Friday, June 14, 2019

Friday's Briefing: The end of an era for the Warriors? BART reaches compromise on fare hikes

Warren surging in California presidential primary polling

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Jun 14, 2019 at 6:00 AM

The Warriors' bid for a three-peat ended Thursday as did an end of an era for basketball in Oakland.
  • The Warriors' bid for a three-peat ended Thursday as did an end of an era for basketball in Oakland.


News you don't want to miss for June 14-16:

1. The Toronto Raptors closed out the last game at Oracle Arena by winning the NBA championship Thursday night in Oakland, defeating the Warriors, 114-110, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. But the future of the Warriors next season is very much in doubt after Klay Thompson injured his knee during the game. The serious injury follows Kevin Durant's torn Achilles tendon injury in Game 5, CBS Sports reports.

2. Meanwhile, the architect of the Raptors rise to glory, team president Masai Ujiri was charged with misdemeanor battery against an Alameda County sheriff's deputy following the game's conclusion, NBC Bay Area reports. Ujiri is accused of pushing the deputy and hitting him in the face.

3. One final hoops story until next fall. Cal women's head basketball coach Lindsay Gottlieb was hired by the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, ESPN reports. In recent years, other women have been hired into the NBA's coaching fraternity, but Gottlieb is the first to make the jump directly from the college ranks.

4. The BART Board of Directors reached a compromise on Thursday for plans to increase ticket fares. Amid complaints over a proposal to raise fares four times incrementally over the next eight years, the board agreed to three hikes based on inflation over six years, Bay City News reports.

5. Ghost Ship trial: The defense attempted to establish that Max Harris, one of two defendants charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter, was not the lead organizer of the event on the night of the deadly warehouse fire, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

6. The political world in East and South Alameda County was turned upside-down Thursday. Long-time Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty announced he will not run for re-election next year, the East Bay Citizen reports. Later in the day, state Sen. Bob Wieckowski, who only last week dropped out of a congressional race in the East Bay, said he will seek to replace Haggerty on the Board of Supervisors.

7. A new U.C. Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll shows Joe Biden leading the Democratic field of presidential candidates in California with 22 percent, but his lead is shrinking. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Warren surged to second place with 18 percent. Bernie Sanders was third among California voters with 17 percent, The Hill reports. Kamala Harris placed fourth with 13 percent. Rep. Eric Swalwell received no support in the statewide poll.

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Thursday's Briefing: Legislature to vote on $214 billion state budget; Oakland City Council backs Howard Terminal bills

California Democrats may allow non-citizens to vote on party matters

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Jun 13, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Oakland officials offered support for two piece of state legislation to streamline approval for a new ballpark on the Oakland waterfront. - FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo
  • Oakland officials offered support for two piece of state legislation to streamline approval for a new ballpark on the Oakland waterfront.


News you don't want to miss for June 13:

1. "California lawmakers are scheduled to vote on a $214.8 billion operating budget on Thursday, sending the plan to Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk with a focus on expanding access to health insurance while spending billions of new money on homelessness and housing," the Associated Press reports. The budget proposal includes $650 million to local governments for homelessness. In the East Bay, mayors in many Alameda County cities have balked at Oakland's attempt to draw a lion's share of the county's expected funding.

2. At the conclusion of the Oakland teachers' strike earlier this year, kindergarten teacher Darnisha Wright was seen on video with her neck between the hands of Oakland school boardmember Jumoke Hinton-Hodge. Wright's contract is not being renewed by the school district, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, and its causing protests from some Oakland teachers. $$

3. For those who have done their time following the conviction of a crime can attest, the mark is not easily shed when it comes time to finding a job or housing. Two bills that would expunge 1 million convictions was passed by the Assembly on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.

4. The California Democratic Party may allow non-citizens to vote on party matters, Capital Public Radio reports. The idea was proposed by the San Francisco Democratic Party and will be further discussed later this summer.

5. At a special meeting, the Oakland City Council offered support for two pieces of legislation to streamline the effort to build a new ballpark for the Oakland A's at Howard Terminal, KPIX reports. The council unanimously backed both bills, with minor suggested amendments. AB 1191, authored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta, would aid in stitching together a patchwork of tideland and title uncertainties at the site. SB 293, authored by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, would allow for the creation of an infrastructure financing district.

6. The Warriors close out 47 years of basketball at Oracle Arena tonight in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. The Mercury News columnist Dieter Kurtenbach previews the game here. Meanwhile, surgery on Kevin Durant's torn Achilles tendon was successful, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

7. Skyline High graduate Tom Hanks flashed some Oakland cred while promoting the film Toy Story 4, SFGate reports. "I throw deep, baby," Hanks said while describing his strategy for the card game Spades.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Wednesday's Briefing: EBMUD approves water rate increases: Still no budget deal in Oakland

Heat leaves some Oakland and Berkeley residents without power

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Jun 12, 2019 at 6:00 AM

East Bay MUD reservoir in Lafayette. - EBMUD
  • EBMUD
  • East Bay MUD reservoir in Lafayette.


News you don't want to miss for June 12:

1. East Bay Municipal Utilities District customers will see their water bills increase by 12.75 percent over the next 2 years, Bay City News reports. The EBMUD board voted, 5-1, to approve the increases on Tuesday. Starting on July 1, water rates will increase by 6.5 percent, and 6.25 percent in July 2020.

2. A lengthy Oakland City Council special budget meeting did not yield an agreement on a new $3.2 billion two-year budget, KPIX reports. But the battle lines between competing budget proposals by Mayor Libby Schaaf and Council President Rebecca Kaplan remain evident. “In my 22 years on the Council, I’ve never seen a worse budget,” Councilmember Larry Reid said.

3. About 7,300 Oakland and Berkeley residents were without power Tuesday afternoon, SFGate reports. PG&E said the disruption in service was related to the ongoing heat wave in the Bay Area.

4. Ghost Ship trial: Lost in the testimony and legal arguments is the stories of the people left behind following the horrific fire that claimed 36 people in Oakland. The Los Angeles Times highlights one father's daily vigil to the courthouse in Oakland. $$

5. Maybe he should have just gone to the police academy? Sergio Taylor was recently arrested for impersonating a police officer in Berkeley and during the San Leandro Cherry Festival earlier this month. The Alameda County District Attorney's office charged him for both alleged crimes. Berkeleyside reports the same man was arrested yet again for the same crime in Oakland last weekend.

6. The Raiders will be the subject of Hard Knocks, the HBO reality series chronicling the pre-season highs and lows of an NFL team, SFGate reports. Much of the filming for the series will be shot at the Raiders' training camp in Napa, but also at the team's training headquarters in Alameda.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: Warriors win Game 5, lose Durant; BART can't take the heat

'Allie' the humpback seen near Alameda

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Jun 11, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Kevin Durant suffered another injury during Game 5. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Kevin Durant suffered another injury during Game 5.


News you don't want to miss for June 11:

1. The Warriors overcame a major injury to Kevin Durant to win Game 5 of the NBA Finals Monday night, 106-105, CBS Sports reports. Toronto now leads the series, 3-2. Game 6 returns to Oakland on Thursday for what will be the final game ever at Oracle Arena.

2. Ghost Ship trial: Defense witness Sharon Evans said she overheard "Spaniards" at a taco truck near the burning warehouse fire that the were “happy about the way it was burning.” She meant Mexican-Americans. Prosecutors, though, worked diligently to highlight inconsistencies in her testimony, KQED reports.

3. "A former Contra Costa County inmate sued the Sheriff’s Office on Monday, claiming that deputies at the county jail in Martinez turned 'a blind eye' toward Norteño gang members who beat him," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. An attorney also alleged the department favored imprisoned members of the gang. $$

4. Monday's excessive heat not only melted your ice cream cone, but also BART tracks. System-wide delays related to track equipment riddled BART all day, SFGate reports.

5. 'Allie' the humpback whale continues to make a rare appearance in the bay waters near Alameda's Seaplane Lagoon, the East Bay Times reports, but the animal's health is in question.

6. Here's a story about a fence in San Leandro and how it may make life difficult for a San Leandro elected official. Councilmember Victor Aguilar, Jr. admitted that he willfully built an illegal fence on his property at the same time he was using a fence controversy against then-incumbent Lee Thomas to register an upset victory last November, the East Bay Citizen reports. Aguilar, Jr. is seeking a variance to keep the illegal fence without any modifications.

7. Have it your way: The Impossible Burger is now available at all 111 Burger King restaurants in the Bay Area, SF Eater reports. Impossible Foods' meatless burger patty is made in Oakland.

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Monday, June 10, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Record-breaking heat in the East Bay; PG&E preemptively shuts off power in Northern California

BART's 'blitz' against fare evaders is working

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Jun 10, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Friendly reminder. Don't look straight into the sun. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Friendly reminder. Don't look straight into the sun.


News you don't want to miss for June 10:

1. PG&E is taking no chances this time around. After a high risk of fire and gusty winds were forecast for Saturday, PG&E shut off power for up to 20,500 customers to lessen the possibility of a devastating wildfire like those seen over the last two years, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

2. This weekend's heat wave broke records and the sweltering weather will continued through Tuesday, KRON reports. The temperature at Oakland Airport reached 91 degrees on Sunday, topping the previous record of 86 degrees set in 2008. Monday is also a Spare the Air day.

3. Teachers in Union City and South Hayward will return to their classrooms Monday morning after ending a 14-day strike. New Haven school district teachers ratified a tentative new contract on Sunday, KPIX reports.

4. BART's emphasis in recent months on thwarting fare evaders appears to be paying dividends, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The transit agency said ticket sales have increased 10 percent and calls to law enforcement have dropped by 50 percent. $$

5. Kaiser Permanente has helped 300 homeless seniors off the streets of Oakland and into housing this year, The Mercury News reports. $$

6. Kamala Harris's record as San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general received a dose of fact-checking from The New York Times over the weekend, again rehashing some of the obfuscations about her record, in particular, when it comes to police accountability. $$

7. Meanwhile, Eric Swalwell's own presidential campaign continues to flounder and the candidate who said he would exit the race for Swalwell's congressional seat if the incumbent ever returned, abruptly dropped out of the race. State Sen. Bob Wieckowski raised eyebrows Friday by announcing he is dropping out just over three weeks since joining he race, the East Bay Citizen reports. Does this mean Swalwell is ending his presidential campaign much sooner than anyone predicted?

8. Is this the end of the Warriors' dynasty or just the beginning of the greatest moment in their illustrious five-year run? Kevin Durant appears likely to return for tonight's do-or-die Game 5 of the NBA Finals in Toronto, CBS Sports reports. The Raptors lead the best-of-seven series, 3-1.

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Friday, June 7, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Second inmate dies in Alameda County jails within a week; California voters against impeachment

Hot weather coming this weekend

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Jun 7, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Santa Rita Jail - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Santa Rita Jail


News you don't want to miss for June 7-9:

1. A second inmate has died in the custody of the Alameda County Sheriff's Department within the last week, the East Bay Times reports. A 39-year-old was found dead Wednesday. Another inmate died on May 29. $$

2. Ghost Ship trial: A witness for the defense testified Thursday that she heard other boast of setting the deadly warehouse fire in December 2016, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The defense for Derick Almena and Max Harris has asserted the fire that killed 36 people was started by arsonists. $$

3. Maybe Nancy Pelosi is right? A new poll finds 52 percent of California voters are against Congress starting impeachment proceedings against President Trump, Capital Public Radio reports. Two-thirds of Democrats in the state, however, favor impeachment, along with 9 percent of Republicans, and 39 percent of independents.

4. The Hayward City Council took an initial step toward creating a policy for an independent investigation of cases when Hayward Police use deadly force, the East Bay Citizen reports. The request follows the fatal shooting of Agustin Gonsalez by Hayward police officers last November.

5. "Atmospheric river" meet the "widespread heat event." Translation: It's going to be hot in the East Bay this weekend, SFGate reports.

6. The man who shoved Toronto Raptors player Kyle Lowry during Game 3 of the NBA Finals was identified as Mark Stevens, a billionaire venture capitalist and Warriors minority owner, SFGate reports. He apologized, but not before getting his with a $500,000 fine, in addition, to being banned from attending NBA games for one year.

7. Two peregrine falcon chicks nesting atop U.C. Berkeley's Campanile flew the coop, Berkeleyside reports. The birds had captured the imagination of some Berkeley residents who were able to monitor their daily movements via webcam.

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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Thursday's Briefing: Prosecution wraps up its case in Ghost Ship trial; Foul called on Oakland official for taking Warriors tickets

Grand jury seeks removal of Contra Costa County assessor

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Jun 6, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Firefighters putting out the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland in December 2016. - SEUNG LEE
  • Seung Lee
  • Firefighters putting out the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland in December 2016.


News you don't want to miss for June 6:

1. Ghost Ship trial: The prosecution rested its case Wednesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, ending more than four weeks of testimony against Derick Almena and Max Harris, who are facing 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter following the deadly December 2016 warehouse fire. $$

2. State legislation to encourage new housing around transit hubs may have been sidetracked, but that isn't stopping Oakland. A proposed 23-story tower with 1,000 housing units, office and retail space next to the West Oakland BART station is coming before the Oakland Planning Commission, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. A Contra Costa County Grand Jury is seeking to remove Assessor Gus Kramer from office following allegations he created a hostile work environment and made offensive remarks about minorities in the office, KPIX reports. The accusations were filed in Contra Costa County Superior Court.

4. A seldom used fossil fuel plant near Jack London Square is about to become a battery installation after East Bay Community Energy board members approved a contract with the owners of the plant, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. Oakland Councilmember Nikki Bas Fortunato blamed her staff for a mix-up involving two tickets to the NBA Finals Game 6 matchup at Oracle Arena, The Mercury News reports. Chief of staff for Bas Fortunato said the councilmember did not plan to attend the game, which will be the final game ever at Oracle Arena, and will give the tickets to city workers and members of the community. $$

6. Toronto's clutch shooting and a seriously depleted Warriors roster led to the Raptors 123-109 victory in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, CBS News reports. Toronto leads the series, 2-1. The Warriors were without Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Kevon Looney, but were boosted by 47 points from Stephen Curry.

7. Meanwhile, the Raptors were lucky to get to Oracle Arena in time for the game based on a tweet from the team announcing their arrival in the Bay Area on the Golden Gate Bridge, SFGate reports. Of course, the correct span would be the Bay Bridge.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Wednesday's Briefing: BART director wants to rollback fare increases; Oakland City Council decriminalizes shrooms

Pride flag will fly in Dublin after backlash

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Jun 5, 2019 at 6:00 AM

BART Board Director Debora Allen is moving toward reversing recently approved fare increases. - ERIC FISCHER
  • Eric Fischer
  • BART Board Director Debora Allen is moving toward reversing recently approved fare increases.


News you don't want to miss for June 5:

1. Conservatives love BART Board Director Debora Allen and daily BART riders may also, too. Allen wants to rollback a previously approved schedule of fare hikes because she believes the increases will turn away more customers than help boost falling fare revenues, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. "The Oakland City Council passed a resolution Tuesday night that decriminalizes certain natural psychedelics, including mushrooms, a move that makes Oakland the second city in the nation to do so," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. "With little fanfare, the Bay Area has seen a dramatic drop in its homicide rate, driven by a considerable decrease in deadly shootings," The Guardian reports. In fact, a 30 percent drop over the past decade that is well below the national average.

4. The Dublin City Council had a change of heart Tuesday night, KTVU reports. Two weeks after voting against a proposal to recognize LGBTQ Pride Month by flying the rainbow flag at city hall, Dublin Mayor David Haubert apologized for his opposition to the proposal, and the council voted to reverse course and raise the flag after all.

5. Question of whether Hayward police officers receive sufficient de-escalation and mental illness training was already being asked by some city officials even before a KTVU report showing video of the police response to a 2015 incident resulting in the death of Roy Lee Nelson, Jr, an individual who suffered from schizophrenia.

6. A U.S. District Court judge threw out a case against three members of the Rise Above Movement, a group that was accused of engaging in hand-to-hand combat with protesters at political rallies in Berkeley, Huntington Beach,and San Bernardino, the Association Press reports. The men believed they were acting as counterweights to Antifa protesters at the events. The judged ruled their actions were free speech.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: Oakland budget battle over Department of Transpo heats up; Haggerty wants Pride flag on county buildings

Oakland's Commis is a two-star Michelin for the fourth straight year

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Jun 4, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Commis on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland received two Michelin stars, it was announced Monday. - FLICKR
  • Flickr
  • Commis on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland received two Michelin stars, it was announced Monday.


News you don't want to miss for June 4:

1. Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan's proposal to eliminate the city's new Department of Transportation continues to make news, along with further illuminating the growing rivalry between her and Mayor Libby Schaaf. For Schaaf's part she tweeted in defiance Monday night the hashtag #SaveOakDOT. StreetsblogSF adds to the story, reporting Oakland transportation activists were blind-sided by Kaplan's budget cut.

2. A mural in honor of Oscar Grant, along with a street sign naming "Oscar Grant III Way" will be unveiled Saturday at the Fruitvale BART station, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined Hawaii, Maine, and the District of Columbia in a lawsuit filed against pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma alleging the makers of OxyContin undersold the risk of addition to patients, the Associated Press reports.

4. Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty wants to amend its policy for flying flags over county buildings, the East Bay Citizen reports. In the meantime, Haggerty wants the Board of Supervisors Tuesday to approve a resolution directing the LGBTQ Pride flag to be raised on county buildings immediately in recognition of Pride month, which began on June 1.

5. New Haven Unified School District teachers began the third week of their strike, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Teachers in Union City and parts of South Hayward are negotiating for higher wages, but the duration of the strike is quickly threatening to bleed into finals week for some students. $$

6. It could be a highly volatile night at the Hayward City Council tonight. Two weeks ago, the Alameda County District Attorney's office found insufficient evidence to prosecute two Hayward police officers in the fatal shooting of Agustin Gonsalez. The family's frustrations with city officials and police were at a fever pitch during last week's council meeting. Now comes an appearance by Hayward Police Chief Mark Koller, who will address the council Tuesday night, the East Bay Citizen reports

7. This year's Michelin awards for excellence in fine dining were announced Monday. Oakland's Commis maintained its status as a two-star restaurant, SF Eater reports.

8. Klay Thompson will likely be listed as questionable for the Warriors' NBA Finals Game 3 matchup on Wednesday, CBS Sports reports. Thompson suffered a strained hamstring Sunday, while Kevon Looney fractured his collarbone, and Kevin Durant has yet to return to action after injuring his calf in the second round of the playoffs.

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Monday, June 3, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Kaplan's budget proposal includes cutting Department of Transportation

Warriors win, even up NBA Finals

Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 1:35 AM

Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan - BERT JOHNSON
  • Bert Johnson
  • Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan


News you don't want to miss for June 3:

1. Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan released a two-year budget proposal that includes, among other cuts, the elimination of the city's new Department of Transportation and its director, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. Buoyant rhetoric at the start of the year by California state leaders searching for solutions to the housing crisis have thus far fizzled as the legislative season reaches the mid-year, the Associated Press reports, but some bills remain possibilities like one establishing rent caps. Others, for example, Oakland Assemblymember Rob Bonta's just-cause renters' bill is done for the year after failing to receive a vote last week.

3. Southern California labor leader Rusty Hicks was elected chair of the California Democratic Party on Saturday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Richmond resident Kimberly Ellis again fell short, finishing a distant second. $$

4. During a CNN presidential town hall Sunday evening East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell declined to call for the impeachment of President Trump. "If that's where we're headed, I want to be backed into it," Swalwell said, "showing that we've exhausted every other remedy and have the American people with us. I think that's where we are right now." Swalwell has been one of Trump's most vociferous detractors.

5. A rally in Oakland to support of Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign attracted an estimated 6,500 people to the soccer field at Laney College Friday night. Warren was late, but extended the appearance another two hours until 11 p.m. to converse with voters and take selfies, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

6. After a rocky start, the Golden State Warriors evened the NBA Finals at one game apiece Sunday after defeating the Toronto Raptors, 109-104, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The series moves to Oakland for Game 3 on Wednesday. $$

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