Friday, January 31, 2020

Friday's Briefing: Bas proposes legislation to help renters buy their homes; Peralta colleges placed on probation

49ers hope to bring a title to Santa Clara

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Jan 31, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Oakland Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas - STEVEN TAVARES
  • Steven Tavares
  • Oakland Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas


News you don’t want to miss for Jan. 31-Feb. 2:

1. Oakland Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas said during a Rules Committee meeting on Thursday that she is in the process of formulating an ordinance that would allow tenants the right to purchase their homes in the event the landlord intends to sell, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The move comes after the Moms 4 Housing controversy in Oakland when four homeless women took residence in a vacant home without the owner's permission. $$

2. The four schools that make up the Peralta Community College District will be placed on probation by the state's accrediting commission, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Last summer, the state warned the district, which is made up of Laney College, College of Alameda, Merritt College, and Berkeley City College, is at risk of insolvency. $$

3. A juror in the Ghost Ship trial of Derick Almena that resulted in a mistrial last year, told the East Bay Times, she believed he was innocent. Almena's trial is to begin next month. $$

4. State Sen. Scott Wiener, the author of SB50, brought the controversial bill to build housing density at transportation hubs, called another vote on Thursday, and again, fell short by three votes. Meanwhile, state senate Democrats vowed to push forward with additional housing legislation, the Associated Press reports.

5. A major recycling bill that would have removed long-standing exemptions for wine and spirits bottles failed in the State Senate, the East Bay Citizen reports. The bill was backed by East Bay state Sen. Bob Wieckowski.

6. The once might Warriors have fallen to the bottom of the NBA standings. So it’s not surprising there will be no Warriors in the Al-Star Game. But Warriors rookie Eric Paschall was named to the All-Star weekend’s Rising Stars game, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

7. The high-powered offense of the Kansas City Chiefs meets the hardcore defense of the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday. Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle wonders if this is the greatest Super Bowl matchup ever?

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Thursday Briefing: SB50 fails again; Cal drops Boalt name from law school

Bay Area income equality is widest in the state

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Jan 30, 2020 at 4:00 AM

A carpenter removing Boalt Hall signage from the U.C. Berkeley law school on Thursday morning. - UC BERKELEY/ROXANNE MAKASDJIAN
  • UC Berkeley/Roxanne Makasdjian
  • A carpenter removing Boalt Hall signage from the U.C. Berkeley law school on Thursday morning.


News you don’t want to miss for Jan. 30:

1. SB 50 was laid to rest Wednesday after the State Senate failed to pass the controversial legislation that would have made it easier to build more housing density around transportation centers, Curbed reports. The bill fell three votes short of passage to the Assembly.

2. Gov. Gavin Newsom said PG&E "no longer exists," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. “There’s going to be a new company or the state of California will take it over," he added. Whether or not PG&E currently exists, your monthly bill will still be in the mail next month. $$

3. “It’s official: The gap between the Bay Area’s haves and have-nots is wider than anywhere else in the state,” Calmatters reports. The top ten percent of Bay Area residents earn $384,000 a year, according to a report by the Public Policy Institute of California. Meanwhile, the bottom ten percent make just $32,000 a year.

4. Union strong: Despite efforts by conservatives to further erode the strength of labor unions in the U.S., their ranks increased last year in California, the Mercury News reports. After hitting bottoming out at 2.5 million members two years ago, the unions added 99,000 new members in 2019, the highest increase in seven years. $$

5. U.C. Berkeley officially removed John Boalt's name from its law school building, the East Bay Times reports. Boalt, an Oakland attorney in the late 19th Century, was a strong supporter of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. $$

6. Basic life skills like, uh, feeding yourself, have somehow avoided young college students so much that U.C. Berkeley offers an eight-week class in “adulting,” KTVU reports.

7. The Contra Costa County library system was hit with an ransomware attack earlier this month that shut down access to Wi-Fi, online library catalogs, and email. The East Bay Times reports library services could at full-speed by the end of this week. $$

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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Wednesday's Briefing: Oakland begins clearing Home Depot homeless camp; Skinner wants to raise age for prosecution

Glazer loses support of LGBT group

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Jan 29, 2020 at 4:00 AM

East Bay state Sen. Nancy Skinner also took some heat recently from the Lafayette City Council. - STATE SENATE
  • State Senate
  • East Bay state Sen. Nancy Skinner also took some heat recently from the Lafayette City Council.


News you don’t want to miss for Jan. 29:

1. Oakland moved to clear out Union Point Park, where a waterfront homeless encampment on the Embarcadero had grown, KGO-TV reports. The city plans next to remove the sprawling homeless encampment near the Home Depot on Alameda Avenue in Oakland.

2. East Bay state Sen. Nancy Skinner introduced legislation on Tuesday that recognizes 18- and 19-year-olds as juveniles in criminal proceedings, SFist reports. Skinner believes rehabilitation that include youth-oriented programs is a better solution.

3. A letter sent by Skinner last December to the Lafayette City Council took them to task for possibly violating the law by attempting to downsize a large apartment building in the city. Despite some puffery from one Lafayette councilman who called for Skinner to be investigated for alleged ethics violations, the council relented and voted to respond with a letter that acknowledges the new state housing laws, the East Bay Times reports. $$

4. Equality California, a LGBT advocacy group, pulled its endorsement of East Bay state Sen. Steve Glazer’s re-election, according to the Bay Area Reporter. The move came after Glazer failed to support legislation that bans the gender assignment of intersex children. The bill died in Glazer’s committee this month.

5. The race in the open Alameda County Board of Supervisors race in District 1 is a statistical tie, according to an internal poll, the East Bay Citizen reports. The poll revealed all four candidates hoping to replace Supervisor Scott Haggerty are within the margin of error. It also highlighted low name-recognition for all the candidates, state Sen. Bob Wieckowski, Dublin Mayor David Haubert, Dublin Vice Mayor Melissa Hernandez, and Fremont Councilmember Vinnie Bacon.

6. Good luck deciphering exactly what Sen. Dianne Feinstein told the Los Angeles Times about her view of President Trump’s impeachment trial. The paper initially suggested that Feinstein was leaning toward acquitting Trump and progressives in California heads nearly exploded. She later said her comments were misunderstood, Yahoo! News reports.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Tuesday’s Briefing: JPMorgan Chase pledges to help Bay Area housing crunch; Berkeley revisits overnight RV parking

Bernie Sanders extends lead in California

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Jan 28, 2020 at 3:38 PM

An RV parked at the Berkeley Marina in 2018. - FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo
  • An RV parked at the Berkeley Marina in 2018.


News you don’t want to miss for Jan. 28:

1. JPMorgan Chase is pledging $22 million in low-interest loans and grants to help the region’s affordable housing crunch, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. In Oakland, the bank plans to give to the Housing for Health Fund backed by Kaiser Permanente and the East Bay Asian Local Development Corp. $$

2. The Berkeley City Council will decide whether to allow up to 25 RVs to use specific lots in the city for overnight parking, Berkeleyside reports. Overnight RV parking on city streets emerged last year as a contentious issue for some Berkeley residents.

3. Miles and miles of dedicated bike lanes are ubiquitous in the East Bay, but it’s common to see e-scooter riders using city sidewalks to get where they’re going. Lime is testing a software solution in San Jose that would detect whether a rider is driving on sidewalks, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

4. Sen. Bernie Sanders is continuing to surge in California a week before voters receive vote-by-mail ballots in advance of the Mar. 3 presidential primary, the Los Angeles Times reports. Sanders has support of 26 percent of California voters. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has dropped to 20 percent. Joe Biden sits at 15 percent. $$

5. James Tong, a prominent East Bay developer was sentenced Friday to 15 months in prison for illegal campaign contributions to Rep. Eric Swalwell, the East Bay Times reports. Tong illegally bundled contributions from family members to give to Swalwell’s congressional campaigns in 2012 and 2014. $$

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Monday, January 27, 2020

Monday's Briefing: Pete Stark, long-time East Bay congressman, dies; A's optimistic about building new ballpark

Avocado truck tips over on Highway 13

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Jan 27, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Former East Bay Rep. Pete Stark passed away on Friday. The cause was leukemia. He was 88 - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Former East Bay Rep. Pete Stark passed away on Friday. The cause was leukemia. He was 88


News you don't want to miss for Jan. 27:

1. The East Bay lost one of its progressive giants on Friday with the passing of former Rep. Pete Stark, The Washington Post reports. "Mr. Stark had an independent streak, a caustic tongue and a willingness to ruffle feathers," The Post wrote. Stark represented nearly every part of Alameda County, at some point, during his 40 years in Congress. He was 88. $$

2. It's either great ballpark news for A's fans or famous last words. A's President Dave Kaval told a gathering of fans at last weekend's FanFest to "Get the shovels ready!" the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Kaval said he hopes the team can begin work on its downtown ballpark at Howard Terminal by this summer.

3. A bill authored by East Bay Assemblymember Buffy Wicks and state Sen. Scott Wiener would make it easier for churches to use some of their excess land for housing, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. A church in Castro Valley is using some of its property for tiny homes and hopes to later build housing. $$

4. A proposed $50 million grant could help prevent animal shelters from euthanizing dogs and cats in the state, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The grant is tucked within Gov. Gavin Newsom's proposed state budget.

5. Almost in time for Super Bowl Sunday, a truck carrying 16,000 pounds of avocados tipped (dipped) over on Highway 13 near the Mormon Temple in Oakland, Bay City News reports.

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Friday, January 24, 2020

Friday's Briefing: Charges against CoCo assessor will be dropped if he wins supe race; Coronavirus fears grow in Alameda County

Berkeley cell meat company gets funding boost

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Jan 24, 2020 at 4:00 AM

The coronavirus under magnification.
  • The coronavirus under magnification.


News you don’t want to miss for Jan. 24-26:

1. A Contra Costa County Superior Court judge said Gus Kramer, the county assessor accused of workplace misconduct, would have his charges dropped if he wins his race for county supervisor next March, East Bay Times reports. The trial to remove Kramer as assessor would be moot if he moves to another elected office, the judge explained.

2. U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup raised the possibility that PG&E executives could have their bonuses withheld if the struggling utilities fails to measure up to safety targets, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. James Russell is looking for a plea deal from prosecutors for allegedly recording attorneys and their clients at the Eden Township Substation in San Leandro, the East Bay Times reports. $$

4. As fears about the coronavirus being carried to Alameda County by recent visitors from Wuhan, China grow, county health officials said less than 10 people have been screened for the virus that causes high fever and possibly death, KRON reports. No cases have been found in Alameda County.

5. Berkeley’s Memphis Meats received $161 million in funding recent for its burgeoning method for creating meat from cells, SFGate reports. The new round of funding will allow the company to expand its factory in the East Bay and hire more workers.

6. Oh-la-la! Here’s an only in Northern California story for you: A leak at the Rodney Strong Vineyards in Healdsburg resulted in possibly one-quarter of a 97,000-gallon tank of Cabernet Sauvignon flowing into the Russian River, KGO-TV reports.

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Thursday's Briefing: Berkeley approves homeless encampment under the freeway; Robbery video rattles Oakland Hills

Raiders officially drop Oakland

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Jan 23, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Tuff Shed homeless encampment in Oakland. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Tuff Shed homeless encampment in Oakland.


News you don’t want to miss for Jan. 23:

1. The Berkeley City Council approved a plan Tuesday night for a homeless encampment pilot program under the freeway at University Avenue, Berkeleyside reports. Some questions remain, though, and work on the encampment will not begin until city staff further studies the plan.

2. In a letter to the Trump administration, Gov. Gavin Newsom asked for the use of federal surplus land to house the homeless, Politico reports. Newsom also again asked for 50,000 federal housing vouchers for low-income residents and veterans.

3. A Ring doorbell camera captured an Oakland woman being robbed at gunpoint, KTVU reports. The attempted armed robbery occurred on Canyon Oaks Drive in the Oakland Hills at comes at a time when concerns over robberies is becoming a major concern in the city.

4. Fewer Bay Area residents are using public transit at the same time traffic woes are common all over the region, the East Bay Times report. $$

5. The University of California Board of Regents postponed a vote on Wednesday for a pair of proposals to raise tuition, the Associated Press reports. Meanwhile, California State University trustees postponed a discussion for requiring a fourth year of high school math for admissions, EdSource reports.

6. The U.C. ended a lengthy stand-off with union custodians, truck drivers and cooks on Wednesday, the Sacramento Bee reports. More than 8,000 members of the AFSCME union had been working without a new contract since 2017.

7. This may come as a surprise to the Raiders fan passed out in Section 125 at the Coliseum since 2015 home opener, but the team was officially renamed the Las Vegas Raiders during a press conference in Nevada Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Wednesday's Briefing: Oakland bans criminal background checks for tenants; Howard Terminal ballpark inches forward

Piedmont complies with new ADU state law

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 4:00 AM

A bay view rendering of the proposed Howard Terminal ballpark in downtown Oakland. - OAKLAND ATHLETICS
  • Oakland Athletics
  • A bay view rendering of the proposed Howard Terminal ballpark in downtown Oakland.


News you don't want to miss for Jan. 22:

1. Oakland became the first city in the state to prohibit landlords from conducting criminal background checks on prospective tenants, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Oakland City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to approve the ordinance, which was praised by advocates of the previously incarcerated. Berkeley will take up a similar items next month.$$

2. The Oakland City Council also moved slightly closer to a new ballpark for the A's at Howard Terminal on Tuesday night, KCBS reports. The council and Port of Oakland, owners of the land at Howard Terminal, agreed to release the proposed ballpark's environmental review plan.

3. A new state law that streamlines the process for building Accessory Dwelling Units had received push back in Piedmont. But the Piedmont City Council relented, despite lamenting the loss of local control in its zoning process, and approved changes to its ordinances in order to the comply with the state law, the East Bay Times reports.

4. Is Hayward the next millennial haven? A survey found the self-proclaimed "Heart of the Bay" is one of the most popular cities for millennial homebuyers in the country, Curbed SF reports. The median home price in Hayward is under $650,000, but that's a pretty good deal in the Bay Area.

5. No. Your other left! A BART train from San Francisco heading toward Pleasant Hill inexplicably made a right turn and ended up at the Lake Merritt station on Tuesday, SFGate reports. BART officials said the mistake is system-related and not driver error.

6. Former "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno borrowed Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf's favorite snail car for an episode of his CNBC program, SFGate reports. You may recall Schaaf famously rode the fire-breathing metal snail car during the Warriors' championship parades in Oakland.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Tuesday's Briefing: Moms 4 Housing property to be sold to non-profit; Berkeley eyes encampment under the freeway

Oakland High's Lillard drops 61 on the Warriors

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Portland Trailblazer guard Damian Lillard. - NBA
  • NBA
  • Portland Trailblazer guard Damian Lillard.


News you don’t want to miss for Jan. 21:

1. Moms 4 Housing: The home at 2928 Magnolia Street in Oakland will be sold at its appraised value by the investment group that owns it to the Oakland Community Land Trust, the San Francisco Chronicle. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Mayor Libby Schaaf, and Councilmember Larry Reid negotiated the deal, but notably not the city officials who supported the homeless women's cause. $$

2. Berkeley councilmembers will decide tonight whether to approve the creation of a homeless encampment under the freeway at University Avenue and Second Street, Berkeleyside reports. The proposed encampment could house about 120 tents.

3. Berkeley is facing a rash of catalytic converter thefts, the Bay City News reports. About two dozen thefts have occurred this month.

4. Legislation could be on the horizon for holding California school districts accountable for their spending, EdSource reports. A recent state auditor found spending for some programs by school districts is too hard to track. Oakland Unified was named as one of the culprits in the state auditor's report last year.

5. East Bay residents celebrated the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. at events across Oakland on Monday, KPIX reports. Cat Brooks, an Oakland police accountability activist and potential city council candidate this year in District 3, said MLK has been "whitewashed."

6. Oakland's own Damian Lillard dropped league-high 61 points on the Warriors last night in Portland, ESPN reports. Despite the effort by the Oakland High grad, the Warriors took the game to overtime before losing, 129-124.

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Monday, January 20, 2020

Monday's Briefing: Tiny Home encampment pops up in Oakland; Bay Area median home prices fall

Berkeley man says Tesla cars accelerate on their own

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 4:00 AM

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons


News you don’t want to miss for Jan. 20:

1. An unpermitted tiny house encampment popped up at a median on East 12th Street near Burger King, the East Bay Times reports. The 11 tiny homes were built on Sunday by a group calling itself the "Right to Exist Curbside Community." $$

2. Median housing prices in the Bay Area dropped by 2.3 percent in 2019 to $928,000, the first decline in eight years, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Although median housing prices in Oakland and Berkeley are still robust, overall, they also dropped in Alameda County last year. $$

3. "A state appeals court says a woman who was robbed at a BART station in Oakland can’t hold the transit agency legally responsible because she was on the platform, not the train," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The lawsuit stemmed from a theft that occurred at the Coliseum BART station in Oakland.

4. Last month, the developer behind a 300-unit housing project on Harold Way in Berkeley said their proposal would no longer "pencil out." Last week, Berkeley leaders told the developer it would not give them more time to make it work, Berkeleyside reports.

5. A Berkeley man filed a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration alleging Tesla cars can accelerate on their own, the Associated Press reports. Tesla denies the claim.

6. Those Tesla and hybrid car drivers may be saving the planet, but they're hurting the state's bottom line, the Los Angeles Times reports. Highways, roads, and bridges in California are in bad shape, and additional funding through gasoline taxes is increasingly being stymied by the rise of electric cars, which avoid the tax at the pump. $$

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