Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thursday Must Reads: First Fridays Rocked By Theft and Lawsuit; County Wants Oakland to Buy Its Share of Coliseum

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Jul 30, 2015 at 9:57 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:
click to enlarge First Fridays. - STEPHEN LOEWINSOHN/FILE PHOTO
  • Stephen Loewinsohn/File photo
  • First Fridays.

1. The nonprofit behind Oakland’s hugely popular First Fridays event has been rocked by theft, the sudden resignation of the organization’s treasurer, allegations of financial mismanagement, and a lawsuit by an ex-top executive, the Trib$ reports. Shari Godinez, head of the Koreatown Northgate Community Benefit District (KONO), revealed that $1,000 in cash, along with music equipment, had been stolen recently from the organization. KONO also has been sued by its former events coordinator who contends that the organization owes her $31,000 in back pay. And KONO’s former treasurer quit after he alleged that Godinez had been illegally paying herself with First Fridays funds.

2. Alameda County officials want the City of Oakland to buy out the county’s share of the Coliseum site, but it’s unclear how the city can afford to do so, the Bay Area News Group$ reports. County Supervisor Nate Miley contends that it would be easier for the city to deal directly with the Oakland A’s and Raiders in the teams’ attempts to build new stadiums on the site. But the cash-strapped city has no extra funds to buy out the county.


3. The UC Berkeley Theatre rehab project got a big boost this week when a major philanthropist announced that he was donating $1.3 million, Berkeleyside reports. The contribution by real estate investor Ted Taube should help complete the project, which will turn the historic theater into a music and events venue, along with a restaurant and bar.

4. In just the first six months of this year, Governor Jerry Brown steered $3.7 million in donations from major funders to his two charter schools in Oakland — the Oakland Military Institute and the Oakland School for the Arts, the SacBee$ reports.

5. In a move that should bring relief to the Bay Area's medical cannabis industry, US Attorney Melinda Haag announced her resignation from office, the Chron reports. Haag spearheaded a harsh crackdown on medical pot businesses in the state.

6. The California Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case brought by civil liberties groups that want police to release data about license-plate readers in the state, the Chron reports. The groups contend that police are collecting information on millions of innocent Californians and should not be able to keep it secret.

7. US Senator Dianne Feinstein is sponsoring a federal drought package that would earmark $1.3 billion for more dams in California, along with desalination and water recycling projects, the LA Times$ reports.

8. And Republican voters in California continue to downplay the impacts of climate change, the Mercury News$ reports, citing a new poll. Just 26 percent of registered Republicans think climate change presents a very serious threat to the state compared to 66 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of independents.

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