Friday, December 7, 2018

Friday’s Briefing: State May Require PG&E to Cut Power in Windstorms; Berkeley Failed to Pave Any Streets in 2018

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Dec 7, 2018 at 10:30 AM

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Stories you shouldn’t miss for Dec. 7, 2018:

1. State regulators are examining whether to require PG&E and other state utilities to shut off power during windy, dry conditions in order to limit the chance of wildfires sparked by downed electrical lines, reports J.D. Morris of the San Francisco Chronicle$. Currently, PG&E has its own criteria for when it shuts off power, but the utility has been strongly criticized for not cutting power fast enough — or doing it too quickly.

2. Despite the fact that Berkeley has numerous badly maintained streets, the city failed to pave any streets in 2018 even though the city set aside $8.6 million for repairs this year, reports Frances Dinkelspiel of Berkeleyside. The lapse was due to several factors, including “high turnover of staff in the public works department, which meant Berkeley didn’t send out paving bids” until after paving companies were committed to doing jobs in other cities.

3. Oakland public works crews cleared out the Housing and Dignity Village homeless encampment on Thursday from city property, one day after the city decided not to do it because a crowd of protesters had showed up, reports Kimberly Veklerov of the San Francisco Chronicle$. Leaders of the encampment expressed frustration and anger at the city’s move, but Oakland officials say they have offered camp inhabitants temporary shelter and that the village was a hazard.

4. U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said she was unaware that one of her longtime staffers had been accused of gender harassment and that the state of California had agreed to pay $400,000 to settle a lawsuit filed against him, the Sacramento Bee$ reports. Larry Wallace resigned on Wednesday after the Bee made inquiries into the harassment case.

5. Wanda Johnson, the mother of Oscar Grant, who was killed in 2009 by BART police, is calling for the resignation of BART board member Debora Allen after Allen questioned in a Facebook post whether the Fruitvale BART station should be renamed in Grant’s honor, reports Rachel Swan of the San Francisco Chronicle$. Allen’s post drew racist responses before she deleted it.

6. Alameda students, families, and staff picked “Love” as their No. 1 choice to rename Haight Elementary School, reports Lauren Do of Blogging Bayport. The school is to be renamed because of its namesake’s racist past. After Love, the other leading vote-getters were Don Grant, Niel Tam, and Ohlone. The Alameda school board will make the final choice.

7. And Julia Winograd, a longtime Berkeley street poet better known as The Bubble Lady of Telegraph Avenue, died on Wednesday at the age of 68.

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Thursday’s Briefing: Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Soar; California Becomes First State to Mandate Solar on New Homes

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Dec 6, 2018 at 10:26 AM

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Stories you shouldn’t miss for Dec. 6, 2018:

1. Global greenhouse gas emissions are soaring this year, putting the planet on course to experience dire conditions from climate change much faster than hoped, The New York Times$ reports, citing two new studies. “Scientists described the quickening rate of carbon dioxide emissions in stark terms, comparing it to a ‘speeding freight train’ and laying part of the blame on an unexpected surge in the appetite for oil as people around the world not only buy more cars but also drive them farther than in the past.” Overall, carbon emissions are expected to rise by 2.7 percent this year — 2.5 percent in the United States.

2. California has become the first state in the nation to mandate that new homes be outfitted with solar-rooftop panels, reports the Orange County Register (h/t Rough & Tumble). The new groundbreaking rules, which were quietly adopted Wednesday by the California Building Standards Commission, are scheduled to take effect in 2020. “The rules also allow for offsite solar production, so [housing] developments can build solar arrays feeding multiple homes or contract with utility-owned solar farms.”

3. The BART board of directors voted to award a 16-percent raise over four years to the agency’s police officers, reports Erin Baldassari of the East Bay Times$. BART hopes the pay raise will help the agency recruit and hire more police. Oakland police recently received a 12.5 percent pay bump over five years.

4. A 40-year-old man is in critical condition after being Tased by Alameda police when police said he attempted to grab a rifle from their patrol car, reports Peter Hegarty of the East Bay Times$. The man, who lives in San Jose and was believed to be visiting people in Alameda, went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital.

5. Bay Area transportation officials may ask the state to allow buses and carpools to drive on freeway shoulders during heavy commute hours in an effort to reduce the region’s nightmarish traffic conditions, reports Gary Richards of the Mercury News$.

6. And Oakland city officials backed off their plans to evict a female-run homeless encampment, known as Housing and Dignity Village, from public property after the village’s occupants refused to leave unless the city provides adequate shelter, reports Kimberly Veklerov of the San Francisco Chronicle. City officials and village leaders are expected to negotiate a solution in the coming days.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Wednesday’s Briefing: Alameda Greenlights New Weed Dispensary; Berkeley OKs Student Co-Housing Project

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Dec 5, 2018 at 10:44 AM

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Stories you shouldn’t miss for Dec. 5, 2018:

1. The Alameda City Council greenlighted a permit for a new cannabis dispensary on Webster Street, despite objections from opponents who were upset that the weed business will be next to a Kung Fu Studio that mostly serves youth, reports Peter Hegarty of the East Bay Times$. In order to approve the new pot store, the council had to revise a previous city law that barred weed businesses from being close youth facilities.

2. The Berkeley City Council overruled the city’s zoning board and approved a five-story co-housing project on property at the corner of Ashby and Shattuck Avenues that is currently being used by a gas station, reports Emilie Raguso of Berkeleyside. The project will feature 80 bedrooms in 23 units and is designed for student housing. Councilmembers Kate Harrison and Cheryl Davila voted against the housing.

3. The Oakland City Council’s Public Safety Committee voted to move forward with a plan to place limits on police power to search people on probation and parole for a nonviolent offense — although the proposal is weaker than the plan approved by the city’s police commission, reports Megan Cassidy of the San Francisco Chronicle$. The police commission had adopted a plan to require police to have “reasonable suspicion” that a crime occurred before conducting searches of people on probation or parole, but the council instead said police should refrain from asking people if they’re on probation or parole — and then “document, in writing, why they believed a person was involved in a crime when they search people on probation or parole for a non-violent offense.”

4. Oakland developer Phil Tagami, who wants to build a coal terminal at the former army base, sued the city again, alleging that “local officials are trying to thwart the project and failed to keep their side of the bargain,” reports Kimberly Veklerov of the San Francisco Chronicle$. “In May, a federal judge ruled that the city could not ban the storage and handling of coal and then retroactively apply the prohibition to Tagami’s project. The city is appealing the decision.”

5. The city of Alameda plans to embark on a pilot project to allow electric scooters to operate on the Island, reports Peter Hegarty of the East Bay Times$. Alameda currently bans scooters, unlike Oakland, where they have become very popular. The city council told staffers to begin working over the next six months on a pilot program for electric scooters.

6, California fisherman have sued big oil companies, arguing that they have willingly caused climate change, which has seriously impacted their livelihoods, reports Sammy Roth of the LA Times$. Fishermen are pointing to yet another delayed commercial crab season due to an outbreak of domoic acid, a toxin created by algae that thrives in warming waters.

7. And the new $2.2 billion Transbay Center in San Francisco will remain closed indefinitely as officials continue to try to figure out how to fix cracked steel beams in the structure, the San Francisco Chronicle$ reports.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Oakland to Pay $60,000 After Police Officer Slapped 14-Year-Old Girl

Officer Anthony Martinelli hit the girl after she disobeyed his order to get out of a car.

by Darwin BondGraham
Tue, Dec 4, 2018 at 10:49 AM

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The city of Oakland is expected to settle a police brutality lawsuit next week brought by a 14-year-old girl and her family for $60,000.

In November 2016, Oakland police were investigating a shooting at a home in East Oakland. A suspect, Shaun Williams, Sr. was reportedly inside the house. However, before officers could enter and arrest Williams, his wife, Miesha Singleton, pulled up in a car and proceeded to go into the house.

According to court records, Singleton told officers at the scene that she was married to Shaun Williams, Sr. Shortly after, the police arrested Williams.

But Singleton's 14-year-old daughter was still inside the car looking after her infant brother.

According to attorneys for the girl's family, a female police officer had told the girl she could remain in the car with her little brother while police arrested Williams and secured the area.

But then officer Anthony Martinelli approached the car and ordered the girl to get out. The girl refused the order. In response, Martinelli grabbed her and pulled her out of the vehicle. Then, according to the girl's attorneys, "while an unidentified officer handcuffed [p]laintiff, [the girl] questioned [Martinelli's] actions. Due to [p]laintiff’s questions and in violation of the First Amendment, [d]efendant Martinelli brutally punched [p]laintiff in the face."

The City of Oakland doesn't dispute that Martinelli pulled the girl out of the vehicle and struck her, but the city's version of events differs in that Martinelli allegedly hit her with an open hand only to grab her attention, not to injure her.

"[The girl] refused to comply with orders to exit the car and leave the area," Oakland's city attorney wrote in a court brief. "Officer Martinelli attempted to pull [her] out of the car but [the girl] physically resisted. Officer Martinelli struck [the girl] with an open hand to distract and detain [her]."

Williams was tried for attempted murder, but in October, a jury found him completely innocent, according to court records.

The Oakland City Council is expected to pay a $60,000 settlement to Williams and Singleton's family in order to "avoid the risk of an adverse jury verdict," according to a resolution that will be voted on by the council at a meeting on Dec. 11.

Martinelli, who graduated from the police academy in 2013, was involved in another controversial incident in 2014 when he detained an off-duty firefighter at a fire station that had been accidentally left unlocked.

Martinelli was honored as Rookie of the Year by OPD in 2015. He was also awarded the department's Top Gun honor for the highest score on firearms tests during the 166th Academy.

The latest lawsuit settlement will be the fifth payout for Oakland this year related to allegations of police misconduct and vehicle accidents.

In July, Oakland settled a case for $50,000 alleging that several police officers wrongfully accused a man of drug dealing and arrested him. In June, Oakland paid $12 million as the result of an officer who ran a red light in his SUV and struck a motorcyclist and then lied about the crash. In March, the city paid $35,000 to a woman who was attacked by an drunk, off-duty officer who tried to enter her Oakland hills home. And also in March, the city paid $92,230 to settle a lawsuit over another vehicle collision involving an officer.

Correction: the original version of this story stated that Miesha Singleton was arrested by the police. She was not arrested. This story has also been updated to note that Williams was found innocent of the charges OPD arrested him for.

Tuesday’s Briefing: Lawmaker Pushes New Transit-Housing Bill; Sacramento May OK Free Preschool for Low-Income Kids

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Dec 4, 2018 at 10:16 AM

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Stories you shouldn’t miss for Dec. 4, 2018:

1. State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, has introduced a new version of a transit-housing bill that would allow taller and denser housing near mass transit hubs in an effort to ease the state’s housing shortage and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reports Liam Dillon of the LA Times$. The new legislation, SB 50, would allow buildings of up to four to five stories tall near BART stations and other rail hubs in the state and would loosen local restrictions on housing near bus routes. A similar bill, SB 827, by Wiener that would have allowed buildings of up to eight stories in height failed to get out of committee earlier this year.

2. Sacramento lawmakers are poised in the coming year to expand free preschool for children from low-income families, reports Melody Gutierrez of the San Francisco Chronicle$. Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom supports such a plan and Democrats now dominate both houses of the legislature. The program, which could help an additional 100,000 children, ages 3 and 4, is estimated to cost $1.3 billion over three years.

3. State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, has proposed legislation that would bar jails from releasing inmates in the middle of the night, in response to the death of a woman last July after she was released from Santa Rita Jail in Dublin at 1:25 a.m. when BART was no longer running, reports Peter Fimrite of the San Francisco Chronicle$. Under Skinner’s bill, jails would have to give inmates the choice of being released during the day.

4. State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, plans to propose a ballot measure that would “require children who receive the state’s property inheritance tax break to live in their parents’ homes,” reports Liam Dillon of the LA Times$. Existing law “has allowed celebrities, out-of-state professionals, and other wealthy heirs to collect large sums in rental income from their parents’ homes while paying small property tax bills.”

5. And UC Berkeley reached a settlement agreement with conservative student groups who sued the campus, alleging discrimination, reports Sophia Brown-Heidenreich of the Daily Cal. Under the agreement, Cal will pay the groups $70,000 to cover their legal costs and has promised to revise its campus event permit provisions.

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Monday, December 3, 2018

Conservative Regains Council Seat in Liberal Richmond

In a dramatic, come-from-behind victory, Nat Bates, who once called bike lanes “socialist,” wins back his city council seat in progressive Richmond.

by John Geluardi
Mon, Dec 3, 2018 at 11:24 AM

Nat Bates.
  • Nat Bates.
It’s never too late to stage a dramatic comeback in politics and sports. This old saw was proven again late last week in perhaps the most dramatic finish of the state’s 2018 election. Richmond’s election results were finally made official on Friday, and it was announced that Nat Bates, 87, will begin his eighth term on the city council.

Bates, a former professional baseball player in a Canadian league, may have appreciated the dramatic, late-call finish in which he won a council seat by beating former Councilmember Vinay Pimplé by a razor thin margin of just nine votes, the narrowest victory in any race in California’s Nov. 6 election.

In the mid and late 1960s, Bates was part of a surge of African-American candidates to win local elections in the Bay Area, which included former U.S. Congressmember and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums. His election demonstrates that he still has strong name recognition in Richmond’s Black community. Over his seven terms, Bates has been a strong advocate for job creation, athletic programs, and senior issues.

Over the years, Richmond has become a progressive bastion and Bates, a retired probation officer, is a long-time conservative who in his previous terms was associated with Richmond’s Chevron refinery and sometimes Darrel Reece, a corrupt fire department captain and tax felon who ran the city from backrooms in the 1990s. Bates, who is known for his gruff, unvarnished statements, once famously declared bicycle lanes as “socialist.”

Now fully gray, Bates ran a fairly robust campaign after his four-year hiatus from politics. He attended all of the city’s campaign forums where he spoke with authority and displayed a seasoned air of patrician stateliness, which inspired one forum attendee to recall privately the old Chinatown movie quote, “politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they hang around long enough.”

In the past decade, Chevon has lost political influence on the city council largely thanks to the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), a grassroots organization that captured the city’s imagination and rose to control the council with a supermajority in 2016.

However, the RPA, consumed this year with winning state office races, ran weak, poorly organized campaigns in Richmond, which cost the organization its council majority and paved the way for the return of one of the organization’s key antagonists.

It is worth noting that Chevron has not been a player in Richmond politics since all of the oil giants’ candidates were trounced in the 2014 election, and it’s unclear if Chevron actively supported Bates’ bare-bones campaign. It also remains to be seen how Bates will interact with the rest of the council, which is still largely progressive.

Monday’s Briefing: Auto Emissions Rise Due to Long Commutes; Bay Area Housing Prices Climb Again

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Dec 3, 2018 at 10:07 AM

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Stories you shouldn’t miss for Dec. 3, 2018:

1. California’s auto emissions continue to rise in large part because of the lack of housing in cities, which has forced people into long commutes from the outer suburbs, the San Francisco Chronicle$ reports, citing a recently released report from the California Air Resources Board. Despite California’s ambitious climate change goals and the fact that cars have become more fuel efficient, the state experienced a 7 percent increase in auto emissions from 2005 to 2016.

2. Home prices in the Bay Area continued to climb in October, with the median home price reaching $845,000, a 9.3 percent jump from the same time last year, reports Kathleen Pender of the San Francisco Chronicle$, citing a new report from research firm CoreLogic. The median price in Alameda County reached $825,000, and it was $610,000 in Contra Costa County.

3. The owners of a Fourth Street parking lot in Berkeley have sued the city, alleging that it violated a state law when it denied their proposal to build a 260-unit housing project, with 130 affordable units, reports Katherine Kemp of the Daily Cal. The city rejected the housing project plan in September, stating that the parking lot, which was used by Spenger’s restaurant patrons before it closed, is an Ohlone landmark.

4. Democrats now have a dominant, three-quarters majority in the state Assembly after winning 60 of the 80 seats in the chamber in the Nov. 6 election, and they won 29 of the 40 seats in the state Senate, reports Melody Gutierrez of the San Francisco Chronicle$. However, many of the Democratic seats were won by moderates, which means it’s unclear how progressive legislation will fare next year.

5. Longtime KGO radio talk show host Ray Taliaferro was found dead in Kentucky over the weekend after he had gone missing on Nov. 10, Bay City News reports.

6. And the late-President George H.W. Bush, who died over the weekend, will lie in state in Washington, D.C. before his funeral on Wednesday.

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Friday, November 30, 2018

Friday’s Briefing: Oakland's Tenant Assistance Program Challenged in Court; Berkeley to Use Old City Hall as Homeless Shelter

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Nov 30, 2018 at 10:33 AM

Lyndsey and Sharon Ballinger in front of their Oakland home. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PACIFIC LEGAL FOUNDATION
  • Photo courtesy of the Pacific Legal Foundation
  • Lyndsey and Sharon Ballinger in front of their Oakland home.

Stories you shouldn’t miss for Nov. 30, 2018:

1. An Oakland couple is challenging the city’s tenant relocation assistance program, arguing in a lawsuit that it’s unconstitutional, reports Kimberly Veklerov of the San Francisco Chronicle$. Lyndsey and Sharon Ballinger say the city’s program, which required them to pay their tenants more than $6,500 when they returned to Oakland and decided to move back into their single-family home, violated their rights. The city council adopted the program in early 2018 in order to help tenants who are displaced by landlords who move into their properties.

2. The Berkeley City Council unanimously decided to use Old City Hall on Martin Luther King Jr. Way as a winter homeless shelter, beginning on Tuesday, reports Natalie Orenstein of Berkeleyside. The council’s last meeting at Old City Hall was this week and now plans to use the Berkeley school district boardroom for its meetings. “Dorothy Day House will run the shelter, as it has at other sites in previous years. Old City Hall can support 25 to 35 people nightly, city staff said.”

3. Oakland had a whopping 8,641 housing units under construction and 7,898 more in the pipeline as of August 2018, but some developers say the city’s housing construction boom may slow-down considerably after the current units are built, reports Emily Hoeven of the San Francisco Business Times$. Developers say that available land in the city is becoming scarcer and that Oakland’s housing impact fees, which the city levies on new housing in order to pay for affordable housing, are too high.

4. Oakland police terminated an officer and suspended several others for their roles in a high-speed chase that left one person seriously injured, reports Kurtis Alexander of the San Francisco Chronicle$. The cops “were found to have violated the department’s policy barring high-speed pursuits of people considered nonviolent.”

5. Alameda County is poised to approve up to 10 cannabis farms on agricultural land on the rural edges of Livermore and Sunol, reports Lisa Fernandez of KTVU. They will be the first cannabis farms approved by the county since weed became legal earlier this year.

6. An obscure but influential agency is poised to scuttle Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial plan to build two giant water tunnels underneath the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the Sacramento Bee$ reports. The Delta Stewardship Council, which was established by the Legislature, is expected to vote against Brown’s project on Dec. 20.

7. Embattled California Democratic Chair Eric Bauman resigned his post on Thursday following allegations that he sexually harassed multiple people, the LA Times$ reports.

8. The horrific Camp Fire spewed huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere this month — roughly the equivalent to what all cars and trucks emit in a week in California, reports Kurtis Alexander of the San Francisco Chronicle$, citing new state estimates.

9. Anti-Trump sentiment drove California voter turnout in the Nov. 6 election to near record levels — it likely will hit 64 percent, the highest for a mid-term election in the state since 1982, reports Bryan Anderson of the Sacramento Bee$.

10. And Berkeley’s popular Ici Ice Cream abruptly closed its two locations yesterday, reports Janelle Bitker for SF Eater.

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Fully Automatic Rifle Among Weapons Stolen from Federal ATF Agent's Vehicle Outside Oakland Federal Building

The brazen smash-and-grab heist occurred right outside of the federal building on Clay Street in downtown.

by Darwin BondGraham
Thu, Nov 29, 2018 at 3:23 PM

A Colt M4 rifle similar to the model stolen from an ATF agent's vehicle in Oakland on Tuesday.
  • A Colt M4 rifle similar to the model stolen from an ATF agent's vehicle in Oakland on Tuesday.

A federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives vehicle was broken into on Tuesday evening in Oakland resulting in the theft of a fully automatic rifle and other weapons and equipment, the Express has learned.

The brazen smash-and-grab heist occurred right outside of the federal building on Clay Street in downtown.

The ATF confirmed the burglary today but would not disclose details.

"ATF is aware of the theft and is aggressively pursuing all leads and working closely with our local partners to quickly find the individuals responsible and return the property," Ginger Colbrun, a spokesperson for ATF wrote in an email. "This is an ongoing active investigation and we cannot provide further details."

ATF did not respond to questions about whether the firearms were stored improperly or left unsecured by its agents.

But law enforcement sources with knowledge of the theft told the Express that the following items were taken from the car:
  • Colt M-4 rifle with multiple magazines loaded with 5.56mm rounds of ammunition
  • ATF radio
  • Taser weapon with cartridges
  • Glock pistol magazines containing 9mm ammunition.
  • Handcuffs
Firearms lost by or stolen from law enforcement officers is a persistent problem in the Bay Area, and the weapons sometimes end up being used in the commission of high-profile crimes, including homicides.

An ATF vehicle parked outside the federal building in Oakland today.
  • An ATF vehicle parked outside the federal building in Oakland today.

In 2015, Kathryn Steinle was killed by Jose Ines Garcia Zarate after Zarate accidentally discharged a pistol on Pier 14 in San Francisco. The pistol belonged to a federal Bureau of Land Management ranger and was stolen from his personal car.

The gun used to kill 27-year-old muralist Antonio Ramos in North Oakland in 2015 was stolen from an ICE agent's car in San Francisco.

A 2016 investigation East Bay Times reporter Thomas Peele found 944 lost, stolen, or otherwise unaccounted for law enforcement guns in the Bay Area over a recent six-year period. Peele found that the majority were pistols and revolvers and that very few rifles go missing.

In response to crimes committed with the stolen guns of police, Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan and City Attorney Barbara Parker sponsored legislation in 2015 requiring Oakland police officers and private citizens to lock up firearms kept in parked cars. The law doesn't apply to federal law enforcement agents, however.

It's unclear why the ATF agent(s) responsible for the weapons stolen on Tuesday didn't remove the firearms from the car or park the car in a secure area such as the federal building's underground garage.

Oakland Police Commissioner Resigns Calling the Oversight Board's First Year a 'Squandered Opportunity'

by Darwin BondGraham
Thu, Nov 29, 2018 at 12:30 PM

Andrea Dooley. - COURTESY OF CITY OF OAKLAND.
  • Courtesy of city of Oakland.
  • Andrea Dooley.
Andrea Dooley, an alternate member of the Oakland Police Commission, resigned today citing multiple problems that have thrown the commission into disarray and prevented it from undertaking its core responsibilities, including setting policies for the police department and investigating police misconduct.

Dooley, who was appointed by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, wrote in a letter to the mayor and her fellow commissioners, "unfortunately, the Commission has not undertaken any of the core functions set forth in Measure LL in its first year, and I am frustrated by this squandered opportunity. At this point, the Commission’s failure to structure its agenda around its actual responsibilities has become too frustrating for me."

Dooley wrote that she believes the other commissioners, city officials, and police commanders all have "good intentions," but the commission has experienced administrative delays and political objections from other officials. She also wrote that the commission hasn't been provided the resources it needs to successfully operate. Among these resources are trainings for the new commissioners so that they can fully understand their roles and responsibilities.

"Some Commissioners lack an understanding of Measure LL and its core mission and have focused too much attention and energy on ancillary matters and personality conflicts," wrote Dooley.

An attorney and arbitrator, Dooley wrote that her resignation will be effective Dec. 6. She is the second commissioner to resign. Mike Nisperos resigned in October because he moving out of Oakland.

The commission also recently fired Anthony Finnell, director of the Community Police Review Agency, the investigative arm of the commission that examines allegations of police misconduct. Neither the commission nor Finnell would comment on why he was terminated, however.

And the commission's legal counsel Meredith Brown also recently resigned for reasons that are unclear.

The commission was established by Oakland voters in 2016 and is nearing its first year of existence.

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