Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: Judge delays 'Moms 4 Housing' case; Lawsuits filed against two new major state laws

Cal wins the RedBox Bowl

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Dec 31, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland. - ERIKA PINO
  • Erika Pino
  • Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland.


News you don't want to miss for Dec. 31:

1. An eviction case involving four homeless women who call themselves "Moms 4 Housing" was delayed Monday by an Alameda County judge, KPIX reports. The women moved into a vacant house in West Oakland without the permission of the property owners and would not leave. Several Oakland elected officials have come out in support of the women in a story that is gaining more attention by the day.

2. Uber, Postmates, and two other defendants sued California in U.S. District Court on Monday alleging the state's new gig-worker law that reclassifies contract workers as employees is unconstitutional, CNBC reports. Assembly Bill 5 goes into effect on Wednesday.

3. California's new law prohibiting private prison contracts, authored by Oakland Assemblymember Rob Bonta, is also being challenged in court, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The lawsuit, filed in federal court on Monday asserts Assembly Bill 32 “undermine[s} and eliminate[s] the congressionally funded and approved enforcement of federal criminal and immigration law by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons within the State of California.” $$

4. No lawsuit is going to stop this next item from happening. Average PG&E bills will go up by $3.29 starting this week, SFGate reports. The increase was previously approved, but another average increase of nearly $6 a month could be on the horizon, pending approval from the California Public Utilities Commission.

5. Cal beat Illinois, 35-20, in the RedBox Bowl in Santa Clara, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. It was the Golden Bears' first bowl game victory since 2015. They finish the season with an 8-5 record. $$

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Monday, December 30, 2019

Monday's Briefing: OPD yet again takes a step back in compliance; 'Oakland Raiders are no more'

California prison suicides are on the rise

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Dec 30, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Federal Monitor Robert Warshaw is still not happy with the pace of OPD's reforms, now in its 17th year of oversight. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Federal Monitor Robert Warshaw is still not happy with the pace of OPD's reforms, now in its 17th year of oversight.


News you don't want to miss for Dec. 30:

1. Federal monitor Robert Warshaw said the Oakland Police Department has again taken a step backward in reforming its ranks, he wrote in a new report, the according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The latest misstep involves the department's Force Review Board. $$

2. Adante Pointer, an attorney who works with civil rights attorney John Burris, was held at gunpoint by Oakland police officers during a 2017 traffic stop, according to a lawsuit, the East Bay Times reports. He also alleges police illegally searched his car during the traffic stop. Pointer has often represented cases against OPD police shootings. $$

3. A fourth inmate died in a Contra Costa County jail this year, and the 10th since last year, the East Bay Times reports. The deceased, 61-year-old Samuel Martinez, suffered multiple seizures when he was found by sheriff's deputies on Christmas Eve. An investigation into the death is being led by the Contra Costa County district attorney. $$

4. More inmates in California prisons are committing suicide, despite officials taking greater steps to prevent them, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. A record 36 inmates committed suicide this year, a 26 percent jump over last year. $$

5. California's economy is humming, but not everyone is happy. The New York Times takes a look at these so-called "good times" and why they are underlined with great anxiety fostered by an uncontrollable housing crisis and deadly wildfires. $$

6. Stadium hot dog vendor Jimmy Graff, a mainstay walking the concourses at the Oakland Coliseum and Oracle Park, died on Christmas Eve, the USA Today reports. He was 49. $$

7. "The Oakland Raiders are no more," the CBS Sports play-by-play announcer said after the team lost its final game as the NFL team from "The Town," the Associated Press reports. With the season over, they will now be known as the Las Vegas Raiders.

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Friday, December 27, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Oakland's 'Moms 4 Housing' story gets complicated; CoCo County's kinder, gentler solitary confinement

East Bay mourns a dangerous Christmas

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Dec 27, 2019 at 4:00 AM

How about another cookie? - CONTRA COSTA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT
  • Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department
  • How about another cookie?


News you don't want to miss for Dec. 27-29:

1. An aide for Oakland Council President Rebecca Kaplan said the city could intervene on behalf of two women who moved into a vacant three-bedroom house in West Oakland without permission of its owners. Among the threats is seizing the property from the property owners if they do not negotiate with the women to purchase the house, the East Bay Times reports. The women call their effort "Moms 4 Housing" and said their activism is to highlight, amid a housing crisis, the number of properties in Oakland currently vacant. $$

2. It was a dangerous Christmas in the East Bay. Four were shot at a Christmas gathering in east Oakland, SFGate reports. Meanwhile, the Tri-Valley continues to mourn the death of three teenagers involved in a fatal accident on Christmas Eve. All three were sophomores at Dublin High School, the East Bay Times reports. $$

3. San Leandro has loads of warehouse space and its business sector is getting a boost from companies fleeing the peninsula for lower rents in the East Bay, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

4. Contra Costa County is one of three California counties using a kinder approach to solitary confinement in jails, the Associated Press reports. One method includes offering extra cookies to inmates in exchange for them to comply with orders.

5. Mt. Diablo Unified School District substitute teachers in Contra Costa County were mistakenly overpaid and are being asked to give the money back in one lump sum, the East Bay Times reports. The mistake involves a change in state law involving holiday pay. $$

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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: A's to own half of the Oakland Coliseum; Santa Claus is coming to town

ICE subverts Bonta's private prison law

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Dec 24, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Santa Claus has delivered more than 2 billion presents, as of this morning, according to NORAD. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Santa Claus has delivered more than 2 billion presents, as of this morning, according to NORAD.


News you don't want to miss for Dec. 24-25:

1. Alameda County supervisors unanimously approved the sale of its half of the Oakland Coliseum complex to the Athletics during a special meeting on Monday, the East Bay Citizen reports. The A's will pay $85 million over six years for half of the 155-acre property. The team plans to redevelop the property.

2. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials signed four deals with private prison operators in the state, the Associated Press reports. The rush to sign the contracts comes before Oakland Assemblymember Rob Bonta's legislation to ban such deals becomes law on Jan. 1. The prisons are all in Southern California. $$

3. The $25 million judgment for a Livermore man who was diagnosed with cancer because of using RoundUp herbicide is being appealed by chemical giant Montsanto and the Trump administration is backing the challenge, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

4. Two homeless mothers moved into a vacant house on Magnolia Street in West Oakland last month to make a point about the city's on-going housing crisis. With a hearing for their eviction coming next week, the owner of the property said he will use the house to help disadvantaged young people, the Bay City News reports.

5. Alameda is about to become the next Bay Area city to approve a ban on facial-recognition technology, the East Bay Citizen reports. The Alameda City Council approved a policy against the use of the invasive technology and will seek an ordinance sometime next year. The move follows San Francisco and Oakland, which approved similar bans earlier this year.

6. Santa Claus is still hours away from arriving in the East Bay. But you can track his whereabouts here. I'm still waiting for that Darth Vader TIE-fighter I asked him for from way back in 1986.

Happy Holidays!

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Monday, December 23, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Alameda County could sell its Coliseum asset to the A's today; BeastMode coming out of retirement?

Your PG&E bill is going to go up

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Dec 23, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Alameda County Board of Supervisors may get out of the stadium business at a special meeting today. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Alameda County Board of Supervisors may get out of the stadium business at a special meeting today.


News you don't want to miss for Dec. 23:

1. The Alameda County Board of Supervisor could approve the sale of its half of the Coliseum complex to the A's during a special meeting Monday afternoon, the East Bay Times reports. The proposed sale price is $85 million. The team plans to develop the Coliseum site with housing. The city of Oakland owns the other half of the stadium and arena site. $$

2. Marshawn Lynch may be leaving retirement for a second time. This time to rejoin the Seattle Seahawks, SFGate reports. The Oakland native could join the team, which he won a Super Bowl with, in time for this Sunday's game against the 49ers. Lynch once retired from the Seahawks in order to join the Raiders.

3. The Raiders kept their slim playoffs alive Sunday after beating the Los Angeles Chargers, 24-17. But the Raiders will need an enormous amount of help to make the playoffs. The Associated Press lays out the perfect storm of events needed next weekend. "Oakland needs to beat Denver next Sunday, needs losses by the Titans at Houston and Steelers at Baltimore along with Indianapolis beating Jacksonville."

4. Your energy bill may go up an average of $5.69 next year, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission agreed to the proposed rate hike, which pencils out to a 3.4 percent increase. $$

5. Sulfur dioxide, released through flaring at a refinery in Benicia over the weekend, poses no health concerns for residents, its fire chief said., the Bay City News reports.

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Friday, December 20, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Oakland councilmember hurts back after gunfire erupts; Barbara Lee praised at Democratic debate

Lateefah Simon named BART board president

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Dec 20, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Oakland Councilmember Larry Reid was attending an annual holiday turkey and ham giveaway in East Oakland when shots rang out nearby. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Oakland Councilmember Larry Reid was attending an annual holiday turkey and ham giveaway in East Oakland when shots rang out nearby.


News you don't want to miss for Dec. 20:

1. Oakland Councilmember Larry Reid tweaked his back while falling to the ground after gunshots were fired near a holiday food giveaway event on Edes Avenue, KTVU reports. The gunfire was related to suspects chased to Oakland from a robbery in Fremont.

2. Seven Democratic presidential candidates met in a debate in Los Angeles Thursday night. During a question about endless wars, Sen. Bernie Sanders name-dropped the East Bay's Rep. Barbara Lee and her famous lone vote in 2001 against authorizing war in Afghanistan, NBC News reports. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg seconded his praise for Lee's foresight nearly two decades ago.

3. Oakland Assemblymember Rob Bonta, Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan, and Hayward Assemblymember Bill Quirk attended Thursday night's Democratic Debate. The East Bay Citizen reports several of the presidential candidates have reached out recently to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Bonta for endorsements. Both had previous backed Sen. Kamala Harris, who dropped out of the race on Dec. 3.

4. BART appointed Director Lateefah Simon as its next board president, the East Bay Times reports. Simon, who represents Richmond and parts of Oakland and Berkeley, among other areas, is a full-time BART rider and rising star in East Bay politics. $$

5. In the aftermath of the Halloween night shooting at an AirBNB in Orinda that killed five people, the Orinda City Council voted Thursday night to extend a ban on non-hosted, short-term rentals, the East Bay Times reports.

6. A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court accuses Corteva Agriscience, a chemical company in Pittsburg of improperly disposing of hazardous materials for five years, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

7. The long-awaiting "Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker" opened in theaters last night. The early reviews are not good, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. In fact, they are the worst since the Jar-Jar Binks vehicle, "The Phantom Menace". $$

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Thursday, December 19, 2019

Thursday's Briefing: Oakland city administrator is calling it quits; State to study single-payer health insurance

CSU is thinking about a opening a new campus in Concord

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Dec 19, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Oakland City Administrator Sabrina Landreth was hired in July 2015. - D. ROSS CAMERON
  • D. Ross Cameron
  • Oakland City Administrator Sabrina Landreth was hired in July 2015.


News you don't want to miss for Dec. 19:

1. Oakland City Administrator Sabrina Landreth told staff Wednesday that she is resigning, effective in March, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Landreth came to Oakland in 2015 after serving as Emeryville city manager. There's no stated reason for her departure, as of yet. $$

2. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the formation of the Healthy California for All Commission, a 17-member body that will study the possibility of a single-payer health care system in the state, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. The Cal State University system is looking to build a 24th campus, EdSource reports, and Concord is one of the possible sites. A $4 million study approved by the state Legislature also eyes sites in Stockton, Chula Vista, and Palm Desert.

4. The House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment against President Trump on Wednesday after eight hours of speeches, The New York Times reports Here's how Alameda County's three representatives expressed their thoughts on impeachment, the East Bay Citizen reports.

5. Landlords in California will no longer be able to reject prospective tenants just because they have Section 8 vouchers starting on Jan.1, Capital Public Radio reports. The new law affects roughly 300,000 Section 8 recipients in the state. Those with the vouchers, often because of disabilities, often have difficulty finding suitable housing.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Wednesday's Briefing: Bay Area Air District pays $4 million whistleblower settlement; Impeachment rallies in the East Bay

Ghost Ship families can seek money from PG&E insurance fund

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Dec 18, 2019 at 4:00 AM

The House of Representatives will vote Wednesday on two article of impeachment against President Trump. - BERT JOHNSON
  • Bert Johnson
  • The House of Representatives will vote Wednesday on two article of impeachment against President Trump.


News you don’t want to miss for Dec. 18:

1. Two former Bay Area Air Quality Management District employees who were terminated after they complained about the destruction of some of the district’s records in 2016 was in violation of state law, were awarded $4 million in a whistleblower lawsuit, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Michael Bachman, who was the custodian of the district’s records, received $3.75 million from the settlement. The district retaliated against both after they made the complaints. $$

2. A federal bankruptcy judge handling the PG&E case said the families of the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland can seek money from the utility's $900 million insurance fund, the East Bay Times reports. But the ruling will not allow the families to draw from a proposed $13.5 billion settlement stemming from several wildfires started by PG&E’s faulty equipment. $$

3. Rallies in favor of removing President Trump from office dotted the Bay Area on Tuesday on the eve of the House of Representatives voting on impeachment, KGO-TV reports. In the East Bay, rallies were held in Oakland and Emeryville.

4. The California Legislative Analyst’s Office is proposing to scrap the state's cannabis taxes and replace it with a tiered-tax scale based on potency, the Associated Press reports. "The stronger the smoke, you more you pay."

5. Non-profits like La Clinica de la Raza in Oakland are increasingly using fresh, locally-sourced produce to help low-income residents fight poverty and promote healthy diets, Calmatters reports.

6. The Fair Housing Act could be undermined by new technologies that allow property owners to target specific prospective tenants through online advertising and "threaten to perpetuate the systemic discrimination of the past by modern means," Curbed reports.

7. Fremont Police used DNA testing to solve a double homicide cold case from 1982, KGO-TV reports. Police found that Clifton Hudspeth, who died in 1999, killed Mary Jane Malatag and Jeffrey Flores Atup.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: Oakland may amend condo conversion ordinance, give tenants a discount if they purchase the unit

Former Kamala Harris adviser gets a job with the Contra Costa DA

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Dec 17, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Revisions to Oakland's condo conversion ordinance was heard in a City Council committee hearing earlier this month. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Revisions to Oakland's condo conversion ordinance was heard in a City Council committee hearing earlier this month.


News you don't want to miss for Dec. 17:

1. The Oakland City Council may amend its decades-old rules for landlords coverting rental units into condos, the East Bay Times reports. The proposed ordinance to be heard before the full council next month would allow tenants the right to purchase the unit and with a 10 percent discount. $$

2. Banks, lawyers and consultants for PG&E have received more than $300 million from PG&E's bankruptcy case since last January, KQED reports.

3. A number of Bay Area Fortune 500 companies paid no federal income taxes in 2018, according to a report issued by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, SFGate reports. A number of the companies actually received money back from the government.

4. Kaiser Permanente mental health care workers picketed in San Francisco on Monday as part of a planned five-day strike, KPIX reports. The strike continues today in Oakland.

5. The U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower court's ruling that allows homeless individuals to sleep on sidewalks if shelter space is unavailable, NPR reports. The case started in Boise, Idaho after a group of homeless people sleeping on the streets were repeatedly cited by the city.

6. Larry Wallace, a former aide to Sen. Kamala Harris who resigned when it was reported he was involved in a $400,000 sexual harassment settlement while working at the U.S. Department of Justice in 2017, was hired by the Contra Costa County District Attorney's office, the East Bay Times reports. $$

7. An environmental group is suing to block Newark's recently approved 469-unit housing development, the East Bay Times reports. The proposed development is planned near the city's bay wetlands.

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Monday, December 16, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Oakland LGBTQ dance club is closing and replaced with tech offices; Newsom rejects PG&E's settlement offer

It got ugly after the Raiders final game in Oakland

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Dec 16, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Club BNB on Franklin Street in Oakland. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Club BNB on Franklin Street in Oakland.


News you don't want to miss for Dec. 16:

1. Club BNB, the LGBTQ dance club on Franklin Street in Oakland, is closing next month, SFGate reports. Shared tech offices will reportedly replace the club.

2. Gov. Gavin Newsom rejected PG&E's $13.5 billion settlement with wildfire victims on Friday. The Associated Press reports on the fallout of the decision and the short timetable for negotiators to hammer out a new deal before June 30, the deadline for PG&E to be eligible for a state special fund that would help it pay liabilities stemming from future wildfires.

3. After a one-month delay, crab season opened on Sunday, SFGate reports. Environmentalists feared last month that crab pots could harm other aquatic life and pushed for a delay in opening the season. The season comes just in time for those who prefer celebrating Christmas dinner with a boiling pot of seafood.

4. On second thought, maybe the Ghost Ship tragedy is still too raw for many in the Bay Area. Berkeley authors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman said they will not produce a television series based on the 2016 fire that took the lives of 36 people in Oakland, after all, the Associated Press reports.

5. Perhaps some Raiders fans yesterday only learn the news that the team was moving to Las Vegas next season? The Raiders blew a late lead and lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the final NFL game in Oakland on Sunday. Fans reacted angrily booing the team's quarterback after the game and committing a number of unruly acts, such as throwing food in the endzone, CBS Sports reports.

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