Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Wednesday's Briefing: Alameda Health System CEO resigns; Gas leak in Alameda

Start of Dungeness crab season postponed again

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Nov 25, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Alameda Health System CEO Delvecchio Finley. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Alameda Health System CEO Delvecchio Finley.


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

1. Alameda Health System CEO Delvecchio Finley abruptly resigned on Tuesday night, the East Bay Citizen reports. Finley's departure after more than five years at the helm of the struggling county health care provider comes after the Alameda County Board of Supervisor began a house-cleaning of the system's Board of Trustees last month.

2. A gas leak in Alameda Wednesday morning on the 700 block of Buena Vista Avenue caused the evacuation of the neighborhood, the East Bay Times reports. The ruptured pipe was quickly repaired by PG&E. $$

3. The beginning of the Dungeness crab season will be again delayed, this time to Dec. 16, KPIX reports. Concerns that hampered the crab season last year over marine safety had previously postponed the start of this year's season to Dec. 1

4. Some Berkeley residents near Cedar-Rose Park are unhappy about the constant sound of pickleball rackets, KTVU reports. And in true NIMBY fashion, they have an acoustics report that says pickleball courts should be placed farther away from residential homes.

5. Big Tobacco is looking ahead to the 2022 election season after submitting 1 million signatures to put a repeal of the state's ban on retail flavored tobacco sales on the ballot in two years, the Los Angeles Times reports. $$

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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Tuesday's Briefing: Up to $1 billion in false unemployment claims were filed in prisoner's names; San Leandro bicyclist killed

East Bay's H.E.R. receives three Grammy nominations

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Nov 24, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Police are also interested in another vehicle that may have made contact with the bicyclist.
  • Police are also interested in another vehicle that may have made contact with the bicyclist.


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

1. California's developing scandal involving fraudulent unemployment benefits was allegedly perpetrated in the names of state prisoners and may have netted $1 billion in ill-gotten benefits, Politico reports. A state investigation found 35,000 false applications for benefits were made and 20,000 were paid out during the pandemic.

2. California's experiment with an all-vote-by-mail election amid a President questioning its fairness, came without many problems leading to talk of making it permanent, Calmatters reports. The success came despite surging voter turnout. In Alameda County, turnout is reported to have reached 81 percent.

3. Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday that the state's 2.4 million health care workers could be one of the first in line for receiving the coronavirus vaccine, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Health care workers could receive the vaccine next month, at the earliest.

4. As talk about replacing Kamala Harris in the U.S. Senate continues comes news Sen. Dianne Feinstein is stepping down as the top Democrat on the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, Politico reports. Among other progressive furies in recent years, Feinstein was strongly criticized for publicly thanking Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham for his handling of Amy Barrett Coney's Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

5. A bicyclist in San Leandro was killed early Tuesday morning while traveling on the Davis Street overpass, KTVU reports. A suspect driving a van is cooperating with San Leandro police.

Guitar Center, which has East Bay locations in Emeryville, Concord, and Dublin, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, KRON reports. The stores will remain open for business while customer ponder why there are no good Thanksgiving songs.

7. Bay Area artist H.E.R. received three Grammy nominations, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Vallejo native received a a song of the year nod, in addition, to nominations for two others tracks headlined by other artists. $$

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Monday, November 23, 2020

Monday's Briefing: Death of Santa Rita Jail inmate was never announced; Major covid outbreak at Golden Gate Fields

Cal football player who opted-out because of covid had scholarship revoked

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Nov 23, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Horse racing in the Bay Area will be put on hold until at least early December. - GOLDEN GATE FIELDS
  • Golden Gate Fields
  • Horse racing in the Bay Area will be put on hold until at least early December.


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

1. An inmate at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin was fatally beaten by his cellmate earlier this year and the suspect was charged by the Alameda County District Attorney's office with murder last July, the East Bay Times reports. However, the savage incident was never publicly announced. $$

2. Although Golden Gate Fields has been operating without fans, more than 200 employees have now tested positive for covid-19, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Two dozen employees were infected earlier this month, but the spread has sharply increased since, meaning horse racing at the track could be suspended until the first week of December at the earliest. $$

3. Gov. Gavin Newsom, along with his family, are in a 14-day quarantine after his three children were exposed to a highway patrol officer who was infected with covid-19, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Newsom said he has no symptoms . $$

4. The number of Latinos contracting covid-19 has outpaced all other racial demographics, especially in Alameda County, since the pandemic began last March. But as new daily cases of the virus is spreading at a record pace, Caucasians, not Latinos, are contracting the virus at high rates during this latest wave, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown is attempting to flex his diminishing political power. Brown is leading a push for Newsom to appoint a woman of color to Kamala Harris' senate seat, Politico reports. Oakland Rep. Barbara Lee is believed to be on the shortlist, although, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla is viewed as the front runner.

6. A former Cal walk-on who later earned a football scholarship was billed $24,000 in tuition last summer after he opted out of the 2020 fall college football season because of concerns over covid-19, The New York Times reports. The player's financial aid was later reinstated after inquiries by the paper.

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Friday, November 13, 2020

Friday's Briefing: 140 Oakland voters were disenfranchised because of untrained poll workers; Will Alameda County soon ban indoor dining?

Cal's game is rescheduled to Sunday and against a different opponent

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Nov 13, 2020 at 4:00 AM

The ACLU of Northern California raised a number of complaints against the Alameda County Registrar of Voters on Friday.
  • The ACLU of Northern California raised a number of complaints against the Alameda County Registrar of Voters on Friday.


News you don't want to miss for Nov. 13:

1. The Alameda County Registrar of Voters reported 140 voters using an in-person polling place in Oakland did not have their ballots counted, the East Bay Citizen reports. The disclosure came after the ACLU of Northern California and other groups issued a complaint against the registrar, alleging the voters had been disenfranchised because their printed ballots had been given back to them as receipts.

2. The Federal Correction Institution in Dublin where actress Lori Loughlin is serving two weeks for her involvement in the college admissions scandal is facing an outbreak of covid-19, the Mercury News reports. Attorneys are also alleging the jail, with over 900 female inmates, is overcrowded. $$

3. Alameda County's neighbors moved toward closing indoor restaurant dining, effective on Tuesday, the East Bay Times reports. Alameda County may soon follow as daily cases of covid-19 steadily rise. $$

4. The Golden State Warriors have submitted a plan to San Francisco health officials to allow 50 percent capacity of the Chase Center and provide covid-19 testing to every fan, CBS Sports reports. The plan could cost the team $30 million.

5. College football is a mess. Cal's game against Arizona State on Saturday is canceled after the Sun Devils head coach and others were infected with covid-19. Instead, Cal will travel to UCLA for a game this Sunday after the Bruins' scheduled game against Utah was similarly canceled, Sports Illustrated reports.

6. A two-alarm fire in Oakland near the Alameda Coast Guard Island was put out by firefighters late Friday morning, the East Bay Times reports. The blaze occurred at a previously red-tagged building that sits next to a homeless encampment. $$

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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Thursday's Briefing: Kamala Harris Elementary school in Berkeley?; Oakland homeless commission appointees are approved

Cal may have to cancel a second straight football game

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Nov 12, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Vice president-elect Kamala Harris. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Vice president-elect Kamala Harris.


News you don't want to miss for Nov. 12:

1. Berkeley Councilmember Sophie Hahn is proposing to rename Thousand Oaks Elementary school after vice president-elect Kamala Harris, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Harris attended the school and famously referenced it during the first Democratic presidential debate. $$

2. The Fremont Unified School District could be the latest to discontinue use of school resource officers, KTVU reports. A task force on the subject recently made the recommendation that is before the school board tonight. Oakland and San Francisco schools no longer employ on-campus law enforcement, and other East Bay school districts are contemplating similar moves.

3. The Oakland City Council confirmed Mayor Libby Schaaf's appointments to the city's homeless commission on Tuesday night, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The appointees are a diverse group of backgrounds, including some who were formerly homeless. $$

4. Although many East Bay progressives believe Rep. Barbara Lee should be Gov. Gavin Newsom's choice to replace Kamala Harris' in the U.S. Senate, two progressive groups believe president-elect Joe Biden should make Lee his secretary of state, The Hill reports.

5. Cal's football team was hoping to open its truncated season this Saturday against Arizona State a week after it canceled a game because of a coronavirus outbreak, Cal's entire defensive line remain under quarantine, which will not end until next Tuesday, putting this weekend's game in doubt, KPIX reports.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Wednesday's Briefing: Oakland settles last Ghost Ship warehouse fire lawsuit; Poll finds Oaklanders want more cops

Oakland chef Tanya Holland has new cooking show debuting this week

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Nov 11, 2020 at 4:00 AM

In July, The Oakland City Council approved a $32.7 million settlement in the Ghost Ship case. The payout was one of the largest in the city's history. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • In July, The Oakland City Council approved a $32.7 million settlement in the Ghost Ship case. The payout was one of the largest in the city's history.


News you don't want to miss for Nov. 11:

1. The Oakland City Council agreed to pay the last remaining lawsuit associated with the 2016 Ghost Ship warehouse fire tragedy on Tuesday night, the Associated Press reports. The council settled for $399,000. The payout follows the $32.7 million settlement approved by the council last July.

2. A poll commissioned by the Oakland Chamber of Commerce found a majority of residents believe more police officers will help solve the recent rise in crime, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. In addition, a vast majority of Black residents support adding officers to the ranks. The poll underscores Oakland's incongruent views on policing. Last week, voters overwhelmingly approved new powers for the Oakland Police Commission to monitor the beleaguered police department. $$

3. Gov. Gavin Newsom issued 35 pardons that includes Danny Thongsy, an Oakland resident who entered the U.S. legally as a baby, and was facing deportation to Laos, the Associated Press reports. Thongsy was sentenced to 27 years in prison after killing one and injuring two others in 1997. He since has been a community activist in the East Bay.

4. There were new developments in a few election nail-biters in the East Bay on Tuesday, the East Bay Citizen reports. Alameda County's Measure W, a half-cent sales tax increase that is estimated to add $150 million a year in new revenues, is now failing by a razor-thin 0.07 percent. In Alameda, former Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer extended her slim lead for a seat on the Alameda City Council to just 68 votes over Amos White.

5. Proposition 15, which would have chipped away at restrictions for increasing property taxes in California, was defeated at the ballot box, the Associated Press reports. If approved, the proposition would have added millions to the coffers of cities like Oakland that were already facing budget shortfalls even before the covid-induced recession hit last spring.

6. "Tanya's Kitchen Table," a new cooking show hosted by Tanya Holland, the owner of Oakland's Brown Sugar Kitchen, will debut this Saturday on OWN, the channel founded by Oprah Winfrey, SFGate reports.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Tuesday's Briefing: Oakland tops 100 homicides this year; Alameda council candidates separated by 44 votes

Alameda County urges self-quarantining if traveling for the holidays

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Nov 10, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Former Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer is poised for a return to the Alameda City Council, although, some ballots remain to be counted, as of Tuesday. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Former Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer is poised for a return to the Alameda City Council, although, some ballots remain to be counted, as of Tuesday.


News you don't want to miss for Nov. 10:

1. Oakland passed 100 homicides this year after a pair of shootings on Monday night, the East Bay Times reports. Oakland suffered 78 homicides in all of 2019.

2. Bay Area health officials, including those in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, are advising residents who go away for the holidays to self-quarantine for 14 days, SFGate reports. While the Bay Area, and especially Alameda County, have tamped down on the spread of virus in recent months, health officials remain wary.

3. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court's now clear conservative tilt, two from that voting bloc expressed trepidation on Tuesday with overturning the Affordable Care Act, otherwise, known as Obamacare, Politico reports. The line of questioning by Chief Justice John Roberts and Trump appointee, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, suggest they do not favor dismantling the landmark health care legislation.

4. Carroll Fife, one of the organizers of the Moms 4 Housing movement in Oakland, pulled off the biggest upset in Oakland's recent election after incumbent District 3 Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney conceded on Monday, KTVU reports. Fife ran on a progressive platform and was heavily backed by labor unions. McElhaney had served on the council since 2012.

5. There were a few upsets in Alameda County politics last week, but few real nail-biters except for a razor-slim race in Alameda, the East Bay Citizen reports. Alameda Councilmember Malia Vella won re-election, but the candidates for the second at-large seat on the Alameda City Council are separated by just 44 votes, as of Monday night. Former Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer is now second over first-time candidate Amos White.

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Monday, November 9, 2020

Monday's Briefing: Oakland celebrates the end of the Trump presidency; Fatal shooting in Alameda

Fires at two East Bay homeless encampments

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Nov 9, 2020 at 4:00 AM

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris.


News you don't want to miss for Nov. 9:

1. Oakland residents celebrated in the streets on Saturday after news outlets declared Joe Biden the next president of the United States, SFGate reports. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who has had several dust-ups with President Trump, rode around in her famous fire-breathing snail car.

2. Now that Kamala Harris is the vice-president-elect, Gov. Gavin Newson has a tall order to fill in choosing Harris' replacement in the U.S. Senate, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. A number of dark horse East Bay officials could be in the mix, including Reps. Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna, and maybe even Schaaf. $$

3. A spate of shootings in Alameda since last June has now led to a death on Sunday night, KPIX reports. A man was fatally shot on Park Street near Southshore Drive. Prior to Sunday, 14 shootings had been reported on the island.

4. A fire at a West Berkeley homeless encampment was put out by firefighters late Monday morning, KPIX reports. Similarly, firefighters responded to a fire at a homeless encampment near Lake Merritt on Sunday, the East Bay Times reports. $$

5. In addition, two Salvation Army trailers filled with donated items were destroyed by a fire on Sunday morning, KRON reports. The fire occurred near Oakland's Chinatown.

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Friday, November 6, 2020

Friday's Briefing: Biden is poised to become president; Alameda County coronavirus cases are holding steady

Oakland Unified to continue distance-learning

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Nov 6, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Joe Biden increased his lead in several close battleground states on Friday morning. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Joe Biden increased his lead in several close battleground states on Friday morning.


News you don't want to miss for Nov. 6

1. A few days of crime in the streets in the East Bay since Election Night could turn to celebration as the race for president could be decided. Joe Biden could claim the presidency as early as tonight, the Associated Press reports. In Alameda County, Biden is trouncing President Trump, 82 percent to 16 percent, with almost half the ballots counted.

2. The defeat of Proposition 25 this week, the state law approved in 2018 to end the cash bill system in California was strongly backed in the Bay Area, but no so in rural areas, CalMatters reports. Passage of the original state senate bill was strongly back by Oakland Assemblymember Rob Bonta.

3. The number of new coronavirus cases is steadily increasing in many parts of the Bay Area, but Alameda County is bucking the trend, at least, for now, the East Bay Times reports. Hospitalizations in Alameda County, however, are increasing. The county reported six deaths on Thursday, bringing the countywide total to 471. $$

4. Alameda County middle schools and high schools can reopen starting on Monday. The Berkeley Unified School District is set to allow schools to reopen if they choose, but the Oakland Unified School District will continue distance-learning until January, KTVU reports.

5. A Contra Costa County judge declared a mistrial in Assessor Gus Kramer's workplace sexual misconduct case after the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict, the East Bay Times reports. $$

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Thursday, November 5, 2020

Thursday's Briefing: East Bay crime spree continues, looters hit several areas; first rainfall in six months comes Friday

Contra Costa County pulls back reopening orders

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Nov 5, 2020 at 4:00 AM

The East Bay is thirsty for rain, but it won't get much on Friday. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • The East Bay is thirsty for rain, but it won't get much on Friday.


News you don't want to miss for Nov. 5

1. Similar to the crime spree that occurred on Election Night, between 50-100 looters hit stores in Emeryville, Richmond, and San Lorenzo, the East Bay Times reports. Authorities suspect the group is the same that targeted cannabis dispensaries in Oakland on Tuesday night. $$

2. Demonstrators in front of Oakland City Hall and other locations across the Bay Area called for ballots in the presidential elections to be counted, KTVU reports. Their calls have largely been followed as Joe Biden's chances of winning the presidency grows by the hour.

3. Police responded to reports that a Brentwood man, who is also a supporter of President Trump, hanged Joe Biden in effigy on his property, KPIX reports.

4. The Bay Area could see rainfall on Friday for the first time six months, SFGate reports. However, don't expect much precipitation, but its another signal the fall season is here.

5. Contra Costa County health officials clawed back some reopening restrictions as spread of the coronavirus is on the uptick, SFist reports. Outdoor bars will be closed, while indoor seating in restaurants, houses of worship, and movie theaters, among some activities, will have their capacity reduced.

6. Cal football's Pac-12 opener on Saturday is canceled, CBS Sports reports. Due to covid-19 cases, Cal does not have the minimum number of scholarship players available for the game against Washington.

7. Donut Savant is reopening in East Oakland on 38th Avenue, SF Eater reports. The beloved shop, known for small-sized donuts, closed its downtown location last year.

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