Friday, March 22, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Oakland Police mourn 10-year anniversary of fallen officers; Activists call for firing of Chief Anne Kirkpatrick

St. Mary's exits the Big Dance

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Mar 22, 2019 at 6:00 AM

News you don't want to miss for Mar. 22-24:

1. Oakland Police and others Thursday observed the 10-year anniversary of one of the department's darkest days, the killing of four officers on 74th Avenue by a convicted felon suspected of violating parole, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. Curious timing, but the Coalition for Police Accountability held a rally at Oakland City Hall Thursday to call for the firing of Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick for the department's handling of the police shooting of a homeless man last year, the Oakland Post reports.

3. Meanwhile, the Oakland Police Department's seemingly never-ending quest to get out of the grasp of 16 years of federal oversight took another turn for the worse, according to the court monitor's new report, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

4. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and other big city mayors were in Sacramento Thursday urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to allocate additional money to combat homelessness, Capital Public Radio reports.

5. Newsom is proposing a $10 a month water tax to help low-income and rural areas suffering from contaminated water, the Associated Press reports. The plan is another in a long list of propose taxes coming from Sacramento this legislative year.

6. April rain brings May flowers is actually a harbinger of an uncomfortable allergy season this spring, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

7. Under the category of "At least he wasn't clipping his toenails": Video of a BART rider shaving his head on a train become a social media sensation, reports SFGate.

8. Following approval by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and the Coliseum Joint Powers Authority, the Oakland City Council gave the final imprimatur on a lease agreement with the Raiders to play the 2019 season in Oakland, SFGate reports. The deal is for $7.5 million for 2019 with a $10.5 million option for 2020.

9. "One Shining Moment," the traditional anthem played for winners of the NCAA Tournament will elude the St. Mary's Gaels this year. St. Mary's was defeated by defending champion Villanova, 61-57, during the first day of March Madness, SFGate reports.

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Thursday's Briefing: Woman alleges Cal football players, coaches of sexual harassment

Skinner wants audit of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Mar 21, 2019 at 6:00 AM

News you don't want to miss for Mar. 21:

1. A former Cal sports medicine intern alleges members of the football, coaches, and staff sexually harassed her on numerous occasions, ESPN reports. "I will get you fired if you do not have sex with me," the Cal student wrote on Facebook about the advances of one Cal coach. The allegations have been sent to the university's Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination.

2. President Trump is expected to sign an executive order today that was first spurred on by an incident last month at U.C. Berkeley when a conservative voter was attacked on campus, Politico reports. The order may require universities to declare support for free speech on campus in order to receive federal research grants.

3.Oakland voters approved Measure KK, a $600 million infrastructure bond measure, in 2016, but two years later the city's roads continue to be in a sorry state, Rachel Swan reports in the San Francisco Chronicle. $$

4. With the U.S. Census count just around the corner, the state and Alameda County is beginning to put time and money into making sure the state gathers an accurate count of its residents. If not, just like in 1990, according to Capitol Weekly, California could lose seats in Congress and hundreds of millions in federal funding.

5. Two Richmond police officer, including one who was named in the Celeste Guap police sexual misconduct scandal was fired for lying to investigators, while the other for having sex on duty, KQED and the East Bay Times report.

6. At a racuous Hayward City Council meeting late Tuesday night, city councilmembers decided against a controversial proposal from its city manager to limit their policy referrals to five per year for each elected official, the East Bay Citizen reports. One councilmember said the idea was unconstitutional, but not before the entire discussion got really personal.

7. Berkeley saw a 12 percent reduction in violent crime last year, Berkeleyside reports. Meanwhile, property crime also dropped by 10 percent.

8. State Sen. Nancy Skinner wants an audit of the Alameda County Sheriff's Department after reports of misconduct at its jails, KTVU reports, including a woman who gave birth in prison while unattended.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Wednesday's Briefing: College admissions scandal comes to Cal; friends mourn Victor McElhaney in L.A.

Alameda cannabis dispensary approved by Planning Board

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Mar 20, 2019 at 6:00 AM

News you don't want to miss for Mar. 20:

1. The college admissions scandal could be spreading to the East Bay. The San Francisco Chronicle reports Cal is investigating a 2014 admission of a member of its crew team whose father allegedly paid someone $100,000 to take the SAT on behalf of the student. $$

2. An estimated 700 gathered at a memorial on the campus of U.S.C. to remember Victor McElhaney, the son of Oakland Councilmember Lynette McElhaney, the Los Angeles Times reports. Victor McElhaney was killed last week during a robbery in Los Angeles. $$

3. Job Torres Hernandez, a Hayward construction company owner was convicted for recruiting undocumented immigrant workers from Mexico and paying them little under threat of violence, the East Bay Times reports. Hernandez could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.

4. Ranked-choice voting in San Francisco will soon allow for 10 candidates to be ranked by voters, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. In the East Bay, only Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro have ranked-choice voting. Could they be next? $$

5. "Why does Alameda County charge up to $1 a page to view court records online?" Berkeleyside asks.

6. A cannabis dispensary is coming to Webster Street in Alameda, the East Bay Times reports. The dispensary, approved last week by the Planning Board, is slated for a former bank near Haight Street. $$

7. Oakland Councilmember, a noted environmentalist, appeared Tuesday with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: Four Oakland churches to allow homeless to sleep overnight in cars

Pregnant Alameda councilmember says there's no place for breast-feeding at City Hall

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Mar 19, 2019 at 6:00 AM

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

1. The homeless living in their cars can now safely use parking lots at four Oakland houses of worship, SFGate reports. There is an estimated 2,700 homeless individuals in Oakland alone.

2. Alameda Councilmember Malia Vella is expecting her first child in May. Antiquated Alameda City Hall does not have a dedicated area for employees to breast-feed and pump breast milk, a likely violation of federal law, the East Bay Citizen reports. If they don't fulfill her request in time, Vella says she will just breast-feed at the council dais.

3. The owner of a convenience store on International Boulevard in Oakland is accused of defrauding a federal food stamp program of more than $1 million, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

4. Last November, Mike Siegel, the son of noted civil rights attorney and 2014 Oakland mayoral candidate Dan Siegel, almost won a seat in Texas' 10th Congressional District. Siegel is running again in 2020 and former Oakland Mayor Jean Quan is holding a fundraiser for him tonight, the East Bay Citizen reports.

5. A memorial for Victor McElhaney, the slain son of Oakland Councilmember Lynette McElhaney, will be held this Saturday, KGO-TV reports.

6. The Nation takes a look at the Oakland teachers strike from a lefty angle.

7. The U.S. Ninth District Court of Appeals in San Francisco has been a thorn in the side of President Trump, but Bob Egelko in SFGate, reports a proposal to expand the judiciary could give Trump the opportunity to add conservative jurists to the Ninth District and other left-leaning courts across the country.

8. "It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart," Major League Baseball commissioner/poet A. Bartlett Giamatti once said about the duration of a baseball season. Well, baseball is back later tonight (Wednesday, 2:35 a.m.) as the Oakland Athletics begin the 2019 regular season in Tokyo against the Seattle Mariners.

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Monday, March 18, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Husband of former Berkeley councilmember drowns

St. Mary's begins March Madness on Thursday

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 6:00 AM

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

1. The husband of former Berkeley Councilmember Linda Maio drowned last Friday in Mexico, Berkeleyside reports. Rob Browning, 77, died while swimming off the coast of Baja California. Maio, who served District 1 for 27 years on the Berkeley City Council before retiring last year, was on a vacation and business trip.

2. Allegations of cannabis interests bribing California public officials are being seen up and down the state, the Los Angeles Times reports, including one in Oakland, involving a cannabis dispensary permit and Oakland City Councilmember Larry Reid. $$

3. The presidential campaign of progressive Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard gave a brief stump speech to voters in Fremont Sunday afternoon, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, before meeting with prospective donors, and addressing a local Democratic club. $$

4. The rollout of Sen. Kamala Harris's presidential campaign is widely viewed as the most successful yet, but the Washington Post reports, Harris's has shown a propensity for flubs and "imprecise language." The mistakes, however, are not yet hurting her fledgling campaign.

5. The long-proposed Veterans Administration complex at Alameda Point has stalled over numerous issues, but the East Bay Times reports, at least the national cemetery, actually a columbarium, could begin construction next year. $$

6. St. Mary's hopes for a Cinderella run through the NCAA men's basketball tournament will start Thursday against Big East champion Villanova, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Gaels received the 11th seed in the East Region after upsetting top-ranked Gonzaga last week and winning the West Coast Conference tournament. The women's bracket will be unveiled later today. $$

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Friday, March 15, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Some Oakland teachers receive layoff notices; East Bay legislators fighting for renters

Future sea-level rise in the East Bay worse than previously thought

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Mar 15, 2019 at 6:00 AM

News you don't want to miss this St. Patrick's Day weekend:

1. First, there was two years of labor negotiations between Oakland teachers and the school district, a 7-day strike, an new contract with raises for teachers, then budget cuts. The East Bay Times reports some Oakland teachers received layoff notices this week. $$

2. The Berkeley school board voted to cut $2 million from its budget, Berkeleyside reports.

3. East Bay legislators like state Sen. Nancy Skinner and Assemblymembers Rob Bonta and Buffy Wicks have been doing their part to alleviate the regional and state housing crisis with a number of bills that, if approved, will benefit renters, SF Weekly reports.

4. No surprise here, but the BART Board of Directors approved a resolution in support of SB 50, KPIX reports. The bill authored by state Sen. Scott Wiener would foster high-density housing projects near transit hubs, like BART stations. A similar bill nearly became law last year, but with a new governor, there's growing consensus it may succeed later this year.

5. What if another year of devastating wildfires engulfs California? What if evidence points to PG&E again being liable for the firestorms? The Wall Street Journal reports the judge overseeing the utility's bankruptcy fears the scenario will greatly worsen PG&E's financial prospects. $$

6. Sea-level rise could greatly affect shorelines between Alameda and Oakland; San Leandro to the marshlands in Hayward and Fremont more than previously believed, according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey, KQED reports.

7. Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley wants to allow 12-15 homeless individuals to use a portion of the Fairmont Hospital's parking lot to continue living in their cars, the San Leandro Times report.

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Thursday's Briefing: Man who killed McElhaney's grandson convicted of murder; Oakland isn't building enough affordable housing

Berkeley to study ferry service

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Mar 14, 2019 at 6:00 AM

News you don't want to miss for Mar. 14:

1. It's been a trying week for Oakland Councilmember Lynette McElhaney, who lost her son in a tragic shooting last weekend. But she received some closure on another front after a jury convicted a Vallejo man who shot and killed Torian Hughes in 2015, the 17-year-old who McElhaney referred to as her grandson, of first-degree murder, NBC Bay Area reports.

2. Oakland's building boom is undeniable. Just look at all the cranes downtown. But lost in the numbers is the fact Oakland is failing to build affordable housing, the East Bay Times reports. $$

3. Ferry service may be coming to Berkeley in a few years, Emilie Raguso reports in Berkeleyside. The Berkeley City Council approved a public planning process for ferry service possibly at a rebuilt Berkeley pier or other locations.

4. Oakland continues to study the feasibility of a public bank that could also include other East Bay cities and Alameda County. The San Francisco Examiner reports that a bill introduced this week in the state Assembly could pave the way for such an institution that could offer local residents and business owners low-interest loans, and other banking instruments.

5. Alameda County Sheriff's deputies fired on a vehicle at a thrift store in unincorporated Ashland, near San Leandro, killing one suspect and injuring another, KRON reports.

6. Alameda named Yibin Shen as its next city attorney, the East Bay Citizen reports. Rental housing activists in Alameda may view the selection in a favorable light. Just last week, the Santa Monica City Attoney's Office, which Shen is a part of, celebrated three legal victories against short-term rental scofflaws.

7. Participants in the Oakland Marathon on Mar. 24 will compete for a portion of the race on the Bay Bridge's new pedestrian pathway, SFGate reports.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Wednesday's Briefing: Alameda County Board of Supervisors approve reforms to Urban Shield, but will it lose funding?

Gov. Gavin Newsom to take 737 prisoners off Death Row

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 6:00 AM

News you don’t want to miss for Mar. 13:

1.Oakland Councilmember Lynette McElahaney spoke to reporters for the first time Tuesday afternoon, just days after the death of her son, Victor McElhaney, by a gunman in Los Angleles, the East Bay Times reports. $$

2. Alameda County Supervisors approved a lengthy list of reforms to Urban Shield, the controversial annual law enforcement disaster training event, the East Bay Citizen reports. But the future of the event and vendor show remains in doubt as Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern maintains some of the recommendations violate terms of the $5.5 million federal grant, and therefore, means the loss of funding.

3. Gov. Gavin Newsom is effectively ending the death penalty in California after announcing a moratorium that will take 737 prisoners off death row, NPR reports. Newsom's executive order will also close the execution chamber at San Quentin Prison.

4. Berkeley, like many East Bay cities, has historically used zoning codes to segregate white, wealthy neighborhood from the poor and minorities. Jesse Barber in Berkeleyside takes a look at a series of proposals coming later this month to the Berkeley City Council that could bring density and affordable housing to some of these once exclusive neighborhoods.

5. Numerous studies and surveys find a large number of college students identify as homeless. A bill introduced in the Assembly would allow students to use campus parking lots to sleep in their cars, according to the California Health Report.

6. Coliseum Joint Powers Authority boardmembers will vote this Friday morning on a one-year lease agreement for the Raiders to play the 2019 season in Oakland, the Associated Press reports. The on-again-off-again-on-again deal is worth $7.5 million for this year with a $10.5 million option for 2020.

7. St. Mary's became the Bay Area's first and likely only school to qualify for the NCAA Tournament after upsetting Gonzaga, the top-ranked men's basketball team in the nation, in the West Coast Conference tournament final, CBS Sports reports. March Madness begins Mar. 21. Fill out those brackets!

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: No affordable housing, no gas tax money, says Newsom

East Bay teacher is lead plaintiff in complaint over teachers' union dues

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Mar 12, 2019 at 6:00 AM

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

1. Gov. Gavin Newsom has an idea to help spur unwilling local communities to start building affordable housing. There doesn't appear to be a carrot here, just a stick. According to the Sacramento Bee, Newsom's plan includes withholding gas tax funding for streets and transportation if the cities don't begin complying in advance of 2023. $$

2. A Fremont teacher is the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit against the California Teachers Association, alleging a violation of First Amendment, reports the East Bay Citizen. Four other plaintiffs, inluding a teacher from Hayward, say they chose to rescind their membership in the teachers union out of political concerns, but union dues were continually deducted. The case follows the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Janus v. AFSCME.

3. A San Leandro solar company is being accused of having a policy against serving customers of Middle Eastern or Indian ancestry, SFGate reports. A lawsuit was filed in federal court on behalf of a former employee at Fidelity Home Energy.

4. A locked safe in West Berkeley containing $93,000 in pot was burglarized, Berkeleyside reports. The incident occurred last August. Two men have been charged.

5. "California is enjoying a projected $21.4 billion surplus. Three-quarters of the state believes any new revenue increase should be for voters to decide," Judy Lin write in CalMatters. State leaders are cautioning against any new tax legislation, but whether "Democrats got the memo, however, isn’t clear."

6. It's not the news opponents of President Trump want to hear. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not down with impeachment, SFGate reported. "I've been thinking about this, impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there's something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don't think we should go down that path because it divides the country. And he's just not worth it."

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Monday, March 11, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Oakland Councilmember Lynette McElhaney loses son in tragic shooting in LA

Desley Brooks paid off damages to Elaine Brown, but may still owe more

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Mar 11, 2019 at 6:00 AM

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

1. Oakland and the East Bay political world is mourning the death of 21-year-old Victor McElhaney, the son of Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney. NBC Bay Area was the first to report the tragedy, which occurred early Sunday morning in Los Angeles. Victor McElhaney was fatally shot during a failed robbery attempt. He was a student at U.S.C. An outpouring of support quickly rushed all over social media for McElhaney, her family and friends.

2. California lost more acreage to wildfires in 2018 than any other year in its history, the Los Angeles Times reports. Last year 1.8 million acres of the state burned. What is now the second-most? The year prior. $$

3. "A proposed law that would phase out diesel trucks in California was introduced Friday in an ongoing effort by state legislators to control pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, but it will likely face major opposition from trucking companies and other businesses that transport products in big rigs," Peter Fimrite writes in the San Francisco Chronicle. The bill is authored by East Bay state Sen. Nancy Skinner.

4. YouGov, an Oakland company that will charge you up $94.95 to save you the hassle of waiting in notoriously long DMV lines by doing it for you, is receiving push back from a state assemblymember, the San Jose Mercury News reports. $$

5. Former Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks paid $79,623 in punitive damages to civil rights icon Elaine Brown last January, the East Bay Times reports. But Brown's attorney is still seeking $139,000 from Brooks for attorney fees and other costs. $$

6. San Francisco Chronicle columnist Otis. R. Taylor, Jr. takes a look at the problems that still exist even after the end of the week-long Oakland teachers strike. $$

7. A rough stretch for the Golden State Warriors continues after the woeful Phoenix Suns beat the world champs for the first time in more than four years. Klay Thompson blamed the fans. Meanwhile, the Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders reportedly acquired All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for two draft picks.

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