Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Time Young Kids Spend on Mobile Devices Has Tripled in Four Years

And a third of all screen time is now mobile, compared to just 4 percent six years ago.

by Ashley Hopkinson of EdSource
Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 11:45 AM

  • Creative Commons

The amount of time young children spend on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets has tripled in the last four years, according to a nationwide report that measures technology use among children 8 years old and younger.

Children in that age group, on average, currently spend 48 minutes per day on a mobile device, compared to 15 minutes per day in 2013 and 5 minutes in 2011, according to the report released by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit group that reviews media and digital products for children.

The report states that, overall, children spend two hours and 19 minutes a day with “screen media,” which includes mobile devices, television, DVDs and videos, video game players, computers, and small digital devices such as iPods and virtual reality headsets. However, how children are using that media time has shifted from 2011 to 2017, researchers state. A third of all screen time is now mobile, with 35 percent of children on mobile devices in 2017, compared to 4 percent in 2011.

The report, “Common Sense Census 2017: Media Use By Kids Age Zero to Eight,” is the third in a series of reports conducted by Common Sense. Previous reports, based on similar questions about media use among children, were released in 2011 and 2013. Findings in the new report are based on responses from 1,454 parents who participated in an online survey conducted Jan. 20, 2017 to Feb. 10, 2017. For the report, parents were asked how their children use media during the week and on the weekends. Specifically, they were asked how much time children spend watching or engaging with media and on what device.

The report found that among families with children 8 and younger, 98 percent of homes have a mobile device compared to 75 percent in 2013 and 52 percent in 2011. In those same households, 78 percent have a tablet, up from 41 percent in 2013 and 8 percent in 2011. The independent use of technology has also changed for young children, the report states. Forty-two percent of children ages 8 and younger have their own tablet device. This is an increase from 7 percent in 2013 and 1 percent in 2011.

In its 2016 guidelines for media use the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents should avoid screen time for children under 18 months. For children 18 to 24 months old, pediatricians recommend parents watch with children so they understand the content. For children ages 2 to 5 years, screen use should be limited to one hour of high-quality programs per day. For children ages 6 and older, time limits should be set and remain consistent, the guidelines state. They also state that only 1 in 5 parents said they know about the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for children and media use.

The Common Sense Media report found that virtual reality headsets and voice activated assistant devices, such as Amazon Echo or Google Home, are increasing in popularity and 1 in 10 homes with young children reported having one of those devices. Other shifts in technology were more predictable. For instance, more families subscribe to digital streaming services like Netflix and Hulu than families who pay for traditional cable TV. However, researchers said they were surprised to find out “children overwhelmingly prefer paper books over digital.” Of the 29 minutes children spent reading each day, they spent three minutes on devices and the remaining time reading from a printed book.

While the digital divide — the gap between those who have access to technology and those who do not — has narrowed for families, it still remains an issue, the report states. The report states that 96 percent of families with high incomes have internet access at home compared to 74 percent of families with low incomes with internet access. The report defines “low income” as families earning less than $30,000 a year and “high income” as families earning more than $75,000 a year.

Ashley Hopkinson is a reporter for EdSource, an Oakland-based journalism nonprofit that focuses on education issues. This report is reprinted here courtesy of EdSource.

Tuesday’s Briefing: Rent Control Expansion Proposed for Ballot; Newsom Says State Needs to Build 3.5 Million Homes

Plus, the state Senate hires investigators to probe sexual harassment allegations.

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 10:16 AM


Stories you shouldn't miss for Oct. 24, 2017:

1. Tenants and housing activists are pushing to put a measure on the 2018 statewide ballot that would allow cities to expand rent control to single-family homes and apartment buildings constructed after 1995, reports Liam Dillon of the LA Times$. The ballot measure would overturn Costa Hawkins, a 1995 statewide law that tightly restricted rent control throughout California. The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, a nonprofit community organizing group, is the primary backer of the initiative.

2. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is the leading candidate for governor next year, said California needs to build 3.5 million units of housing by 2025 in order to help alleviate the state’s housing crunch, reports Liam Dillon of the LA Times$. “Simply put, we’re experiencing a housing affordability crisis, driven by a simple economic argument,” Newsom wrote in a post on Medium. “California is leading the national recovery, but it’s producing far more jobs than homes. Providing adequate housing is fundamental to growing the state’s economy.”

3. State Senate President Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, has hired two law firms to probe allegations of widespread sexual harassment in the Capitol and to review the Senate’s policies and how it responds to complaints, reports Melody Gutierrez of the San Francisco Chronicle$. The move by de León came after 300 women signed a letter stating that sexual harassment was common in Sacramento.

4. Another fall heat wave is expected to set temperature records in the Bay Area and throughout the state today, reports Mark Gomez of the Mercury News$. Temperatures in the mid-80s and low 90s are forecast for the region.

5. BART is evicting a homeless encampment on the Oakland-Berkeley border next to the “Here There” signs on Martin Luther King Jr. Way, underneath the train tracks, reports Emilie Raguso of Berkeleyside. The encampment, which is on BART property, was established last year.

6. The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors is poised to enact a temporary ban on cannabis businesses in unincorporated areas of the county, reports Sam Richards of the East Bay Times$. The moratorium would remain in effect until county voters weigh in on a cannabis tax measure proposed for the November 2018 ballot.

7. BART has finished testing its pilot group of new train cars and is on track to put them in service by Thanksgiving, reports Michael Cabanatuan of the San Francisco Chronicle. BART is expected to add hundreds of new train cars in the next several years.

8. And Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kevin Murphy dismissed felony charges against former Oakland police officer Ryan Walterhouse, ruling that there was insufficient evidence that he is guilty of conspiracy and bribery involving a 21-year-old sex worker, reports Angela Ruggiero of the East Bay Times$.

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Town Business: Oakland Picks More Locations for 'Safe Haven' Homeless Camps, and City Mulls New Cannabis Rules

City staffers say they think the safe havens should be located near transit and near existing homeless camps.

by Darwin BondGraham
Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 9:10 AM

Safe Havens: Oakland's plan to establish "safe havens" throughout the city is taking shape.

Earlier this month the city council approved sanctioned camps to be located on city-owned property in council districts 1, 3, and 5. Homeless residents who choose to live in these "controlled access" locations would have portable toilets, food preparation areas, tuff sheds to live in, and storage sheds to secure their belongings. The safe havens would also provide links to resources for drug treatment, employment, and housing assistance.

City staffers are coming back to the council's Life Enrichment Committee this week with several more possible locations for safe haven camps. These include:
  • 11 4th Street, on a site owned by the Peralta Community College District in council district 2.
  • 3050 International Boulevard on city owned land near the Fruitvale business district in council district 5
  • 905 66th Avenue, near the Coliseum BART station on city owned land, in council district 6.
  • 796 66th Avenue, also very close to the BART station, on city land in council district 7.
The only council district that doesn't yet have a possible safe haven site is district 4, which encompasses Montclair, the Dimond, the Laurel, and Allendale Park.

City staffers say they think the safe havens should be located near transit and near existing homeless camps.

Legal Recreational Cannabis: California legalized the adult recreational use of marijuana last year, and now Oakland is gearing up to change its municipal pot laws to facilitate the end of state prohibition.

The council's Public Safety Committee will take up the matter this week. Included is a proposed new rule that would allow any adult to cultivate up to six cannabis plants at home, and it wouldn't have to be medical pot.

Of course, marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

Tenant Relocation Payments for Condo Conversion and Owner Move-In Evictions: Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan is proposing to expand financial assistance to tenants who are displaced because their landlord carries out an owner move-in eviction or displaces them due to a condominium conversion.

Currently, tenants who are displaced by both activities get nothing when they move out.

Kaplan wants landlords to pay tenants between $6,500 and $9,857 (depending on the size of the apartment) when an owner conducts these kinds of no-fault evictions.

The reason for this assistance, according to Kaplan's staff, is as follows:

"Just like tenants who are displaced for Ellis or code compliance evictions, tenants who are displaced in Oakland due to owner/relative move-ins and condominium conversions will be forced to incur substantial costs to relocate to new housing. These costs include, but are not limited to, move-in costs to a new unit, actual moving costs, new utility hookups, payment for temporary housing while new permanent housing is sought, and lost work time seeking housing."

The council's Community and Economic Development Committee will hold a hearing on the proposal today.

Monday, October 23, 2017

State Senator Kevin de León Visits Oakland to 'Celebrate' New Sanctuary State Law

The Senate president said immigrants have helped to fuel California's growth with innovation and hard work.

by Darwin BondGraham
Mon, Oct 23, 2017 at 10:10 AM


Wearing a Colin Kaepernick jersey and preaching an immigrants' rights message — Leviticus 19:34: "you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt" — the Reverend J. Alfred Smith, Jr., welcomed state Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León to Oakland's Allen Temple Baptist Church on Sunday.

De León is the author of SB 54, the California Values Act. Also known as the state sanctuary bill, it firms up California's rules preventing local law enforcement agencies from helping the federal government enforce immigration laws.

In introducing de León, Smith railed against what he called "misinformation" from the religious right that has promoted anti-immigrant policies, including President Donald Trump's efforts to build a massive border wall and dismantle popular programs like DACA. And Smith told his congregation not to fall for "efforts to divide us," preaching instead a message of Black and Latino unity.

The Trump administration strongly opposed SB 54, even threatening to cut off funding to California. Inside the state, groups like the California State Sheriffs Association also opposed the bill. But de León said it was the right thing to do, and he's confident it can withstand legal efforts by the Trump administration to invalidate it.

He also believes it will protect California's economic prosperity. De León, who recently announced that he's running for U.S. Senate against Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., made a point that the state's economy is now the sixth largest in the world, and he said newcomers have helped to fuel growth with innovation and hard work.

De León also went further in his defense of SB 54. When asked by a member of the congregation if it's possible some sheriffs offices and police departments might violate the law by working closely with ICE to report and arrest undocumented immigrants, de León said, "if folks are not enforcing the law, please let us know. You can be the eyes and ears."

He also weighed in on the issue of misinformation spread by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency's director Thomas Homan about the cause of the disastrous North Bay fires. Homan claimed in several statements last week that the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office had allowed an undocumented immigrant to go free, instead of turning the man over to ICE, and that the man later ignited the deadly blazes.

In fact, as the Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano stated last week, the man lit a fire in a park one week after the deadly blazes erupted, and he hasn't been linked to the disastrous fires. He is, however, in custody and facing felony charges.

De León accused Homan and the Trump administration of using the disaster to push a political agenda.

"They've politicized everything," said the senator.

De León told those gathered at Allen Temple yesterday that his appearance wasn't a campaign stop. This was echoed by Smith, who said de León's presence was instead a celebration of SB 54 and other legislative accomplishments.

From the floor, one congregant celebrated by telling de León, "Si se puede, my brother."

Correction: the original version of this story mis-identified the un-named congregant's race as African American. The Express did not confirm with that person if they identify as African American and so has removed this reference from the story.

Monday’s Briefing: East Bay Lost 2,600 Jobs in September; Affordable Housing Plummets 60% Nationwide

Plus, Trader Joe’s and Safeway salad mix included in massive recall.

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Oct 23, 2017 at 9:50 AM


Stories you shouldn’t miss for Oct. 23, 2017:

1. The East Bay lost 2,600 jobs in September, and the Bay Area shed a total of 4,700 positions during the month — the worst showing since the height of the Great Recession in 2010, reports George Avalos of the Bay Area News Group$. The dismal employment figures are raising concerns that the region is in an economic slowdown. Economists blamed the region’s housing crisis for making it difficult for employers to hire workers.

2. The percentage of apartments nationwide that are considered “affordable” has plummeted 60 percent since 2010, the Washington Post$ reports, citing a new analysis by Freddie Mac. “We have a rapidly diminishing supply of affordable housing, with rent growth outstripping income growth in most major metro areas,” said David Brickman, executive vice president and head of Freddie Mac Multifamily.

3. A major recall of prepackaged salad mix includes produce from Trader Joe’s and Safeway, reports Annie Vainshtein of SFGate.com. Mann Packing in Salinas issued the recall after its products tested positive for the bacteria listeria, which can be fatal for the elderly, young children, or those with weakened immune systems. The recall includes Trader Joe’s store brand Kohlrabi Salad Blend and Safeway and Albertson’s store brand, Signature Farms, Meat & Cheese Tray; Broccoli Cauliflower Florets; Broccoli Slaw; Broccoli Stir Fry; Broccoli Florets; Veggie Tray with Ranch Dip; Vegetable Medley; and Veggie & Hummus Tray.

4. The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority declined to join a fan group’s lawsuit against the Oakland Raiders, reports Steven Tavares of the East Bay Citizen. The fan group plans to sue to keep the Raiders name in Oakland when the team moves to Las Vegas.

5. And billionaire progressive Tom Steyer has launched a $10 million national ad campaign in an effort to impeach President Trump, reports Christopher Cadelago of the Sacramento Bee$.

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Inmates at Oakland's Glenn Dyer Jail Enter Day Six of Hunger Strike

Inmates are protesting the jail’s practice of single-cell confinement for up to 23 hours a day.

by Jessica Lynn
Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 3:59 PM

Inmates at Oakland’s Glenn Dyer Jail entered day six of a hunger strike Friday in hopes of starting a discussion on how to improve conditions in the facility.

More than a third of the inmates at Glenn Dyer Jail —125 out of the 412 — were participating in the hunger strike during the last count on Tuesday, according to Alameda County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Ray Kelly. Inmates at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin are set to join the strike on Sunday.

Alameda County Sheriff’s Office is currently denying all allegations that the conditions at Glenn Dyer Jail violate law, but Kelly said that the agency is open to organizing a meeting with inmates to talk about their concerns.

“Things are still in the works, because it’s so early in the strike,” Kelly said.

Among the main concerns of the inmates, most of whom belong to the organizing group Prisoners United, are the jail’s policies on administrative segregation, or the practice of single-cell confinement for up to 23 hours a day.

Kelly said administrative segregation is necessary to ensure safety by removing exceptionally violent offenders from the general jail population or by separating members of rival gangs from one another to prevent fights.

The practice is legally defined as different from solitary confinement, which, unlike administrative segregation, involves inmates being placed in a completely enclosed cell “void of human interaction, human sounds, human noise,” Kelly said.

But activist Jose Valle, who has been in contact with inmates inside the jail as part of his work with community organizing group Silicon Valley De-bug, said that he regards the two forms of confinement as essentially the same.

“Literally we are being silenced,” wrote members of Prisoners United in a letter to Silicon Valley De-bug. “We have been deprived from all forms of social oxygen, with no contact with another human being for weeks at a time.”

A letter from an inmate participating in the strike alleges an environment in which he is frequently denied his legally required three hours of weekly exercise time and is served the same meal for dinner for days on end.

“We are locked in our cells all day,” wrote the inmate, who did not provide his name for fear of retaliation.

For now, as the inmates await a potential meeting with higher-ups at the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, they are being monitored daily by Glenn Dyer Jail medical staff to ensure that their health is not jeopardy, according to Kelly.

Friday’s Briefing: Sudden Oak Death May Have Fueled NorCal Fires; Oroville Dam Repair Costs Nearly Double

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 10:28 AM


Stories you shouldn’t miss for Oct. 20, 2017:

1. The rapid spread of sudden oak death disease may have fueled the North Bay fires, reports Peter Fimrite of the San Francisco Chronicle, citing new research from UC Berkeley. Dead and dying trees make wildfires burn hotter, and researchers found that 37 percent of the trees studied in eastern Sonoma County were infected by sudden oak death — ten times as much as just two years ago. Dead oaks are highly flammable, while live ones are fire resistant.

2. The cost to repair Oroville Dam’s badly damaged spillway has nearly doubled, jumping from $275 million to more than $500 million, reports Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee$. Private contractor Kiewit attributed the cost increase to the need to pour much more concrete than originally anticipated. Although the construction work on the state’s second largest reservoir won’t be completed for another year, the spillway is expected to be ready for this winter’s rains.

3. Oakland has a new fire chief: Darin White, a longtime Oakland firefighter who has been serving as interim chief for the past several months, the East Bay Times$ reports. City Administrator Sabrina Landreth and Mayor Libby Schaaf announced White’s appointment on Thursday. Their first choice for the job, Los Angeles Assistant Fire Chief Patrick Butler, turned it down because it would have required him to take a $50,000-a-year pay cut.

4. Alameda Vice Mayor Malia Vella said she welcomes an investigation into the hiring of the Island’s new fire chief and said she’s confident she will be exonerated from any wrongdoing, reports Peter Hegarty of the East Bay Times$. Vella and Councilmember Jim Oddie have been accused of improperly interfering in City Manager Jill Keimach’s decision to hire a new chief. But Vella and Oddie say they were wrongly accused, and both voted to hire an independent investigator to look into the matter.

5. The Richmond City Council launched the process of possibly annexing the community of North Richmond into the city, reports Tom Lochner of the East Bay Times$. Residents of North Richmond, an unincorporated area of Contra Costa County, will likely vote on whether they want to join the city next November.

6. Oakland and Richmond are part of a multi-city effort in the Bay Area to attract a new Amazon headquarters, reports Roland Li of the San Francisco Business Times$. The bid, led by the Bay Area Council, a business group, includes a proposal for Amazon office space at the Oakland Coliseum property and shoreline space in Richmond where UC Berkeley had planned to build a research campus.

7. A San Francisco appeals court indicated that it might allow a challenge to California’s anti-sex work law to move forward, reports Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle. Former sex workers filed suit, challenging the state’s prostitution law, contending that it unconstitutionally violates the rights of adults to have consensual sex.

8. And the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate approved a plan that could pave the way for large tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations and for cuts to Medicare and Medicaid funding, The New York Times$ reports.

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

ICE Spreads Misinformation Again: This Time Amid the Deadly Fires in Sonoma County

by Darwin BondGraham
Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 5:04 PM

Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano.
  • Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano.
Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano said in a statment today that the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency spread misinformation about the cause of his county's devastating fires and attacked his office in the midst of tragedy.

The sheriff was responding to a politicized statement made by ICE's acting director Thomas Homan of the Trump administration.

"Once again, a non-cooperative jurisdiction has left their community vulnerable to dangerous individuals and preventable crimes," Homan said about Sonoma County earlier today.

Homan implied that an undocumented immigrant named Jesus Gonzalez started the deadly North Bay fires, and went on to criticize the Sonoma Sheriff's office for not honoring a detainer that ICE sent the local agency to have Gonzalez held so immigration agents could arrest him. His comments led to multiple inaccurate news reports on right-wing outlets.

Gonzalez was arrested by the sheriff's office on Oct. 15 after he started a fire in Maxwell Farms Park in Sonoma Valley — seven days after the deadly fires started. He's currently being held by the sheriff and faces felony arson charges.

The sheriff pointed out, however, that there is no evidence that the fire Gonzalez started was linked to the deadly blazes that broke out on Oct. 9 across Sonoma, Napa, Lake, and Mendocino counties. CalFire is currently investigating what sparked the blazes, but many believe it was due to high winds that knocked down power lines.

Homan complained about the Sonoma sheriff's position on ICE detainers, which are requests that a local sheriff hold someone in jail past the legally allowed time they can be incarcerated so that ICE can pick them up on immigration charges.

Homan's statement concluded:

"The residents of Sonoma County, and the state of California, deserve better than policies that expose them to avoidable dangers. Non-cooperation policies – now enshrined in California state law – ensure only one thing: criminals who would otherwise be deported will be released and left free to reoffend as they please."

Giordano pointed out, however, that multiple federal courts have ruled that ICE detainers violate people's constitutional rights and expose local police to lawsuits, therefore his agency doesn't honor them. He questioned why, if ICE views Gonzalez as a danger to the community, the agency doesn't simply obtain an arrest warrant.

The sheriff went on to say:

"ICE attacked the Sheriff's Office in the midst of the largest natural disaster this community has ever experienced."

As the Express has previously reported, this isn't the first time ICE has spread misinformation about immigration matters.

For example, ICE issued a report earlier this year that was designed to attack sanctuary jurisdictions for not honoring detainer requests, but the report was riddled with bad data, including inaccurate claims about the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.

In August, ICE conducted a raid in West Oakland that was supposedly based on a criminal investigation. But the only person arrested hasn't been charged with a crime. And Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick has repeated ICE's false statements about the raid in defense of her decision to provide patrol officers to assist in the operation.

In addition, the Intercept reported this week in an investigation that ICE, under the direction of the Trump administration, is now regularly referring to undocumented immigrants as "criminals" in cases when they've been detained on civil immigration matters and have not actually been charged with a crime.

Also, earlier this year, Santa Cruz police officials said ICE agents lied to them about an immigration raid there.

ICE's attack on Giordano is just part of the agency's larger hostility to California.

After passage of SB 54, the so-called state sanctuary law, Homan said his agency would "have no choice but to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites," and to move detainees to out-of-state jails where their families will have a difficult time visiting them.

Tenants Accuse Developer of Profiting from Displacement, Vent About Unenforced Housing Laws

by Darwin BondGraham
Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 11:04 AM

Danny Haber and Elaine Brown listen during the planning commission hearing.
  • Danny Haber and Elaine Brown listen during the planning commission hearing.

Last night, the Oakland Planning Commission convened an unusual and highly contentious hearing about several controversial real estate projects overseen by developer Danny Haber.

To some tenants and activists, Haber is the embodiment of opportunistic greed, profiting from the displacement of dozens of renters at buildings he's taken over. But Haber and his supporters say he's trying to build housing in derelict warehouses and hotels that weren't previously safe or fit for habitation. And recently, Haber announced he no longer plans to acquire and redevelop buildings with existing tenants.

"What Danny Haber did to me was destroy my dream," said Joy Newhart, a former 1919 Market Street tenant who was displaced and fears she won't be able to return when her building is rebuilt in several years with a different floor plan. Haber took over the live-work warehouse shortly before it was red-tagged by the city in January 2016. His company subsequently demolished the building — and violated the scope of building permits issued by the city, causing former residents to protest.

1919 Market's substandard conditions before Haber took over, as well as the displacement of all of its residents afterward, is the subject of several lawsuits that have yet to go to trial.

Peter Howe lived in another Haber-controlled property, the Hotel Travelers for seven years. Haber bought the building in 2016.

"It was a good place to live," said Howe, but Haber pressured everyone to move out out. "[Haber] displaced a lot of people," he said.

Another former Hotel Travelers tenant defended Haber. Dimitri Kavouras said Haber offered him a "reasonable" buyout and that he had no complaints about how the building was emptied of its residents. Kavouras now lives at the Empyrean Tower, another Oakland SRO, and said Haber helped some residents find new homes.

Orlando Chavez, another former Travelers resident, was the last holdout in the building. But he left several months ago after a construction worker employed by Haber allegedly attacked him outside of his apartment.

Michael Edwards, a co-owner of Lux, Inc., a nightclub that hopes to take over a ground floor restaurant space in the hotel defended Haber. He said Haber is helping him to "change a portion of the downtown that was horrendous," and afflicted with "Third-World conditions."

A man who identified himself as Edwards' business partner said the hotel was previously filled with "mostly drug addicts," justifying the removal of everyone.

At times, the hearing became unruly, with both side shouting at each other.

Several attorneys and lobbyists also showed up to defend Haber, including Greg McConnell of the Jobs and Housing Coalition and Jill Broadhurst, the former director of the East Bay Rental Housing Association.

Zachary Wasserman, an attorney with Wendel Rosen, identified himself as Haber's legal counsel. He told the commission he was worried the hearing set a precedent that allowed people with "individual motives" to pillory those they disagree with in a public forum.

But later in the meeting, Planning Commission Chair Adhi Nagraj said he disagreed with Wasserman and that the hearing was precisely the kind of open discussion the city should have about controversial policy issues.

Wasserman also asserted that Haber's companies paid former tenants' full relocation costs when they were displaced.

"That's a lie!," some disagreeably shouted from the floor.

"I know you're going to say 'boo,'" Wasserman continued, "but this is the kind of development that should be cheered."

A loud boo went up in the chambers with some cheering in the background.

Another detractor of Haber's business practices alleged that the developer "brought and maybe even paid people to come here," which elicited shouts of "whoa!" and "that's preposterous!" from the other side.

But potential business partners who stand to benefit from Haber's projects did show up to speak.

Former Black Panther-turned real estate developer Elaine Brown showed up to defend Haber and criticize the Oakland Warehouse Coalition's leader Jonah Strauss, who originally asked the planning commission to convene the hearing.

Brown said Haber is building housing that will provide Black Oaklanders a decent place to live.

In response to concerns about the displacement of tenants by landlords and developers Brown said, "welcome to the world of Black people, Jonah Strauss movement."

She also said that her nonprofit, Oakland and the World Enterprises, is in talks with Haber to potentially lease the 1919 Market Street building once it's rebuilt and use the space to house homeless community college students.

Strauss responded by saying the purpose of the hearing wasn't "about whether Haber is a good or bad guy."

"It's about whether the planning commission and city can enforce its laws," he said. According to Strauss, many of the units in the buildings being redesigned by Haber, are smaller and significantly different than the units that were demolished, therefore displaced tenants will not be offered the right to return to an equivalent apartment, as Oakland law requires.

Strauss' building was purchased by Haber earlier this year and plans submitted to the city show that his unit won't be rebuilt.

"There's no enforcement," said Strauss about Oakland's rules regarding tenant displacement and the right to return.

Darin Ranelletti, Oakland's deputy director of planning and building confirmed this, telling the commission that while city law states that tenants have the right to return to equivalent housing units if they're displaced due to code compliance issues or fires. But the city can't force a landlord to provide equivalent units if they demolish the property and rebuild it in a new configuration.

The hearing was only informational. No action was taken.

Thursday’s Briefing: Warriors Officially Refuse to Pay $40 Million Debt; Tubbs Firestorm Created Tornados

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 10:20 AM


Stories you shouldn’t miss for Oct. 19, 2017:

1. The Golden State Warriors have officially filed documents, stating that they will not pay $40 million in debt owed on Oracle Arena when they move to San Francisco in 2019 and will leave Oakland and Alameda County taxpayers on the hook for the debt, reports David DeBolt of the East Bay Times$. The Warriors made the declaration in a letter to arbitrators. Oakland and county officials plan to fight the team’s assertion, arguing that the Warriors’ lease requires the team to pay the remaining debt on the Arena when they leave. The debt was created to refurbish the Arena at the Warriors’ request.

2. The deadliest of the Northern California blazes — the Tubbs Fire — was so intense that it created tornados as it roared through Santa Rosa neighborhoods, flipping cars, uprooting trees, and ripping apart homes, reports Peter Fimrite of the San Francisco Chronicle. “We had trees ripped out of the ground, cars turned over, garage doors ripped off their hinges and wrapped around trees in the front yards,” Scott Upton, the northern region chief for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told the newspaper. “It was no different than a hurricane, really, but instead of rain we had a fire event. I’ve been in this business 30 years and it’s the worst I’ve seen.”

3. Firefighters are expected to get a break today with rain forecast for the region, reports Mark Gomez of the Mercury News$. The storm is expected to bring up to three-quarters of an inch of precipitation in the North Bay.

4. Northern California residents displaced by the fires are facing an intense housing shortage and have no place to live, reports Liam Dillon of the LA Times$. Santa Rosa, which was already facing a housing crisis before the fires, lost more than 3,000 homes in the Tubbs Fire, or about 5 percent of its housing stock.

5. Oakland police continue to stop Black motorists in the city at alarming rates, reports Ali Tadayon of the East Bay Times$, citing a recent report from the Oakland Police Department. Almost two-thirds of drivers pulled over by police in 2016 were African American, even though Black residents make up only 27 percent of Oakland’s population.

6. And President Trump floated yet another outlandish and dangerous conspiracy theory today — that the FBI worked with the Russians to hurt him in last year’s election, CNN reports.

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