Thursday, March 23, 2017

Oakland city attorney files amicus brief opposing Trump’s sanctuary city executive order

Oakland is joining 33 other cities nationwide in aiding Santa Clara County’s lawsuit against President Trump’s executive order that threatens sanctuary cities and counties with the loss of federal funding.

The lawsuit filed on Feb. 3 seeks an injunction against the executive order. Oakland has long declared itself a sanctuary city and reaffirmed its status last December amid rhetoric posed by then president-elect Trump against immigrants and religious groups.

San Leandro picks lower than expected tax on medical cannabis

Many government entities are expected to take their own cut in the form of taxes from the burgeoning cannabis industry, but San Leandro is choosing to give businesses and patients a small break.

The San Leandro City Council decided this week to start its cannabis business tax rate at a rate of 6 percent. The rate rises to 7 percent in July 2019 and again to 8 percent by 2021.

With 'lightning speed' Fremont moves to district elections, may expand council to seven

Fremont's potential move from at-large to district-based elections represents the most stunning change to how the city chooses its elected leaders since its founding, said Fremont City Attorney Harvey Levine. The switch is also occurring at "lightning speed," he added during testimony before the Fremont City Council on Tuesday night.

With the type of swiftness that usually arrives via the threat of a potentially-costly lawsuit, Fremont is poised to radically change how it elects members to the city council, in addition, to possibly expanding the number of seats from the current five to seven.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Struggling St. Rose Hospital gets $8 million lifeline from county

Hayward's St. Rose Hospital is still facing
a $6 million budget deficit this fiscal year.
Hayward's St. Rose Hospital is Southern Alameda County's main provider of indigent health care. This fact also means the hospital continually struggles to keep its doors open due to the number of Medi-Cal patients its sees on a daily basis, roughly 50 percent.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday sought to alleviate St. Rose Hospital's chronic financial problems by allocated $8 million in funding to the facility. The funding is expected to be parlayed into an additional $6.5 million in federal matching grants, bringing the total to over $14 million.

Hayward City Council is open to dabbling in cannabis

Hayward city leader have shied away from the
cannabis industry over the past seven years.
The Hayward City Council is now on track to allow cannabis businesses in the city at some point in the near future. During a work session Tuesday night there appeared to be unanimity in favor of Hayward dipping its toes into the burgeoning cannabis industry.

The City Council appeared amendable to allowing cannabis businesses to open shop, possibly including cultivation and manufacturing in its industrial areas, while also rezoning some areas for retail medical dispensaries in addition to recreational sales.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Oakland approves city ban on companies hoping to build Trump's wall

Oakland Councilmember Abel Guillen's
legislation rebuking the building of Trump's
wall was approved Tuesday night.
If a business specializing on a gamut of services from construction to internet services to public relations wants to help build President's Trump controversial southern border wall, they won't be able to enter into contracts with Oakland, the City Council unanimously declared Tuesday night.

Oakland becomes the second city in the East Bay and nationally to pass such a resolution viewed as a rebuke of Trump's policies against immigrants.

Nadia Lockyer posts alarmingly cryptic message on Facebook

Nadia Lockyer has made allegations against her
husband Bill Lockyer on Facebook in past.
Former Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer wrote an alarming message on Facebook Sunday that sounded to some as a suicide note while briefly alarming her friends. At minimum, Lockyer’s comments were yet another public outcry against her husband, former California State Senate Pro Tem and Attorney General Bill Lockyer, including a reference to drugs.

“My children are the reason i’ve held on this long…but bill’s controlling ways, drugs, and dishonesty publicly have killed me, everything i ever wanted to do to help others, all about my heritage and purpose in life…i’m so very tired of carrying his cross…and my children suffer becuz of it. i can’t put them through it anymore. sabrina, anja, marisa, luke, mark, erik….please take care of my babies. goodbye,” wrote Nadia Lockyer.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Threat of lawsuit is pushing Fremont toward district elections

Significant changes for how Fremont chooses
its elected officials could be on the horizon
over the next few years.
Fremont’s use of “at-large” elections violates state law, says a Southern California attorney who has successfully sued other cities by arguing the voting method has been shown to unfairly diminishing the chances of minorities, especially Latino candidates from winning elections. The complaint’s desired effect appears to be working. A Fremont staff report recommends city officials begin the process of shifting to district-based elections in coming years based, in large part, by a potential legal bill that could exceed $1 million.

The complaint letter sent by Malibu-based attorney Kevin Shenkman last month asks the city to begin the switch from at-large elections to district-based system or face a lawsuit under the California Voting Right Act (CVRA).

Friday, March 17, 2017

Why is Eric Swalwell allowing himself to be Tucker Carlson's punching bag?

Rep. Eric Swalwell appearing with Tucker
Carlson on Fox News in January.
Take it from me, Rep. Eric Swalwell typically responds to tough questioning by fleeing the scene in order to avoid confrontations with his allegedly political sins. Knowing this, it seems highly peculiar that Swalwell continually agrees to appear on Tucker Carlson's Fox News program in what amounts to every time an embarrassing pummeling at the hands of the conservative talk show host.

As many have noticed in recent weeks, Swalwell has been a cable news talking head on an almost daily basis. On more friendly turf, such as Thursday on MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews," Swalwell is confident and sharp with his repeated criticisms of President Trump and his alleged ties to Russia.

Few Hayward elected officials support starting public discussion of sanctuary cities

Hayward Councilmember Elisa Marquez
says she supports becoming a sanctuary city.
While many East Bay city councils have offered almost unanimous support for defying President Trump and his immigration policies, Hayward is a notable outlier. Even the politically moderate city of Dublin agendized a discussion on sanctuary cities last week before shooting it down.

But in Hayward, elected officials have remained silent, while the stirrings of its large minority communities in support of becoming a sanctuary city become more noticeable.

The reason for the Hayward City Council's apparent inaction is simple, said Hayward Councilmember Elisa Marquez, there is no current support among elected officials to even start a discussion about sanctuary cities, let alone approve a resolution.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

San Leandro proposes tax rate on cannabis purchases

San Leandro's initial tax rate on cannabis
purchases could start at 7 percent, according
to a city staff report.
San Leandro city staff is proposing a tax rate on cannabis purchases that would exceed Oakland and Berkeley.

Next week, the San Leandro City Council will be presented with a cannabis business tax that would begin at 7 percent of gross receipts through June 2018 and gradually increase to 9 percent by 2021, according to the proposal.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hayward officials showing resistance to becoming sanctuary

Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday, center, and
City Manager Kelly McAdoo, left, at an anti-
discrimination task force meeting last Monday.
Hayward stands to risk $33 million in current and future federal funding if it becomes a sanctuary city, several city officials reiterated Monday night during a city task force meeting on anti-discrimination. The moniker also provides no additional relief for residents fearful of the Trump administration’s stance toward immigration, they said. Hayward City Manager Kelly McAdoo said declaring itself a sanctuary city may give residents a “false sense of security.”

“We have to honest with people,” said interim Hayward Police Chief Mark Koller. “Local police departments don’t have the authority to stop the federal government from carrying out their laws any more than we can’t stop the I.R.S. from going after tax evaders." He added, “We don’t want to build up hopes.”

Monday, March 13, 2017

How Trump is already wreaking havoc on affordable housing in the East Bay

FOR MANY IN THE EAST BAY, the early days of Donald Trump’s presidency have been at worst, an all-out assault on American democracy. At minimum, a excruciating daily mockery of common decency. But the reality television show most in the East Bay view on cable news can seem far away from our daily lives.

Last week, several city governments in the East Bay were directly impacted by President Trump’s rhetoric. Literally from Trump’s puckered mouth to negative financial implications for six affordable housing projects in Oakland, San Leandro, Alameda and Fremont.

Oakland and San Leandro make banking statements

San Leandro Councilmember Benny Lee is
leading the push for divestment of Wells Fargo.
Big banks took a big hit in East Bay politics last week. The Oakland City Council voted to cease its relationship with JP Morgan Chase. Then quickly reversed an apparently haphazard decision after realizing, on second thought, the absence of a banking account would likely mean its 5,000 city employees wouldn’t be receiving a paycheck this month.

Meanwhile, in San Leandro, city leaders followed Alameda in beginning an early study for possible divestment from Wells Fargo and other institutions helping finance the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Guillén says Oakland won’t help build Trump’s ‘big, beautiful wall’

Oakland Councilmember Abel Guillén's plan
to stymie Trump's wall will be heard Mar. 14.
If President Trump’s ballyhooed wall on the southern border is ever constructed, it will have been done without the help of companies doing business with the city of Oakland, according to a council resolution authored by Councilmember Abel Guillén.

“A government should reflect the values and goals of the community it serves. Oakland has historically been and remains today a diverse community, with a great many of its residents having come as immigrants and refugees from all corners of the globe,” said Guillén.

Eden Health District CEO to retire this summer

Dev Mahadevean has served as Eden
Health District CEO for nine years.
Eden Health District CEO Dev Mahadevan announced Friday that he is retiring, effective July 1, after nine years leading the day-to-day operations of the central Alameda County health care agency.

During Mahadevan’s tenure the district (known previously as the Eden Township Healthcare District) greatly expanded its financial holdings, including the construction of medical offices on Lake Chabot Road in Castro Valley and Dublin Gateway Center. At the same time losing operational control of both of its hospitals, Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley and San Leandro Hospital.

Tony Thurmond eyeing statewide office in 2018; others already coveting his Assembly seat

Assemblymember Tony Thurmond may be
itching for a move to higher office in 2018.
After just one term representing Richmond, Berkeley and parts of Oakland in the 15th Assembly District, Tony Thurmond is showing strong interest in running for the state superintendent of public instruction seat opening in the fall of 2018, according to numerous sources with knowledge of his plans.

Rumors of Thurmond's interest in succeeded soon-to-be termed out State Superintendent Tom Torlakson have been bandied about in recent months by many East Bay politicos.

Hayward mayor offends Latina advocating for sanctuary city

Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday, leader of one
of the largest Latino communities, in the Bay Area
voiced skepticism Feb. 24 about sanctuary cities.
Hayward's lack of urgency when it comes to alleviating the fears among its minority and immigrant communities is unique in the Greater East Bay. Since January, city councils in Emeryville, Alameda, San Leandro and Fremont have become sanctuary cities, while Oakland and Berkeley have recently reaffirmed existing declarations.

But curiously, Hayward, with one of the largest Latino populations in the Bay Area, has taken a slow bureaucratic track toward protection its immigrant and Muslim communities. Instead, the Hayward City Council chose in January to convene a large 22-person task force to update its existing anti-discrimination policy.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Fremont, Dublin with diverging opinions about sanctuary cities

Dublin Councilmember Abe Gupta offered likely
the most vociferous opposition to sanctuary 
cities of any official in Alameda County.
Fremont became the sixth East Bay city to declare it a sanctuary city and become the fourth to do so this year. The spreading of sanctuary cities across the Alameda County has accelerated with President’s Trump’s heated rhetoric against minorities and a threat by way of executive order to punish the designation.

On the same night, however, residents in Dublin and its city officials roundly dismissed the movement.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Alameda approves resolution urging investigation of Trump, possible impeachment

A resident offers support Tuesday night for
the Alameda City Council's resolution 
to impeach President Trump.
Alameda’s sharp left turn on the political spectrum continued late Tuesday night with a resolution giving support to Rep. Barbara Lee for the urging of Congress to investigate and potentially impeach President Donald Trump.

The East Bay island city follows nearby Richmond in approving the resolution that is gaining strong support among Bay Area progressives.

But the resolution appeared headed to defeat before a dramatic comeback aided in part by a plea from Councilmember Jim Oddie to Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft to reconsider her stated intention to abstain, and thereby subduing the resolution.

Kate Harrison wins Berkeley City Council special election

Kate Harrison leads Ben Gould by more than
500 votes in Tuesday's special election.
Kate Harrison is cruising to victory in Tuesday night’s special election for the open Berkeley City Council District 4 seat.

Early results from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters Tuesday night show Harrison leading Ben Gould by a 550-vote margin.

The seat was vacated last November upon former District 4 representative Jesse Arreguin’s election as mayor.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Since when did Alameda become an island of progressive activism?

WHEN A FEW DROPS OF BLOOD from a protesting renter hit the floor at City Hall in November 2015, something seemed to have changed in Alameda’s politics.

A grassroots renters group flooded City Hall that night urging the council to enact an ordinance with strong rent control restrictions, but some of the renters wouldn’t take no for an answer and attempted to storm the room in an effort to briefly “occupy” the chambers. There was yelling, a cop was pushed, a city department head broke his hip, and one man’s face was smashed to the ground leaving a round smear of his blood on the ground.

There was unanimity in the local media’s reaction: "Protests in Alameda?” said one anchorman. To others, the scene was something that only happens at the more raucous Oakland City Council chambers, surely not pastoral Alameda.

In the subsequent year and a half, a number of other actions precipitated by an organized and very active grassroots, along with a new council majority and, of course, the presidency of Donald Trump, have turned Alameda into one of the most unlikeliest hot beds of progressive action in the East Bay.

Alameda County may be poised to sue President Trump

Just days after an executive order signed by President Trump in late January amounted to a shot across the bough of sanctuary cities, Santa Clara County and San Francisco asked a federal judge to block the order.

Alameda County, which is also a declared sanctuary county, may soon follow suit. A closed session briefing on the matter is scheduled for Tuesday morning's Board of Supervisors meeting. The Santa Clara and San Francisco Counties lawsuits are referenced on the agenda.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Alameda City Council to take up resolution calling for Trump's impeachment

Rosemary Jordan, a member of
Alameda4Impeachment, addressing the
Alameda City Council last Tuesday.
When a few members of the public this week pressed the Alameda City Council to pass a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Trump, its likelihood seemed pie-in-the-sky.

But, according to a Alameda City Council agenda posted Thursday evening, Councilmembers Malia Vella and Jim Oddie will offer a referral at the Mar. 7 meeting asking their colleagues to approve a resolution urging Congress to impeach the president.

Alameda County updates mobile home rent ordinance; increases will still outpace nearby cities

A single-wide mobile home located on
Castro Valley Boulevard.
During a prolonged housing affordability crisis in the East Bay, mobile home parks have been a low-cost option for many residents, especially seniors. But in relative terms, the monthly rental rates for mobile home owners in unincorporated Alameda County is still outpacing stricter controls in nearby cities.

It's a trend that may continue after the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to update its rent stabilization ordinance to include a drop in maximum annual percentage increases, but also grants full vacancy decontrol to park owners. The latter gives park owners the ability to offer rental plot at a market rate.

Alameda halts new investments with Wells Fargo

Alameda uses Wells Fargo for its operating
accounts and owns three securities.
Wells Fargo has been under fire from state legislatures, including California, and numerous cities, namely Seattle, for it role in a systemic bank account scandal affecting millions of its own customers. The Alameda City Council is poised to join the chorus against the banking giants after it unanimously voted early Wednesday morning to immediately stop any new investments with Wells Fargo while the city staff and city treasurer study a complete divestment.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Khanna offers strategy for Democratic Party’s success, but hundreds shut out of town hall

Rep. Ro Khanna apologizing to constituents
who were unable to hear him speak Wednesday
night at Ohlone College in Fremont.
While congressmembers, particularly Republicans, are being harangued by constituents at town halls across the country, Rep. Ro Khanna’s first in Fremont, conversely, sounded more like an opportunity for the freshman lawmaker to vent about the current state of the Democratic Party.

Khanna’s thoughts on defending net neutrality, curtailing the influence of money in politics, Russian influence in the last election, Trump’s executive orders, and Supreme County nominee Neil Gorsuch, were all met with enthusiasm by the overflow crowd at Ohlone College Wednesday night.

Barbara Lee wants Steve Bannon off National Security Council

Rep. Barbara Lee voiced displeasure with Steve 
Bannon's appointment at a town hall Saturday.
East Bay Rep. Barbara introduced a House bill Tuesday that seeks to remove Steve Bannon, President Trump’s chief political strategist, from his position on the National Security Council.

“Steve Bannon’s bigoted ideology threatens the security of our nation and our international standing. As a permanent member of the National Security Council, Steve Bannon not only politicizes our national security--he endangers it," said Lee.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Despite threat of losing federal funding, San Leandro declares sanctuary city status

San Leandro recieves more than $9 million
in federal funding, but Trump's threat to defund
sanctuary cities did not make the council pause.
San Leandro became the fifth sanctuary city in Alameda County and the third local municipality to embrace a bulwark against President Trump’s immigration policies in the past month. The San Leandro City Council unanimously declared itself a sanctuary city Tuesday night after more than three hours of public testimony from immigrants, high school students, and progressive activist, some offering emotional stories filled with disillusionment and fear.

A push in Alameda for Trump's impeachment

The view of Alameda as a quiet, apolitical bedroom hamlet in the East Bay has changed rapidly in just the last year. A homegrown group of housing advocates stormed City Hall more than a year with tactics usually employed in progressive cities like nearby Oakland and Berkeley.

A community-based push for sanctuary city status last month and a nationally reported turnout of nearly 400 residents on short notice to protest President Trump's Muslim travel ban, may represent a paradigm shift in how the East Bay views politics in Alameda.

Bonta wants to create blue-ribbon panel to study tuition-free college

Assemblymember Rob Bonta's bill would call
for a nine-member commission to propose a
plan for tuition-free college by 2019.
More than never, California colleges and universities are facing increasing demand from potential students and an education system that is buckling under the financial demand. East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta believes the solution is tuition-free college for all, regardless of income.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Barbara Lee tells town hall that Dems are 'building the case' for Trump's impeachment

Rep. Barbara Lee's town hall last Saturday
was attended by an estimated 1,500 people.
When a question about impeaching President Donald Trump was posed during a town hall last weekend hosted by Rep. Barbara Lee in Oakland, the packed auditorium of an estimated 1,500 constituents rose to their feet in wild applause.

The entire panel on hand to discuss the future of the Affordable Care Care also offered a standing ovation to the suggestion, including Lee, and Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan. “I knew given all the phone calls I’ve been getting this would be a question I would be getting," Lee quipped.

Friday, February 17, 2017

San Leandro Times published letter calling Civil Rights hero Fred Korematsu a criminal

Fred Korematsu resisted orders to be interned during
World War II and was arrested in San Leandro.
San Leandro’s ubiquitous weekly newspaper, the San Leandro Times, published a letter to editor this week that calls Civil Rights icon Fred Korematsu a criminal for resisting internment during World War II. In addition, the author says, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was justified.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

San Leandro set to join list of sanctuary cities in the East Bay

The San Leandro City Council is set to join
Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, and Emeryville
as sanctuary cities in the East Bay.
Next week, San Leandro is set to join a growing list of sanctuary cities in the East Bay. The San Leandro City Council, acquiescing to growing demand in the highly diverse community to declare opposition to President Trump's immigration policies, is scheduled to discuss the issue next Tuesday.

Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco all reaffirmed existing sanctuary city policies earlier this year in an effort to push back at Trump's heated rhetoric against immigrants. Subsequently, city councils in Alameda, Emeryville, and Richmond have approved various versions of sanctuary status.

Immigrants in Alameda County are disenrolling from services, kids not attending school

Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle
represents numerous immigrant populations
in District 2. PHOTO/Matt Santos
A sense of panic within immigrant communities in Alameda County is pushing residents to discontinue accessing county social services due to fears their personal information will lead to deportations. High absenteeism among immigrant students is also resulting from uncertainty over President Trump’s immigration policies and proposals, according to an ad hoc committee on immigrant and refugee rights led Thursday by Alameda County Supervisors Wilma Chan and Richard Valle.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Warriors aversion to paying Oracle Arena debt is unchanged

Alameda County supervisors posing with the
Warriors NBA championship trophy in 2015.
Last month, the Golden State Warriors broke ground on a new waterfront arena in San Francisco. But before they make the move across the bay, Alameda County officials expect the Warriors to remedy roughly $50 million in debt owed on Oracle Arena.

With the Warriors now almost certain to pull up its roots in Oakland, questions surrounding the remaining debt on the 1996 remodel of the arena have been rekindled.

Swalwell questions whether Trump is loyal to U.S. or Russia

Rep. Eric Swalwell, right, asked whether 
President Trump is "with us or with Russia?"
During the early stages of the Trump presidency, House Democrats led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have used East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell as a flamethrower against the new president.

The gambit, if intended to bait President Trump into a war of words (i.e Twitter war) hasn't yet occurred. But on Tuesday Swalwell unleashed his most unkindest cut of all when he questioned Trump's patriotism: Is Trump working on behalf of Russia or the American people?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Hayward school district's spring special election will cost $600k

Hayward school trustees Annette Walker and
Lisa Brunner during a press conference last year.
Both voted to put a $88 parcel tax measure 
on the special election ballot this May.
A Hayward school parcel tax that has generated more than $11 million since its passage four years ago is due to sunset at the end of June. But the cost of renewing the parcel tax will be costly in itself.

Last month, the Hayward school board narrowly voted to approve a special election set for May 2 that will cost taxpayers $600,000 to administer. The election will by vote-by-mail only with ballots arriving in mailbox sometime around the beginning of April.

Alameda school trustee Solana Henneberry passes away at age 44

Alameda School Board Trustee Solana
Henneberry was first elected in 2014.
Alameda School Board Trustee Solana Henneberry passed away Tuesday from breast cancer. She was 44.

Henneberry won her first-term on the Alameda Unified School District Board of Trustees in 2014 and served as president of the board in 2016. She also taught special education in the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Eden Health District CEO says Bonta wants dissolution solely for their assets, not reasons stated

Eden Health District CEO
Dev Mahadevan
Alameda County elected officials and two East Bay assemblymembers have asserted for the past year that the Eden Health District no longer provides health care grants for its central county residents and should be dissolved.

Eden Health District CEO Dev Mahadevan, though, claims elected officials merely want the jurisdiction's holdings, including millions in land assets and revenue derived from medical offices it operates.

Alameda rent review member resigned after city disclosed his ties to landlord political group

Former Alameda RRAC member Robert 
Schrader during a hearing on Jan. 11.
Months after Robert Schrader was appointed to the Alameda Rent Review Committee in March of last year, he was asked to provide an analysis of the city’s rent stabilization ordinance for a local landlords’ group named Alamedans for Fair Rent Control, he said. The group formed part of the backbone of opposition toward a citizens-backed ballot measure last year to institute rent control on the island.

Schrader’s ties to Alamedans for Fair Rent Control gained the attention of the Alameda city attorney’s office last month because his participation with the group constitutes a conflict of interest for a sitting board member tasked with impartially mediating conflicts between Alameda tenants and property owners, said the city attorney's office. At the same time, the city also admonished Schrader for potentially violating a tenant's privacy rights during a meeting last month. On Jan. 31, Schrader resigned from the Rent Review Advisory Committee (RRAC).

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Swalwell berates Democratic Central Committee member for questioning his liberalism

Rep. Eric Swalwell, right, posing with law
enforcement while wearing a DEA cap.
Don't call East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell a Republican or you will pay for it.

After Swalwell tweeted a comment referring to his Republicans parents, Guillermo Elenes, an elected member of the Alameda County Democratic Party Central Committee, responded, "You are basically a Republican. Stop lying."

BART board members propose sanctuary transit agency

BART Board of Directors will discuss the option
of becoming a sanctuary transit agency at an
upcoming meeting. PHOTO/Wikicommons
BART trains already travel through three major Bay Area sanctuary cities--Oakland, San Francisco, and Berkeley. Now, the transit authority, itself, may move to become a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants using its trains.

Alameda County approves $750,000 in matching funds for immigrant legal services

Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan
As a child growing up in Boston, Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan saw through her mother, a translator in immigration court, just how frightening the process can be.

“I could see how much help and solace that gave people,” Chan said during a Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday that included approval for $750,000 in one-time funds to help county immigrants with legal services. The grant was matched by the San Francisco Foundation.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

As Alameda revisits its rent ordinance, advocates on both sides want changes

Tenants at the Bay View Apartments on 470 
Central Avenue in November 2015.
For  tenant advocates, the turmoil at Alameda’s Bay View Apartments symbolizes the plight of renters on the island. This week, families at the property known colloquially as 470 Central Avenue celebrated a victory over the San Jose-based landlord who had once previously attempted to evict tenants in defiance of a then moratorium on rent increases and evictions more than a year ago.

San Leandro gifts $800,000 loan for child care center

Access to affordable child care has been on San Leandro’s radar for years. On Monday, the San Leandro City Council backed it up with approval of an $800,000 loan for a 4,850 square foot child care center and adjacent playground at the Marea Alta affordable housing development, near the San Leandro BART station. However, barring any unforeseen problems over the life of the 20-year-old loan, the city will ultimately forgive its contribution to the project.

Hayward City Council approves 240-unit downtown housing development

A partial rendering of the 240-unit Maple & Main
housing development approved by the Hayward
City Council Tuesday night.
Maple & Main, a 240-unit housing development in North Hayward, which city leaders hope will help kickstart improvement in the downtown and provide much-needed foot traffic, was approved late Tuesday night by the Hayward City Council.

The development also includes 48 units dedicated for affordable housing and 5,500-square feet of retail. A remodeling of the existing medical offices on the same site is also part of the project.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bonta’s bill to help public defenders better represent undocumented immigrants passes committee

Assemblymember Rob Bonta appearing Tuesday
before the Assembly Public Safety Committtee.
An assembly bill that would increase training and resources for public defenders in order to represent undocumented immigrants passed its first step legislative step Tuesday. The Assembly Public Safety Committee approved the bill authored by East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta, 4-0.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Democracy will 'crumble' if Supreme Court nominee is confirmed, says Khanna

Rep. Ro Khanna
President Donald Trump's nomination last week of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court will have debilitating consequence for the nation, Rep. Ro Khanna told India West.

"If the Senate confirms Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, our fragile democracy under this administration will crumble even further,” said. Khanna.

After protest, Berkeley mayor walks back calling Milo Yiannopolous 'white nationalist," then kinda says it again

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin, right, during
a candidate forum last October.
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin has only been on the job over a month, but his first brush with national media attention may not have fared well. After a near riot ensued in Berkeley last Thursday in response to a scheduled speech at U.C. Berkeley by right wing provocateur Milo Yiannopolous, Arreguin's response was quizzical.

Friday, February 3, 2017

For Alameda County GOP, the new boss is same as the old boss

Sue Caro was reappointed last week as chair of the
Alameda County Republican Party.
A calming influence is returning to the moribund Alameda County Republican Party with the return of Sue Caro as chair of the local GOP. Caro, who ran a against Rep. Barbara Lee last November in the 13th District, served previously as party chair two years ago before working on the campaign of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Duf Sundheim last year.

Going back to her previous term as chair, Caro has been an  advocate for a far more moderate approach to fixing the local party, which over the years, has typically veered toward fringe elements, including the Tea Party and a takeover by Ron Paul supporters. Caro has also advocated strongly in the past for increasing the party’s dismal registration numbers in Alameda County, which is roughly seven percent.

A’s are looking at two different Port of Oakland properties

Oakland Athletics management identified Howard Terminal as one of five potential sites for a new ballpark in Oakland. Mayor Libby Schaaf and her predecessor Jean Quan have advocated for the same waterfront site, located just north of Jack London Square. And last week, the Athletics announced it would reveal sometime this year where they intend to build its baseball cathedral. But did the team give a hint of where that new site will be last week, in addition to interest in another Port of Oakland property not previously unidentified as a possible site?