center. She is currently being held in a Martin County Jail on a $300,000 bond.

David Lustgarten, an assistant state attorney in Martin County Florida, said his office hasn't yet decided whether to charge Guap with aggravated battery. He has viewed video of the incident and interviewed witnesses, and said a decision will be made early next week. He confirmed that Alameda County Chief District Attorney Inspector Robert Chenault contacted him earlier this week to ask about the status of Guap's case. But Lustgarten said Alameda County prosecutors haven't submitted a request to send her back to California.

Oakland Police Sergeant LeRoy Johnson is being charged with failing to report a crime.
  • Oakland Police Sergeant LeRoy Johnson is being charged with failing to report a crime.

Critics have characterized RPD's actions as possible witness tampering and obstruction of justice. Multiple Richmond cops are still under administrate investigation by their own department for sexual misconduct involving Guap.

Richmond Police Chief Allwyn Brown and department spokesman Lieutenant Felix Tan both did not respond to requests for comment today.

O’Malley said her investigation — spanning three months, examining 2,899 Instagram posts, 76,472 pages of Facebook communications, and 59,960 text messages — uncovered evidence of criminal conduct that took place outside of Alameda County. However, prosecutors in other counties said they aren't conducting criminal investigations.

OPD Officer Giovanni LoVerde faces a felony for oral copulation with a minor.
  • OPD Officer Giovanni LoVerde faces a felony for oral copulation with a minor.
Earlier this year the Contra Costa County DA's office announced that it had cleared Oakland police officer Terryl Smith of statutory rape against Guap, which allegedly occurred in a Richmond park. The Contra Costa DA's office told the Express yesterday that they do not have a chargeable case they can bring against any officers.

No charges have been brought against any officers in San Francisco County and San Joaquin County, where investigations by the press uncovered other possible crimes. For example, text messages and Instagram posts between federal police officer William Johnson and Guap appeared to show Johnson proposing to become Guap's exploiter in order to sell her to others for sex.

San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Robert Himelblau said that while they haven't brought charges against any officer yet, they do have an open investigation.

Sergeant Michael Andraychak of the San Francisco police said his department has an open internal affairs investigation, but no criminal investigation.

At the press conference, O’Malley also said that her office did not examine allegations that former Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent and possibly other commanders obstructed the initial OPD investigation.

However, O'Malley said Oakland officials failed to timely notify her office of suspicions of criminal misconduct by police. According to O'Malley, OPD's federal consent decree and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Brady v. Maryland require police departments to inform prosecutors as soon as they suspect an officer has broken the law.

"We are working to get Ms. A back here," she said, referring to Guap by a different name. "If the agency that sent her doesn’t pay her airfare, we will pay to bring her back."

O'Malley said that victims of sex crimes like Guap need to be in a "supportive environment" in order to recover.

"Ms. A is a victim of crime in this county," said O'Malley. "For these reasons we opposed her being removed to Florida."

If and when Guap returns to California, O'Malley plans to charge Ricardo Perez with one felony, oral copulation with a minor, and two misdemeanor counts of engaging in a lewd act in a public place. OPD officer Brian Bunton faces one felony charge of obstruction of justice and engaging in an act of prostitution, a misdemeanor. OPD Officer Warit Uttapa faces one charge of conducting an unauthorized search of a criminal justice database, a misdemeanor. Former OPD Officer Terryl Smith faces four misdemeanors for unauthorized use of a criminal justice database. Former OPD Sergeant LeRoy Johnson faces charges of failing to report a crime. OPD Officer Giovanni LoVerde faces a felony for oral copulation with a minor. Dan Black, a Livermore cop who quit yesterday, faces two misdemeanors for engaging in acts of prostitution and two more misdemeanors for engaging in lewd acts in a public place.

But if Guap is convicted of felony aggravated battery in Florida, she faces a mandatory prison sentence of up to fifteen years.

Correction: the original version of this article spelled Officer Warit Uttapa's last name incorrectly as Utappa.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Oakland Disciplines Twelve Cops in Sex Crime Case

Internal Affairs investigation of Celeste Guap abuse case concludes. Seven Oakland cops suspended, four terminated, one sent to counseling.

by Darwin BondGraham and Ali Winston
Wed, Sep 7, 2016 at 7:14 PM

At a late afternoon press conference, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced the conclusion of the city's investigation into allegations of sex crimes and other misconduct by numerous police officers. Twelve cops face discipline, but Schaaf said state law prevents the city from disclosing any information that could identify the officers.

Most of the officers will be suspended without pay and will return to the force. Schaaf and the Oakland Police Department did not state the lengths of the suspensions. And the officers have the right to contest their discipline through arbitration.

The city cannot bring criminal charges against any officers, and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley has yet to charge anyone.

“This was an exhaustive and expansive case,” OPD Deputy Chief John Lois said.

Internal affairs investigators interviewed Guap eleven times, in addition to fifty additional witnesses, and scoured through reams of electronic data, including more than 28,000 text messages and 80,000 pages of social-media records.

According to the offenses detailed by Schaaf this evening and the Express' prior reporting, former rookie officers James Ta'ai and Terryl Smith are among the four officers terminated by OPD. The mayor said some of the officers terminated by the city have already left the department. Ta'ai and Smith resigned in May.

Guap told the Express that Smith used confidential law enforcement databases to access her previous criminal history, and attempted to rape her on one occasion. Ta'ai allegedly had sex with Guap when she was underage, and along with Smith allegedly lied to investigators during interviews with investigators.

The list of offenses disclosed by the city does not include anything that would specifically apply to supervisors who oversee officers. Several city sources said they doubted any supervisors were disciplined, and Schaaf did not respond when asked whether anyone other than low-ranking cops were punished.

“You've got to go straight up the line,” said a former Oakland police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “If you don't hold the supervisors accountable, the arbitrators will look at that."

This former officer cited dozens of recent cases where discipline against lower-ranking officers had been overturned after arbitrators found fault with supervisors or commanders.

The conclusion of Oakland's investigation comes just a week after Guap was arrested in Florida on charges of aggravated battery. The Contra Costa DA's office told the Express today that Guap was sent to Florida by the Richmond Police Department using state victims compensation funds.

When asked about RPD's decision to send Guap to a Florida rehab center, Schaaf voiced displeasure. “We are not happy about this,” she said, adding that Oakland officials offered Guap services over the past few months.

Civil rights attorney John Burris, who along with Jim Chanin is one of the plaintiff attorneys in Oakland's federal consent decree, voiced approval of Oakland's decision to discipline police officers. He said the onus is now on Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley to prosecute the responsible cops.

“I always thought criminal charges should be filed,” Burris said. However, he added that he was “not optimistic, since members of the district attorney's office were involved.”

DA Inspector Ricardo Orozco, a former Oakland Police captain, was fired by O'Malley earlier this summer for contacting Guap via social media.

Burris said he believes that California Attorney General Kamala Harris should intervene with regard to a criminal investigation of Guap's abuse.

In addition to disciplining officers, Schaaf and City Administrator Sabrina Landreth said that OPD will also enact a series of policy changes, including training for how officers handle sex trafficking victims, auditing the use of confidential law enforcement databases, and creating additional training for social media.

Attorneys Travel to Florida to Help Celeste Guap, Victim of Bay Area Police Sex-Crime Scandal

by Darwin BondGraham
Wed, Sep 7, 2016 at 2:26 PM

The young woman who calls herself Celeste Guap is getting some help from two Bay Area attorneys. Pamela Price and Charles Bonner announced today that they are traveling to Florida, where Guap has been held in Martin County Jail since August 29.

"I am literally on my way to Florida right now," said Price during a brief phone call today.

Guap is accused of committing aggravated battery against a security guard at the Treasure Coast Recovery Center in Stuart County, Florida. She was sent to the rehab center two weeks ago by the Richmond Police Department and possibly other Bay Area law-enforcement agencies.

Both the Richmond police and Alameda County District Attorney have refused to say if they paid for, or helped coordinate, sending Guap to Florida. But the Contra Costa County District Attorney's office confirmed today that the Richmond police obtained funding from the state Victims Compensation Program to pay for the rehabilitation services in Florida.

The Bonner & Bonner law firm confirmed to the Express that they are hoping to help get Guap released from jail and to represent her in court.

Price and Bonner have also set up a crowdfunding page to raise money for Guap's legal and medical expenses.

In May, it was revealed that Guap had been sexually exploited by several Oakland police officers when she was 17 years old. One of the officers who allegedly raped Guap, Brendan O'Brien, shot and killed himself in September of last year. He left a suicide note that sparked an internal OPD investigation, but Oakland police appear to have tried covering up the sex crimes.

Since May, cops from multiple agencies have been implicated in the sex-crime scandal, including several Richmond officers and an inspector from the Alameda County DA's office.

But, so far, not a single officer has been charged with a crime.

In a previous interview, Price questioned why police sent Guap across the country to Florida, given the fact that she is a key witness to possibly dozens of crimes committed by multiple officers. "From a legal perspective it looks a whole lot like witness tampering to any lawyer," Price said.

Friday, September 2, 2016

'Big Soda' Loses in Court to Oakland

An Alameda County commissioner ruled earlier today that it's a soda tax, not a "grocery tax."

by Darwin BondGraham
Fri, Sep 2, 2016 at 4:15 PM

Attorneys working for the American Beverage Association filed a lawsuit against the City of Oakland earlier this week. It alleged that supporters of a proposed soda tax lied in ballot materials by claiming that small grocers won't have to pay the tax. The soda industry lawyers were seeking a court order to force Oakland City Clerk LaTonda Simmons to delete the claim from voter pamphlets.

But earlier today, an Alameda County Court commissioner ruled against the soda companies, writing that the soda tax is in fact only a tax on soda.

"A court just declared what I've been saying — that soda's entire $10 million campaign is a lie," Oakland Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington said after the ruling. She explained that the beverage companies have reportedly made millions of dollars of ad buys in the Bay Area to fight Oakland's tax, and similar proposed taxes in San Francisco and Albany.

The lawsuit was part of the soda industry's strategy to brand the sugar-sweetened beverage tax a "grocery tax" that will affect the price of milk, bread, vegetables and other foods.

"The court finds that the sentence 'the tax is not paid by your local grocer' is not false," Commissioner Thomas Rasch wrote in his ruling.

Rasch also didn't agree with the soda attorney's concept of economics. For instance, "Big Soda" lawyers argued that distributors would pass the levy on to grocers, thereby transforming the soda tax into a tax on retailers. But Rasch wrote that the grocery stores would likely pass the same tax onto consumers.

"If the local grocers act as a pass through entity, then they will suffer no economic harm from the soda tax," Rasch concluded.

The soda-company attorneys also tried to have language from the ballot measure deleted. They specifically wanted wording that stated that there is a soda-tax exemption for small businesses.

According to the lawsuit, the soda-tax ordinance exempts distributors who have less than $100,000 a year in gross receipts. The soda industry lawyers cited a federal definition of small grocery businesses as having up to $32.5 million in gross receipts.

But Rasch ruled that there are a multitude of different definitions of a small business, so it's not inaccurate for the pro-tax argument in the official voter pamphlet to state that small businesses will be exempted.

"Today’s ruling may affect the ballot arguments, but it doesn’t change the facts," said Joe Arellano, a spokesman for the No On HH campaign. "Once voters do their own research and read the fine print, they’ll see that they’re actually voting on a grocery tax that affects distributors like local grocery stores and mom and pop corner stores, not on a soda tax."

The court ruling is a blow to the soda industry. The American Beverage Association has spent $747,267 so far against Oakland's sugar-sweetened tax ballot measure.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

'Big Soda' Is Suing Oakland Over Beverage Tax Measure

Attorneys working to nix language from November ballot.

by Darwin BondGraham
Thu, Sep 1, 2016 at 12:14 AM

Attorney working for the American Beverage Association are accusing supporters of Measure HH, Oakland's proposed soda tax, of lying to the public in order to garner support.  Yesterday, the beverage corporation attorneys filed a lawsuit seeking to have specific language, which they call "patently false" and "grossly misleading" deleted from the text of the ballot measure.

The soda company attorneys allege that several claims made by the tax's proponents in their rebuttal argument, which accompanies the ballot measure, are false and misleading. The rebuttal states that the soda tax will be paid by distributors, which are mostly big businesses, and that it "is not paid by your local grocer." The rebuttal argument also states that, "for small businesses there is an exemption" from the tax.

But according to attorneys from the Nielson Merksamer law firm who are representing the soda companies, some Oakland grocers will in fact have to pay the tax because they fit the definition of a distributor.

"A local small grocer who purchases sugar-sweetened beverages at Costco in San Leandro or Richmond with the intention to resell these beverages at his or her store, and who 'transfer[s] possession' of those beverages to an employee to stock the shelves would thereby engage in a taxable distribution."

In addition to fighting the Oakland soda tax in court, the Nielson Merksamer law firm is managing the soda companies' No On HH political action committee. Funding for the soda company's  No On HH PAC has come from just five beverage industry giants: Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Dr. Pepper, Red Bull, and Sunny Delight.

But officially, the soda companies aren't the one's bringing the lawsuit against Oakland election officials to have the text deleted. Instead, the petitioner is Isabella Coffey, identified as an Oakland resident and registered voter.

The soda company attorneys are also arguing that the term "small business" is misleadingly applied in the rebuttal. According to the lawsuit, Measure HH defines a small business as one with under $100,000 in annual gross receipts. They cite federal regulations which instead define small grocers as having receipts of up to $32.5 million.

If the soda attorneys win in court, the Oakland City Clerk would be barred from printing the contested text as part of the rebuttal against the No On HH campaign that will appear in the November voter pamphlet.

The lawsuit is just the latest accusation of misleading tactics in the battle between the soda companies and supporters of the tax. But previously it was the tax's proponents, including doctors, dentists, and public health officials, who accused the soda industry of lying.

In July, Oakland councilmembers Annie Campbell Washington, Desley Brooks, and Rebecca Kaplan said they planned to file complaints with the Federal Elections Commission and the Oakland Public Ethics Commission over ads paid for by the soda companies that called the tax a "grocery tax." The councilmembers said the "grocery tax" label is simply designed to scare voters, and that there's no evidence the tax will be passed on to items other than soda.

The soda companies seem unfazed by the councilmembers' threat. Ads painting the soda tax as a tax on groceries continue to fill the mailboxes of Oakland voters.

In fact, the soda industry's attorneys, and the petitioner Isabella Coffey, double down on the "grocery tax" message in their lawsuit: "...recent experience with a similar measure in Berkeley shows that the passage of such a tax ultimately leads to price increases on a wide array of grocery items at grocery stores and restaurants ... Because it is politically unpopular to raise the cost of groceries, supporters of Measure HH have sought to minimize and obscure the extent of this effect."

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

County Health Director: Oakland's Housing Crisis Is a Prescription for Sicker, Shorter Lives

by Darwin BondGraham
Tue, Aug 30, 2016 at 3:25 PM

The affordable housing crisis is causing a healthcare crisis in the East Bay, and Oakland is  the epicenter. That's according to Dr. Muntu Davis, the director of the Alameda County Public Health Department.

In a conference room in Oakland's City Hall today, Davis presented the results of a recently conducted survey of Alameda County health workers about the housing challenges faced by their clients: thousands of low-income, senior, and disabled people, many who are Oakland renters. According to the survey, thousands of renters are over-crowding into into unsafe housing units. Many Oakland residents are now paying a majority of their income on rent. Evictions, displacement, and homelessness are rising. Children's educations are being interrupted by frequent moves. Commutes are becoming longer. Social networks and family ties are fraying and breaking. Collective stress is boiling over.

The health outcomes, which Davis described as a having reached "crisis" levels, can be seen in rising numbers of hospitalizations for hypertension, mental health emergencies, asthma attacks, and numerous other illnesses that shorten people's lives.

"While the causes and solutions to address the housing crisis are complex, inaction is a prescription for shorter, sicker lives for many of our Alameda County Residents," concluded Davis in policy brief published today.

Kalima Rose, a researcher with the nonprofit PolicyLink, said the Bay Area is undergoing a period of intense job and population growth, but the supply of housing, especially rental units that the bottom half of wage earners can afford, hasn't kept pace.

Uber is expected to move 3,000 jobs into Oakland next year. The tech company's arrival is a symbol of the tens of thousands of more affluent newcomers flooding into Oakland. Other companies employing highly paid professionals are rapidly growing throughout the Bay Area. At the same time wages for half the population are stagnating. Inequality is growing.

Unable to compete in the new housing market of hyper-scarcity, Oakland's working class is being squeezed into substandard, crowded accommodations, or pushed out of the city entirely. The dynamic is hitting Black and Latino households especially hard.

Rose recently surveyed rental apartment listings in Oakland and found zero units being offered at rents affordable to a person earning the city's $12.25 minimum wage.

Entry level teachers who earn $42,497 a year also can't afford Oakland. In fact, Rose's examination of rental listings shows zero units currently being offered that are affordable, measured as renting for one-third of a teacher's after-tax monthly income.

"Very little intervention supportive of tenants has taken place," Rose said about Oakland's housing laws and programs.

Alameda County's $580 million affordable housing bond, Proposition A1, will help some avoid displacement, she said. Oakland's Measure JJ, which would strengthen rent control and extend just cause eviction protections to 10,561 more apartments, would also increase affordability and fight displacement.

But still, Oakland has been losing its lower-income renters and homeowners for over a decade, especially Black families who are being priced out of rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods like West Oakland and Eastlake. Approximately 34,000 Black residents moved out of Oakland between 2000 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census. Numbers for the past six years haven't been tabulated yet by demographers, said Rose, but many believe the pace of Black displacement has picked up.

"We know that the rate of [Black displacement] that was marked in 2010 is at least as much now, if not more," Rose said. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Online Poll Attacks Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, Claims False Endorsements for Peggy Moore

by Darwin BondGraham
Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 6:00 PM

Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan is crying foul over a voter survey that attacks her and falsely implies that one of her opponents has racked up two influential endorsements.

The survey, distributed via email to an unknown number of Oakland voters, contains eight statements "from supporters of Peggy Moore for Oakland City Council." Respondents are asked to rank whether or not the statements are "compelling" reasons to vote for Moore.

Moore, a senior advisor to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, is one of five candidates trying to unseat Kaplan for the at-large seat.

"For years, current councilmember Rebecca Kaplan has presided over a city that has become less and less affordable and livable," reads one of the statements. "As a longtime renter who understands the importance of keeping Oakland affordable, Peggy Moore will fight to increase affordable housing and sustainable, transit­-oriented development in Oakland."

The survey claims that Kaplan "has few real accomplishments to show from her 15 years as a politician."

The survey also states that Peggy Moore is "supported" by Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Assemblymember Tony Thurmond.

But both Barbara Lee and Assemblymember Tony Thurmond deny endorsing Moore.

Rebecca Kaplan. - BERT JOHNSON
  • Bert Johnson
  • Rebecca Kaplan.
"It is wrong to lie to the voters and pretend to be conducting a neutral poll when what you really are doing is circulating a hit piece attacking one candidate to support another," said Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan.

The Moore campaign confirmed that they paid for the survey.

But Christman Bowers, Moore's campaign manager, told the Express that they had no part in writing the questions. Bowers said it's common for candidates to commission these types of polls in order to see what kinds of messaging works with voters. He characterized the statement claiming Moore is supported by Lee and Thurmond as a "hypothetical."

"We don’t have the support of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, yet, or the assemblymember," he said. Bowers added it was not Moore's intention to mislead any potential voters.

Ruth Bernstein of EMC Research, the firm that is conducting the survey for Moore's campaign, told the Express that they sent out a follow-up message to people who completed the survey clarifying that Moore doesn't have the endorsement of Congresswoman Lee or Assemblymember Thurmond.

"It may not have been worded clearly enough and we will probably be doing some clarification," Bernstein said. "Unfortunately, that sometimes happens in the rush of a campaign."

Kaplan, however, asserted that the survey amounts to campaign activity like an advertisement, not a scientific poll. She said the survey should have included information about who paid for it. Kaplan worries that some Oakland voters might have been misled about who has won the endorsement of Lee and Thurmond.

"We are on pretty sure footing that this was a poll that was commissioned," said Christman. "It’s not a robo-call, a canvas, or a door-knock and the number of people the poll was sent to pales in comparison to rising to the occasion of being considered voter engagement."

Bernstein and Christman would not say how many people received the poll, but Christman said it was in the hundreds.

Oakland Police Union Writes $1,400 Check to Unseat Councilmember Noel Gallo

by Darwin BondGraham
Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 11:18 AM

Noel Gallo.
  • Noel Gallo.
The Oakland Police Officers Association made a maximum $1,400 campaign contribution to Viola Gonzales last week, according to a disclosure form filed with the city clerk. Gonzales is running against incumbent Noel Gallo for the Oakland City Council District Five seat.

Gallo first ran for city council in 2012 on a law-and-order platform that included strengthening the city's police force. At a public forum last week, Gallo said hiring more cops is still a major priority for him. He wants to increase the number of sworn police officers from the current 744 to as many as 850.

But the police officers' union appears to be upset with Gallo because of his support for a sweeping police reform measure.

Gallo is co-author of a ballot measure that would establish an independent civilian police oversight commission. If approved by voters in November, the new commission would be able to investigate police misconduct and impose discipline on officers.

OPOA strongly opposed the police commission ballot measure when it was being considered by the city council earlier this year. The union successfully lobbied to have some features gutted. Even so, if voters approve creation of the commission, it would be one of the strongest civilian oversight bodies in the nation.

OPOA has spent large sums in previous elections in attempts to unseat city officials who cross swords with them. In 2012 OPOA spent tens of thousands in an unsuccessful effort to topple Rebecca Kaplan from her at-large council seat, and to prevent Barbara Parker from remaining in the city attorney's office.

More recently, OPOA spent $17,583 to help Anne Campbell Washington win her District 4 seat.

The Express was unable to reach Noel Gallo and the Oakland Police Officers Association for comment this morning.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Sen. Hancock's Ban on State Funds for Coal Projects

by Darwin BondGraham
Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 2:43 PM

State Senator Loni Hancock opposes using public funds to subsidize the coal industry. - BERT JOHNSON
  • Bert Johnson
  • State Senator Loni Hancock opposes using public funds to subsidize the coal industry.
State Sen. Loni Hancock's bill to ban the use of funds for coal-related projects was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown today. The new law makes it all the more difficult for coal companies to find a route through California to overseas markets.

More …

Thursday, August 25, 2016

More Details on Those Rumored Oakland Raiders Coliseum Renderings and Images

by Graham Womack
Thu, Aug 25, 2016 at 6:54 PM

Images of a possible Raiders dome stadium in Las Vegas.
  • Images of a possible Raiders dome stadium in Las Vegas.

Yesterday, the Express reported that the Oakland Raiders “have new and unreleased rendered images of what a Coliseum stadium might look like at 66th Avenue.”

More information has emerged about these images.

Scott McKibben, executive director of the Oakland-Alameda County Joint Powers Authority, told the Express today that he saw the drawings during a meeting with the Raiders nearly a year ago. 

"These were just a couple of drawings that were on easel boards in the conference room as we were having a meeting with the Raider ownership and management," he explained. "They were more to show to us what was their view of what the stadium would look like in certain geographic parcels of our property.

"One of them is football-only. One is with football on the south side and a baseball facility on the north side, and so on. These are nothing more than I'm sure the Raiders saying, 'Okay, there's 125 acres of land there. We need approximately 80 to 85 acres for parking, the arena's gonna stay, so where are we thinking about putting our stadium? What might that stadium look like with that being 55,000 seats?'"

The team has yet to publicly release these images. Raiders spokesperson Will Kiss didn’t immediately respond to an email to discuss or release the images.

"To the best of my knowledge, those drawings have never left the conference room of the Raiders center," McKibben said.

Zennie Abraham, an Oakland video blogger who has extensively covered the Raiders’ stadium saga, told the Express that the rumored drawings "are at Raiders headquarters. They're not renderings that somebody has on a PDF or a JPEG that are on some file that somebody's holding at the city.

"Because I can guarantee you, if they were, one of those city people would have leaked them.”

Meanwhile, the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee released renderings this morning for a Raider stadium in Las Vegas, just before it met for five hours to discuss the plan. Forbes reported that the Raiders filed for a trademark of “Las Vegas Raiders” on August 20.

McKibben said he most recently spoke with Raiders owner Mark Davis six to eight weeks ago. McKibben remains optimistic. “We've got a great relationship with the Raiders,” he said. “We just had training meetings with them all week. We're just kind of now waiting for an appraisal to get done on the property and for prospective developers and people that are interested in teaming up with the Raiders of putting a package together for a new stadium.”

Look for a cover story on the Raiders before the NFL season begins.

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