Friday, September 20, 2019

Friday's Briefing: 'Lives will be lost' if Alta Bates closes, Albany mayor says; Alameda Coast Guard commander charged

OPD has a plan to thwart sideshows this weekend

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Sep 20, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley is slated to close within the next decade. - ALTA BATES
  • Alta Bates
  • Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley is slated to close within the next decade.


News you don't want to miss for Sept. 20-22:

1. Albany Mayor Rochelle Nason said “lives will be lost” if Sutter Health closes Berkeley’s Alta Bates Hospital, the East Bay Times reports. $$

2. A U.S. Coast Guard commander from Alameda was charged with illegally importing Tramadol, an opioid pain medication, NBC Bay Area reports. James Silcox III was arrested last Tuesday at Coast Guard Island in Alameda.

3. The Alameda City Council unanimously approved a two-way dedicated bike lane to be constructed on Clement Street, Streetblog SF reports. The bike lane will extend for a lengthy portion of Alameda’s north shore.

4. Forty-one million disposable cups are used every year in Berkeley alone, said an environmental group that is launching a reusable cup program in the city, Bay City News reports. Businesses in the U.C. Berkeley campus and those along Telegraph Avenue will soon begin using the stainless steel cups.

5. After a recent heavily-attended sideshow, Oakland Police said they will barricade a popular spot at 42nd Avenue near Interstate 880 this weekend, NBC Bay Area reports.

6. A federal judge in Sacramento sided with President Trump’s lawyers in blocking a new California state law that requires presidential candidates in the state’s primary elections to release their tax returns, the Associated Press reports. The judge suggested the U.S. Constitution sets the rules for presidential elections, not states.

7. Imitation is the most sincerest form of flattery. A New York state senator is proposing a bill similar to East Bay state Sen. Nancy Skinner’s “Fair Pay for Fair Play” bill currently awaiting the governor’s signature, ESPN reports. The New York bill allows college student athletes to be paid, but also calls for universities to set aside 15 percent of their sports revenues to be divided among all student athletes.

8. The Impossible Burger is coming to the meat aisle at grocery stores, but not in the Bay Area, at least, not yet, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The makers of the plant-based meat product are located in Redwood City. $$

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Thursday's Briefing: PG&E rates are going up $5 next month; Harris goes all-in on Iowa

Judge to rule on Berkeley housing project within Shellmound site

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Sep 19, 2019 at 4:00 AM

PG&E's rate increase next month is for infrastructure improvements, but not power lines that caused recent California wildfires. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • PG&E's rate increase next month is for infrastructure improvements, but not power lines that caused recent California wildfires.


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

1. An Alameda County Superior Court judge will soon rule whether a proposed 260-unit housing development near the old Spenger's restaurant in Berkeley was illegally denied approval, Berkeleyside reports. The project was slated to include a large number of units for low-income housing, but is also within the West Berkeley Shellmound area.

2. "The monthly gas and electric bill for the average Pacific Gas and Electric Co. residential customer is set to rise $4.80 starting Oct. 1 as a result of recent decisions by state utility regulators," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Expected more increases to come. $$

3. With her presidential campaign in a rut, Sen. Kamala Harris is planning to go all-in on Iowa, Politico reports. Harris will travel more frequently to Iowa and beef up staff on the ground. Polling this week shows her drifting toward the bottom of second-tier candidates.

4. The Trump administration's revocation of California's automobile emissions standards raise a number of questions, including, can the federal government tell a state how to regulate its own air quality? KQED takes a look at what comes next.

5. "Toll Booth Willie," the foul-mouthed toll taker created by comedian Adam Sandler won't have a job in the Bay Area soon. All seven of the region's bridges will be cash-less by 2022, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. But the conversion could be costly, around $55 million. $$

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: Trump is coming to the Bay Area, but nobody knows where; Newsom asks Trump for housing vouchers

Alice Waters doesn't like the name 'Gourmet Ghetto'

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Sep 17, 2019 at 4:00 AM

President Trump visiting California wildfires last November, along with Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • President Trump visiting California wildfires last November, along with Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown.


News you don’t want to miss for Sept. 17:

1. Don’t all get excited at once, but President Trump is scheduled to visit the Bay Area for the first time during his presidency today. But where the event is being held is somewhat of a state secret. Meanwhile, SFGate reports the ubiquitous balloon depicting Trump in baby diapers is likely to make an appearance.

2. Gov. Gavin Newsom is asking Trump for 50,000 additional housing vouchers to help California’s homelessness problem, the Associated Press reports. Last week, Trump administration officials were eyeing sites for possibly relocating homeless individuals to camps.

3. More than 1,200 students from 17 universities across the country, including U.C. Berkeley and Stanford are pledging not to work for software company Palantir because of its contract with U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement, The Hill reports.

4. Alice Waters, the founder of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, said she never liked the name “Gourmet Ghetto,” referring to the area where the world-famous restaurant is located, and thinks the name should be changed, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. East Bay brewers took home medals from the inaugural California Craft Brewers Cup last weekend, SFGate reports. Richmond’s East Brother Beer Co. won a gold medal for its Czech Pale Lager, while silver medals went to Berkeley’s Triple Rock Brewing Co. for its Scottish Ale, and San Leandro’s Drake’s Brewing Co. for its Rye IPA.

6. Cal football’s 3-0 start has earned them their highest ranking in nearly four years, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Golden Bears head to Mississippi on Saturday ranked 23rd in the nation. $$

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Wednesday's Briefing: CoCo supervisors place moratorium on costly court fees for inmates; Trump to do 'something' to help the homeless

'The Town' jersey among six new Warriors uniforms

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Sep 17, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Contra Costa County's moratorium on some court fees will cost about $1.8 million annually. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Contra Costa County's moratorium on some court fees will cost about $1.8 million annually.


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

1. Contra Costa County supervisors placed a moratorium on some administrative court fees, such as fingerprinting, drug testing, and ankle monitoring, NBC Bay Area reports. The fees raise about $1.8 million in annual revenues for the county.

2. President Trump swooped into the Bay Area and Los Angeles for fundraisers and quickly left, but not before declaring that he will do "something" to solve the state's homelessness problem, the Associated Press reports. Trump did not expand on what that means.

3. "The University of California is dumping fossil fuel investments from its nearly $84 billion pension and endowment funds because they are a financial risk," the Associated Press reports. U.C.'s $13 billion endowment portion of the investment fund will be fossil fuel-free by the end of this month.

4. Sen. Kamala Harris's presidential campaign is dropping like a rock, according to a new national poll, The Hill reports. Following last week's debate, Harris's support has sunk to five percent.

5. The news in Harris's home state is even more dispiriting for her campaign, SFGate reports. Harris's support dropped to 6 percent, just a tick behind entrepreneur Andrew Yang. Joe Biden leads both polls, followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

6. The United Nations General Assembly opened Tuesday with an East Bay flair. Rep. Barbara Lee was appointed as the congressional representative for the U.S. delegation, the East Bay Citizen reports. It's the fourth time Lee has received the honor.

7. The Warriors unveiled six(!) new uniforms for their first season back in San Francisco, USA Today reports. Among them is a new version of "The Town" jersey worn during their final years in Oakland, but also two San Francisco jerseys are among the set.

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Monday, September 16, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Flurry of state legislation heads to Newsom's desk; Tribune Tavern is back

Felicity Huffman to serve time in Dublin jail

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Sep 16, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Restaurateur Chris Pastena - LORI EANES
  • Lori Eanes
  • Restaurateur Chris Pastena


News you don't want to miss for Sept. 16:

1. A bill that would ban for three years police department's in the state from using facial-recognition in body-worn cameras was sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk for approval on Friday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Oakland and San Francisco recently approved ordinances banning the technology. $$

2. State legislators, however, punted on two bills that would have phased out single-use foodware and packaging, while voting on a third, approving legislation that mandates more recyclable material in plastic bottles, Calmatters reports. The bills faced stiff opposition from the plastics industry.

3. Actress Felicity Huffman was sentenced to two weeks in jail for paying a proctor $15,000 to correct her daughter's SAT exam, the Associated Press reports. The "Desperate Housewife's" star will serve her time in Alameda County at a women's prison camp in Dublin.

4. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents seized unauthorized NFL gear worth $11,000 at the Oakland Coliseum before last Monday's night Raiders game, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Oakland Police were not involved in the operation. $$

5. The Tribune Tavern restaurant is re-opening, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Original owner Chris Pastena is back in charge with a new menu.

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Friday, September 13, 2019

Friday's Briefing: BART board to spend $227 million on new Oakland HQ; OUSD merges two elementary schools

Kamala Harris said Trump is a 'small dude'

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Sep 13, 2019 at 4:00 AM



News you don't want to miss for Sept. 13-15:

1. BART directors voted, 8-1, to allocate $227 million for a move from their current headquarters near Lake Merritt in Oakland to another a few blocks away on Webster Street, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The move was touted as saving taxpayers' money in the long run. $$

2. The Oakland Unified School District voted to merge Kaiser Elementary with Sankofa Academy on Wednesday night, EdSource reports. There was strong opposition to the proposal, which is part of the district's plan to eventually close up to 24 schools in Oakland.

3. Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris appeared intent on making Thursday night's debate in Houston all about President Trump. At one point, while making a Wizard of Oz reference, Harris called Trump a "really small dude," the USA Today reports.

4. "Legislation that streamlines the process for the Oakland A’s to receive permits needed for a proposed A’s ballpark at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal was approved Thursday in an unanimous vote," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The bill was authored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta. $$

5. "California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a brief Thursday in support of Oakland’s lawsuit against Wells Fargo, alleging that the bank illegally discriminated against minority borrowers," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The lawsuit was filed by the city in 2015. $$

6. The NCAA Board of Governor's urged Gov. Gavin Newsom not to sign a bill approved by the Legislature this week and co-authored by East Bay state Sen. Nancy Skinner that allows student athletes in the state to receive compensation, The Hill reports. The NCAA believes the law will give California schools a competitive advantage in recruiting athletes, among other reasons.

13. For the first time since 2000, a full moon will coincide with Friday the 13th, Time reports. A full moon in September is known as a "harvest moon." The next occurrence in the U.S. is 2049.

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Thursday's Briefing: Significant Skinner, Bonta bills pass the Legislature; Kaplan says don't buy Warriors tickets

Richmond bans the sale of flavored e-cigarettes

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Sep 12, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Student athletes at California universities could soon be paid for their efforts on the playing field. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Student athletes at California universities could soon be paid for their efforts on the playing field.


News you don’t want to miss for Sept. 12

1. "Athletes at California colleges could hire agents and sign endorsement deals under a bill the state Legislature sent to the governor Wednesday," the Associated Press reports. The bill co-authored by state Sen. Nancy Skinner has clearly rankled the NCAA, who have threatened to ban California schools from its competitions if it's signed by the governor.

2. East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta's bid to rid the state of for-profit prisons appears near a successful conclusion after the Legislature approved his bill banning their existence in California, starting in 2028, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. Even if AB 5, the landmark legislation that reclassifies gig-workers as employees, becomes law, ride-hailing tech companies Uber and Lyft may not comply, Vox reports, meaning the issue is likely headed to the courts.

4. Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan is still upset about the Warriors refusal to pay its share of the bond debt associated with the reconstruction of the Coliseum Arena. Kaplan tweeted Wednesday that buying tickets to Warriors games in San Francisco supports siphoning off funding for struggling communities in the East Bay, the East Bay Citizen reports.

5. A small plane caught on fire at the Oakland Airport on Wednesday afternoon, KGO-TV reports. The fire was located in the wheel well of the Cessna Citation. There were no injuries but the runway was briefly closed.

6. The Trump administration wants to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, CNBC reports. In the Bay Area, San Francisco and Livermore have made similar moves. On Tuesday night, Richmond joined the group, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

7. Trump's interest in solving California's homeless problem is flummoxing local and state officials, Politico reports. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf labelled Trump's suggestion as “pre-election political posturing at the expense of our most vulnerable residents.”

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Future is Now: A's trip Astros

Did we mention that we love three inning relief stints?

by Kibby Kleiman
Wed, Sep 11, 2019 at 9:50 PM

The Oakland A's have seventeen days to grasp a place in the post-season. With tonight's victory, the Athletics climbed into a tie for the first wild card position and held their 1 1/2 game lead over the third team trying to squeeze into the two-team derby. Of course, a wild-card bid gives you a sudden death, one and done opportunity to be in the real playoffs, and to the winner comes the team with the best record in the American League, quite likely, tonight's antagonists, the Houston Astros.

But here's the thing; the A's can and have been beating the Astros. This evening, Brett Anderson, who's coach should have turned into a pumpkin two months ago stoned the slugging 'Stros and left the game down only 2-1. That counts as a moral victory (why are they "moral"?) Then Sean Murphy, rookie catcher slugged a home run to tie the game and after the 20-something vets added more runs, the rookiest pitcher, Jesus Luzardo came in to get the A's through the 6th inning. And did so well, he was allowed to pitch the 7th. Then the 8th. That never happens in the big leagues anymore. It definitely doesn't happen in September when the rosters expand to a shit ton, and teams get strategic, bringing in new relief pitchers every time the wind shifts. . A's manager Bob Melvin went way old school in having Luzardo, in the very first big league game in his life go long. And then to prove that everything the skipper touched tonight turned to gold, put closer Liam Hendriks in the game, which is awesome, because all Hendriks does is throw strikes, making him the most relaxing reliever we've had in eons.

The A's have one more game for the rest of the regular season against a winning team--and it is tomorrow at Houston. Rookies are shoring up this team, in its high profile moment-- Seth Brown, A.J. Puk and tonight's heroes are getting us very excited about 2020 in 2019. We'll keep the time machine in neutral for now. The A's won't catch the Astros during the regular season, which is why Oakland fans are counting on an irregular one to finish

Wednesday's Briefing: State moves closer to rent control, gig worker protections; Bonta charter school bill passes

Oaklander makes successful MLB debut

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Sep 11, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Assemblymember Rob Bonta co-authored a bill approved Tuesday that gives local control for approving charter schools.
  • Assemblymember Rob Bonta co-authored a bill approved Tuesday that gives local control for approving charter schools.


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

1. State senators approved AB5, the bill that could be a gamechanger by requiring the state's growing gig workers and freelancers to be classified as employees, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The vote was 29-11 and returns to the Assembly on concurrence. Gov. Gavin Newsom has said he will sign the bill. $$

2. The State Senate also approved AB 1482, which would limit annual rent increases to five percent, Curbed LA reports. If signed into law, the bill would cover cities that do not already have rent control.

3. A bill co-authored by East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta that would transfer authority for approving charters schools from the state to local school district was approved in the Assembly Tuesday, the Associated Press reports.

4. Plans to clear homeless encampments near the Coliseum BART station and another in Berkeley at an underpass near University Avenue is causing concerns for advocates of the homeless, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. A U.C. Berkeley graduate student working with nitrogen was hospitalized following an explosion at Hildebrand Hall, KPIX reports.

6. The Trump administration is discussing a plan to intervene in California's homeless problem by moving individuals to government-run facilities, the Washington Post reports. "But it is unclear how they could accomplish this and what legal authority they would use." $$

7. A day after losing 15-0, the A's returned the favor, beating the Astros, 21-7, the Associated Press reports. Meanwhile, Nico Hoerner, who went to Head-Royce School in Oakland, had three hits and four RBI in his Major League debut for the Chicago Cubs, SFGate reports.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: Medieval fare gates gone from Fruitvale BART; Grade-changing scandal at Castlemont High

Marshawn Lynch is bringing football back to Oakland

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Sep 10, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Fare gates at the Fruitvale BART station. - BART
  • BART
  • Fare gates at the Fruitvale BART station.


News you don’t want to miss for Sept. 10:

1. BART riders at the Fruitvale station will no longer be required to run the gauntlet through fare gates, the San Francisco Chronicle. The medieval-looking gates succeeded in lowering fare evaders by 17 percent, but BART officials determined maintenance wouldn't be worth the trouble. $$

2. Administrators and school employees at Castlemont High School in Oakland are being accused of falsifying grades to help some failing students, NBC Bay Area reports. $$

3. California students can no longer be suspended for "willful defiance," incidents such as sleeping in class or talking back to teachers, the Associated Press report. The bill authored by East Bay state Sen. Nancy Skinner was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

4. Every state except California and Alabama is seeking to investigate Google for potential anti-trust behavior, the Los Angeles Times reports. Is it because Google is an enormous cash cow for the state's coffers? $$

5. Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris's campaign appears to be stuck in a rut. The Associated Press reports this Thursday's debate is a chance for the East Bay native to get back in the race. Recent polling suggests voter support is solidifying around Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

6. Marshawn Lynch will be co-owner of an Indoor Football League franchise to be named the Oakland Panthers, Sports Illustrated reports. The team will play its games at the Oakland Arena.

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