Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Tuesday's Briefing: Alameda County to seek variance from state, outdoor dining and Oakland Zoo could reopen soon

'Town Fridges' are popping up in Oakland

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Jul 14, 2020 at 4:00 AM

State variance, if granted, will allow the Oakland Zoo to reopen for outdoor-only uses. - OAKLAND ZOO
  • Oakland Zoo
  • State variance, if granted, will allow the Oakland Zoo to reopen for outdoor-only uses.


News you don't want to miss for July 14:

1. Alameda County supervisors gave their support for its public health officials to ask for a variance from the state allowing outdoor dining to resume in the county, the East Bay Citizen reports. Approval for the variance should be quick, the county's interim public health officer told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, and also allow the strugglin Oakland Zoo to reopen for outdoor-only uses.

2. State officials will soon require health insurance companies to cover the cost of coronavirus testing for most patients, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. BART, along with several transit agencies from around the country, is asking for up to $36 billion in additional federal aid due to significant drops in ridership due to covid-19, Bay City News reports.

4. Refrigerators with free food are popping up in Downtown, West Oakland, and Northgate neighborhoods, SFGate reports. The food is part of a grassroots effort to help feed people struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic.

5. Oakland Police are warning that with reductions in funding, a rise in violent crimes will follow, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Oakland City Council is eyeing further cuts to the police department's budget. $$

6. Burger Boogaloo, a rockabilly and punk music festival hosted in Oakland by movie director John Waters, is cancelled due to the pandemic, SFGate reports. The event will be rescheduled for next summer.

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Monday, July 13, 2020

Monday's Briefing: Alameda, Contra Costa Counties added to state's watch list as new cases soar; Body found at Oakland preserve

Is predictive policing falling into disfavor?

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Jul 13, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Alameda County is closing in on 8,000 total cases of the coronavirus, as of Monday. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Alameda County is closing in on 8,000 total cases of the coronavirus, as of Monday.


News you don't want to miss for July 13:

1. Alameda County was added to the state's watch list of counties where the number of coronavirus cases is rising rapidly, KPIX reports. If the trend does not show signs of reversing in the next three days, the state will reimpose restrictions on reopening. Alameda County has nearly 8,000 total coronavirus cases, and 148 deaths, as of Monday.

2. With a number of restaurants and local business districts promising outdoor reopenings over the weekend, Alameda County public health officials pulled the plug last Friday night, citing the rise in new cases and a change in the state's guidance rules. The move sparked confusion and defiance in a number of cities, where plans for outdoor dining moved forward, KPIX reports.

3. Contra Costa County was also added to the state's watch list over the weekend, KRON reports. Outdoor seating is still allowed, but patrons must wear masks, except when eating and drinking, starting today. Indoor religious services are again not allowed.

4. East Bay Regional Park District police found a male body at the Huckleberry Regional Preserve in Oakland on Sunday afternoon, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. With services like Doordash becoming less of a convenience and more of a necessity for many during the pandemic, Berkeley officials capped their commissions at 15 percent, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The rule will stay in place for 90 days or whenever indoor dining is allowed in the city. $$

6. Predictive policing's days may be coming to end soon, KQED reports. The software, which promises to use data to pinpoint potential hotspots for crime, has been criticized for exacerbating racial bias. Santa Cruz recently discontinued its use.

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Friday, July 10, 2020

Friday's Briefing: Alameda voters will be asked to repeal ban on multi-family housing; Berkeley Bowl employees test positive for covid-19

Bay Area covid-19 testing sites are struggling to keep up with demand

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Jul 10, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Alameda voters approved Measure A in 1973 to stop the demolition of Victorian homes, but opponents believe the charter amendment's true intent was to inhibit a diverse population on the island. - MEGAN SMALL
  • Megan Small
  • Alameda voters approved Measure A in 1973 to stop the demolition of Victorian homes, but opponents believe the charter amendment's true intent was to inhibit a diverse population on the island.


News you don't want to miss for July 10-12:

1. Alameda voters will be asked this November to repeal an amendment to its charter approved in 1973 that effectively banned the construction of multi-family housing on the island for a generation, the East Bay Citizen reports. The charter amendment known as Measure A has served as a lightning rod in Alameda politics for more than four decades.

2. Higher demand for coronavirus testing in the Bay Area due to the recent increase in new cases is eating away at supplies and creating a backlog at laboratories, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Some sites, like one in Hayward that closed early one day last week because it exhausted its number of daily kits, said demand is also rising because people returning to the workplace need verification that they do not have the coronavirus.

3. The McDonald's on Telepgraph Avenue in Oakland that led to up 25 employees and their families contracting the coronavirus, can reopen on Monday, but only if complies with 11 health and safety procedures ordered by an Alameda County judge, Bay City News reports.

4. A unspecified number of employees at Berkeley Bowl tested positive for the coronavirus, Berkeleyside reports. Management is not revealing how many workers were infected at the popular grocery store.

5. Three Contra Costa County sheriff's deputies were shot by a suspect after a hostage standoff in Knightsen, KPIX reports. The suspect was shot and died at the scene.

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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Thursday's Briefing: East Bay good deeds: Fundraising efforts to save the Oakland Zoo, and a West Oakland man's home yields results

Founder of the East Bay Dragons motorcycle club passes away

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Giraffe at the Oakland Zoo. Last week, zoo officials said the park must be allowed to reopen or it will risk closure due to lost revenues incurred during the pandemic. - OAKLAND ZOO
  • Oakland Zoo
  • Giraffe at the Oakland Zoo. Last week, zoo officials said the park must be allowed to reopen or it will risk closure due to lost revenues incurred during the pandemic.


News you don't want to miss for July 9:

1. A six-year-old girl from Castro Valley is leading a online fundraising effort to save the Oakland Zoo, which officials said is in danger of closing due to the pandemic, KRON reports. As of Thursday morning, her efforts have yielded $57,000 in donations.

2. Meanwhile, there is a fundraising effort to save the West Oakland home of Warriors superfan Lloyd Canamore, KTVU reports. The bank recently sought to take over Canamore's home, which is painted in blue and gold Warriors colors, or force him to pay $350,000, he said. The community effort has already raised $137,000, as of Thursday morning.

3. U.C. officials believe a large number of recent frat parties is behind a sharp increase in coronavirus cases at the university, the East Bay Times reports. The spread of the virus could put the scheduled opening of the fall semester in danger.

4. Bay Area residents seeking a modicum of leisurely normalcy in Wine Country are out of luck after a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in Napa County is leading to indoor dining, movie theaters, and wine tasting rooms, to again be shutdown, SFist reports.

5. Tobie Levingston, the founder of the East Bay Dragons, the Bay Area's first all-Black motorcycle club, has died, the East Bay Times reports.

6. Instead of stories about local businesses closing, here's one about one that is opening during the pandemic. Rocky's Market and The Kitchen, a grocery store/restaurant combo on the Oakland Waterfront at Brooklyn Basin is holding its grand opening this weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$



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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Wednesday's Briefing: Michael Drake selected as first Black U.C. president; A's pitcher tests positive for covid-19

Jack London Square's first brewery is closing

Wed, Jul 8, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Dr. Michael Drake was chosen by the U.C. Board of Regents on Tuesday to be the system's next president - UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
  • University of California
  • Dr. Michael Drake was chosen by the U.C. Board of Regents on Tuesday to be the system's next president


News you don't want to miss for July 8:

1. Dr. Michael Drake was selected to be the next president of the University of California system, Calmatters reports. He is the first Black president in the U.C. system's 152-year history. Drake previously led Ohio State and at U.C. Irvine. Drake, 70, will replace outgoing U.C. president Janet Napolitano.

2. Classes for the California State University system may be virtual not just for the fall semester, but the entire school year, its chancellor told a congressional subcommittee on the pandemic, EdSource reports.

3. "The Berkeley Way Project, the largest affordable and homeless housing development project in the city of Berkeley’s history, broke ground ceremoniously Tuesday morning," the Daily Californian reports. The development includes units for low- and very low-income families, housing for the formerly homeless, and homeless veterans.

4. Independent Brewing Company in Jack London Square is permanently closing due to covid-19, SFGate reports. It was the area's first brewery back in 2013.

5. A's rookie phenom Jesus Luzardo tested positive for the corornavirus, NBC Sports Bay Area reports. The team is counting on the young left-handed pitcher to be a major cog in its efforts this season. Luzardo will be quarantined for 14 days before he can resume training for the upcoming season, which begins on July 24.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Tuesday's Briefing: U.C. Berkeley eyes removal of controversial names from its buildings; A's open short season on July 24

Alameda restaurant is closing because owner is running for parliament

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Jul 7, 2020 at 4:00 AM

U.C. Berkeley has been in the process of reconciling its past with the renaming of some buildings named after controversial figures. - BERT JOHNSON
  • Bert Johnson
  • U.C. Berkeley has been in the process of reconciling its past with the renaming of some buildings named after controversial figures.


News you don't want to miss for July 7:

1. U.C. Berkeley is likely to rename LeConte Hall, which was named after scientists who owned slaves and helped the Confederacy fine-tune its recipe for gunpowder. SFGate reports a building named after anthropologist Alfred Kroeber could also be changed. The scientist's work with an indigenous man is coming under greater scrutiny.

2. The University of California Board of Regents will choose a successor for outgoing U.C. President Janet Napolitano on Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Napolitano announced last year that she will be stepping down from the post held since 2013. $$

3. Alameda's Park Street business corridor is taking another hit. Mama Papa Lithuania Restaurant is permanently closing because its owner is running for parliament in Lithuania, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The establishment was the only restaurant serving Lithuanian cuisine in the Bay Area.

4. California Democratic Party leaders want officials to stop accepting political contributions from police unions, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Although the local election season in the East Bay is just beginning, several progressive candidates have already weaned themselves off police union money. $$

5. The State Assembly will not reconvene next week after an assemblymember and others who work at the capitol tested positive for the coronavirus, the Associated Press reports. In the meantime, the assembly will be cleansed and sanitized.

6. The Oakland A's will open their truncated 60-game season on July 24 against the Los Angeles Angels, MLB.com reports. The A's will only play teams within their own division and the National League West, which includes the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Monday, July 6, 2020

Monday's Briefing: AC Transit may steeply cut bus services due to covid-19; Illegal fireworks to blame for Fourth of July fires

Testing issues block A's from beginning workouts

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Jul 6, 2020 at 3:42 PM

AC Transit is losing $5 million in lost fare revenue each month during the pandemic, officials said. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • AC Transit is losing $5 million in lost fare revenue each month during the pandemic, officials said.


News you don't want to miss for July 6:

1. AC Transit is looking at the possibility of slashing bus service by up to 30 percent due to a sharp decline in ridership due to the pandemic, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Weekday ridership has dropped from 189,000 to 53,000, as of late May. $$

2. Fourth of July sparked a large number of fires in the Bay Area, including a few significant blazes in Contra Costa County on Saturday night, ABC7 reports.

3. Crowds at Lake Merritt on Saturday night hindered Oakland firefighters from quickly attending to a medical emergency in the area, SFGate reports. The call should have taken 2-3 minutes for firefighters to respond, said a spokesperson for OFD, but, instead, took 14 minutes.

4. Two supporters of President Trump, attempted to cover up a large Black Lives Matter mural painted on a street in Martinez, the Bay City News reports.

5. A problem with its covid-19 testing stopped the Oakland A's from conducting their first workouts at the Coliseum over the weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The delay in receiving covid-19 tests was exacerbated by the holiday weekend. $$

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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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