Rainbow Flag Flap Unfurls Across East Bay 

Plus, ballpark said to be good for the economy, and a drone for San Leandro

click to enlarge The rainbow flag vote by the Dublin City Council has spilled over to Emeryville and Alameda County supervisors.

Photo by torbakhopper - Creative Commons

The rainbow flag vote by the Dublin City Council has spilled over to Emeryville and Alameda County supervisors.


A week after an East Bay city council member appeared to embrace a slippery slope argument against observing Pride month by raising the iconic rainbow flag at Dublin city hall, he now says he supports the proposal and urges a reconsideration of the council vote.

Arun Goel wrote in a Facebook post that he was educated by members of the LGBTQ community on the importance and symbolism of the Pride flag in the days after the council's controversial vote on May 21.

"I reaffirm my commitment to the LGBT community, and I reaffirm my belief that we should have an inclusive flag-raising policy to ensure that we remain true to our values," Goel wrote. "Dublin does not condone hatred, bigotry, or discrimination of any kind, toward any human being."

The furor over the flag was expected to return to Dublin at press time. The Tri-Valley Democratic Club and others urged LGBTQ supporters to attend the council's June 4 meeting.

Meanwhile, Emeryville Councilmember John Bauters vowed that his city would fly one rainbow flag for Emeryville on June 8, and another for Dublin. It is not common for a city to so clearly rebuke a neighbor, but Emeryville's action appeared to be just the beginning of a backlash among progressives in Alameda County toward the Dublin council's decision.

Many Alameda County Democrats were not surprised by opposition to the flag raising by Goel and conservative-leaning Dublin Mayor David Haubert. But party leaders expressed shock at the deciding vote cast by Councilmember Melissa Hernandez, whose council campaign was backed by the Alameda County Democratic Party and other left-leaning groups.

The Tri-Valley Democratic Club, which often zig-zags along the political spectrum, reserved a fair amount of vitriol toward the Dublin City Council's decision, saying it was "hate in full display" and urging residents to "let them know they let us down and are out of step with our values."

Finally, Scott Haggerty, who represents Dublin on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, wants to begin the process of amending the county's flag display policy to include the rainbow flag.

Study Claims New Ballpark Would Bring Billions in Economic Benefits

A report by pro-business think tank the Bay Area Council Economic Institute estimated that the proposed Howard Terminal ballpark project near Jack London Square would generate $7.3 billion in total economic benefits over the decade following build out of the waterfront neighborhood.

The report said the project, which would be one of the largest in the Bay Area, would create more than 6,119 jobs. In addition, to a 35,000-seat privately-financed ballpark for the Oakland Athletics, retail and restaurant spaces, residential housing units, and offices buildings are slated for the waterfront area west of Jack London Square.

The report's methodology was based on an assumption that for "every $1 in direct spending, an additional percentage is spent on housing, healthcare, food, retail, and other items within the City of Oakland."

Many economists, though, find fulsome estimates of the economic benefits associated with stadiums and arenas to be dubious.

San Leandro accepts federal grant for drone without specific policy for its use

The San Leandro City Council accepted a nearly $32,000 federal grant that will allow its police department to purchase a drone despite the city not having a specific drone policy.

San Leandro City Attorney Richard Pio Roda said the police department will create its own drone policy and later presented it to the council, but only for review.

However, the lack of a policy for local law enforcement to use drones has drawn concerns from privacy advocates in the East Bay and across the country. Drones are often used by public safety agencies to survey danger areas that would otherwise be inaccessible to police and fire personnel. But there also have been cases when drones have been used for crowd control during political demonstrations and public places.

"When surveillance technology has been used, history has shown it has been abused," said Mike Katz-Lacabe, a San Leandro resident and local privacy advocate. "From stalking former love interests with law enforcement records systems to looking down women's shirts with surveillance cameras, or disproportionate targeting of minorities. It is important that we have appropriate policies and oversight."

In Other News ...

Berkeley's proposed Adeline Corridor Specific Plan could add up to 1,450 new housing units near Ashby BART — 50 percent of which could be affordable — according to Berkeleyside. ... Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan's proposal to eliminate the city's new Department of Transportation stoked the growing rivalry between her and Mayor Libby Schaaf. Meanwhile, a bluegrass band from Baltimore has created a catchy tune inspired by Oakland's "Pothole Vigilantes," a growing group of residents who fill potholes by the light of moon, SFGate reported. ... The mother of a Ghost Ship resident testified that Derick Almena, the master tenant charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter, laughed when she urged him to make safety improvements to the warehouse during a meeting in 2013, NBC Bay Area reported. ... A rally in Oakland to support of Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign attracted an estimated 6,500 people to the soccer field at Laney College Friday night. ...

California contractors working for companies such as Uber or Lyft would get the rights of employees entitled to a minimum wage and workers compensation under a law the state Assembly passed on Wednesday. In its current form, the far-reaching legislation would also affect dozens of other industries, including newspapers. ... Buoyant rhetoric at the start of the year by California state leaders searching for solutions to the housing crisis have thus far fizzled as the legislative season reaches the mid-year. ... The Alameda County Sheriff's Department did not pass along a case where one of its deputies was found to have taken prescriptions from crime scenes for his own personal use, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. ...

Oakland's Commis maintained its status as a two-star restaurant when this year's Michelin awards for excellence in fine dining were announced Monday, SF Eater reported. ... After a rocky start, the Golden State Warriors evened the NBA Finals at one game apiece Sunday. Klay Thompson will likely be listed as questionable for the Warriors' NBA Finals Game 3 matchup on Wednesday, while Kevon Looney is out for the series. 

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