Thursday, December 31, 2015


The stars are aligned in Oakland: The Raiders
stay; A's will move to Howard Terminal.
YEAR-IN-PREV16W | Sadly, predicting political races in the East Bay is very easy. With a high- percentage of certainty, the candidate with the most fundraising will win. If you add strong union and Democratic Party support, the likelihood is almost 100 percent. But, that doesn't mean there isn't room for some surprising outcomes ahead in 2016. Here are five somewhat "out there" predictions for next year:

>>>Rent control ballot measures in Alameda and Richmond will fail in November. Simply too much money from landlord groups to foster doubts in the mind of voters. The campaign tactics by landlords will be shameful, but demoralizing in their effectiveness.

>>>Those preparing for a Nancy Skinner and Sandre Swanson Democratic slugfest in November will be disappointed. Regardless of who is number two in June, Skinner takes the oath of office in January 2017.

>>>A very poor first year for Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer only gets worse. Spencer's shockingly inept political skills are further inflated by her opposition to rent control and the advocacy group's portrayal of her as a villain. They may even try to recall her, but that never gets anywhere. Nonetheless, she will be drained with still another two years in her term.

>>>Oakland doesn't get its act together concerning the Raiders, but a positive resolution falls into their lap. The Raiders ultimately build at the current Coliseum complex, while a path is clear for the A's at Howard Terminal. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is hailed as the savior of East Bay sports.

>>>Rep. Mike Honda will withstand a brutal re-election campaign. The victory may even be a late come-from-behind effort linked to the presidential election. No doubt Honda will be running on empty. This time next year, the prediction for 2017 will be he finally retires in 2018.


Nancy Skinner and Sandre Swanson
SD9 | State Senate District 9
It’s the race most East Bay political junkies have been waiting four years to watch. State Sen. Loni Hancock is termed out of the Seventh State Senate District, which leaves the race up for grabs between two well-known former Democratic assemblymembers Nancy Skinner and Sandre Swanson. Skinner has the money, while Swanson has the early endorsement lead. This race looks good on paper, but we’ll see how it looks when the candidates meet face-to-face and their vaguely differing views are matched against each other. In other words, it’s bound to be an open primary personality contest. And if you don’t like either, there’s Katherine Welch, the daughter of former General Electric chairman Jack Welch.

Mike Honda and Ro Khanna
CA17 | Congress District 17
Of course, this is a big race. It’s even firmly on the national political radar. Mike Honda-Ro Khanna 2: Electric Boogaloo will offer some of the same mixture of standard election bluster (franking controversy!!) along with campaign skulduggery seen in 2014. In fact, expect the 2016 race to be like the new Star Wars movie with elements of the plot that seem very familiar. This time around, we already have the tough-talking Republican acting as an attack dog against Honda. What’s next? Another candidate with the same surname possibly confusing voters?

AD14 | Assembly District 14
This could be a nice little hot mess of a race or an establishment-backed rout. Most know Tom Torlakson, the state superintendent of public instruction. Now meet his wife, Fourteenth Assembly District candidate Mae Torlakson. Although she has little government experience, the full weight of the Democratic Party will be backing her bid against another Democrat, Concord Mayor Tim Grayson, who already has the scent of scandal attached to his name after accepting and returning contributions from a master developer being considered for the Concord Naval Weapons Station.

AD16 | Assembly District 16
Republican East Bay Assemblymember Catharine Baker’s first re-election campaign will feature as her opponent Cheryl Cook-Kallio, a former member of the Pleasanton City Council who was recruited by the assembly speaker and unions. The latter might be an uncomfortable fact for many voters in the Sixteenth Assembly District, which has shown recently an antipathy toward unions. But, Baker is the only Republican in the East Bay’s legislative caucus and the money will flow to this race in a bid to flip the Contra Costa County/Tri Valley district back to a light shade of blue.

Nate Miley and Bryan Parker
ALCOD4 | Alameda County Supervisor District 4
Bryan Parker’s attempt at unseating the entrenched Alameda County Superivsor Nate Miley is not the stuff of Don Quixote. The former Oakland mayoral candidate dreaming the impossible dream can raise significant amounts of money and is willing to bait and prod the excitable Miley. Will Miley bite? Yes and the show will be spectacular. However, as Miley often quips to opponents, “Reasonable people will agree to disagree.”

OAKATL | Oakland City Council At-Large
Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan is likely facing a second straight challenge to her at-large seat by a well-known former Oakland elected official. Kaplan easily defeated Ignacio De La Fuente in 2012 and now former Oakland mayor Jean Quan is giving strong signals she will make a similar run in 2016. For her part, Kaplan is sure acting like Quan is running and expect fireworks. For instance, during the 2014 mayoral race, Quan often focused on attacking Kaplan even though it was Libby Schaaf who was proving to be the greater threat to her re-election.

BERKMAYOR | Berkeley Mayor
An opening in the mayor’s office in Berkeley is almost like an available seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Long-time Mayor Tom Bates is reportedly ending his illustrious political career. Meanwhile, two Berkeley councilmembers and likely more candidates are seeking the seat. But, like the Alameda County supervisorial race and potential heavyweight tilt in Oakland’s at-large seat, the race between favorites Jesse Arreguin and Laurie Capitelli, will be hard-nosed campaigns featuring glorious displays of political fireworks and none will vaguely look like exploding peace signs in the skies over Berkeley.

HAYCC | Hayward City Council
Anytime more than half of a seven-member city council is up for grabs, it’s a major race. In Hayward, four incumbents are likely candidates in a growing list of candidates. And because of its June at-large election format, finishing fourth is as good as first. Hayward has problems, but it will remain to be seen if the media coverage will push candidates to own this harsh reality. Meanwhille, who knows? One of the incumbents may even call it quits. At least, that’s the word.

FRECC | Fremont City Council
A BART extension is coming to Fremont and its downtown is set for a major makeover. Two of the city council’s five seats (Fremont, a city of 230,000, really needs to expand to seven seats) are up for grabs in its at-large elections next November. One incumbent is termed out, but the other—Vinnie Bacon--is running for re-election against another—Raj Salwan—who sat on the council two years ago. Surely this list of candidates will grow very large.

Rent control ballot measures in Richmond, Alameda
Rising rents and evictions is destined to be a hot topic in every East Bay race, but its epicenters on the November ballot will be in Richmond and, almost assuredly, in Alameda. The progressive Richmond City Council approved rent control last summer, but special interests backed by landlord groups successfully petitioned to repeal the ordinance. They question will head to the ballot, as it will in Alameda, which will present the California Apartment Association with two sizable fronts for fighting off rent control restrictions in the East Bay.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Moraga town manager to be named Alameda’s next city manager

Jill Keimach has served as Moraga's town manager
since Nov. 2010.
ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL | Moraga Town Manager Jill Keimach has accepted an offer to become Alameda’s next city manager, the city announced Wednesday.

The Alameda City Council is expected to formally approve the hiring at its Jan. 19 meeting. If approved, Keimach’s first day will be Mar. 7.

Under the terms of the proposed contract, Keimach, who has served as Moraga’s town manager since 2010, will receive a four-year contract with a base salary of $245,000 a year.

Prior to her stint in Moraga, Keimach served as community development director in Fremont and El Cerrito.

Alameda has been without a permanent city manager since John Russo’s departure last May for the same post in Riverside.

Interim City Manager Liz Warmerdam will remain on the city staff, said the city, and return to her job as assistant city manager.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


YEAR-IN-REV15W | This may not have been the most eventful year in East Bay politics, but aside from some ill-mannered moments, 2015 was totally positive. Activists fighting for social justice and fair housing registered major victories. On several occasions, a few of the year's biggest news stories appear destined to act as opening acts for greater exposure in 2016. Among them, the rent crisis, allegations against Rep. Mike Honda, cannabis and the Raiders stadium saga will shape the coming year. Meanwhile, here are the Top 10 East Bay news stories of 2015:

State Sen. Steve Glazer takes the oath of office.
10 | Steve Glazer wins expensive 7th State Senate District special election
It was the only election that mattered in 2015 and included more than $7 million in special interest spending. Glazer failure in 2014 is rewarded with a decisive 10-point win over Susan Bonilla.

9 | Raiders reveal plans for moving to Carson, Calif.
Oakland and Alameda County officials appeared caught off-guard by the sudden announcement the team had secretly joined the San Diego Chargers for a stadium project in SoCal. The end of this story is still pending in January.

8 | Hayward superintendent attacks two school board members

Popular Superintendent Stan Dobbs apparently couldn't take the line of questioning from Board Trustees Luis Reynoso and William McGee, so he lashed out. Two police reports were filed, but Dobbs received no official rebuke for his actions.

7 | Oakland CM Desley Brooks alleged assaults former Black Panther Elaine Brown
There were fisticuffs in Oakland too after Brown, 72, lodged a $7 million complaint charging assault and elder abuse against Brooks, 54, for alleged pushing her to the ground following an argument in a restaurant.

6 | Asm. Rob Bonta's medical cannabis dispensary regulations signed into law
Medical cannabis has been legal in the state for nearly 20 years, but without significant regulations for dispensaries until a package of bills offered by Bonta and three other assemblymembers was approved by Gov. Jerry Brown. The bills set the stage for likely expansion of cannabis laws next year.
An Alameda renters blood at City Hall.

5 | Housing crisis erupts in Alameda and Richmond

An Alameda renter was bloodied and arrested by police, a moratorium was passed by the City Council and quickly undermined by a landlord and anxieties over rising rents and eviction soared. Richmond passed rent control measures which are later repealed by a landlord group's petition. Both cities are destined to be battlegrounds for rent control in 2016.

4 | Oakland's 12th St. remainder parcel sale/Lake Merritt luxury tower nixed
Oakland's affordable housing advocates win big after the entirely market-rate Lake Merritt luxury apartment building is stalled by protesters who shutdown a council meeting, which later leads to the city determining the sale of surplus lands in this case was indeed illegal.

3 | May unrest in Oakland leads to Schaaf's ban on nighttime street protests
Marauding protesters cause property damage in Downtown Oakland while also torching vehicles at a car dealership. The incident leads Mayor Libby Schaaf to institute a ban on nighttime street protests. Demonstrations on the sidewalk are okay, but protesters resist and ultimately the police do as well. Most believe the ban is unconstitutional, anyways.

2 | House Ethics Committee suggests Rep. Mike Honda violated House rules

It's a report that forcefully rattles the forthcoming congressional rematch between Democrats Rep. Mike Honda and Ro Khanna. Although the investigation will continue into whether Honda's congressional office commingled work with his previous campaigns, the report clearly suggests the answer is yes. The finding is a early blow to his re-election campaign next year.

1 | Uber moves to Downtown Oakland
A rendering of the Uber building on Broadway
and Grand Avenue in Oakland.

Nevermind, the inherent problems with the ride-hailing company's business model, but Uber's expansion to the former Sears building on Broadway in 2017 is a huge shot in the arm not only to Mayor Schaaf's administration, but the downtown business corridor, the image of Oakland to the outside world and punctuates Oakland's rapid renaissance. For now, it's the feel-good story of the year, but it's long-term ramifications are yet to be seen.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Alameda mayor, councilman's vote did not break the law, says city attorney

Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer and Councilmember
Tony Daysog voted against funding its public safety
pension trust fund angering unions.
ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL | Did Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer and Councilmember Tony Daysog break the law earlier this month when they voted against funding a previously approved employee pension trust fund? “The short answer is no,” Alameda City Attorney Janet Kern said Monday.

The allegation was first raised by Alameda Firefighters union president Jeff Del Bono following a Dec. 15 vote by the council approving, 3-2, an administrative item allocating $3 million to fund city employee pension obligations known as Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB).

The council voted by the same margin last April to share the cost of retirement benefits with public safety union members through the trust fund. However, Del Bono, incensed by the votes of Spencer and Daysog made this month, alleged on Twitter that they “broke the law.” During the Dec. 15 meeting Spencer said the agreement made by the city and public safety employees falls short of solving its unfunded liabilities problem. “I think long-term it does jeopardize the fiscal health of the city," she said. Daysog offered a similar critique and argued the trust fund could be insolvent by 2034.

Following Del Bono's allegation, Daysog quickly asked the city attorney’s office for an official inquiry into whether any laws were broken by the vote. In a memo to the city council Monday, Kern said no contract was breached by the council vote and that it “satisfies a City obligation under the Memorandum of Understanding with the City’s public safety bargaining units.”

Despite the allegation, Del Bono's comments are another salvo in a long-running dispute between Spencer and the firefighters’ union that has periodically been inflamed during her first year in office. Earlier this year, firefighters released a recording of the mayor speaking negatively of the firefighters and former city manager John Russo. The conversation, surreptitiously recorded in a coffee shop, followed Spencer’s vote against funding a new fire station which, nonetheless, was approved by the council.

Shortly after the council vote earlier this month, Del Bono reiterated in an East Bay Citizen article his strong objection to the Dec. 15 comments made by Spencer and Daysog and labeled them “two derelicts.” He added, “It’s disappointing and sickening that we have two public officials who break their word on labor contracts."

In a Dec. 21 letter, from the Alameda Firefighters, Local 689 to the City Council, the union argued the trust fund appropriation was agendized under the consent calendar and should not have been pulled for further discussion by Spencer.

In addition, the union said the council’s vote was one vote shy of exposing the city “to "liability and attorneys’ fees for a clear violation of the contractual commitments made on Apr. 29, 2015 to share the costs of prefunding retiree medical expenses."

Meanwhile, the city attorney’s conclusion is no surprise to Daysog. In a statement Monday, he again expressed prudence by forwarding the allegation to the city attorney’s office. “As I had surmised from the outset, fortunately, I broke no laws during the course of the Dec. 15 meeting.”

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


2015 YEAR-IN-REV15W | Over the past six years, the annual East Bay Citizen collection of the best political quotes have shown a distinct pattern in odd years--notably, non-election years like this one. The most unique utterance often leans toward the absurd. This year's top quote (revealed below) absolutely fits the bill and encompasses one East Bay elected official's tumultuous first year in office. Furthermore, the oddball comment pushed most local officials and political junkies to respond in the same way: WTF?! Before you learn the Best Political Quote of 2015, here's a list of some of the best from the year's past:

Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb
-Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb attaches the hashtag to a news report on comments presidential candidate Rand Paul made against vaccinations. The tweet is applauded by his followers.

“Nobody said that this would be easy.”
-Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf as her microphone malfunctions at the start of her State of the City address in October, but it could just as easily describe the job of being mayor.

“You can’t blame the white man for that one.”
-Oakland Councilmember Noel Gallo voicing opposition to Desley Brooks’ proposed Race and Equity Department. Gallo said previous councils with minority-majorities did nothing to help build equity in the city.

“Maybe I shouldn’t say that.”
-Oakland Councilmember Larry Reid after saying he goes to San Leandro to walk his dogs because it's too dangerous in his East Oakland district.

Raiders superfan Dr. Death had a prescription
for Oakland's stadium woes.
“When I want a house built, I don’t ask the City of Oakland to give me a check.”
-Dr. Death AKA Ray Perez, the costumed Raiders superfan, at the NFL town hall in response to the team's intransigence toward funding it's own stadium in Oakland.

“We’re not dating, but we sure like this guy.”
-Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney says of ill-fated Coliseum City developer Floyd Kephart in March. The courtship was not consummated.

“There's still hope, but also a door open for us to negotiate before we kiss and say goodbye.”
-Noel Gallo, assessing the city's chances of finding an amicable funding solution for keeping the Raiders in Oakland.

Elaine Brown, right, and DA Nancy O'Malley.
“I don’t get why no one wants to talk about this racist Nancy O’Malley?”
-Elaine Brown, Civil Rights icon and former Black Panther, referring to the Alameda County district attorney during a special Oakland council on police and the community.

“Accountability for the sheriff is the most important job you have and you don’t do it.”
-Oakland resident Susan Harmon to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in September during a hearing over the sheriff's desire to purchase an upgrade to its cellphone surveillance device.

"I'm perplexed why he's running. It's baffling to me."
-Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley on Port of Oakland Commissioner Bryan Parker's decision to run against him in 2016.

“Rosa Parks did not shut down 
an entire transit system for hours.”
-BART Director Rebecca Saltzman, on Twitter, responding to a push by Black Friday protesters to have their charges dropped after shutting down BART on Black Friday 2014. She later apologized.

"Madame Mayor, I need you 
to get control of the chamber."
-John Russo, Alameda's now former city manager, in response to repeated interruptions by a supporter of the mayor during a March council meeting.

ESPN football broadcaster Rod Gilmore with an
unsportsmanlike penalty against Alameda's new 
Mayor Trish Spencer.
“Hi, Sarah.”
-ESPN broadcaster Rod Gilmore, and husband of former Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore, mocks current Mayor Trish Spencer (the candidate who defeated his wife) by calling her Sarah Palin at fundraiser in Alameda

“I’ve given everything to Alameda. I found you and I feel like I’m being asked to leave.”
-Linda Weinstock, a seven-year resident of Alameda, expressing fears to the Alameda City Council that she will be evicted from her apartment.

“Alameda is very unappreciative.”
-Matt Sridhar, the head of the equity firm that usurped Alameda's 65-day moratorium on rents and eviction by using a loophole in the ordinances to evict 33 families from their apartments.

“That place made me what I am today."
-Tom Hanks, in a lovung ode to his alma mater Hayward’s Chabot College in an opinion piece for The New York Times.

“Maybe we can start a stay-at-home,
 work-at-home, skip-a-shower day?”
-Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday jokes in April about a solution to the city and state's continuing drought.

“Do they need somebody to hug them?”
-Francisco Zermeno, a Hayward councilmember known for odd comments about helping the homeless, adds another in September during a meeting on homelessness in the city.

Rep. Barbara Lee
“The laws of this land would not have changed had it not been for young people and had it not been for the protest and the street heat,"
-Rep. Barbara Lee at a January discussion in Oakland on race relations and law enforcement.

"It is a shame that Bachelor Chris & Whitney broke up.”
-Assemblymember Bill Quirk, a known fan of the The Bachelor, reacting to news of the break up of two former winners.

“Today ushers in a new era for California.”
-Assemblymember Rob Bonta, in October following Gov. Jerry Brown signing his medical cannabis dispensary reform bills.

"The resilience that I have is not just because I was born in Philadelphia and grew up watching Rocky movies.
-Democratic congressional candidate Ro Khanna in a speech announcing in May his bid for a rematch next year with Rep. Mike Honda.

“Running for public office should always be focused on a debate of ideas and values that will help our community and not tear us apart.”
-Susan Bonilla announcing in October that she will not mount a challenge in 2016 against Steve Glazer for the Seventh State Senate District. Glazer beat Bonilla last May in the special election.


“I have many Filipino friends. Our children grew up… eating rice — white rice!”
-Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer in June addressing a sister city delegation from the Philippines. The extemporaneous comment causes embarrassment and highlights her rocky first year in office. Listen to the entire cringe-worthy "speech" below.

2014 - Libby Schaaf. "“It’s hella time for leadership in Oakland.”
2013 - Tori Campbell. "Captain Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Dang Ding Ow."
2012 - Pete Stark. "If I we’re a lawyer--I would call that bribery, but I’m not a lawyer, so I’ll let Mr. Swalwell define what he thinks taking all this money from people he gave special zoning privileges is.
2011 - Ken Pratt. "I nominate her [Jean Quan] the queen of residential blight."
2010 - Bill Lockyer. "I'm just a volunteer."
2009 - Pete Stark. "Well, I wouldn't dignify you by peeing on your leg. It wouldn't be worth wasting the urine."

Sunday, December 20, 2015


The Assemblymember Rob Bonta-led effort
to add regulations to medical cannabis 
dispensaries is signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. 
>>>Assemblymember Rob Bonta's medical cannabis dispensary reform bill is signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The legislation adds needed regulations to the greatly expanding industry in the state.

>>>The much-anticipated race in the Ninth State Senate District loses one prominent candidate when Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan suspends her campaign because of fundraising concerns.

>>>Meanwhile, former Oakland mayoral candidate Bryan Parker announces he will mount a challenge in Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley's District Four next year.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf delivers the 
State of the City address in October.
>>>Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf presents her State of the City and expresses support for Black Lives Matter, but activists harshly criticize her for the comment following the May crackdown on protesters.

>>>Berkeley Councilmember Jesse Arreguin announces he will run for mayor. Long-time Mayor Tom Bates is retiring. Laurie Capitelli, also a Berkeley councilmember, also joins the race.

>>>Labor relations at the San Lorenzo Unified School District are additionally strained when video of Alameda County sheriff's deputies attempting to shut down a union meeting goes viral. The teachers union will soon file an unfair labor practices complaint against the school district.

>>>Chatter about Jean Quan making a run in 2016 for Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan's at-large seat are too loud to ignore. Former Oakland Councilmember Nancy Nadel says she's also contemplating a campaign for her old District Three seat.

Blood outside the Alameda City Council chambers
following the arrest of two renters.
>>>Blood is spilled at a tense Alameda City Council meeting over the issue of rising rents and evictions. Two members of the renters coalition are arrested and the City Council approves a 65-day moratorium on evictions and caps increases at eight percent over the past year. 

>>>As it becomes clear the Oakland Raiders are the least likely of three NFL teams to move to Los Angeles, the city suggests it will soon have a proposal to build a stadium for the team. Schaaf, however, reiterates no public money will be used and the NFL holds a town hall at the Paramount Theater. Later, reports reveal the plan might include other forms of public financing.

>>>Mary King, the first black woman elected to the Alameda County supervisor dies. She was 69.

Elaine Brown and Desley Brooks during more 
cordial times.
>>>Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks is accused of assaulting former Black Panther president Elaine Brown at a downtown restaurant. Details are unknown and neither side is talking.

>>>Former Pleasanton Councilmember Cheryl Cook-Kallio, a Democrat, is recruited by Speaker Toni Atkins to challenge Assemblymember Catharine Baker in the Sixteenth District. Baker, a freshman, is the only elected East Bay Republican in the Legislature.

Members of the Alameda Renters Coalition outside
of Alameda City Hall. The issue of rents will be a
major election topic in 2016.
>>>Controversy over rents in Alameda continues when a landlord uses a loophole in the current moratorium to evict 33 families. The 65-day moratorium, slated to expire in early January, is amended.

>>>Oakland Councilmembers Dan Kalb, Annie Campbell Washington and Rebecca Kaplan propose a slate of gun control ordinances to ensure safe storage of weapons in homes and unattended vehicles, in addition, to banning high-capacity magazines.

>>>Like in Alameda, fears of rising rents and evictions come the to San Leandro City Council when they approve changes to its Rent Review Board.

>>>The end of the year does not go so well for Rep. Mike Honda. First, Roll Call names his re-election bid  as one of 2016's Top 10 endangered. Then, his ethics investigation is rehashed in the press and Honda's Republican opponent, Fremont CPA Ron Cohen, files a complaint over alleged misuse of his franking privileges. 

Honda undoubtedly is looking forward to fresh start in 2016.


Best Quotes of 2015

Top 10 News Stories
Winners/Losers of 2015

Saturday, December 19, 2015


Hayward city workers finally get a new contract.
>>>With its political implications to be determined in the 2016 city council election next year, the City of Hayward and more than 300 city employees finally agree to a new contract. The acrimonious two-year labor standoff that included a wage imposition results in employees receiving a 4.5 percent wage increase over three years.

>>>San Leandro Mayor Pauline Cutter sternly calls on the Eden Township Healthcare District to pay "their fair share" for San Leandro Hospital's day-to-day operations. The District says they've spent enough.

>>>In a major victory for Oakland affordable housing activists, the City Council quietly rescinds its proposed sale of the 12th Street remainder parcel to a developer planning a luxury apartment tower near Lake Merritt. The city finally comes around to idea the proposed sale is illegal under the state Surplus Lands Act.

Fantastic support: Donald Trump
>>>A sign of times to come: The Alameda County Republican Party presents an informal poll (and it's the best poll you've ever seen!) of fair-goers showing strong support for presidential candidate Donald Trump.

>>>Vice President Joe Biden comes to Newark to highlight Theranos, a biomedical firm pioneering low-cost blood tests. Biden, though, says he's afraid of needles and declines a test. Later in the year, investors will find Theranos' technologies were more hype than reality.

>>>The rent issue begins to gain steam in Alameda. The City Council votes to make changes to its Rent Review Advisory Committee. Notably, it forces landlords to appear at hearings or forfeit any rent increases for one year. It's also described as "toothless."

>>>While most back Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, Rep. Eric Swalwell endorses Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley and nobody cares.

>>>Nancy Skinner reports her campaign account in the Ninth State Senate District race has $925,000. The number greatly outpaces Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan and Sandre Swanson. A majority of her cache, though, was transferred from her former Assembly account.

>>>Hayward Police Sgt. Scott Lunger is killed during a traffic stop. The tough week continues when it is revealed Hayward Fire Chief Garrett Contreras was suspended earlier in the year for drinking on the job. He will keep his job.

Silicon Valley's new power couple?
>>>Ro Khanna gets married in Ohio; leaving Rep. Mike Honda as the only bachelor in the South Bay congressional race. According to the New York Times, Khanna's lavish wedding is held at the home of the Cleveland Symphony.

>>>Fallout from San Francisco's "Shrimp Boy" case includes an allegation Alameda County prosecutor Sharmin Bock conspired with then-State Sen. Leland Yee to circumvent campaign finance laws. Bock will take a leave of absence.

>>>Earlier in the year, the Richmond City Council passes a rent control ordinance, but months later a landlord's group seek a petition to override it. They succeed to the consternation of progressives and the issue is likely headed to the ballot in 2016.

>>>Uber announces it will move into the vacant Sears building on Broadway in Oakland. The ride-hailing company's move to downtown brings local and national attention to Oakland and its renaissance. Uber's "head of people of places," however, has great difficulty pronouncing the names of Oakland officials.

>>>The Oakland Public Ethics Commission fines Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney $1,600 for failing to report her campaign finances for six months. During the time period she had received more than $16,000 in contributions.

>>>The Office of Congressional Ethics says Rep. Mike Honda likely violated House rules prohibiting the intermingling of campaign and congressional staffers. The House Ethics Committee will continue the investigation through the end of the year.

>>>After many fits and starts, San Leandro picks Harborside of Oakland to be its first medical cannabis dispensary. Later in the year, the San Leandro City Council will set the stage for a second dispensary sometime in 2016, along with a potential ballot measure to tax sales.

Like Hayward's fire chief, Superintendent
Stan Dobbs faced no accountability
for his actions.
>>>Stan "Data" Dobbs, Hayward's superintendent of schools, is accused of attacking two school board members during a closed session meeting. Both officials file police reports and the basic facts of the attack are corroborated, but the school board does not officially reprimanded him. 

>>>The Oakland City Council votes to pay $15,000 to the motorist who collided with former mayor Jean Quan during a traffic accident last year.

>>>Fish Stark, East Bay Congressman Pete Stark's college-age son, runs for the New Haven (Conn.) Board of Alders and loses. But, the future is still bright. 

Best Quotes of 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015


>>>With the years-long drought worsening, several East Bay municipalities begin drawing up water conservation plans. Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday jokingly proposes a "skip-a-shower day."

State Sen. Bob Wieckowski tends to one of the plants
to be used in the $6 million Oro Loma study.
>>>Global warming and sea-level rise is also a continuing concern and the Oro Loma Sanitary District unveils a plan for the San Francisco Bay with a study to use native vegetation to rebuild the shoreline.

>>>Oakland's affordable housing advocates fiercely oppose the sale of publicly-owned land to a developer for a proposed exclusively market-rate 24-story luxury complex near Lake Merritt, known as the 12th Street remainder parcel. The $5.1 million price tag is also questioned as too low. 

>>>In an almost unprecedented move, the California Democratic Party not only endorses Susan Bonilla over Steve Glazer--both are Democrats--but vows to open their wallets to support her campaign.

>>>An independent investigation finds Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker "haphazardly" prepared arbitration cases against disciplined Oakland police officers.

>>>With a new Oakland city Department on Race and Equity up for consideration during the June budget process, Mayor Libby Schaaf proposes her own new bureaucracy, a Department of Transportation. The $2.4 billion two-year budget unveiled by Schaaf also asks to hire 40 new cops next year. 

The Oakland City Council is taken over by
protesters and becomes "The People's Council."
>>>Activists force the early adjournment of a Oakland City Council meeting after protesters shutdown the proceeding which was to include deliberations over the 12th Street remainder parcel sale. The protest leads the council to briefly, and possibly illegally, curb public access to council meetings.

>>>The number of people wearing diapers in the Lockyer household will increase. Bill Lockyer, 74, says former Alameda County Superivsor Nadia Lockyer is pregnant with twins.

>>>Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf enforces existing laws confining nighttime protests to sidewalks. At least that's her argument, but the edict is likely unconstitutional and is its enforcement is relaxed.

>>>Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley tells a Southern California radio station, "I hope that we can keep the Raiders, but I'm not real confident." He also reiterates his idea to remodel the existing Coliseum.

Ro Khanna announces his second run to unseat
Rep. Mike Honda in CA17.
>>>In April, Ro Khanna reports impressive fundraising totals, more than suggesting he will challenge Rep. Mike Honda. A month later, Khanna officially announces his candidacy at a rally in Santa Clara.

>>>A poll just days before the Seventh State Senate District special election shows Steve Glazer leading Susan Bonilla by 10 points. The survey is very accurate. Glazer beats Bonilla on Election Day by nearly the same spread.

>>>Termed-out in 2016, State Sen. Loni Hancock announces her endorsement of Sandre Swanson to replace her in the Ninth State Senate District. The endorsement is three years in the making after she promised to back him in if did not challenge her re-election in 2012. Assemblymember Rob Bonta will endorse Swanson a week later.

>>>The Golden State Warriors become NBA champions. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf leads the victory parade with M.C. Hammer in tow. Later, Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty's speech goes too long and he's jeered by fans more interested in Riley Curry. 
Slowly, but surely, Alameda County's budget
deficit stabilizing.
>>>The local economy seems to revving once again, but Alameda County's budget deficit  remains the same as the previous fiscal year. At $65 million, the budget deficit, however, is still far more manageable than the excruciating cuts made during the Great Recession.

>>>A court decision that could have resulted in the dissolution of the publicly-elected Eden Township Healthcare District finds it will not have to pay in a lump-sum $19.7 million to settle its case with Sutter Health over legal fees in the fight to keep San Leandro Hospital open. Instead, the judge orders them to pay the fees spread over 10 years.

>>>Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer uncorks a real headscratcher when she tells a sister city delegation from the Philippines that many similarities exist between her family's culture and that of Filipinos, such as, lots of hugging and eating of white rice.

>>>Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks' Department of Race and Equity is born after the City Council allocates funding for it in the next fiscal year budget.

>>>An Alameda County Grand Jury report comes down strongly against the City of Fremont for an email retention policy that subverts state transparency laws. Government emails were allowed to be automatically deleted after just 30 days. Later in the year, the city will propose a new policy.

Read January-March
Best Quotes of 2015 

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf speaks at her
Jan. 5 inauguration ceremony. PHOTO/EBAR
>>>The new legislative year begins with rounds of swearing-in ceremonies and appointments. Libby Schaaf, fresh off her dominating mayoral win last November in Oakland, is sworn-in. Gov. Jerry Brown, the person many attribute for clinching Schaaf's victory, also takes the oath of office for another four years. Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney becomes the next Oakland City Council president.

>>>Right out the gate, Alameda’s new mayor, Trish Spencer, attempts to make due on her campaign’s slow-growth pledge by seeking to repeal the Del Monte Warehouse project, a planned 380-unit housing and commercial waterfront development approved a month prior by the previous administration. Spencer votes against her own repeal of the project which is unanimously defeated.

>>>Hayward's school system has seen better days, but for one day in January two former students shine a positive light on its schools with a New York Times opinion piece by Tom Hanks praising his time at Chabot College, while Hayward High School grad Jack Del Rio is named head coach of the Oakland Raiders.

>>>Two-term Rep. Eric Swalwell floats interest in replacing U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who announced she will retire in 2016. He kindly relents and endorses State Attorney General Kamala Harris.

>>>Just hours from the Friday deadline, Steve Glazer joins the special election in the Seventh State Senate District. The trio of Democrats, including Susan Bonilla, Joan Buchanan and Glazer, hope to serve the remaining two years of Mark DeSaulnier's state senate term.

>>>A special weekend session of the Oakland City Council on race relations and the police attracts nearly every local public official of note. During the meeting, Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent acknowledges the strained relationship, but says the department of old is vastly different than even four years ago. However, former Black Panther president Elaine Brown calls Alameda County District Nancy O'Malley "a racist."

The Lenco Bearcat MedEvac is purchased using
federal Homeland Security funding.
>>>San Leandro becomes the latest local jurisdiction to approve the purchase of an armored police vehicle, which police say they will use in rescue and medical emergencies and not to quell protests.

>>>After the Oro Loma Sanitary District threatens to ask the state Attorney General's office for guidance to remove board member Laython Landis for using the n-word during a meeting and other unspecified allegations, he decides to retire after 42 years on the board. In November, Landis passes away. He was 89.

>>>Oakland Councilmember Noel Gallo urges Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney to address controversies over ethical and legal issues involving an alleged scheme to flip houses in Oakland to fund her personal non-profit in Richmond. Gallo intitially attempted to begin censure proceedings, and McElhaney never addressed the accusations.

>>>Rep. Mike Honda receives national praise for a tweet showing support for his transgender granddaughter.

>>>Alameda's John Russo announces he's leaving the city manager's post for the same position in Riverside, Calif. The very next day, Oakland announces the hiring of Sabrina Landreth as its next city manager. She previously held the same position in Emeryville.

>>>The Oakland Raiders shock the city and county by announcing a joint stadium project in Carson, Calif. that includes the San Diego Chargers. Meanwhile, the sprawling Coliseum City proposal is still languishing, but not yet dead. Raiders owner Mark Davis says Oakland is still his first choice.

Rep. Mike Honda caught on video sleeping

on the House floor.
>>>Rep. Mike Honda inexplicably falls asleep on the House floor. The snoozefest is caught on video by C-SPAN and roundly mocked.

>>>Former East Bay legislator Ellen Corbett moved from her termed out seat last year for a high-paying job with the Hayward Unified School District, but she only stays there a few months before being named to the state Unemployment Appeals Board, which amounts to a cut in pay.

Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan after
protesters shutdown a meeting in March.
>>>Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson proposes shifting millions in state prison realignment funding away from jails to community groups who help former inmates assimilate back into society. Some supporters, though, are confused and takeover the meeting forcing a recess.

>>>As many Democrats in Washington vow to skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress because of his opposition to nuclear talks between the U.S. and Iran, Rep. Eric Swalwell and Rep. Mike Honda attend the speech; Rep. Barbara Lee does not.

>>>Alameda County agrees to join Oakland in the new exclusive negotiating agreement with Floyd Kephart's Coliseum City project, but warns against using public money to finance the deal. The ENA is approved in late March.

>>>After millions are spent just in the primary of the Seventh State Senate District race, Steve Glazer easily tops Susan Bonilla and Joan Buchanan. Glazer and Bonilla will meet in the May special election.

>>>A day before AC Transit general manager David Armijo's job performance was to be reviewed by the transit board, he abruptly resigns.

>>>Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley comes out in support of anti-vaxxers who oppose Senate Bill 277, the bill requiring mandatory vaccinations for schoolchildren.

FRIDAY: Year in Review: April-June