Saturday, June 29, 2013

Port Commissioner Crowdfunds Run for Mayor

by Vanessa Rancaño
Sat, Jun 29, 2013 at 5:31 PM

People crowdfund just about everything these days: personal artistic pursuits, entrepreneurial ventures, and of course there’s the life-size statue of RoboCop in Detroit that got funded at $67,000. I’m even considering launching a Kickstarter bid for Lasik surgery because I have this mounting paranoia that the apocalypse will come and I won’t be able to find my glasses and I’ll die like Piggy in Lord of the Flies —tormented by loincloth-clad boys and crushed by a boulder. (That or I just won’t be able to see well enough to distinguish my fellow survivors from the mutant geese that will be running what’s left of Oakland.)

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Oakland Landlords Can Still Pass Their Debt Onto Tenants, For Now

by Elly Schmidt-Hopper
Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 12:05 PM

The Community and Economic Development Committee of the Oakland City Council failed yesterday to decide whether to reform or remove “debt services” as a justification to raise rent.

Oakland is one of only a few districts that allow landlords with a negative cash flow to pass that debt (typically the mortgage) onto tenants by increasing rent. The Oakland Rent Board is the only board in the state of California that allows the landlord to pass up to 95 percent of said debt onto renters.

Connie Taylor of the Housing, Residential Rent and Relocation Board recommended capping debt service at 7 percent and creating a grandfather amendment to exempt established landlords. Taylor also mentioned the option of removing the debt service provision entirely.

The issue is contentious and opinions varied widely during the meeting. Fifteen members of the public came forward to discuss debt services, and their arguments fell cleanly into two categories: tenant rights activists, and landlords/developers.

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East Bay to Celebrate Gay Marriage Victories Today (Updated)

by Kathleen Richards
Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 10:23 AM

The Supreme Court issued historic rulings on gay marriage today, dismissing an appeal by Prop 8 supporters and stating that married same-sex couples are entitled to the same federal benefits as opposite-sex ones. While the justices did not rule on the constitutionality of states’ rights to prohibit same-sex marriages or give guidance on the effect of their ruling, legal analysts believe today’s decision regarding Prop 8 will open the door for same-sex marriages in California.

Time to celebrate, yall.
  • Time to celebrate, y'all.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Help for Budding Businesses in KONO

by Madeleine Thomas
Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 1:58 PM

Oakland’s Koreatown Northgate (KONO) district and GREEN LIFE GREEN LEEF, a micro enterprise consulting firm, are ready to launch a series of free workshops for budding local entrepreneurs, artists, and residents.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Oakland and Alameda County Agree to Pay Protesters $1 Million

by Ali Winston
Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 10:28 AM

The City of Oakland and Alameda County have agreed to pay $1.025 million in damages and legal fees to demonstrators arrested on November 5, 2010 in Eastlake during protests over ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle's sentencing for the killing of Oscar Grant. Evidence in the case showed that the Oakland Police Department violated a 2004 court order concerning the handling of large numbers of protesters. None of the 152 people arrested that night by Oakland police were charged with criminal offenses related to the march, and the sheer volume of arrestees overwhelmed Alameda County sheriff’s deputies, resulting in dozens of people being held on buses while handcuffed for up to six hours.

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Monday Must Reads: Oakland Council Nears Budget Compromise; Public Employees Make Bank on Pension Perk

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 7:33 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland City Council is closing in on a budget compromise after Councilmembers Desley Brooks, Larry Reid, and Noel Gallo released a revised proposal late last week that included funding for eleven new civilian positions in the police department, the Trib reports. A budget proposal from Council President Pat Kernighan, backed by Councilwoman Libby Schaaf, wanted funding for fifteen civilian positions. The two sides also must reach agreement on whether to continue paying for CHP patrols in the city or set aside funds for raises for non-sworn employees. The council is scheduled to vote on the budget this Thursday. Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan, Dan Kalb, and Lynette Gibson-McElhaney are also working on a proposal.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Must Reads: Brown Reverses Course on Public Records; Federal Judges Threaten to Hold Governor in Contempt

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Jun 21, 2013 at 6:56 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Governor Jerry Brown abruptly changed course Thursday and said he would not sign legislation that would have gutted California’s public records law, the LA Times$ reports. Instead, Brown said he intends to sign a new Assembly bill that will keep the California Public Records Act intact. State Senate President Darrell Steinberg also reversed his stance and said the Senate plans to pass the Assembly bill as well. Brown and state senators, including Loni Hancock and Mark DeSaulnier of the East Bay, had come under heavy criticism for their plan to eviscerate parts of the records law in order to save the state money. Brown and Steinberg said they will also support a ballot measure next year that would enshrine the public records law in the state constitution.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Express Joins Coalition of Media Organizations Protesting the Gutting of California’s Public Records Act

by Kathleen Richards
Thu, Jun 20, 2013 at 10:12 AM

In case you missed it, California’s Public Records Act is in danger of being gutted, and the impact on the public’s right to know could be severe. State legislative leaders — including East Bay state Senators Loni Hancock and Mark DeSaulnier — quietly tucked a last-minute bill that weakens the transparency law into the package of budget legislation for the next fiscal year.

Despite outrage over the bill, Governor Jerry Brown strongly indicated last night that he plans to sign the legislation, which proponents argue will save the state from having to reimburse local governments millions of dollars a year when they comply with the Public Records Act. The bill would allow local governments and public agencies to reject public records requests without citing a reason, and would let local governments ignore the current requirement that they respond to requests within ten days.

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Thursday Must Reads: Brown Poised to Gut Public Records Law; Two Senators Say NSA Phone Program Has Not Disrupted Terrorist Plots

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Jun 20, 2013 at 6:54 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Governor Jerry Brown strongly indicated last night that he plans to sign legislation that would eviscerate key aspects of the California Public Records Act, the Bay Area News Group reports. Brown also plans to reject a move yesterday by the state Assembly that would reverse course and keep the records law intact. The governor and state Senate leaders also contended that the weakening of the records law would only be temporary and that they would support a constitutional amendment for the November 2014 ballot that would restore the law. Brown and state Senate leaders claim that the the legislation that guts the records law will save the state millions of dollars next year.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wednesday Must Reads: San Jose’s Suit Against MLB Faces Uphill Battle; Coliseum Sewage Backup Caused by Clogged Toilet

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 7:05 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The City of San Jose’s lawsuit against Major League Baseball, concerning the A’s attempt to move to the South Bay, faces an uphill battle in the courts, according to legal experts, the Chron$ reports. San Jose is seeking to overturn baseball’s antitrust exemption, which allows the league to block clubs from moving into the territory of another franchise, and the US Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the league’s exemption over the past century. In this case, the San Francisco Giants own the territorial rights to San Jose and don’t want the A’s to move there.

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