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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Monday, September 9, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Richmond police chief placed on leave, acting chief named; Second noose found at Oakland school

A’s call-up top prospect for the stretch run

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Sep 9, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Allwyn Brown is out as Richmond police chief. - RICHMOND PD
  • Richmond PD
  • Allwyn Brown is out as Richmond police chief.

News you don’t want to miss for Sept. 9:

1. Richmond Police Chief Allwyn Brown’s days were numbered after the police union registered a stunning no-confidence vote against him on Friday. A day later Brown was placed on leave and replaced with his assistant, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Assistant Police Chief Bisa French takes over as acting chief. $$

2. Two jurors in the Ghost Ship trial were holdouts for convicting master tenant Derick Almena. They believed the warehouse’s landlord held greater responsibility for making sure the building was safe, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. In the case of Max Harris, who was also charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter, but was acquitted last week, one juror had previously leaned toward a conviction. $$

3. A rope fashioned into a noose was found at Chabot Elementary School in Oakland on Friday, KTVU reports. A similar rope was reported at the school two weeks ago, but school officials determined at the time that is was an accident.

4. State Sen. Nancy Skinner’s “Housing Crisis Act” was approved by the Legislature on Friday and awaits Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature, the East Bay Times reports. The bill loosens existing local zoning ordinances for housing by streamlining the permitting process, lowering fees, and prohibiting developers from demolishing affordable and rent-controlled units unless they are replaced.

5. Housing advocates believed this legislative year held great promise, but a number of high-profile bills fizzled. Perhaps the last, best hope for this session rests with a bill authored by East Bay state Sen. Bob Wieckowski seeking to accelerate the building of accessory dwelling units, also known as “granny flats,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

6. “A bill to let a troubled California utility borrow money tax free so it can pay victims of wildfires started by its equipment will not pass this year,” the Associated Press reports. In tabling the bill until next year, state legislators feared voters would view it as a bailout of the unpopular PG&E.

7. Antonio Brown’s career as a Raider is over after the team released the controversial, but talented wide receiver, ESPN reports. Just hours after Brown was released, he quickly signed with the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. The speed of the signing sparked speculation the whole ordeal was orchestrated by Brown and the Patriots. Brown never played a game in silver-and-black.

8. The A’s are calling up their top prospect as the pennant race enters the final three weeks of the season, the East Bay Times reports. Jesus Luzardo is regarded as one of the most prized young left-handed pitchers in the game. The A’s currently hold one of two spots in the wildcard playoff. $$

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Friday, September 6, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Ghost Ship verdict yields an acquittal and mistrial; Lebron James backs Skinner’s NCAA bill

Raiders may suspend star player prior to Monday night’s opener

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Sep 6, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Ghost Ship defendants Max Harris and Derick Almena.
  • Ghost Ship defendants Max Harris and Derick Almena.

News you don’t want to miss for Sept. 6-8:

1. Jurors in the Ghost Ship trial acquitted Max Harris of 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter, but could not come to a decision on the same charges for master tenant Derick Almena, the Associated Press reports. The judge ordered for Almena to return to court on Oct. 4.

2. While Harris walked out of Santa Rita Jail in Dublin a free man today, Almena’s future fate may still be unfavorable to him. The East Bay Times lays out what’s next in the Ghost Ship trial. $$

3. One of the Ghost Ship jurors dismissed by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Trina Thompson last month discussed the case with a firefighter and relayed some of the information to jurors, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

4. LeBron James is on board with legislation authored by state Sen. Nancy Skinner to allow student-athletes in the state to receive compensation, Politico reports. James encouraged his 43 million followers on Twitter to support the bill.

5. President Trump’s tariffs are worsening California’s housing crisis, the California Building Industry Association said, tacking on up to $30,000 to the price of a new home, the Sacramento Bee reports. $$

6. Antonio Brown’s shenanigans on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” was not reality show puffery, after all. The Raiders wide receiver reportedly got into a verbal confrontation with the team’s general manager on Wednesday, ESPN reports. The team may be on the verge of suspending arguably its best player just days before the season opener.

7. Alameda County prosecutors charged eight people in a multi-county crime spree that included 61 strong-arm robberies of UPS and FedEx trucks, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Among those charged is former Oakland Raider Isaiah Langley, who was only cut from the team last month. $$

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Thursday, September 5, 2019

A's Ready to finish Three Month Old Game

Suspend Belief and the Time Space continuum

by Kibby Kleiman
Thu, Sep 5, 2019 at 10:17 PM

On May 19th in Detroit, the A's took a 5-3 lead over the Tigers going into the bottom of the 7th inning. Friday in Oakland, the teams meet again to finish it.

Because the Tigers had not finished their at bat before the rains washed out the contest, rather than be punished with a shortened defeat, the game was suspended at the moment A's closer (not then a closer) Liam Hendriks had a 2-2 count on Tiger (no longer a Tiger) Josh Harrison, which is where the game will resume. Just where the teams left off. But now in Oakland

The A's were in the midst of a ten-game winning streak when the contest was interrupted, so we begin the slew of speculative scenarios that are the type that make baseball fans swoon. If the A's hold on, will we have a retroactive eleven game winning streak? Who will take the place of the lost Tigers in the line up? The batter who takes Harrison's place will have only one strike before he is out. Detroit was the home team in May, and remains so. If they come back to win in the 9th, they will walk it off in the Coliseum. Stephen Piscotty who gave Oakland the lead before the rain, is injured and will not finish the game he started. Nor will centerfielder Ramon Laureano. Five of the proto-Tigers have scattered to other teams and will be listed in a box score they've long ago exited. Neither A's catcher who started the game is around to finish, but we have three new ones to wrap things up. All in all for the newly streaking A's, who won their third straight today, a chance to maintain or add on to two separate runs. In a lost season, such a strange game would be worth it for the oddity value alone, one game ahead of the last wild card, this potential two inning contest counts as much as the scheduled nine-inning game to follow in the chase for the post season. Ecce baseball! For those who think the games take too long and those who are sad when it ends too early--tomorrow is the night when you're both right.

Thursday's Briefing: Ghost Ship jury rehears key testimony from firefighter; Kamala Harris unveils $10 trillion climate plan

Tartine Bakery is coming to Berkeley

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Sep 5, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Seven Bay Area bridges will soon be cashless. - MTC
  • MTC
  • Seven Bay Area bridges will soon be cashless.

News you don't want to miss for Sept. 5:

1. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission voted Wednesday to begin the transition to cashless tolls, KTVU reports. Seven Bay Area bridges including the Bay Bridge, Richmond-San Rafael and Hayward-San Mateo Bridges will soon only accept FasTrack.

2. Ghost Ship trial: Jurors requested to hear testimony for a second time from an Oakland firefighter who was inside the warehouse collective prior to the December 2016 conflagration that killed 36 people. "The firefighter previously testified that he sensed something was not right. The request indicates the jury has not made up their mind when it comes to master tenant Derick Almena," NBC Bay Area reports.

3. Sen. Kamala Harris unveiled a $10 trillion plan to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. by 2045, the Los Angeles Times reports. The announcement came prior to Wednesday night's climate forum on CNN. The plan would spend heavily on upgrading to the country's transportation, energy, and water infrastructure. $$

4. Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang's support of a "Universal Basic Income" has defined his campaign so far, but the Associated Press reports on how the idea is already being tested in Stockton with 125 people who are receiving $500 from the city each month.

5. Tartine Bakery is opening a location in Berkeley at the former Hotel Durant, its first in the East Bay, SFGate reports. The cafe has four locations in San Francisco.

6. KFOG will pay tribute to its final day on the air Thursday by replaying its popular "10@10" series hosted by Dave Morey, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The program highlights 10 songs from a particular year in the 1980s and 1990s. $$

7. The Antonio Brown sideshow continued Wednesday as the Raiders near their season opener this Monday night. The star wide receiver tweeted a photo of a letter from Raiders management notifying him they are fining him $54,000 for unexcused absences during training camp, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Wednesday's Briefing: A's ballpark legislation heads to Newsom's desk; Guv supports gig worker bill

Oakland is the second-worst city to drive in America

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Sep 4, 2019 at 1:27 PM

Gov. Gavin Newsom was busy. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom was busy.

News you don’t want to miss for Sept. 4:

1. A bill seen as crucial for the future construction of a ballpark at Howard Terminal for the Oakland A's cleared the Legislature Tuesday and now heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk for consideration, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. State sen. Nancy Skinner’s legislation allows the city to create a tax authority to cover costs for infrastructure improvements at the stadium location. $$

2. Newsom issued his support of AB5, the bill that would designate gig workers and freelancers as company employees in an op-ed this week, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The bill is still winding through the Legislature. $$

3. It's no longer a crime for a resident to refuse to help a police officer. Newsom signed legislation Tuesday removing the archaic law from the state books, the Sacramento Bee reports.

4. Ghost Ship trial: Jurors were back in the deliberation room after 12-days off, KPIX reports. Two weeks ago, the judge in the case dismissed three jurors for undisclosed reasons. The attorney for the defense believes a verdict will be handed down this week.

5. All-time great Tony Bennett is canceling a scheduled Sept. 10 concert at the Fox Theater in Oakland, SFGate reports, due to an unexpected illness.

6. Sixty-eight Chromebook laptops worth $100,000 were stolen from Markham Elementary School in Oakland, KTVU reports. Earlier this year, the 40 Kindles were stolen from the same school.

7. Not exactly a news flash, but rankings compiled by WalletHub ranked Oakland as the second worst city for drivers, behind Detroit, Fox Business reports. San Francisco ranked fourth. Oakland was also in a three-way tie for the highest rate of vehicle thefts.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: BART causes traffic delay on Highway 24; Elected officials, unions celebrate Labor Day

Berkeley's Aquatic Park has high levels of E. coli

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Sep 3, 2019 at 4:00 AM

  • Eric Fischer/Flickr

News you don't want to miss for Sept. 3:

1. BART's track replacement work near the Lafayette BART station ran into problems Monday morning after a crane knocked down a power line and blocked all westbound traffic until 3 p.m., SFGate reports.

2. The suspect who broke through a gate at the Oakland Airport Sunday and briefly drove on the tarmac was found Monday morning in the estuary, according to the Alameda County Sheriff's Department, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. Union healthcare workers briefly shut down an intersection near Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, the East Bay Times reports. The unions held a rally on Labor Day to highlight stalled contract negotiations with hospital management. Last month, the unions authorized a strike set for October. $$

4. Local Democratic officials, hopefuls running for office next year, and presidential candidate Tom Steyer celebrated labor unions and workers in Oakland Monday afternoon, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

5. Levels of E. coli at a West Berkeley lagoon spiked last week, Berkeleyside reports. Berkeley city officials recommend against having contact with the water at Aquatic Park.

6. Alameda native Keelan Doss's bid to make the Raiders' roster was featured prominently on HBO's "Hard Knocks" over the past few weeks. But as HBO cameras arrived at the team's practice facility in Alameda, the Raiders inexplicably cut Doss from the roster, NBC Sports reports, despite a storyline that depicted his progress as a wide receiver in glowing terms.

7. As the A's begin the stretch run for a possible second straight trip to the post-season, star reliever Liam Hendriks credits his breakout season as the team's bullpen stopper to his wife's tarot reader, the Associated Press reports.

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Monday, September 2, 2019

A's Radio Ready for the Stretch Drive?

If 860 AM is the Answer, can you imagine the Question?

by Kibby Kleiman
Mon, Sep 2, 2019 at 8:21 PM

Like lots of old timey baseball fans, I take in as much baseball on the radio as I do anywhere else. This season is no exception. Double Plus Good, the Oakland A's have a great radio team in Ken Korach, Ray Fosse and whoever's on third. But if you've got it tuned to 860 am ("The Answer"), you are in for something truly psychotic this season And with only two off-days left the rest of the season, it might be enlightening for those who have a pre-set to the signal that we call home to spend a moment or two contemplating what fresh hell we've inherited.

The A's have gone through dozens of radio stations in the past dozen years. Country stations, college radio stations, religious stations, sports stations and news stations. This calendar year started with no station at all. Some time back in our distant A's past we were on 860 a.m. But I can't remember which incarnation that was. This one, however is unforgettable.

There is nothing beyond station ID's at the top of the hour to let you know that you are listening to the Radio Home of Your Oakland A's. It is a ghost ship of voices syndicated all day and night except for the brief moment of A's baseball which is quickly shuffled off the air with a minimal post game show and a reminder that the A's have their own App station that covers the ball club 24-7. The subject of another blog entry to be sure.

But staying with terrestrial signals gives you a host of right wing and libertarian talkers repeated in the morning and evening and when there is no A's game, in the afternoon too. It isn't even the top tier of the GOP. The programming consists of Immigrant baiting, trolling the Democrats, Russia debunking, something they keep calling Obama-gate and a syndicted news "source" called Town Hall dot com--but all of it done by has-beens, never-was's and never-will-be's. Everything about the station sounds like two tin cans and a string. It is bush league radio not even Double A quality. Last haters left on the playground got chosen for this gig, and it makes as much sense to play baseball on this network as it would be to host the Commonwealth Club. It is ugly and small and everything about The Answer will make you question your equanimity and ability to not rise to the rancid bait. That being said, there is one small sliver of humanity over these obviously parched airways, sadly that programming is almost seventy years old.

From 11:00 p.m. to midnight I first discovered The Golden Age of Radio after 860 hustled the A's off the air, this is yet another syndicated show that airs on this station of broken dreams. It too has no connection to anything else aired at any time on this station or really of any radio station this century. But it is the only program other than the A's game that won't make you look for your passport while listening.

And it is just odd enough to make it worth not changing the channel. "Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar" was aired a couple of weeks ago . It is the story of America's fabulous freelance insurance investigator, I had to look that up, I couldn't believe it when I heard it. But apparently this was not only aired on the network but it was considered to be one of the last radio serials ever aired. Then just last night, the "Frontier Gentleman" which only aired in 1958 rode again. And in syndicated style, the adventure which featured a mixed race Native who went rogue stopped at midnight, mid-adventure, because, um, nobody in the world was listening to this fourth rate station at this hour and minded that the lost gold or kidnapped settler was still missing. And then it was a new hour and a program dedicated to demonizing the Washington Post.

The long and short of it is that the A's are on a totally unsuitable station for baseball or really human beings, and if we make the post-season more people may get the opportunity to hear what the Bay Area up to now has been able to ignore. The Answer to the Question-how fast can you change the station after the game?

Monday's Briefing: Suspect rams through gate at Oakland Airport and drives on the runway

Statewide cap on rent increases is coming

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Sep 2, 2019 at 4:00 AM

  • Port of Oakland

News you don't want to miss for Sept. 2:

1. An individual driving a truck broke through a fence at the Oakland Airport Sunday and drove on the runway, SFGate reports. Alameda County sheriff's deputies said the suspect jumped into the bay and has not been located. Authorities believe the person may have drowned. Pellets guns, masks, and binoculars were found in the truck.

2. "A San Francisco developer is turning apartments in the East Bay and North Bay into affordable housing," the San Francisco Chronicle reports, but "existing tenants whose income levels disqualify them for the new apartments are being pushed out." $$

3. A large cannabis grow at a vacant lot on the corner of Wood Street and West Grand Avenue in Oakland is illegal and those tending to the plants are trespassing, but the San Francisco Chronicle reports, the city is doing nothing about it. $$

4. Gov. Gavin Newsom brokered a deal to help struggling renters in the state to "cap annual rent increases at 5 percent plus inflation, with a 10 percent maximum increase," the Associated Press reports.

5. On this Labor Day, the Associated Press highlights that almost every Democratic presidential candidate has voiced support for a bill in the California Legislature that would give workers in the gig economy more rights. So far, it's a win for unions over big tech.

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Sunday, September 1, 2019

No Kidding--A's Lose Two the Hard Way

Wouldn't Watch that again for Free

by Kibby Kleiman
Sun, Sep 1, 2019 at 5:43 PM

Did you see the news that the Oakland A's are going to admit kids for free the rest of the season? A way to build the base, bring mom or dad and their coin, or simply make the Stomper mascot earn his keep, Regardless, the first chance to bring the wee ones coincides with a double dose of misery courtesy of the New York Yankees, who twice in the weekend ripped the heart out of the A's bullpen and spun the Oakland squad right out of the wild card lead.

Is it the pressure of knowing that a bunch of pre-pubescents are about to descend on the Coliseum that made the big leaguers spit the bit this weekend? Actually that's two weekends in a row that the A's have come up snake eyes. We lost a pair to the woeful Giants just the week past, so it clearly has nothing to do with our opponents talents.

This looked so good Friday night and like ashes Sunday night. With the kids back in school, the A's are going to take on Education, daring students to stay up late, and with the exception of games started by Brett Anderson, we're going way past curfew. But we will need that blind hope most late in the game, when our shaky, shaky bullpen is tasked to save the day. Let's pass out tardy slips at the gate to any youngster who stays to the finish. We need all the faith we can gather as the season enters its final month. Even if it means sleeping through first period.

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