Friday, February 28, 2020

Friday's Briefing: 911 calls in Oakland are piling up; Oakland Police Commission meets for first time since chief firing

Trendy Uptown Oakland cocktail bar is closing

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Feb 28, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Here's How cocktail bar on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland had met strong resistance from its neighbors - HERE'S HOW
  • Here's How
  • Here's How cocktail bar on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland had met strong resistance from its neighbors


News you don't want to miss for Feb. 28-Mar. 1:

1. Oakland Police are pulling back from a directive earlier this month for officers reporting use-of-force incidents, the East Bay Times reports. The change comes after 911 calls have consistently backed up on a daily basis since the new policy was instituted. $$

2. The Oakland Police Commission met Thursday night for the first time since firing chief of police Anne Kirkpatrick, KPIX reports. Some commissioners used the opportunity to respond to allegations made by Kirkpatrick since the abrupt firing two weeks ago.

3. An Oakland dental surgeon was arrested for human trafficking and sex crimes after attempting to buy two girls for $30,000, ABC7 reports.

4. After 12 years of planning, San Leandro's marina shoreline is headed toward a massive makeover. San Leandro officials approved a development agreement for 285 single-family homes, 215 rental units at the San Leandro Marina, the East Bay Citizen reports.

5. Here's the last California presidential pre-primary poll, we promise. The numbers continue to predict a clear victory for Sen. Bernie Sanders in the state next Tuesday, CNN reports. Sanders also holds big lead in Texas, Super Tuesday's other big delegate trophy. Sanders' 35 percent of the California survey leads Sen. Elizabeth Warren by 14 points.

6. Most Bay Area elected officials are white, despite the region's strong diversity, the East Bay Times reports. For example, in Alameda County, other than Rep. Barbara Lee, there is no Black representation at the state and federal level.

7. Here's How, the trendy cocktail bar in Uptown Oakland, has closed, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. As a Chronicle headlines last fall remarked, a battle pitting "NIMBYs versus negronis" had been fought since the bar opened last year. Residents in the units above Here's How said the establishment would disturb them. Furthermore, there were already too many liquor licenses on the block, they argued. $$

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Thursday's Briefing: Coronavirus fears grow in the Bay Area; Shipments from China to Port of Oakland are down

McClymonds will stay closed at least another week

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Feb 27, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Shipping containers at the Port of Oakland. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Shipping containers at the Port of Oakland.


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

1. The first U.S. case of the coronavirus with unknown origins was found in Solano County, KTVU reports. The patient is being treated in Sacramento.

2. In a press conference Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said 8,400 people are currently being monitored for the coronavirus, but test kits are scarce, CNBC reports.

3. Meanwhile, there are signs the economic impact of the coronavirus has already hit the East Bay. ABC7 reports roughly 20 percent of the shipping containers the Port of Oakland expects from China have been cancelled for the next month.

4. McClymonds High School in Oakland will be closed at least until Mar. 9, school district officials told a parents at a town hall on Wednesday, KPIX reports. McClymonds was temporarily closed last week after a toxic chemical was found in the groundwater under the school.

5. BART board directors moved forward a plan that would ultimately bring a third BART station to Fremont, KTVU reports. The long-envisioned Irvington BART station would be located between the existing Fremont and Warm Springs stations.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Wednesday's Briefing: Oakland's next chief of police must be progressive, police commission chair said; Trump can withhold funding to sanctuary cities

Strange smell at Oakland Airport sends four to hospital

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Feb 26, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Oakland Police Commissioner Ginale Harris responded to an accusation by outgoing Oakland chief of police Anne Kirkpatrick. - DARWIN BONDGRAHAM
  • Darwin BondGraham
  • Oakland Police Commissioner Ginale Harris responded to an accusation by outgoing Oakland chief of police Anne Kirkpatrick.


News you don't want to miss for Feb. 26:

1. Oakland Police Commission Chair Regina Jackson believes the city's next chief of police must be a progressive leader who engages with the community on a personal level, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The police commission fired chief of police Anne Kirkpatrick last week. It's the commission's role to now locate a number of possible replacements for the mayor to choose from. $$

2. Kirkpatrick alleged she was fired for not waiving a $166 towing fee for Oakland Police Commissioner Ginale Harris. Harris called the accusation "atrocious slander," KTVU reports.

3. The California Lottery has shortchanged schools $36 million in funding, the state's auditor found, the Sacramento Bee reports. Lottery revenues more than double over the last decade, but the amount given to state schools lagged in comparison. $$

4. “No more disasters, no more catastrophes, no more fatalities,” PG&E CEO Bill Johnson told the California Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. Johnson blamed PG&E's past woes on the previous management of the utility and said 80 percent of them no longer work for the company.

5. An Appeals Court ruled the Trump administration can withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities, The Hill reports. The judge said the attorney general has the right to place conditions on funding. The ruling could impact Oakland, and several other sanctuary cities in the East Bay.

6. A strange odor emanating from a box at the Oakland Airport sent four workers to the hospital, Fox News reports. Oakland firefighters were summoned to the airport on Tuesday morning. They are still investigating the cause of odor.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Tuesday's Briefing: Ousted Oakland police chief talks lawsuit; Two coronavirus patients being treated in the East Bay

Assembly bill takes aim at local impact fees

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Feb 25, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Former Oakland chief of police Anne Kirkpatrick said she's packing up and moving to Seattle. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Former Oakland chief of police Anne Kirkpatrick said she's packing up and moving to Seattle.


News you don't want to miss for Feb. 25:

1. Fired Oakland chief of police Anne Kirkpatrick spoke to the media for the first time since being dismissed by the Oakland Police Commission, the East Bay Times reports. Kirkpatrick raised the possibility of a lawsuit. $$

2. Two patients who contracted the coronavirus while on a cruise ship in Japan are being treated at hospitals in Contra Costa County, ABC7 reports. The patients were flown in from Travis Air Force Base.

3. Testing at McClymonds High School in Oakland will continue for a toxic chemical compound found in the groundwater last week, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Meanwhile, McClymonds students are being assigned to other sites within the school district. $$

4. A bill that would seal criminal records for those who had committed low-level crimes will be considered in the state legislature soon, the Associated Press reports. The legislation's intent is to aid one-time offenders in finding work and housing without the stigma associated with their past.

5. This will be a tough one for some East Bay cities to swallow: An assembly bill was introduced Monday that would lower development fees charged by local municipalities for building new housing, the Associated Press reports. Impact fees are often a significant portion of a city's revenues.

6. In a blow to San Leandro's downtown scene, The Englander sports bar is closing this weekend, the East Bay Times reports. The building's landlord refused to extend the pub's lease. $$

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Monday, February 24, 2020

Monday's Briefing: Air quality at McClymonds appears safe; Berkeley Unified speaks on sexual assault lawsuit

PG&E union blasts Bernie Sanders

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Feb 24, 2020 at 4:00 AM

A lawsuit alleges a Berkeley High School employee did not properly notified police of a reported sexual assault on campus.
  • A lawsuit alleges a Berkeley High School employee did not properly notified police of a reported sexual assault on campus.


News you don't want to miss for Feb. 24:

1. As the dust settles on the firing last Thursday night of Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said the decision was difficult to make, the East Bay Times reports. Former Oakland mayoral candidate Joe Tuman raises the question of whether the city will have difficulty finding suitable candidates to replace Kirkpatrick in light of the Police Commission's decision to use its power to oust her. $$

2. A Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy resigned after reports that he texted photos of prisoners while on duty at a jail in Martinez, KTVU reports. The texts also included disparaging comments about the prisoners.

3. The air around Oakland's McClymonds High School did not show any signs of a cancer-causing compound that was found last week in its groundwater, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. School was cancelled last Thursday and Friday after the toxic chemical was found after testing. $$

4. The Berkeley Unified School District strongly denied an allegation made in a lawsuit that a school employee failed to properly notify police of a sexual assault against a student, Berkeleyside report. "We can strongly assert that our educators followed district policy and appropriately reported the allegation to the Berkeley Police Department.” Superintendent Brent Stephens wrote.

5. The union representing a large number of PG&E workers blasted Sen. Bernie Sanders for his support of a take-over of the utility, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

6. Sanders also said California's voting procedures risks limiting participation in the primary from the state's growing "No Party Preference" voting bloc, the Sacramento Bee reports. "NPP," previously known as independents, have to ask for a Democratic or Republican ballot at the polls in order to vote for president. $$

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Friday, February 21, 2020

Friday's Briefing: Oakland police chief is abruptly fired; Berkeley mayor wants to give renters right to buy their homes

Berkeley Bowl co-founder dies

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Feb 21, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Anne Kirkpatrick was hired as Oakland chief of police in January 2017. - D. ROSS CAMERON
  • D. Ross Cameron
  • Anne Kirkpatrick was hired as Oakland chief of police in January 2017.


News you don't want to miss for Feb. 21-23:

1. The citizen-led Oakland Police Commission unanimously voted to dismiss Oakland Chief of Police Anne Kirkpatrick without cause on Thursday night, and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf concurred, KTVU reports. The commission's power is derived from Measure LL. Kirkpatrick was appointed as chief of police in January 2017.

2. On Friday morning, Schaaf addressed graduates of the Oakland police academy, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. “Leaders will come and go,” she told the new recruits. $$

3. Outspoken Oakland Councilmember Noel Gallo is not happy with the Kirkpatrick's firing, KTVU reports. Speaking to reporters on Friday morning, Gallo said “It’s no longer City Hall but Silly Hall.”

4. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin introduced the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act on Thursday. The proposed ordinance would give renters the right of first refusal to buy their homes in the event the owner puts the property on the market, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. The California Energy Commission approved new policies to restrict the installation of natural gas in new homes for nine Bay Area cities, including Berkeley, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

6. Glenn Yasuda, the co-founder of the iconic Berkeley Bowl grocery store, has died, Berkeleyside reports. He was 85.

7. Spring training games for the A's begin this weekend. But when its comes to the cheating scandal roiling baseball, former A's pitcher Brett Anderson said the A's didn't participate. Not because of their honesty, but because the Coliseum's state of decay makes it too difficult to cheat, SFGate reports. "And to relay from f—ing 300 yards away in the video room? What were we going to do, get some vendor to throw some popcorn up in the air, or something? It’s too f—ing far to relay something,” Anderson said.

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Thursday's Briefing: McClymonds temporarily closed for groundwater issue; $7M Powerball ticket sold in San Leandro

A's pitcher received death threats for speaking out on cheating scheme

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 4:00 AM

School is out for the next few days at McClymonds High School in Oakland. - OUSD
  • OUSD
  • School is out for the next few days at McClymonds High School in Oakland.


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

1. Oakland's McClymonds High School is closed for the rest of the week after a toxic chemical was found in the groundwater under the school, the Bay City News reports. The presence of trichloroethylene, however, has not been found in the school's drinking water.

2. A winning $7 million PowerBall lottery tickets was sold at the FoodMaxx in San Leandro, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The lucky winner has not claimed their prize. $$

3. Gov. Gavin Newsom declared fighting homelessness as the state's top priority during his State of the State address on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. The issue is of such importance that it was the only one mentioned in Newsom's remarks.

4. ICE agents ignored a new state law and arrested two men inside a courthouse in Sonoma County, the Associated Press reports. The move comes as fears of undocumented immigrants have been renewed by reports that ICE is planning raids on large cities, including San Francisco.

5. A's pitcher Mike Fiers has received death threats in response to revealing his former team, the Houston Astros, engaged in an elaborate sign-stealing scheme, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

6. And this from the Department of Fair Weather Fans: NBC Sports Bay Area's ratings for Warriors telecasts has dropped by 66 percent this season, SFGate reports. It's the second-largest ratings decline in the NBA.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Wednesday’s Briefing: Judge warns defendant in Nia Wilson murder trial; Falk named interim Oakland city administrator

Poll: Bernie Sanders has 18-point lead in the California primary

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Newly-appointed interim Oakland City Administrator Steven Falk. - MTC
  • MTC
  • Newly-appointed interim Oakland City Administrator Steven Falk.


News you don’t want to miss for Feb. 19:

1, The judge in the Nia Wilson murder trial said he could throw out the defedant John Lee Cowell’s previous testimony if he does not return for cross-examination, the East Bay Times report. Cowell’s discombobulated testimony last week was upended by audio recordings that showed him capable of more cogent conversations, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. The Oakland City Council unanimously confirmed former Lafayette city manager Steven Falk as interim city administrator, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Oakland City Administrator Sabrina Landreth announced last December that she was leaving the city, effective Mar. 11. $$

3. Sen. Bernie Sanders has jumped to a large lead in the California presidential primary, according to the latest polling, Bloomberg reports (That’s the news organization, not the candidate!). Sanders polled at 32 percent, followed by Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg, all bunched between 12 and 14 percent.

4. Uninsured Californians have a second chance at purchasing health care insurance and, thereby, avoiding being assessed a pricey penalty, the Los Angeles Times reports. Uninsured residents now have until Mar. 31 to buy health insurance. The previous deadline was Jan. 31. The state extended the deadline out of fears many Californians were unaware of the new penalties for not having health insurance. $$

5. PG&E reported quarterly losses of $3.6 billion stemming from claims against the utility for its part in the California wildfires, the Wall Street Journal reports. For the year, PG&E posted losses of $7.7 billion. It lost $6.9 billion in 2018. $$

6. A home security camera captured images of two suspected intruders entering a home in the Hiller Highlands neighborhood of Oakland, KTVU reports. A woman in the house locked herself in a room and dialed 9-1-1 after seeing one of the masked men pointing a gun. The suspects eventually left the home.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Tuesday’s Briefing: Bernie Sanders packed the place in Richmond; Alameda school boardmember arrested for DUI

Glazer introduces AirBNB bill in response to Orinda shootings

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Sen. Bernie Sanders prior to his speech Monday afternoon before thousands of supporters in Richmond. - COURTESY MALIA VELLA
  • Courtesy Malia Vella
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders prior to his speech Monday afternoon before thousands of supporters in Richmond.


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

1. Thousands of Bernie Sanders supporters packed the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond for a get out the vote rally on Monday afternoon, ABC7 reports. Hundreds more were lined up outside the event. Sanders’ appearance comes two weeks before the end of voting for the Mar. 3 California presidential primary, which most polls show him leading.

2. An Alameda school boardmember was arrested last week on suspicion of driving under the influence, the East Bay Citizen reports. First-term school boardmember Jennifer Williams notified the board of the Feb. 12 arrests two days later in an email, in which she apologized for the mistake.

3. State Sen. Steve Glazer introduced a bill Monday that would allow cities to fine AirBNB short-term renters up to $5,000 for violations, the East Bay Times reports. The bill is in response to the Halloween night deaths of five people at an AirBNB in Orinda. $$

4. A number of district attorneys in the Bay Area and nationwide signed on to a letter protesting U.S. Attorney General William Barr's negative comments about criminal justice reforms, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. DAs in San Francisco, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara Counties signed the letter, but not Alameda County DA Nancy O'Malley. $$

5. A's radio broadcasts will not be heard over terrestrial airwaves this season, SFGate report. The team's games can be heard on the free app TuneIn through its well-received A's Cast channel. The A's are the first to go all-in with streaming-only broadcasts.

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Monday, February 17, 2020

Monday's Briefing: Schaaf tells residents to visit Chinatown; tells ICE agents to stay away from Oakland

State to apologize for Japanese American internment

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Feb 17, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Mayor Libby Schaaf warned ICE agents to stay away from Oakland. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Mayor Libby Schaaf warned ICE agents to stay away from Oakland.


News you don't want to miss for Feb. 17

1. With small business owners in Oakland's Chinatown reporting declining business due to fears of the coronavirus, Mayor Libby Schaaf declared the area safe for shoppers at a press conference on Saturday, KTVU reports.

2. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents may be coming back to the Bay Area, according to reports. Schaaf warned ICE to scram in a tweet on Friday, KPIX reports. “Don’t bring it to Oakland. Our residents deserve safety + sanctuary in our streets — not tactical border agents. Oakland will remain the most unapologetic sanctuary city in America.”

3. On Thursday, the California State Assembly will formally apologize for the state's role in the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, the Los Angeles Times reports. $$

4. Remember when Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin was against building height limits? Well, he's evolved. Berkeley has added roughly 900 new units in its downtown, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, and 1,000 more are in the pipeline.

5. The A's and Giants made history on Sunday after consummating the first transaction between the Bay Area rivals in 30 years, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The A's acquired pitcher Burch Smith from the Giants for cash. $$

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