Friday, February 21, 2020

Friday's Briefing: Oakland police chief is abruptly fired; Berkeley mayor wants to give renters right to buy their homes

Berkeley Bowl co-founder dies

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Feb 21, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Anne Kirkpatrick was hired as Oakland chief of police in January 2017. - D. ROSS CAMERON
  • D. Ross Cameron
  • Anne Kirkpatrick was hired as Oakland chief of police in January 2017.


News you don't want to miss for Feb. 21-23:

1. The citizen-led Oakland Police Commission unanimously voted to dismiss Oakland Chief of Police Anne Kirkpatrick without cause on Thursday night, and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf concurred, KTVU reports. The commission's power is derived from Measure LL. Kirkpatrick was appointed as chief of police in January 2017.

2. On Friday morning, Schaaf addressed graduates of the Oakland police academy, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. “Leaders will come and go,” she told the new recruits. $$

3. Outspoken Oakland Councilmember Noel Gallo is not happy with the Kirkpatrick's firing, KTVU reports. Speaking to reporters on Friday morning, Gallo said “It’s no longer City Hall but Silly Hall.”

4. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin introduced the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act on Thursday. The proposed ordinance would give renters the right of first refusal to buy their homes in the event the owner puts the property on the market, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. The California Energy Commission approved new policies to restrict the installation of natural gas in new homes for nine Bay Area cities, including Berkeley, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

6. Glenn Yasuda, the co-founder of the iconic Berkeley Bowl grocery store, has died, Berkeleyside reports. He was 85.

7. Spring training games for the A's begin this weekend. But when its comes to the cheating scandal roiling baseball, former A's pitcher Brett Anderson said the A's didn't participate. Not because of their honesty, but because the Coliseum's state of decay makes it too difficult to cheat, SFGate reports. "And to relay from f—ing 300 yards away in the video room? What were we going to do, get some vendor to throw some popcorn up in the air, or something? It’s too f—ing far to relay something,” Anderson said.

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Thursday's Briefing: McClymonds temporarily closed for groundwater issue; $7M Powerball ticket sold in San Leandro

A's pitcher received death threats for speaking out on cheating scheme

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 4:00 AM

School is out for the next few days at McClymonds High School in Oakland. - OUSD
  • OUSD
  • School is out for the next few days at McClymonds High School in Oakland.


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

1. Oakland's McClymonds High School is closed for the rest of the week after a toxic chemical was found in the groundwater under the school, the Bay City News reports. The presence of trichloroethylene, however, has not been found in the school's drinking water.

2. A winning $7 million PowerBall lottery tickets was sold at the FoodMaxx in San Leandro, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The lucky winner has not claimed their prize. $$

3. Gov. Gavin Newsom declared fighting homelessness as the state's top priority during his State of the State address on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. The issue is of such importance that it was the only one mentioned in Newsom's remarks.

4. ICE agents ignored a new state law and arrested two men inside a courthouse in Sonoma County, the Associated Press reports. The move comes as fears of undocumented immigrants have been renewed by reports that ICE is planning raids on large cities, including San Francisco.

5. A's pitcher Mike Fiers has received death threats in response to revealing his former team, the Houston Astros, engaged in an elaborate sign-stealing scheme, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

6. And this from the Department of Fair Weather Fans: NBC Sports Bay Area's ratings for Warriors telecasts has dropped by 66 percent this season, SFGate reports. It's the second-largest ratings decline in the NBA.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Wednesday’s Briefing: Judge warns defendant in Nia Wilson murder trial; Falk named interim Oakland city administrator

Poll: Bernie Sanders has 18-point lead in the California primary

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Newly-appointed interim Oakland City Administrator Steven Falk. - MTC
  • MTC
  • Newly-appointed interim Oakland City Administrator Steven Falk.


News you don’t want to miss for Feb. 19:

1, The judge in the Nia Wilson murder trial said he could throw out the defedant John Lee Cowell’s previous testimony if he does not return for cross-examination, the East Bay Times report. Cowell’s discombobulated testimony last week was upended by audio recordings that showed him capable of more cogent conversations, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. The Oakland City Council unanimously confirmed former Lafayette city manager Steven Falk as interim city administrator, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Oakland City Administrator Sabrina Landreth announced last December that she was leaving the city, effective Mar. 11. $$

3. Sen. Bernie Sanders has jumped to a large lead in the California presidential primary, according to the latest polling, Bloomberg reports (That’s the news organization, not the candidate!). Sanders polled at 32 percent, followed by Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg, all bunched between 12 and 14 percent.

4. Uninsured Californians have a second chance at purchasing health care insurance and, thereby, avoiding being assessed a pricey penalty, the Los Angeles Times reports. Uninsured residents now have until Mar. 31 to buy health insurance. The previous deadline was Jan. 31. The state extended the deadline out of fears many Californians were unaware of the new penalties for not having health insurance. $$

5. PG&E reported quarterly losses of $3.6 billion stemming from claims against the utility for its part in the California wildfires, the Wall Street Journal reports. For the year, PG&E posted losses of $7.7 billion. It lost $6.9 billion in 2018. $$

6. A home security camera captured images of two suspected intruders entering a home in the Hiller Highlands neighborhood of Oakland, KTVU reports. A woman in the house locked herself in a room and dialed 9-1-1 after seeing one of the masked men pointing a gun. The suspects eventually left the home.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Tuesday’s Briefing: Bernie Sanders packed the place in Richmond; Alameda school boardmember arrested for DUI

Glazer introduces AirBNB bill in response to Orinda shootings

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Sen. Bernie Sanders prior to his speech Monday afternoon before thousands of supporters in Richmond. - COURTESY MALIA VELLA
  • Courtesy Malia Vella
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders prior to his speech Monday afternoon before thousands of supporters in Richmond.


News you don’t want to miss for Feb. 18:

1. Thousands of Bernie Sanders supporters packed the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond for a get out the vote rally on Monday afternoon, ABC7 reports. Hundreds more were lined up outside the event. Sanders’ appearance comes two weeks before the end of voting for the Mar. 3 California presidential primary, which most polls show him leading.

2. An Alameda school boardmember was arrested last week on suspicion of driving under the influence, the East Bay Citizen reports. First-term school boardmember Jennifer Williams notified the board of the Feb. 12 arrests two days later in an email, in which she apologized for the mistake.

3. State Sen. Steve Glazer introduced a bill Monday that would allow cities to fine AirBNB short-term renters up to $5,000 for violations, the East Bay Times reports. The bill is in response to the Halloween night deaths of five people at an AirBNB in Orinda. $$

4. A number of district attorneys in the Bay Area and nationwide signed on to a letter protesting U.S. Attorney General William Barr's negative comments about criminal justice reforms, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. DAs in San Francisco, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara Counties signed the letter, but not Alameda County DA Nancy O'Malley. $$

5. A's radio broadcasts will not be heard over terrestrial airwaves this season, SFGate report. The team's games can be heard on the free app TuneIn through its well-received A's Cast channel. The A's are the first to go all-in with streaming-only broadcasts.

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Monday, February 17, 2020

Monday's Briefing: Schaaf tells residents to visit Chinatown; tells ICE agents to stay away from Oakland

State to apologize for Japanese American internment

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Feb 17, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Mayor Libby Schaaf warned ICE agents to stay away from Oakland. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Mayor Libby Schaaf warned ICE agents to stay away from Oakland.


News you don't want to miss for Feb. 17

1. With small business owners in Oakland's Chinatown reporting declining business due to fears of the coronavirus, Mayor Libby Schaaf declared the area safe for shoppers at a press conference on Saturday, KTVU reports.

2. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents may be coming back to the Bay Area, according to reports. Schaaf warned ICE to scram in a tweet on Friday, KPIX reports. “Don’t bring it to Oakland. Our residents deserve safety + sanctuary in our streets — not tactical border agents. Oakland will remain the most unapologetic sanctuary city in America.”

3. On Thursday, the California State Assembly will formally apologize for the state's role in the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, the Los Angeles Times reports. $$

4. Remember when Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin was against building height limits? Well, he's evolved. Berkeley has added roughly 900 new units in its downtown, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, and 1,000 more are in the pipeline.

5. The A's and Giants made history on Sunday after consummating the first transaction between the Bay Area rivals in 30 years, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The A's acquired pitcher Burch Smith from the Giants for cash. $$

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Friday, February 14, 2020

Friday's Briefing: State auditor questions license plate readers data security; Feel the Bern in Richmond

No charges filed for those arrested at Moms 4 Housing eviction

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Feb 14, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Sen. Bernie Sanders is making an appearance in Richmond next Monday. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders is making an appearance in Richmond next Monday.


News you don’t want to miss for Feb. 14:

1. California's state auditor said cities in the state put resident's privacy at risk through the approval of license plate readers for local law enforcement because of the uncertain security of the database, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The city of Alameda is currently discussing a possible expansion of its license plate reader program at entry and exit points to the island. $$

2. BART’s weekend ridership is terrible, a recent report by the transit agency found this week. In order to boost ridership, BART’s board directors raised the possibility of a promotion to giveaway 1 million tickets for weekend use, the San Francisco Examiner reports.

3. Sen. Bernie Sanders is coming to Richmond on Monday afternoon for a President’s Day rally, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Pete Buttigieg is also making stops in Northern California this weekend. $$

4, “California voters will be able to change their party affiliation and update their address at polling stations on election day under a new law approved in time for the March 3 Democratic primary,” the Associated Press reports.

5. Bay Area mayors, including Oakland’s Libby Schaaf, questioned Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to allocate state funds for homelessness through a regional body, rather than cities and counties, San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

6. The four people arrested at last month’s pre-dawn Moms 4 Housing eviction in West Oakland will not be charged, the Alameda County District Attorney’s office announced on Thursday, the East Bay Times reports. $$

7. A partnership between the city of San Leandro and the Alameda County Community Food Bank hopes to double the amount of food it distributes, the East Bay Times reports. The program will deliver food at places other than the traditional food bank. $$

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Thursday's Briefing: Safeway workers may go on strike; Defendant in Nia Wilson murder trial admits to crime

Drought fears are rekindled

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Feb 13, 2020 at 4:00 AM

The union representing Safeway workers in Northern California have been negotiating a new contract for a year and a half. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • The union representing Safeway workers in Northern California have been negotiating a new contract for a year and a half.


News you don't want to miss for Feb. 13:

1. Fifteen thousand Safeway workers represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 in Northern California may be going on strike, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The union and Safeway have been in negotiations for a year and a half. The unions opposes Safeway's proposal to pay a similar pay scale for all workers across the region, and are demanding more full-time opportunities. $$

2. More bad news for Safeway. The non-profit Public Interest Research Group gave Safeway a falling grade for its food contamination policies in a report released Wednesday, KPIX reports. The survey also gave falling grades to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.

3. "The man accused of murdering Nia Wilson on a BART station platform in 2018 admitted to the brazen double stabbing in court Tuesday, but he said he believed Wilson and her sisters were aliens and part of a gang that had kidnapped his grandmother," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. On Thursday morning Cowell was removed from the courtroom in Oakland for unruly behavior, NBC Bay Area reports.

4. A man was beaten, possibly with a bike lock, while on board a BART train that was travelling toward the Lake Merritt station, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The victim was treated for injuries. $$

5. A Berkeleyside reporter was denied access to a student-led protest last Monday morning at Berkeley High School, the community news website reports. Students held the demonstration and rally to protest the school's handling of sexual assault complaints.

6. More than one-third of the state is "abnormally dry," according to a federal report and that includes most of the Bay Area, according to the Sacramento Bee. Concerns over a return of drought conditions have heightened after a relatively dry new year. $$

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Wednesday's Briefing: KPFA's building is heading to auction for non-payment of taxes; School may be named after Michelle Obama

BART's woes continue

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 4:00 AM

KPFA's building on 1929 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way is up for auction next month.
  • KPFA's building on 1929 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way is up for auction next month.


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

1. The home of KPFA, the progressive radio station in Berkeley, is up for auction next month because of non-payment of property taxes, Berkeleyside reports. A tax bill of $486,751 is owed to Alameda County for the building on Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.

2. The West Contra Costa Unified School District will decide tonight whether to rename an El Cerrito elementary school after Michelle Obama, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The school board is eyeing to rename Wilson Elementary after the former first lady. $$

3. BART's ridership on weekends and at night has dropped by 10 million over the last four years. Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle reports BART board directors will discuss the recent survey that also found riders are eschewing BART at these times because of its limited weekend schedule and inaccessibility to many locations. $$

4. Another aspect of BART's woes: Two-time Academy Award winner and East Bay native Mahershala Ali talked to SFGate about the last time he rode BART. BART Police stopped him because he fit the description of a pimp, Ali said.

5. Gov. Gavin Newsom's proposed budget falls short when it comes to making a dent in the state's homelessness crisis, according to the state's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office, the Associated Press reports. Newsom's budget includes $750 million for homelessness.

6. The California Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of Berkeley tobacco shop and a dispute it had with New York credit card processing company, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The issue before the court is whether a property owner can legally sign away their right to a jury trial. $$

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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Tuesday's Briefing: Tenants at Oakland apartment building go on rent strike; More flaring at Richmond refinery

PG&E wants rate hike to pay for fire prevention improvements

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Feb 11, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Chevron Richmond oil refinery. - MAYA SUGARMAN
  • Maya Sugarman
  • Chevron Richmond oil refinery.


News you don’t want to miss for Feb. 11:

1. Half of the renters at a 14-unit apartment in Oakland have gone on strike. Due to rising rents, the seven tenants have not paid their rents for four months, NBC Bay Area reports. It's yet another flare up of activism precipitated by the city's housing crisis.

2. Speaking of flaring. While air quality officials investigate the cause of flarings on Monday morning at the Chevron Richmond oil refinery, more flarings occurred on Tuesday, the East Bay Times reports. $$

3. Alameda County deputy sheriff Alan Strickland is suing Toronto Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri, the team’s ownership group, and the NBA, after an incident following Game 6 of the NBA Finals last year at Oracle Arena, SFGate reports. Strickland alleges the courtside scuffle between him and Ujiri caused a permanent disability.

4. PG&E officials are seeking a $1.4 billion rate hike from its customers to help pay for fire prevention and new insurance costs following Northern California wildfires the utility caused in recent years, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

5. As primary voters go to the polls in New Hampshire today, a new tracking poll shows Sen. Bernie Sanders' lead in the California presidential primary is growing, and at the behest of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Capitol Weekly reports. Sanders topped the poll with 29 percent, followed by Warren at 16 percent. Pete Buttigieg received 14 percent, and Michael Bloomberg at 13 percent.

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Monday, February 10, 2020

Monday's Briefing: Schaaf recommends interim city administrator; Delivers state of the city address

Emeryville's Pixar wins Oscar

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Feb 10, 2020 at 3:23 PM

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf delivered her state of the city last Friday evening. - D. ROSS CAMERON
  • D. Ross Cameron
  • Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf delivered her state of the city last Friday evening.


News you don't want to miss for Feb. 10:

1. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is recommending the City Council hire former Lafayette city manager Steven Falk to become its interim city administrator, Bay City News reports. Oakland City Administrator Sabrina Landreth announced she was leaving her post last December. Her last day is Mar. 11.

2. Schaaf's state of the city last Friday at the Oakland Museum touted successes involving her plan for homelessness and ending the housing crisis, KRON reports.

3. Chevron initiated a flaring at its oil refinery in Richmond Monday morning, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The flarings, which occur when excess toxic gas builds up, prompted some evacuations near the refinery. $$

4. That the wind in the East Bay was howling on Sunday is not hyperbole. It actually sounded like a pack of howling wolves outside. SFGate breaks down the damage done by yesterday's high winds.

5. What's good for the goose is good for the gander? Months after the pro-downtown ballpark Oakland Chamber of Commerce released a poll showing support for a waterfront stadium at Howard Terminal, the San Francisco Chronicle reports a poll by an East Oakland group said residents want the new ballpark at the existing Coliseum property. $$

6. At this point, it's fair to ask whether Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer is trolling Oakland. At last Friday's debate in New Hampshire name-dropped Rep. Barbara Lee for the third time, Esquire reports. Add that to Steyer mentioning Assemblymember Rob Bonta at another debate last December.

7. "Parasite" won the Oscar for best picture on Sunday night. But closer to home, Emeryville's Pixar won the best animated feature Oscar for "Toy Story 4," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

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