Friday, November 17, 2017

Study: Higher Minimum Wage and Other Progressive Policies Have Not Hurt Economic Growth in California

The UC Berkeley research showed a correlation between progressive policies and stronger growth for employment and gross domestic product.

by Jessica Lynn
Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 10:50 AM

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A new UC Berkeley study has found that a bundle of progressive policies enacted in California since 2011 — once characterized as “job-killers” by the state’s Chamber of Commerce — had no negative impact on the state’s employment or economic growth.

The study examined the impacts of “the California Policy Model," the nickname for 51 progressive policies put into place between 2011 and 2016 after Gov. Jerry Brown took office while Democrats controlled both houses of the state legislature. The study looked at the effects of a higher minimum wage, extended paid sick leave, raised taxes on corporations, increased access to affordable health care, and more environmental protections.

Ian Perry, the UC Berkeley Labor Center researcher who authored the report, “California is Working: The Effects of California’s Public Policy on Jobs and the Economy since 2011,” said he was inspired to begin the project because of a lack of holistic investigations into the impact of progressive policy.

“There’s a focus on a lot of targeted evaluation on a lot of specific policies. There’s less out there looking at the cumulative impact,” Perry said. “But it’s also kind of more the relevant question a lot of the time. Places are doing a lot of different things at once.”

When Perry compared California to states whose governments were under complete Republican control between 2011 and 2016, he found that California’s employment rate and economy saw stronger growth.

But Perry also worried if it was fair to compare California to Republican states that may have fundamentally different economic structures. So he also created a model of a “conservative California” that tracked what would have happened over the 2011-2016 time period had these policies never been implemented.

Again, the research showed a correlation between the progressive policies and stronger growth for employment and gross domestic product.

“It shows that what we as a state have been doing has been largely successful,” Perry said. “We’ve seen wages go up, people gain health insurance, and the state getting on track with carbon reduction goals. The policies put into place to make that happen haven’t had the negative impacts that people sometimes fear.”

The study has begun to draw national attention at a time when the federal government is pushing for policies that directly contradict those enacted as part of the “California Policy Model.”

In a Washington Post op-ed Jared Bernstein, who used to be a chief economist to former vice president Joe Biden, called the study “useful information in the cause of economic justice,” though he questioned some aspects of the research. He noted that the study could be skewed if Republican-controlled states experienced negative economic trends unrelated to policy during this time.

Speaker of the California State Assembly Anthony Rendon also cited the study as a evidence for how the state should navigate the country’s current political climate.

“This study is a powerful piece of evidence to support what I’ve said for the past year: California’s greatest weapon against backwards national policies is not just to resist, but to continue to act affirmatively on the policies that will benefit, and already have benefitted, all the people of our state,” Rendon wrote in a press release.

Friday’s Briefing: Oakland Housing Market Is 3rd Most Competitive; State to Allow Mega Cannabis Farms

Plus, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin under investigation for campaign finance violations.

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 10:22 AM

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Stories you shouldn’t miss for Nov. 17, 2017:

1. The Oakland metro’s extremely tight housing market is the third most competitive in the nation, behind only San Francisco and San Jose, reports Richard Scheinin of the Mercury News$, citing a new analysis from the real estate firm Redfin. In the Oakland market, 63 percent of home sales, including condos and townhomes, were for above asking price last month. Analysts attributed the soaring costs to the severe shortage of homes for sale. In Oakland, 25.5 percent fewer homes sold in October than the previous year as the median sales price reached $690,000, a 13.1 percent increase.

2. California regulators finally released a comprehensive set of new rules for the legal cannabis market and have decided to allow mega-pot farms in the state, reports Rachel Swan of the San Francisco Chronicle. The new rules, which take effect Jan. 1, when the sale of pot for recreational use becomes lawful in the state, could draw large agricultural interests into weed growing. The new regulations also limit cannabis deliveries to automobile only—and ban bicycle deliveries.

3. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin is under investigation by the city’s political watchdog agency for possibly violating campaign finance laws during last year’s election, reports Frances Dinkelspiel of Berkeleyside. Records show that Arreguin’s campaign failed to reimburse his chief of staff for expenditures during the election as required by city law, thus turning the spending into illegal donation loans.

4. Despite efforts by President Trump to sabotage Obamacare, signups for California Care, the state version of the federal health care law, surged by 23 percent during the first two weeks of November compared to last year, reports Catherine Ho of the San Francisco Chronicle$.

5. The UC Board of Regents admonished UC President Janet Napolitano for approving a plan that resulted in two of her top staffers improperly interfering in a state audit earlier this year, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Napolitano apologized, citing poor judgment. But the regents unanimously concluded that they want her to remain president.

6. BART police shot and seriously wounded a man they said was carrying a rifle at the Richmond BART station, the East Bay Times$ reports. The 21-year-old man was taken to a hospital for surgery.

7. The GOP-controlled Congress passed a sweeping overhaul to the federal tax code that will provide tax cuts to the wealthy and large corporations, while increasing taxes on low-income earners and on millions of middle-class families, especially in California, The New York Times$ reports. The Republican-controlled Senate is expected to vote on its version of the plan after Thanksgiving.

8. PG&E plans to cut down about 25,000 trees that suffered damage in the Northern California wildfires in October, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. The utility is concerned that the damaged trees could down power lines during winter storms.

9. The chinook salmon population on the Mokelumne River is surging this year, reports Peter Fimrite of the San Francisco Chronicle$. “The large number of salmon, which are inspired by the first rains of the season to swim upriver and spawn, validate the effectiveness of a series of streambed, habitat and health improvements made over the years by [East Bay MUD] and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.”

10. And the controversial Keystone Pipeline leaked about 210,000 gallons of dirty tar sands oil in South Dakota, The New York Times$ reports.

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

New Oakland Fire Chief: City Needs to Hire More Firefighters and Inspectors

by Darwin BondGraham
Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 10:47 AM

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Oakland's new Fire Chief Darin White said last night at a League of Women Voters event that his department needs more staff. It's the top item on his "wish list" of needs.

"For a long time, the department has been understaffed," he bluntly told an audience of about two dozen Oakland residents.

White's observation is underscored by a recent city report showing that 50 crucial positions in the fire department are currently vacant, despite being funded.

This includes 11 missing captains, eight lieutenants, three paramedics, 12 firefighters, three dispatchers, and multiple other jobs critical to public safety.

Following the deadly Ghost Ship and San Pablo Avenue fires, the city council and mayor also committed to hiring more fire inspectors. Six new fire inspector positions were included in the 2017-18 fiscal year budget approved in June, but so far, only one of these positions has been filled.

And the department is still missing an assistant fire marshal.

Asked about what's changed after the deadly Ghost Ship fire, White declined to share specifics. But he said the department has moved to improve communication between its inspectors and the planning and building department's employees.

The chief also acknowledged that the department's systems of inspecting vegetation and other fire hazards in the tinderbox Oakland hills has been flawed, and that he hopes to modernize the tools used by Oakland fire personnel to help homeowners remain in compliance.

He also said fires at homeless camps are "on the rise," but didn't have much to say about how the city intends to improve safety for the roughly 1,900 unsheltered people who live on the streets.

Overall, White said he will focus on keeping the community safe while also ensuring the safety of his employees, and looking to implement new technology to improve efficiency.

Thursday’s Briefing: Broadcaster Says Al Franken Sexually Assaulted Her; Students Call for the Resignation of UC Regent Accused of Sex Harassment

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 10:22 AM

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Stories you shouldn’t miss for Nov. 16, 2017:

1. A Los Angeles radio broadcaster says U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., sexually assaulted her in 2006, and she posted a photo of him grabbing her breasts while she was asleep. Leann Tweeden, who wrote about the assault for KABC, also said that Franken forcibly kissed her. At the time, Franken was not yet a U.S. senator, and the two were on a USO Tour. Franken apologized this morning but claimed that he was joking. GOP Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for an ethics investigation of Franken.

2. Student activists called for the resignation of UC Regent Norman Pattiz, who was recorded asking actress Heather McDonald at his podcast company if he could hold her breasts, reports Nanette Asimov of the San Francisco Chronicle. Pattiz, whose term on the board of regents last until 2026, has steadfastly refused to step down, claiming he was only joking.

3. The Oakland A’s have selected a design team to develop plans for a new ballpark next to Laney College, the San Francisco Chronicle$ reports. The team includes nationally recognized sports architect HOK, as well as Snøhetta, which designed the addition to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The A’s are proposing to build a new stadium on Peralta Community College District land on East 8th Avenue.

4. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District approved new air pollution rules that it called the strictest in the nation, reports Denis Cuff of the East Bay Times$. The new rules require that a new refinery and other polluters must reduce toxic air pollution “if emissions from a plant increase its neighbors’ cancer risk by 10 in a million or more.”

5. The Trump administration warned Berkeley, Sam Francisco, and Contra Costa County that they will lose federal Department of Justice grants because of their sanctuary policies that protect undocumented immigrants, reports Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle.

6. And the Berkeley school board voted to rename LeConte Elementary School, because the school’s namesake, Joseph LeConte, was a slave owner who helped build munitions for the Confederacy, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday’s Briefing: Judge Says Oakland Had a ‘Duty’ to Deal With Ghost Ship; Two Former UC Officials Interfered With State Audit

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 10:13 AM

The Ghost Ship before it burned.
  • The Ghost Ship before it burned.

Stories you shouldn’t miss for Nov. 15, 2017:

1. An Alameda County Superior Court judge said Oakland had a “mandatory duty” to deal with the building and code violations at the Ghost Ship warehouse before it burned down last year, killing 36 people, reports Kimberly Veklerov of the San Francisco Chronicle. The ruling by Judge Brad Seligman, if upheld, opens the door for a huge financial judgment against the city in lawsuits filed by victims’ family members. The decision also could prompt the city to shut down artists’ warehouses throughout Oakland that are not in compliance with city building and safety codes.

2. Two former top University of California officials improperly interfered in a state audit earlier this year, reports Nanette Asimov of the San Francisco Chronicle$, citing the results of an independent investigation. The two ex-officials, Seth Grossman, chief of staff to UC President Janet Napolitano, and Bernie Jones, Grossman’s deputy, worked with UC campuses to change their responses to an audit survey. Grossman and Jones recently resigned.

3. A gunman killed four people on Tuesday and injured at least two children in a shooting spree that began near his home in Tehama County, north of Sacramento, and then continued at a local elementary school, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The killer, Kevin Janson Neal, shot at the school after school officials alertly locked down the campus. Neal was later killed by law enforcement officers.

4. Three paint companies — Conagra, NL Industries, and Sherwin-Williams — must pay hundreds of millions of dollars to clean lead paint from homes in Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo and seven other counties built before 1951, under a ruling by a state appellate court, reports Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle. The court ruled that the paint companies knew that lead paint is toxic when they advertised the product before 1951.

5. A judge sentenced Daniel Rush, a former chair of the Berkeley Medical Cannabis Commission, to 37 months in prison for fraud and money laundering, reports Frances Dinkelspiel of Berkeleyside. Rush, who is also a former union organizer, pleaded guilty in June “to one count of violating the Taft-Hartley Act, one count of honest services fraud, and one count to commit structuring and money laundering.”

6. And Senate Republicans have decided again to try to repeal aspects of Obamacare by amending their tax cut plan, The New York Times$ reports. Republicans are proposing to eliminate the individual mandate, which requires people to buy health insurance, as part of their tax overhaul, which gives large tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

San Leandro and Berkeley See Significant Rise in Reported Hate Crimes

Most Bay Area hate crime victims were targeted because of their race.

by Darwin BondGraham
Tue, Nov 14, 2017 at 1:13 PM

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According to data collected by the FBI, several East Bay cities saw large increases in reported hate crimes in 2016. Topping the regional list was San Leandro, where the police reported 22 hate crimes. This gave the East Bay city of 91,000 residents the third highest hate crime rate of any city in the state: 24 crimes per 100,000 people. Fifteen of the hate crimes committed in San Leandro last year were racially motivated.

Berkeley also saw a sharp rise in hate crimes, with 13 incidents, nine of which were racially motivated. Berkeley, which has a population of 122,000, had an overall hate crime rate of 11 per 100,000.

Berkeley's rate was more than three times as high as the average  for cities in California. The average rate was 3.3 per 100,000 residents last year.

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin called the FBI's hate crimes report alarming and linked the rise in incidents to the current political climate.

"When a presidential candidate openly vilifies immigrants, Muslims, Latinos, women, and the LGBT community, and empowers bigotry and hatred, it’s not surprising that people will act out in their hate," said Arreguin. "Several of these hate crimes occurred after the election in Berkeley against Muslim Americans, and businesses and individuals of all backgrounds have been the target of harassment."

In previous years, both Berkeley and San Leandro had rates much closer to the state's average.

San Leandro Police Chief Jeff Tudor said he's reviewed the FBI's report as well as specific incident reports written by his own officers to more fully understand what's behind the rise in reported hate crimes in his city. But he said part of the reason San Leandro may have ranked so high this year is that his officers are told to classify incidents as hate crimes in cases that may not initially have been motivated by bigotry, but which involved a racial slur, misogynist comment, or homophobic remark.

Other police department's may not be this attentive in classifying incidents as hate crimes under the FBI's system.

"I think our officers and sergeants erred on the side of caution," said Tudor. "But I want to make it perfectly clear we will always document and look into cases where an incident involves a hate crime or involves hate speech."

It's widely acknowledged that the FBI's system of tracking hate crimes needs improvement. In fact, many police departments choose not to send data to the FBI each year, because data reporting is voluntary. And what's classified as a hate crime is up to each local police department. Furthermore, many victims are hesitant to report a hate crime to the police.

Even so, the yearly report provides a look at patterns in hate crimes throughout the country.

In Northern California, several cities consistently rank high on the FBI's list.

Santa Cruz, which has a population of 65,000, ranked sixth in the state in 2016, with 12 reported hate crimes and a rate of 19 per 100,000 residents.

Seven of these hate crimes involved racial bias; three, religious bigotry; and two, because of a person's sexual orientation. In 2014 and 2015, Santa Cruz's hate crimes rate was lower, but still three to four times the state average.

The small Mendocino city of Fort Bragg — named after a Confederate Army officer — topped the state rankings this year with a hate crimes rate of 41. In 2014 and 2015, Fort Bragg's hate crimes rate was also several times higher than the state average. But the city's small population, just 7,200 residents, means that just one extra hate crime per year can bump it's rate up by 13 points, making comparison with larger cities difficult.

The FBI's full 2016 hate crimes report can be accessed here.

Tuesday’s Briefing: West Oakland Developer Plans Modular Housing for Homeless; Californians Still Use More Water Than National Average

Plus, state may achieve renewable energy goals 10 years early.

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Nov 14, 2017 at 10:11 AM

COURTESY OF HOLLIDAY DEVELOPMENT
  • Courtesy of Holliday Development

Stories you shouldn’t miss for Nov. 14, 2017:

1. Holliday Development is planning to construct three modular housing projects in West Oakland, including one for formerly homeless people, reports Roland Li of the San Francisco Business Times$. Holliday is proposing to build on three sites, including the old Phoenix Ironworks warehouse, where the company says it could construct 300 to 400 apartments, including housing for the formerly homeless, affordable housing, and market-rate housing. The modular housing, which is cheaper to build, would be constructed in Vallejo by union workers and shipped to West Oakland for assembly.

2. Even though Californians reduced water consumption during the drought, state residents still use more than the national average, reports Emily Guerin of KPCC (h/t Rough & Tumble), citing new data from the U.S. Geological Survey. As of September 2017, Californians use 110 gallons per person per day for outdoor and indoor consumption, while the national average is 82 gallons per person per day. Experts credited Californians’ extra water use mostly to outdoor watering.

3. California may achieve its renewable energy goals 10 years early, reports David R. Baker of the San Francisco Chronicle$, citing new data from state energy regulators. The state’s goal is to have utilities use 50 percent renewables by 2030, but California is on track to meet that standard by 2020. “In 2016, 32.9 percent of the electricity PG&E sold to its customers came from renewable sources, according to the report.”

4. A controversial beer garden proposed by beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev for Oakland’s Temescal district is moving toward city approval, reports Katie Burke of the San Francisco Business Times$. Anheuser-Busch Inbev plans to build the beer garden at 320-330 40th St., near Broadway, but many locals oppose the plan because they’re concerned about its impact on small brewers.

5. The vast majority of wineries in Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino counties escaped damage from the big fires that struck the North Bay last month, but they’re facing financial difficulties because visitors have steered clear of the area, reports Eric Risberg of the Associated Press. “The state's tourism commission, Visit California, is spending $2 million on an advertising campaign to encourage visitors to return.”

6. And U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified on Capitol Hill today that he told the truth when he previously said he was not aware of any Russian contacts with the Trump campaign last year — even though he now remembers there were, the Washington Post$ reports.

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Despite Canceled Hearing, Oakland Councilmembers Still Plan to Talk About Controversial ICE Raid

by Darwin BondGraham
Mon, Nov 13, 2017 at 10:45 AM

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The Oakland City Council's Public Safety Committee was scheduled to hold a hearing this Tuesday about a controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid in August that may have constituted a violation of Oakland's sanctuary policy. But last week, Councilmembers Annie Campbell Washington and Abel Guillen abruptly cancelled the hearing.

Even so, Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan said she plans to speak at this week's Pubic Safety committee meeting about the raid. Kaplan also said that other councilmembers and activists will show up to talk about the controversy.

Under the council's rules, councilmembers and members of the public can talk about the raid and OPD's role in it and any other topic not on the committee agenda during the public forum part of the meeting.

The ICE raid and OPD's assistance have become a source of tension for Oakland's leaders.

Kaplan has accused her colleagues of a "cover-up."


On Aug. 16, two Oakland cops helped the Homeland Security Investigations unit of ICE conduct a raid of a West Oakland home. The OPD officers blocked the street outside the house while about 20 ICE agents executed a search warrant.

One man was arrested during the ICE raid, but he hasn't been criminally charged, according to federal court records. Instead, the only ramification is that he's now facing civil charges of being unlawfully present in the country. He now faces deportation.

Under Oakland's sanctuary policy, no city employee, including the police, can lawfully assist federal agents who are enforcing civil immigration laws.

So far, Kirkpatrick and the department's answers have only raised more questions.

ICE has claimed it's a human trafficking case, but the agency has refused several times to make public any further information with the media.

When questioned in August and September about the raid, Kirkpatrick went on to make false statements. She erroneously said that the man who had been arrested was already criminally charged, and that a deportation case wasn't underway. Neither was true. Kirkpatrick also made a false statement regarding the timing of when the Oakland Police Department formally ended cooperation agreement with ICE.

As a result, the city's Privacy Advisory Commission published a report alleging the chief made false statements and raising questions about whether she knowingly lied, or simply was mistaken. It's also possible that ICE hasn't been transparent with OPD, and the chief relied on the agency's representations, which weren't accurate.

But Kirkpatrick declined to appear at a previous privacy advisory commission hearing to answer questions raised by the report.

Regardless, Mayor Libby Schaaf has come out in support of Kirkpatrick, saying  she's "met with Chief Kirkpatrick and the federal agents involved in the investigation to develop a thorough understanding about this matter," and has "not seen anything that calls into question the chief’s truthfulness or integrity."

It's unclear if ICE shared any law enforcement records with Schaaf, or if the mayor is simply taking the agency at its word.

Campbell Washington and Guillen said last week that they put the Public Safety committee hearing about the ICE raid put on hold indefinitely because Brian Hofer, chair of the privacy commission, filed an internal affairs and CPRB complaint against the chief for untruthfulness.

But Hofer said it wasn't his understanding that a complaint would cancel the hearing. He intended for both to proceed.

There's also no city rule that states that the council can't hold a hearing about something that's also related to a matter being investigated by OPD's internal affairs unit.

The internal affairs unit reports directly to the police chief, meaning that Kirkpatrick is now effectively in control of the police department's confidential investigation of herself.

But Kaplan told the Express over the weekend that she and others still intend to talk about the Oakland police's cooperation with ICE, and the controversial August raid, during Tuesday's committee meeting, even though it isn't on the agenda.

Town Business: Vievu Nabs $1.2 Million Oakland Police Body Camera Deal, and Tighter Security for City Hall Planned

by Darwin BondGraham
Mon, Nov 13, 2017 at 10:32 AM

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Police body cameras: This week, the Oakland Police Department is asking the city council's Public Safety committee to approve a $1.27 million contract with Vievu for the purchase of 800 body-worn cameras.

Oakland was an early adopter of body-worn cameras for police. OPD officials credit the cameras with reducing both the reported uses of force by officers, as well as the number of complaints lodged against officers. The footage is used in court as evidence, and by OPD's internal affairs unit to investigate misconduct allegations.

Vievu beat out Taser International for the contract, bucking Taser's growing dominance of the police camera market.

City Hall security: Responding to concerns that security at Oakland's City Hall is lacking, the council is considering whether to spend as much $1 million each year to install metal detectors and baggage scanning equipment at the building's entrances.

Two options that will be discussed at this week's council Public Works committee involve posting two private security guards and a police officer at entrances between 8:00 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Currently, only private security guards watch City Hall's doors. And while visitors are supposed to sign in during the day, the rule isn't consistently followed. Furthermore, the private security guards have no authority to physically arrest someone. They're only eyes and ears.

Protecting Chinatown and Eastlake from A's Stadium Speculators: The council's Community and Economic Development committee will hold a hearing this week to go over a set of zoning and building permit restrictions in the neighborhoods adjacent to Laney College. In September, the A's announced that they want to build a new ballpark next to the Laney campus.

As the Express reported last week, the interim controls are supposed to address some of the ways that investors and developers might speculate on the ballpark's arrival. Some fear that housing and small businesses could be demolished to make way for parking garages, hotels, and other sports-oriented facilities. Apartments might also be converted into condos as the price of housing near the proposed ballpark rises.

The planning commission has also asked the council to consider anti-displacement measures that go beyond just zoning restrictions.

Monday’s Briefing: Hate Crimes Surge Again Nationwide; CA Senate Hires Independent Investigators for Sex Harassment

Plus, developer proposes 398-unit housing project for deep East Oakland.

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Nov 13, 2017 at 10:03 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss for Nov. 13, 2017:

1. The number of hate crimes nationwide surged in 2016 for the second year in a row, the Associated Press reports, citing new FBI data. The percentage of hate crime rose 5 percent last year, and there were “increases in attacks motivated by bias against Blacks, Jews, Muslims, and LGBT people. More than half the 4,229 racially motivated crimes were against Black people. And Jews were targeted in more than half the 1,538 religion-motivated crimes.”

Sen. Tony Mendoza.
  • Sen. Tony Mendoza.
2. The state Senate has turned over all investigations of sexual harassment by lawmakers to an independent law firm following another allegation against Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, reports Taryn Luna of the Sacramento Bee$. In addition, state Sen. President Kevin de León, who is running against U.S. against Dianne Feinstein, moved out of the home he shared with Mendoza in the Sacramento area. Two women have accused Mendoza of sexually harassing them.

3. Developer Madison Park Financial revealed plans for a 398-unit housing project in deep East Oakland at 98th and San Leandro avenues, reports Roland Li of the San Francisco Business Times$. “However, Madison Park only plans to build one 104-unit rental building on the site. It will sell the six other lots, with space for 120 for-sale townhomes and three other multifamily buildings, to other developers.”

4. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s approval rating remains high, with 61 percent of Oakland voters saying they approve of her job performance, compared to an unfavorable rating of 30 percent, the San Francisco Chronicle$ reports, citing an Oakland Chamber of Commerce poll. However, fewer than half of Oaklanders said they think the city is headed in the right direction, with 92 percent citing homelessness as an “extreme” or “very serious” problem. “The second-biggest concern, at 77 percent, was the lack of housing for middle class families, followed by fear of rising rents, at 76 percent.”

5. Many Contra Costa County law enforcement officers are now carrying drug overdose kits to deal with the opioid epidemic in the region, reports Lisa P. White of the East Bay Times$. Last year, more than 300 people died from opioid overdose in the Bay Area. The kits come with “naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of a heroin, fentanyl, or prescription opioid overdose.”

6. And U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, called on GOP U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore to drop out of the Alabama Senate race, saying he believes the women who say that Moore sexually assaulted them when they were teenagers and he was in 30s, the Washington Post$ reports. One of the women said she was 14 when McConnell assaulted her.

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