Monday, April 23, 2018

San Leandro Councilmember Benny Lee is running for mayor

San Leandro Councilmember Benny Lee's
mayoral campaign already has $63,000 in
contributions built over the past few years.
--ELECTION 2018--
Backed by the city's burgeoning Asian American demographic and already stocked campaign cash reserves, San Leandro Councilmember Benny Lee said Monday that he's running for mayor this fall.

Although Lee's interest in the mayor's office had been known ever since he won an unopposed re-election to the council in 2016, he started notifying supporters and other elected officials in recent weeks of his desire to challenge incumbent Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter.

Friday, April 20, 2018

EBC AGENDA | APR 20-26 | OAKLAND measure to tax vacant properties; HAYWARD fixes roads, parking; COLISEUM closed sessions; House town halls


--OAKLAND-- Regular council committee meetings, Tuesday, April 24, starts at 9:30 a.m.

Finance & Management Committee, 9 a.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--BALLOT MEASURE TO TAX VACANT PROPERTIES-- Oakland Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan and Dan Kalb say the city is "experiencing significant vacancy of property, including residential and commercial land and buildings left unused for long periods of time; and there are a number of properties in the City that are being kept vacant, undeveloped, and unoccupied by any legal use; and properties that are vacant or undeveloped deprive the community of the economic opportunity and housing that could be provided if those properties were put into use, reducing the supply of units available to house people and businesses, thus making it more difficult for people to find space to live or operate businesses within the city..." To give landlords incentive to fill the vacant units, the councilmembers are proposing a special parcel tax be placed on the November ballot with the proceeds funding affordable housing. The item will also be heard at the 1:30 p.m. CED meeting.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Libby Schaaf is 'all in' for Loren Taylor, candidate hoping to unseat Desley Brooks

Oakland City Council candidate Loren Taylor
--ELECTION 2018--
Now that Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has thrown down the gauntlet against Councilmember Desley Brooks, she's ready to back one of the candidates seeking to unseat the District 6 councilmember this November.

Former Alameda city manager John Russo fired in Riverside

John Russo left the Alameda City Manager's
Office in February 2015.
With Alameda's city manager situation in a state of disarray, comes news its former top administrator, John Russo, was fired Wednesday from the same position in Riverside.

Russo left Alameda in 2015 to become Riverside's city manager and was replaced in March 2016 by Jill Keimach, whose days on the island appear numbered following reports she unlawfully recorded a meeting with two Alameda councilmembers.

Pelosi tasks Khanna with effort to create 'Internet Bill of Rights'

Rep. Ro Khanna receives his first big 
assignment since taking office last year.
It makes sense the congressional district that essentially created the Internet should lead the legislative effort to create a more equatable platform and protect the privacy of its users. That's why House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has tasked Rep. Ro Khanna to lead the effort.

In a bind, Hayward tables long-standing plan for city to boot Bunker Hill tenants from homes

For a Hayward City Council that has voiced strong support over the past few months for helping stave off its burgeoning affordable housing crisis, the optics of evicting up to 40 families from their homes put city officials in a political bind Tuesday night. Instead, the council voted, 5-2, to postpone for one month a plan that paves the way for a future housing development at one of the last vestiges of a long-ago proposed highway extension.

The city was slated to set the stage for finding a developer to purchase the parcels in the Bunker Hill areas of Hayward just below Cal State East Bay. Last December, the city sent tenants of the remaining 38 rental units and 7 commercial properties notice of impending 90-day evictions, effective May 1. The city also postponed Tuesday night a vote on a payment relocation schedule that includes incentives for tenants to leave their homes within 30 days. Tenants who move out earlier will receive an additional payment topping $4,500; within 60 days, $3,000, and within 90 days, $2,000, according to a staff report.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Alameda City Council to release report, refers Keimach recording to D.A.; she keeps job for now

Alamedans will finally get to view the contents of an independent investigator’s report into allegations by City Manager Jill Keimach that some councilmembers violated the City Charter by interfering with her selection of a new fire chief. The Alameda City Council, after yet another marathon special closed session meeting Monday night, unanimously voted to release the report on May 2.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Alameda city attorney will ask City Council to refer Keimach taping case to D.A.

The Alameda City Council will discuss the
possible termination of City Manager Jill
Keimach on Monday night.
A day after Alameda City Manager Jill Keimach admitted to unlawfully recording two councilmembers without their consent, Alameda City Attorney Janet Kern said she will consult with the City Council on whether they want to refer the case to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.

During Keimach's spate of interviews Friday, she also asserted that Kern was aware of her intentions to record Councilmembers Jim Oddie and Malia Vella beforehand, and that the action was legal.

Libby Schaaf declares war on Desley Brooks

Going back to their days together on the
Oakland City Council, there has never been
much love lost between Desley Brooks and
Libby Schaaf.
Two years ago, Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks railed against Mayor Libby Schaaf's apparent bureaucratic error that potentially risked the loss of $2 million in grants for job training programs primarily accessed by minorities. With Schaaf in attendance for the April 2016 Community and Economic Development Committee meeting, Brooks, with a loathsome tone, said, "I would love to see the day Libby Schaaf puts her white privilege aside."

The cutting remark by Brooks, however, was nothing new. Not only does Brooks routinely attack her colleagues and other city officials, but she has often directed biting remarks toward Schaaf going back to her stint together on the City Council.

Friday, April 13, 2018

EBC AGENDA | APRIL 13-19 | ALAMEDA scandal unfolds Monday; FREMONT tackles homelessness; HAYWARD begins budget talks


--ALAMEDA-- Special closed session meeting, Monday, April 16, 5 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--SCANDAL!-- It's been six months since the Alameda City Council hired an outside attorney to investigation claims by City Manager Jill Keimach that unnamed coucilmembers violated the City Charter by interfering with her powers to hire a new fire chief. A special closed session in late January ran five-hours-long without any resolution. Another five-hour closed session on Mar. 9 also yielded no information pertaining to the independent investigation, but surprisingly included the announcement that Keimach was placed on administrative leave. Now with news that Keimach was placed on leave after it was learned she allegedly recorded a private meeting with councilmembers things are getting hot on the island. Monday evening's closed session will afford a third opportunity for Alameda to reach some closure on this burgeoning political scandal. Maybe a firing? Maybe a report or promise of one being released in coming days?

➤Regular council meeting, Tuesday, April 17, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--MINIMUM WAGE ORDINANCE-- It's been awhile since the minimum wage issue have been broached in Alameda. But it returns with a staff report that offers a staff recommendation asking the council to approve a community outreach effort in the fall, and two alternative plans: maintain the state's wage increases scale to $15 an hour by 2022 or direct staff to create a draft ordinance.

What We Know: Alameda City Manager Scandal -- Keimach admits to recordings; later implicates city attorney

➤On Thursday, I reported for the East Bay Express that Alameda City Manager Jill Keimach secretly recorded a conversation between two Alameda councilemembers and, separately, a city department manager. An attorney representing Keimach denied she did anything wrong. Keimach, in fact, is who gave the recordings to the investigator hired by the City Council to probe allegations she made against unnamed elected officials for illegally interfering in her decision-making process to hire a new fire chief. This is the prevailing reason why the City Council surprisingly placed Keimach on paid administrative leave Mar. 9 following a lengthy closed session. Recording individuals without their consent is illegal under state law.

➤In an interview with KCBS radio on Friday morning, Keimach admitted to recording the councilmembers, which she personally identified for the first time as Councilmembers Jim Oddie and Malia Vella. The incident occurred in August during a private meeting that included a conversation about the hiring of a new fire chief. It's the same meeting Keimach referenced in her original complaint letter. But Keimach did not acknowledged she may have broken the law. Instead, she recorded the councilmembers to gather evidence to show the councilmembers were indeed applying undue political pressure on her to select the firefighters' choice for chief, said Keimach. She also told KCBS the recording was the first time in her career that she had ever recorded what she believed was illegal activity.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Supervisor Nate Miley, for now, tables plan for sheriff to operate Ashland Youth Center

Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley,
right, at a meeting in San Lorenzo last month.
After a series of community meetings showing a building consensus among local residents in opposition to a plan for the Alameda County Sheriff's Office to operate the Ashland REACH Youth Center, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley decided Wednesday night to indefinitely pull the plug on the proposal.

Oakland Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington will not seek re-election

Annie Campbell Washington
First-term Oakland Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington announced she will not seek re-election to her District 4 seat this fall. The announcement late Thursday afternoon is somewhat of a surprise. Campbell Washington would have been a heavy favorite to win re-election.

Alameda city manager secretly recorded meeting with two councilmbers

Jill Keimach
Alameda City Manager Jill Keimach surreptitiously recorded a conversation with two Alameda councilmembers at a meeting that is at the center of the city's on-going political scandal.

Over the course of the city's nearly six-month investigation into claims by Keimach that councilmembers illegally interfered with her powers to hire a new fire chief, it was learned Keimach recorded a meeting between the three in mid-August, according to sources.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

With A's in mind, Alameda County Supervisors seek to sell Coliseum interests to Oakland

With hopes of paving the way for the Oakland Athletics to build a new ballpark at the current Coliseum complex, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors announced they will formally enter into negotiations to sell their portion of the property to the city of Oakland.

"The Board renewed its decision to sell in the wake of recent expressions of interest by the A’s to purchase the Coliseum property to build a new home stadium there," the county said, in a statement released Tuesday night "Alameda County strongly believes that negotiating such a purchase and a plan for future development of the Coliseum properties would be simplified – and more likely successful - if the properties had a single owner.

As embattled ALCO Sheriff Ahern runs unopposed, critics search for a write-in candidate

Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern
at a town hall last summer in Hayward
where he faced considerable criticism.
--ELECTION 2018--
Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern has long dismayed East Bay progressives because of his deference to ICE, his support of Urban Shield, and instances of abuse by his deputies, among many gripes.

But despite being the target of so much animus among local progressives, they have found it immensely difficult to not only find a credible candidate willing to challenge him at the ballot box. This election season is no different.

Alameda may soon learn details of growing city manager scandal

For the third time in as many months the Alameda City Council has scheduled a special closed session meeting, this one set for next Monday, April 16, 5 p.m., to discuss the growing political scandal pitting City Manager Jill Keimach against the City Council.

The agenda released Monday afternoon references up to three potential lawsuits and, somewhat ominously, the potential dismissal of Keimach.

Monday, April 9, 2018

O'Malley scrubs website of Sacramento DA's endorsement after Price calls out similar fundraising conflicts

Civil right attorney Pamela Price is turning
up the heat on Alameda County District
Attorney Nancy O'Malley in recent weeks.
--ELECTION 2018--
Last week ,the campaign for Alameda County District Attorney candidate Pamela Price attempted to highlight a link between incumbent Alameda County D.A. Nancy O'Malley and her counterpart in Sacramento, who is currently embroiled in the aftermath of the shooting by local police of an unarmed black man.

EBC AGENDA | APRIL 6-12 | Controversial OAKLAND job training proposal returns; A's meet with Port; FREMONT rent review will cost $24/unit


--OAKLAND-- Regular council committee meetings, Tuesday, April 10, starts at 9:30 a.m.

Community & Economic Development Committee, 1:30 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--CYPRESS MANDELA TRAINING CENTER-- Councilmember Desley Brooks' controversial proposal to use funding derived from some voter-approved ballot measures to fund job training programs across Oakland headlines Tuesday's slate of committee hearings. Brooks proposes using these set-aside revenues to fund job training programs conducted by private entities. A Budget Advisory Commission last February raised serious doubts over the proposal's legality and instead suggested the council use other streams of non-dedicated funding for job training .

--ALTERNATIVE HOUSING OPTIONS-- Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan proposes a resolution encouraging private development of new housing projects that might include, for example, "small houses" and creating housing units with shipping containers.

--PLASTIC STRAWS BAN-- Oakland is set to follow Alameda and Berkeley in prohibiting distribution of single-use plastic straws in bars and restaurants.

Alameda Labor Council names disgraced Teamsters leader its Unstoppable Unionist of the Year

Just months after the banishment for two years of likely the most influential Teamster on the West Coast, the Alameda Labor Council is set to honor him during its annual Unionist of the Year dinner next May in Oakland.

After a years-long investigation, the Teamsters suspended Rome Aloise, the president of the Teamster Joint 7 Council, for two years from all union-related activities. His pay and benefits worth a total of $383,000 is also being withheld by the union.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Alameda County Democrats vote to back D.A. Nancy O'Malley's bid for re-election

Alameda County District Attorney candidates
Pamela Price, center, Nancy O'Malley, right,
with Robin Torello, chair of the Alameda
County Democratic Party.
--ELECTION 2018--
At one point during the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee meeting Wednesday in San Leandro, an elected member of the group yelled "bullshit!" in response to one of District Attorney Nancy O'Malley's answers. O'Malley's upstart opponent this June, Pamela Price, later she O'Malley is lying about her record in opposition of a previous statewide initiative to reduce sentencing for some low-level crimes.

But the tense, and often frenetic back-and-forth between O'Malley and Price during the 20-minute forum failed to sway the typically progressive central committee with O'Malley winning the influential endorsement of the county Democratic Party.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Barbara Lee calls for end to militarization, racism during speech honoring MLK on 50th anniversary of his death

At a ceremony in Memphis honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination, East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee called for an end "forever wars" and militarization and again condemned President Donald Trump for his racist rhetoric. VIDEO BELOW

"In the name of Dr. King, we must repeal this authorization and bring these 'forever wars' to an end," Lee said during the ceremony Wednesday at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. "This country continue to fund a war machine at the expense of education, housing, and health care here at home."

Saturday, March 31, 2018

EBC AGENDA | MAR 30-APR 5 | ALAMEDA on pace to meet state housing requirement; BERKELEY wants to thwart data vendors working with ICE; AD15 forum


--ALAMEDA-- Regular council meeting, Tuesday, April 3, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--HOUSING ELEMENT REPORT-- Alameda is on pace to satisfy the state's Regional Housing Needs Allocation for building 1,723 units of housing by 2023, says city staff. Ninety-three building permits were issued in 2017. The prior two years yielded 493 building permits. But the bulk of the city's RHNA obligation is yet to come, including 600 alone from the recently approved Site A at Alameda Point, 300 units at the Del Monte project, and another 300 units at Alameda Landing. NEXT MEETING: Tuesday, Apr. 17.

--BERKELEY-- Regular council meeting, Tuesday, April 3, 6 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--FIGHT ICE-- Berkeley Councilmember Kriss Worthington is proposing that the city's Peace and Justice Commission take a look at his draft ordinance that would "prohibit the award of city contracts to vendors acting as "Data Brokers", and providing "Extreme Vetting" services and prohibit City investment in these companies. It is our duty to uphold and promote values of inclusion and shared prosperity. We need longer tables, not higher walls," he wrote. In recent months, several news reports have detailed so called "data brokers" providing their services to ICE.

Friday, March 30, 2018

CoCo Republican Party applauds sheriff's apparent attempt to undermine state's sanctuary law

Contra Costa County Sheriff
David Livingston
Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston last February began posting online the release dates of immigrants in the county, according to news reports.

The move dovetails with a growing movement, particularly in Southern California, against the sanctuary state law signed last year by the Legislature. Public officials in Orange County and Los Alamitos this week made pushes against the state law that forbids law enforcement with cooperating with ICE.

San Leandro mayor's state of the city details accomplishments, excludes city manager scandal

San Leandro Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter
delivering the state of the city address last
Monday at the Senior Community Center.
San Leandro Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter, during the annual state of the city address this week, said the city is becoming a regional leader in Smart City technology, spending more money on capital improvement project than any time in its history, and still working on those pot holes. The 45-minute address and video presentation, however, largely left out the current investigation of the city manager and the torpid state of its once-promising cannabis industry.

But San Leandro has a lot going for them, said Cutter, who ambled up to the stage using a cane. Cutter recently had knee replacement surgery. "I'm personally working on my own infrastructure," she joked.

Alameda County Supe Nate Miley wants Sheriff's Office to operate Ashland Youth Center

Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley,
seated right, listening to public speakers
Wednesday night who are concerned about 
his plans for the Ashland Youth Center.
A strong dose of distrust toward the Alameda County Sheriff's Department and a lack of transparency is fueling opposition to a proposal by Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley to transfer oversight of the Ashland REACH Youth Center from the county's Health Service Agency to the Sheriff's Office.

"This is an insane idea," said George Galvis, executive director for the Oakland-based Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, following a 45-minute presentation by the Sheriff's Office this week at the San Lorenzo Library. "All any of us have to do is Google 'Alameda County Sheriff' and you're going to see headlines of abuse."

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Hayward continues slow track toward easing growing housing crisis

Hayward Councilmember Elisa
Marquez pushed for a moratorium
on rents Tuesday, but gained only
tepid support from her colleagues.
The Hayward City Council gave direction to staff Tuesday night to study a menu of new protections for the city's renters, including non-binding mediation to resolve rent increases and possibly a moratorium, also on rent hikes. It was the third such council discussion since late January without any concrete movement toward a short-term plan for struggling renters.

But as increased pressure by local grassroots organization and a growing perception among some Hayward residents that rental prices are rising, the outreach appears to be moving the council, if ever so slightly. Tuesday night's direction to city staff may return a set of proposed policies and additional information, particularly on various moratoriums sometime in May, said Hayward City Manager Kelly McAdoo.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Alameda County formally enters negotiations with A's for sale of Coliseum complex

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors
have long been interested in selling its half
of the 120-acre Coliseum complex.
A day after Oakland Athletics management announced its interest in purchasing the entire Coliseum complex, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday afternoon voted to enter into negotiations with the team.

The action is just the first step in resolving the future of the 120-acre property and potentially becoming the site of a new ballpark for the Athletics.

Alameda County supervisors say they will end Urban Shield funding in 2019

After years of vehement opposition by progressive and minority groups, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors Tuesday afternoon decided to end funding for Urban Shield after this year.

"Urban Shield ends at the conclusion of today's vote," said Alameda County Keith Carson, in making a motion to end the event, as it is current constituted, in 2019. The board voted, 4-1, to support funding the event this summer, with Supervisor Scott Haggerty voting no.

Monday, March 26, 2018

A's letter: Coliseum or bust!

A report Monday that the Oakland Athletics are interested in buying the Coliseum complex, but the letter sent by Athletics management to city and county officials more notably hints the team views the long-standing stadium issues as the Coliseum or bust.

The Laney College site is long gone after the team seriously fumbled the negotiation process with the Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees, and according to the letter from A's team president Dave Kaval, so too, if you read between the line, is Howard Terminal, near Jack London Square. The clincher pointing to the A's complete exasperation is this line, near the end of the one-page letter: "This is a critical moment for the A's the community. The venue process has taken too long." Emphasis on the word "too," as in, toooo long.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Powerful progressive law firm plunks down $20,000 for Nancy O'Malley's campaign

Including donations from attorney Joe Cotchett
and his law firm, Alameda County DA Nancy 
O'Malley raised $27,200 in the past eight days.
--ELECTION 2018--
The powerful Burlingame law firm of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Facebook shareholder on Tuesday over the recent disclosure that the social media company failed to protect data from 50 million of its users in a story likely connected to the ongoing Russian collusion investigation.

EBC AGENDA | MAR 23-29 | BERKELEY may prohibit use of city funds for sugary drinks; HAYWARD spends big $$ for mobile police vehicle; and more


--BERKELEY-- Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Mar. 27, 6 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--COKE IS NOT IT-- Four years ago, Berkeley voters overwhelmingly approved a tax on sugary drinks sales. Now the Berkeley City Council may go further with an ordinance that prohibits the city from using taxpayers' money to purchase sugar-sweetened beverages. The proposed ordinance also bans selling sugary drinks on city properties, primarily through vending machines and forbids the drinks at city meetings. The recommendation comes from the city's Sugar Sweetened Beverage Product Panel of Experts. According to the city manager's office, a further study of the proposal by staff is needed, "but will take more time." NEXT MEETING: Tuesday, Apr. 3.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Nancy O'Malley says she'll return donations from Tri-Valley developer indicted on federal campaign finance charges

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy
O'Malley speaking at the San Leandro
Democratic Club in February.
--ELECTION 2018--
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley says her re-election campaign will return contributions from a well-known Tri-Valley developer who was indicted last August for violating federal election campaign finance laws and, prior to that, was ordered to pay $650,000 in fines in late 2015 for falsifying environmental documents.

Barbara Lee schools Betsy DeVos 'This is horrible'

The enmity toward U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos from Democrats and some conservatives, reached East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee, an elected official not known for public displays of irritation.

During a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Tuesday that included education, Lee pressed DeVos on long-standing discrepancies on the rate of punishment for black and minority students as opposed to Caucasians. (Watch video below)

It didn't go well.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Dublin will fill council seat left open by councilman's passing

Dublin Councilmember Don Biddle
died Feb. 22 and served 10 years on
the city council.
Dublin councilmembers, following the passing of their colleague Don Biddle last month, set an ambitious schedule Tuesday night to find his replacement.

The city will begin accepting applicants for Biddle's seat for one week, starting Wednesday through Mar. 28. A new councilmember could be appointed at the April 2 meeting, the council decided at Tuesday's meeting.

ICE says 3 immigrants who evaded them because of Libby Schaaf, have been re-arrested

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has stood
resolute in the face of criticism from Trump
and ICE following her Feb. 24 warning
to Bay Area immigrants.
The top U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement official says three undocumented immigrants, which they believe evaded apprehension because Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf's public warning of a raids last month, were arrested recently for violent crimes.

Acting ICE Director Tom Homan laid the blame on Schaaf. “We are told on one hand to focus efforts on criminals but those same folks who want to focus on criminals don’t let us into the county jails. It just defies logic,” he said Tuesday at a White House roundtable attended by President Donald Trump.

Oakland police commission enabling ordinance moves along, despite city attorney's opinion

An opinion by the Oakland City Attorney's office that a voter-approved independent police commission did not have authority, under the City Charter, to hire or fire an inspector general for police investigations, roiled advocates of police transparency Tuesday night in the Oakland City Council chambers

Oakland voters overwhelmingly supported Measure LL in November 2016, gaining 83 percent of the vote. Yet, despite appointments to the new commission, an enabling ordinance required before the body begins its work, has languished for more than a year. Despite the acrimony Tuesday night, the Oakland City Council ultimately opposed the city attorney's opinion and voted, 7-1, to move along the enabling ordinance.

Alameda push poll is dishing dirt on potential mayoral, council candidates, but not all of them

--ELECTION 2018--
A push poll, suspected by many, to have originated from Alameda landlords' groups, is probing and testing potential attack lines against a lengthy list of potential progressive candidates for the city's mayoral and city council elections this fall. The existence of the poll portends for another heated political season coming to Alameda.

Joseph Hilson, three-term Hayward councilmember, passes

Joseph Hilson served on the Hayward City
Council from 1992 to 2004.
Joseph Hilson, a three-term Hayward councilmember, who was an early adopter of technology in local government, has died.

Hilson was elected in 1992 and served through 2004, before he was defeated in a watershed Hayward council election.

John Knox White is running for Alameda City Council

John Knox White is the first to officially
enter the race for Alameda City Council.
--ELECTION 2018--
John Knox White, a well-known city activist and former Alameda Planning Board member, is the first to officially declare their candidacy for this fall's likely contentious Alameda City Council election.

“I love Alameda. For the past 16 years, I’ve raised my family here and worked to make Alameda an even more vibrant and welcoming place to live,” said John Knox White in a statement Wednesday. “In 2018, I’m running for Alameda City Council to ensure that ‘Everyone Belongs Here’ is never just a slogan but a core community value.”

Monday, March 19, 2018

East Bay's June ballot is set; AD15 features 12 candidates; sheriff, 2 supervisors to run unopposed

Just a portion of the AD15 field during a
forum in Oakland last January.
Voters in the contentious 15th Assembly District will have to choose from a list of 11 Democrats and a lone Republican this June. The wide-open race in the top-two primary is destined to be another tight Dem-on-Dem affair, just as it was in 2014 when Tony Thurmond outlasted Elizabeth Echols. Thurmond is leaving the seat that represents areas around Berkeley, Richmond, and a portion of North Oakland, in order to challenge for the state superintendent of public instruction race, also this June.

Although none of the dozen candidates has clearly pulled away from the pack, the upper tier of candidates on the ballot include, Buffy Wicks, who ran Hillary Clinton's presidential operations in California and worked in the Obama administration. Wicks has, by far, led the field in fundraising with a whopping $520,000 in contributions through last year.

Swalwell: GOP trying to 'dirty up' fired FBI deputy director because he knows too much

East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell told CNN Sunday night that the effort by President Donald Trump's lawyers are trying to discredit the recently fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe because they are worried he may have information to offer Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller in the Russian collusion investigation.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

EBC AGENDA | MAR 16-22 | Housing discussions in SAN LEANDRO, HAYWARD; Revenues up in ALAMEDA


--ALAMEDA-- Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Mar. 20, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--UPTICK IN REVENUES-- "The proposed budget amendments to the FY 2017-18 Budget will increase General Fund revenue by $7 million, to $99 million, and will increase operating expenditures by $382,000, to $95 million in operating expenditures, and to $111 million total expenditures including annual Pension/OPEB reserve funding. After implementation of the Pension/OPEB reserve policy for 2017-18 results, the adjusted available fund balance at June 2018 is projected at 32% of annual operating expenditures."

--Alameda's revenues increased across the board. The main factors is a $1.6 million rise in expected property tax revenue; $300,000 more in sales tax proceeds, and three large and unexpected property sales that drove up Property Transfer Taxes by an additional $5 million since last June. Pension costs, however, are expected to rise $1-2 million this year and double in the five years, according to a city report.

--LANDLORDS' RENT MEASURE-- A ballot measure bank-rolled by Alameda landlords appears headed for the November General Election. Landlords were successful last summer in gathering enough signature to qualify for the 2018 ballot. The ballot measure proposes to place the city's current rent stabilization ordinance in the City Charter. Since the ordinance's passage, renters' advocates have soured on the law, while landlords' have come to embrace it as a means for stifling even greater rent restrictions on property owners. NEXT MEETING: Tuesday, April 3.

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.