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Friday, July 21, 2017

A potential Alameda City Charter crisis again flares over mayor's latest planning board picks

Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer's
future planning board nominations might
face indefinite uncertainty. 
ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL
Alameda may be in the midst of a City Charter crisis. Earlier this week, two of Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer's nominations to the influential Planning Board were rejected by the council's progressive majority.

Under past mayors, the periodic appointment to various boards and commissions was typically uncontroversial. But Tuesday night's opposition to Spencer's picks for two seats on the planning board again brought to light exactly what powers to appoint are afforded to the mayor and whether the entire ordeal is an offshoot of the divide between progressives in Alameda and the moderate to conservative nativists.

Khanna seeks to stop Washington from Dialing for Dollars

17TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
The concept of "Democracy Dollars" just might coax game show host Wink Martindale out of retirement. Except, it's not a pilot for an ABC television show next fall, but an idea Rep. Ro Khanna promoted this week to rid Washington from the effects of special interest campaign contributions.

Along with Yale Professor Bruce Ackerman and Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, also a strong Khanna supporter during the most recent election, the trio are pitching a plan they call “Democracy Dollars.”

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hayward City Council tells city manager to begin accepting applications for cannabis permits

HAYWARD CITY COUNCIL
Hayward was originally one of the first cities in the East Bay to allow medical cannabis dispensaries. But after concerns over the safety of its dispensaries, including one instance when the current mayor toured one such establishment while it was being robbed, the Hayward City Council closed them down and placed a moratorium on zoning in 2010. Times, though, have changed significantly even since just a year ago in Hayward.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

'A slap in the face': Paul Ryan strips Barbara Lee's AUMF repeal from defense budget bill

Rep. Barbara Lee met last week with
House Speaker Paul Ryan.
13TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
As East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee expected, House Speaker Paul Ryan removed her proposed repeal of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force amendment Tuesday night from a defense appropriation bill.

Lee famously cast the lone vote in opposition to the resolution just days after the attacks of 9/11.

Oakland bans sale of flavored tobacco and vaping liquids, along with menthol cigarettes

Oakland City Council President Larry Reid
says he quit smoking in April after more 
than 50 years.
OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL
"I started smoking when I was 15-years-old," Oakland City Council President Larry Reid said late Tuesday night before the council approved a citywide ban on the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping liquids, and menthol cigarettes.

"I'm 66-years-old. I stopped smoking on April 14. I have so many freaking stents in my heart, if I don't die, my next step at Kaiser Hospital is open-heart surgery," Reid said of his recent health problems. "This stuff is killing our community."

San Leandro councilman says dispensary permit holder lobbied council colleague's employer

San Leandro Councilmember Pete Ballew
slammed the city's second dispensary permit
holder for acting unethically.
SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL
The cross section of cannabis and politics clashed Monday night in San Leandro after one elected official said the group seeking to retain its previously approved dispensary permit has acted unethically in its zeal to protect their investment.

San Leandro Councilmember Pete Ballew read potentially explosive remarks into the record during Monday night's meeting, in which the Davis Street Wellness Center, the city's second approved dispensary, was allowed to continue with progress towards fulfilling requirements laid out in the conditional-use permit issued in July 2016.

Monday, July 17, 2017

East Bay's GOP Assemblymember Baker voted for cap-and-trade

Assemblymember Catharine Baker
16TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
To get Governor Jerry Brown's cap-and-trade bill passed Monday night, it took help from Republicans to get it done, including the East Bay's Assemblymember Catharine Baker.

Baker, the East Bay's lone Republican state lawmaker, was one of eight to support Assembly Bill 389. The legislation backed fiercely by Brown over the past week, extends the state's cap-and-trade legislation through to 2030. It was due to expire in 2020.

Locally-based San Leandro dispensary, not yet in business, may lose conditional-use permit

SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL
Over the past two years, San Leandro has approved three conditional-use permits for medical cannabis dispensaries. None, though, have yet to open for business. But now, the locally-backed group controversially approved by the city council last summer is at risk of losing its permit.

In July 2016, the city council approved the conditional-use permit for a group connected to the Davis Street Family Resource Center. The decision to choose the Davis Street Wellness Center, a move some attributed to the lobbying strength of Davis Street's well-connected city insiders, came after the city approved its first-ever dispensary permit in September 2015 for the Oakland-based Harborside Health Center,

Friday, July 14, 2017

Roger Stone calls Eric Swalwell a 'yellow-bellied coward'

Rep. Eric Swalwell and Trump associate
Roger Stone won't be sharing a glass of 
Livermore wine anytime soon.
15TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
It's not the first time Roger Stone has trash talked with Rep. Eric Swalwell, but on Friday the flamboyant associate of President Donald Trump had some choice words for the East Bay congressmember.

"I mean, have you seen this guy, Eric Swalwell? The lightweight, mannequin, pretty-boy from California?" Stone said on a radio show Friday. "I think he’s a yellow-bellied coward."

Stone was scheduled to appear next week before the House Intelligence Committee, which Swalwell is a member. However, Stone's appearance was postponed by the committee until after the August recess, according to Bloomberg.

Stone says he's itching to testify before the committee, but doesn't believe Swalwell has the nerve to face him. "I don’t think he will show. But if he does show, he will regret it for the rest of his life," Stone continued.

Stone and Swalwell have faced-off before. In March, the two exchanged barbs on Twitter.


EBC AGENDA | JULY 14-20 | Up in smoke: OAKLAND, SAN LEANDRO, HAYWARD discuss cannabis; Oakland may ban flavored tobacco sales; Drones in the 'Dro?

THE WEEK OF JULY 14-20
It may be a mellow week in the East Bay. Not only is this the last council meeting in some cities before the annual August recess, but Oakland, San Leandro and Hayward will all be discussing various issues associated with the cannabis industry. Oakland is keeping tabs on its recently approved Equity Permit Program, San Leandro is re-thinking one of its conditional-use permit holders and Hayward is showing signs of re-joining the cannabis permitting game (although Mayor Barbara Halliday may still be spooked after that time a dispensary once located in Hayward was robbed while she was touring it). As a side note, the San Francisco Planning Commission voted last Thursday to approve a dispensary to be run by former Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and her husband Dr. Floyd Yuen. In addition, Oakland is again working on smoking cessation with a proposed ban on flavored cigarillos and fruity liquids used in vaping. Alas, a menthol cigarette ban on the wishlist in both Oakland and San Leandro is not yet there.

Here's your highlights for a busy week in the East Bay:
➤As mentioned, lots of smoke in Oakland, San Leandro and Hayward

➤Oakland "Loves Life."

➤Hayward eyes Dark Fiber.

➤San Leandro wants to use a drone for public works

➤Plastic straw ban in Alameda.

While promoting progressive cred, Khanna got himself banned from liberal-leaning website

Rep. Ro Khanna and his staff has been
accused of misusing Daily Kos in the past.
17TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Rep. Ro Khanna has vowed to support a growing list of bedrock progressive principles since he was sworn-in to Congress last January. He's strongly backed an open Internet, smacked around Walmart for exacerbating income equality, and called for a steep increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit, among other issues. He even said Sen. Bernie Sanders should run again for president in 2020.

It's the kind of boilerplate that brings readers of the influential progressive website Daily Kos to their feet in rousing applause. But in his zeal to attract progressives, Daily Kos' audience is no longer available to Khanna.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

No surprise here: Speaker Paul Ryan not likely to accept Barbara Lee's AUMF repeal amendment

Rep. Barbara Lee's famous Sept. 2001 speech
opposing authorization for war in 
Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks.
13TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
The powerful House Appropriations Committee offered a sympathetic ear two weeks ago to Rep. Barbara Lee's amendment to a defense budget bill that would repeal authorization of military force used for the 16-year war in the Middle East.

Lee was so surprised by the Republican-led committee's vote in support of the amendment that she tweeted a celebratory "whoa."

The East Bay representative was the only member of Congress to vote against the authorization, a vote that attracted scorn from around the country, but ultimately proved insightful after the war become difficult and intensely unpopular.

How in the heck did Ron Dellums get his name into Trump's Russian collusion scandal?

Ron Dellums lobbied for the repeal of the
Magnitsky Act, a federal law mentioned
in the growing Russian collusion scandal.
TRUMP SCANDAL
Ron Dellums represented the East Bay in Congress for 13 terms. He later served as mayor of Oakland. Those years in government, apparentely, did little to pad his bank accounts. Dellums, it was reported in 2009, owed the government $293,000 in back taxes.

As Robert Gammon noted in the East Bay Express at the time, the debt threatened Dellums' re-election as Oakland mayor and may entice him to return to his lucrative government-lobbying job. That's exactly the road Dellums took.

But now, his lobbying work has oddly brought his name into the Russian collusion scandal currently barrelling toward President Donald Trump and his family.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Berkeley Mayor Arreguin comes out strong at state of city address

BERKELEY CITY COUNCIL
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin delivers his first state of the city address Monday night at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. PHOTOS/Zac Goldstein
By Keegan Tatum and Zac Goldstein

The sense in the room was, finally, someone said it. That mood endured for the entire State of the City address delivered by Berkeley’s new mayor, Jesse Arreguin.

Throughout his nearly 45-minute address at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, several voices on several occasions could be heard uttering a relieved “yes” as their young mayor laid out specific policy. The few hundred in the theatre were most responsive as Arreguin spoke about homelessness, income inequality, and the cost of rent.

Bonta urges Alameda to disqualify landlord referendum accused of violating election law

Assemblymember Rob Bonta
18TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
Assemblymember Rob Bonta wants the Alameda City Council to investigate and potentially disqualify a pending ballot referendum brought forth last month by local landlords after a raft of complaints that signature-gatherers intentionally misled residents.

The landlords' petition seeks to overturn Alameda City Council's decision last month to add a just cause amendment to the its rent stabilization ordinance.

Khanna staff caught again surreptitiously posting comments on progressive website Daily Kos

Someone affiliated with Rep. Ro Khanna has been
kicked off the progressive site Daily Kos a second
time for making comments while  using a fake 
user name, known as sockpuppeting.
17TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Rep. Ro Khanna has always ran on the pledge to be Silicon Valley's man in the halls of Congress. One of his first forays into the nexus between progressive ideology and the tech world came earlier this year when he slammed President Donald Trump's pick for the Federal Communication Commission for being a strong opponent of net neutrality.

It came as no surprise two weeks ago that Khanna posted a short commentary on the influential progressive website Daily Kos that cozied up to lefties while supporting the concept of net neutrality, which calls for all online content to be access equally regardless of the source.

There is much sentiment in support of Khanna's stance on the left, but the posting perhaps unwittingly returned the spotlight to his most recent campaign's darkest moments.

According to Daily Kos, a user named "csquared2" interacted in the comments section of the piece with a Daily Kos contributor who has written numerous articles highlighting Khanna's campaign donors, especially those affiliated with the charter school movement, a decidedly un-progressive issue.

Alameda Councilman says Impeachment march gives Congress confidence to oust President Trump

IMPEACHMENT MARCH
Alameda Councilmember Jim Oddie addressing marchers in San Francisco July 2 in support of impeaching President Donald Trump. PHOTOS/Zac Goldstein

By Keegan Tatum and Zac Goldstein 

As an estimated 2,000 people began their march down the Embarcadero, an East Bay city councilmember laid out the path towards achieving their collective goal: impeaching President Donald Trump.

Jim Oddie said other localities must repeat what he successfully pushed for in Alameda – the passing of a resolution calling for the impeachment of the president.

When our representatives in Congress “receive the report from the special investigators and special prosecutor, they'll know that the people in their communities have their backs,” Oddie said.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Alameda signature-gatherers hired by landlords could face criminal charges

ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL
The city of Alameda has received 51 affidavits alleging signature-gatherers paid by local landlords illegally misrepresented a proposed ballot measure intended to rollback recently-approved just cause tenant protections. The city is taking the charges seriously. According to a statement Tuesday from the city, it is consulting with the Alameda County District Attorney's office to discern whether any crimes have been committed.

The ballot initiative at the center of the complaints gained more than 7,300 signatures and was submitted last week to the clerk's office for authentication. Just 4,808 valid signatures are needed to place the initiative on a future ballot.

Oakland council committee moves to cool OPD coordination with ICE

Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan
addressing the public safety committee
on Tuesday night.
OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL
An Oakland City Council committee backed an ordinance Tuesday night that revokes authority previously given to the city administrator for entering agreements with the U.S. Immigration, Customs and Enforcement (ICE).

"It sends a strong message and brings peace of mind to members of our community," said Councilmember Abel Guillen, who also sits on the city council's public safety committee.

Monday, July 10, 2017

City Council support for cannabis in Alameda is building

Alameda Mayor Tish Herrera Spencer
ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL
The push for cannabis dispensaries and cultivation facilities in recent years in Oakland and San Leandro has long eluded Alameda where a moratorium has made the burgeoning industry a non-starter in local politics. That appears to be changing and quickly after the Alameda City Council laid at a short timeline that will soon begin the debate over dispensaries as early as September.

Ro Khanna blames his staff for Kimberly Ellis mishap

Rep. Ro Khanna
17TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Rep. Eric Swalwell understood the fairly simple task last May of authorizing a proxy to place his vote for California Democratic Party chair candidate Kimberly Ellis. But neighboring Congressman Ro Khanna appeared flummoxed by the process.

Ellis, whose underdog campaign captured the imagination of progressives, came up short in her bid for party chair by just 62 votes. Her campaign issued an official challenge of the result last month leading to the disclosure of ballots and 220, which are under further examination.

Friday, July 7, 2017

EBC AGENDA | July 7-13 | OAKLAND's border wall plan; ALAMEDA COUNTY to expand Laura's Law; KAPLAN wants to revoke ICE deal; ARREGUIN holds state of the city

THE WEEK OF JULY 7-13
The extended Fourth of July weekend is behind us, although many East Bay politicos and government workers are likely looking ahead to the annual August Recess, which shuts down local government for a month and forces yours truly to scramble for something to write about.

Meanwhile another busy week in East Bay government returns and one Oakland politician was certainly not taking the holiday break sitting down. On Tuesday, Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan has not one, but three quite significant pieces of legislation to unveil in committee. That kind of political panache might make some people suspect she's running for something next year.

Here's your weekly highlights:
➤Big week in Oakland: Trump border wall ordinance, gender-neutral bathrooms at City Hall, revoking its ICE agreement and owner-occupancy rules.

➤Alameda County Supervisors look to expand the controversial mental health law from pilot to full implementation.

➤Supervisor Richard Valle wants to convene a surveillance workgroup and cultivation and dispensaries in unincorporated Alameda County come closer to expansion.

➤Hayward works on its Downtown Specific Plan

➤Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin hold his first state of the city on Monday night.

Nadia Lockyer arrested for abusing Bill Lockyer

Bill and Nadia Lockyer
ALAMEDA COUNTY
Former Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer, whose brief tenure ended after she resigned due to drug and alcohol addiction, was arrested Thursday in Tuolomne County for spousal abuse. according to the Union Democrat. Nadia Lockyer is married to Bill Lockyer, the former state attorney general and treasurer.

Bill Lockyer, who retired from statewide office in 2015, suffered minor injuries, according to the report.

Ro Khanna endorsed Kimberly Ellis for state party chair, but didn't vote for her

Rep. Ro Khanna
17TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom last month famously announced support for both candidates in the hard-fought state Democratic Party chair race. But in the aftermath of the contentious campaign won by Los Angeles Democratic Party Chair Eric Bauman over the progressive Richmond upstart Kimberly Ellis, it was later learned that Newsom didn't cast a ballot. Neither did Sen. Kamala Harris.

Bauman defeated Ellis by just 62 votes out of more than 3,000 cast by party delegates last month. According to ballots currently being examined by Ellis' campaign, it turns out the tally should have been 61 votes.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

San Leandro tenant relocation payment ordinance stymied, sent back to Rules Committee

SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL
For the second time in as many weeks, a proposed tenant relocation payment program in San Leandro has failed to move forward. The San Leandro City Council sent back to committee, 5-2, Monday night a second iteration of the the program intended to compensate renters who are evicted through owner-initiated relocations.

The council previously voted, 6-1, on June 19 to support a tenant relocation payment ordinance requiring landlords to pay tenants three times the current Fair Market Rates published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It also caps payments at $10,000 and allows only a single $1,000 additional payment for tenants with minors or seniors. The ordinance also sets a threshold for landlords to pay relocation fees if they intend to raise rents by more than 12 percent during a given year.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

2018 EAST BAY CANDIDATES LIST

House of Representatives
13th District (Oakland-Berkeley-Alameda-San Leandro)
*Barbara Lee-D, congressmember

15th District (Hayward-Fremont-Tri Valley)
*Eric Swalwell-D, congressmember

17th District (Fremont-San Jose-Cupertino)
➠Filed Intent
Ron Cohen-R, certified public accountant
*Ro Khanna-D, congressmember
Khahn Tran-D, Alum Rock school board member

State Assembly
15th District (North Oakland-Berkeley)
➠Filed Intent
Judy Appel, Berkeley school board member
Jovanka Beckles-D, Richmond councilmember
Dan Kalb-D, Oakland councilmember
Andy Katz-D, EBMUD board director
Buffy Wicks-D, political consultant
➠Showing Interest
Ben Bartlett, Berkeley councilmember
Dianne Martinez, Emeryville mayor
Jean Quan, former Oakland mayor

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Sheriff Ahern remains steadfast in his stance on Alameda County's immigration practices

Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern at
a town hall Friday evening in Cherryland.
ALAMEDA COUNTY SHERIFF
Activists at a town hall Friday in Cherryland shouted down Alameda County Gregory Ahern, jeered, hissed and booed him over his department's immigration policies. "I believe some people should be deported," insisted Ahern.

The town hall organized by the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union attracted more than 200 to a gymnasium in unincorporated Alameda County. Nearly a dozen sheriff's deputies surrounded the audience during the 90 minute conversation that included discussions between Ahern, members of the ACLU and public speakers.

Ahern repeatedly insisted that his department follows the rule of law when it comes to immigration law and coordination with the U.S. Immigration, Customs and Enforcement. Alameda County and many of its cities have declared themselves sanctuary cities.

Friday, June 30, 2017

EBC AGENDA | JUNE 30-JULY 6 | Tenant relocation payments return to SAN LEANDRO; ALAMEDA Point Site A; Sheriff AHERN in HAYWARD; 'MERICA!

THE WEEK OF JUNE 30-JULY 6
Every week the EBC AGENDA describes a "very busy week in East Bay government." Unless White House press secretary Sean Spicer is offering the agenda this week, using this phrase would be a total lie! City Councils in San Leandro and Alameda bookend the Fourth of July holiday. Important issues, nonetheless, highlight both meetings. Here's your guide. 'Merica!

SAN LEANDRO -- Regular council meeting, Monday, July 3, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--TENANT RELOCATION FEES-- Two weeks ago, this item came before the San Leandro City Council, but a number of amendments approved on June 19 forced the proposed ordinance to return for another first reading.

--Among the amendments, approved, 6-1, by the council is an exemption for landlords with properties of 1-4 units from paying relocation payments to tenants. The amendments were literally read into the motion that night by David Stark of the East Bay Association of Realtors and Tom Silva of the Rental Housing Authority. Silva is also a member of the California Apartment Association and San Leandro Rent Review Board.

--POLICE HQ EXPANSION-- Most accept the San Leandro Police Department's headquarters adjacent to City Hall is inadequate. The council originally approved a $648,000 contract with consultants Indigo/Hammond & Playle Architects to study a planned $8.4 million expansion of the building and South Offices.

--Another $158,000 is being asked of the council to expand the scope of the consultant's service contract, bringing the total to $806,000. According to the staff report, more than $6 million for the total projects is earmarked in the 2018-19 fiscal year budget.

*****
ALAMEDA -- Regular council meeting, Wednesday, July 5, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--ALAMEDA POINT SITE A-- The 800-unit large-scale development (including 200 units dedicated for affordable housing) at the former Alameda Naval Air Station, that includes 600,000 sq. ft of retail, ran into a stumbling block in April when the developer Alameda Point Partners defaulted on a financing plan for the project. The group said a spike in construction costs meant the project's finances did not pencil out. But the developer is back Wednesday night with amendments to the Disposition and Development Agreement with the city. Read the city's extensive cache of documents related to the project HERE.

*****
GATHERINGS --SHERIFF AHERN IN HAYWARD-- Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern town hall organized by grassroots organization People Power, Friday, June 30, 5 p.m., Hayward Adult School, 22100 Princeton St, Hayward.

--SF IMPEACHMENT MARCH-- A number of Bay Area councils have voted to investigate and impeach President Trump. They will meet Sunday, July 2, 1 p.m. Justin Herman Plaza - Embarcadero, San Francisco,

-- ALAMEDA MAYOR'S FOURTH OF JULY PARADE-- Tuesday, July 4, 10 a.m.begins at Park Street and Lincoln Avenue. Coast Guard Festival begins, 1 p.m. at Pier 3 on Alameda Point (near USS Hornet).

--BERKELEY STATE OF THE CITY-- Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin delivers his first State of the City address, Monday, July 10, 6 p.m.Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison St, Berkeley.

Swalwell voted for House bill that seeks stronger sentences for undocumented immigrants

Rep. Eric Swalwell
15TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
A House bill backed by President Donald Trump that would increase minimum prison sentences for repeat offenders of U.S. immigration law was supported Thursday by East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell.

The bill is inspired by the tragic 2015 murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco by an undocumented immigrant who had been arrested and deported five times for various crimes before the killing.

With patience and time running out, Oakland finds a way to approve $2.5bn two-year budget

Oakland Councilmember Abel Guillen's motion
allowed the city approve its two-year budget
just under the wire before a Friday deadline.
OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL
For a budget battle in Oakland that resulted earlier in the week with an abrupt adjournment in response to civil disobedience, it didn’t take much to inflame what became another wild night inside the council’s chambers.

The Oakland City Council approved, through a bit of parliamentary sleight-of-hand, a $2.5 billion biennial budget late Thursday night. But chanting and angry shouting directed at various councilmembers highlighted an upset audience that had previously advocated for defunding the city’s police department following its on-going police sexual misconduct scandal involving an under-aged girl.

Competing budget proposals from Mayor Libby Schaaf, Council President Larry Reid, and a coalition of other members of the council and disagreements posed a dilemma. The use of one-time expenditures, said City Attorney Barbara Parker, meant the already fractious debate would require six of the eight council votes for passage, rather than five. Furthermore, the city is required by state law to pass a balanced budget for the upcoming fiscal year by June 30.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

'Whoa!' 16 years later, Barbara Lee's famous stand against 'endless war' moves forward

After the House Appropriations Committee approved 
Rep. Barbara Lee's AUMF repeal amendment, 
she tweeted, "Whoa."
13TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Rep. Barbara Lee's lone stand against the authorization of war in the Middle East in 2001 is legendary in the East Bay and across the progressive movement for its courage and later foresight.

Sixteen years later, Lee's amendment is gaining support. On Thursday, the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee voted to include a repeal of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in the U.S. Department of Defense spending bill.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Michael Bloomberg maxes out contributions to Tony Thurmond's opponent for state supe

Former New York City Mayor Michael
Bloomberg isn't likely to be a friend
of Tony Thurmond next year.
STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS

When it came to funding ballot initiatives for taxing sugary drinks in Oakland and San Francisco last fall, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was an ally of Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, who supported the initiatives

But, Bloomberg, known for backing a panoply of philanthropic causes, is also an ardent supporter of charter schools, a position Thurmond, who is running next year to become the state superintendent of public instruction, strongly opposes. 

Oakland City Council had little interest in questioning Elaine Brown's non-profit, except her top rival Desley Brooks

Elaine Brown, Alameda County Supervisor
Keith Carson and Oakland Councilmember
Desley Brooks in an undated photo.
OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL
Apparently, Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks and former Black Panther and Oakland activist Elaine Brown have no limits on being in the same room. On Tuesday, the Oakland City Council approved a land disposition agreement for the property at Seventh and Campbell Streets where Brown's non-profit Oakland & the World Enterprises operates an urban garden and envisions building affordable housing for the recently incarcerated. Brooks, nonetheless attempted to land a number of straight-arm jabs at Brown's project.

In fact, the dust-up between the two women that occurred in October 2015 at a barbecue restaurant in Downtown Oakland and included allegations that Brooks knocked Brown to the ground was precipitated by an argument over this same project. Brooks reportedly threatened to not support the project and Brown allegedly accused her of "being in the hands of developers."

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Alameda landlords file charter amendment petition, possible second ballot measure

Alameda Councilmember Jim Oddie at a
pro-renters rally at City Hall on June 16.
ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL
Over the past weeks, as a wave of unruly signature-gatherers from outside of Alameda have been pushing a landlord-backed petition to roll back just cause protections for renters, another petition seeking a possible second ballot measure may soon be hitting the streets.

Alameda businessmen Eric Cross, Michael Gorman and former Councilmember Tony Daysog filed on June 14 an intent to circulate a petition that essentially codifies as part of the City Charter the rent stabilization ordinance passed by the Alameda City Council in March 2016. The ordinance was also approved by 55 percent of Alameda voters last November.

"We thought this issue was settled--the people of Alameda have spoken loud and clear," declares the petition, and "Alamedans need to be in charge, not the politicians."

Oakland City Council backs inquiry, Trump impeachment: 'I hope God blesses us with a miracle and gets rid of both Trump and Pence'

OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL
"I can't think of any of my colleagues on this council that voted for Donald Trump," said Oakland Council President Larry Reid before a number of public speakers lined up to urge the City Council to support a resolution to investigate and possibly impeach Donald Trump.

He was right. The Oakland City Council unanimously voted to approve the resolution Tuesday night and join other East Bay cities, such as Alameda, Richmond, and Berkeley in calling attention to a growing number of allegations against the President for his conduct before and after taking office last January.

"It's obvious the city has a number of pressing local problems," said Oakland resident Myra Mitzman. "I urge us to look outside our own gate. When democracy is being threatened so brazenly, we are being threatened."

Councilmember Dan Kalb, who sponsored the resolution along with Councilmember Abel Guillen and City Attorney Barbara Parker, reiterated it does not immediately call for impeachment of the president, but asks the House Judiciary Committee to begin an investigation into Trump's alleged misconduct. However, he added, "I think there's enough evidence for this to go forward."

After the vote, Reid painfully chuckled and exclaimed, "I hope God blesses us with a miracle and gets rid of both Trump and [Vice President Mike] Pence."

After ruthless campaign that cost Mike Honda his seat, Ro Khanna wishes him happy birthday

17TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Let bygones be bygones. At least that's what Rep. Ro Khanna thinks after he wished a happy birthday to his former political rival and the man he replaced in the 17th Disrict, former Rep. Mike Honda. Khanna tweeted his birthday wish on Twitter early Tuesday morning.
Recall, though, that Honda sued Khanna and his campaign manager, Brian Parvizshahi last fall alleging they illegally accessed Honda's digital donor lists. Honda later equated Khanna to "Russian hacker."

Unincorporated Fairview receives approval for five-member municipal advisory council

In addition to Fairview, Alameda County
Supervisor Nate Miley represents the
unincorporated areas of Ashland, Cherryland
and Castro Valley.
ALAMEDA COUNTY
The tiny 10,000-person hamlet of Fairview, an unincorporated area between Hayward and Castro Valley, received approval from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors Tuesday to create its own quasi-government body, the first in the county in more than three decades.

The Fairview Municipal Advisory Council establishes a five-member board for the unincorporated area. Alameda County last approved a MAC in 1981 for Castro Valley, for which the Fairview MAC is modeled on.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Oakland Councilman Dan Kalb formally announces candidacy for the 15th Assembly District

Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb
15TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb made official what just about everyone in East Bay politics has known for months. He's running next year for the 15th Assembly District seat.

“All through my career, I have dedicated myself to solving big problems by bringing folks together with determination and in good faith,” said Kalb. “Our leaders must get creative to tackle our toughest problems with innovative solutions. I know I can do that in Sacramento because I’ve done it time and time again on the City Council and throughout my career.”

Friday, June 23, 2017

EBC AGENDA | June 23-29 | OAKLAND forms indy police commission, impeaches Trump; ALAMEDA COUNTY allocates $55 million to indigent health care

THE WEEK OF JUNE 23-29
The last week was a good one for the accountability of Alameda County elected officials. First, the Alameda County grand jury report kicked dirt on Supervisors Keith Carson and Nate Miley for their handling of county allocations to non-profits they were intimately connected with, and the Oakland City Council for abusing closed session. A few days later a court-appointed investigation into the Oakland police sexual misconduct scandal slammed Mayor Libby Schaaf for her mishandling of the aftermath of the investigation and the Oakland Police Department's intransigence in getting to the bottom of the horrific scandal. Next week, the Oakland City Council may add a more preventative wrinkle to accountability of its police department with Councilmember Dan Kalb's Oakland Police Commission, which will give civilians "real" power to rebuke the department and even fire its chief. Further down the line, expect Kalb, who is running for the open 15th Assembly District seat next year, to place this issue at the top of his campaign platform.

It's a busy week once again in East Bay government in advance of the Independence Day holiday that falls on the Tuesday council day. Here's your highlights:

➤Fiscal year budgets are slated to be signed, sealed, and delivered in Oakland and Alameda County.

➤Oakland gets behind impeachment and the Paris Climate Agreement

➤Indigent care gets a boost in funding for the next year, along with $4.5 million for homeless shelters

➤Unincorporated Fairview gets a quasi-government framework

➤No raises for Hayward department heads 😞

ALCO DA hopeful Price says she's running on police accountability, criminal justice reform

Oakland civil rights attorney Pamela Price
says Alameda County D.A. Nancy O'Malley 
did not protect victim of police sex crimes.
ALAMEDA COUNTY
Unseating Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley might be the longest of longshots in the East Bay next year. But Oakland civil rights attorney Pamela Price believes a campaign advocating for police accountability, criminal justice reform, and her believe O'Malley has failed on both accounts is a winning message.

Price laid out her early platform for the June 2018 primary race on Thursday in an email to supporters. She also acknowledged the obstacles for defeating the deeply-entrenched O'Malley. "My friends’ first question is not why am I running for DA. The first question is 'have you lost your mind?' No, I have not lost my mind. I know who I am and I know why I’m running."

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hayward Mayor Halliday with yet another set of bizarre statements, this time about the homeless

Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday
HAYWARD CITY COUNCIL
During a discussion over Hayward's homeless count and possible solutions to housing them Tuesday night, Mayor Barbara Halliday offered a series of bizarre statements.

They involved a comment that appeared to opine the homeless are unable to responsibly maintain the upkeep of their subsidized housing. She later suggested it was a success the city is doing well finding shelter for families, while failing individuals. Halliday also lauded the city for its homeless count being stagnate over prior years, while the rest of Alameda County spiked.

BART approves 'safe transit policy,' its version of sanctuary for undocumented immigrants

BART Board Director Lateefah Simon
first proposed the transit agency become
a sanctuary for riders in March.
BART BOARD OF DIRECTORS
A resolution that falls short of declaring BART a so-called sanctuary for undocumented riders, but is instead labeled a "safety transit policy" was nearly unanimously approved by the BART Board of Directors Thursday.

The original resolution, first proposed by BART Board Directors Lateefah Simon in February, was refashioned to omit any references to "sanctuary cities." Some board directors feared the transit authority's oversized reliance on federal funding could be targeted by the Trump administration if the phrase was included in the resolution.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Oakland public bank study put on hold while city passes the hat around to cannabis interests

OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL
During the Oakland City Council committee stage, at least one Oakland councilmember consistently urged stakeholders in the city's cannabis business community to fund a proposed $100,000 public bank feasibility study rather than using the depleted general fund. Councilmember Noel Gallo's idea was never elaborated upon by his colleagues until Tuesday night and the suggestion appears to have led to the City Council's postponement of the allocation to the July 18 meeting.

Funding for the public bank study appeared on the path to approval until Councilmember Abel Guillen suggested the city attempt to recoup the $100,000 from the cannabis community, which is bound to greatly benefit from a banking system decentralized from Big Banks. Access to banking services are difficult for many cannabis businesses to attain since the federal government still views cannabis production and sales as illegal.

"Oakland cannot go at this alone," said Guillen. "I think a regional approach might make the most sense and any risk we are exposed to needs to be shared with a geographical area."

Oakland would definitely be treading on somewhat unprecedented territory if a public bank is ever created in the East Bay. Although, prevalent in some countries, the only other public bank in the U.S. is in North Dakota.

Richmond, Berkeley, Emeryville and possibly Alameda County have already shown interest in joining Oakland in a proposed public bank. "Ask them to put their money where their mouth is," said Guillen. The public bank issue, he added, is being framed as a benefit for the cannabis industry in Oakland. "Ask some in that community to reimburse the city."

Others on the council appeared to latch onto Guillen's remark.

"I don't want to waste $100,000, if in fact, Emeryville and Alameda County wants to do this. They should step up to the plate," said Council President Larry Reid. Don't burden the city of Oakland." Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney offered a similar argument, saying the county has more than ample reserves to cover the study or wait until other cities are fully on-board with the plan before moving forward.

Earlier, City Administrator Sabrina Landreth urged the council to wait until a similar study in San Francisco was released before acting to spend money on a feasibility study of their own.

Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, perhaps the public bank's most enthusiastic supporter, tried to urge her colleagues to move forward with Tuesday night's agenda item, saying the consultant for the study has already been vetted and ready to begin its work.

The feasibility study's price tag is a bargain, said Councilmember Dan Kalb, and will get more expensive if the city waits. He equated the regional aspect of the public bank proposal to the recently formed Alameda County Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program that allows its city's to buy clean energy for residents through the existing utility company.

 "CCA didn't wait for everybody to chip in," said Kalb. "Reality is we're the biggest city in the county. San Francisco is not who we should be partnering with."

Swalwell wants House Intel Committee to subpoena Trump's tapes if not turned over by Friday

15TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
East Bay Congressman and unofficial MSNBC contributor Eric Swalwell said Wednesday that he hopes the House Intelligence Committee subpoena the alleged tapes President Donald Trump suggested on Twitter last month that include private conversations with former FBI Director James Comey. That is, if Trump doesn't provide the recordings requested by the House Intelligence Committee by this Friday. Some believe Trump's threat of tapes is merely a bluff on the president's part.

Report: Schaaf, former Chief Whent mishandled OPD sexual misconduct investigation

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf
OAKLAND
A investigation into the handling of the Oakland police sexual misconduct scandal by the department describes a troublesome lax attitude early on toward the allegation and a city administration disinterested in the post-investigation fallout. It was not until the OPD's federal monitor and the Alameda County District Attorney's office intervened in the case that the department and city administration ramp up its efforts, the investigators wrote in a 33-page report released Wednesday.

"There is no doubt that, once the Court intervened to ensure the investigation was conducted in a thorough manner, City leaders took the matter seriously and were actively engaged in ensuring OPD investigated thoroughly. They also took the appropriate step of hiring an outside attorney to uncover what had occurred before the Court’s intervention," according to court-appointed investigators Edward Swanson and Audrey Barron.

Extra! Extra! Local Alameda newspaper nabs city contract from East Bay Times

ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL
The Bay Area News Group's Alameda Journal is basically three stories and a community calendar published once a week. It just got slimmer after losing a contract to the locally-owned Alameda Sun to print legal notices for the City of Alameda . The one-year contract may be worth more than $18,000.

The Alameda City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to award the contract to the Alameda Sun over the Bay Area News Group's low-ball bid. This comes despite language in the City Charter that requires the city council to accept the lowest and "best" bid, said City Attorney Janet Kern.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Following emotional hearing, Oakland City Council approves Dept. of Violence Prevention

OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL
It was one of the most somber Oakland City Council meetings in recent memory. Dozens of public speakers detailed the anguish following the loss of loved ones to gun violence in Oakland. And, later, after Council President Larry Reid's daughter provided her own tragic testimony, he struggled to fight back tears before the council approved Tuesday evening the creation of a Department of Violence Prevention.

Over the past two months Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney, along with Reid, had pushed for the new city department, but some members were slow to support the proposal, citing questions over its cost and scope.

Jean Quan is mulling a comeback

Jean Quan
OAKLAND
As far as second or third acts go, this would be quite a stunner. Former Oakland Mayor Jean Quan is mulling a run for the open 15th Assembly District seat being vacated next year by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, according to sources with knowledge of her inquiries.

In recent weeks, Quan's husband, Dr. Floyd Huen, reached out to a member of Thurmond's inner circle and acknowledged his wife's interest in running in next June's primary, sources say. Quan also put out feelers to others in the East Bay politics, they say.

Monday, June 19, 2017

San Leandro City Council adds landlord exemptions to proposed tenant relocation payments

SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL
It’s taken more than a year for the San Leandro City Council to formulate a tenant relocation payments amendment to its existing rent review ordinance. But following a number of additions to the proposal, some that benefit small-time landlords in San Leandro, the amendments will have to wait another two weeks for a first reading and likely approval.

The council voted, 6-1, to approve the amended ordinance (Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter voted no), but due to the amount of changes made Monday night, the reworked legislation is scheduled to return to the City Council for a first reading on July 3, said City Attorney Richard Pio Roda.

Supervisor Keith Carson knew about conflict of interest when giving $710k in county funds to employee, former Black Panther Elaine Brown's non-profit

Supervisor Keith Carson
ALAMEDA COUNTY GRAND JURY
Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson violated the county's conflict of interests rules when he hired former Black Panther leader Elaine Carson to his staff and allocated $710,000 in funding to the housing non-profit she created in 2014, according to an Alameda County grand jury report released Monday. It also concluded Carson was aware of the conflict from the beginning.

The grand jury found that Carson hired Brown as part of his District 5 staff for the express purpose of helping her create Oakland and the World Enterprises (OAW). The non-profit seeks to provide affordable housing and other opportunities to underserved residents in West Oakland.

Grand jury: Oakland’s misuse of closed session with developers looks like backroom dealing

A rendering of the 24-story luxury building
that was initially proposed fot the sale of
Oakland-owned land in 2015.
ALAMEDA COUNTY GRAND JURY
Oakland’s proposed sale two years ago of a sliver of city-owned property near Lake Merritt, known as the East 12th Street Remainder parcel, rankled community activists for its brazen lack of transparency and resulted on one occasion with the shutdown of a city council meeting. According to an Alameda County grand jury report, released Monday, their anger toward the sale and two other downtown properties, was not misplaced.

The report slammed Oakland for repeatedly exploiting an exception in the Brown Act, the state’s landmark sunshine law, while suggesting the practice fosters a belief in the public that city officials are brokering “backroom deals” with real estate investors.

Friday, June 16, 2017

EBC AGENDA | June 16-22 | OAKLAND public bank study, SAN LEANDRO tackles tenant relocation fees, Mega town hall

THE WEEK OF JUNE 16-22
It's so early in the process of whether Oakland and more likely a consortium of East Bay cities go into the banking and lending business that we've heard a peep from Big Bank. Richmond and Berkeley reported are interested in joining the public bank group. Based on recent progressive actions, Alameda and San Leandro might have interest. Of course, the more, the merrier, and each city have distinct interests in squaring the circle when it comes to their burgeoning cannabis industrial scenes to have options when it comes to banking.

Meanwhile, it's a very busy week in East Bay government, particularly Oakland, where a few notable agenda items, including the public bank feasibility study, are featured. Here's your highlights for the week:

➤San Leandro's housing market is slowly heating up and tenant relocation payments there might be a short-term answer.

➤Step right up! The runner-up for the Alameda County treasurer's post wins a consolation prize.

➤Pot industry gets a look in San Leandro and possibly Alameda.

➤Town hall Saturday: Events featuring Assemblymembers Rob Bonta, Tony Thurmond, State Sen. Nancy Skinner and Rep. Ro Khanna.

After colleague's long-winded Warriors speech two years ago, Wilma Chan keeps it short

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and MC Hammer
at the Warriors victory parade Thursday.
ALAMEDA COUNTY
On a similar sun-swept afternoon in Oakland two years ago, Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty stepped to the lectern and addressed an estimated 1 million Warriors fans at Lake Merritt following the Warriors' first NBA championship in 40 years.

Haggerty's speech, though, became infamous not for the congratulatory words he offered the new champs, but how many there were.

As possibly the most knowledgeable sports fan among East Bay elected officials, Haggerty, nonetheless, had much to say. But sunburned Warriors fans that day were in no mood for a salutary speech from anyone outside of Stephen Curry and company.

Lee says Trump's Cuba policy is an 'unnecessary step backwards'

Rep. Barbara Lee says President Trump's
new Cuba policy hurts U.S. businesses.
13TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Rep. Barbara Lee has another reason to be critical of President Donald Trump after the administration announced Thursday that it would roll back the reopening of Cuba to U.S. investment and travel, a policy created in 2015 under President Barack Obama.

After the announcement, Lee said the policy "will return the U.S. to an era of failed isolationist Cuba policies."

Trump's directive tightens bans on American tourism to Cuba and investment, though, maintains the reopened U.S. embassy in Havana..

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

EBMUD board director Andy Katz enters growing AD-15 race

Andy Katz's current term on the 
EBMUD board ends in 2018.
15TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
Four years ago, East Bay Municipal Utilities District board member Andy Katz thought he was ready for a move to the state house. He eventually dropped out of the race in the 15th Assembly District later won by Tony Thurmond.

On Wednesday, Katz filed papers to again run in the 15th District, this time to replace him.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tony Daysog is running for the Alameda City Council next year

Tony Daysog served on the Alameda City Council
from 1996-2006 and 2012-2016.
ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL
Tony Daysog has won some and lost some during his time in Alameda politics. He's run for mayor and even Congress two years ago in a race outside of his home district. But Daysog's sweet spot appears to be the Alameda City Council where he's served a total of 14 years.

After missing out on re-election in 2016, Daysog said last week that he is running for one of two open seats on the Alameda City Council in 2018.

Oakland public bank feasibility study moves forward

OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL
Oakland officials are putting a down payment on the possible creation of a public bank. The Oakland City Council Finance and Management Committee approved the allocation Tuesday of $100,000 to study the feasibility of the potentially landmark public bank in Oakland, or possibly regionally.

The proposed public bank would give Oakland residents in underserved areas a viable option for seeking mortgage and personal loans. It's a response to the lack of interest from Big Banks to provide mortgage loans to minorities in Oakland.

Ro Khanna thinks Bernie Sanders should run for president in 2020

Rep. Ro Khanna
17TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
For months, freshman Rep. Ro Khanna's Twitter feed has morphed into a type of daily affirmation of his progressive credentials. At times the tone is similar to that of Stuart Smalley, the self-help character from Saturday Night Live created by future Sen. Al Franken.

I'm good enough. I'm progressive enough. And doggone it, people like me!

On Monday, Khanna's avalanche of progressive declarations intended to market the first-term congressman as the new beacon of the far-left veered into an unsolicited presidential endorsement.