COUNCIL DAY IN THE EAST BAY: Tuesday - Alameda County Board of Supervisors, 10:45 a.m.; Alameda, Hayward, Fremont City Councils, 7 p.m. Follow at Twitter.com/eastbaycitizen

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

San Leandro severs $700,000 investment with Wells Fargo over scandals, pipeline support

A rash of banking scandals implicating Wells Fargo, in addition, to its controversial investment in the progressive cause célèbre, the Dakota Access Pipeline, has lead another East Bay city to take steps toward ending its banking relationship with the historic California institution.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Despite sanctuary city status, Hayward approves DOJ grant funding for police, but not really

A U.S. Department of Justice grant allocated to the Hayward Police Department worth $42,491 is likely at risk after the Hayward City Council instructed its staff to not sign a controversial new certification that runs opposed to its recently approved sanctuary city status.

In Beast Mode, Schaaf responds to Trump's tweet calling for Marshawn Lynch's suspension

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf won't stand for President Donald Trump attacking her city, and for good measure, its native son, Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch.

At Sunday's game in Mexico City, Lynch chose to sit during the National Anthem, but stood during the playing of the Mexican anthem. The display caught the attention of Trump, who for weeks has called out NFL players for sitting during the anthem, while also criticizing owners for not suspending them.

Friday, November 17, 2017

EBC AGENDA | NOV 17-23 | SAN LEANDRO closes its Wells Fargo account?; Pot ordinances get final approvals; FREMONT plan for rising pension costs


--SAN LEANDRO-- Regular council meeting, Monday, Nov. 20, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--WELLS FARGO DIVESTITURE-- San Leandro city staff is recommending against discontinuing business with Wells Fargo after some city officials and members of the community were critical of the bank's investments in the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline project in South Dakota. San Leandro has a $5 million account with Wells Fargo for daily operational expenses and a $700,000 corporate bank note in its investment portfolio. Finance Director David Baum urged a discussion of divesting the latter, but hopes the council will defer on totally ending its relationship with Wells Fargo. Simply put, very few banks are not involved in some way with the Dakota Access Pipeline project, at least, institutions big enough to satisfy San Leandro's banking needs.

--NO ADULT-USE RETAIL CANNABIS-- "The City Council has made no affirmative policy, and by this ordinance prohibits, the distribution, dispensing, and delivery of cannabis and cannabis products for Adult Use. This ordinance also explicitly prohibits the commercial cultivation of cannabis for either adult or medicinal use; it preserves the right of patients and primary caregivers to cultivate medicinal cannabis for personal use. This ordinance is an affirmative statement to comply with State law, and ensures that local City regulations are not preempted by State law. Finally, this ordinance makes clear that dispensaries permitted by the City shall dispense, distribute, and manufacture cannabis and cannabis products for medicinal purposes only."

Hayward's Dobbs saga ends with dropped lawsuit

Case dismissed: Former Hayward
Superintendent Stan "Data" Dobbs.
Former Hayward superintendent Stan "Data" Dobbs' tumultuous tenure appears officially over after he filed to drop his $500,000 lawsuit against the Hayward Unified School District and three of its board trustees.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

After begrudgingly offering 6 affordable units for Hayward project, exec brags about lengthy Italian vacation

KB Home executive Ray Panek, left, missed the
Oct. 3 Hayward meeting that resulted in the 
council slamming its project due to a lack of
affordable housing.
A month ago, the Hayward City Council appeared to have stomped its collective feet in opposition to a housing development along Mission Boulevard in South Hayward that proposed 35 market-rate town homes and 39 apartment units, but without an affordable housing component. For this reason, the project was unanimously denied by the council on Oct. 3 [Watch video below]

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Oakland plan to restrict speculators at proposed A's ballpark is held in committee

A's management announced an intention to
build a new ballpark in the above area near
Laney College in 
Legislation that would have placed short-term controls aimed at hindering speculative real estate moves in and around the proposed A's ballpark near Laney College was put on hold Tuesday by the Oakland City Council Community and Economic Development Committee.

Swalwell probes Sessions on Carter Page, WikiLeaks

Rep. Eric Swalwell often times used a conversational tone to question U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions during a House Judiciary hearing Tuesday. In effect, attempting to out-folks the genteel Alabamian over the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential elections.

Friday, November 10, 2017

EBC AGENDA | NOV 10-16 | OAKLAND moves to curb ballpark speculators; SAN LEANDRO studies short-term rental effects; HAYWARD pot


--OAKLAND-- City Council committee hearings, Tuesday, Nov. 14, starts at 9:30 a.m.

Community & Economic Development Committee, 1:30 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--PERALTA BALLPARK CONTROLS-- "With the Oakland Athletics' (Oakland A's) recent announcement that their preferred location for a new Major League Baseball stadium is the Peralta Community College District administrative headquarters property at E. 7th Street and 5th Avenue on the east side of the Lake Merritt Channel, there are concerns within the nearby Chinatown and Eastlake neighborhoods that property owners and developers in the area may take speculative actions with nearby properties in ways that could result in the demolition of existing buildings, displacement of existing tenants and/or the removal of rental units from the market."

Kaplan, Brooks upset over ICE accountability item being iced by Oakland committee members

Oakland Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan and Desley Brooks expressed bewilderment Friday after an inquiry into the Aug. 16 raid in Oakland conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents was abruptly removed from consideration at yesterday's Oakland City Council Rules Committee. The item was previously scheduled for next Tuesday.

The request was made by Rules Committee members Abel Guillen and Anne Campbell Washington. The city is currently investigating Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick's involvement in the ICE raid on a West Oakland home that resulted in the arrest of an undocumented individual. The impetus for pulling the item is concern it could conflict with the investigation.

Alameda police chief leads a chorus of support for embattled city manager

Alameda Police Chief Paul Rolleri added another level of intrigue to the on-going controversy stemming from the hire of a new fire chief Tuesday night when he lead a group of city department heads in standing in support of City Manager Jill Keimach.

"We here to affirm there is stability within the city and that we all, individually and collectively, trust in Jill Keimach's leadership and are working together to accomplish the city's priorities," Rolleri told the City Council, flanked by a number of top city administrators.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

ALCO begins process of issuing $580 million Measure A1 affordable housing bonds

The serious lack of affordable housing in the East Bay was clearly apparent to voters in Alameda County last year with approval of Measure A1, a $580 million general obligation bond to help foster new ownership of affordable housing and units for renters.

On Tuesday, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors formally approved the issuance of the bonds, while continuing to lay the groundwork for the hard part of deal: equally distributing the bonds' proceeds while also maximizing its ability to leverage additional funding.

Hayward Councilman Mark Salinas announces challenge to mayor's re-election

Hayward Councilmember Mark Salinas also ran
for mayor in 2014, finishing second.
Hayward Councilmember Mark Salinas made the ultimate political campaign gamble in 2014 when he eschewed likely re-election to the City Council for a run for mayor. His wager, though, came up short. But, after recapturing his council seat last year, Salinas announced Thursday that he is launching another run for Hayward mayor.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Judge tells Berkeley to quit with excuses, orders search for homeless shelters

A federal judge strongly admonished the City of Berkeley Tuesday for its lack of specificity when it comes to finding shelter for its homeless population.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup ruling in a lawsuit by a group forced to leave land owned by BART for , ordered the city to come up with a plan to shelter people for the coming winter, according to Bay City News.

Alsup, though, added, "Do not simply recite the programs the city purports to offer, for they are admittedly insufficient." The judge also instructed the plaintiffs' counsel, Civil Rights Attorney Dan Siegel, also a former Oakland mayoral candidate, to provide specific proposals for Berkeley to set aside areas to act as shelters for the homeless.

The order stemmed from a lawsuit filed by between 20-30 individuals who are being evicted for areas owned by BART that surround tracks in South Berkeley.

According to the report, Berkeley has roughly 1,000 homeless individuals living in the city.

Bonta hopes Trump continues to be successful at failure

Assemblymember Rob Bonta hopes Trump
continues to be the failure-in-chief.
Assemblymember Rob Bonta had some negative thoughts about President Donald Trump at Tuesday night's Oakland City Council meeting.

In attendance to discuss his legislative year in the Assembly, Bonta said he hopes Trump's agenda continues to fail. Bonta made the comment in response to a councilmember's question about federal funding for low-income housing credits.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Also, also, also, also, also also-ran releases video announcing another run for Oakland mayor

Oakland community activist Ken Houston is
the third candidate to declare an intention to
challenge Mayor Libby Schaaf's re-election.
Three years ago, Ken Houston was a candidate in the sprawling 15-person campaign for Oakland Mayor. He finished 10th with .50 percent of the vote, or 514 votes. But what was more notable was that the contractor turned community activist rarely participated in the campaign process.

Repayment of federal loan is hampering proposed San Leandro dispensary permit

The fate of a San Leandro medical cannabis dispensary may hinge on the repayment of a federal loan previously used to purchase the building where the group intends to open its business sometime next year.

The San Leandro Board of Zoning Adjustments reaffirmed its vote last Thursday to pave the way for the Davis Street Wellness Center dispensary to open in a portion of what is presently the Davis Street Family Resource Center on Teagarden Street.

Monday, November 6, 2017

EBC AGENDA | NOV 6-9 | Housing dominates City Halls across the East Bay; ALAMEDA COUNTY begins issuing housing bonds; ALAMEDA pot ordinance


--SAN LEANDRO-- Regular council meeting, NoV. 6, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--CITY-OWNED REAL ESTATE DEAL-- Town Hall Square, the roughly 1.5 acres plot of undeveloped land bounded by East 14th, Hays, Davis Streets in Downtown San Leandro is slated to be sold to a developer for $2.1 million. The vision for Town Hall Square includes 120 housing units within a four story building above retail. Plans for the site, though, have laid dormant since at least 2004 due to the panoply of separately-owned properties. Three properties remain owned by non-city entities including a building belonging to Union Bank. Don't expect the development to sprout anytime soon, though. The developer plans to "wait out" Union Bank's lease that runs through 2022.

--OAKLAND-- Regular council meeting, Nov. 7, 5:30 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--HOUSING REHAB EXEMPTIONS MORATORIUM-- "This legislation would impose a moratorium of approximately 180 days, beginning October 20, 2017, on new petitions for the substantial rehabilitation exemption under the City of Oakland's Residential Rent Adjustment Ordinance... The purpose of the exemption is to encourage private investment in deteriorated residential units in Oakland. However, numerous residents have recently complained to the Oakland City Council and Housing, Residential Rent and Relocation Board that their rents will increase to unaffordable levels if recent petitions filed for the substantial rehabilitation exemption are granted and that this will lead to displacement."

--OAK KNOLL PROJECT-- Expect the union faithful come out in droves Tuesday evening to oppose the Oak Knoll project, a 935-unit housing development in the Oakland Hills. Labor leaders oppose the project after the developer SunCal shut out union workers. On Monday, a coalition of East Bay labor groups delivered a petition with 1,600 signatures to the mayor's office calling for the city to reject the proposal.

➤Rules Committee meeting, Thursday, Nov. 9, 10:45 a.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]

Thursday, November 2, 2017


Rebecca Kaplan is going to sweep into the
AD15 race late and take it.
➤I think its absolutely useless to do an analysis of the 15th Assembly District's current large field of candidates because the person who will sworn-in December 2018 is even in the race yet. I think sometime early next year, Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan will enter the race and gain momentum and media attention that nobody in the current field will have attained. There's a reason why there is so many candidates to replace Tony Thurmond, because every one that has entered the race has failed to move the needle. This only entices others to assess the field and figure they too have as good a shot as anyone else. That ends with Kaplan.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


By the looks of it, Alameda Mayor Trish
might be running for re-election against
the entire City Council.

➤I think after what the East Bay Times and columnist Daniel Borenstein pulled with the Alameda City Council and city manager interference story, you should assume every story in that paper is Fake News or contains strains of lies and inaccuracies. Borenstein wrote a flimsy column alleging serious wrongdoing by one Alameda councilmember without offering any evidence, and then penned an unsigned editorial the next day calling for that person and another councilmember to be removed from office. The whole thing was so amateur. To me, these two pieces amount to Borenstein hinting he's about to retire. He's better than this.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Assemblymember Bill Quirk needs a
signature legislative achievement and
he needs it to happen soon.
➤I think the burgeoning scandal in Sacramento with legislators meting out punishment in secret to colleagues accused of sexual harassment in the workplace is going to result in some special elections across the state next year. 

➤I think if you have followed the East Bay Citizen Twitter feed (@eastbaycitizen) over the last week, you know that some East Bay state legislators, current and former, have been accused of sexual harassment in the past. Here's more: On one occasion, taxpayers were forced to pay out a six-figure settlement with the woman who accused an East Bay legislator of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Friday, October 27, 2017

EBC AGENDA | OCT 27-NOV 5 | OAKLAND's 918-unit Oak Knoll project faces scrutiny; HAYWARD to greenlight cannabis rules; BERKELEY defines 'use of force'


--OAKLAND-- Special Community & Economic Development Committee meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 10 a.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--918-UNIT OAK KNOLL DEVELOPMENT-- "The Applicant [SunCal] is requesting planning-related permits including a General Plan Amendment, Rezoning, and other planning-related actions that would enable development of 918 residential units, 72,000 square feet of primarily neighborhood-serving commercial uses, relocation and rehabilitation of the historic Club Knoll building to accommodate commercial uses and civic uses, with the remainder of the site consisting of parks, open space and streets, all within the approximately 183-acre Project site. Approval will allow the Project to proceed."

--A coalition of local labor unions, though, say the project is unprecedented in Oakland since no community benefits package or development agreement is in place. The Oakland Planning Commission approved the project on Oct. 19. “SunCal has also refused to negotiate a project labor agreement with local labor unions covering the construction of the projects 935 houses, depriving workers of sustainable wages and opportunities to learn vital to their professions. This will set a bad example for future developments," said a labor groups calling themselves East Bay Residents for Responsible Growth. “SunCal has also refused to negotiate a project labor agreement with local labor unions covering the construction of the projects 935 houses, depriving workers of sustainable wages and opportunities to learn vital to their professions.This will set a bad example for future developments."

Gayle McLaughlin, East Bay candidate for guv lite, wants a millionaires' tax

Lt. Guv candidate Gayle McLaughlin would
raise taxes on the rich by one percent per
million dollars earned.
Gayle McLaughlin already has a reputation as one of the most progressive elected officials in the East Bay so it's no surprise that her campaign for lieutenant governor is starting to sound familiar fans of Sen. Bernie Sanders. McLaughlin's campaign Thursday unveiled a plan calling for wealthy Californians to pay their fair share of taxes.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Alameda County rebuttal to grand jury report unsurprisingly swats away sharp criticisms

Supervisor Wilma Chan confronting protesters
during an Alameda County Board of
Supervisors meeting in 2016.
A scathing Alameda County grand jury report last June included a number of sharp criticisms against the county and members of the Board of Supervisors. Among them, questioning the Board of Supervisors' ability to shower unfettered amounts of district funds on community groups without sufficient oversight and allegations of political interference by one supervisor involving a county contract with a well-known Oakland church.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

After lagging for five months on becoming sanctuary city, Hayward gets award for its work

Hayward Anti-Discrimination Task Force
meeting last spring.
At a Hayward City Council meeting last June, city officials basked in the glow of a standing ovation from those who have long advocated for declaring the Latino-heavy city a sanctuary for immigrants.

The city announced Wednesday that it received an award from the Local Government Hispanic Network for its efforts in adapting to changing federal immigration policy and immigration law enforcement. Hayward received the 2017 Civic Engagement Award this week at a conference in San Antonio.

Berkeley rent board gives solace to those who lost their homes in devastating North Bay fires

Tens of thousands of victims displaced by the the North Bay fires have a place to stay in Berkeley after the city's Rent Stabilization Board initiated an ordinance that allows property owners to offer their housing units at below market rates.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Oakland proposal to border wall builders: Take your biz elsewhere

Prototypes for President Donald Trump's border wall are nearly complete. The City of Oakland, however, believes it has its own prototype for stymieing the wall's construction.

An Oakland City Council proposal to ban vendors from seeking city contracts who if they help design or construct the controversial border wall was approved Tuesday by the Financial and Management Committee.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Alamedans will vote on landlord-backed rent measure in 2018

A petitioner on Park Street in Alameda last
July seeking a signature for a landlords-
backed ballot measure.
Over the past 18 months, Alameda has seen a number of rent-related ballot measures come and go. Some, like two competing rent control measure last November actually made the ballot, while other proposals have fizzled early or failed to attract enough valid signatures to qualify.

Last summer, a measure backed by area landlords aimed for rolling back just cause renters protections approved by the Alameda City Council a month prior, successfully qualified its petition before elected officials, at the behest of tenant groups, decided against placing the question on a forthcoming ballot and instead rescinded the ordinance.

Friday, October 20, 2017

EBC AGENDA | OCT 20-26 | OAKLAND's Border Wall biz ban; ALAMEDA lights up pot discussion; ALAMEDA COUNTY rebuts grand jury findings


--ALAMEDA-- Special council meeting workshop, Saturday, Oct. 21, 9 a.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--DRAFT CANNABIS ORDINANCE-- It's been nearly a years since the Alameda City Council backed a referral asking the staff to study the possibilities and ramifications of permitting medical dispensaries and possibly commercial sales on the island. A special Saturday morning council workshop at City Hall could go far in determining Alameda's place in the burgeoning pot industry in the East Bay. But first, the council needs to answer a number of questions: How many permits might be issued and what type of businesses? Medical, commercial, cultivation, etc.? Where will their locations be permitted and when will the city ask voters to approve a taxing mechanism in order for the city's general fund to reap the benefits of Big Green?

--OAKLAND-- City Council committee hearings, Tuesday, Oct. 24, starts at 9:30 a.m.
➤Financial & Management Committee, 9:30 a.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--BORDER WALL-- In March, the Oakland City Council backed a resolution denouncing President Donald Trump's proposed Border Wall, while also directing staff to create an ordinance that would prohibit the city with entering into contracts with companies providing goods and services for construction of the southern border wall. That ordinance returns to the Finance Committee after a delay and also includes contractors/vendor seeking to do business with the city to declare under penalty of perjury that they do not in fact provide services for construction of the wall.

Coliseum JPA says it will not participate in fan-backed proposed lawsuit against Raiders

A fan-generated proposal to sue the Raiders and the National Football League over the team's move to Las Vegas took a significant hit Friday after Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority declined to participate in the lawsuit.

The plan took a hit after Oakland officials on the governing Coliseum JPA board said the city would not expend taxpayers' money on the case.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

NBA champs or chumps? Warriors want to leave their portion of $40 million arena debt on the court

A disagreement over the Golden State Warriors' obligation to pay a previously agreed portion of Oracle Arena's reconstruction debt has simmered in public for three years, or since the team expressed interest in moving to San Francisco. Now, the matter appears to be heading toward arbitration with the reigning NBA champs arguing they owe nothing past 2019.

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority (OACCA) board commissioners will decide Friday morning to hire the law firm of Keker, Van Nest & Peters, LLC to represent it in an arbitration demand and counterclaim with the Warriors.

Alameda City Council approves independent probe into city manager's interference claims

Over the shoulder of Assemblymember Rob
Bonta, Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer, Council-
members Malia Vella, Jim Oddie, and City 
Manager Jill Keimach duirng at a council
meeting Tuesday.
Accusations made by Alameda City Manager Jill Keimach earlier this month alleging interference in the selection of the city's next fire chief will be investigated by an independent probe, the city announced Tuesday night.

The hiring of an independent investigator was unanimously approved by the Alameda City Council following its closed session meeting. During the same session, the council also postponed performance evaluations for Keimach, City Attorney Janet Kern and its city clerk that were scheduled for Tuesday, the city announced.

Hayward officials voice strong support for affordable housing; state concern over rising rents

A week after Hayward elected officials roundly turned away a developer's bid to build a slew of market-rate housing units on Mission Boulevard, councilmembers continued to voice a newfound pledge for more affordable housing in a city currently being racked by displacement and rising rents.

Every member of the City Council signaled to developers that new housing projects that exclude an affordable housing element will face difficulty in the approval process. Councilmembers Al Mendall and Elisa Marquez were unequivocal in their stance, with each saying they will not vote for any project that does not include affordable housing. Councilmember Francisco Zermeno agreed, in addition, to advocating for the city to study a proposal for a tiny homes village.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

San Leandro: BAL Theatre receives half million in city loans; Flavored tobacco ban finalized; Dispensary receives deadline extension

BAL Theatre owner Dan Dillman in front 
of the theater's marquee in 2014.
The BAL Theatre, San Leandro's last Art Deco performing arts building has proven scrappy in keeping its doors open while attracting former A-list Hip Hop and R&B acts from the 80s and 90s to an underutilized area strip of East 14th Street.

The theater, though, under Dan Dillman, a colorful former San Leandro mayoral candidate also known for his hobby as an UFO hunter, has undergone a number of improvements over the years with more needed, including an overhaul of its seating.

On Monday, the San Leandro City Council approved a $400,000 personal loan to Dillman to pay off the theater's debts. Separately, the council approved an additional $150,000 forgivable loan from the city to Dillman to pay for theater improvements. The forgivable loan will be issued over three years to Curtain Call Performing Arts, the non-profit that operates the theater, and allocated as reimbursements for theater improvements.

Monday, October 16, 2017

San Leandro dispensary faces another hurdle as permit deadline extension nears

San Leandro Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter has
publicly opposed the proposed site of the 
Davis Street Wellness Center dispensary.
San Leandro city administration is standing firm in its stance against the conditional-use permit for a medical cannabis dispensary near a non-profit clinic and shelter for the poor, according to a staff report.

Earlier this month, the San Leandro Board of Zoning and Adjustments (BZA) rejected a city staff recommendation to deny a use permit for the Davis Street Wellness Center, one of three approved dispensary permits, to house its dispensary in building that houses the non-profit Davis Street Family Resource Center on Teagarden Street. The zoning board directed staff to return with positive findings of fact and conditions for approval of the dispensary site at its next meeting scheduled for Nov. 2.

Alameda city manager, in memo, alleges councilmembers illegally interfered in selection of fire chief

Alameda City Hall is again in upheaval after its city
manager alleged some councilmembers violated its
City Charter.
Alameda City Manager Jill Keimach, in a memo sent to the City Council earlier this month, alleged that some elected city officials illegally pressured her to hire a union-backed candidate for the open fire chief position. Interference by councilmembers in the duties of the city manager is prohibited in the City Charter.

In a letter sent by Keimach to the council dated Oct. 2, the day before she tabbed Ed Rodriguez as fire chief, but sent on the day of the announcement, does not specifically name which city officials allegedly pressured Keimach to select Domenick Weaver, a former president of the Alameda International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Local 689. It does, however, make a number of serious allegations.

Sandre Swanson, although courted by supporters, says he won't run for Alameda mayor

Sandre Swanson during an endorsement
meeting last year for the 9th state Senate.
An unsuccessful run for the state Senate last year proved Sandre Swanson is not done with public service. Swanson confirmed Friday that he had strong interest for challenging Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer's re-election next year.

"I've been honored by people and organizations in the community that have approached me about running for mayor of Alameda," Swanson said in an interview. "I told them, at the time, that I would do my due diligence and talk to the people that I respect in the city, and my wife, and consider it."

Friday, October 13, 2017

EBC AGENDA | OCT 13-19 | OAKLAND stocks new Police Commission; Another rent measure in ALAMEDA; television chopper problem in BERKELEY; Pot plans in HAYWARD


--OAKLAND-- Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 5:30 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--POLICE COMMISSION FILLS OUT-- Mayor Libby Schaaf' had her appointments to the Oakland Police Commission ready to go two weeks ago. They are Thomas Smith, Edwin Prather, and Regina Jackson. Picks from a separate selection panel will be nominated Tuesday night. They include, Mubarak Ahmad, Jose Dorado, Ginale Harris, and Mike Nisperos.

--FOX THEATER LOAN ASSIGNMENT-- The Oakland resident who prefaces his remarks at every Oakland City Council meeting with, "For the record" is going to flip. The city is proposing to assume the debt from the $47.8 million renovation of the Fox Theater from the former redevelopment agency. But in order to do that, the council must also approve 30 percent of the loan repayments. A city staff report acknowledges the debt, which could balloon over the life of the loans to nearly $130 million, may never be paid back. During an Oct. 12 committee hearing, its councilmembers expended three minutes on the agenda item.

--SECURITY CONTRACT-- A 3-year, $2.5 million contract for security services at Oakland City Hall and other government building is up for grabs Tuesday night. The council will be asked to choose between ABC Security Services Inc. or the existing vendor, Cypress Security Services.

➤Rules Committee, Thursday, Oct. 19, 10:45 a.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]

--ALAMEDA-- Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--RENT BALLOT MEASURE COMING-- On Sept. 5, the council decided to rescind its just cause ordinance, at the behest of the local renters group, rather than place a landlord-backed ballot measure before voters next year. It was a win for landlords. A second landlord-backed measure, this one to place the city's existing rent stabilization ordinance in the City Charter was certified by the Alameda County Registrar in late September leading to the council on Tuesday to discuss whether to place it on the June 2018 or November 2018 ballot.

--CALL FOR REVIEW GETS CALL FOR REVIEW-- As it stands, any single member of the community or a councilmember can issue a call for review on a zoning determination. In addition, no definitive reason is required. Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft wants to amend the call for review process to require two councilmembers support it, along with a reason.

--CLOSED SESSION-- Ominous, perhaps, but the council is again evaluating City Manager Jill Keimach's job performance amid accusations she made against elected officials and the local firefighters union over interference in the selection of a new fire chief.

--COMMISSION NAME CHANGE-- An amendment to the city municipal code will change the name of the Commission on Disability Issues to the Commission on Disability.

--SAN LEANDRO-- Regular council meeting, Monday, Oct. 16, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--BAL THEATRE LOAN-- In recent years, the city's support for a thriving Bal Theatre on East 14th Street has blossomed. "The City Council has repeatedly stated that support for the BAL is in the public’s interest by supporting the performing arts, and the secondary effects to the City’s economy, especially to south San Leandro," said a staff report. But the theater is still over $54,000 in debt. A proposed $400,000 loan from the city, along with a $100,000 forgivable loan might allow the theater to flourish. However, there is also concerns about the proposal and whether taxpayers will be made whole one day.

--"It must also be noted that the loans come with risk for the City. Almost by definition, said the staff report. "Curtain Call is a non-profit organization that is not well capitalized. Although both staff and the City Council are encouraged by the work being done by Curtain Call and the value it brings to the community, continued solvency is not a foregone conclusion. Thus, in reviewing this action, Council must balance the value of investing in a cultural asset with the risk that the loan may not be repaid in full."

--DISPENSARY DIRECTION-- Following the Board of Zoning Adjustments approval Oct. 5 for a medical cannabis dispensary to be located on Teagarden Street, the council is being asked to give direction on the city's next steps. Keep in mind, the city administration opposes the dispensary site to be located at the non-profit Davis Street Family Resource Center and the staff report this week greatly highlights this stance along with references to the council's deadline for a conditional-use permit is Oct. 20. The next BZA meeting on the subject is Nov. 2. An extension of the deadline is one possibility, said the staff report.

--ASSET FORFEITURE-- The use of state and federal asset forfeiture funds, money and property confiscated by law enforcement from suspects, is often criticized for its lack of due process. On Tuesday, the council will likely approve the allocation of $185,000 in asset forfeiture funds to the San Leandro PD. The uses include $50,000 for firearms, $50,000 to upgrade its existing Automated License Plate Reader technology, $30,000 for office chairs, and $5,000 to purchase free weights for its gym.

--BERKELEY-- Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 6 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--PROTEST TAB-- The council will ask for a detailed accounting of the costs associated with the numerous protests this year in and around U.C. Berkeley. A city staff report suggests that, for instance, the U.C. Berkeley announced a recent protests cost $600,000 to police, but extra spillover costs may also be costing Berkeley city taxpayers.

--HOVERING MEDIA-- Similarly, the Battle of Berkeley protests have attracted massive media coverage. This include news choppers hovering over Berkeley during protests. The council will discuss whether to send a complaint letter to local television stations to remind them to "consider the noise impacts that news helicopters have on residents and whether aerial coverage is absolutely integral to a news story when deploying helicopters."

-HEADS UP FOR HOMELESS PROVIDERS-- "Adopt a Resolution directing staff to urge Berkeley homeless service nonprofit agencies that receive funds from the City of Berkeley, to prepare for funding cuts that could emerge as a result of funding decreases from the federal government or other entities. That Council urge homeless service agencies to engage in increased economic development efforts or partner with other agencies, for economic development purposes, if their agency is limited in resources."

--HAILING TAXIS-- Two agenda items Tuesday evening seek to aid the city's taxi providers, or, at least, foster competitiveness with ride-hailing companies. The lowering of some fees will be discussed, along with other changes such as allowing taxi providers to purchase insurance collectively rather than individually.

--HAYWARD-- Special council work session, Saturday, Oct. 14, 9 a.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--LONG-TERM FINANCIAL RETREAT-- Fiscal sustainability is a growing concern in Hayward, a city that has yet to fully recover from the depths of the Great Recession. "In early 2017, as the City’s long-range forecast projection contained a growing structural deficit, staff recommended that the City engage subject matter experts to develop a more comprehensive and agile financial model and to complete an independent evaluation of the Model." Saturday morning, the council will attempt to give direction for a path to greater financial stability.

➤Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--POT ORDINANCE-- For a city that has been conservative in recent years when it comes to medical cannabis, Hayward is now moving at a quick clip. The framework of a cannabis ordinance comes before the council Tuesday night that lays out numerous possibilities when it comes to potential cannabis businesses in Hayward. Although the number of possible permits is not mentioned in the report, the conclusion references three. Based on a recent council discussion, it's possible the number of permits may ultimately be comprised of different segments of the industry, including cultivation, dispensary or even commercial retail. The council's work Tuesday, if moved forward, entails a return of an amended ordinance at a special meeting on Oct. 30.

--AFFORDABLE HOUSING STRATEGIES-- In two related work session items, the council will tackle affordable housing and anti-displacement strategies, and, later, in-lieu fees for developers building market-rate housing in Hayward, which is booming. Among the questions posed by a staff report: "Does Council wish to return to an ordinance that requires provision of on-site affordable units but allows for alternative means of compliance for all projects? Should projects only be allowed to pay in-lieu fees upon petition to the Council (except for those smaller projects identified in the report – less than 100 units for rental projects and less than 9 units for for-sale projects)?"

--FREMONT-- Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--RESIDENTIAL ZONING/SOLAR ORDINANCE-- "Consider Planning Commission Recommendations for Amendments to Title 18 (Planning and Zoning) of the Fremont Municipal Code and the Citywide Design Guidelines, including: 1) an update to development standards, design rules, and design guidelines that focus on maintaining the character for single-family residential neighborhoods and further assist in achieving compatibility of new, expanded, or reconstructed homes with surrounding homes in the neighborhood; and 2) creation of a citywide Solar Access Preservation Ordinance so that any increase in the height of an existing building or that any new development does not excessively shade solar zones on adjoining properties."

--GATHERINGS-- Free screening of the documentary "Merritt College: Home of the Black Panthers," Saturday, Oct. 14, noon, Alameda City Hall Council Chambers. Speakers include Rep. Barbara Lee, Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer and the film's director Jeffrey Heyman.

--Know Your Rights work shop hosted by the City of Hayward, and presented by the Alameda County Immigration Legal and Education Partnership. The workshops will include information about people’s rights – regardless of their immigration or refugee status, as well as provide an update about the status of Hayward Sanctuary City policies, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 6 p.m., Hayward Main Library, 835 C Street.

--Rep. Ro Khanna town hall, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 7:30 p.m., Kennedy Middle School, 821 Bubb Road, Cupertino.

--COLISEUM JPA-- Regular board meeting, Friday, Oct 20, 8:30 a.m.  (Meeting held at Oracle Arena Club Level) [AGENDA NOT YET POSTED]
-- RAIDERS LAWSUIT-- The Coliseum JPA board last month directed its staff to prepare for an up or down vote on whether they would join a proposed lawsuit suggested by the fan group Forever Oakland, that would sue the NFL and the Oakland Raiders for failing to follow their own bylaws leading up to approval for the team's relocation to Las Vegas.

--EDEN HEALTH DISTRICT-- Regular board meeting, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 5:30 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]

--ORO LOMA SANITARY DISTRICT-- Regular board meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 3 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]

GOP East Bay assembly candidate is using a variation of Make America Great Again

Assembly candidate Bob Brunton
fell short during campaigns in
2014 and 2016.
Republican Bob Brunton's slogan for a second attempt at beating Assemblymember Kansen Chu in the South Bay's 25th District might sound familiar to many.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Hayward slams Bank of the West for its handling of $315,000 payment processing error

The City of Hayward could sure use the extra revenue, but an error by Bank of the West on Oct. 6 mistakenly double-posted 408 payments from residents and city customers totaling $315,775, the city said Thursday.

A city revenue officer reported the error on Tuesday, said the city. "Upon discovering the error, city officials immediately notified Bank of the West and have been working to get an explanation, identify affected customers, determine how many duplicative withdrawals may have been processed by customer banks, and ensure full reimbursement. The city Revenue Division will be reaching out directly to affected customers to inform them of the error by telephone," said a statement from the city.

Alameda councilman eyes run for mayor: 'Don't know if I can win.'

Alameda Councilmember Frank Matarrese
Seemingly from the day Trish Herrera Spencer was elected Alameda mayor in 2014, the line of challengers seeking to make her a one-termer began jockeying for position. Nearly three years later, Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft is a near lock to run for mayor next year, but speculation over whether Councilmember Frank Matarrese would do the same has been an open question until now.

In an email obtained by the East Bay Citizen, Matarrese signals he is close to joining next year's race. Except, he's just not certain about his chances for victory.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Large racial disparity for traffic stops in Oakland persist

African Americans were pulled over by OPD
15,000 times last year, nearly 10,000 more
than the next racial group.
Half of the more than 11,000 traffic citations issued by Oakland police officers last year were given to African Americans, the department reported this week. Similarly, 62 percent of all vehicles stopped by Oakland police were driven by African Americans. The data was reported during a Oakland City Council Public Safety Committee hearing Tuesday on racial disparities in traffic stops.

"We need to recognize there is racial profiling going on as it pertains to African Americans in this city," said Councilmember Desley Brooks, also chair of the Public Safety Committee.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Khanna floats Lee for U.S. Senate: A look at the political earthquake that would hit the East Bay

Before Rep. Ro Khanna dropped fellow Alameda County Rep. Barbara Lee's name today as a possible progressive challenge to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who announced Monday that she is running for re-election next year, the idea of such a run was mostly the dreams of her uber progressive constituents in the East Bay.

In fact, on several occasions over the past few months, Lee has been asked (other times begged) during town halls whether she would run for U.S. Senate. In each case she did not answer and laughed off the suggestion.

Friday, October 6, 2017

EBC AGENDA | OCT 6-12 | Fox Theater is a white elephant; affordable housing for OAKLAND's Brooklyn Basin; SAN LEANDRO shoreline update


--OAKLAND-- City Council committee hearings, Tuesday, Oct. 10, starts at 9:30 a.m.

➤Community & Economic Development Committee, 1:30 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--FOX THEATER LOANS-- Debts from the iconic theater's $47.5 million renovation a decade ago is proposed to be transferred from the Oakland Redevelopment Successor Agency (ORSA) to the city. Then it gets worse, in one of the most shocking government staff reports you will ever read. "With the elimination of the tax credit structure and the anticipated property transfer, there is a substantial amount of debt owed to ORSA from the Fox Theater (FOT) that needs to be addressed... The debt for the Fox Theater was in the form of unsecured loans that had no clear source of repayment. Once the other tax credit and construction debt was eliminated, at the end of the tax credit period, there is no way that the ORSA debt was ever expected to be fully repaid. In fact, most of these loans have never received any debt service payments, and all the other debt service from the project have been under $1 million per year."

--"There is no conceivable way that Fox Oakland Theater will be able to fully repay all the ORSA loans. If ORSA does not assign the loans to the City, at some time ORSA will need to write off the debt. While FOT invested all the ORSA loan funds in the Fox Theater - as well as tax credit equity, grants and other funds - the Fox Theater value, based on an income approach, is not worth the cost of the renovations. The projected future rent from the Fox Theater is not enough to make full interest payments on the ORSA loans, or repay the principal, and the liabilities are growing. The Fox Theater is the only asset that FOT has. There are no other sources of funds to repay FOT's loans from ORSA. This situation will not significantly change over the course of the lease. Even if the Fox Theater were to become more lucrative through more intense use or by charging higher rents, the total revenue would not be enough to cover the annual interest payment."

Governor vetoes Glazer bill to ban smoking on state beaches

Smoking hot butts will still be found on California state beaches after Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill introduced by East Bay State Sen. Steve Glazer that would have banned smoking on coastal beaches and some state parks.

"If people can't smoke even on a deserted beach, where can they? There must be some limit to the coercive power of government," Brown wrote Friday in his veto message.

Calls for elected representation are stirring once again in unincorporated Castro Valley

Alameda County Superivsor Nate Miley, right,
along with Castro Valley Matters President
Michael Kusiak, at an Eden Area Livability
Initiative meeting Thursday in San Lorenzo.
A group of Castro Valley residents are once again advocating not for incorporation, at least not just yet, but some semblance of self-determination in the form of electing members to the town’s quasi-govervance board, the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Board (CV MAC). The board is currently appointed solely by Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, but holds little real power other than offering non-binding recommendations.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors, however, were cool to the idea of an elected MAC in early 2016. A few, including Supervisor Scott Haggerty, famously balked at the county footing the bill for an election sometime during last year's election cycle. Haggerty erupted, saying Castro Valley residents pushing for an elected MAC were the “most unappreciative people I’ve seen in my entire life.”

San Leandro zoning board overturns city's denial of medical cannabis dispensary use permit

A rendering of the Davis Street Wellness Center
retail area at its proposed dispensary on
Teagarden Street. PHOTO/DSWC
After several San Leandro zoning commissioners downplayed a city staff report opposing the issuance of a conditional-use permit for the Davis Street Wellness Center medical cannabis dispensary, the board voted, 6-1,Thursday night to overturn the city’s denial.

What was before the seven-person appoint board was not the efficacy of a medical cannabis dispensary in San Leandro, but whether the Davis Street Wellness Center’s choice of a site near the affiliated, but financially separate, non-profit Davis Street Family Resource Center, met the city’s conditions for use as a dispensary on Teagarden Street.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

San Leandro bans flavored tobacco sales, passes for now on menthol cigarettes

An proponent of San Leandro's ban on flavored
tobacco sales address the City Council Monday
night with supporters in the foreground.
Like some of its neighboring cities, the San Leandro City Council approved Monday night a prohibition on the sale of flavored tobacco products. The council, however, diverged from Oakland and San Francisco, by sidestepping an additonal ban on menthol cigarettes, at least for now.

The council's votes was the second attempt in the last three months to enact a ban on flavored tobacco sales that include cigarillos, blunts and other often fruity-tasting tobacco products. A similar proposal was discussed on June 5, but later sent back to the Council's Rules Committee in an effort to resolve questions over the scope of penalties in the resolution.

Khanna wants a hearing on non-consensual condom removal

Rep. Ro Khanna
Two congressmembers, including Rep. Ro Khanna believe the act of men surreptitiously removing a condom during consensual sex is tantamount to rape.

The act known as "stealthing" requires a hearing during the House Judiciary Committee, argue Khanna and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.).

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Alameda County supervisor uses Las Vegas shootings to express support for Urban Shield

Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern
and Supervisor Nate Miley.
Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley has long been one of the typically progressive Board of Supervisors' must ardent supporters of the sheriff's office and Urban Shield, the disaster training and weapons expo held annually in Pleasanton.

The morning after the Las Vegas shootings that resulted in 59 deaths and more than 500 injuries, Miley used the massacre to again express support for Urban Shield.

Alameda names new fire chief amid criticism of city manager's handling of hiring process

Alameda's new fire chief Ed Rodriguez's first
day on the job is Nov. 13.
Alameda City Manager Jill Keimach on Tuesday named Ed Rodriguez as the city's next fire chief. Rodriguez previously headed the Salinas Fire Department and replaces Alameda Fire Chief Doug Long, who retired last month. But controversial over the selection process was already roiling at Alameda City Hall even before the choice was made to tab an outsider as head of the fire department.

In an email sent Friday by one of the final candidates for the position, he questioned Keimach's competence for identifying a new chief.

Domenick Weaver, a former Alameda Firefighters Union president, removed himself from consideration last Friday after becoming frustrated by Keimach's uncertainty over the pick, while attacking her character. Weaver had received support from the firefighters union, some city officials and Assemblymember Rob Bonta.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Bill Quirk jumps up, jumps up and gets down!

Hayward Assemblymember Bill Quirk just became the coolest elected official in the state legislature. On Sunday, he posted a Facebook video of himself hopping to the beat of the hip-hop classic "Jump Around." Quirk was attending the Alvarado Fall Fest in Union City. (NOTE: You may have to unclick the mute button on the video for the full aural experience.)

Recall two weeks ago, Quirky Quirk caught the attention of some capitol reporters for walking 52 laps around the Assembly Floor. That was for exercise, but it not entirely clear whether Quirk is doing the same here or merely getting in some extra cardio.

Friday, September 29, 2017

EBC AGENDA | SEPT 29-OCT 5 | BERKELEY, SAN LEANDRO to snuff out flavored tobacco; OAKLAND homeless havens; more market rate housing in HAYWARD

Before you know it, candidate for office next year will be meeting face-to-face in forums and community meetings, each making their case for their respective office. Last week, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley and her challenger Oakland civil rights attorney Pamela Price kicked off the season at a contentious forum at Merritt College.

It's just another reminder, though, of how strange the East Bay is when it comes to public debates. The problem is, we don't have them and this isn't typical around the state. Candidate forums are fine, but they're merely informational and this suits the incumbent and takes away the single most important, and inexpensive shot, a good, but under-financed candidate can take at their opponent. Not that anyone noticed, but last year Claire Chiara, a Republican challenger in the 15th District, pummeled Assemblymember Tony Thurmond at a forum in Berkeley.

Hopefully, this coming election cycle allows important local races to gain greater attention through proper debates. At the presidential level, raucous debates where candidates can peel away their opponents weaknesses and potential offer voters greater insight into how a candidates performs on their feet and grasps the issues.

As was seen Wednesday night at Merritt College, O'Malley's campaign may have a considerable financial advantage over Price, but toe-to-toe, in even just a candidate forum format, she looked vulnerable.

Here's your highlights for this week in East Bay government:
➤San Leandro and Berkeley look to join Oakland in banning flavored tobacco

➤Oakland looks to create "safe havens" for the city's homeless

➤Berkeley seeks to weigh impacts of Alta Bates closing

➤More market-rate housing for Hayward

➤Fremont to approve massive 2.5 million sq. ft. tech business center

--SAN LEANDRO-- Regular council meeting, Monday, Oct. 2, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--BLUNT TALK-- San Leandro will discuss a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products Monday night. The issue met some resistance back in June and was referred back to the council's rules committee. The proposed ordinance also limits the sale of packaged cigarillos to five. The prohibition on flavored tobacco applies to products whether they contain nicotine or not. Penalties include a $2,500 for a second offense and revocation of their license for three years.

--But there's a big omission in the ordinance and that is menthol cigarettes. Oakland passed a similar flavored tobacco ban this month that included menthol. San Leandro's city attorney, however, has offered the council more conservative advice, stating a ban on menthol may put the city at risk of a lawsuit from Big Tobacco.

San Leandro begins debate on whether to honor city's first African American councilmember

Former San Leandro Councilmember Surlene 
Grant served from 1998-2008.
Near the end of former San Leandro Councilmember Ursula Reed's second term in office, she began exploring ways to honor her predecessor in District 2, Surlene Grant, the city's first-ever African American councilmember.

Reed first proposed renaming Joaquin Plaza, a modest courtyard located on East 14th Street near Davis Street, after Grant, who was appointed to council in 1998 to replace incoming Mayor Shelia Young. Grant, who is still living, served 10 years on the City Council, including two successful campaigns for the seat.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Assembly hopeful Ben Bartlett gets a boost from Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín

Berkeley Councilmember Ben Bartlett and
Mayor Jesse Arreguin.
PHOTO/Bartlett for Assembly
Just a month into Berkeley Councilmember Ben Bartlett's campaign for the 15th Assembly District, he has gained one of its plum endorsements, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín.

“California needs leaders with the vision, courage and experience to tackle the challenges facing our state. Ben Bartlett is the real deal,” Arreguín said on Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Ro Khanna's conservative challenger, Ron Cohen, stands with Trump on Anthem protests

Republican Ron Cohen finished fourth in the
2016 CA-17 June primary.
Listen and you will quickly understand where 17th Congressional District candidate Ron Cohen stands on the subject of athletes taking a knee during the National Anthem.

Cohen's campaign web site includes a self-playing video of Whitney Houston's famous rendition of the National Anthem sung at the Super Bowl.

"Protest all you want. TRUE AMERICANS DON'T KNEEL, CERTAINLY NOT IN PROTEST," says Cohen's web site. (Note: Cohen provided the emphasis.)

Alameda city manager's choice of a new fire chief could put her in the hot seat

Alameda's city manager is in a tough bind. With the retirement of Alameda Fire Chief Doug Long last week, City Manager Jill Keimach is likely to tab an outsider to lead the fire department, according to sources, possibly this week.

But Keimach, who was only hired in March 2016, is facing enormous pressure to choose the candidate backed by the Alameda International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Union Local 689, a number of elected city officials, and Assemblymember Rob Bonta.