Thursday, April 18, 2019

Thursday's Briefing: Oakland council restores recent OUSD cuts; Port workers balk at A's ballpark plans

Berkeley Symphony names 37-year-old as next music director

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Apr 18, 2019 at 6:00 AM

News you don't want to miss for April 18:

1. Oakland elected officials voted Tuesday to fill in cuts made recently by the Oakland Unified School District for restorative justice programs, foster care managers, and libraries, KTVU reports. The City Council will use $1.2 million in real estate transfer taxes to restore the programs.

2. Labor unions and maritime businesses at the Port of Oakland say the proposed A's ballpark on the waterfront at Howard Terminal will negatively effect the port and put union jobs at risk, ABC7 reports.

3. The convicted killer of Torian Hughes, the 17-year-old who was killed in Oakland in 2015, and who Oakland Councilmember Lynette McElhaney considered a grandson, rejected an offer of lighter sentence made by Hughes' mother, SFGate reports. The defendant's attorney declined the offer because it included giving up his client's rights to an appeal.

4. The East Bay Times issued a retraction after mistakenly including in a slideshow the wrong photo of a Catholic priest accused of child molestation. They apologized for the error. $$

5. The Berkeley Symphony Orchestra named Joseph Young, 37, as its next music director, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The choice was a surprise and came after Young filled in as conductor on 48-hours notice earlier this year. $$

6. The NFL released its 2019 schedule Wednesday. If you still care, the last Raiders game ever to be played in Oakland could be Dec. 15 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. But this might help former fans upset about the team leaving for Las Vegas in 2020. Sports Illustrated reports the Raiders have the "most unfair" schedule in the league.

7. The Mueller Report is due to be released Thursday morning. A press conference is scheduled for 6:30 a.m. PT. Will the report give East Bay presidential candidate Eric Swalwell a boost since he has spent the last two years suggesting Trump colluded with Russia?

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Wednesday's Briefing: Oakland City Council votes against collecting controversial Measure AA parcel tax

Oakland Mayor Schaaf miffed at council, says they're ignoring needs of school children

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Apr 17, 2019 at 6:00 AM

News you don't want to miss for April 17:

1. Did Oakland's Measure AA early education ballot initiative received enough support from voters last November? It remains a question for the courts. In the meantime, the Oakland City Council voted late Tuesday night to hold off, at least for one year, before collecting the $198 a year parcel tax, the East Bay Citizen reports. Oakland Mayor Schaaf, who strongly backed Measure AA, said the message to working families is clear. "Their kids’ education is not worth fighting for."

2. "A rowdy sideshow in East Oakland Sunday night ended in a looted big-rig truck and an AC Transit bus on fire," SFGate reports. "The site of Sunday night's sideshow saw a similar incident as recently as April 7. Two officers were also injured in a late-night sideshow in September that shut down multiple roadways across East Oakland."

3. The Alameda County District Attorney's Office released documents under the state's new police accountability records law on eight former police officers, which include instances of sexual assault and dishonesty, the East Bay Times and KQED reports.

4. The high cost of living in Oakland and gentrification is making it difficult for Oakland artists to survive, writes Mary Corbin in the Bold Italic. "While Oakland city officials claim to be supportive of the arts, artists here aren’t so sure about that."

5. San Leandro lost one of its longest-serving elected officials and one of its most progressive Monday with the passing of former Mayor Tony Santos, the East Bay Citizen reports. A 50-year resident of the city, Santos used his activism and 18 years of public service to help bring diversity to the once whites-only East Bay city. He was 86.

6. Making money off the misery of others. The Wall Street Journal reports three hedge funds are reaping the benefits of buying 45 million shares of PG&E stock last January when its price dropped to $6 a share amid talks the utility was planning to declare bankruptcy. Now the price has jumped to $24 and the hedge funds have gained $700 million from the transaction. $$

7. Meanwhile, back in Paradise, Calif., which was virtually wiped out by a devastating wildfire last year likely caused by PG&E, residents are beginning to slowly move back even though the town's water supply is likely contaminated, NPR reports.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: Oakland City Council decides whether to collect Measure AA parcel tax

Which East Bay corporate giant didn't pay any federal taxes last year?

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Apr 16, 2019 at 6:00 AM

News you don't want to miss for April 16:

1. The Oakland City Council will decide tonight whether or not to allow the city administrator to begin collecting the Measure AA parcel tax. The San Francisco Chronicle takes a look at the controversy over whether or not the tax measure actually needed a majority of support from voters last November, which it received, or two-thirds, which it fell short. $$

2. While Democratic presidential candidate Eric Swalwell is asking for $1 from donors, Sen. Kamala Harris has received $13.2 million in contributions this year, the second largest in the massive field of candidates, Politico reports.

3. Which East Bay corporate giant didn't pay any federal taxes last year? That would be San Ramon-based Chevron, the East Bay Times reports. $$

4. The Valero oil refinery in Benicia, which was shut down last month for maintenance, could be back on-line by mid-May, KQED reports.

5. Would you like to ride to work via a floating bike on the Oakland Estuary. The San Francisco Chronicle takes a look at an idea that could lessen traffic. Be aware that so-called "estuary pirates" exist, according to some Alamedans who live on the estuary. $$

6. House Democrats are interested in calling in White House adviser Steven Miller to testify about his role in a recent proposal to target "sanctuary cities," such as San Francisco and Oakland, The Washington Post reports. $$

7. The Golden State Warriors blew a 31-point lead Monday night and lost to the Los Angeles Clippers to even the best-of-seven first round series at one game apiece, SFGate reports. The Warriors also lost star forward Demarcus Cousins to a leg injury.

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Schaaf tells Trump: 'Oakland welcomes all'; Swalwell kicks off campaign in Dublin

Oakland City Council may help restore school district cuts

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Apr 15, 2019 at 6:00 AM

News you don't want to miss for April 15 (Tax Day):

1. Last week, President Trump suggested sending undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities, and on Saturday asserted that Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf was not keen about the idea, The Washington Post reports. "It’s time to stop fanning hate and division @realDonaldTrump," Schaaf tweeted over the weekend. "I’ve been consistent and clear: #Oakland welcomes all, no matter where you came from or how you got here." $$

2. East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell kicked off his presidential campaign with a rally in his hometown of Dublin, the San Jose Mercury News reports. $$

3. Four days after Swalwell announced his candidacy for president, upstart Hayward Councilmember Aisha Wahab, the first Afghan-American elected official in U.S. history, declared her own candidacy for Swalwell's seat in the 15th Congressional District, the East Bay Citizen reports. Swalwell said he would give up his seat if he ran for president. But he also equivocated about the pledge over the weekend to the San Francisco Chronicle. $$

4. The Oakland Coliseum Joint Powers Authority approved new restrictions on elected official's access to sporting events and concerts at the stadium and arena, KPIX reports. The new rules limit JPA board members, many of whom are Oakland and Alameda County elected officials, to five events a year.

5. Four Oakland councilmembers are proposing to restore some cuts proposed by the Oakland Unified School District, the East Bay Times reports. $$

6. The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge continues to crumble, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Two chunks of concrete fell Friday. $$

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Friday, April 12, 2019

Friday's Briefing: BART GM to leave post in July; Poll shows support for SB 50

Low-income housing on state-owned land could come to Oakland

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Apr 12, 2019 at 6:00 AM

News you don't want to miss for April 12-14:

1. BART General Manager Grace Crunican abruptly announced she is leaving the transit agency, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Crunican made the announcement at Thursday morning's BART meeting. Last week, BART's police chief announced his own departure. $$

2. Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to seek bids from developers to build low-income housing on up to 1,300 state-owned parcels, the Los Angeles Times reports. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said she would work with Newsom to find suitable parcels in her city. $$

3. A new poll shows 61 percent of California voters support San Francisco state Sen. Scott Wiener's SB 50, Curbed San Francisco reports. The legislation aims to lower zoning restrictions around transit hubs, allowing for higher density housing projects. The bill is currently in the committee stage in the Legislature.

4. "White House officials have tried to pressure U.S. immigration authorities to release detainees onto the streets of “sanctuary cities” to retaliate against President Trump’s political adversaries, according to Department of Homeland Security officials and email messages reviewed by The Washington Post." Political payback is likely the motive. San Francisco was mentioned. The East Bay is home to a number of sanctuary cities, including Oakland, Berkeley, and Alameda. $$

5. Tesla's workers' compensation manager pressured its doctor to deny serious injury claims by employees at the Fremont auto plant, Reveal reports.

6. San Leandro public officials are facing a conundrum. While progressives and environmentalists want the city to end its banking contract with Wells Fargo, the East Bay Citizen reports, there's a big problem. All of the bids for the contract have various degrees of investments in fossil fuels.

7. Democratic presidential candidate Eric Swalwell says his campaign staff is unionizing, The Hill reports. Last month, Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign also joined a union.

8. "Over 70 artists, archivists, curators and collaborators of all stripes came together in partnership with the Oakland Museum of California for its interdisciplinary exhibit, "Queer California: Untold Stories," which is set to open on April 13, SFGate reports.

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Thursday's Briefing: Electricity rates could rise significantly if wildfires return; Credit Karma coming to Oakland

Poll: Biden leads California Presidential Primary

by Steven Tavares
Thu, Apr 11, 2019 at 6:00 AM

News you don't want to miss for April 11:

1. "If California wildfires continue to be as devastating as they have been the last two years, millions of customers’ electric rates could skyrocket 50 percent and threaten the state’s ability to execute some of its top clean energy initiatives," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

2. Credit Karma is expanding its operations to downtown Oakland, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The financial tech company is moving into an office tower at 1100 Broadway. $$

3. If the March 2020 California Presidential Primary was today, former Vice-President Joe Biden would be the winner with 26 percent of the vote, according to a new poll, The Hill reports. Sens. Kamala Harris an Bernie Sanders each received 18 percent. Rep. Eric Swalwell was not included in the poll.

4. Life as a presidential candidate means having your personal life probed. Swalwell was born in Iowa, where his father was a local police chief. But his father's tenure was filled with controversy, The Des Moines Register reports. Eric Swalwell, Sr., was also featured in a 2002 East Bay Express story about a plan he favored as a Dublin school board member to drug-test high school students.

5. The Ghost Ship trial could have up to 360 potential jurors fill out questionnaires over the next week, SFGate reports. Derick Almena and Max Harris were charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the deadly Ghost Ship fire in Oakland in December 2016.

6. The Golden State Warriors will face the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs starting this Saturday after a season-ending drubbing at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies, NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Meanwhile, the San Jose Sharks opened the Stanley Cup Playoffs Wednesday night by beating the Vegas Golden Knights, 5-2, the San Jose Mercury News reports. $$

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Wednesday's Briefing: Alameda special election voters register a win for the homeless

Steph Curry leaves game with foot injury

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Apr 10, 2019 at 6:00 AM

News you don't want to miss for April 10:

1. Alameda voters registered a decisive victory in support of a homeless senior wellness center and medical respite services in a divisive ballot measure showdown, the East Bay Citizen reports, that pitted the city's most vulnerable communities against neighbors of the proposed center on McKay Avenue, near Crab Cove.

2. The Bay Area Council released a comprehensive regional report on the dire state of homelessness in the Bay Area, along with solutions, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. $$

3. Some housing activists will contend one solution for alleviating the homelessness problem is to build more affordable housing. A proposed 199-unit affordable housing project in Castro Valley near BART, the East Bay Citizen reports, may have been undermined by the local de-facto government council even before the proposal has even been officially submitted to the Alameda County Planning Department.

4. Oakland Animal Services says someone in the Lower Dimond District is shooting cats with pellet guns. In the past five weeks, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, four cats have been treated for injuries. $$

5. No collusion! Two Berkeley High students running for student body president and vice-president attempted to rig their election, Berkeleyside reports.

6. Stephen Curry left the regular season's penultimate game with a foot injury, putting a scare into Warriors fans everywhere. He should be back for the first game of the playoffs. The San Francisco Chronicle's Bruce Jenkins asks, with the number one seed already in hand, why was Curry even playing Tuesday night? $$

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Tuesday's Briefing: Swalwell is running for president; Skinner wants tax hike for state's biggest companies

Berkeley mayor objects to U.C. Berkeley changing EIR for housing project

by Steven Tavares
Tue, Apr 9, 2019 at 6:00 AM

News you don’t want to miss for April 9:

1. With the campaign slogan of “Go Big. Be Bold. Do Good,” East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell said he is running for president, CNN reports. Swalwell, who represents the East Bay’s 15th District, made the announcement on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He will lead a rally today on gun safety in Florida with survivors of the Parkland shootings.

2. Swalwell sat down with Esquire for a conversation with Ryan Lizza.

3. East Bay State Sen. Nancy Skinner introduced a novel bill Monday that seeks to lower income inequality by taxing the state’s most profitable businesses based on the disparity between the pay of its CEO and the median wage of its workers, the Sacramento Bee reports. Companies in the state with annual income greater than $10 million would see their tax bill increase from 8.84 percent to a minimum of 10.84 percent. $$

4. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin is objecting to U.C. Berkeley boosting its enrollment numbers in a supplement environmental impact report for a student housing project on Hearst Avenue, Berkeleyside reports. The new report differs from an agreement on the project made between Berkeley and Cal in 2005.

5. Ashland and Cherryland, impoverished unincorporated areas nestled between San Leandro and Hayward, have long suffered from high crime and neglect from county officials. Next City examines the role of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department and its controversial outreach to the communities through sports and mentorship.

6. It's Election Day in Alameda as voters head to the polls today to decide the fate of a federally-approved senior homeless wellness center and medical respite services near Crab Cove.

7. Sarah Ravani in the San Francisco Chronicle profiles Oakland Councilmember Lynette McElhaney and the recent tragic death of her son that followed the loss of her grandson last year. $$

8. Just in case you didn't freak out last week with news the state is currently in a large earthquake drought comes a liquefaction map for the Bay Area via the California Geological Survey, SFGate reports.

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Monday, April 8, 2019

Monday's Briefing: Skinner blasts AG for refusing to comply with police accountability law

Oakland man indicted for trying to kill his wife the toxic chemicals

by Steven Tavares
Mon, Apr 8, 2019 at 6:00 AM

News you don’t want to miss for April 8:

1. State Sen. Nancy Skinner blasted Attorney General Xavier Becerra for his continued refusal to release state law enforcement investigation records, KTVU reports. A judge last week ordered all past records to be released. During a hearing last week, Skinner told Becerra. "As our enforcer of state law, why is it that you are not enforcing our state law? It's like an elective decision as to which of our laws you will enforce and which you won't."

2. An Oakland man was indicted last week for attempting to purchase a toxic chemical over the dark web to kill his wife, the East Bay Times reports. $$

3. When Southwest Airlines announced new daily flights from Oakland Airport to Hawaii last month with introductory $49 fares, the fallout for travelers has meant a 17 percent decreases in ticket prices for trips between the states, the Los Angeles Times reports. $$

4. Sign of the times in the Bay Area. Thomas Fuller reports in The New York Times on the rise of trash collectors, a phenomenon more synonymous with third world enclaves, in a region like ours with so much apparent prosperity. $$

5. The East Bay Times takes a look at the impact of the Bay Area’s housing crunch on children, including an Alameda girl doing advocacy of her own. $$

6. East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell is expected to announce his run for president tonight on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle asks, why? Especially with a safe seat in Congress and potential path for rising within the Democratic Party. $$

7. A bedbug infestations, along with a number of other poor living conditions at the all-women Stern Hall dorm at U.C. Berkeley , is making life difficult for a large number of female students, the Daily Californian reports.

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Friday, April 5, 2019

Friday's Briefing: Ghost Ship owners plead the Fifth; Berkeley Unified proposing to build housing for teachers

Swalwell presidential campaign to focus on gun safety

by Steven Tavares
Fri, Apr 5, 2019 at 6:00 AM

News you don't want to miss for April 5-7:

1. The owners of the Ghost Ship building appeared in court Thursday, the East Bay Times reports. Each took the stand, but refused to answer questions, instead, pleading the Fifth Amendment. $$

2. Berkeley is losing good teachers due to the city and region's high cost of housing. Berkeleyside reports the Berkeley Unified School District is eyeing a plan to build affordable housing for its teachers and the Berkeley City Council may soon be asked to help pay for pre-development costs.

3. An Alameda County Superior Court judge set a $2 million bail for David Xu, the Berkeley engineer who is accused of slowly poisoning his co-worker by placing cadmium in her water bottle, SFist reports. Xu has pleaded not guilty.

4. The Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department is not complying with requests under a new state law for the release of its police investigation records, citing a large number of files, the East Bay Times reports, along with the question, "Is the Contra Costa Sheriff's Department overwhelmed with problem officers?" $$

5. Swalwell switcheroo? Rep. Eric Swalwell's will focus his forthcoming presidential campaign on gun safety, not Russian collusion, The Atlantic reports. Swalwell will announces his campaign for president next week, reportedly on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. A local event is also scheduled for April 14 in Dublin.

6. One of Swalwell's future opponents, Sen. Kamala Harris, missed an important Senate vote on wildfire relief for California while she was fundraising this week in Sacramento, Politico reports.

7. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin received a retraining order against perennial mayoral candidate Zachary RunningWolf, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The order was sought after RunningWolf posted a threatening message against Arreguin on Facebook. $$

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