Friday, March 16, 2018

Political patronage rekindled in Alameda County with well-timed retirements and unopposed incumbents this June

The status quo in Alameda County has been
aided by a concerted effort to perpetuate
political patronage and stymie insurgents.
--ELECTION 2018--
As the filing deadline for the June 5 primary passed last Friday evening, the Alameda County Auditor-Controller Steve Manning and Assessor Ron Thomson failed to complete their filings for re-election. Alameda County elected officials waiting until the last minute to bow out of re-election in an apparent effort to boost the chances of their underlings is an even-year tradition in the East Bay, which critics say only reinforces continuity of power among county government loyalists.

In the case of Manning, who has served as auditor-controller since 2014, the filing scheme is most evident. Records with the Alameda County Registrar of Voters long listed Manning as pulling papers for re-election. A race in which he almost certainly would have won. But days before the Mar. 9 filing deadline appeared another candidate--Manning's subordinate--Melissa Wilk, a deputy Alameda County auditor, replete with a well-designed campaign web site. Irella Blackwood, an outsider to county politics, is also a candidate for auditor-controller this spring.

Price says O'Malley didn't charge Fremont officers for killing 16-year-old because of $10,000 campaign donation

Oakland civil rights attorney Pamela Price,
left, is challenging  Alameda County DA
Nancy O'Malley in June.
--ELECTION 2018--
Pamela Price says Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley did not charge two Fremont police officers for the killing last year of an unarmed 16-year-old girl because the Fremont police union gave her a $10,000 campaign contribution last November. "They gave her money, they're not charging the officers," says Price. In addition, the current president of the Fremont Police Officers Association is one of the officers involved in the shooting.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

There's going to be two Bontas on the ballot in Alameda next fall

Mialisa Bonta is the founder and CEO of
the Oakland education non-profit LitLab.
--ELECTION 2018--
Apparently, it's what political couples do for romance. Last Valentine's Day, Assemblymember Rob Bonta posted a photo on his Facebook page taken at the Alameda County Registrar of Voters office. However, it wasn't Rob Bonta who was filing to run for office that day, but his wife, Mialisa Bonta.

Mialisa Bonta, who founded an Oakland education non-profit, is running this November for one of two open seats on the Alameda school board.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Democrats coalesce around single candidate to challenge Catharine Baker's re-election

AD16 Assemblymember Catharine Baker
will face Dem Rebecca Bauer-Kahan are
the only candidates in the June 5 primary.
--ELECTION 2018--
In some parts of the state where Democrats are hoping to upend Republican seat holders, aspiring candidates are running the risk of diluting their electoral strength by having too many candidates run in the Top Two primary. This is not the case in the East Bay's 16th Assembly District, the perennial lone moderate battleground, where Republican Assemblymember Catharine Baker is again facing a concerted effort by Democrats to challenge her re-election.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

East Bay candidate for Congress declares war on California

Ron Cohen
--ELECTION 2018--
A week ago, Ron Cohen, a Republican congressional candidate in the 17th District's June primary, was incensed by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf's move to alert residents of impending raids by federal ICE agents. He responded by filing a complaint with the U.S. Attorney General's office in Oakland. On Wednesday, Cohen declared war on the State of California.

'Lil' Arnerich, former Alameda councilmember, passes at age 89

'Lil' Arnerich served two terms on the 
Alameda City Council.
Anthony 'Lil' Arnerich, a former Alameda councilmember and civic leader, particularly in the retrofitting of Alameda High School, and an advocate for youth sports, died Friday. He was 89.

Arnerich's stint in Alameda politics began in 1988 when he was appointed to the City Council and was elected to the seat the next year. He won re-election in 1992.

Friday, March 9, 2018

In a twist, Alameda places its city manager on administrative leave

Alameda City Manager
Jill Keimach
As the public awaited the potential release of an independent investigation into claims of political interference made by its City Manager Jill Keimach, the Alameda City Council, instead, came out of a nearly five-hour special closed session meeting Friday evening to announce she was being placed on paid administrative leave.

EBC AGENDA | MAR 9-15 | OAKLAND reviews Army Base development's 'loss of significant redevelopment dollars'; Cell tower appeal in FREMONT


--OAKLAND-- Regular council committee meetings, Tuesday, Mar. 13, starts at 9:30 a.m.

Community & Economic Development Committee, 1:30 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--OAKLAND ARMY BASE MID-TERM REVIEW-- "Initial City funding commitments, originally included projected net tax increment generated between 2011 through 2017 totaling approximately $10 million and was significantly impacted by AB 26 resulting in an actual net tax increment collection of only $400,000. With the loss of redevelopment funding and bonding capacity, the City also lost the related set-aside for the Low and Moderate Income Housing Fund... Over the five-year period of this Implementation Plan, despite the loss of significant redevelopment dollars, the City has been successful in securing the needed sources of funding and bridge financing to complete the construction of Public Improvements at the former Oakland Army Base prior to the end of July 2018." Tuesday's CED meeting also includes updates on six other major projects in Oakland: Broadway/Macarthur/San Pablo, Central District, Central City East, Coliseum, Oak Knoll, and West Oakland Redevelopment Project Areas.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Jeff Sessions: How dare you! Libby Schaaf: How dare YOU!

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ripped Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf this morning during a speech in Sacramento, calling her "an embarrassment to the proud state of California."

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Charles Plummer, former Alameda County sheriff known for creating 'Cardinal Sins' police training guidelines , dies at 87

Former Alameda County Charles Plummer
was first elected in 1986 and served 20 years.
Charles Plummer, who served 20 of his 54 years in law enforcement serving as Alameda County sheriff, passed away Monday. He was 87.

Stern in a paternal way, Plummer appeared to perfectly fit the mold of a mid-20th Century law man. Referring to his first job in law enforcement, serving in the Berkeley Police Department in the 1960s, Plummer remarked at his retirement ceremony that he wished he would have been more firm with protesters at the famed 1969 People's Park riots.

Libby Schaaf: 'Bay Area liberal standard-bearer'?

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf was the subject
recently of at least three profiles published
by national publications.
In 2014, the New York Times proclaimed Oakland as "Brooklyn by the Bay." Former Mayor Jean Quan loved the New York Times' portrayal of the city as a burgeoning mecca for foodies so much that she seemingly couldn't go a single week without trumpeting the news article.

It's clear the editors of the venerable "Grey Lady" have an affinity for Oakland, but over the weekend, it also became clear they don't have the same level of awareness for its politics.

Spouse of Alameda's elected city auditor says housing at Alameda Point will bring low-income cars

A rendering for a portion of Phase 1 of the
Site A plan at Alameda Point.
When the Alameda City Council revisits an 800-unit housing and commercial development at Alameda Point tonight, known as "Site A," the spouse of the city's elected city auditor says she will be strongly against the plan, saying it will worsen the island's persistent traffic problems with more cars belonging to low-income residents.

Friday, March 2, 2018

EBC AGENDA | MAR 2-8 | HAYWARD may go carbon-free; FREMONT police seek tech upgrades; ALAMEDA extra special closed session

--HAYWARD-- Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Mar. 6, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--CARBON-FREE ENERGY-- Hayward could be heading toward 100 percent carbon-free energy for all its residents through the new East Bay Community Energy program. The council will decide Tuesday whether to make the program's carbon-free option, called "Brilliant 100," as the city's default option. The offering will not cost Hayward residents anything and they will still get their power through PG&E. A lower-tiered option, which features 85 percent carbon-free energy, is estimated to save customers roughly $1 per month.

--CANNABIS TAX RATE-- "City staff is proposing introduction of an ordinance establishing the procedure for levying and collecting the Commercial Cannabis Tax approved by the passage of Measure EE. Additionally, staff seeks direction regarding a proposed resolution to establish the
Commercial Cannabis Tax rate at 6% of gross sales."

--TINY HOMES-- A number of Hayward councilmembers have broached the idea of "tiny homes" as a possible avenue for alleviating some of the housing crunch in the city. An informational reports comes their way Tuesday that discusses possible building and zoning changes that will be needed if they council goes forward with studying the issues. The report notes the "allowance for tiny homes within Hayward could eventually meet some of the Council’s objectives within the Complete Communities Initiative." NEXT MEETING: Tuesday, Mar. 13.

Alameda City Council calls special closed session next week; investigation believed to be topic

Alameda councilmembers met for five hours
during a closed session in late January likely
discussing the same item being heard Friday.
An independent inquiry into allegations made last October by Alameda City Manager Jill Keimach against unnamed councilmembers may finally yield some answers next week.

A special closed session meeting scheduled for Mar. 9 at 1:30 p.m. was announced Thursday amid increasing pressure for the contents of an investigative report to be released to the public.

Four months ago, the Alameda City Council called for an independent investigation into allegations made by Keimach that some councilmembers applied political pressure on her to choose the city's next fire chief.

Group behind controversial San Leandro dispensary is also looking at Hayward

When Stephen Cassidy was the mayor of San Leandro he believed the city's approval of medical cannabis dispensaries would put children at risk. As legend has it, Cassidy toured the nearby Harborside Health Center in Oakland and his views dramatically changed.

He later tempered his stance by leading the San Leandro City Council to approve just one dispensary permit, not two, as proposed. Cassidy's move ultimately snubbed his future employer from receiving its permit three years ago, and subsequently might have allowed them to avoid the current controversies that surround the Davis Street Wellness Center in San Leandro.

Among the, issues that have seriously sullied relations between San Leandro city officials and a well-known non-profit associated with the dispensary, and which may give others pause before approving the group's plans in their cities.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Illustrative polling highlights East Bay assembly candidate's evolving campaign strategy

Assembly candidate Buffy Wicks at a 
candidate forum last January in Albany.
--ELECTION 2018--
An extensive poll from the well-bankrolled upstart in the wide-open race for the 15th Assembly District shows a candidate unsure over how to present herself to voters with just over three months before the June primary.

In the poll sent via email and conducted in early February by Buffy Wicks' assembly campaign, it not only delivers attack lines against four of her top opponents, but also tests a number of fundamental campaign strategies. For instance, whether to support charter schools or public schools, her own basic campaign description, whether to present herself to supporters of Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, and how she might describe own her experience to voters.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

San Leandro Dems deliver surprising rebuke to council incumbent up for re-election

--ELECTION 2018--
It's still very early in San Leandro's campaign season, but an endorsement result last week might be signaling that District 2 Councilmember Deborah Cox is in for a tough re-election campaign this fall.

The San Leandro Democratic Club voted last Thursday to endorse Cox's only current challenger, Ken Pon, a former two-term San Leandro school board member, but somewhat of a political vagabond in recent years who ran and lost in the 2014 race for the open seat won by Cox.

On a frigid night, progressives give Nancy O'Malley the cold shoulder, deny endorsements

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy
O'Malley and Pamela Price at a candidate
forum last Thursday in San Leandro.
--ELECTION 2018--
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley's re-election campaign is bolstered by higher name-recognition and awash in campaign contributions. But neither fact appeared to hold much sway last week with two East Bay progressive groups.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Tony Thurmond makes a pitch for his possible successor in AD15

El Cerrito Councilmember Rochelle Pardue-
Okimoto and Assemblymember Tony Thurmond
--ELECTION 2018--
Assemblymember Tony Thurmond certainly has many options when it comes to handing out his endorsement in the crowded field of diverse candidates hoping to replace him in the 15th District this fall.

Thurmond, who is not running for re-election in order to run for the statewide superintendent of schools, announced Tuesday that he is endorsing first-term El Cerrito Councilmember Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto in the Juine primary.

Kaplan to Warriors: Don't hang a loss on county taxpayers

Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan
is a former Coliseum JPA member.
Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan is attempting a full-court press against the Golden State Warriors and the team's resistance toward repaying their $40 million share of existing Oracle Arena bond debt.

Earlier this month, the reigning NBA champions moved to settle the dispute over the arena debt with the city of Oakland and Alameda County to arbitration.

Lock her up! Fremont resident files complaint saying Oakland Mayor Schaaf is impeding ICE

Over the weekend Oakland Mayor Libby
Schaaf said "credible sources" warned a large
raid in the Bay Area was imminent.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf's announcement over the weekend intended to alert undocumented immigrants about an imminent and substantial raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents earned her plaudits from progressives on one side and death threats on the other.

The move is also attracting a complaint sent Tuesday to the U.S. Attorney General's office in Oakland by a Fremont certified public accountant, who believes Schaaf's announcement illegally abetted undocumented immigrants.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Sensing Desley Brooks is vulnerable, opponents join race to stop her re-election

Eyes on Oakland's District 6: Natasha
Middleton and Loren Taylor.
--ELECTION 2018--
Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks' actions have made her appear vulnerable at election time before, especially in 2014, after she was accused of illegal political interference and was nearly censured by the Oakland City Council. Brooks rebounded and topped a field of four challengers that year.

But 2018 may be different after an Alameda County jury last December found she committed elder abuse against an icon of the Black Panther movement, costing the city and herself a total of $4.3 million in damages, including $550,000 in putative damages against Brooks, later ordered.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Former Wieckowski aide files complaint against State Senate; alleges firing followed rape

A former legislative aide to State Sen. Bob Wieckowski filed a complaint against the state Senate that alleges her firing last year came after reporting to the Legislature that she was raped by an Assembly staffer in December 2016, according to Sacramento Bee.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Seeking to raise new revenues, Union City may declare a 'fiscal emergency'

With an eye toward asking Union City residents to approve a pair of tax-generating ballot measures sometime this year, the Union City Council may declare a fiscal emergency this week.

Union City's budget forecast for the next five years estimates multi-year budget deficits will deplete its reserves by Fiscal Year 2021-22.

To increase revenues, Union City staff proposes placing a cannabis tax on gross receipts on the ballot this year, possibly this June, in addition, to an Enhanced Real Estate Transfer Tax next fall. Combined the measures could create an estimated $4-6 million per year starting in 2019, according to city staff.

Friday, February 23, 2018

EBC AGENDA | FEB 23-MAR 1 | SAN LEANDRO runs red light cameras; teachers workforce housing in FREMONT; HAYWARD looks at downtown parking


--OAKLAND-- Regular council committee meetings, Tuesday, Feb. 27, start at 9:30 a.m.
Finance & Management Committee, 9:30 a.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--CANNABIS BIZ TAX POLICY-- The committee will received a cannabis business tax policy paper, first requested last November. The analysis urges Oakland to slash its cannabis tax, currenlty topping out at 10 percent in order to foster the industry's growth in Oakland. It also urges changes to zoning for various cannabis industries to help establish a larger portion of the local market.

-VIOLENCE PREVENTION SALARY ORDINANCE-- Before the newly-approved Oakland Office of Violence Prevention looks for a leader to head the city department, the council must approve a salary range for the new position. The Finance Committee will discuss a proposal to set the range at between $135,000 a year and $203,000. The salary range, according to a staff report, is commensurate with other department heads.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Alameda Labor Council asked to meet with investigator in San Leandro city manager probe

The Alameda Labor Council, one of the most powerful political bodies in the East Bay, made an effort to speak with the independent investigator tapped by the city of San Leandro to look into the sexual misconduct allegations made against San Leandro City Manager Chris Zapata.

Alameda Labor Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Josie Camacho wrote a letter to city officials Jan. 29 to claim the City Council's notice last month of a special closed session focused on Zapata's employment was hastily made and without sufficient notice to her members.

Camacho later asked city officials to set up a meeting between the labor group and Attorney Karen Kramer, the Danville lawyer investigating claims by San Leandro Family Resource Center CEO Rose Padilla Johnson that Zapata sought a sexual relationship with her in exchange for a $1.5 million city-backed loan. Zapata has denied the allegations.

At 11 p.m. sharp, Alameda council meeting abruptly adjourns with no decision on ballot measure

As the clock inched toward 11 p.m. Tuesday night, Alameda councilmembers not only were concentrating on a decision whether to place a $95 million bond measure on the June ballot, they were also racing against time.

The city's sunshine ordinance requires the council to vote on whether to extend regular meetings past 10:30 p.m. But with a lengthy discussion on the proposed bond measure intending to aid Alameda's ailing infrastructure still longing for a resolution, the majority of the council voted against extending the meeting past 11 p.m., thereby, likely scuttling placement of the bond measure on the June ballot.

Friday, February 16, 2018

EBC AGENDA | FEB 16-22 | ALAMEDA, BERKELEY eye ballot measures; ALCO DA candidates meet in SAN LEANDRO; HAYWARD mid-year budget

--ALAMEDA-- Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--INFRASTRUCTURE BOND MEASURE-- A $95 million general obligation bond measure may be coming to the ballot in Alameda this June. Here is the proposal ballot language to be discussed Tuesday night. “Alameda Clean Water/Disaster-Emergency Preparedness/Pothole Repair Bond. To upgrade storm drains, keep pollution from the Bay, and beaches/parks clean, protect drinking water, address sea-level rise/flooding; repair deteriorating streets/potholes/ police and fire facilities, improve traffic congestion/safety; and other infrastructure, shall the City of Alameda issue $95,000,000 in bonds with average levy of $23 per $100,000 of assessed value, generating approximately $6,000,000 annually to pay bonds over 36 years, and requiring fiscal accountability?”

Up for re-election, three Hayward officials seek to help renters as landlords fund their campaigns

Powerful landlord interests are making early 
bets on Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday, 
Councilmembers Mark Salinas, Sara Lamnin.
Three Hayward officials received nearly maxed-out contributions from the powerful pro-landlord California Apartment Association (CAA) and affiliates last year, according to campaign finance reports released earlier this month.

At a special Hayward council meeting last week focusing on rental housing affordability in the city in which councilmembers voiced support for alleviating the housing crunch, some activists found the contributions discordant with their rhetoric.

Disgraced Teamsters boss continued to be involved with San Leandro dispensary after two-year ban from union

Powerful Teamsters boss Rome Aloise was
banned from the union in December following
corruption charges.
Nearly a month after Rome Aliose, a powerful local Teamsters leader was banned by the union for two years following corruption charges, he attended a San Leandro City Council retreat, along with Davis Street Family Resource Center CEO Rose Padilla Johnson. Workers represented by Teamsters Joint Council 7, which Aloise previously led, are slated to staff the forthcoming for-profit Davis Street Wellness Center medical cannabis dispensary, which has financial ties to Johnson and the non-profit Davis Street Family Resource Center.

In addition, Johnson's appearance at the Saturday morning, Jan. 20 retreat came two day after she publicly disclosed allegations of sexual misconduct against San Leandro City Manager Chris Zapata--who also attended the council retreat--claiming he pressured her for a sexual relationship in exchange for continued use of public funds for the local non-profit. Zapata denies the allegation and the City Council on Jan. 23 voted to place him on paid administrative leave pending the results of an investigation.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Alameda infrastructure bond measure could be coming to the ballot this year

A proposed Alameda infrastructure bond
measure in June could join other high-
profile tax and fee increases this June.
Last September, hundreds of residents in Alameda's West End reported foul-smelling water coming from the taps and shower heads. Although the exact reason for the leaky pipes is still under investigation, the incident again highlighted the city's aging infrastructure and the lack of funding needed for wholesale repairs.

One proposal then as now is to ask voters to help foot the bill for what the city says is roughly $300 million in needed improvements to Alameda's storm water and drinking water infrastructure not currently budgeted for the next two years.

Quirk bill seeks to avoid screwing the pooch in divorce settlements

Assemblymember Bill Quirk and his dog Luna.
The halcyon days of a new relationship often extends to include the adoption of pets. But in instances where the partnership dissolves, the couple's fur babies are often caught in the middle.

A bill introduced Tuesday by Hayward Assemblymember Bill Quirk seeks for the state to view pets as more than mere property to split among other possessions, but treated more like children during divorce proceedings.

“There is nothing in statute that states a pet must be treated any differently than any other type of property we own. However, as a proud parent of a rescued dog, I know that owners view their pets as more than just property. They become a part of our family, and their well-being should be a consideration during divorce proceedings,” said Quirk, who has a rescue dog named Luna.

Illinois and Alaska have similar laws that allow judges to make determinations based on the pet's best interests, said Quirk's office. One recent case in Canada included an admonition by a judge that if an amicable solution over the pets custody was not resolved, the animal could be ordered sold and the proceeds split among the soon-to-be divorced couple.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

San Leandro councilmember proposes lobbying ordinance

San Leandro Councilmember Lee Thomas
With a number of San Leandro housing projects in the pipeline and a potential push for retail cannabis permits in the near future, Councilmember Lee Thomas believes the city needs a lobbying ordinance in order for the council and public to distinguish whose interests are being served.

Thomas proposed Tuesday night to direct city staff to study how an lobbying registration ordinance could be applied in San Leandro. The council supported the motion, 6-1, with Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter opposing.

Alameda delays decision for more license-plate readers after disclosure of vendor's ties to ICE

A proposal Tuesday night would have allowed
installation of fixed-mounted license-plate readers
near Alameda bridges and other exit points.
A controversial proposal to install 13 Automated License-Plate Readers (ALPRs) mounted at fixed points around Alameda's bridges and exit points may have had a slight majority Tuesday night if not for recent news reports that detailed the vendor's involvement with the U.S. Immigration, Customs Enforcement. The disclosure  persuaded the City Council to re-evaluate its surveillance policies and potentially seeking other license-plate reader companies in the future.

The council voted unanimously to allocate the $500,000 proposed for the mounted ALPRs back to the Alameda Police Department for equipment and technology. A motion by Alameda Councilmember Malia Vella was also approved that maintains the council's power to offer input and review future surveillance policies, along with a hand in creating the city's procurement of bids for future surveillance contracts.

County supervisor lectured Alameda's mayor after she did not support ballot measure that benefits her city's interests

Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer
The nine-county regional ballot measure this June to raise an estimated $4.5 billion for local transportation projects, includes significant funding for Bay Area ferries, which are immensely popularity in places like Alameda.

But when the Alameda County Transportation Commission voted last Feb. 1 to issue support for the initiative, known as Regional Measure 3, Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer Herrera attempted to abstain and the move appeared to rankle Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, according to audio of the meeting.

Fighting potential loss of committee chair, Desley Brooks unloads on her Oakland City Council colleagues

Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks
eviscerated her council colleagues during
Tuesday night's meeting.
Even when Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks knocks down an iconic former Black Panther and potentially costs taxpayers $4.3 million in damages, she still won't back down.

Brooks unleashed a vicious barrage of abuse against five Oakland councilmembers Tuesday night as a proposal that appeared intended to strip her as chairperson of the council's Public Safety Committee was being debated.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Crime is up, raise the bridges! A classic Alameda trope returns with a high-tech spin

Alameda's Park Street drawbridge.
Alameda Police Chief Paul Rolleri says the city is in the midst of a dramatic 30-year drop in crime. However, on Tuesday night he will ask the Alameda City Council to approve the purchase of 13 Automated License-Place Readers (ALPR) to be mounted along the entrance and exit points of the island. The $500,000 purchase would be funded by the city's general fund.

Quirk introduces bill allowing public pot use at special events

Assemblymember Bill Quirk has long been
a strong supporter of cannabis.
With the East Bay on the cusp of becoming awash in legal cannabis, a bill introduced Monday by Hayward Assemblymember Bill Quirk would afford local governments the ability to host cannabis-related special events in their cities.

Is Oakland's Larry Reid being targeted by the Feds? If so, it wouldn't be the first time

In 2007, it was alleged Oakland Council-
member Larry Reid asked for a new air-
conditioning unit in exchange for favors
in Oakland for a contractor. 
Why did Larry Reid disclose last week that a prospective Oakland cannabis dispensary applicant attempted to bribe him in exchange for help in gaining a lucrative permit when he had a chance to describe the incident to the San Francisco Chronicle last month?

The newspaper reported last Thursday that Reid said in an interview that an Oakland businessman named Dorian Gray offered to give the 20-year councilmember an envelope he believed contained $10,000 in exchange for Reid's help in procuring a cannabis permit in the city. "That's not how I operate," Reid told Gray, according to his account.

Friday, February 2, 2018

EBC AGENDA | FEB 2-8 | ALAMEDA COUNTY 1/2-cent sales tax measure for child care coming this June; ALAMEDA PD wants 13 license-plate readers

--ALAMEDA COUNTY-- Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 10:30 a.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--BALLOT MEASURE FOR CHILDREN-- The Board of Supervisor will approve placement on the June ballot of a countywide half-cent sales tax measure to fund child care and early childhood development programs. If approved by voters with a two-thirds majority, the half-cent sales tax increase would immediately go into effect on Oct. 1, 2018. The county estimates the measure will bring in an additional revenues of $140 million annually over the next 30 years and expand access for low-to-middle income children to access child care and education. The measure will also raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for child care providers and early education teachers. NEXT MEETING: Tuesday, Feb. 27.

A five-hour Alameda City Council closed session with no explanation, only speculation

A special closed session Alameda City Council
meeting started at 3:30 p.m. last Tuesday and
ended at 8:25 p.m. What did they talk about?
For nearly five hours last Tuesday the Alameda City Council sat in a special closed meeting. When they emerged at 8:25 p.m., no announcement as to what they were discussing was made.

Many, though, believe the subject of the meeting is an investigation ordered by the council last Oct. 18 to look into allegations made by City Manager Jill Keimach that certain council members violated the charter by interfering in your decision to hire a new fire chief.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Nancy O'Malley, Buffy Wicks, Libby Schaaf, Abel Guillen's council opponent, post big year-end fundraising numbers

Whether your race is in June, November, or both, it's definitely go-time and the cash a candidate has in the bank on Jan. 1 is now a signal of how strong a campaign might be. Below are contributions, expenditure and ending cash on hand for East Bay races for Congress, State Legislature, Alameda County contests and November 2018 municipal elections in Alameda, Berkeley, Hayward, Oakland, and San Leandro.

            | JUL 1-DEC 31 |
AD15              IN      OUT   2017 TOT       CASH
WICKS      $ 310,810 $121,510 $  520,124  $ 384,356
KATZ       $  77,225 $  1,684 $  127,249  $ 125,565
KALB       $  84,528 $ 40,510 $  156,098  $ 119,833
APPEL      $ 163,873 $ 47,236 $  163,873  $ 118,145
P-OKIMOTO  $ 100,628 $ 10,441 $  100,628  $  96,145
BARTLETT   $ 106,607 $ 47,951 $  106,607  $  83,312

POINDEXTER $  17,573 $  4,605 $   17,573  $  12,968
BECKLES    $  33,319 $ 79,083 $   82,868  $   4,280
SUDDUTH    --no report--
JANDHYALA  --no report--
--SKINNY-- Right now, when it comes to fundraising in this race, there's Buffy Wicks and then everyone else. The former Obama aide raised $520,00 in about seven months. This total is almost in the atmosphere OF someone running for Congress around here. East bay MUD Director Andy Katz followed a strong mid-year report with another by coming in second in cash on hand to start the year. But notice, the numbers may be an illusion. He boosted his cash in the bank by hardly spending a dime. On the flip side, Richmond Councilmember Jovanka Beckles went into spending mode, touting the second most in expenditures. Meanwhile, Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb and Berkeley school board member Judy Appel also did well over the past six months. On the issues, this race is pretty even, but let's wait and see what happens when Wicks really starts spending and the Independent Expenditures begin deploying their resources.

Monday, January 29, 2018

AD15 candidate Buffy Wicks raised a whopping $500,000 in campaign contributions last year

AD15 candidate Buffy Wicks raised $209,000
during the first half of the 2017.
Buffy Wicks is again making her opponents in the 15th Assembly District green with envy.

After bursting onto the scene last summer with an impressive one-month haul, Wicks says her campaign will file year-end campaign finance reports that include in excess of $500,000 in contributions.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

As expected, no Democratic endorsement in crowded AD15 race, but surprises nonetheless

The AD15 pre-endorsement scoreboard
showed no officials winners, but some 
candidates received surprises Saturday.
Next week, 15th Assembly District candidate Buffy Wicks is expected to release year-end finance reports that show a wide breadth of financial support for her campaign. That same support, however, is not yet translating to the local Democratic Party grassroots.

Alameda and Contra Costa County Democrats in the party’s Region 5 gave only token support for Wicks’ campaign at Saturday’s state Democratic Party pre-endorsement conference in Berkeley.

Friday, January 26, 2018

EBC AGENDA | JAN. 26-FEB. 1 | BERKELEY seeks surveillance use policy; ALAMEDA's own city manager scandal heats up?; State Dem pre-endorsements


--ALAMEDA-- Special closed session council meeting, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 3:30 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--ALAMEDA'S CITY MANAGER SCANDAL?-- It's not clear what exactly the Alameda City Council might be discussing behind closed doors Tuesday afternoon. The agenda suggests the city or someone is possibly the plaintiff in a potential lawsuit. Furthermore, two hours were allotted for the discussion, suggesting something significant. One possible item for discussion could be the investigation into allegations made last October by Alameda Police Chief Paul Rolleri that Councilmember Jim Oddie suggested to him that the city manager choose a fire chief candidate supported by the Alameda firefighters union or her job might be at risk. A rough timetable for the results of the investigation was expected in late January. NEXT MEETING: Tuesday, Feb. 6.

Assembly candidate Dan Kalb wants to bring back redevelopment agencies

Dan Kalb, standing, is one of nine Democrats
running in the AD15 race this June.
Nearly seven years ago, the dissolution of redevelopment agencies in California significantly changed the ways local governments approved and built capital improvement projects. In turn, Gov. Jerry Brown's calculation also fomented a low-level rebellious streak in some East Bay cities who decried the lost of local control.

But Brown's move is credited with helping pave the way for rehabilitating a hemorrhaging state treasury which instead of soaring deficits, today boasts robust surpluses. But the hankering for a return for the redevelopment agencies, especially to aid the push for new housing, has not left and was injected into the East Bay's top political race this June, the wide-open campaign for the 15th Assembly District.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Dispensary involved in San Leandro political scandal says they'll repay loan before next week's deadline, open 4/20

Rendering of the proposed Davis Street 
Wellness Center at 3081 Teagarden Street.
In response to allegations of sexual misconduct, San Leandro City Manager Chris Zapata denied the claims and, instead, asserted they were attempts by the accuser to aid final approval of a medical cannabis dispensary in the city, of which she has a financial interest.

But whether the allegations by Davis Street Family Resource Center CEO Rose Padilla Johnson is a full-blown example of the #MeToo movement coming to San Leandro City Hall or about the Davis Street Wellness Center dispensary seeking to sidestep a Jan. 31 deadline to repay the balance of a federal loan required by the city before it can begin selling medical cannabis may be known next week.

Ro Khanna took 60 seconds to dump on his spineless Democratic colleagues

Give Rep. Ro Khanna credit: Either he's a bold, principled progressive leader or someone who has never read, "How to win friends and influence people." [VIDEO BELOW]

This week, after Senate Democrats capitulated--those are words of progressives like Khanna--or figured out too late that the three-day government shutdown wasn't playing well in Middle America, Khanna nevertheless laid into his colleagues Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

San Leandro City Council places city manager on paid administrative leave

San Leandro City Manager 
Chris Zapata
San Leandro City Manager Chris Zapata was placed on paid administrative leave Tuesday night pending the results of an investigation into claims of sexual misconduct by a local non-profit leader.

The San Leandro City Council, voted 6-0, to put Zapata on paid leave. Assistant City Manager Jeff Kay becomes interim city manager, the council announced following the nearly two-hour closed session meeting.

In a statement issued by San Leandro Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter shortly after Tuesday's vote, she acknowledged an investigation into the claims against Zapata is underway and "the City Council was not aware that the City Manager intended to publicly address the allegations in detail," a reference to a 23-page memorandum Zapata released to the public on Jan. 16 to rebut the claims against him.

"The council determined today that it is best for all parties involved that the City Manager remain on leave until the independent investigation is concluded," Cutter added.

San Leandro City Council calls special meeting to discuss disciplining city manager

San Leandro City Council's special closed
session begins Tuesday, 6 p.m.
Six days after the San Leandro City Manager Chris Zapata threw the doors open on the city's dirty laundry, including allegations of sexual misconduct against himself, city officials are likely to weigh-in on the burgeoning political scandal on Tuesday evening.

The City Council scheduled a special closed session meeting for Tuesday at 6 p.m. The only topic on the agenda is an item titled, "public employee discipline."

Monday, January 22, 2018

San Leandro non-profit leader, who accused city manager of misconduct, will sue the city

The leader of the local non-profit, who last week said San Leandro City Manager Chris Zapata attempted to offer a publicly-financed loan for the Davis Street Family Resource Center in exchange for an intimate relationship, says she plans to file a lawsuit.

A lawsuit against Zapata and the city is pending, said Sam Singer, a spokesperson for Davis Street Family Resource Center CEO Rose Padilla Johnson. and stems from Zapata's 23-page letter, which he released to the public on Jan. 16.

Rebecca Kaplan, dons prayer shawl, jousts with Fox News host

Fox News host Tucker Carlson and guest
last Friday, Oakand Councilmember 
Rebecca Kaplan.
Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan went where many progressives have failed before her, participating in a one-sided conversation with Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Last week, the Oakland City Council approved a resolution--strongly backed by Kaplan--to prohibit the city's police department from aiding ICE agents in any way, even to bring them a cup of coffee, she quipped last fall.

Ro Khanna to appear Friday on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher

Bill Maher will be joined by East Bay Rep.
Ro Khanna this Friday, Jan. 26.
To the unexpected, the scene might seem to be the result of a strange fever dream.

This Friday, Rep. Ro Khanna will share the stage with actress Zooey Deschanel and others on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher.

Friday, January 19, 2018

EBC AGENDA | JAN 19-25 | Cell-site simulators deployed by East Bay law enforcement 3x last year; Highland needs $11m more for retrofit; ; Oakland's racial disparity in traffic stops


--ALAMEDA COUNTY-- Regular board meeting, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 10:45 a.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--DA'S STINGRAY REPORT-- Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley is required to offer a "report" on law enforcement's use of cell-site simulators, also known as Stringrays. The device allows police to mimic a cell tower in the effort to coerce a suspect's cell phone to contact it, thereby, giving law enforcement access to the phone's data. A warrant is needed for this. According to O'Malley's report--essentially a three-page list--cell-site simulators were requested four times and deployed three times last year. Those requesting were O'Malley's DAs office, Fremont and Oakland Police. Only Fremont PD did not receive information from the cell-site simulator. O'Malley reports "no known violations of the Policy in 2017."

--HIGHLAND NEEDS MORE $$ FOR SEISMIC RETROFIT-- "Alameda County performed an Evaluation Study in accordance with the requirements of Senate Bill 1953, the State’s Seismic Retrofit Program. The Study determined that the existing structure called the “Acute Tower” at Highland Hospital did not meet the new seismic requirements and could not be cost-effectively retrofitted... Under the terms of SB 1953/SB 306, this must occur on or before January 1, 2020." Therefore, the county's General Services Agency is asking the board to increase funding for the $480 million Highland Hospital project by no more than $11.5 million.

--STATE HOMELAND SECURITY GRANT-- Here's how the Alameda County Sheriff's Department plans on allocating $1.7 million in state Homeland Security grants. Here. A notable percentage of the grants are being directed to the Fremont Police Department.

--GRANT FOR IMMIGRATION LEGAL DEFENSE-- The Alameda County Public Defender's office started out with one attorney specializing in immigration law. Last July, it added two more in the wake of the President's rhetoric and actions against immigrants. More funding is on the way to supplement the office's work after the board approves a $25,000 grant from the Firedoll Foundation. NEXT MEETING: Tuesday, Jan. 30 (board retreat)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

San Leandro city manager's accuser calls for his resignation after sexual misconduct allegations

Davis Street Family Resource Center CEO
Rose Padilla Johnson filed a complaint
against San Leandro City Manager Chris
Zapata on Dec. 8.
The CEO of a prominent San Leandro non-profit, who last month issued a complaint accusing City Manager Chris Zapata of sexual misconduct, is now calling for his dismissal.

Rose Padilla Johnson, the CEO of the Davis Street Family Resource Center, a well-known non-profit in San Leandro and the recipient of millions in city grants over the years, says Zapata made a series of improper advances toward her starting just after he was named city manager in 2012 and up until a $1.5 million loan was given by city to the non-profit in 2016.

"Johnson and the non-profit organization today are calling for the immediate resignation of Mr. Zapata or his firing by the San Leandro City Council after the city manager sent a rambling, incoherent 23-page letter to the organization, the city, and local media with strange, misleading and false statements," according to a press release sent Thursday morning by well-known Bay Area public relations guru Sam Singer.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

East Bay congressmembers team up to legalize cannabis at the federal level

East Bay progressives Reps. Barbara Lee
and Ro Khanna.
Reps. Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna introduced legislation Wednesday that would end the federal prohibition on cannabis.

The bill piggy-backs similar legislation introduced with great fanfare last year by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and gives states the authority to create their own laws and policies for cannabis sales and recreational use.

"This legislation will end this destructive War on Drugs" said Lee during in a conference call on Wednesday that was broadcast on Facebook Live (see below).