Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Wednesday's Briefing: Unions Still Oppose Oakland Oak Knoll Project; Brown Open to Reducing Size of Tunnels Plan

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 10:20 AM


Stories you shouldn’t miss for Oct. 18, 2017:

1. East Bay unions remain opposed to a plan to build 918 homes on the former Oak Knoll Naval Hospital property in the Oakland hills, because the proposal includes no guarantee of a project-labor agreement, reports Roland Li of the San Francisco Business Times$. The Oakland Planning Commission is scheduled to take up the Oak Knoll project proposal from developer SunCal tonight. SunCal has agreed to use union labor during the demolition phase of the project but not for the actual homebuilding.

2. The Brown administration said the governor is open to reducing the size of his controversial water tunnels plan after the Santa Clara Valley Water District voted to reject the proposal in its current form, the Sacramento Bee$ reports. The district board said it would support building one tunnel underneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta rather than two, and Brown administration officials said the governor is open to that idea. Brown had previously maintained that he would only support a twin-tunnels project.

3. PG&E’s stock value has plummeted and the utility is facing a major financial crisis amid investor fears that the NorCal fires were started by downed power lines, the Sacramento Bee$ reports. Fire officials have yet to determine what caused the multiple blazes that broke out last week, killing more than 40 people, but investigators have ordered PG&E to maintain its records and safeguard evidence.

4. The death toll from the NorCal fires reached 42 overnight, as fire crews continued to make progress on containing the blazes, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Rain is forecast for the North Bay later this week, and firefighters hope to fully contain the blazes in the next few days. Meantime, emergency crews are still combing through the wreckage in search of victims; 43 people are still missing in Sonoma County alone.

5. A plan to bring crude by rail through the East Bay to San Luis Obispo appears to be dead, after oil giant Phillip’s 66 dropped its legal appeal challenging a rejection of its project, reports Tom Lochner of the East Bay Times$. Environmental activists strongly opposed the plan because it threatened to bring dirty tar sands oil through California.

6. Two federal judges have halted the latest version of President Trump’s travel ban, ruling that, like the previous illegal bans, it unconstitutionally targets Muslims, the Washington Post$ reports. The third iteration of Trump’s travel ban was set to go into effect today.

7. And President Trump said today that he doesn’t support a key provision of a bipartisan health-care plan released by senators yesterday, the Washington Post$ reports. The bipartisan bill seeks to reinstate subsidies to insurers in order to finance health care for low-income people, but Trump, who recently killed the subsidies, said he can “never support” them. Without the subsidies, insurers are expected to raise rates on all customers to make up for the shortfall.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Berkeley's Pacific Steel Casting Is Closing

Increased competition, strict environmental regulations, and an immigration audit may be responsible.

by Darwin BondGraham
Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 4:01 PM

  • Robert Gammon
After 83 years of operation, Pacific Steel Casting, one of the few remaining metal foundries in the Bay Area, is closing. Dozens of workers will lose their jobs.

The decision was announced to employees at the facility earlier today, an anonymous source told the Express.

City of Berkeley officials confirmed the plant's closure.

Calls and emails to Pacific Steel and its parent company Speyside Equity went unreturned. But in a letter hand-delivered today to the City of Berkeley, Pacific Steel’s President Krishnan Venkatesan, wrote that the closure will be final as of Dec. 17.

Former Oakland City Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente used to represent workers at Pacific Steel, who belong to the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers International Union.

"To me it’s a tremendous loss," said De La Fuente.

"It used to be, back in the day, jobs at Pacific Steel or ABI would provide a good way to make a living for workers and their families, with medical benefits and pensions. Everybody thinks the tech industry is going to replace all those jobs. I disagree with that."

Calls to the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers International Union were not immediately returned.

De La Fuente said about 70 workers are still on the payroll at Pacific Steel, which is located at 1333 Second St. in West Berkeley. He blamed a number of forces for the plant's closure, including competition from cheaper labor markets like India and China, strict environmental regulations, and an immigration audit that hit the factory hard six years ago.

In 2011, the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency audited the plant and found many of its workers were undocumented immigrants. The company was forced to lay off about 200 workers as a result.

Afterward, company executives said the layoffs damaged the factory's productivity because they lost about one-third of their workforce.

Then in January 2014, the company was forced to settle a lawsuit alleging that employees had been cheated of pay. It cost Pacific Steel about $4.5 million. The plant has also faced environmental complaints from Berkeley residents.

Facing mounting losses, in March 2014, Pacific Steel Casting filed for bankruptcy protection. The company only emerged from bankruptcy by being put up for auction.

Speyside Equity bought Pacific Steel for $11.4 million in July of that year.

Tuesday’s Briefing: Crews Comb Fire Wreckage for Victims; Five Firefighters Injured in Santa Cruz Mountains Blaze

Plus, Alameda’s city attorney to commission independent probe of alleged council interference in fire chief controversy.

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 10:06 AM


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

1. Emergency crews are combing through the devastation left by the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa in search of more victims, the Sacramento Bee$ reports. The death toll from the fast-moving Tubbs Fire is 22, but officials expect that number to climb because there are still 88 people reported missing. “I would expect to find some of the missing in their burned homes,” said Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano. “We are still working on targeted searches.” In all, the NorCal fires, which are expected to be fully contained by week’s end, killed at least 41 people.

2. Five firefighters have been injured in a new blaze that broke out last night in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Bear Fire, burning in rugged terrain not far from the town of Boulder Creek, also has prompted evacuations in the area. The wildfire has been difficult to access because of road closures from last winter’s heavy rains and mudslides.

3. Alameda City Attorney Janet Kern said she plans to hire an independent investigator to probe allegations that city councilmembers improperly interfered in the hiring of the Island’s new fire chief, reports Peter Hegarty of the East Bay Times$. City Manager Jill Keimach has said she was pressured to hire a longtime Alameda firefighter but decided to tab Edmond Rodriguez, chief of the Salinas Fire Department.

4. The Oakland A’s will have to clean up toxic soil if the team goes forward with its plan to build a new ballpark on Peralta Community College District land next to the Laney campus, reports David DeBolt of the East Bay Times$. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has been investigating whether Peralta failed to deal with the toxic soil as required by law.

5. Three former Tesla employees who are all African American say they were subjected to racial epithets and racist graffiti at the electric-car company’s Fremont auto plant, reports Louis Hanson of the Mercury News$. The ex-employees suit was the second one alleging racism and a hostile work environment at Tesla.

6. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who launched the take-a-knee movement during the National Anthem to protest racial injustice, contends that NFL owners and President Trump have colluded to keep him out of football, reports Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle$. However, legal experts say Kaepernick, who has received no offers to play in the NFL this year despite being better than many quarterbacks, will have a tough time proving his grievance case against the league.

7. And the Wooden Duck furniture business in Berkeley is closing after 24 years in operation, reports Frances Dinkelspiel of Berkeleyside. The owners of Wooden Duck say their landlord doubled their rent, and they have still not yet recovered financially from a fire that ripped through their warehouse and store in 2014.

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Monday’s Briefing: NorCal Fires May Be Contained This Week; Bay Area Air Quality Bad Again Today

Plus, state Senate President Kevin de León launches bid to unseat Dianne Feinstein.

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 10:17 AM

  • Photo courtesy of Cal-Fire

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

1. Firefighters are on track to contain two of the largest and most destructive Wine Country fires this week, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Firefighters now have 70 percent containment on the deadliest blaze — the Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County — and 68 percent containment on the largest one — the Atlas Fire in Napa County. The death toll from the NorCal fires has reached 41, and there are at least 99 people still missing in Sonoma County alone. Rain is expected in the region later this week.

2. Because of northerly winds overnight, the Bay Area air quality is poor again today, after a respite over the weekend, reports Amy Graff of Nonetheless, most school districts in the region reopened for classes today. Meteorologists are predicting that the region’s air quality will improve on Tuesday and Wednesday, thanks to onshore flows and the progress made by firefighters.

3. State Senate President Kevin de León, D-LA, officially launched his bid to unseat U.S. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., contending that the moderate Feinstein has largely failed to stand up to President Trump, the San Francisco Chronicle$ reports. De León argues that California and the nation needs more progressive leadership. Billionaire progressive activist Tom Steyer is also considering a run against the 84-year-old Feinstein.

4. Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation that would have barred President Trump from the 2020 California ballot — unless he had agreed to release his tax returns, reports Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle. Browns’ move came as no surprise considering the fact that he also refused to release his tax returns during the past two gubernatorial elections.

5. The first year of community college tuition in California will be free starting next year, under a law signed by Gov. Brown, reports Melody Gutierrez of the San Francisco Chronicle. The new law will save full-time students about $1,104 a year.

6. California is creating a third gender option — nonbinary — for driver’s licenses and state IDs for people who don’t identify as male or female, under a new law signed by Brown, reports Melody Gutierrez of the San Francisco Chronicle. The new law will take effect in 2019.

7. Also, beginning in 2019, pet stores throughout the state will only be allowed to sell rescue animals, under a new law signed by Brown, reports Mina Corpuz of the LA Times$. Pet store owners will face a $500 fine if they sell non-rescue animals. California is the first in the nation to pass such a law, which is designed to eliminate puppy mills.

8. Gov. Brown also signed legislation banning cities and counties in California from providing information to a national Muslim registry — should President Trump establish one, as he has said he plans to do, reports Jazmine Ulloa of the LA Times$.

9. And the south end of Big Sur reopened on Friday after Caltrans crews worked overtime to complete a new bridge over Pfeiffer Canyon, reports Kurtis Alexander of the San Francisco Chronicle. The southern section of Big Sur had effectively been cut off from the outside world since last winter when the old Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge was badly damaged by mudslides.

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Friday, October 13, 2017

The East Bay SPCA Helps Overcrowded North Bay Animal Shelters Affected by Fire

by Matt St. John
Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 5:17 PM

One of ten cats picked up by the East Bay SPCA at Marin Humane in Novato, to make room for animals displaced by the North Bay fires. - COURTESY OF THE EAST BAY SPCA
  • Courtesy of the East Bay SPCA
  • One of ten cats picked up by the East Bay SPCA at Marin Humane in Novato, to make room for animals displaced by the North Bay fires.

Since the beginning of the devastating North Bay fires on Sunday night, families and local institutions have been quick to open their homes and facilities to help evacuees. Unfortunately, not all of these shelters have room for pets, putting added stress on families already reeling from the loss of their houses and belongings.

To help mitigate this problem, animal shelters and clinics across the North Bay are offering free services for those affected by the fires. Marin Humane in Novado is accepting animals for emergency boarding, and the Sonoma Humane Society in Santa Rosa is offering free veterinary treatment for burned animals.

Due to community donations, North Bay shelters have plenty of pet food, supplies, toys, and transportation crates. But what they are running out of is space, according to Jules Shapiro of the East Bay SPCA.

To help ease congestion, the East Bay SPCA is making trips to shelters in the North Bay, picking up animals, and relocating them to the organization's Oakland and Dublin facilities. The goal is to make room in those shelters for animals displaced by the fires, providing families with pets some much needed relief.

“What we hope to do and like to do is really be a partner for others in a time of crisis,” said Shapiro.

As of yesterday, the organization brought 31 dogs and cats from shelters in the North Bay to Oakland and Dublin. Today, the organization added to that number, picking up 20 dogs and 26 cats from shelters in Solano County,

“Whenever we can be supportive of the community at large, we’re going to be there, and that’s what we’re doing right now,” said Shapiro.

The SPCA will evaluate the animals for health problems, such as smoke inhalation, and eventually will put them up for adoption. Shapiro said East Bay residents can help the effort by fostering pets waiting to be adopted, as well as donating dog and cat food at both of its locations.

The East Bay SPCA has limited boarding operations for pets affected by the fires as well. If you have been displaced by the fire and are in need of temporary boarding for your pet, call (510) 569-0702 for the Oakland location and (925)-479-9670 for Dublin.

Friday’s Briefing: Firefighters Make Progress as Death Toll Hits 31; Bay Area Air Pollution Rivals Beijing

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 10:19 AM


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

1. Firefighters continued to make progress last night on the massive North Bay fires, gaining 25 percent containment on the deadliest blaze — the Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County — and 27 percent containment on the largest one — the Atlas Fire in Napa County, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. But the death toll from the NorCal fires has climbed to 31 and is expected to rise as law enforcement officials comb through the debris with cadaver dogs. In all, the fires have destroyed about 3,000 homes and businesses and burned more than 200,000 acres. Fire crews are also concerned about this weekend because winds are expected to pick up tonight.

2. Air quality in the Bay Area due to the fires is so bad — the worst on record — this week that it rivals the infamously polluted Beijing, reports Erin Allday of the San Francisco Chronicle. Residents from around the region are reporting being sickened by the pollution, and many school districts are again closed today due to the bad air. In addition, numerous outdoor events scheduled for this weekend have been canceled or postponed.

3. Democratic state Senate President Kevin León is expected to launch a challenge next week to U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., reports Christopher Cadelago of the Sacramento Bee$. And the liberal de León may be joined in the 2018 race by billionaire progressive Tom Steyer. California liberals have become increasingly frustrated over the years with the moderate Feinstein.

4. Employees of small businesses will be eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to take care of a newborn as of Jan. 1, under a bill signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, the Sacramento Bee$ reports. The new law will apply to about 2.8 million small businesses in California that employ between 20 and 49 workers. Companies that employ more than 50 people already must provide the 12-week-parental-leave benefit.

5. President Trump is continuing his effort to dismantle Obamacare, saying today that he will stop payment on health-care subsidies that help pay out-of-pocket costs of low-income people, The New York Times$ reports. The move could unravel the nation’s insurance markets and cause health care insurance premiums to soar.

6. And the Alameda Gold Coast Bistro and Bar, on Park Street at Clement Avenue, plans to close this Sunday after 25 years in business, reports Peter Hegarty of the East Bay Times$. The restaurants owners say they lost their lease and are being evicted.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Oakland City Council to Hold Hearing on Controversial ICE Raid and Oakland Police Misinformation

by Darwin BondGraham
Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 12:37 PM

The Oakland City Council's Public Safety Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on Nov. 14 about the controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation that took place on August 16 in West Oakland.

On that date, about two dozen ICE agents raided a home, leading to the arrest of one individual who is now facing possible deportation.

"There has been a significant amount of concern with respect to the raid that took place," Councilmember Desley Brooks said today at the council's rules committee meeting, which approved the upcoming hearing. At least two Oakland police officers assisted ICE during the raid by blocking streets to traffic.

Brooks said the events surrounding the ICE operation were especially troubling because the city council has set a sanctuary policy that bars any city employee, including police, from assisting federal immigration agents when they are enforcing civil immigration laws.

Furthermore, the ICE operation occurred after the city council had voted to terminate an agreement between OPD and ICE. However, according to city records, the police department and city administrator didn't end the agreement until Aug. 25, nine days after the raid.

Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan joined Brooks in requesting the hearing.

The hearing was recommended by the city's Privacy Advisory Commission, which is tasked with examining matters of privacy and civil liberties. Last Thursday, the commission's chair, Brian Hofer, published a memo about the ICE raid raising questions about whether the Oakland police spread false information, and whether OPD Chief Anne Kirkpatrick made false statements.

Among the issues raised by Hofer:

On the day of the raid, the OPD issued a notification saying ICE was carrying out a "sex trafficking" operation involving "juveniles."

But there is no evidence that the raid was conducted pursuant to any sex trafficking allegations. OPD later deleted the notification and issued a different one stating it was a "human trafficking" investigation instead.

However, there is no evidence of human trafficking in the case. At last week's hearing, Hofer said, "The chief repeatedly supplied false information."

Later, Kirkpatrick again claimed in a public forum that the individual who was arrested during the raid had been charged with a crime, and that "there is not a deportation matter in this case."

But the man who was arrested hasn't been charged with a crime. Instead, ICE filed paperwork to have him deported for a civil immigration violation.

It's unclear whether ICE agents purposely misled Kirkpatrick and OPD into believing they were helping with a criminal investigation, when in fact, they were assisting in a deportation matter — in violation of Oakland's sanctuary city law.

Thursday’s Briefing: Deadly Sonoma Fire Now Partially Contained; Oakland’s Air Quality Is 2nd Worst in Nation After Napa

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 10:18 AM

  • Courtesy of CHP

Stories you shouldn’t miss for Oct. 12, 2017:

1. Firefighters are starting to make some headway with the largest of the deadly North Bay blazes, gaining 10 percent containment on the Tubbs Fire, which ravaged Santa Rosa earlier this week, and 3 percent containment on the Atlas Fire in Napa, reports Lisa Fernandez of KTVU. The death toll from 22 Northern California fires this week has reached 24, and the number of missing people is still more than 200.

2. Oakland’s air quality, because of thick smoke from the North Bay fires, is the second worst in the nation, behind only Napa, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Oakland’s air is “unhealthy” to breathe, registering a 161 on the index gauge, behind Napa’s 167. San Francisco and San Rafael registered at 155 and Livermore at 145. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District predicted that air pollution will worsen in the region on Friday and Saturday.

3. Schools throughout the East Bay closed today — although not Oakland schools — because of the smoky air, including West Contra Costa schools, reports Eric Ting of In addition, the Pittsburg Unified, Martinez Unified, Mount Diablo Unified, and Antioch Unified school districts closed today. Oakland canceled PE and other outdoor activities and allowed students to stay home without being considered absent.

4. The Alameda school board is calling on the city to ban new cannabis facilities from opening within 1,000 feet of schools, reports Peter Hegarty of the East Bay Times$. The sale of marijuana for adult recreational use becomes legal in California on Jan. 1, and the city of Alameda is planning on permitting cannabis dispensaries on the Island.

5. Alameda Encinal High School teacher Kevin Gorham and Oakland Unified special education teacher Stephanie Taymuree have been named co-teachers of the year in Alameda County, reports Peter Hegarty of the East Bay Times$. Gorham, who teaches AP government and economics, is known for leading the student-run radio station at Encinal.

6. And President Trump signed an executive order today that will allow insurance companies to sell health plans that do not protect people with pre-existing medical conditions — a move that health policy experts say will undermine Obamacare and drive up prices for sick people, The New York Times$ reports.

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Guest Editorial: Helping African-American Men Over 65 to Stay Healthy and Live Longer

Addressing sleep, stress, and racism.

by Dr. Vickie M. Mays and Kaylin D. Wesley
Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 9:58 AM

Science commonly points to poor sleep quality as a factor in bad health conditions. We often focus on sleep for adolescents, encouraging them to sleep 8 hours every night to help with their physical development.

However, there is less focus on the sleep habits of African-American men over the age of 65. Studies show that minorities in the United States, particularly Blacks and Latinos, often have more sleep problems than whites.

Dr. Vickie Mays is investigating the mental health consequences of Black men being stopped and frisked by police. - COURTESY OF DR. VICKIE MAYS
  • courtesy of Dr. Vickie Mays
  • Dr. Vickie Mays is investigating the mental health consequences of Black men being stopped and frisked by police.
Lack of sleep can be a serious problem, especially for individuals over the age of 65. When you do not get enough sleep, insulin and stress hormone levels become raised, putting a person at risk for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, or stroke.

So why are Blacks and Latinos more likely to have sleep problems? There are several explanations, but one theory is that chronic stress and accumulated trauma from racial discrimination can make it difficult to sleep well. According to Dr. Vickie M. Mays, a clinical psychologist and professor of health policy and management at UCLA, it can be hard for African Americans, for example, to sleep restfully when they have been treated badly or unfairly. Negative experiences with racism and race-based discrimination are enough to keep them up at night, replaying the experience over and over in their mind and thinking about what they could or should have done or said differently. Some experiences of racism, particularly those that may have put their life at risk, can be troubling and affect sleep.

In addition to the health consequences of poor sleep, science tells us that chronic stressors, such as experiencing racism and race-based discrimination, can accelerate the aging process in African-American men. In one study, David Chae, a research professor at Auburn University, found that African-American men who reported being treated badly or unfairly due to their race had shorter telomeres, which are biological markers that indicate how well a person is aging. Telomeres shorten over the course of a lifetime and are also associated with chronic, life-threatening diseases such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and dementia. Professor Chae finds that the experiences of racism experienced by Black men are associated with their telomeres being shorter and predicting more possibilities of bad health.

Many African Americans who suffer from chronic disease and illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease are often blamed for getting these diseases because of bad eating habits, lack of exercise, smoking, or drinking. Dr. Vickie Mays’ research at UCLA’s Center for Minority Health Disparities Solutions shows that experiencing racism on a daily basis can be a significant factor in wearing down the body and making it more susceptible to disease and illness.

Black men in particular are exposed to race-based stressors (i.e., racism) in various ways. Dr. Mays and her team are studying how stressful experiences such as those with the law, particularly with police encounters, can be related to the mental health of Black men. According to the Center for Policing Equity, Berkeley police officers were six times more likely to use force against African Americans than whites. Their report also showed that African-American drivers, compared to white drives, are nearly six times more likely to be pulled over and five times more likely to be searched. African Americans are also disproportionately stopped and searched in Oakland. Between September 2014 and September 2015, African Americans accounted for 70% of all stops and 76% of all searches, despite representing just 26.5% of Oakland residents, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The same patterns are seen in Chicago, Los Angeles, Greensboro, N.C., and Ferguson, Mo., to name a few.

These stops, known as “Terry” stops, oftentimes involve physical violence, excessive force, and racial/ethnic degradation, as noted by Dr. Amanda Geller and colleagues. In addition to the physical trauma, Terry stops have the potential to inflict emotional and psychological traumas, particularly if the person stopped believed that their race or ethnicity was the reason for the stop. Dr. Geller and colleagues also found that the young men who reported harsh police contact had increased anxiety and trauma associated with their experiences. These experiences are not new. In fact, there is a longstanding history of intrusive and/or traumatic encounters, each often with their own mental and physical health consequences for those who experience them. Many African-American men, particularly older men, have had these experiences and lived to tell their stories.

Dr. Mays believes that not enough attention is paid to the connection between the daily experiences of racism and the high rates of ill health in African-American men. For example, how are events like stop-and-frisks impacting the mental and physical health of Black men? Dr. Mays and her team at UCLA are trying to understand and document how the constant discrimination and prejudice African-American men face is related to their health later in their lives.

Through listening to the stories of these experiences, Mays hopes she will be able to document how racist treatment sets into motion a set of responses from always being on guard to protect oneself to feeling overwhelmed at having to defend oneself that gets translated into chronic health problems.

Dr. Mays is interested in interviewing African-American men 65 and older to tell their stories. The interviews are conducted over the phone, and study participants can remain anonymous. If you or someone you know is an African-American man over 65 years old and has a story to share, please call 707-928-4041. Participants will receive a $10 gift card.

Dr. Vickie Mays, director of the UCLA Center for Bridging Research Innovation, Training and Education for Minority Health Disparities Solutions, is a scholar, teacher, and researcher interested in the impact of racism on the health of African Americans. She is currently investigating the mental health consequences of Black men being stopped and frisked by police. (

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

East Bay Businesses Rally Behind Fire Victims

by Janelle Bitker
Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 5:03 PM

  • image courtesy of Santa Rosa Police Department's Facebook page

As deadly fires continue to rage across Sonoma and Napa counties, some Bay Area business owners are showing their support by organizing special events or setting up donation centers. Here’s a roundup, and we’ll add more opportunities as we see them:

Ice cream sando chain CREAM will donate 20 percent of proceeds through Wednesday, Oct. 18 to Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund. Customers will also have the option of make an additional donation at checkout.
CREAM Alameda: 2630 Fifth St., Alameda
CREAM Berkeley: 2399 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley
CREAM Oakland: 346 Grand Ave., Oakland

Agave Oakland will donate 10 percent of all proceeds to fire relief through Sunday, Oct. 22. Chef-owner Octavio Diaz lives in Santa Rosa and has another location of the restaurant in Healdsburg.
2135 Franklin St., Oakland,

Gather is dedicating its usual Wine Wednesday events for the rest of October to raise money for North Bay Fire Relief Fund. The restaurant will donate 50 percent of all wine sales by the bottle and glass. At lunch, brunch, and dinner every day until Oct. 31, 5 percent of wine on tap sales will also be donated.
2200 Oxford St., Berkeley,

The Claremont Club & Spa's Limewood Bar & Restaurant will donate $1 from every Vista Cocktail to fire relief efforts. The cocktail contains vodka, lime, cucumber, and ginger.

41 Tunnel Road, Oakland,

Cat Town Cafe is working with Oakland Animal Services to make room for displaced cats and looking for foster homes. Cat Town is waiving adoption fees, encouraging folks to put that money toward fire relief instead. The staff at Hopalong and Second Chance Animal Rescue is already in Sonoma gathering animals from shelters and is getting together supplies and foster homes.

And many businesses have set up donation centers, although the North Bay shelters have stated they are well-stocked on many supplies. Check with these businesses to see if they're still actively collecting donations: The Well Cafe (5443 Telegraph Ave., Oakland), Starline Social Club (2236 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland), 1-2-3-4 Go! Records (420 40th St., Suite 5, Oakland), Bay Grape (376 Grand Ave.), and Drake's Barrel House (1933 Davis St., San Leandro).

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