Monday, August 31, 2020

Monday's Briefing: Police raid magic mushroom church in East Oakland; Bay Area is bending the curve again

Member of A's organization tests positive for covid-19

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Aug 31, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Oakland recently downgraded enforcement of laws agaisnt the consumption of psychedelic plants. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Oakland recently downgraded enforcement of laws agaisnt the consumption of psychedelic plants.


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

1. Oakland Police raided the Zide Door Church of Entheogenic Plants, a "magic mushroom club," and seized $200,000 in cash, cannabis, and mushrooms, Vice reports. The Oakland City Council recently lowered the enforcement of laws prohibiting the use of psychedelic plants, but not cultivation and sales.

2. Protests in Oakland against the shooting by Kenosha, Wisc. police of Jacob Blake continued over the weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. on Saturday night, one police officer was injured and six protesters were arrested.

3. Oakland officials are counting on the state's Project Homekey program to help purchase dorms and hotels to use as transitional housing, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Project Homekey was created to use federal CARES Act dollars to help municipalities procure unused hotels to house the homeless during the pandemic. $$

4. The spread of covid-19 in the Bay Area is showing signs of slowing with the Labor Day weekend just around the corner, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The rate of new cases and hospitalization is dropping, following a statewide and national trend line. In Alameda County, a surge of new cases in mid-to-late July has slowed considerably. $$

5. A member of the Oakland Athletics organization tested positive for covid-19 on Sunday. Yesterday's game in Houston was postponed and the team is being quarantined in Texas until it receives testing results, which come back on Monday showing the number of infections is limited to one individual, Sports Illustrated reports. The A's will not play again until Wednesday.

6. AC Transit buses running through Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, and Alameda received a full cleaning over the weekend after several employees tested positive for covid-19, Berkeleyside reports. The buses are due back on the streets today.

7. SCU Lightning Complex fires in Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara Counties is now 60 percent contained, SFGate reports. The fires have burned more than 383,000 acres and is the second-largest in state history.

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Friday, August 28, 2020

Friday's Briefing: Newsom backs new statewide eviction protections; A's want to use Coliseum for voting

State approves retail sales ban on flavored tobacco, menthol cigarettes

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

Tenants at the Bay View Apartments in Alameda. - STEVEN TAVARES
  • Steven Tavares
  • Tenants at the Bay View Apartments in Alameda.


News you don't want to miss for Aug. 28:

1. A new proposal backed by Gov. Gavin Newsom will allow tenants to stay in their units without threat of eviction from Sept. 1 through Jan. 31, but only if they pay 25 percent of the total amount owed to the landlord, the Associated Press reports.

2. California lawmakers approved legislation on Friday to prohibit the retail sale of flavored tobacco products and menthol cigarettes, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Oakland has a similar ban, but some other East Bay cities had stopped short of a full ban in recent years. $$

3. Virtual classroom instruction for Fifth grade students at San Leandro's McKinley Elementary was interrupted by a Zoombomber on Monday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The students were exposed to foul language and pornography. The school district is investigating the incident.

4. The Oakland Athletics hope to use the Coliseum for Election Day voting and ballot drop-off, SFGate reports. The Golden State Warriors, meanwhile, announced they will do the same at Chase Center in San Francisco.

5. Meanwhile, the Athletics and Texas Rangers joined a growing number of sports teams that postponed games in protest of the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, Wisc., the East Bay Times reports. The A's will take to the field on Friday in Houston. $$

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Thursday's Briefing: Jabob Blake protest in Oakland leads to damage, courthouse set on fire; Oakland can proceed with Wells Fargo lawsuit

Alameda may fine mask scofflaws

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

Oakland is arguing Wells Fargo's predatory loan practices robbed the city of property taxes. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Oakland is arguing Wells Fargo's predatory loan practices robbed the city of property taxes.


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

1. A protest in Oakland condemning the officer-involved shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man in Kenosha, Wisc., devolved into a night of vandalism, Bay City News reports. Protesters set fire to the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse near Lake Merritt, in addition to damaging storefront in downtown Oakland.

2. Led by the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks' decision not to play on Wednesday, teams in other sports leagues decided to boycott the Blake shooting, including MLB's San Francisco Giants and MLS' San Jose Earthquakes. NBA players on Thursday, though, decided to resume the playoffs, the Associated Press reports.

3. Oakland can move forward with a lawsuit against Wells Fargo for its predatory lending practices, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. $$

4. Alameda city officials are contemplating a fine for not wearing a mask, the East Bay Times reports. The proposed fine of up to $100 will be discussed when the City Council return on Sept. 1. $$

5. A fortunate cooling trend, humidity, and an influx of firefighters is leading the recent containment of wildfires in the region, the Associated Press reports. The SCU Lightning Commplex fires in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara Counties is now 35 percent contained, as of Thursday morning.

6. Thirteen schools in Fremont received bomb threats last night, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Fremont Police, however, do not believe the threats are credible. $$

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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Wednesday's Briefing: Positive covid-19 case in state Senate could stifle key legislation; SCU Lightning Complex fires gaining containment

East Bay developer files suit against new regional park

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

Hayward Assemblymember Bill Quirk earlier this week in Sacramento wearing multiple masks as protection against the coronavirus. - TWITTER: @ASMBILLQUIRK
  • Twitter: @AsmBillQuirk
  • Hayward Assemblymember Bill Quirk earlier this week in Sacramento wearing multiple masks as protection against the coronavirus.


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

1. A positive covid-19 test has shut down the California Senate on Wednesday and it could not have come at a worst time, the Los Angeles Times reports. That's because the legislative year is set to end on Aug. 31. The postponement could potentially leave a number of important bills on the table. As of noon, the state Assembly intends to meet later today.$$

2. Firefighters are beginning to gain the upper hand against the SCU, LNU, and CZU Lightning Complex fires, KPIX reports. The SCU Lightning Complex fires burning in Santa Clara, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties is now 25 percent contained.

3. The poor air quality due to the panoply of wildfires surrounding the East Bay is improving, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The air in Oakland, San Leandro areas has returned to good levels since Tuesday afternoon as the wildfires are being slowly contained, along with cooler local temperatures.

4. Contra Costa County will loosen some of its shelter in place orders this Friday, the East Bay Times reports. "The new order, which Contra Costa County Health Services officials said goes into effect Friday, will allow nail salons and massage studios to begin operating outdoors. Gyms and fitness centers also will be cleared to resume doing outside business." Alameda County will allow barbershops, hair and nail salons, and water parks to reopen outdoors on Friday.

5. The developer behind a 1,500 single-family homes project in Pittsburg is suing the East Bay Regional Park District in order to block a proposed regional park slated for the nearby former Concord Naval Weapons Station, SFGate reports.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Tuesday's Briefing: Alameda County to allow barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, swimming pools to reopen outdoors

Squaw Valley will change its name

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

Alameda County will allow barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, waxing services to conduct business outdoors, starting this Friday. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Alameda County will allow barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, waxing services to conduct business outdoors, starting this Friday.


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

1. Firefighters battling the SCU Lightning Complex fires that are ravaging five counties, including Eastern Alameda County, are holding the blaze at bay, KTVU reports. The fire is the largest currently burning in the state at more than 363,000 acres. It remains only 15 percent contained.

2. Starting Friday, Alameda County residents can begin taming their unruly hair and chipped nails, albeit in an outdoor setting, the East Bay Times reports. Alameda County health officials will allow barbershops, hair salons and nail salons to reopen outdoors, in addition to water parks and outdoor swimming pools. $$

3. Some Bay Area schools were further stymied after Zoom was down on Monday morning for a few hours and affecting classroom instruction, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

4. Buckle up, Oakland. President Trump is likely to use Oakland and the Democratic-controlled California as a punching bag this week at the Republican National Convention, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. Squaw Valley will have a new name next year, SFGate reports. The resort, which hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics, has faced years of criticism over its name, which is a sexist slur against Native American women.

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Monday, August 24, 2020

Monday's Briefing: Lightning did not strike twice, giving a reprieve for firefighters; Livermore has worst air quality in the Bay Area

Alameda County DA employees told to quarantine

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

Smoke lingering over downtown Oakland on Monday and blotting out the entire San Francisco skyline - STEVEN TAVARES
  • Steven Tavares
  • Smoke lingering over downtown Oakland on Monday and blotting out the entire San Francisco skyline


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

1. Lightning forecast for Sunday failed to materialize, giving firefighters a sigh of relief as the three large-scale Northern California fires continue to burn, the East Bay Times reports. $$

2. Oakland Fire officials are investigating the cause of a house fire in the Oakland hills on Sunday morning, the East Bay Times reports. The home on Leimart Boulevard sustained an estimated $300,000 in damage from the blaze.

3. Although the air quality in Oakland and neighboring cities is quite unhealthy, residents in Livermore and most of east county are suffering from the worst air quality measured in the Bay Area since the spate of fires started a week ago, SFGate reports.

4. An employee at the Alameda County District Attorney's office tested positive for covid-19, the East Bay Times reports. Employees have been told to quarantine. $$

5. Scott Peterson's 2004 death penalty sentence was overturned by the California Supreme Court, CNN reports. The court faulted the dismissal of a juror for stating opposition to the death penalty. Peterson was found guilty of murdering his wife and unborn child in a trial that titillated the public. Both victims were found in the waters near the Berkeley Marina.

6. Fishermen rejoice! Due to the pandemic there has been fewer anglers on the water this summer, which means the upcoming salmon season is a bounty waiting to happen, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$



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Friday, August 21, 2020

Friday's Briefing: SCU Lightning Complex fires continue to rage; East Bay added a healthy 1,600 jobs in July

Dry lightning could return this weekend

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

The Big Basin Redwoods Visitors Center in Santa Cruz County was consumed by wildfires.
  • The Big Basin Redwoods Visitors Center in Santa Cruz County was consumed by wildfires.


News you don't want to miss for Aug. 21:

1. The SCU Lightning Complex fires in Santa Clara, Alameda, and Contra Costa counties is the largest conflagration in the state in terms of geographical size, as of Friday morning, KTVU reports. About 240,000 acres have been burned by the blaze. Overall, only five percent of the SCU Lightning Complex wildfires have been contained.

2. A weather pattern that brought lightning to the Bay Area last weekend could return in the next few days, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The spate of dry lightning last Sunday morning is blamed for the wildfires raging across the region. $$

3. The Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Santa Cruz County suffered extensive damage from the wildfires, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Big Basin Headquarters and Visitors Center was burned to the ground. The state park is the oldest in California.

4. President Trump lent his expertise in forestry to California, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. “I see again, the forest fires are starting. They’re starting again in California,” Trump said on Thursday. “And I said, you’ve got to clean your floors. You’ve got to clean your forests.” $$

5. Richmond Police Sgt. Virgil Thomas died from complications related to covid-19, the East Bay Times reports. A 24-year veteran of the department, Thomas reportedly was infected by covid-19 while on the job. $$

6. The jobs recovery in the Bay Area last month continues to show improvement, but was far less robust than in June. Roughly 21,200 jobs in the Bay Area were created in July, including 1,600 in the East Bay, the East Bay Times reports. Statewide, the unemployment rate dropped in July from 14.9 percent to 13.3 percent. $$

7. The Warriors received the second pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday, SFGate reports. But the talent-laden former champs appear to be seriously considering trading the pick.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Wednesday's Briefing: Former Oakland police chief files whistleblower suit; Video shows Alameda County deputy was not assaulted by NBA executive

Warriors ordered to pay Oracle Arena debt

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

Former Oakland police chief Anne Kirkpatrick was fired in February. During her tenure she clashed with the newly-created Oakland Police Commission. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Former Oakland police chief Anne Kirkpatrick was fired in February. During her tenure she clashed with the newly-created Oakland Police Commission.


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

1. "Former Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit against the city on Wednesday, claiming she was fired in retaliation for exposing corruption and abuse of power in the police commission," the East Bay Times reports. Kirkpatrick was fired in February. $$

2. Harry Hu, the disgraced former Oakland cop and Alameda County District Attorney inspector, was sentenced to 30 days in federal prison for accepting bribes and providing protection for a suspect, the East Bay Times reports.

3. The East Bay skies are smoky today as wildfires caused by last weekend's lightning strikes continue to burn, ABC7 reports. Those sensitive to poor air quality are advised to stay indoors. Tonight's A's game at the Oakland Coliseum may be postponed due to smoke from the wildfires, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

4. The Golden State Warriors must pay its longstanding share of Oracle Arena construction debt, a state appellate court ruled on Tuesday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The team moved to San Francisco and left Oakland and Alameda County on the hook for the roughly $49 million in remaining debt. $$

5. Video shows an Alameda County Sheriff's deputy may have been the aggressor in a confrontation with an executive of the Toronto Raptors following an NBA Finals game in 2019, ESPN reports. The deputy had previously alleged he was assaulted by Raptors GM Masai Ujiri at Oracle Arena.

6. Joe Biden officially became the Democratic nominee for president on Tuesday. East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee and Los Angeles Supervisor Hilda Solis announced California's 263 delegates for Biden from a beach in Los Angeles County, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Sen. Bernie Sanders received 231 delegates from the state. $$

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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Tuesday's Briefing: OPD monitor slams Schaaf's inaction following police killing; Wildfires are causing East Bay air quality issues

Ethnic studies to be required at CSU

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

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf


News you don't want to miss for Aug. 18:

1. The federal monitor overseeing reforms at the Oakland Police Department strongly criticized Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf for being silent and not acting following the shooting of Joshua Pawlik by police in 2018, KPIX reports.

2. Wildfires caused by the weekend's lightning storm continue to rage. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued a warning for the Tri-Valley cities of Dublin, Pleasanton, and Livermore through Thursday, the East Bay Times reports. $$

3. Two cast members at the Berkeley Repertory Theater alleged the use of their images in a streamed performance that occurred at the start of the shelter in place violated their union contract, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

4. The California State University class of 2025 will be required to take an ethnic studies course in order to graduate, the Associated Press reports. The new requirements begins with the 2021-2022 school year.

5. With the push for police accountability legislation in Sacramento at fevered pitch, the fate of 15 bills in the Legislature will be known in the next two weeks ahead of the Aug. 31 deadline, Calmatters reports.

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Monday, August 17, 2020

Monday's Briefing: Mother Nature comes down hard on the East Bay; Massive sewage spill in the Oakland-Alameda Estuary

A's sweep the Giants; gain best record in baseball

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

Oakland-Alameda Estuary. - STEVEN TAVARES
  • Steven Tavares
  • Oakland-Alameda Estuary.


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

1. The heat wave that continued on Monday triggered power outages over the weekend that may continue through today, SFGate reports. Rolling power outages due to the extreme heat could affect residents in San Francisco and Contra Costa Counties, PG&E said. City of Alameda residents, who have their own power company, were also warned of outages today.

2. An almost unprecedented thunder and lightning show, at least for its duration, on Sunday morning could give Bay Area rsidents an encore on Monday, although it has yet to materialize, ABC7 reports.

3. Several fires in the East Bay, however, may be linked to thunderstorm, in addition, to the hot weather. Fires in Brentwood and Sunol are continuing to grow, the East Bay Times reports.

4. A former chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said President Trump once attempted to cut off federal aid for California wildfire victims because it's a blue state, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. "East Bay water managers released about 50,000 gallons of sewage into the estuary between Oakland and Alameda on Saturday morning after a power failure caused equipment to fail at a wastewater treatment plant," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Swimming in the estuary is not advisable until further testing is done on the water quality, East Bay Municipal Utilities District said. $$

6. The A's delivered possibly the biggest beat down of their Bay Area rivals since the 1989 World Series. The A's swept the Giants over the weekend in a series that included two epic ninth inning comebacks by the A's and a 15-3 rout on Sunday, the Associated Press reports. At 16-6, the A's have the best record in the baseball.

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