Monday, December 9, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Former Coliseum JPA exec authorized a $25k check to Don Perata's son; Cal to play in the RedBox Bowl

PG&E's $13.5 billion settlement will help Ghost Ship fire survivors

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Dec 9, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Former Coliseum Joint Powers Authority executive director Scott McKibben charged lucrative NBA Finals tickets to the authority, the East Bay Times found. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Former Coliseum Joint Powers Authority executive director Scott McKibben charged lucrative NBA Finals tickets to the authority, the East Bay Times found.


News you don't want to miss for Dec. 9:

1. The scandal at the Coliseum Joint Powers Authority is growing. David DeBolt in the East Bay Times reports that former JPA executive director Scott McKibben, who now faces felony conflict of interests charges, received NBA Finals tickets and charged them to the JPA. McKibben also failed to explain why the son of former state Sen. Don Perata received a $25,000 check from the JPA.

2. PG&E announced a tentative agreement Friday to pay victims of several wildfires caused by the utility's equipment, including the Camp Fire that nearly erased Paradise off the map, in addition, to the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland, the Associated Press reports. The deal, which includes $13.5 billion to settle claims from the fires, is likely to quicken the pace of PG&E's bankruptcy proceedings.

3. Oakland's Harborside has long wrangled with the federal government. Now after a judge ruled last October that it must pay $11 million in back taxes from 2007 to 2012, the dispensary, one of the largest in the country, indicated last week that it will appeal the decision, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

4. The post-mortem of Sen. Kamala Harris' presidential hopes is providing more insights into a campaign in disarray. Politico reports Harris had approved the removal of her campaign manager just prior to ending her bid for the Democratic nomination. A Political Action Committee supporting Harris had already scoured up $1 million to help her in Iowa during the same period of time, yet she pulled the plug lat week. The developments had some Harris supporters urging her to stick with the campaign a bit longer.

5. Cal is going to a bowl game for a second consecutive year and they won't have to travel far to get there. Cal (7-5) accepted an invitation to play in the Redbox Bowl against Illinois (6-6), Sports Illustrated reports. The game is scheduled for Dec. 30 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.

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Friday, December 6, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Oakland city administrator criticizes City Council for allowing her assistant to be berated by the public

Rent control proposition may be coming to the 2020 ballot

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Dec 6, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Oakland City Administrator Sabrina Landreth, in an email to the City Council, called them complicit with community activist who called her assistant a "murderer." - D. ROSS CAMERON
  • D. Ross Cameron
  • Oakland City Administrator Sabrina Landreth, in an email to the City Council, called them complicit with community activist who called her assistant a "murderer."


News you don't want to miss for Dec. 6-8:

1. Oakland City Administrator Sabrina Landreth slammed members of the City Council's Life Enrichment Committee for being "complicit" by way of their silence after a community activist berated Assistant City Administrator Joe Devries, calling him a "murderer," while another grabbed his arm, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Wednesday's special meeting focused on the city's plan for banning overnight camping in parks and plazas. $$

2. A rent control ballot initiative may once again come before California voters next year, the Sacramento Bee reports. The same group placed a rent control initiative on the ballot in November 2018, but it was defeated. $$

3. Speaker Nancy Pelosi directed House committees to begin drafting articles of impeachment against President Trump, the Associated Press reports. Based on an early timetable, the House could vote on impeachment just days before Christmas. "The only remedy for his repeated misconduct is impeachment," Oakland Rep. Barbara Lee tweeted.

4. Bay Area home prices are dipping, but limited supply is still keeping prices high, the Mercury News reports. A "modest correction," though, could be on the horizon in 2020. $$

5. The Trump administration's new rule will strip food stamps from up to 3.7 million Americans, including 625,700 in California, Calmatters reports. The move is intended to encourage "able-bodied" recipients toward self-sufficiency, but is forcefully opposed by Democrats, and some Republicans.

6. "The family of Dujuan Armstrong, who suffocated to death in jail last year, is suing the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and deputies who put the jailed man in a restraint device, the family’s attorney announced," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

7. Don't get too down on Sen. Kamala Harris dropping out of the Democratic presidential race this week. Her former chief rival, Joe Biden, said he would consider her as his vice-president, if he wins the nomination, Politico reports.

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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Thursday's Briefing: PG&E near $13.5 billion deal to pay victims of wildfires; Oakland eyes ban on nighttime camping in parks, plazas

Bernie Sanders leads new California presidential poll

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Dec 5, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Sen. Bernie Sanders is back on top in California, according to new polling for the March presidential primary. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders is back on top in California, according to new polling for the March presidential primary.


News you don't want to miss for Dec. 5:

1. PG&E is close to finalizing a deal that would pay $13.5 billion to victims of the Northern California wildfires that its equipment started in recent years, the Los Angeles Times reports. The payments would include both cash, paid immediately, and stocks, paid over 18 months. $$

2. Two PG&E power shut-offs last month in San Leandro, cost the city $15,000 in overtime for its police department, the East Bay Times reports. The shut-offs were primarily located in the city's hilly eastside. $$

3. Oakland officials are proposing a pilot program to prohibit overnight camping in parks, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The item was heard in an Oakland City Council committee on Tuesday. The city already has a similar ban on its books, but it's typically not enforced by the Public Works Department because of staff limitations. $$

4. Gov. Gavin Newsom said the Trump administration is purposefully holding up the release of point-in-time data for the number of homeless individuals in the state, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The data is used to determined how the $500 million in federal funding for homelessness is split among California cities. $$

5. Skiing, seafood buffets, and gambling will have to wait for another week. A major snowstorm is forecast to hit the Tahoe Basin starting Friday through Sunday, SFGate reports. Driving to the Sierras during those days is discouraged. Seven inches of snow has fallen on the region in recent weeks.

6. Sen. Bernie Sanders is the new front runner in California's March presidential primary, according to a new poll, SFGate reports. Sanders received support from 24 percent of respondents, followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 22 percent. But Warren's support dropped seven points from polling in September. Joe Biden registered 14 percent, followed by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 12 percent.

7. "Kamala Harrris' backers are up-for-grabs," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. With a tight California primary ahead, Democratic presidential candidates have a number of high-profile official to woo. In Oakland, for example, Mayor Libby Schaaf and Assemblymember Rob Bonta endorsed Harris for president. $$

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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Wednesday’s Briefing: Former Coliseum JPA charged with felony conflict of interest; Kamala Harris drops out

Oakland Zoo's African elephant dies

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Dec 4, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Former Coliseum JPA CEO Scott McKibben illegally sought a fee from RingCentral to negotiate naming-rights at the Coliseum, Alameda County prosecutors allege. - @RINGCENRAL/TWITTER
  • @RingCenral/Twitter
  • Former Coliseum JPA CEO Scott McKibben illegally sought a fee from RingCentral to negotiate naming-rights at the Coliseum, Alameda County prosecutors allege.


News you don’t want to miss for Dec. 4:

1. Alameda County prosecutors charged former Coliseum Joint Powers Authority CEO Scott McKibben with felony conflict of interest, KPIX reports. McKibben allegedly sought a $50,000 fee from RingCentral to negotiate naming-rights for the Oakland Coliseum.

2. Sen. Kamala Harris ended her bid for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination on Tuesday, Politico reports. Citing dwindling campaign finances and a belief she no longer had a path to the nomination, Harris pulled the plug on her campaign.

3. Electric and hybrid cars costing more than $60,000 will no longer qualify for state rebates, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The rebates for lower-priced models will drop to $500. $$

4. D'Munda, the Oakland Zoo's 50-year-old African elephant died unexpectedly Tuesday, SFGate reports. She lived at the zoo for 26 years.

5. Former Oakland Raider George Atkinson III, whose father was a team legend also of the same name, died Tuesday, Yahoo Sports reports. Atkinson III, who played for the Raiders for two seasons battled depression following his twin brother’s suicide in January.

6. The Oakland Roots’ success at the turnstiles did not necessarily translate to the field during their inaugural season. In advance of their Spring 2020, the team elevated assistant coach Jordan Ferrell to head coach, SFGate reports.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: Judge's ruling could give housing approval authority back to charter cities; Ghost Ship three-year anniversary

Walnut Creek referenced in 'The Irishman'

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Dec 3, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Housing developments like the proposed market-rate project on Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro could be affected by a judge's ruling Monday allowing charter cities to retain authority to approve housing projects at the local level. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Housing developments like the proposed market-rate project on Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro could be affected by a judge's ruling Monday allowing charter cities to retain authority to approve housing projects at the local level.


News you don't want to miss for Dec. 3:

1. In a development that could reverberate all over Alameda County and potentially limit new housing in areas typically opposed to density, a judge ruled that San Mateo could retain local control from the state for approving new housing projects because it is a charter city, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. A majority of the cities in Alameda County are charter cities and a few hold strong local control streaks. $$

2. On the three-year anniversary of the Ghost Ship warehouse fire that killed 36 people, the Mercury News looks at how the tragedy continues to affect the survivors and loved ones. $$

3. The Alameda Police Department is offering potential new recruits from other local agencies a $30,000 bonus to join its ranks, the East Bay Times reports. Alameda has nine vacancies availbale. In addition, a large number are also eligible for retirement next year. $$

4. Walnut Creek is name-dropped in Director Martin Scorsese's gangster film, "The Irishman," SFGate reports. The movie, which opened in theaters last month and released on Netflix last week, references a mob hit that was to occur in the now tony Contra Costa County city.

5. Just one year after dominating the American League and garnering votes for the Cy Young award, the A's released star reliever Blake Treinen, SFGate reports. Treinen struggled with his control last season and was quickly demoted as stopper. He also faced an injury-plagued 2019 season.

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Monday, December 2, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Former inspector alleges another also took bribes; Bay Area meth overdoses on the rise

More evidence that Kamala Harris's campaign is in disarray

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Dec 2, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Harry Hu was the target of a FBI corruption investigation. - FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo
  • Harry Hu was the target of a FBI corruption investigation.


News you don't want to miss for Dec. 2:

1. A former Oakland police officer and inspector for the Alameda County District Attorney's office testified that he was not the only one who accepted bribes from an informant, but there is another who currently works for the county, the East Bay Times reports. $$

2. The nine counties that make up the Bay Area is experiencing an overdose epidemic attributed to methamphetamine use, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Deaths from fentanyl are also on the rise. $$

3. PG&E told a U.S. District Court judge last Friday that while its widespread power shut-offs have deterred any wildfires from starting, it found 218 instances where damages to its transmission equipment could have ignited fires, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

4. The University of California system outsources to outside vendors $523 million annually in contracts for services such as security guards, custodians and groundskeepers, the Los Angeles Times reports. The arrangement sidesteps union membership and why labor is fighting back. $$

5. When the staff starts turning against each other, that's a telltale sign the campaign is likely irreparably harmed. The New York Times published a scathing portrait of Sen. Kamala Harris's presidential campaign over the weekend. Fingers pointed to the top of the organization and Harris's sister, among other issues. $$

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Friday, November 29, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Animal rights activists protest Whole Foods in Oakland; Black Friday in Fremont interrupted by gunfire

How Oakland's skyline is changing rapidly

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Nov 29, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Protesters held a "sidewalk fast" last Wednesday through Thanksgiving afternoon at the Whole Foods in Oakland. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Protesters held a "sidewalk fast" last Wednesday through Thanksgiving afternoon at the Whole Foods in Oakland.


News you don't want to miss for Nov. 29-Dec. 1:

1. Animal rights activists held a "sidewalk fast" outside the Whole Foods in Oakland Thursday to protest alleged animal cruelty by four suppliers used by Amazon, the store's parent company, NBC Bay Area reports.

2. Another violent crime incident came to the bedroom communities of the Tri-Cities last night after shots rang out near a Target in Fremont, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Five suspects were arrested at the Fremont Hub. Earlier this week, two boys were killed by a gunman in Union City. $$

3. With Thanksgiving behind us, it's time to buy a Christmas tree. But you might find the price of Douglas Firs and other types of holiday trees continue to rise. The Associated Press explains the issue is dwindling supply in Oregon. More than 400 fewer suppliers exist in Oregon than 15 years ago.

4. The local Dungeness crab season is being held up for environmental concerns, but in years past it has been delayed by an outbreak of high levels of domoic acid, which is harmful to humans. The San Francisco Chronicle profiles the federal lab in Richmond tasked with making sure our holiday crab cioppino is safe to eat.

5. The ever-present cranes tell the story. New construction in Downtown Oakland is booming. Roland Yi in the San Francisco Chronicle takes a looks at the trend that will reshape the city for decades to come, but could also boost Oakland's lagging tech sector.. $$

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Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving Day Briefing: Hard rains coming this weekend; Bankruptcy judge says PG&E still liable for wildfires

Oakland Airport losing some direct flights to Europe

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Nov 28, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Dinner. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Dinner.


News you don't want to miss for Nov. 28:

1. Hide the women and children! An "atmospheric river" is on the horizon. Heavy rains in the Bay Area and snow in the Sierras is expected to arrive starting this weekend, SFGate reports. The deluge could continue for most of the next week.

2. Tuesday night's hard rain was too much for the new $1.4 billion Chase Center in San Francisco. "Light flooding" occurred at the arena in a few rooms because of a broken pipe, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. That noise yesterday was the sound of thousands of Oakland fans snickering. $$

3. A federal bankruptcy judge ruled against PG&E's bid to overturn a state law that puts the utility on the hook for liabilities stemming from the wildfires its equipment started in California, the Associated Press reports. The fires in 2017 and 2018 cost PG&E up to $20 billion in damages.

4. The PG&E bankruptcy case also affects the 2016 Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland. The San Francisco Chronicle reports families of the victims asked a judge to lift the suspension on lawsuits against PG&E in order to allow for their claims to move forward. $$

5. Oakland International Airport is losing two non-stop summer routes to Denmark and Sweden, SFGate reports. Direct flights on Norwegian Air to Copenhagen and Stockholm will cease next summer. Oakland recently lost non-stop flights to London and Barcelona.

6. High demand and limited space in Bay Area's shelters and warming centers is continuing problem, KQED reports. And when it rains, as one person noted, there's no shelter for those waiting in line to be admitted to the actual shelter.

7. So maybe you burned the turkey or forgot to fully thaw your bird this week. Tofurky, a tofu substitute is becoming more popular this Thanksgiving season, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. But, here's the herb rub: Americans are still consuming considerable amounts of turkey.

8. Meanwhile, don't mess with wild turkeys. They will mess you up. Video here.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Wednesday's Briefing: Oakland will appeal Measure AA ruling; Parents file excessive force claim against OUSD

Coliseum tells MC Hammer, "U Can't Touch This,' cancels tonight's concert

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Nov 27, 2019 at 4:00 AM

MC Hammer's reunion concert tonight in Oakland was cancelled at the last minute. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • MC Hammer's reunion concert tonight in Oakland was cancelled at the last minute.


News you don't want to miss for Nov. 27:

1. Oakland is appealing a ruling last month in Alameda County Superior Court that invalidated Measure AA, the 2018 parcel tax to fund early education, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The measure was purported to need a two-thirds majority to pass, but fell short. $$

2. Nine Oakland parents filed a lawsuit against the Oakland Unified School District alleging its police officers used excessive force during a wild Oct. 23 school board meeting in which protesters attempted to jump a barrier between them and the school board members, EdSource reports. The parents are led by Oakland civil rights attorney Dan Siegel.

3. Last night's heavy rains caused a power outage at the Oakland International Airport, SFGate reports, causing a major disruption on the one of the busiest travel days of the year.

4. Berkeley's year-end budget update is showing the city's coffers have some extra cash lying around, Berkeleyside reports. The city council could use the money to pay down its unfunded liabilities, fortify its general funds, but also use it to address illegal dumping and street safety.

5. The arrest of an African-American man eating a sandwich at the Pleasant Hill BART station may not have been a isolated incident. The San Francisco Examiner reports that out of 55 riders cited for eating and drinking at BART stations since 2014, 80 percent were African-American.

6. A reunion concert scheduled for tonight at the Oakland Coliseum Arena, featuring MC Hammer, Tony! Toni! Tone!, Digital Underground, En Vogue, and Luniz is cancelled, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Coliseum officials pulled the plug on the celebration of Oakland music because the concert's promoters failed to meet unnamed obligations. $$

7. Brandon Rivera, better known as the Contra Costa County rapper, "B-Dawg" was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for his involvement in the theft of more than 100 firearms and other items from a warehouse in Concord, Mashrival reports.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: Lawsuit claims Alameda County Sheriff's Dept. forced some inmates into slavery; Hayward man admits to being an agent for China

Suspect in Orinda shooting pleads not guilty to gun charges

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Nov 26, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern. - SHANE BOND/EAST BAY CITIZEN
  • Shane Bond/East Bay Citizen
  • Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern.


News you don't want to miss for Nov. 26:

1. A class-action lawsuit filed last week alleges the Alameda County Sheriff's Department forced some pre-trial and immigration prisoners into unlawful involuntary servitude by not paying them for work provided to the Santa Rita Jail's food concession vendor, The Appeal reports. The lawsuit was filed last Wednesday by attorneys on behalf of eight plaintiffs. Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the department, confirmed the inmates are not paid for their work.

2. A suspect in the Halloween night shooting in Orinda that claimed the life of five people, plead not guilty on Monday to two counts of felony gun-related charges, KTVU reports.

3. Rain will return to the East Bay sometime Tuesday afternoon, SFGate report. It's been a long time coming. The storm is the first of the rainy season, which began in October. Significant snowfall is also expected in the Sierras.

4. Hayward resident Xuehua Edward Peng plead guilty to be being an unregistered agent for the Chinese government, the Associated Press reports. "Prosecutors said Peng, under orders from a handler in China, left cash in hotel rooms in exchange for classified national security information on small electronic storage devices."

5. Unemployment checks for roughly 774,000 California are being delayed because of a disruption in the state Employment Development Department's computer system, the Sacramento Bee reports. Checks could starts going out on Wednesday. $$

6. "Ramone Sanders, a McClymonds High School and Laney College football player and member of McClymonds' state championship team who was diagnosed with bone cancer in November 2018, succumbed Friday to the disease. He was 20," SFGate reports. A tribute in his honor was held last weekend in Oakland.

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