Thursday, July 2, 2020

Thursday's Briefing: Nancy Skinner blasts state prisons' handling of covid-19 cases; State extends unemployment benefits

A's fans can attend games via a cardboard cutout

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 4:00 AM

State Sen. Nancy Skinner. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • State Sen. Nancy Skinner.


News you don't want to miss for July 2:

1. State Sen. Nancy Skinner tore into state prison officials for their failures in protecting inmates, and the general public, from the spread of the coronavirus, KQED reports. Skinner made her comments during a state Senate public safety committee oversight hearing on Wednesday.

2. "Jobless Californians could get up to seven additional weeks of unemployment benefits," according to the state Employment Development Department, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. A vehicle containing four people was shot at on 106th Avenue in Oakland near the Interstate 580 freeway on Wednesday afternoon, ABC7 reports. All four were injured. Police are investigating the incident.

4. Parking at state beaches will be closed during the Fourth of July weekend in order to limit attendance and the spread of the coronavirus, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. The upcoming season at the Oakland Coliseum will be fanless, but diehards can have their image printed on a cutout placed in the stands for up to $129, Bay City News reports. The premium price allows fans to keep a foul ball if it hits their cutout.

6. The Oakland Roots soccer club is leaving its league to help form another with seven other local teams, SFGate reports. The newly-formed National Soccer League Pacific Division includes teams from Contra Costa County, San Leandro, San Francisco and San Jose.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Wednesday's Briefing: Oakland Zoo is at risk of closing due to covid-19, executive says; Berkeley cuts police budget

Oakland city attorney sues three landlords for illegal evictions

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Oakland Zoo officials contend the facility should be viewed as an outdoor museum, a type of business already allowed to reopen. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Oakland Zoo officials contend the facility should be viewed as an outdoor museum, a type of business already allowed to reopen.


News you don't want to miss for July 1:

1. The Oakland Zoo is at risk of closing due to the covid-19 pandemic if it does not reopen soon, the East Bay Citizen reports. The zoo has burned through federal stimulus money and been forced to layoff workers and cut pay for others, a zoo official told Alameda County supervisors on Tuesday.

2. A number of Alameda County cities officially boosted their local minimum wage to $15 an hour today. The San Francisco Chronicle reports on the added costs to businesses during the pandemic and possibility that the extra cash will lead to increased consumer spending. $$

3. The Oakland City Attorney's office filed a lawsuit against three landlords for allegedly harassing and attempting to illegally evict tenants during the pandemic, the Mercury News reports.

4. Oakland councilmembers voted to amend its recently approved budget in three weeks, in a move that could add further cuts to the Oakland Police Department, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The council voted last week to cut $14 million from OPD's budget. $$

5. Meanwhile, Berkeley officials voted to cut $9 million from its police department's budget on Tuesday night, KTVU reports. Similar to other local cities that recently made to cuts public safety, the cost-savings will come from police officer hiring freezes and a reduction in overtime.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Tuesday's Briefing: Berkeley councilmember wants unarmed civil servants to enforce traffic and parking laws; Alameda County public health officer is leaving

Alameda County pauses reopening plans

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Jun 30, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Berkeley Councilmember Rigel Robinson. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Berkeley Councilmember Rigel Robinson.


News you don't want to miss for June 30:

1. Berkeley Councilmember Rigel Robinson is proposing for the city to use unarmed civil servants for traffic and parking enforcement, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. If approved, Berkeley would be the first in the nation to shift enforcement away from its police department. $$

2. An Oakland police officer was arrested on suspicion of staking and threatening a city employee, NBC Bay Area reports. The officer had a previous relationship with the city employee.

3. Alameda County public health officials pressed pause on plans for further reopening the economy, SFGate reports. The county last loosened its rules on June 19, but will now make decisions about reopening every 4-6 weeks.

4. Interim Alameda County Public Health Officer Dr. Erica Pan is leaving after being named California state epidemiologist, the San Francisco Chronicle reports Pan led the county's effort to contain the coronavirus and notably tussled with Tesla's Elon Musk over the rapid reopening of the Fremont electric vehicle factory. $$

5. A mixture of events that occurred around Memorial Day, including barbecues, large-scale protests in support of George Floyd, and graduation celebrations likely kickstarted California's current surge of coronavirus infections, the Los Angeles Times reports. $$

6. Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., known as the "Golden State killer," admitted to 13 murders and dozens of rapes, the Associated Press reports. DeAngelo admitted to 161 total crimes involving 48 people, including a woman in Contra Costa County.

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Monday, June 29, 2020

Monday's Briefing: Long-time Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele dies; Barbara Lee to co-chair the state's DNC delegation

Contra Costa County postpones reopening of bars, gyms, indoor dining

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Jun 29, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Between stints in elected office, former Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele founded the Eden Youth Center. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Between stints in elected office, former Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele founded the Eden Youth Center.


News you don't want to miss for June 29:

1. Former Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele passed away on Friday, the East Bay Citizen report. Steele, who represented the Hayward area on the Board of Supervisors for 18 years before retiring in 2010, also served eight years on the Hayward City Council. Her service to the public focused strongly on advocating for the well-being of the county's youth.

2. East Bay progressive beacons Reps. Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna will lead the California Democratic delegation as co-chairs for this summer's presidential convention, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis is also a co-chair. $$

3. Lee also got an unexpected boost from a Washington Post opinion writer who believes the long-time East Bay congresswoman should be considered as Joe Biden's running mate. Noting another wave of progressive wins in Congress recently, James Downie wrote, "If Biden wants to show he’s listening to these voters, there’s one name that apparently isn’t on his current vice-presidential shortlist, but should be: Rep. Barbara Lee." $$

4. Contra Costa County is putting the brakes on its planned reopening of bars, gyms, indoor dining and other types of businesses, KTVU reports. An increase of covid-19 cases is leading county health officials to postpone the reopening plan that was scheduled for this Wednesday.

5. Fourth of July fireworks displays are canceled throughout the Bay Area this weekend, SFGate reports. That is, official fireworks show will be canceled.

6. Illegal fireworks are being blamed for a vegetation fire that occurred on early Sunday morning in the Oak Knoll/Golf Links area of East Oakland, the East Bay Times reports.

7. "All Lives Matter" was spray-painted on a black-owned home in Oakland, "ABC7 reports. In addition, the same phrase was spray-painted on cars in Alameda that is home to a black family.

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Friday, June 26, 2020

Friday's Briefing: Trump says Oakland is like 'living in hell'; BART director praises Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee

Oakland to close some streets for outdoor dining

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Jun 26, 2020 at 4:00 AM

President Trump and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf again engaged in a war of words. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • President Trump and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf again engaged in a war of words.


News you don't want to miss for June 26-28:

1. President Trump said living in Oakland and a number of other U.S. cities, is "like living in hell," during an interview on Fox News. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf responded on Twitter with "Hell is another four years of this racist in the White House," KRON reports.

2. For some reason, BART Board Director John McPartland felt the need to praise Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee during a meeting on Thursday, SFGate reports. Partland called Lee an "exemplary general" while discussing the transportation agency's budget. McPartland represents Hayward, Dublin, Pleasanton, and Castro Valley on the BART board.

3. "BART plans to shift police away from calls related to homelessness, drug use and mental health crises as the transit agency heeds reform calls from the Black Lives Matter movement," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

4. A complaint that sought to sue U.C. Berkeley for increasing student enrollment and thereby negatively impacting Berkeley neighborhoods was reinstated by an appeals court, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The complaint had been previously dismissed by an Alameda County Superior Court judge. $$

5. Oakland is beginning a program to allow restaurants and businesses to use sidewalks, closed city streets, and parking lots for dining and retail activity, NBC Bay Area reports.

6. After a flood of complaints over the slow pace of approving jobless claims and reports of poor customer service, state lawmakers are calling for an audit of the state Employment Development Department, the Los Angeles Times reports. Since mid-March, the state has paid out $33.5 billion in benefits. $$

7. Some local staycation spots are reopening in the Bay Area. Muir Woods National Monument will reopen on Monday, SFGate reports. Santa Cruz County will open its beaches on Friday, the Mercury News reports. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has been partially open since earlier this month. Its rides, however, are not open. $$

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Thursday, June 25, 2020

Thursday's Briefing: OUSD eliminates its police department; State constitutional amendment reversing ban on affirmative action heads to the ballot

Former Richmond police chief resign in Tucson

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Jun 25, 2020 at 4:00 AM

ousd_police.jpg


News you don't want to miss for June 25:

1. The Oakland Schools Police Department will soon be no more after Oakland Unified School District trustees voted on Wednesday night to eliminate the force and redirect its funding to other school programs, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. Tony Thurmond, the state superintendent of public instruction, believes some type of law enforcement is needed at public schools to keep students safe, the Associated Press reports. Thurmond called for a "re-imagining" of police at public schools that would focus on protecting students from violent incidents, but stray from disciplining them.

3. A 40-year-old veteran was tased five times by Alameda police officers in 2018 and lost consciousness, and later died in the hospital, according to records obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle. The City of Alameda settled a claim with the mother of the man earlier this year for $250,000. $$

4. Former Richmond police chief Chris Magnus resigned as head of the Tucson Police Department after video was released of an in-custody death of a man that included three of its police officers, AZCentral reports. Magnus was viewed a police reformer during his tenure in Richmond.

5. California voters will be asked in November to overturn Proposition 209, the 1996 initiative that banned affirmative action for state college admissions, hiring and contracts, Calmatters reports. State legislators approved placement of the state constitutional amendment on the Nov. 3 ballot on Wednesday.

6. A McDonald's restaurant on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland that suffered from an outbreak of covid-19 among its employee will remain closed, a judge ordered, according to the East Bay Times. Employees contend the owner of the franchise failed to enact sufficient health and safety measures during the pandemic. The restaurant has been closed since May 26.

7. The number of cases of covid-19 at San Quentin State Prison has recently skyrocketed from four dozen to more than 450. Health experts warn the situation at the jail could spread to the entire Bay Area, if not remedied soon, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Specifically, they have called for reducing the prison's jail population by one-half. $$

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Wednesday's Briefing: Oakland passes budget with fewer cuts to OPD than proposed; AG will seek injunction forcing Uber, Lyft to comply with AB5

Outside Lands is canceled for 2020

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Oakland Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas said the council usurped democracy after approving a budget that was not properly noticed, she alleged on Twitter. - STEVEN TAVARES
  • Steven Tavares
  • Oakland Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas said the council usurped democracy after approving a budget that was not properly noticed, she alleged on Twitter.


News you don't want to miss for June 24:

1. Oakland councilmembers approved a budget for the upcoming fiscal year that fell short of the $25 million in cuts to the Oakland Police Department sought by Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Bas blasted her colleagues on Twitter after the vote. "5 Councilmembers who passed Oakland budget tonight just killed democracy. They passed budget that was not even published publicly on city website. I didn’t receive it until today’s meeting had already started, and I didn’t receive the policy directives at all," Bas tweeted. $$

2. New cases of covid-19 are rising at a rapid clip across the state, but while Santa Clara County's public health officer is expressing concerns in the South Bay, the situation elsewhere in the Bay Area is stable, SFGate reports. This comes despite large-scale protests and the loosening of restrictions. As of Wednesday, Alameda County has reported 5,140 total cases and 120 deaths.

3. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra plans to seek an injunction against Uber and Lyft in an effort to force the tech companies who rely on gig workers to comply with AB5 and reclassify workers as employees, Politico reports.

4. We've seen and heard the rockets red glare as evening and late-night fireworks "shows" have proliferated across the county. The displays, some beautiful, but mostly nuisances for residents and pets, are driving people crazy and have also started a number of fires recently in Oakland, SFGate reports.

5. The Outside Lands musical festival, previously scheduled for this August, has been cancelled due to covid-19, Rolling Stone reports. The popular concert event, however, will return in 2021 with a slate of acts already announced.

6. Oakland libraries and those in other Alameda County cities now offer curbside pickup of books, SFGate reports. If you don't want to go outside, here's a pro-tip: Oakland libraries have an excellent selection of e-books. However, the wait time for popular e-book titles like Hilary Mantel's "Wolf Hall" is 40 weeks(!).

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Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Tuesday's Briefing: Schaaf opposes plan to defund OPD; Skinner to lead oversight hearing on covid outbreak in jails

Large covid outbreak at Concord nursing home

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Jun 23, 2020 at 4:00 AM

State Sen. Nancy Skinner chairs the senate public safety committee. - STATE SENATE
  • State Senate
  • State Sen. Nancy Skinner chairs the senate public safety committee.


News you don't want to miss for June 23:

1. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is opposing a proposed $25 million cut to the Oakland Police Department's budget, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Oakland Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas last week proposed the budget cuts, which would be reallocated to a long list of social services. $$

2. State Sen. Nancy Skinner will lead a Public Safety Committee oversight hearing on the spread of covid-19 in state prisons, the East Bay Times reports.

3. Fifteen people have died from covid-19 at a nursing home in Concord, the East Bay Times reports. Seventy-five others have also been infected. $$

4. "The Oakland Unified School District will be scrutinized for the next three years to ensure that girls have equal access to sports programs and facilities, following proposed budget cuts that illuminated the underlying gender inequities of sports in Oakland schools," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. Major League Baseball appears set to return with a 60-game season. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the Oakland Athletics will soon be able to use the Coliseum for workouts. A health and safety plan offered by the team has been approved by the Alameda County Public Health Department, and its rent dispute has been resolved. $$

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Monday, June 22, 2020

Monday's Briefing: Oakland greenlights negotiations to sell its half of Coliseum to the A's; Laney College teacher's racist suggestion

African-American businessmen want to bring the NFL back to Oakland

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Jun 22, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Oakland's proposed negotiations to sell its half of the Coliseum site (the county owns the other half) also includes Oakland Arena. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Oakland's proposed negotiations to sell its half of the Coliseum site (the county owns the other half) also includes Oakland Arena.


News you don't want to miss for June 22:

1. Oakland councilmembers voted in closed session last week to greenlight negotiations to sell its half of the Coliseum complex to the Oakland Athletics, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The A's plan to build a new ballpark at Howard Terminal while promoting a new development at the Coliseum site. $$

2. A group of local black businessmen sent a letter to the NFL seeking to bring an expansion team to Oakland, SFGate reports. The group, whose makeup is unknown, would be the first African-American ownership group in NFL history and play at the Coliseum complex.

3. Prior to the Oakland Unified School District's meeting on Wednesday to eliminate its campus police force, the San Francisco Chronicle writes the likely move by the school board is a trend being seen across the state. $$

4. A Laney College faculty member suggested to a Vietnamese student that she change her name because it sounded, phonetically, like a profane phrase in English, NBC Bay Area reports.

5. The dreaded PG&E power shutoffs will return, SFGate reports. The utility's inelegant response to wildfire-prone areas will be shorter in duration and more precise in location, PG&E promises.

6. Instead of cuts to public schools and health care in order to close the state's $54 billion budget shortfall, a deal between Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Democratic-led Legislature will target wage cuts for state workers and elimination of some programs, the Associated Press reports.

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Friday, June 19, 2020

Friday's Briefing: Juneteenth demonstration shuts down the Port of Oakland; Oakland Catholic priest says the bishop is racist

Wear a mask whenever outside

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Jun 19, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Port of Oakland. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Port of Oakland.


News you don't want to miss for June 19-21:

1. International Longshore and Warehouse Union members and activists shut down the Port of Oakland on Friday in a demonstration against police brutality and in honor of Juneteenth, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. "California’s police chiefs on Thursday endorsed a plan to more aggressively weed out bad officers who break the law or have a history of complaints," the Associated Press reports. The police chiefs also called for ending use of the carotid artery choke hold on suspects and restrictions on the use of tear gas and rubber bullets by police.

3. Father Aidan McAleenan, a priest at Oakland's St. Columba Catholic Church, said Oakland Bishop Michael Barber is a racist, ABC7 reports. McAleenan said Barber disregarded his insistence that the local diocese take a more active role in advocating for Black Lives Matter.

4. The state is tightening protocols for when Californians must wear masks in order to combat the spread of covid-19, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Masks must be worn outside at all times unless you can safely distance yourself at least six feet apart from someone not counted among your household. The order comes after the number of new covid-19 cases statewide hit a one-day high this week. $$

5. Outdoor dining at restaurants is allowed in Alameda County, starting today, KRON reports. The slight loosening of restrictions in the county also allows places of worship to allow no more than 100 to attend services.

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