Monday, June 26, 2017

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

Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb
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 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 😞

OAKLAND -- Special council meeting, Monday, June 26, 5:30 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--BUDGET APPROVAL NEAR-- Or it might not be. Who knows in Oakland where five of the eight councilmembers have their own budget proposals? And that's not including Mayor Libby Schaaf's original proposal. Here's the entire cache of information.

Special council meeting, Tuesday, June 27, 5:30 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--POLICE COMMISSION ORDINANCE-- An enabling ordinance set for approval Tuesday night would set in motion the creation of the Oakland Police Commission, a civilian-led body with oversight over the Oakland Police Department's discipline of officers, its rules, and ability to hire and fire a police chief. The ordinance also creates an Office of Inspector General. Oakland voters strongly supported Councilmember Dan Kalb's charter ballot amendment last November that formed the commission, known as Measure LL.

--IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION-- Councilmembers Kalb, Abel Guillen and City Attorney Barbara Parker want to put Oakland on the record for opposing President Donald Trump. The resolution calls on Congress to investigate the president's numerous instances of alleged misconduct and potential impeachment. Other East Bay cities such as Alameda, Berkeley, and Richmond have approved similar resolutions this year.

--PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT-- "WHEREAS, the City of Oakland wishes to ensure the survival and continued thriving of all who live and will live in our community, including non-human species for countless generations to come" is how the resolution begins. Kalb and Mayor Schaaf also want to put Oakland firmly in opposition of Trump's decision to pull out the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement. 

--RESPONSIBLE BANKING-- Oakland's Linked Banking Services Ordinance is intended to encourage banks to serve the city's underserved customers. The carrot being if the institutions show success in these areas, they can be considered for doing business with the City of Oakland. Hint: banks doing business with the Dakota Access Pipeline will be S.O.L.

--"The goal of the pilot program is to encourage banks that serve our community to discuss how to reduce inherent bias in residential and commercial lending to minority and African American communities and change their to produce greater equity over time."

ALAMEDA COUNTY -- Regular board meeting, Tuesday, June 27, 10:45 a.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--EMERGENCY SHELTER SERVICES-- The board will approve 12 service agreements with area community-based organization totaling $4.5 million to bolster and standardize the county's shelters. The largest amount, $769,000, allocated to San Leandro's Building Futures With Women & Children.

--Each year, the emergency shelters provide 129,585 beds for homeless individuals in Alameda County, with the goal of moving 30 percent into permanent housing. Shelters are expected to maintain at least 90 percent occupancy at all times and collect data regarding where clients exit when they leave the shelter. These contracts represent a major first step in standardizing the operation of homeless shelters in Alameda County.

--YOUTH UPRISING FUNDING-- An Alameda County grand jury report last week highlighted the mishandling of finances at Oakland's Youth Uprising and the county's bailout. The multi-service youth center is set to receive a total of $864,000 in funding this week, in addition, to in-kind use of the county's property worth $308,000. Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley sit on the Youth Uprising's board.

--INDIGENT HEALTH CARE-- HealthPAC, the health care services for Alameda County's 28,000 low-income residents and administered by the Alameda Health System is set to receive $33 million for the next fiscal year. Furthermore, another $22 million will be allocated to various community-based organizations, such as the La Clincia de la Raza in Oakland.

--FAIRVIEW MAC-- Unincorporated Fairview, which is nestled between Castro Valley and Hayward will get a modicum of self-government following an ordinance establishing a five-member Fairview Municipal Advisory Council. Like Castro Valley's MAC, Supervisor Miley will appoint each member.

Special board meeting, Wednesday, June 28 [AGENDA NOT YET POSTED]
--BUDGET FINALIZED-- The Board of Supervisors is cutting close. Just two days before the June 30 deadline for state municipalities to approve their next fiscal year, the board is set to sign-off on the county's $3 billion budget.

HAYWARD -- Special joint council meeting, Tuesday, June 27, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--DEPT. HEADS GET NO COLAS-- A survey of Hayward's unrespresented employees, primarily department directors, the fire and police chief, and assistant city manager, found a desire for increased pay and some compensation for being "connected" at all times via the Internet. Some department heads, the city found, receive up to 7.5 percent below mid-market compensation.

--The City Manager explained to the executives that she would not be able to provide cost of living (COLA) or equity adjustments this year and indicated that she is working with Human Resources to develop a comprehensive executive performance evaluation process with an expectation that future salary adjustments would be based primarily on performance, with internal and external total compensation being a factor used to determine appropriate increases."

--NEW MAYOR PRO TEM-- In other cities, they call it "vice mayor," and the largely ceremonial appointment is made in Hayward mid-year. Every member of the current council has served as mayor pro tem at least once, except Councilmember Elisa Marquez. The current pro tem is Councilmember Sara Lamnin.

GATHERINGS -- POLITICAL FORUM WITH REPS. BARBARA LEE, KEITH ELLISON, MODERATED BY VAN JONES; Saturday, June 24, 10 a.m.-noon.Oakland Scottish Rite Center, 1547 Lakeside Drive, Oakland.

AC TRANSIT -- Regular board meeting, Wednesday, June 28, 5 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--CHSRA JOINS TRANSBAY JPA-- Adding the California High Speed Rail Authority as a New Member of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority would help ensure that the agency has the strategic leadership to develop federal, state, regional, and local consensus support for key aspects of Phase II."

EAST BAY MUD-- Regular board meeting, Thursday, June 27, 1:15 p.m. [AGENDA NOT YET POSTED]

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.
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
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.
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

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

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
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

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

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
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

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 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.
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

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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.

Monday, June 12, 2017

East Bay pols celebrate the Warriors NBA Finals victory

The Golden State Warriors' second NBA title in three years means the Larry O'Brien Trophy is coming back to Oakland. The city's victory parade is scheduled for Thursday, 10 a..m. In the meantime, with the Warriors being the only professional basketball franchise in the Bay Area, East Bay politicians can be rest assured their social media activity is bound to make everyone happy. Here's a sample of the tweets posted shortly after the Warriors beat the Cavaliers in Game 5 on Monday night, including the hashtag #stayinoakland used below by Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb.

Swalwell, Valle want Sutter Health to forgive $19m judgment to help St. Rose Hospital survive

Rep. Eric Swalwell has agreed to lead a blue-
ribbon commission to alleviate Hayward's
St. Rose Hospital and its finances.
Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle said Monday that a blue-ribbon commission, already supported by Rep. Eric Swalwell, should be created to help solve the worsening financial condition at St. Rose Hospital, a facility viewed as crucial for continuing safety net health care services for the poor in Hayward and surrounding Central Alameda County.

Including unfunded liabilities, St. Rose Hospital’s annual deficit is between $20-22 million, said its CEO Aman Dhuper on Monday. The facility’s financial woes, however, have been longstanding. Numerous entities including the county, Eden Health District and Kaiser Permanente, among others, have contributed annual stipends in recent years to keep the hospital afloat.

Fan groups enlist well-known sports litigator to potentially sue Raiders, NFL over relocation

A grassroots collection of Raiders fan groups believe they have a legal grounds for keeping the NFL franchise in Oakland, and the investor group headed by football great Ronnie Lott still believes a football stadium can be built in Oakland, according to the attorney hired by local fan groups. But, whether it’s the Raiders playing in the proposed stadium or an expansion team bearing the iconic shield logo and silver and black colors, will be work of well-known sports litigator James W. Quinn.

“They’re a tough bunch,” Quinn said of National Football League owners. “But their history with litigation is not good.” Quinn’s services were retained by a number of local fan groups to study whether fans and municipalities might have any legal claims against the NFL after approval was given by owners for the Raiders to move to Las Vegas. Quinn’s experience in sports litigation mainly involves the legal interplay between professional league’s antitrust protections and players’ unions, including five cases involving the NFL.

Alameda mayor takes heat from LGBTQ community; group gives back pride month proclamation

Some members of Alameda's LGBTQ community
protesting a photo-op with Mayor Trish Spencer in 
the background to celebrating Pride Month.
Eight years after Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer voted against allowing same-sex curriculum in Alameda schools, members of the LGBTQ community showed up at City Council on Tuesday to reject her proclamation of Pride Month — and to demand an apology.

On Tuesday night, prior to the council meeting, the city held a well-attended celebration in front of City Hall in honor of Pride. But some members of the Alameda LGBTQ community declined to pose for a group photo with the mayor (right). Instead, they formed an equally large alternative photo opportunity next to the city-sanctioned one.

The city’s four councilmembers also joined the protest photo-op, in solidarity with the community’s stance against the mayor’s past positions on LGBTQ issues (see below). Councilmember Frank Matarrese said he intended to take part in both photo-ops, however.

Friday, June 9, 2017

EBC AGENDA | June 9-15 | OAKLAND public bank; Budget deliberations; FREMONT redistricting approval; AC TRANSIT fleet study

The kids are out of school and summer is almost officially here. It's another big week in East Bay government. Here's your highlights:

➤Budgets in Oakland and Hayward near approval before the June 30 deadline.

➤Oakland's public bank proposal comes back to committee

➤AC Transit's ridership is down, but smaller buses might not be a solution

➤Future of  struggling St. Rose's Hospital in Hayward comes to county health committee

➤Bingo! in Hayward!

OAKLAND -- Special council meeting, Monday, June 12, 5:30 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--BUDGET APPROVAL-- Oakland’s two-year budget is headed for adoption at Monday’s special meeting. According to the city administrator’s office, these are the most recent changes to the biennial budget:

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Hayward finally becomes a sanctuary city

It took awhile, but the Hayward City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to join eight other East Bay cities by becoming a sanctuary city.

“We started talking about this just after the election,” said Hayward Councilmember Al Mendall. "It's taken us a lot of time to get here, but I'm proud of the process."

It was a sentiment echoed by other Hayward councilmembers, including Elisa Marquez, who had been the most vocal proponent of becoming a sanctuary city over the past months.

City of Hayward Twitter account tweeted racist image before tonight's sanctuary city vote

This morning, just hours before Hayward city council's scheduled discussion of whether or not to become a sanctuary city, the city's official Twitter account posted an image of a taco and the phrase "Let's Taco About It" — a Tweet that has activists accusing the city of bigotry.

Two other tweets promoting different city events also included the hashtag "#TacoBoutItTuesday."

Monday, June 5, 2017

Alameda landlords readying possible ballot measure to roll back new Just Cause restrictions

Amendments to Alameda's rent stabilization ordinance that will includes just cause protections for tenants is not yet officially law, yet local landlords are already plotting a strategy to rescind the rules slated for a final reading at Tuesday night's city council meeting.

Members of two landlords-backed groups, the Alameda Housing Providers Association and Alamedans for Fair Rent Control, met last Thursday for a strategy session aimed at thwarting the introduction of just cause on the island.

Friday, June 2, 2017

EBC AGENDA | June 2-8 | HAYWARD eyes sanctuary city status; Flavored tobacco ban in SAN LEANDRO; OAKLAND'S new violence prevention plan; FREMONT resdistricting

East Bay governments are back for a big full week of action following the Memorial Day weekend. Here's your highlights:
➤Hayward eyes becoming a sanctuary city...finally

➤San Leandro, but not yet Oakland, looks to ban flavored tobacco

➤Fremont's move to expand its city council reaches its penultimate hearing

➤Alameda County help its refugee and asylum-seeking population

➤Rep. Barbara Lee leads The Resistance Summer Tour

SAN LEANDRO -- Regular council meeting, Monday, June 5, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--FLAVORED TOBACCO RESTRICTIONS-- San Leandro is about to get tough on flavored cigarillos and flavored electronic cigarette products, whether they contain nicotine or not. The number of inexpensive cigarillos in a package will also be limited by the proposed ordinance to 15 per pack. Cigarillos currently can be purchased at retail stores for as little as two for 99 cents. The sale of flavored tobacco products is seen by some as the powerful tobacco industry attempting to market their products to teenagers and young adults. Oakland is moving in a similar direction with similar legislation, but the item for this Tuesday's agenda was pulled by Oakland Council President Larry Reid.

Bonta bail reform bill narrowly fails in Assembly

Potential landmark legislation that would reform the state's troubled money bail system was narrowly defeated Thursday night in the Assembly.

East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta's Assembly Bill 42 failed by one vote, 36-37, after seven legislators did not record a vote.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Barbara Lee says Trump's plan to withdraw U.S. from Paris Climate Agreement is 'reckless'

East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee slammed President Donald Trump's reported decision to remove the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, a pact signed in 2015 that includes more than 150 countries seeking to reduce carbon emissions.

"Climate change presents the greatest threat humankind has ever known," Lee said Wednesday. "We simply cannot afford to let this president unravel the progress on climate change we've made as a nation and a global community.

Cannabis industry coming to Alameda?

Alameda is surrounded now by municipalities in Oakland and San Leandro that are taking full advantage of the highly-profitable cannabis industry in their cities, not to mention the potential windfall of new tax revenues that may follow.

Based on a council referral to be discussed next week, Alameda may be laying the groundwork, albeit belatedly, for cannabis businesses from dispensaries to cultivation sites to set up shop on the island. Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer will propose Tuesday night for the City Council to direct staff to begin studying the issue.

Oakland settles notorious police misconduct lawsuit for $1 million

Those involved in Oakland's notorious police misconduct scandal that included the alleged sexual abuse of a then-underage girl have either been fired, suspended, or charged with serious crimes. Now, it's the city's turn to pay for one of Oakland's darkest moments.

During a lengthy meeting that concluded just before 2 a.m, Wednesday morning, the Oakland City Council approved a settlement with Jasmine Abuslin for $989,000. The woman, known previously by her alias Celeste Guap, had sued the city for $66 million last year for violating her civil rights.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hayward school board applies pressure on City Council to become sanctuary city

The Hayward school board, and one pesky board member in particular, is adding pressure on the Hayward City Council to become a sanctuary ahead of their June 6 meeting on the subject.

The school board unanimously approved a resolution last week urging all levels of government in the state to become sanctuaries. Earlier this year, the Hayward school board voted to declare its schools "safe havens" for immigrants. In contrast, the city government has not broached the subject despite nearly every neighboring East Bay cities doing so over the past four months.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Alameda mayor trolls for votes from parents disgruntled over school closing

Elected officials don't usually weigh-in on controversial subject matter under the purview of another group of  officials within the same city. It's uncommon and almost verboten in local politics. Yet, Alameda’s unconventional Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer did so last week during a highly-charged Alameda school board on the indefinite closing an elementary school.

The controversy at Lum Elementary is a somewhat uniquely Alameda dispute. Last month, engineers concluded the soil at the school, located near the South Shore shopping center, was in danger of liquefaction in the event of an earthquake measured 6.8 or greater on the Richter Scale.

Interest builds for Thurmond's open Assembly seat

A growing number of politicos in the 15th Assembly District are realizing the race next year to replace Tony Thurmond is going to be a wide-open affair. And the list of potential candidate is growing by the weeks.

Oakland District 1 Councilmember Dan Kalb and Richmond Councilmember Jovanka Beckles were the first in after Thurmond announced in April that he will run for state superintendent of public instruction. Thurmond was first elected to the assembly seat roughly covering Richmond, Berkeley and North Oakland in 2014.

Haggerty: Alameda County is not helping transportation sales tax by buying cars from elsewhere

Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty says its purchasing policies, especially when it comes to big-ticket items such as automobiles, are undercutting its own ability to fund Measure BB, the countywide one-cent transportation sales tax used to rebuild the East Bay's roads.

At issue was an item on the Board of Supervisor’s agenda Tuesday morning asking approval for the purchase of an electric car to be used by the county's Building Maintenance Department. The cost of the vehicle, a Nissan Leaf, is $24,310.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Barbara Lee for President? Town hall says yes!

East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee's town hall meetings are usually lovefests between the popular progressive congressmember and her adoring constituents. But last Sunday at a town hall featuring Watergate-era White House counsel John Dean, the crowd in Berkeley cheered wildly after Lee was asked to consider running for president in 2020.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Bonta, Thurmond, Quirk join new Assembly Progressive Caucus

Last January, when a groundswell of progressive angst coarsed through the veins of local activists hoping to secure spots as delegates to last weekend's state convention, many in the East Bay were surprised to learn the most left-leaning state party in the nation didn't even have a dedicated progressive caucus. 

Self-described Berniecrats and Bernie bros subsequently made significant gains during the January delegate elections, including a surprising sweep of East Bay Assemblymembers Rob Bonta district, despite none having his endorsement. Assembly Democrats obviously saw the writing on the wall.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Richmond’s Kimberly Ellis falls just short of taking over the California Democratic Party

Richmond resident Kimberly Ellis narrowly
lost Saturday's race for California Democratic
Party chair by only 60 votes.
The race for the future of the California Democratic Party amounted to two choices: stick with the status quo that has served the state party extremely well over the past few decades or change course and back the type of progressive purity advanced over the past year by Sen. Bernie Sanders. Over the weekend, at the party’s convention in Sacramento, Democrats supported the establishment, but only barely.

Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair Eric Bauman, the runaway early favorite, narrowly beat the upstart Berniecrat Kimberly Ellis by just 60 votes out of nearly 3,000 votes cast by party delegates. The number of votes matched the amount of attention and energy party faithful had unleashed over the chair’s race to replace long-time John Burton. There were roughly 3,300 total voting delegates at the annual convention.

On Sunday morning, Ellis suggested to supporters that her campaign would not concede the election and also consult lawyers, the Los Angeles Times reported. Absent any accounts of wrongdoing in the voting process, it is likely Bauman’s victory will stand. The state party, for instance, has no rules in its bylaws for a recount.

The wave of progressive discontent with the Democratic Party, meanwhile, took Ellis, a previously unknown former head of the women’s political group Emerge California, to a near takeover of the state party, arguably the most powerful in the nation.

Labor and activists groups reacted with disappointment over Ellis’ defeat. It was especially stinging after rumors circulated at the convention and on social media that Ellis was leading the vote after 60 percent of votes were counted. The powerful California Nurses Association, which had strongly backed Sanders during the presidential campaign and Ellis’ run for party chair, appeared ready for victory. Within the hour, though, came news of Bauman’s slim victory.

Some disgruntled union members suggested wrongdoing in the election process. According to the Los Angeles Times, some nurses said voters should be required to provide photo identification before voting. However, this idea is abhorred among Democrats not only in California, but across the country, who say Republicans used the requirement to disenfranchise poor and minority voters.

California Republican Party Chair Jim Brulte reacted with glee Sunday in a press release that said state Democrats were hypocrites. “Democrats think voter identification laws are important for their party elections, but don’t think they are good enough for the California voters,” said Brulte.

Outgoing state Democratic Chair John Burton also gave ammunition for conservatives and online right-wing web sites after he repeated cursed into open mics during several different occasions over the weekend. During one crude instance, Burton, known for his bawdy vocabulary, led a chant of “Fuck Donald Trump,” while double-pumping his middle fingers in the air.

Friday, May 19, 2017

EBC AGENDA | May 19-25 | BARBARA LEE town hall with Watergate counsel - HAYWARD keeps drought restrictions- Electric buses - East Bay goes to state Dem Convention

The California Democratic Convention is like Comic-Con for political nerds. The big difference being dudes dressed as Chewbacca aren't scheming to backstab opponents waving a wand and donning Harry Potter glasses in the race for president of the geek senate.

When state Democrats assemble in Sacramento this weekend there will be a lot of anti-Trump trash talk peppered in convention speeches, but behind-the-scenes the skullduggery will pit local leaders against each other in advance of 2018 elections.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Oakland City Council may hear resolution in June seeking possible impeachment of Trump

Three Oakland elected officials introduced a resolution Thursday calling for Congress to investigate all impeachable offense alleged of President Donald Trump.

Eden Health District taps former St. Rose executive as next CEO

Michael Mahoney takes over for retiring Eden
Health District CEO Dev Mahadevan in June.
The Eden Health District Board of Directors on Wednesday named former St. Rose Hospital executive Michael Mahoney to be its next CEO. He replaces long-time CEO Dev Mahadevan, who announced his retirement in March.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Citing concerns of Vietnamese-American groups, veterans; Bonta pulls bill related to communists

Assemblymember Rob Bonta says AB 22
was intended to clean-up language in state
law long deemed unconstitutional.
A bill that would have stricken a Cold War-era reference in state law that allows for the firing of a state employee for their membership in the Communist Party was pulled from consideration Wednesday by its author, East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta.

Alameda City Council approves Just Cause tenant protections; targets actions by rogue landlord

Supporters for Just Cause at an Alameda City
Council meeting on Tuesday night.
Alameda is the latest Bay Area city to add Just Cause protections that restrict landlords from evicting renters without a specific reason. The Alameda City Council voted, 3-2, early Wednesday morning to amend its rent stabilization ordinance, passed more than a year ago, to include the new protections backed by renters.

The council also added language in the ordinance intended to counteract moves by the owner of the infamous Bay View Apartments at 470 Central Avenue. In May, the owner again issued 60-day notices to a group of tenants. Under the amended ordinance, the notices to evict are null and void.

Bonta bail reform bill may cost ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’

Assemblymember Rob Bonta during a Public
Safety Committee hearing in April.
A legislative analysis of East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta’s widely-watched bail reform bill estimates its costs will run in the “hundreds of millions of dollars” in state reimbursements for counties to establish and administer the proposed pretrial services agency.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Alameda may look into restrictions on bars, restaurants providing drinking straws

The proposal "straws on request" ordinance is
similar to the "water on request" restrictions
employed during the last drought.
During the depths of the most recent drought, many municipalities enacted restrictions on water use, including one somewhat symbolic method of conservation, restaurants giving patrons a glass of water only upon request.

Now, an Alameda grassroots environmental group is using a similar method to prohibit bars and restaurants from handing out drinking straws to customers unless asked.

Ro Khanna takes heat for opposing establishment Dems, while supporting Nancy Pelosi

Rep. Ro Khanna's attempt to lead a progressive
revolution is attracting some skeptics.
Last week, Rep. Ro Khanna joined, with some fanfare, a new progressive group that seeks to challenge so-called "establishment Democrats." But Khanna, a freshman elected last November, is taking some heat on social media for his recalcitrance in challenging to the most establishment Democrat of them all, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Friday, May 12, 2017

EBC AGENDA - May 12-18 - ALAMEDA to approve Just Cause - Proposed new OAKLAND department comes to full council


Here's your highlights for a big week in East Bay politics:
➤Alameda appears to be next up for Bay Area cities offering Just Cause protections for renters.

➤Oakland's proposed Violence Prevention Department comes to the full City Council.

➤San Leandro begins work on likely budget shortfall.

➤Embattled Eden Health District makes moves.

Glazer resigns from committee chair at behest of Senate leader

State Sen. Steve Glazer was the only Democrat
in the state Senate to vote against the $52
billion gas tax in April.
East Bay State Sen. Steve Glazer offered his resignation as chair of the state Senate Governmental Organization Committee, according to a letter posted Friday afternoon on his Twitter account. The move was prompted by state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Ro Khanna, once bankrolled by Silicon Valley elites, now joins anti-establishment group

Ro Khanna, left, with state Lt. Gov. Gavin
Newsom last October in Cupertino.
Rep. Ro Khanna is vowing to take over the progressive flank of the Democratic Party by joining a group whose sole intention is to bring down establishment Democrats in Congress.

The decision to become the first sitting member of the House to join the "Justice Democrats" caucus may make Khanna unpopular among his fellow Democrats.

It may also not pass muster with the fact Khanna's two campaigns for the 17th Congressional District were backed by some of the most powerful new corporatists in the country.

'The time for Just Cause is now': Alameda is poised to enact stronger tenant protections

Alameda renters rallying last fall for greater
tenant protections.
During a Alameda City Council meeting in April, island renters thought they were nearing approval for one of their top objectives over the past two years, enacting Just Cause eviction protections for tenants in Alameda. It didn't happen after Councilmember Jim Oddie, believed to be on of three votes needed for passage, pulled back from the proposal that would allow landlords to evict tenants only for transgressions such as non-payment of rent and nuisance violations.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hayward City Council ‘bummed’ by ballooning budget deficit

Hayward's proposed budget includes adding
6.6 full-time employees for staffing the new
downtown library.
Hayward City Manager Kelly McAdoo didn’t want the City Council to ask many questions Tuesday night after they learned about the fiscal health of the city. Save it for when the council meets for an in-depth discussion on May 20, she urged. But, all the council needed to know was one revealing fact: Hayward’s budget deficit for the next fiscal year is $10.4 million.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Controversial Alameda County EMS contract nears 3-year contract extension, but future relationship is doubtful

Texas-based Paramedics Plus won a controversial
contract for Alameda County EMS services in
2010, but has financially struggled ever since.
The three-year extension of a controversial Alameda County contract for emergency ambulance services was moved forward by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, but not without both sides recognizing the relationship’s future is doubtful.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors gave direction to staff to continue negotiations with the EMS provider Paramedics Plus to extend the contract through June 2020, along with a number of cost-cutting features for the health care vendor. Supervisor Keith Carson voted no and Supervisor Nate Miley recused himself.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Rob Bonta tries to erase vestiges of Red Scare from state law

Assemblymember Rob Bonta
Being a member of the Communist Party can get you terminated from a state job, according to existing California law.

A bill authored by East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta remove from state law a provision allowing a public employee's membership in the Communist Party to be grounds for termination.

The Bernie Sanders of the East Bay is exploring run for Lt. Gov.

Richmond Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin
formed an exploratory committee for state
lieutenant governor.
As a Richmond mayor and councilmember Gayle McLaughlin railed against Chevron, one of the most powerful corporations in the world, for its environmental indecency, sought to protect residents from the cold grip of home foreclosures by Big Banks through eminent domain and backed working people and immigrants at every turn by raising the city's minimum wage and becoming a sanctuary city.

Friday, May 5, 2017

EBC AGENDA -- May 5-11 -- AC TRANSIT's school bus controversy continues - Water rates going up? - 'Compassionate' UNION CITY - More HAYWARD Housing

After Tuesday night in Union City it's likely the Hayward City Council will be sitting quite alone when it comes to taking no official stance toward President Trump's immigration rhetoric and policies. Of course, what were really talking about is Hayward's reluctance to declare sanctuary city status or even using the less explosive term of "compassionate city."

This Tuesday, the City Council in Union City is set to receive a report on the issue from its Human Relations Commission. The proposed resolution recommends the council declare it a compassionate city. However, the language in the resolution is basically the same as other East Bay sanctuary cities.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Richmond Councilmember Jovanka Beckles announces run for open 15th Assembly District

Richmond Councilmember Jovanka Beckles
says her campaign for the 15th Assembly
District will not accept corporate donations.
With 15th District Assemblymember Tony Thurmond running for state superintendent next year, Richmond Councilmember Jovanka Beckles is the first to officially announce a campaign to be his replacement in the Richmond, Berkeley, and Oakland Hills assembly seat.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Alameda Healthcare District board fills two open seats

Alameda Healthcare District board members
Gayle Godfrey Codiga and Dennis Popalardo
being sworn-in Wednesday evening.
The Alameda Healthcare District Board of Directors is back at full strength. After a pair of elected board members resigned earlier this year, the remaining members appointed Gayle Godfrey Codiga and Dennis Popalardo to the board at a special meeting Wednesday evening.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Oakland City Council shakes up Schaaf's soda tax allocation

Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks said 
Mayor Libby Schaaf's soda tax budget ploy was
"dishonorable and desperate" on Tuesday..
Opposition among Oakland City Council members, and the public, toward Mayor Libby Schaaf’s budget proposal to use soda tax revenues to help close the city’s funding gap may have forced her Tuesday night to change her mind.

Schaaf appeared to concede the point offered by Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan, Anne Campbell Washington and Desley Brooks that the use of Measure HH soda tax dollars for filling budget gaps is not in the “spirit” of the initiative widely approved last November by Oakland voters.

Special Election: Hayward school parcel tax renewal wins

An $88 annual school parcel tax was approved by Hayward voters in Tuesday's special election.

The vote-by-mail-only ballot for Measure A received 70 percent support, according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters. A two-thirds majority of the vote was needed for passage.

Friday, April 28, 2017

EBC AGENDA -- April 28-May 4 -- OAKLAND budget talks - Election Day in HAYWARD - FREMONT pores over district maps - RIP Daylight Savings?

Quite overlooked, but nonetheless breathtaking, is the Fremont City Council's move toward district-based elections and its expansion from five to seven members. Of course, the City Council isn't making wholesale changes on their own volition.

Like many things in life, a lawsuit is the sole impetus of the massive remodeling going on in Fremont politics. It started in February when a Malibu-based attorney targeted Fremont for violating the voting rights of Latinos. Because of Fremont's at-large system of electing councilmembers, Latinos voting strength was diluted to the point the demographic was blocked from power.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Warriors agree to 2-year lease extension, with options, to play at Oracle Arena

The Warriors will continue paying $7.5 million
a year in debt service on Oracle Arena.
The Golden State Warriors are set to sign a two-year lease extension to play in Oracle Arena that will ease the transition to the new Chase Center in San Francisco set to open in late 2019.

The lease deal, scheduled for discussion at next Tuesday's Oakland City Council meeting, also includes three one-year extensions with staggering penalties for the team opting out.

Oakland public bank study postponed as questions arise over $100,000 proposal

The momentum for Oakland becoming only the second public bank in the entire country was slowed Tuesday when an Oakland City Council committee declined to support a feasibility study worth $100,000.

A majority of the Finance and Management Committee strongly questioned whether the proposal recommended by city staff was sufficient to conduct a thorough study that also includes additional information for a regional or countywide public bank.

The committee also said funding avenues for a public bank should be included in the city's upcoming budget deliberations that begin in earnest next month. Rather than move the item to the full council or register a no vote, the committee directed city staff to further study the proposal's scope of work in time for the June 13 finance committee meeting.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

San Leandro looks to ban flavored tobacco products, but falls short on menthol cigarettes

San Leandro Councilmember Lee Thomas
wants to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes 
within city limits.
The San Leandro City Council is set to take on the tobacco and vaping industries after its Rules Committee voted Monday to move legislation banning the sale of flavored tobacco products within city limits. The proposal includes flavored "juices" used in conjunction with vaping pens, whether or not they contain nicotine. A more controversial proposal to completely ban menthol cigarettes, however, was put on hold.

The full council is scheduled to discuss the proposed ordinance at its June 5 meeting. The legislation, first backed by San Leandro Councilmember Lee Thomas last November, also places strict penalties on retailer for non-compliance, including a 90-day suspension of the tobacco license for a second offense, and up to a five-year ban for a fifth violation. In addition, the ordinance establishes a minimum number of cigarillos to be sold at 15 per package.