Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2013 Year-In-Review, Part III: Sum Ting Wong, Indeed; Privacy Concerns Raised Over Surveillance Center

July 2013
KTVU anchor Tori Campbell
>>> The words are simply enough: "Captain Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Dang Ding Ow.” KTVU takes considerable heat for allowing the erroneous names of four Asiana Airlines pilots to get on the air following the tragic plane crash at SFO. Heads roll, but anchor Tori Campbell remains.

>>>Ro Khanna sets the political world afire once again when his campaign discloses over $1 million in contributions in the second quarter alone. Khanna is opposing fellow Democrat Rep. Mike Honda. It’s not even Khanna’s best showing. In 2011, he topped $1.2 million for a quarter in fundraising.

>>>Activists in Oakland get first wind of a wide-ranging surveillance and information data hub known as the Domain Awareness Center (DAC). During the Oakland City Council Public Safety Committee, the item is forwarded with no opposition. Councilmember Dan Kalb even says, “Very exciting. I assume none of these cameras go into people’s living rooms?” The fight begins...

>>>AC Transit Board of Directors unanimously censure Joel Young for violating board policies and using closed session information for personal gain. Young never utters a word in his defense throughout the proceedings.

Protesters on Broadway in Oakland following 
the Trayvon Martin verdict.
>>>Anger from the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin spills onto the streets of Oakland. Like other protests, the scene becomes violent during the late hours. Windows are broken, arrests are made and the police chief takes heat for not having his force ready for the possible Saturday verdict.

>>>After years of discussion, a 30-year housing and transportation initiative, known as Plan Bay Area, is approved by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). Conservatives and Tea Partiers voice considerable disapproval. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, though, falls asleep during the final meeting.

>>>Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks produces a 35-page rebuttal to charges levied against her by a city auditor’s report. Brooks claims she did nothing wrong and was merely following city staff’s direction. She again challenges the city auditor to release evidence of her misconduct.

>>>Alameda’s plan to place an In & Out Burger near the Webster Tube that leads to and from Oakland is met with resistance from Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley who suggests the popular burger joint will attract unsavory characters from Oakland to the island. Opponents read the comments as racist, while creating the comedic image of the Hamburglar wreaking havoc in Alameda.

>>>The Oakland Army Base has yet to be cleared of its former tenants and time is running out before the city risks losing $176 million in federal funding for the project. The property would be cleared in time, but not before Councilmember Larry Reid gets in a shot at Mayor Jean Quan for the delay. “I would have been on their butts, but I’m not the mayor.”

>>>Vowing to significantly lower crime in Oakland, Joe Tuman announces his run for mayor in 2014. “What we need in the city going forward is, and what I intend to do in my campaign for mayor, is recalibrate a new normal,” he says outside of City Hall.

>>>Amid catcalls from the audience and racially-divisive innuendo from Councilmember Larry Reid, the Oakland City Council chooses against censuring Desley Brooks. However, they contemplate censuring themselves under the theory all of them at one time violated the city’s non-interference laws. This motion does not pass.

>>>Like Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley before him, Oakland Councilmember Larry Reid contemplates running next year against Mayor Jean Quan. Reid says he's awaiting a cue from God, who later nixes the idea. It’s the last time Reid is seen in public for months. Later, it is revealed he will undergo back surgery.

>>>Just after 1 a.m., the Oakland City Council approves the second phase of the controversial Domain Awareness Center. Following the vote, the few remaining audience members chant, “Shame! Shame! Shame!” Councilmembers Libby Schaaf and Dan Kalb add amendments calling for specific policies for its use, while their colleagues, Larry Reid and Desley Brooks are absent for the meeting.

>>>Showing the power of labor unions still exist in the East Bay, Assemblymembers Rob Bonta and Bill Quirk report campaign finance reports showing nearly 90 percent of their haul came from unions and other special interests. Assemblymember Nancy Skinner is mocked for attending a junket to Cuba paid by noted Sacramento lobbyist Darius Anderson.

Quick, take a picture of me praying to Jesus.
>>>Rep. Eric Swalwell and other pro-Israel members of Congress go to the Holy land. Swalwell then posts a number of peculiar, often unwittingly hilarious photos of his trip on various social media sites. One involves playing ping-pong with Israeli children, another praying at the Wailing Wall, and one showing him on his knees bowing before Jesus.

>>>In an interview with the Oakland Tribune, Mayor Jean Quan suggests no confidence in City Administrator Deanna Santana. Despite the writing on the wall, Santana stays on, but in December, news trickles out she is among five finalists for the same job in Dallas.

>>>Without a contract since February, Hayward city employees stage a three-day strike to urge the city to reopen negotiations. A picketing worker is hit by an angry resident and a barrage of tough talk from union members commences. City workers remain on the job without a new contract.

>>>Hayward Mayor Michael Sweeney announces he won’t run for re-election in 2014. A day later, Councilmember Mark Salinas declares his candidacy. A month later, Councilmember Barbara Halliday also declares. They join another colleague, Francisco Zermeno, making it three sitting members of the council running next year for mayor.

>>>Rep. Eric Swalwell considers supporting President Obama’s plan to use force in Syria. Rep. Barbara Lee issues opposition. However, for Swalwell, the idea is unpopular in his district and elsewhere. In the end, Russian President Vladimir Putin takes Swalwell and others off the hook with a more diplomatic solution.

It goes up,  instead, at the
San Leandro Marina.
>>>An international incident nearly occurs in San Leandro when a resolution to celebrate China’s national day by flying its banner over City Hall fosters division between its large Chinese American community and Tibetan activists. The motion barely passes, but the mayor uses his powers in the City Charter to overrule the decision.

>>>While Oakland is awash in debate over the encroaching surveillance state, San Leandro considers placing license plate readers in public spaces. Later, Alameda discusses adding the police-mounted cameras to the island.

>>>Nancy Skinner, during an Assembly floor speech in favor of extending the window for adults sexually abused to sue private and non-profit groups, reveals she was the victim of sexual abuse as a child.

>>>Perhaps illustrating the power of Edward Snowden’s revelation regarding the NSA, Rep. Eric Swalwell votes against allowing the government to collect your cell phone data. However, in February, before the disclosure, he voted in favor of government access to your Web site histories.

>>>Richmond attracts national attention for a proactive and creative plan to help its large number of homeowners saddled with underwater mortgages by buying the loans and offering principal reduction strategies. To the consternation of Wall Street, it also includes purchasing the homes through eminent domain. Later, Oakland would dip its toe in the same idea, but relent due to concerns over reprisals from Wall Street.

>>>Former Hayward school board President Jesus Armas, remember him? The guy who had an affair with a fellow board member? After not running for re-election in 2012, Armas is in line to become South San Francisco’s next city manager. However, the City Council gets wind of his transgressions in Hayward and reconsiders.

>>>After years of opposition, the San Leandro City Council approves permitting for one medical cannabis dispensary within its city limits.

MONDAY, Part I: The Fight Over Public Safety Erupts Over Bratton, Drones
TUESDAY, Part II Oakland Gets Three Police Chiefs In A Week; Censure In The Air; BART Strike Rattles Bay Area


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