Friday, October 31, 2014

East Bay Assembly Candidate Will Spend Election Night in the Hospital

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Oct 31, 2014 at 4:51 PM

  • David Erlich,
Candidate David Erlich is hoping to serve residents in Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro in the state Assembly — and he’s hoping to get out of the hospital soon. Erlich, a Republican, facing incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Rob Bonta next Tuesday, has been in the hospital since October 9 after undergoing an emergency surgery for a perforated ulcer — a procedure that quickly developed complications. 

Shortly after the surgery, Erlich was discharged from San Leandro Hospital, but then returned eight hours later after suffering a bad reaction to the medication given by doctors. Upon his second stint in the hospital, doctors delivered more bad news: His gall bladder needs to be removed.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Letters to Bay Area Media: KTVU, Stop Being a Shill for San Francisco

by Elmano Gonsalves
Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 9:56 AM

KTVU in Oakland has been the biggest San Francisco Giants cheerleading station in the Bay Area. The pro-Giants coverage has been incessant and without any kind of impartial perspective. 

But KTVU needs to realize that not everyone in the Bay Area is a San Francisco Giants fan. We do have another Major League Baseball team here in the Bay Area called the Oakland A's, which drew more than 2 million fans to home games this year. Why not show a little humility and respect. We all know that KTVU is filled with San Francisco fans but out of respect for Oakland and Oakland A's fans, could you please tone it down a bit? The orange outfits and orange ties every single day has gotten a bit old. The constant fawning has been a bit tiring. There is, after all, other news out there that is much more important to the daily lives of Bay Area residents.

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Thursday Must Reads: Giants Fans Riot in San Francisco; Court Upholds $1 Million Judgment Against Oakland Contractor

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 9:14 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Drunken San Francisco Giants fans rioted last night following the team’s World Series victory over the Kansas City Royals, with two people getting shot in the melee and another person being stabbed, the Chron reports. Rowdy fans set fires, tossed powerful fireworks into crowds of people, and threw bottles at police officers, injuring several of them, and sending one cop to the hospital. Fans rioted the same way after the Giants’ 2010 and 2012 World Series victories.

2. A state appellate court upheld a $1 million judgment against an influential Oakland trucking contractor, ruling that AB Trucking illegally withheld meal and bathroom breaks from employees, the Chron reports. AB Trucking’s owner, Bill Aboudi, holds a lucrative parking contract with the City of Oakland and has won numerous political favors from the city council. The appellate court upheld a lower court judge’s decision, which noted that AB Trucking had routinely encouraged drivers “to relieve themselves in a bottle, via a funnel in the case of one female drive … or a bucket, in the case of another female driver, rather than take the time to stop to use the bathroom."

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Oakland Animal Services Hires New Director — Former San Francisco Animal Control Official

by Sam Levin
Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 5:14 PM

Buttons, a dog recently adopted from OAS. - BERT JOHNSON / FILE PHOTO
  • Bert Johnson / File photo
  • Buttons, a dog recently adopted from OAS.
Oakland Animal Services (OAS), the city-run shelter, finally has a new permanent director — a year-and-a-half after the longtime former director resigned. The city announced this afternoon that it has hired Rebecca Katz, a former director of animal care and control for the City and County of San Francisco, to run the Oakland shelter, which has been plagued for months by controversy and understaffing. As I covered in print earlier this month, a group of shelter volunteers and animal advocates have recently uncovered evidence that they say illustrates the shelter's repeated pattern of putting down adoptable dogs — even ones that outside rescue groups have already agreed to save. This euthanasia controversy has erupted as the city prepares to move the shelter out of the Oakland Police Department, transitioning it into a standalone city department. 

After OAS Director Megan Webb left the shelter in 2013 for a job in Virginia, the city launched a nearly yearlong search for her replacement, ultimately hiring Gary Hendel, a former municipal shelter director from Texas. But the city put Hendel on administrative leave in March, soon after he stepped up to the job, due to an internal investigation. The city has not disclosed details of that investigation and Karen Boyd, assistant to the city administrator (who is overseeing the OAS transition out of the police department), declined to give me any details on Hendel for my recent story. 

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Wednesday Must Reads: Oakland Female Activists Sue Over Jail Strip Searches; AG Says Data of 18.5 Million Californians Hacked Last Year

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Four veteran female political activists — including Anne Weills, the wife of Oakland mayoral contender Dan Siegel — filed suit against the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, contending that they were forced to strip off their shirts and were “paraded in front of male deputies and male prisoners” at Santa Rita Jail after being arrested at a police-brutality demonstration, the Chron reports. The newspaper reported that the women also said they were jammed into “overcrowded cells with feces, blood, urine, garbage, and rotting food on the floors and walls.”

Kamala Harris.
  • Kamala Harris.
2. State Attorney General Kamala Harris reported that 18.5 million Californians had their computer data hacked last year, the LA Times$ reports. It was a 600 percent jump over to 2012, and security experts say that the number of computer data breaches will continue to skyrocket.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: Brown Has No Plans to Renew Prop 30 Tax; Democrats Stump Heavily for Sbranti

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 8:48 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Governor Jerry Brown said he has no plans to ask voters to renew the Prop 30 tax increase when it expires in 2016, the Chron reports. Prop 30, which raised taxes on wealthy Californians, helped public schools avoid deep budget cuts during the recession. It has generated about $6 billion a year for the state. But Brown said he has always viewed the tax hike as being temporary.

Tim Sbranti.
  • Tim Sbranti.
2. Democratic leaders, including the governor, are campaigning heavily for Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, who is in a tough East Bay election battle with Republican Catharine Baker, the Bay Area News Group$ reports. The 16th Assembly District race is the only electoral contest in the Bay Area in which Republicans have a legitimate shot at winning on November 4.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Must Reads: Ex-NYC Mayor Bloomberg Runs Ad for Berkeley Soda Tax; Bryan Parker Dogged By Domestic Violence Allegations

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 8:55 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, has pumped at least $200,000 into the pro-soda tax campaign in Berkeley, funding a TV ad in favor of Measure D during the World Series, SF Gate reports. Before Bloomberg opened his checkbook, Big Soda had already spent more than a $1 million trying to defeat the measure. Bloomberg has decided not to back a similar soda tax measure in San Francisco, however.

Bryan Parker.
  • Bryan Parker.
2. The Trib reports that Oakland mayoral candidate Bryan Parker has a troubled history of alleged domestic violence abuse, involving two women. One of the women told Oakland police in 2006 that Parker had “choked her, punched her in the head, and pointed his 9 mm handgun in her face during arguments over several months,” the Trib$ wrote. Parker acknowledged behaving “ungentlemanly" toward the women, but denied the allegations of violent acts. The women never filed charges against him. Parker was endorsed for mayor by the San Francisco Chronicle and the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Remember: Election Day is Nov. 4

by Sarah Burke
Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 4:31 PM

According to a press release sent out by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters this week, approximately 27,000 Berkeley residents received vote-by-mail ballots in envelopes incorrectly stating that election day is Nov. 5. In fact, it is Nov. 4.

“We deeply regret any confusion this may be causing,’’ Registrar of Voters Tim Dupuis stated. Letters and emails are being sent to voters who received the incorrect information and other efforts are being made via social media and advertising materials to ensure that there is no confusion. According to the statement, the error was the fault of the printing vendor.

All vote-by-mail ballots must be received by the Registrar of Voters’ Office, or any polling station in Alameda County, by 8 p.m. on Nov. 4 in order to be considered valid —regardless of the date it was postmarked. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chevron Backs Away from Troubled Candidate

by John Geluardi
Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Chevron apparently severed ties with Al Martinez, one of the oil giant’s four favored candidates for the Richmond City Council this, after the Express published a report about his alleged criminal deeds while he was a Richmond police officer.
Al Martinez.
  • Al Martinez.
To date Chevron’s political action committee, Moving Forward, has spent $62,000 to promote Martinez, a retired US postmaster and former Richmond cop, and another $262,000 to attack his chief opponent, Eduardo Martinez, a retired school teacher who is no relation to Al. But after the Express detailed the criminal charges that had been levied against Al Martinez when he was a member of RPD in 1983, Chevron removed him from its Better Richmond campaign websites. The building trades sponsored group Richmond Working Families website, which is mostly funded by Chevron, also removed mention of Al Martinez.

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Thursday Must Reads: Oakland Council Approves Tenant Protection Ordinance; Oakland’s Finances Are Better than Expected

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

Dan Kalb.
  • Dan Kalb.
1. The Oakland City Council voted 5-0-3 to adopt a new law to protect tenants from being evicted by landlords who are seeking to raise rents, the Trib$ reports. The law, sponsored by Councilmember Dan Kalb, would make it easier for tenants to fight landlords in court. Along with Kalb, Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan, Libby Schaaf, Lynette Gibson McElhaney, and Noel Gallo voted for the Tenant Protection Ordinance. Councilmembers Desley Brooks, Pat Kernighan, and Larry Reid abstained.

2. Mayor Jean Quan announced that the City of Oakland’s finances are in better shape than expected and that the city has an additional $11.25 million to fund services and add to its reserves, the Trib$ reports. Quan plans to use some of the extra funds to speed up two police academies.

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