Friday, September 29, 2017

Laney Students and Staff Express Concerns About the A’s Ballpark Plans

“This​ ​will​ ​flush​ ​out​ ​more​ ​of​ ​us.”

by Madison Silva
Fri, Sep 29, 2017 at 2:13 PM

With​ ​the​ ​Oakland A’s’ decision to build a new ballpark next to Laney College, students and staffers are raising serious concerns about the impacts of a new stadium ​on the campus and the nearby community. ​A’s President Dave Kaval is in negotiations with the Peralta Community College District to build a new ballpark on a site now occupied by the district’s headquarters, next to the Laney campus.​

Michelle Jones. - PHOTO BY MADISON SILVA
  • Photo by Madison Silva
  • Michelle Jones.
“Here​ ​we​ ​sit​ ​in​ ​a​ ​school​ ​that’s​ ​pretty​ ​deprived — ​it​ ​has​ ​bad​ ​bathrooms​ ​and​ ​bad​ ​plumbing,” said student Michelle​ Jones. ​“The​ ​structure​ ​of​ ​the​ ​school hasn’t​ ​been​ ​taken​ ​care​ ​of.​ ​Would​ ​this​ ​stadium​ ​take​ ​care​ ​of​ ​the​ ​structure​ ​of​ ​the​ ​school?​ ​Or​ ​would the​ ​school​ ​sit​ ​with​ ​busted​ ​pipes,​ ​beside​ ​a​ ​billion​-dollar​ ​stadium?”

Jones ​believes​ ​the​ ​stadium​ ​will​ ​have​ ​a​ ​negative​ ​impact​ ​on​ ​more​ ​than​ ​just​ ​Laney​ ​students.​ “This​ ​will​ ​flush​ ​out​ ​more​ ​of​ ​us …,” Jones added, referring to the surrounding neighborhood, which is inhabited by many immigrant families and people of color.​ ​“We’re​ ​the​ ​environment;​ ​you​ ​don’t​ ​just​ ​come​ ​in​ ​and move​ ​us​ ​out.​ ​You​ ​don’t​ ​displace​ ​people.”

While​ ​attending​ ​Laney​ ​College,​ ​Mauricio​ ​Lopez-Perez​ ​also​ ​works​ ​at​ the Oakland Coliseum and ​Oracle​ ​Arena.​ ​“Because​ ​of​ ​the​ ​A’s​ ​coming​ ​to​ ​Laney,​ ​I’ll​ ​be​ ​affected​ ​personally.​ ​I’d probably​ ​be​ ​out​ ​of​ ​a​ ​job,”​ ​said​ Lopez-Perez.

Mauricio Lopez-Perez - PHOTO BY MADISON SILVA
  • Photo by Madison Silva
  • Mauricio Lopez-Perez
He added that if ​the​ ​A’s ​were​ ​to​ ​build next to Laney, ​it​ ​would​ ​create significant traffic problems for students.​ “Traffic​ ​here​ ​is​ ​already​ ​bad​ ​enough — ​getting​ ​to​ ​school,​ ​getting​ ​to​ ​an​ ​event.​ ​I​ ​have​ ​to commute​ ​here​ ​every day.​ ​It​ ​would​ ​create​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​pollution​ ​and​ ​congestion​ ​in​ ​the​ ​streets.”
Lopez-Perez​​ ​also believes​ ​the​ ​construction,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​the​ ​stadium​ ​itself​ ​“will​ ​create​ ​a​ ​huge​ ​distraction during​ ​class.”​ ​

Evelyn​ ​Lord,​ ​head​ ​librarian​ ​at​ ​Laney​ ​College,​ is worried about the impacts of tens of thousands of fans coming to games. “If​ ​a​ ​stadium​ ​comes​,​ ​then we’re​ ​going​ ​to​ ​have​ ​to​ ​deal​ ​with​ ​all​ ​that​ ​comes​ ​with​ ​a​ ​stadium.​ ​That​ ​means​ ​that​ ​there​ ​will​ ​be crowds​ ​drinking,​ ​coming​ ​in​ ​through​ ​our​ ​campus,​ ​using​ ​our​ ​facilities,​ ​making​ ​noise.​ ​There​ ​will​ ​be a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​noise.​ ​There​ ​will​ ​probably​ ​be​ ​more​ ​than​ ​just​ ​games,​ ​if​ ​they​ ​build​ ​a​ ​stadium.

“We’re​ ​concerned​ ​about​ ​the​ ​future​ ​of​ ​the​ ​college,”​ ​Lord​ ​continued.​ ​“If​ ​the​ ​learning​ ​environment was​ ​disrupted​ ​that​ ​much,​ ​then​ ​it​ ​would​ ​be​ ​hard​ ​to​ ​maintain​ ​our​ ​enrollment.​ ​The​ ​noise,​ ​not​ ​just from​ ​the​ ​stadium,​ ​but​ ​from​ ​the​ ​construction​ ​that​ ​would​ ​go​ ​on​ ​for​ ​years.​ ​That​ ​would​ ​be​ ​very​ ​hard to​ ​deal​ ​with.”

One​ ​of​ ​the​ ​top​ ​reasons​ ​why​ ​community​ ​members​ ​are​ ​against​ ​the​ ​stadium​ ​is​ ​the​ ​possibility​ ​of displacement.​ ​“Many​ ​of​ ​our​ ​students​ ​come​ ​from​ ​neighborhoods​ ​around​ ​Laney​ ​College,”​ ​Lord said.​ ​“We​ ​are​ ​connected​ ​completely​ ​with​ ​the​ ​community​ ​around​ ​us​ ​and​ ​beyond.​ ​We​ ​don’t​ ​want bad​ ​things​ ​to​ ​come​ ​to​ ​our​ ​community,​ ​and​ ​we​ ​don’t​ ​want​ ​bad​ ​things​ ​to​ ​come​ ​to​ ​our​ ​college.”

When​ ​asked​ ​to​ ​elaborate​ ​on​ ​displacement concerns​, especially for the nearby community and small businesses that may face much higher rents if a stadium is built, Lord added: “There​ ​are​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​studies​ ​and​ ​examples​ ​of​ ​Chinatown​ ​districts​ ​that​ ​have​ ​been​ ​essentially destroyed.​ ​It’s​ ​happened time​ ​and​ ​time​ ​again.​ ​We​ ​have​ ​so​ ​many​ ​immigrants​ ​that​ ​come​ ​through​ ​Chinatown,​ ​and​ ​they​ ​go​ ​to Laney​ ​College.”

PHOTO BY MADISON SILVA
  • Photo by Madison Silva
At an anti-ballpark rally and press conference earlier this month at Laney, Roger Porter, a faculty member of the Laney English Department, said a stadium will dramatically impact life on campus. “​Let’s​ ​be​ ​clear​ ​about​ ​something:​ ​there’s​ ​no​ ​way​ ​that​ ​you​ ​can​ ​build​ ​a​ ​stadium​ ​… ​and not​ ​totally​ ​disrupt​ ​our​ ​institution​,​”​ ​said Porter, who​ ​was​ ​a​ ​student​ ​himself​ ​at Laney​ ​and​ ​has​ ​been​ ​a​ ​long​ ​time​ ​Oakland​ ​resident.​ ​“​As​ ​much​ ​as​ ​we​ ​appreciate​ ​[the​ ​A’s]​ ​staying​,” he​ ​added,​ ​“​we​ ​believe​ ​that​ ​ultimately​ ​this​ ​is​ ​gentrification​, ​and​ ​they​ ​are​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​uproot​ ​our institution.​”​

​Laney student John​ ​Lee said at the rally that he’s an A’s fan but has lost respect for the organization because of selection of the Peralta Community College District headquarters, next to the Laney campus.​ ​“​I’m​ ​becoming​ ​less​ ​proud​ ​to​ ​wear​ ​my​ ​hometown​ ​gear​,” ​he said.​ ​“​I,​ ​unfortunately,​ ​have​ ​to​ ​view​ ​my​ ​home​ ​team​ ​as​ ​more​ ​than​ ​just​ ​a​ ​team,​ ​but​ ​actually​ ​as​ ​a business​ ​and​ ​an​ ​entity​ ​that​ ​is​ ​making​ ​a​ ​decision​ ​that​ ​is​ ​more​ ​about​ ​profit​ ​than​ ​it​ ​is​ ​for​ ​people.​”

Friday’s Briefing: Oakland Police Tased a Man to Death; Berkeley High Rocked by Racism and Anti-Semitism

Plus, Gov. Brown set to sign housing package today.

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Sep 29, 2017 at 9:58 AM

oakland_police.jpg
Stories you shouldn’t miss for Sept. 29, 2017:

1. Oakland police officers Tased a man to death on Thursday after an injury crash in the Fruitvale district, reports Matthias Gafni of the East Bay Times$. Oakland’s homicide team is investigating the incident. According to police radio traffic, officers chased a man who fled from a vehicle crash before Tasing him.

2. Berkeley High School has been rocked by the revelation of racist and Anti-Semitic posts on a student-created Instagram account, reports Natalie Orenstein of Berkeleyside. “The account was reportedly called ‘I Hate Jews’ and included posts featuring swastikas drawn over students’ photos, anti-black racial slurs, students doing the Nazi salute, and derogatory references to people with disabilities. One post was reportedly a screenshot from the app ‘Find My Friends,’ where a BHS student had set his home address to Auschwitz.”

3. Gov. Jerry Brown is set to sign a package of bills today designed to boost affordable housing construction in California, reports Ben Adler of Capital Radio. The legislation includes a $4 billion ballot measure for affordable housing, an increase in real estate transfer tax fees to finance affordable housing, and new rules designed to prevent cities from blocking housing construction.

4. ICYMI: The Golden State Warriors agreed to pay $787,000 to the city of Oakland for the June 2017 championship parade. The team had disputed the city’s charges but agreed to finally pay the bill after Oakland reduced it. As part of the agreement, the city also rescinded its request that the Warriors also pay for the 2015 championship parade.

5. San Francisco state Assemblymember Phil Ting announced that he will introduce legislation to ban the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles in the state after 2040, reports Alexei Koseff of the Sacramento Bee$. Ting said California won’t meet its greenhouse-gas reduction goals unless it moves to electric vehicles.

6. And President Trump is coming under increasing criticism for the federal government’s woefully slow response to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Puerto Rico, Politico reports. The U.S. territory was devastated by Hurricane Maria more than a week ago.

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Warriors Pay $786,998 for 2017 Oakland Victory Parade

by Darwin BondGraham
Thu, Sep 28, 2017 at 2:27 PM

Owner Joe Lacob said he would pay "every dollar." - PHOTO BY NICHOLAS WONG
  • Photo By Nicholas Wong
  • Owner Joe Lacob said he would pay "every dollar."

The City of Oakland and the Golden State Warriors basketball team resolved a dispute today after the Warriors agreed to pay $786,998 for their June championship parade.

Warriors' owner Joe Lacob said during the parade celebrating the team's 2017 NBA Championship that the team would pick up all the costs of the event, which included hundreds of police and fire staffers as well as workers from the city's public works department who blocked off streets and cleaned up after the festivities.

Just after the parade, several media outlets reported that the Warriors had paid the city already.

But the team didn't. Instead, the city submitted a bill in July for over $1 million. This included $815,896 specifically for the 2017 parade costs and another $244,278 for the 2015 parade. The bill for the 2017 parade was more than double the estimate the city originally provided to the Warriors.

The team's owners contested the bill and asked that it be lowered. The dispute between the city and Warriors, and the fact the team hadn't actually paid, was only revealed in late August after Oakland responded to a public records request from the Express.

The Warriors, however, still appear to be unhappy with the amount they had to pay.

"We have made this decision despite our disappointment with the process and the large disparity between the two estimates," representatives of the Warriors wrote in a statement issued today.

The city issued a more positive statement: "The City is grateful for the $786,998 payment, which offsets all taxpayer costs it took to provide Police, Fire, and Public Works personnel to staff such a massive public event."

In the end, the city only billed the Warriors for the 2017 parade, not the 2015 event also. And Oakland trimmed $54,484 from the 2017 bill.

Oakland Council Delays Considering Reform of Tenant Protection Loophole

Tenants call it a 'loophole' that allows landlords to undermine rent control

by Darwin BondGraham
Thu, Sep 28, 2017 at 1:36 PM

screen_shot_2017-09-28_at_12.33.09_pm.png

The Oakland City Council's Rules and Legislation Committee decided today not to advance hearings on legislation proposed by Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan that would eliminate a rule tenants say is being used by landlords to remove housing from the city's rent control law.

The rule states that if a landlord "substantially rehabilitates" a building — by improving each apartment unit — the landlord can permanently exempt the entire property from rent control. Substantial rehabilitation is defined as spending more than 50 percent of what it would cost to build an equivalent number of new housing units.

Tenants say the exemption is a loophole that doesn't fulfill any reasonable public policy goals, and they say it's resulting in renters losing their homes or being hit with large rent increases.

Marlon Jones, who has lived in the same four-unit apartment building for 42 years, told members of the committee that she's facing a large rent increase and will be displaced if her landlord, JDW Enterprises, succeeds in exempting the property from rent control.

"JDW bought the building five years ago, but it wasn't unoccupied," said Jones. "Please don't let them make us homeless."

The only other city in California that allows for exempting buildings from rent control through substantial rehabilitation is San Francisco, but its requirements are much stricter. Buildings have to be condemned, and landlords have to show that they've spent 75 percent of the cost of newly constructed residential buildings of the same number of units and type of construction. The result is that it's rarely used, and it's mostly only employed to fix up abandoned properties and bring them back onto the rental market.

By contrast, many Oakland buildings currently being considered for certificates of exemption from rent control through substantial rehabilitation have been continually inhabited for years by tenants.

Eliana Greenberg, another tenant whose landlord is petitioning to exempt her building from rent control, said the law doesn't make sense because it allows landlords to add up all the costs of "minimal repairs" over many years and count it toward rehab, even if the property still has significant problems.

"We still have rats in our walls and leaks in the roof," she said about her building, "but because he can say he spent $160,000 over the past ten years it should be exempt in perpetuity."

No property owners or landlord advocacy groups spoke at the committee hearing today about the proposed legislation. But Councilmember Larry Reid's chief of staff, Ray Leon, told the committee that Reid and city staffers had conversations with "several principals" who had concerns about the proposed elimination of the exemption. Leon declined to provide more details about who has expressed concerns with Kaplan's proposal.

But city staffers also opposed Kaplan's request. Michelle Byrd, Oakland's director of housing and community development, said it would be premature to schedule hearings on the elimination of the rule until the rent board discusses it. Byrd said she would rather "sit down and look at the ordinance with stakeholders" to consider "holistic" changes, rather than make quick changes in a piecemeal approach.

Members of the committee agreed and voted to delay.

They'll bring back the scheduling request to the Oct. 12 rules and legislation committee meeting where it can be considered for placement on a future community and economic development committee agenda. If it makes it that far, it's still uncertain if it would get enough votes to advance to the full council, and it's unclear who else on the council might support eliminating the loophole.

Tenants appeared to be unhappy with the councilmembers' decision.

"We need this taken care of now," said Greenberg. "These landlords are taking advantage."

Thursday’s Briefing: 70% of Bay Area Residents Want More Housing in Cities; Ghost Ship Owner to Get $3.1M Payout

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Sep 28, 2017 at 10:15 AM

2330_webster_st.jpg
Stories you shouldn’t miss for Sept. 28, 2017:

1. Seventy percent of Bay Area residents and nearly two-thirds of Californians say they favor building more housing in cities to deal with the housing shortage, reports Katy Murphy of the Bay Area News Group$, citing a new survey by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. Renters are far more likely to support new housing than homeowners — 73 percent versus 55 percent. In addition, whites were less likely to support new housing than people of color. A majority of Republicans oppose new housing.

2. Chor Ng, owner of the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland where 36 people died in a fire last December, is set to receive a $3.1 million insurance payout, the East Bay Times$ reports. Ng has also managed to avoid criminal prosecution despite the fact that she was aware of the dangerous conditions inside the Ghost Ship. However, she is being sued by victims’ families.

3. California will hold its 2020 presidential primary in March rather than June, under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, reports Christopher Cadelago of the Sacramento Bee$. The change is designed to give California voters a greater say in determining the next presidential nominees.

4. California would need to increase its housing supply by 20 percent in order to achieve just a 10 percent reduction in prices, reports Peter Fimrite of the San Francisco Chronicle$, citing a new forecast from UCLA economists. The problem is that the state has failed for decades to build enough housing, causing prices to soar out of control.

5. Seventy-three percent of Alameda residents say the cost of housing on the Island is an “extremely or very serious problem,” reports Peter Hegarty of the East Bay Times$, citing a new city-commissioned survey. In addition, 42 percent of Alamedans said sea level rise falls into that category. Sixty percent identified traffic congestion in Alameda as a problem.

6. A 277-unit, eight-story housing project has been proposed in Oakland for a vacant parcel next to I-980, at Brush, 7th, Castro, and 6th streets, reports Roland Li of the San Francisco Business Times$. The property is owned by Caltrans.

7. Law enforcement officials identified the homicide suspect who died in a shoot-out with police on I-880 in Emeryville yesterday as Demilo Trayuon Hodge, 45, of San Leandro, reports Harry Harris of the East Bay Times$. Hodge was wanted in connection with a 2015 killing in Fairfield.

8. Half of California voters say they do not want U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein to run for reelection again next year, reports Phil Wilon of the LA Times$, citing a new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California. Feinstein, 84, has not yet announced whether she plans to run again.

9. And a majority of Americans think that President Trump is unfit for office, Politico reports, citing a new Quinnipiac University poll. The poll also reports that “59 percent say Trump is not honest, 60 percent say he does not have good leadership skills, and 61 percent say he does not share their values.”

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wednesday’s Briefing: Schaaf Proposes Sanctioned Homeless Camps; Oakland May Miss Jan. 1 Deadline for Legal Pot

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 10:16 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss for Sept. 27, 2017:

libby_schaaf_3.jpg
1. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is pushing forward with a plan to create three city-sanctioned homeless camps that would house people in small Tuff Sheds rather than tents, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The encampments, which Schaaf is calling “outdoor navigation centers,” would include toilets, fencing, security, and daytime staff managers. The centers would be located in North Oakland, West Oakland, and East Oakland, on public property near to current homeless encampments. Schaaf said the city wants to get the camps “off the sidewalks” and homeless people into “safety and services.”

2. Oakland and most other large California cities are expected to miss the Jan. 1 deadline for permitting the legal sale of cannabis for recreational use, reports David Downs of the San Francisco Chronicle$. Many cities, especially ones with bustling medical cannabis industries like Oakland, have been slow to implement the necessary regulations for permitting legal pot businesses.

3. Numerous students from Alameda’s Encinal High School took a knee and raised their fists during the playing of the National Anthem on Monday at a planned event after school, reports Sarah Tan for the East Bay Times$. “‘The impetus was President Trump’s remarks,’ Encinal government and economics teacher Kevin Gorham said. ‘A few students texted me and said, ‘We need to do something about this and promote freedom of expression, peacefully.’”

4. Firefighters were able to control a four-alarm wildfire in the Oakland hills on Tuesday before it could spread to homes, the East Bay Times$ reports. The blaze broke out in the old Leona Quarry off Edwards Avenue in East Oakland and quickly spread uphill toward Campus Drive, before fire crews were able to stop it.

5. Berkeley middle school teacher Yvette Felarca was again arrested during a protest against neo-Nazis — this time in Berkeley, Berkeleyside reports. Felarca, who was arrested last year for allegedly punching a white supremacist in Sacramento, was arrested in Berkeley on Tuesday on suspicion of battery and resisting arrest.

6. Millions of Americans in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico are living in misery, without power, water, and food, CNN reports. Puerto Rican officials say the Trump administration has been slow to react and provide help.

7. President Trump plans to unveil a sweeping tax plan today that would provide significant tax cuts for the wealthy and promises to explode the federal government’s deficit, The New York Times$ reports.

8. And Senate GOP leadership finally abandoned their efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare this year after failing to secure enough votes, The New York Times$ reports.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Attorneys Tell Federal Judge OPD Commanders Should Still be Disciplined for Mishandling Sex Crimes Case

by Darwin BondGraham
Tue, Sep 26, 2017 at 10:38 AM

John Burris (left) and Jim Chanin. - DARWIN BONDGRAHAM
  • Darwin BondGraham
  • John Burris (left) and Jim Chanin.

The two private attorneys who play a key role in the oversight of the Oakland Police Department plan to argue next week that OPD has failed to hold commanders in the department accountable for mishandling the Celeste Guap sex abuse case.

In a brief submitted to federal court yesterday, attorneys John Burris and Jim Chanin wrote that they "fundamentally disagree with the OPD's decision not to hold individual supervisors and commanders accountable through the disciplinary process for the deficiencies identified in the Swanson report."

As the Express has previously reported, the Swanson report was an examination of how the Oakland police botched the first criminal and internal affairs investigations of multiple cops who sexually exploited an underage girl known as Celeste Guap. In the report by court-appointed attorney Edward Swanson, several high-ranking OPD supervisors were shown to have taken steps that led to the premature closure of these cases.

The City of Oakland is due back in federal court on Oct. 2 for a hearing that will consider whether the Oakland police adequately responded to the sex crime scandal that rocked the department last year, among other issues.

The city released its "Critical Incident Review" of the sex crimes scandal earlier this month, notifying the public and court that it will not be imposing discipline on any more officers, including the police supervisors who mishandled the Guap case.

Last week, OPD Chief Anne Kirkpatrick directed blame at former Chief Sean Whent for the failed investigations that resulted in a virtual coverup until the court-appointed Police Monitor Robert Warshaw learned of the investigations and intervened. Kirkpatrick also defended her decision to promote two of the officers who were shown in the Swanson report to have mishandled the Guap case.

Burris and Chanin wrote in their brief, however, that there are still police officers in charge of the department who are responsible for the poorly conducted investigations and violations of the negotiated settlement agreement. They want these officers disciplined, if possible.

"[W]e are disappointed with [Kirkpatrick's] unwillingness to use the disciplinary process to investigate, and if appropriate, to hold commanders and supervisors accountable for their failings," they wrote.

Burris and Chanin also disclosed in their brief that OPD and the Oakland city administrator told them during several prior conversations that the police commanders who botched the Guap cases can't be disciplined because the one year time limit to investigate and punish them has run out.

But Burris and Chanin write in their brief that this one year time limit may not apply for several reasons. And if it does, it may not rule out discipline because the Swanson report was only finished in June of this year. Because the report provides new evidence of misconduct and violations of department policy, the clock only started running three months ago, giving the city nine more months to impose discipline, the attorneys wrote.

In the City of Oakland's brief submitted to the court yesterday also, City Attorney Barbara Parker wrote that while the city doesn't plan to discipline any more officers, including commanders, for mishandling the Guap case, it does plan on implementing other recommendations made in the Swanson report.


Tuesday’s Briefing: Oakland Students Take Knee While Playing Anthem; Bay Area Economy Was Blistering Hot in 2016

Plus, Oakland lowers bill for Warriors’ 2017 parade.

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Sep 26, 2017 at 10:08 AM

PHOTO COURTESY OF OUSD
  • Photo courtesy of OUSD

Stories you shouldn’t miss for Sept. 26, 2017:

1. Oakland public school students took a knee last night as they played the National Anthem at an Oakland A’s game, reports Lisa Fernandez of KTVU. In addition, A’s fans gave a standing ovation to team catcher Bruce Maxwell, who on Saturday became the first Major League Baseball player to take a knee during the anthem.

2. The Bay Area economy grew three times faster than the national average last year, reports Riley McDermid of the San Francisco Business Times$, citing a new report from the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. The San Francisco-Oakland metro area grew 5.4 in 2016 — the second fastest in the state, after the San Jose area. Job growth, however, has slowed in 2017.

3. The city of Oakland lowered its bill to the Golden State Warriors for the team’s 2017 championship victory parade by about $29,000, reports Matthias Gafni of the East Bay Times$. The Warriors had promised to pay for the parade but this summer balked at some of the expenses billed by the city. Oakland says the cost of the parade is now $787,000, plus the city is asking the team to pay $244,000 for the 2015 parade.

4. Berkeley police found nearly 700 pounds of psychedelic mushrooms valued at about $1 million in a home on Alcatraz Avenue, reports Nanette Asimov of the San Francisco Chronicle. Police were responding to a domestic violence report at the time and arrested a couple who occupied the home.

5. Uber and Lyft motorists accounted for about two-thirds of the traffic-related violations in downtown San Francisco, reports Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez of the San Francisco Examiner, citing police department data. Uber and Lyft drivers repeatedly were cited for driving in bus and bike lanes and obstructing traffic.

6. The Hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego County has resulted in 16 deaths and sickened 450 people in the past few months, reports Jeff McDonald of the San Diego Union-Tribune. City and county officials are coming under fire for failing to install portable toilets for homeless people and thus allowing the highly contagious disease to spread through unsanitary conditions.

7. The governor of Puerto Rico says the island is facing a massive humanitarian crisis and is pleading for help from Washington, D.C., but so far, the Trump administration has been slow to respond to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria last week, CNN reports. The massive storm left millions of people without drinking water and electricity.

8. At least six White House advisers, including Jared Kushner, used personal email for official business this year, engaging in some of the same activity for which President Trump strongly criticized Hillary Clinton during last year’s campaign, The New York Times$ reports.

9. And Senate Republicans are preparing to pull the plug today on their latest attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare after yet another GOP senator — Susan Collins of Maine — came out against the plan on Monday, The New York Times$ reports.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Urban Shield Task Force Appointee and Gun Dealer Calls Police Critics 'Terrorists'

The actions by Mike Grant, owner of the Gun Repair Unlimited in Dublin, prompted an apology from a county supervisor.

by Darwin BondGraham
Mon, Sep 25, 2017 at 3:27 PM

Mike Grant (center) accepting a certificate of appriciation from the Dublin City Council after donating $1,000 to Dublin Police Services in June. - CITY OF DUBLIN
  • City of Dublin
  • Mike Grant (center) accepting a certificate of appriciation from the Dublin City Council after donating $1,000 to Dublin Police Services in June.

A Dublin resident who was appointed to an official county task force convened to address concerns about the Urban Shield police training exercise has called critics of the event "terrorists" and accused them having "overseas" financial ties to "bad people."

Mike Grant, owner of the Gun Repair Unlimited, a federally licensed firearms dealer, was appointed to the task force by Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty.

The task force was set up to address concerns that Urban Shield has militarized local police agencies and that some of its content has been racially insensitive. Some people have also expressed concern about the Urban Shield vendors show, which includes numerous firearms dealers.

Grant's views on critics of Urban Shield came in response to an email sent to him on Friday by Richard Eber, a reporter with the conservative California Political News & Review.

Eber's email message criticized the nonprofit Critical Resistance, calling the group "pure slime" because it helped organize protests against Urban Shield.

Grant, who is a sponsor of Urban Shield and participates in the vendors show, replied to Eber on Saturday: "Today was the last meeting for the Urban Shield Task force. With that I must say this group of people (Stop Urban Shield) are nothing but a group of terrorist them selves. I can and will tell you they are endangering this country with their BS And lies. All they talk about is Muslim this Muslim that and people of color. They put out lies about everything and spin it for the news to pick up."

He went on to accuse — without evidence — the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), a long-respected San Francisco civil rights group, of being financially supported by "bad people" from "overseas."

Grant didn't respond to a phone call and email seeking further clarification.

"Most of their supporters dress like thugs and look like they could not even hold a job or have a pot to piss in," he wrote. "I refer to these people as non productive to this country."

Grant cc'd Lara Kiswani, executive director of AROC, on the email, and Kiswani forwarded it to numerous Alameda County officials. She characterized it as a "threatening email."

"I hope by me sharing the email below I am able to shed light on the experience of many of us who have challenged Urban Shield as an emergency preparedness program for its required "nexus to terrorism" and its xenophobic and racist elements," she wrote.

"The fact that a Task Force member would refer to us as a group of terrorists shows why this body is completely incapable of assessing the negative impacts that Urban Shield has on communities impacted by policing and militarization," said Mohamed Shehk, the communications director for Critical Resistance.

Supervisor Haggerty's Chief of Staff Sean Wilson said Haggerty doesn't personally know Grant and that the supervisor only appointed him after a long search for someone to serve on the task force. "This individual was recommend to us by the sheriff [Greg Ahern]," Wilson explained.

He said the supervisor was troubled by the email and reached out to Kiswani with an apology. "That was the most cowardly act; he does this after he knows he not meeting these people again," said Wilson of Grant.

The Urban Shield Task Force isn't scheduled to meet again. Kiswani was one of the event's critics who sat on the 21-person task force along with Grant.

Monday’s Briefing: Berkeley Hot Dog Vendor Gets $87,921; Milo’s 15-Minute Speech Costs Cal $800,000

Plus, giant “Impeach” Trump billboard debuts on Bay Bridge.

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Sep 25, 2017 at 10:07 AM

PHOTO COURTESY OF KTVU
  • Photo courtesy of KTVU

Stories you shouldn’t miss for Sept. 25, 2017:

1. The Berkeley hot dog vendor who had his cash taken by Berkeley police was awarded a check for $87,921 from a GoFundMe campaign, KTVU reports. Juan “Beto” Macias said he plans to use the money to buy a food truck and pay legal fees. Macias’ plight went viral after a video showed a Berkeley cop citing him, rifling through his wallet, and confiscating $60 from him during a Cal football game for selling hot dogs without a permit.

2. Alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos appeared on the UC Berkeley campus on Sunday for about 15 minutes, and the event cost the university about $800,000 in public safety expenses, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Yiannopoulos’ appearance was the only event of what was supposed to be a weeklong right-wing “Free Speech Week” on campus. College Republican organizers canceled the week’s events late last week, although emails revealed that the whole thing might have all been a setup from the start, the Bay Area News Group$ reports.

3. A giant “Impeach” Donald Trump billboard debuted today near the Bay Bridge, courtesy of the California-based Courage Campaign, reports Lisa Fernandez of KTVU. The billboard, which is scheduled to stay up until Oct. 1, is the first of its kind in the state.

4. Numerous NFL players, including most members of the Oakland Raiders, took a knee or sat during the National Anthem on Sunday in defiance of President Trump, who said at a speech on Friday that any “son of a bitch” who doesn’t stand for the anthem should be fired.

5. President Trump also disinvited Steph Curry and the world champion Golden State Warriors to the White House after Curry indicated that he planned to vote against going. Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James called Trump a “bum” for his decision.

6. Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell on Saturday became the first Major League Baseball player to take a knee during the National Anthem to protest racism and police brutality. The A’s issued a statement in support of Maxwell.

7. The GOP last-ditch effort to repeal and replace Obamacare appears to be on the ropes, even though Republicans attempted to gain the votes of GOP moderates Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska by offering their states more funding, the Washington Post$ reports.

8. And 3.5 million Puerto Ricans are facing a dire situation in the weeks ahead as the island is expected to be without power and water, the Washington Post$ reports.

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