Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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

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

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

Monday, January 22, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 19, 2018

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


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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 18, 2018

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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

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

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

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

Alameda County Supervisors retained outside counsel to investigate a workplace matter

Actions taken by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in closed session over the past few weeks point toward the existence of potential allegations of workplace misconduct at the county-level. Exactly where, though, is unclear.

At the board's Jan. 9 meeting, Alameda County Counsel Donna Ziegler announced the county supervisors voted in closed session to retain outside legal counsel "to conduct a workplace investigation in a confidential matter."

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

San Leandro city manager discloses allegation of sexual misconduct reportedly made against him by local CEO

San Leandro Chris Zapata denied allegations
reportedly made by Davis Street Family 
Resource Center CEO Rose Johnson.
In an apparent preemptive move, San Leandro City Manager Chris Zapata released a lengthy letter Tuesday that rebuts unspecified and, until now, not publicly known allegations of improper sexual conduct reportedly made against him by the CEO of a well-known local non-profit who is also part of a group hoping to finalize the opening of medical cannabis dispensary in the city.

In the detailed letter sent late Tuesday afternoon, Zapata accused long-time Davis Street Family Resource Center CEO Rose Johnson, and former San Leandro councilmember and businessman Gordon Galvan of leveraging the timing of the allegation to increase its chances later this month of wrapping up approval to open the potentially lucrative Davis Street Wellness Center medical cannabis dispensary in San Leandro (The Resource Center and Wellness Center are separate entities, but are linked by Johnson and Galvan's participation in each operation).

Zapata also details a years-long history of Galvan and his associates pressuring him and city officials into approving the dispensary's original permit two years ago, while also offering Zapata tickets to sporting events, expensive bottles of tequila, and an offer by Galvan to rent a four-bedroom home to Zapata for below-market rate.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Rep. Barbara Lee, agreeing with Trump, says she supports reinstituting federal earmarks

Rep. Barbara Lee also said Saturday that she
will support any resolution to impeach Trump.
At a town hall event that Rep. Barbara Lee's office termed a teach-in for the "GOP tax scam bill" Saturday morning in Oakland, the progressive giant dropped a surprise on her constituents. Like President Trump, who Lee has devoutly opposed throughout the past year, she also supports bringing back federal earmarks, commonly known as "pork."

Friday, January 12, 2018

EBC AGENDA | JAN 12-16 | HAYWARD airport zoning height changes; ALAMEDA's crumbling piers; SAN LEANDRO look to honor former councilwoman

--SAN LEANDRO-- Regular council meeting, (Note date due to MLK holiday) Tuesday, Jan. 16, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--SURLENE GRANT NAMING-- In 1998, Surlene Grant became first African American member of the San Leandro City Council, in addition, to being its first non-European representative. Although Grant was appointed to the seat, she later served two terms. Now, on the day after the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, the council will resume a discussion from last fall about whether to name a city building or structure in Grant's honor (she is alive and well!). The council's Rules Committee last September suggested a city community room within the soon-to-be built South Offices Community Room or the proposed East 14th Street Triangle project. The Rules Committee and Library Historical Commission both appear amendable to the community room proposal.

--NEW VICE MAYOR-- Councilmember Lee Thomas' one-year reign as vice mayor is over. The council will appoint a new mayor Tuesday night. The post is ceremonial, but, 2018 being an election year, strategically, the title might sound impressive to casual voters. Just so you know, Councilmembers Corina Lopez and Deborah Cox are up for re-election in November. Unfortunately for Thomas, so is he. NEXT MEETING: Monday, Feb. 5.

Swalwell voted to extend NSA's ability to spy on Americans without a warrant

Rep. Eric Swalwell's support for warrantless
surveillance is nothing new.
Very few members of Congress have been more critical of President Trump than East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell. But Swalwell was among a group of Democrats that helped pass legislation Thursday--backed by the President--to renew the National Security Agency's authority to gather communications from telecom companies without a warrant. The action aimed a foreign targets, though, can also allow the NSA to surveil Americans who are not the subject of an investigation.

Former Hayward school board member failed to respond to lawsuit resulting in $660,000 judgment against school district

Then-Hayward school board member John
Taylor ran for the City Council in 2016.
During the spring of 2016, then-Hayward school board member John Taylor was entering the stretch run of his ultimately ill-fated campaign for the City Council. But during a period when the Hayward school board was warring with each other over disciplining its embattled superintendent, Taylor, in particular, says he was pre-occupied with issues other than his duties as a school board member.

According to a wrongful termination lawsuit filed against the school district in Alameda County Superior Court by a former employee in March 2016, Taylor, as the Hayward school board's appointed clerk, failed to notify the school district's attorneys about the pending lawsuit, leaving them in the dark over the case. Now, the mistake could prove costly to the struggling school district's bottom line.

San Leandro moves closer to honoring first African American councilmember

Surlene Grant served 10 years on the San
Leandro City Council.
A number of buildings, overpasses and even sports facilities in San Leandro have been named after local historical figures. A city building is named after Helen Lawrence, long-ago the first female of San Leandro. An overpass is named after former Mayor Jack Maltester, likely the city's most prominent elected official ever; and a well-used library meeting room is named after another mayor, Dave Karp, who passed away while in office.

Now, San Leandro, which only within the past two decades, has transformed itself from a historically white-only East Bay enclave a generation ago to one of the most diverse in the country, is continuing a discussion over how it can honor Surlene Grant, the city's first African American ever to sit on the San Leandro City Council.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Costa-Hawkins repeal bill fails in committee; Bonta votes yes

Assemblymember Rob Bonta at a Housing
and Development Committee hearing 
Thursday in Sacramento.
Assemblymember Rob Bonta, and throngs of rental housing advocates from Oakland, Alameda and across the state, were ready for a fight Thursday in favor of an Assembly bill that would have repealed a more than two decades-old state law that restricts rent control on single-family homes.

In a short video posted on Bonta's Twitter feed, the East Bay assemblymember seemingly broke out of his capitol office and marched to Thursday morning's Assembly Housing and Development Committee hearing.

His exuberance and that of a significant overflow audience in Sacramento were diminished after the committee failed by a vote to move along Assemblymember Richard Bloom's Assembly Bill 1506, which sought to repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Oakland councilmember blasts mayor, police, fire for doing little to limit rising overtime costs

Oakland Councilmember Annie Campbell
Washington doubts the city administration
is serious about reducing overtime hours for 
its public safety employees.
Oakland's overtime budget for the police and fire departments is bursting at the seams, leading one normally reserved councilmember Tuesday to unleash a litany of strong criticisms against not only each public safety department's leadership, but also city staff and Mayor Libby Schaaf.

"To me, this seems like a 23-page report that explains to us why we have to continue to see overtime at the same rate that we've always seen it," Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington said during an Oakland City Council Finance Committee meeting Tuesday that included a report on public safety overtime budgets.

The total overtime budget is projected to be in the red by more than $38 million, according to report offered by Oakland Finance Director Katano Kasaine. The 2017-18 fiscal year budget allots only $14.8 million for overtime.

Repeal of individual mandate may mean 37,000 more uninsured in Alameda County

An estimated 37,000 Alameda County residents may lose their health care insurance after the repeal last month of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, said the director of the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency. Low-income residents, she added, though, may be spared for the time being.

An estimated 68,000 county residents are currently without health care insurance, said Colleen Chawla, director of the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency. Based on estimates by the federal government, the number could increase to 105,000 by 2025, she said.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Quirk helps Assembly committee turn away concealed carry weapons bill

Assemblymember Bill Quirk
wasn't in the mood Tuesday
to debate concealed guns.
Republican gubernatorial candidate and Assemblymember Travis Allen confidently laid out a case Tuesday for reform of the state's concealed carry permitting rules.

"Innocent Californians deserve a right to protect themselves and their loved ones," Allen told the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

Just 179 concealed carry permits were issued in the sprawling Los Angeles County due in part to local sheriffs being pressured by liberal leaders and constituents, he added. Most importantly, there were zero instances of concealed carry permit holders committing crimes last year.

Hayward Assemblymember Bill Quirk, however, wasn't buying.

Oakland is preparing June ballot measure to replace diminished library parcel tax

Oakland voters overwhelmingly supported
Measure Q in 2004, but the parcel tax has
struggled to improve libraries in the city.
Oakland's libraries have faced years of disheartening budget cuts, but a plan to place a library parcel tax at the ballot box next June is sowing doubts that it will do much to help increase funding and services.

Polling presented to the Oakland City Council Finance Committee Tuesday showed 73 percent of likely November voters support a $75 annual parcel tax. Two-thirds support of the  vote is needed for passage.

Bonta bill would make it easier for people to expunge cannabis-related criminal records

Assemblymember Rob Bonta authored the
state's medical marijuana regulatory
framework in 2015.
With cannabis seen as the future in California following legalization that began this month, East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta believes the state must first look to reconcile its past.

Bonta introduced a bill Tuesday that will make it easier for those convicted of outdated cannabis-related charges to remove them from their records.

Monday, January 8, 2018

AC Transit boardmember hasn't filed campaign finance reports since 2010; faces $60k FPPC fine

AC Transit Board Director Mark Williams
AC Transit Board Director Mark Williams did not face a credible opponent during his 2014 re-election campaign. Yet, the two-term boardmember, who is also up for re-election this June, repeatedly failed to file campaign finance reports for more than four years.

Later, this month, the state's Fair Political Practice Commission (FPPC) is set to levy a hefty $60,000 fine against his campaign committee for the indiscretion.

Friday, January 5, 2018

EBC AGENDA | JAN 5-11 | Oakland library parcel tax on the horizon? No ICE, baby!; San Leandro allocates A1 funding for 62 affordable housing units


--OAKLAND-- Regular council committee meetings, Tuesday, Jan. 9, start at 9 a.m.

Finance & Management Committee, 9 a.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--LIBRARY PARCEL TAX POLL-- Budget cuts last year significantly hampered Oakland's public library system. Unsurprisingly, reduced library hours were used as a bludgeon by striking city workers against Mayor Libby Schaaf. Now the city is eyeing the feasibility of a library parcel tax for the June primary. The Life Enrichment Committee will also discuss the report and polling on Tuesday. According to a survey conducted last September, 73 percent of likely November 2018 voters said they would support or "leaned yes" for a $75 per year parcel tax for 20 years to increase library services.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Quirk co-authors bill requiring 'panic buttons' for hotel maids in danger of sexual harassment

Assemblymember Bill Quirk
Maids and other hotel employees who find themselves alone in rooms with guests in a daily basis often face high incidents of sexual harassment, surveys have found.

And with the issue of sexual harassment casting a large shadow over the state Legislature this year, a bill co-authored by Hayward Assemblymember Bill Quirk would require hotels to provide workers with panic buttons in the event their safety is at risk.

East Bay's Top 10 Races to Watch in 2018

While legislative special elections in Southern California proliferate--mainly due to resignations that follow claim of sexual harassment--the level of interesting and competitive races in the East Bay is lacking something fierce. Several cities in Alameda County will decide whether to re-elect mayors, while other races will serve as referendums on respective first terms. Hayward is the latest city to escape low-turnout June municipal campaigns for November, further diminishing the primary season. But overall, while the dearth of competitive races in June is noticeable, perhaps the two most interesting matchups will take place in the spring, not the fall. Here are the Top 10 East Bay races to watch in 2018:

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Trump is unhinged, says East Bay congressmember

Rep. Barbara Lee has been critical of Trump's
comments toward North Korea in the past.
"I’ll say it again," said East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee on Tuesday. "President Trump is unhinged."

The reason for Lee's criticism followed many others who believe an early morning tweet sent by President Donald Trump was irresponsible and could have triggered a nuclear conflict with North Korea.

2018 Predictions: With 99% certainty, here's who will win East Bay races this year

Much will happen on the campaign trail this spring and fall leading to the June primary and November General Election. Someone will say something stupid, others won't utter a single interesting thought. However, surprises in the form of candidates who jumped into races (or out, for that matter) can't be known today. For all we know, the #MeToo hashtag might make its way to the East Bay and trigger a hard fought special election? C'mon, East Bay elected officials can't all be saints, could they? But as of today, here's your crystal ball for how this will all go down--with 99 percent certainty.

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

15th District (Hayward-Fremont-Tri Valley)
Brendan St. John-NPP
*Eric Swalwell-D, congressmember

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

Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Year in East Bay Politics: The wild and wacky: Let's Taco About It and Bill Quirk 'Jumps Around'

>>>>The state legislature decides in January that a new portrait of Assemblymember Bill Quirk would be a good idea for his 20th District website. The resulting creation, though, inparts vampire-like features to Quirk's face. Funny thing, according to his district staff, is the web designers thought the new photo looked good. By the way, the real Quirk is on the right.

●After Alameda Councilmember Jim Oddie failed in early April to deliver a majority vote that would have prohibited all no cause evictions, a renters activist sent him a terse email during the meeting. Oddie then read the email from dais with the stunned sender looking on.

>>>>Jan. 20 was a rough day for many East Bay progressives. But Assemblymember Rob Bonta coped with Trump's inauguration by tweeting a rainbow.

2017 Year in East Bay Politics: With 2018 election cycle ahead, candidates made early moves

It was not too early for a number of potential East Bay candidates to announce intentions to run next year, or, at least, begin to put out feelers. A number of statewide candidates from the region opened campaign accounts, including Richmond's Gayle McLaughlin (Lt. gov), Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (state superintendent), and Delaine Eastin (governor). Nine people currently covet Thurmond's 15th Assembly District seat next June. But the days of an overflowing primary ballot are over in the East Bay, with most moving elections to November. One of the last holdouts, Hayward, will make the move from June to November, giving the mayor and two councilmembers up for re-election an extra five months in office. But let's start with the governor's race where Eastin, who once represented the Fremont area in the state assembly and oversaw the state's schools, is one of five major candidates--and the only woman--hoping to replace Gov. Jerry Brown.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Renters at infamous Alameda apartments received evictions five days before Christmas

Assemblymember Rob Bonta, left, and Alameda
Councilmember Malia Vella, right, listen to
concerns Friday from tenants at the Bay View Apts.
"Everyday I open my door to check and see if there's a eviction notice," said Alameda renter Julia Balthasar. Just five days before Christmas, Balthasar found an unwanted holiday delivery--a 60-day eviction notice affixed to her front door, right next to a picture of Christmas tree she had placed there to celebrate the season.

Two other tenants at the infamous Bay View Apartments at 470 Central Avenue also received notices to evict last Wednesday. Over the past two years, the apartment building has become both the epicenter and symbol of Alameda's continuing housing crisis.

Desley Brooks is naughty, jury finds; awards $3.5m to Black Panther icon for injuries

Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks
Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks is one of the most notoriously feared elected officials in the East Bay. Her reputation, though, is growing at the expense of Oakland taxpayers after an Alameda County Superior Court jury Thursday found Brooks assaulted former Black Panther icon Elaine Brown at a well-known downtown restaurant in October 2015.

Friday, December 22, 2017

2017 Year in East Bay Politics Part IV - Oct-Dec: Oakland Strikes

As fall began to bleed into winter, everything seemed to go wrong for Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. The unions were already nipping at her heels with a campaign-style website  portraying her leadership in dire tones. An August raid by ICE agents in West Oakland, is later found to have been aided by Oakland Police. Did the police chief know her department was coordinating in a deportation case? Did Schaaf know beforehand? Then in early December a barrage of bad news hits the mayor's office within a 10-day period. First, 3,000 city workers, led by SEIU Local 1021, go on strike for seven day, in the meantime, slamming Schaaf at every opportunity. Uncertainty over the A's staying in Oakland returns during the same week, and ends with the untimely death of Schaaf's colleague across the bay, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. All the while, sprawling tent cities are visible all over the city. Progressives may not like Schaaf, but we start the last part of 2017 with another subject that angers lefties in the East Bay. 

2017 Year in East Bay Politics: Sports franchises and elected officials strike out

The Oakland Raiders are gone for Las Vegas. But, wait, they're still in town for another 2-3 years? So you're saying there's a chance? Probably not, but with the Warriors' new arena in San Francisco beginning to rise, the focus toward the last half of 2017 was on the Athletics, the only franchise saying it wanted to stay in Oakland. However, despite the team making good on its pledge to announce a preferred location for a new 35,000-seat ballpark, the choice of the Peralta site near Laney College was panned by officials and critics as too difficult to navigate Oakland and the state's regulatory maze. They may have ultimately been right, but in the short-term, it was a raggedy, but well-organized group of students and housing advocates who made the A's brain trust look like A-ball amateurs. But the year started, in a sense, as the beginning of the end for a new football stadium in Oakland. By late November, it was clear that Oakland and Alameda County officials were ready to learn from their mistakes and begin consolidating ownership of the Coliseum under the umbrella of the city.

2017 Year in East Bay Politics Part III - July-Sept: Fire Fight Ignites in Alameda

Controversy hit two historically quiet East Bay hamlets during the summer months. First, came Piedmont Mayor Jeff Wieler's Facebook postings and conversation that denigrated African Americans and the LGBT communities. Piedmonters called Wieler out for comments. He apologized but the rancor was too much for his council colleagues who urged him to resign. Tame stuff, however, as compared to Alameda where the fairly new city manager went to war with the island's hardest punchers, the Alameda Firefighters' union. City Manager Jill Keimach's then turned on some councilmembers by alleging they illegally interfered in her selection of a new fire chief. Names were called, ulterior motives alleged and an independent investigation was launched. Those finding are expected as early as next month, according to sources. But while we're in Alameda, July also marked the resumption of the two-year battle between renters and landlords and a surprising capitulation.

2017 Year in East Bay Politics: We grabbed Trump by the politics

It's difficult to imagine what the prevailing story line of politics in the East Bay would have been without the daily barrage of tweets and general insanity emanating from President Donald Trump in 2017. Much time and energy was expended everywhere chronicling his first year in office, including the East Bay where residents, councilmembers, state legislators, congressmembers, and even elected transportation officials took turns thwarting his policies.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

2017 Year in East Bay Politics: Part II: April-June: Richmond's Ellis loses Dem chair race

Heading into the spring, most a number of East Bay cities had already moved toward declaring sanctuary city status. Some began contemplating the next step: urging Congress to impeach Trump. But issues closer to home dominated the conversation. In Oakland, the mayor and police department was still dealing with the stench of the Celeste Guap police scandal. Oakland and Alameda County officials also took yet another hit from the civil grand jury in June. Meanwhile, up in Sacramento, Assemblyman Rob Bonta's ambitious bail reform bill stalls by the slimmest of margins. Richmond's Kimberly Ellis, who runs an upstart bid for California State Democratic Party chairperson, knows the feeling. She also falls excruciatingly short of winning. But we start first with State Sen. Steve Glazer. Let's just say he was a bad boy.

2017 Year in East Bay Political Quotes. 'Let's kick Trump's ass!'

"My friends’ first question is not why am I running for DA. The first question is 'have you lost your mind?'
--Oakland attorney Pamela Price, in June, announcing her candidacy to challenge Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley in 2018. Indeed, Price faces an uphill battle, but her early fundraising numbers proved positive.

2017 Year in East Bay Politics: Jan-Mar: Battle of Berkeley

East Bay residents didn't exactly head into the new year with hopes of prosperity and self-renewal. President-Elect Donald Trump's shadow was already darkening every door in the East Bay, especially those griped with fear in our large and diverse immigrants communities. In fact, Trump did not only overshadow every story on a daily basis at the national level, but also for the roughly 800,000 voters in Alameda County, many of which formed the spine for The Resistance.

As we kick off the annual Year in East Bay Politics in four parts, starting with Part I, you won't see much related to the region's political reactions to Trump. That's because the Trump story gets its own review on Friday. In addition, this year's review of East Bay politics includes the best, most biting quotes, Top 10 stories, the year in sports and local politics, and, let's just say the wild, wacky and cringe-worthy moments from the past 365 days, along with much more.

But first, let's start in Oakland, where the city's was still reeling from the 36 people who perished in the December 2016 Ghost Ship fire. As the calendar turned to 2017, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf was ready to make history, yet a few days later the city was reminded about its chronic problem with gun violence.

The Nation names freshman Rep. Ro Khanna rookie of the year

Rep. Ro Khanna wins high praise from the
progressive "The Nation" magazine.
Since even before his election to Congress and swearing-in last January, Rep. Ro Khanna has tried to burnish an exemplary progressive image. Progressives in his own congressional district were skeptical, and for good reason. Khanna sought to unseat a perfectly good progressive in Mike Honda and he did it with millions in campaign contributions from Silicon Valley leaders, moderates and even conservatives.

Should the doubters hold their tongue after a year of steadfast left wing ideology proffered by Khanna? In fact, the bible of progressive thought, The Nation, says yes. John Nichols, writing in this week's The Nation, named Khanna its "Most Valuable House Newcomer."

INSIDE THE EAST BAY: Kaplan pushes to keep her seat on Bay Area Air Quality board

◼Is Libby trying to give Kaplan the Schaaf?
◼Fremont councilmember's flippant defense
◼Assembly candidate could be risking union's wrath
◼Ellen Corbett's curiously busy lately.

Before Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan gained a seat on the nine-county Bay Area Air Quality Management District board (BAAQMD), the city had been without direct representation since the early 90s. The primary importance for East Bay residents is the district's help in overseeing and improving air quality in West Oakland, where asthma and respiratory ailments continue to be high. But Oakland stands to lose Kaplan's service after the Alameda County Conference of Mayors, which appoints Alameda County's four members to BAAMQD moved to change its bylaws to reserve the seats for mayors and exclude councilmembers.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

In a reversal, Alameda County approves adult-use cannabis sales in unincorporated areas

Tuesday's resolution will allow Alameda
County's two medical cannabis dispensaries
to seek state licenses for adult-use.
Unincorporated Alameda County's two medical cannabis dispensaries would be financially impacted if not allowed to sell recreational cannabis starting next month, said the Alameda County's Director of Community Development.

A majority of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday, and, in a reversal of a previous staff recommendation, voted to allow adult-use sales for its two current dispensaries.

Bereft of housing, Alameda City Council sinks 589-unit housing development for now

The Alameda City Council put on hold Tuesday
a  proposed 589-unit Encinal Terminals project
on the Northern Waterfront.
In a city that has long resisted meeting minimum state standards for the creation of new housing, the Alameda Council Tuesday night denied a 589-unit waterfront housing and retail development, at least, for the time being.

A portion of the development, which at 14 stories would be the tallest building in Alameda, also includes 79 affordable housing units for low-to-moderate incomes.

But the council returned the proposal back to the developer, Tim Lewis Communities, and city administration for revisions. Some councilmembers, though, questioned whether the proposal, named Encinal Terminals, was actually too ambitious for its own good and whether the city will receive a fair share of the profits.

Alameda County's first Mexican-American elected official, Bernie Morales, dies at 100

Bernie Morales, the first Mexican-American elected to public office in Alameda County history, died Monday. He was 100.

His passing marked a somber beginning to Tuesday morning's Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting. In addition, to Morales, the wife of appointed Alameda County Treasurer-Controller Henry Levy, who passed away earlier this month was also mourned, along with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

The meeting, the last of the year, was adjourned in memory of all three.

In 1964, Union City voters elected Morales to the city council. Two years later, Morales was appointed Union City mayor less than a decade after its incorporation. He would serve as mayor two of his four year on the council.

On Tuesday, Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle, himself, a former Union City councilmember, moved to adjourn the meeting in Morales' honor.

Lee, who passed suddenly on Dec. 12. was a long-time friend and neighbor of Supervisor Wilma Chan, she said.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Fremont mayor, vice mayor, admit to violating state campaign finance rules

The FPPC will decide this week if Fremont 
Mayor Lily Mei will pay a $1,406 fine for
violating campaign finance rules.
Fremont Mayor Lily Mei violated state election law after failing to report almost $24,000 in late campaign expenditures during the hard fought 2016 election, according to the state Fair Political Practices Commission. Mei, who upset incumbent mayor Bill Harrison last year, also failed to report more than $5,700 in contributions, in addition, to more than $11,000 in loans and contributions filed after various late reporting periods has passed. 

The FPPC is scheduled to approved a stipulated judgment against Mei's campaign on Dec. 21. The FPPC, though, found no effort on Mei's campaign to conceal the campaign finance errors, and could be subjected to a $1,406 penalty.

Friday, December 15, 2017

EBC AGENDA | DEC 15-21 | BERKELEY revisits police pepper spray policy; ALAMEDA land swap for 589 housing units; ALAMEDA COUNTY Coliseum sale talks; OAKLAND reboots


--BERKELEY-- Special council meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 6 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--MOVE TO REPEAL PEPPER SPRAY ORDINANCE-- Last September, the City Council approved authorization for the police department to include pepper spray under its use-of-force policy. Pepper spray had been prohibited under the 1997 city ordinance, but the outbreak of conflicts this year between protesters in Berkeley necessitated a discussion on the issue. Berkeley's Police Review Commission recommended on Oct. 25 for the City Council to revisit the issue, repeal the ordinance and reinstate the 1997 ordinance, due to the use of pepper spray as a health concern.

--ALAMEDA-- Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--598-UNITS AT NORTHERN WATERFRONT-- Alameda's Northern Waterfront project includes up to 589 housing units, including 79 affordable units. To make the Encinal Terminals project work, though, a supermajority of the council (four of five members) must approve a Public Trust Lands exchange. The waterfront transit-oriented development includes the city's nearly landlocked 6.4 acres at the center of the project. The developer is proposing to expand the Public Trust land with 7 acres of waterfront property, at no cost. The project includes a marina and 50,000 square feet of retail and commercial space.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Alameda County supervisors begin talks Tuesday to sell its half of Coliseum to Oakland

Alameda County officials are moving quickly toward a potential sale of its portion of the Coliseum complex to the City of Oakland.

Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi will recommend at next Tuesday morning's Board of Supervisors meeting that the county move to "expand discussions and negotiations" with Oakland city officials over not just the Coliseum proper, but the former Malibu Grand Prix lot on Coliseum Way, and the Raiders training facility in Alameda.

Hayward group contemplates recall campaign against firebrand school board member

Hayward school board member Luis Reynoso
has served since 2008.
One of the most controversial, if not colorful, elected officials in the entire East Bay resides on the Hayward school board. Dr. Luis Reynoso's political resume, however, includes a number of formers. He is a former candidate for the state assembly and Alameda County Board of Supervisors, and even a former member of the Republican Party (He's now registered No Party Preference).

Now, a local group calling itself C.L.A.S.S., that last year successfully got one of its candidates elected to the Hayward school board, is thinking about adding another former to Reynoso's name with a potential recall campaign, according to its Website. CLASS and Reynoso went toe-to-toe during the 2016 June campaign, in which, Reynoso won re-election.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

San Leandro's revenues have dipped over past six months, says city manager

San Leandro City Manager Chris Zapata
suggested Monday that the council revisit
pension reform in January.
After a few years of robust revenues, San Leandro's tax receipts have fallen short of expectations over the past six months, said City Manager Chris Zapata.

For roughly the past three years, San Leandro's revenue streams, including various successful tax-generating ballot measures, have bolstered its general fund, in part, leading to a boom in the city's capital improvement projects. San Leandro's economy, however, might be showing signs of regression.

Monday, December 11, 2017

How A's, Dave Kaval choked on Peralta site still eludes many

The Peralta Community College Board of
Trustees delivered a strong blow last week
to the A's plan for a new ballpark
 near Laney College.
In the early 2000s, a young and talented Oakland Athletics ball club appeared on the cusp of clearing a long pesky obstacle by finally upending the New York Yankees in the playoffs. Up to 2-0 in the series, the A's were in an advantageous position, that is, until Jeremy Giambi, a lumbering figure who is also the brother of the team's then-superstar Jason Giambi, seemingly forgot the most elemental of baseball acts. He didn't slide at home plate and was tagged out on a glorious play by Derek Jeter.

"Slide, Jeremy, slide!" is a phrase that curdles the blood of many A's fans, but the appearance of another unforced error last week, this one political, could have similarly painful ramifications for its loyal fans. 

Bonta and Wieckowski's holiday wish: Let's kick Trump's ass!

Assemblymember Rob Bonta has used fiery 
rhetoric against President Trump in the past.
Alameda County Democrats, led by Assemblymember Rob Bonta and State Sen. Bob Wieckowski, were in a festive holiday mood last week, except when it came to talk about President Donald Trump.

Bonta and Wieckowski, speaking at last Wednesday's monthly Alameda County Democratic Central Committee meeting in San Leandro, sent a message intended to whip up the gathering of progressives. The message was typical boilerplate--recapping the county Democrat's accomplishments, along with continued success in 2018.

Part of their future success, according to Bonta, apparently, includes giving Trump a swift kick in the rear. "Let's kick Trump's ass!" exclaimed Bonta, as party leaders cheered. Bonta has represented Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro in the assembly since 2012.

Friday, December 8, 2017

EBC AGENDA | DEC 8-14 | OAKLAND strike continues; 200-unit senior market-rate housing in HAYWARD; multiculturalism in SAN LEANDRO


--OAKLAND-- [MEETINGS CANCELLED DUE TO STRIKE] City Council committee meetings, Tuesday, Dec. 12, start at 9 a.m.

Finance & Management Committee, 9 a.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--PUBLIC SAFETY OT IN THE RED-- Oakland's overtime budget for police and fire is projected to be in the red by more than $38 million, according to a staff report. The 2017-18 fiscal year budget alloted only $14.8 million for overtime. The bulk of the increased overtime this year comes from OFD, projected to be $22.3 million, but the city only budgeted $1.2 million for the year, while setting aside $12.4 million for OPD. The police department's overtime, conversely, is projected to be $29.9 million. // Embattled Oakland City Auditor Brenda Roberts will provide the committee with the offic's annual report.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Chabot, Las Positas Colleges become sanctuary campuses

Chabot-Las Positas Community College Board
of Trustees voted Tuesday to declare its
campuses as sanctuaries for students.
After months of sidestepping the issue, the Chabot-Las Positas Community College Board of Trustees approved a pair of resolutions Tuesday declaring a sanctuary campus designation for each college. The board also directed its staff to explore a similar district-wide policy.

58 House Democrats considered impeaching Trump, but Swalwell, Khanna wasn't one of them

The White House said the 58 Democrats who 
supported President Trump's impeachment
were "extremists."
A procedural vote in the House Wednesday on whether to table discussion on the impeachment of President Donald Trump included support from Republicans and Democrats that effectively

A motion to table Texas Democratic Rep. Al Green's Article of Impeachment against President Donald Trump was supported Wednesday by House Republicans and Democrats, effectively ending the discussion for now.