Monday, April 24, 2017

Pamela Price, one-time attorney for woman at center of Oakalnd police scandal, eyes run for Alameda County DA

Civil rights attorney Pamela Price ran in the 2014
15th Assembly District primary, finishing third.
Oakland civil rights attorney Pamela Price has filed an intent to challenge Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley in next year's June primary.

Price, who at one time, represented Jasmine Abuslin, the woman at the center of the Oakland police scandal, filed a statement of intent with the Alameda County Registrar's office last month.

Hayward Task Force strongly recommends Council declare sanctuary city status

Some members of the Hayward Community Task
Force discuss sanctuary cities at its meeting on
Wednesday night.
A Hayward community task force on Wednesday voiced near unanimity for recommending to the Hayward City Council that it formally declare itself a sanctuary city.

The task force was formed by the City Council in January not to study the sanctuary city issue, but to update its decades-old Anti-Discrimination Action Plan. But in tandem with sanctuary cities continuing to be national boilerplate and Hayward's place as one of the few East Bay cities yet to take a position on the issue, city staff recently asked the task force to weigh-in.

Friday, April 21, 2017

EBC AGENDA -- April 21-27 -- HAYWARD to approve 476-unit housing project - New ALAMEDA COUNTY treasurer? -- OAKLAND public bank -- Congressional TOWN HALLS

When Alameda County Treasurer-Tax Collector Donald White decided to hang 'em up last year, the news seemed plausible. White had served the county for three decades, so retirement was obvious. However, his decision to retire during the middle of his four-year term is a standard Alameda County trick and always stifles the chances of an outsider breaking the entrenched nature of business at Oak Street.

Certified Public Accountant Henry Levy appears to be the front runner to win Tuesday's appointment. The act almost certainly assures that Levy will win election to the seat when White's term ends in June 2018. The Board of Supervisors has anointed others in the same fashion. Former Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff retired during the middle of his term and appointed DA Nancy O'Malley who won the seat later has never faced a contested election.

Same for Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern who was tabbed by his mentor Charlie Plummer. And when long-time Alameda County Auditor-Controller Patrick O'Connell retired mid-term two years ago, his assistant Steve Manning was set up for success on Election Day.

--Meanwhile, it's an uncommonly busy end of the month all over the East Bay political scene. Here's your highlights:

➤Hayward is set to approve a massive 476-unit residential downtown housing project

➤The aforementioned appointment for Alameda County treasurer-tax collector come Tuesday morning.

➤Oakland has $2.46 billion in unfunded liabilities

➤Reps. Eric Swalwell and Ro Khanna appear at town halls in Dublin and Newark, respectively

➤Alameda's usual suspects seeks two healthcare district board seats

HAYWARD -- Council meeting, Tuesday, April 25, 7 p.m. -- [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--LINCOLN LANDING APPROVAL-- "The Lincoln Landing Project is Comprised of 80,500 Square Feet of Ground Floor Retail Uses, 476 Multi-Family Rental Units and Related Site Improvements on an 11.5-Acre Site Located at 22301 Foothill Boulevard and 1155 Hazel Avenue."

--Staff recommends denying the appeal of the Hayward Planning Commission's approval of the project on Feb. 23. Appellants claims the "Environmental Impact Report (EIR) did not adequately identify regional traffic impacts or analyze impacts related to urban decay; and that the Final EIR did not adequately respond to comments received on the Draft EIR."

--PUBLIC SURVEILLANCE CAMS-- "After a successful and extensive pilot project with the Hayward Police Department, staff recommends the purchase of 16 public safety camera systems from V5 systems...The Hayward Police Department began research into the requirements to outfit cameras in the area of Downtown Hayward to explore and evaluate a new solution to combat crime in this targeted area." Cost: 10 existing cameras and additional purchase of 6 camera systems plus video data storage, setup, and maintenance for a total five-year project cost of $215,371."

--CLOSED SESSION-- Annual evaluation for City Manager Kelly McAdoo.

ALAMEDA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORSRegular meeting, Tuesday, April 25, 10:45 a.m. -- [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--BOARD DELIBERATIONS-- Alameda County supervisor spent two and a half hours last week interview four candidates for county treasurer-tax collector, an elected position. The office came open after long-time Treasurer-Tax Collector Donald White announced his retirement last year. The four candidates are Dr. Candi Clark, former Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison, assistant treasurer Gregory Lawson, and Henry Levy. Harrison and Levy are believed to be the frontrunners. The office is up for election in June 2018.

--BUDGET WORKSHOP-- Thursday, April 27, 12 p.m., Alameda County Training and Education Cetner, 125 12th Street, 4th Floor, Oakland. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]

OAKLAND -- City Council committee meetingsTuesday, April 25, start at 9:30 a.m. --

Finance & Management Committee, 9:30 a.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE] --
--OAKLAND PUBLIC BANK--"In response to the City Council's referral regarding cost estimates to commission a study analyzing the feasibility and economic impact of establishing a public bank, and providing funding options for a feasibility study, this report requests that the City Council consider to appropriate $100,000 from the Fiscal Year 2016-17 General Purpose Fund (GPF) Balance reserves for a contract to complete a feasibility study on public banking in Oakland..."

--"Two firms submitted responses to the RFQ issued by the City—Global Investment Company and PFM Financial Advisors, LLC. In March, staff held interviews with each of the firms...In the event the City Council wishes to go forward on the feasibility study, as a result of the competitive process, staff would advise to contract with [Oakland-based] Global Investment Company to complete a feasibility study on Public Banking in Oakland based on their skills and their team's knowledge of public banking."

--YIKES!-- Oakland's unfunded liabilities total is $2.46 billion.

Public Works Committee, 11:30 a.m. -- [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE] --
--ILLEGAL DUMPING-- "Illegal dumping service requests received through the Public Works Call Center have increased 100% in the past five years. Crews have gone from collecting 14,083 piles of illegally dumped material in FY 2010-11 to collecting 29,370 piles of illegally dumped material in FY 2015-16..."

"Oakland Public Works (OPW) spends approximately $5.5 million on eradication of illegal dumping annually. Crews remove the illegally dumped materials seven days a week and address 85% of the requests within three business days. Yet even with this herculean effort in
picking up material faster than weekly garbage service, the challenge of the illegal behavior persists."

Community & Economic Development Committee, 1:30 p.m. -- [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE] -- Informational Report On A Proactive Rental Inspection Pilot. Life Enrichment Committee, 4 p.m. -- [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE] -- Status Update On Progress Of Implementation Of Measure To Aid Homeless Individuals Residing In Oakland. Public Safety Committee -- CANCELLEDRules Committee, Thursday, April 26, 10:45 a.m.

SAN LEANDRO -- Council work session, Monday, April 24, 7 p.m. -- [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--POT POLICIES-- with three permits for medical cannabis dispensaries in San Leandro and voter-approved mandate for a cannabis business tax, the City Council begins a policy discussion related to adult recreational use, legalized by Proposition 64 last November and "potential code amendments related to lab testing and manufacturing."

Joint council work session with San Leandro and San Lorenzo school boards, Tuesday, April 25, 7 p.m.
--SAFE HAVENS/SANCTUARY CITIES-- San Leandro became a sanctuary city earlier this year. Its school district declared "safe haven" status around the same time as did San Lorenzo. Tuesday's work session will examine the each jurisdiction's roles and relation to law enforcement; and steps going forward.


GATHERINGS -- "How Safe Are Our Election? -- Friday, April 21, 7 p.m. -- Special presentation by Dr. Rebecca Mercuri on election security re-engineering, hosted by Hayward Area Democratic Club and South Alameda County Young Democrats, Pancho Villa Event Center, 1026 B Street, Hayward.

--Rep. Eric Swalwell town hall in Dublin -- Saturday, April 22, 4 p.m., Dublin High School Student Union, 8151 Village Parkway, Dublin.

--Rep. Ro Khanna town hall in Newark-- Sunday, April 23, 1 p.m., Newark Memorial High School Student Events Center, 39375 Cedar Boulevard.

--Fremont's Elections Are About To Change -- Wednesday, April 26, 6:30 p.m. -- Fremont Chamber of Commerce is holding an event on Fremont's coming switch to district-based elections with a panel including, Fremont City Councilmember Raj Salwan; Gautam Dutta, election law attorney; Pedro Hernandez, Deputy Director, FairVote California; Preston Jordan, Californians for Electoral Reform; Fremont City Hall chambers, 3300 Capitol Avenue, Fremont.

AC TRANSIT -- Regular board meeting, Wednesday, April 26, 5 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--SERVICE TO TREASURE ISLAND-- "Presentation on the Treasure Island development, and authorize the General Manager to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Treasure Island Transportation Management Agency to provide bus transit service between Oakland and Treasure Island."

--WELLS FARGO DIVESTMENT-- Like other East Bay jurisdictions, AC Transit has studied divestment from Wells Fargo because of its corporate malfeasance and investment in environmentally unfriendly projects, such as the Dakota Access Pipeline. Through November 2016, the transit agencies investments with Wells Fargo is $75 million, including a $40 million treasury note.

BART -- Regular board meeting, Thursday, April 27, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]

EAST BAY MUD -- Regular board meeting, Tuesday, April 25, 1:15 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]

ALAMEDA HEALTHCARE DISTRICT -- Special meeting, Monday, April 24, 5:30 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--BOARD APPOINTMENTS-- Two available appointments on the Alameda Healthcare District Board of Directors. Four will be interviewed Monday. They include former board member Stewart Chen; former Alameda school trustee Mike McMahon; Robert Sullwold; and Geoffrey Sylvester. Three other candidates will be interviewed May 3.

WATCH Hayward's city manager alert mayor to clear room of children before teacher urges city to protect kids from Trump


Hayward has a history slyly tamping down public dissent. Former Hayward City Manager Fran David once sent a letter to a resident who frequently questioned the city's use of no-bid contracts during the public comment portion of Hayward City Council meetings. David accused him of impugning her character with his statements. Councilmember Al Mendall and others routinely sought to embarrass the same resident in public.

Alameda County's budget deficit is two numbers and neither are particularly rosy

Alameda County's budget shortfall is either $68 million, a figure slightly lower than last year's $72 million deficit, or a significantly more worrisome $108 million, the county administration announced Wednesday.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hayward mayor's message to kids: City can't protect you from Trump deporting your parents

Hayward teacher Irazema Guerrero reads letters
from her students to President Trump during
Tuesday's Hayward City Council meeting.
On Tuesday night, a third grade teacher told the Hayward City Council that her students recently sent letters to President Trump expressing fear they might lose their parents to deportation. But later, Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday had an odd message for the worried students and those urging for Hayward to become a sanctuary city. The city can't keep you safe.

"Who will take care of us if our parents are taken away?" wrote one student, according to Hayward elementary school teacher Irazema Guerrero. Another worried about being sent to foster care in the event their parents are detained by immigration authorities.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

With a backlog of uninspected buildings, Alameda reinstates dormant Fire Prevention Bureau

Against the backdrop of two tragic and potentially avoidable building fires in Oakland, the Alameda City Council approved funding to reinstate a Fire Prevention Bureau that was gutted seven years ago due to budget constraints due to the Great Recession.

The council voted, 4-1, to allocate funding for the hiring of three firefighters at an annual cost of $800,000, in addition, to $188,000 in start-up costs.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bonta's landmark bail reform bill passes Assembly committee

Assemblymember Rob Bonta addressing the
Assembly Public Safety Committee Tuesday.
Legislation that would greatly reform the state's money bail system passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee Tuesday. The bill, authored by East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta, would limit those arrested from posting bail as a condition of their release. Assembly Bill 42 also seeks to shift determination of an offender's risk to the public to pre-trial services.

"It's a win, win, win," Bonta told the committee. "It provides more fairness and justice to individuals who will no longer be discriminated against simply for being poor." The bill also aims to reduce exorbitant costs for jailing offenders who could otherwise be released while awaiting legal proceedings, said Bonta.

Alameda County supes await labor union's choice before appointing next treasurer-tax collector

Alameda County supervisors will wait another week before appointing a new treasurer-tax collector while the powerful Service Employees International Union Local 1021 decides which of the four candidates to endorse.

The four candidates are former Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison, accountant Henry Levy, Castro Valley Unified School District assistant superintendent Dr. Candi Clark, and current assistant county treasurer Gregory Lawson. Another applicant, Thomas Wierzba, did not participate in the interview session and was excluded from consideration. The appointee will serve the remainder of Treasurer-Tax Collector Donald White, who announced his retirement last year, and if they choose, run for the office in June 2018.

After the county supervisors spent nearly two and a half hours interviewing the four candidates, they declined to begin deliberations, which would have likely led to an appointment being made Tuesday morning.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Alameda Point's 800-unit residential, mixed-use project faces financial setback

A 2015 rendering of Alameda Point's "Site A"
featuring Seaplane Lagoon.
The develpers of the Alameda Point parcel known as “Site A” failed to complete a financing plan for the project before a deadline last week, due to growing construction costs.

Alameda officials and the project’s developer, Alameda Point Partners, downplayed the setback, which also precluded the property being conveyed from the city to the developer.

Alameda City Manager Jill Keimach said the city is “disappointed to experience a delay in this highly anticipated project” but pledged to work closely with Alameda Point Partners.

State cuts to in-home care services could blow a hole in Alameda County's next budget

Alameda County's likely fiscal year budget shortfall will be additionally impacted by the state's decision to begin asking municipalities to shoulder more of the costs for in-home health services.

Last week, Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi told the Board of Supervisors its early budget estimate to be released on Wednesday will reflect $40 million in lost funding for in-home care providers.

The additional burden on the county safety net will add to a certain funding gap for Fiscal Year 2017-18. Last year, Alameda County balanced a $72.2 million shortfall with one-time-only funds and cuts.

But the ending of the In-Home Supportive Services Maintenance of Effort will certainly further negatively influence this year's budget projections.

Last week, the county administration was seeking an emergency meeting with the governor's office over the cuts to IHSS. It would be the third such meeting over the past three weeks with either the governor or the state Department of Finance, said Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf will seek second term

Four more years? Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.
After two high-profile scandals involving public safety, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced Monday that she is running for a second term. And it appears she plans on running a campaign not on her own record as mayor, but against the target of all Oakland progressives, President Trump.

Schaaf announced her bid re-election Monday with a new campaign website. Notably, it does not feature the mayor's visage, but the text-based site, primarily a vessel for donations at this point, quickly mentions Trump.

Friday, April 14, 2017

EBC AGENDA -- April 14-20 - ALAMEDA COUNTY budget shortfall - ALAMEDA hopes to avoid another GHOST SHIP - BONTA buzz

Spring Break and Easter in the rearview window, East Bay government begins to heat up again and many of the pressing questions that will begin to be asked revolve around the upcoming budget season.

Here's your highlights for the coming week:
➤Alameda County supervisors continue their slate of budget hearings next week and learn the damage done by another year of large deficits.

➤Alameda's powerful firefighters' union vs. island stalwart fiscal conservatives.

➤West Oakland rezoning and San Leandro is interested in parklets

➤Bevy of Bonta's bill on cannabis come to legislative committees.

Fight for next leader of California Democratic Party visits Alameda

Richmond's Kimberley Ellis and Los Angeles 
County Democratic Par ty Chair Eric Bauman
at a debate in Alameda for state party chairship.
With more than a month before California Democrats choose the next leader of their state party next month, debating and jostling between candidates is becoming repetitive. This isn't unexpected as Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair Eric Bauman and Richmond's Kimberly Ellis criss-cross the state looking to gather the support of party convention delegates, while participating in a bevy of local debates across the state.

During a debate Wednesday in Alameda both candidates appeared exasperated with each others well-worn applause lines and political attacks. From the start, when Ellis delivered her opening statement, Bauman, rolled his eyes and pursed his lips in response to her reasons for running for party chair that included her contention that the state Democratic Party's registration is flat while "No Party Preference" voters rise. When asked about the national party's poor electoral performance, Ellis said, "We've been losing for a long time." Ellis, herself, often displayed incredulous facial expressions in response to Bauman's contention the state party is strong and without many of problems and fault lines afflicting the national party.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hayward Police say no video exists of 16-year-old shot by Fremont officers

Hayward Acting Police Chief Mark Koller said Tuesday that no video was captured of the March 16 killing of a pregnant 16-year-old in Hayward by undercover Fremont police officers.

The family of 16-year-old Elena Mondragon, who was killed near Cal State East Bay, addressed the Hayward City Council Tuesday night during public comment, asking for questions about the Hayward Police Department’s investigation into the shooting and whether it was aware that the Fremont Police were in the city beforehand.

Koller said video either from dash or body-worn cameras was not captured, although one Fremont officer reportedly attempted to turn-on their body-worn camera, but it did not function correctly. Surveillance cameras around the vicinity of the shooting were also not present, said Koller. The only footage came from a passing A.C. Transit bus, but that video only showed the suspects fleeing their vehicle, not the shooting.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Oakland councilmembers propose to reduce violent crime with new city department

Oakland's consistently high levels of violent crime need a noticeable jolt of improvement, said Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney Tuesday after proposing the creation of a new city Department of Violence Prevention.

Oakland Council President Larry Reid is also a sponsor of the ordinance that began its path through the city government Tuesday at the Oakland City Council Life Enrichment Committee.

“We’ve got eight years left on Measure Z and we have got to do something dramatic because it wasn’t an easy lift,” said McElhaney. Measure Z is a public safety parcel tax approved by Oakland voters in 2014.

Clear signs that the proposed department is making a difference in reducing crime will breed more positive attention and greater funding, said McElhaney. “I believe voters are faithful to us when we demonstrate a return on that investment.”

Eden Health District escapes Chan's bid for dissolution

Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan has
threatened dissolution of the health district 
for differing reasons since 2012. 
There is not a need for the embattled Eden Health District to be dismantled and its assets distributed to various health care agencies, said the local government body tasked with drawing and maintaining the boundaries of local jurisdictions in Alameda County.

“Based on the final study, I don’t think the district warrants dissolution,” said Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, who also serves on the Alameda Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo).

Monday, April 10, 2017

McElhaney, Reid propose Oakland city department to curb violence

Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson
McElhaney and Larry Reid, below, want to
create a city department to stop homicides.
While gun violence continues to be a perennial problem in Oakland, two councilmembers believe one solution is to create a city department dedicated to violence prevention and services for those affected by violent crime.

Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney and Council President Larry Reid will offer legislation at Tuesday's Life Enrichment Committee meeting to create a Department of Violence Prevention. "The mission of the [Department of Violence Prevention] is to work to dramatically reduce violent crime and to serve communities impacted by violence to end cycles of trauma." says the resolution.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

‘Just Cause’ eviction protections back on the table in Alameda

Various tenants' groups rally for changes to
Alameda's rent ordinance at City Hall
last Tuesday.
Just over 48 hours since failing to gain a majority vote in favor of prohibiting Alameda landlords from evicting tenants without cause, a consensus on the Alameda City Council formed Friday evening that directs city staff to form the framework of a plan to include "just cause" eviction protections in the city’s rent stabilization ordinance.

Friday’s hearing was a continuation of Tuesday’s scheduled council meeting that adjourned shortly before 1 a.m.

Friday, April 7, 2017

EBC AGENDA - April 7-13 -- Budget season begins - URBAN SHIELD concerns - OAKLAND non-profits - EDEN dissolution?

When Richmond Assemblymember Tony Thurmond officially (finally!) threw his hat into the ring for state superintendent of instruction this week, he basically informally set in motion the 2018 election cycle in the East Bay. Thurmond's announcement was no surprise. He had basically been telling people he was going to run for Tom Torlakson's termed out seat even before the New Year. With this in mind, though, some East Bay politicos began wondering when Thurmond would make his candidacy official as the weeks went by after 2014 runner-up for state superintendent Marshall Tuck's announced another run three weeks ago and subsequently made headlines by receiving a quick $200,000 in campaign contributions. But who cares about the state superintendent race!? Instead, who is going to try and replace Thurmond in the 15th Assembly District that covers primarily Richmond, Berkeley, and North Oakland?

Former Fremont mayor is a candidate to be Alameda County's next treasurer-tax collector

Former Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison is one of
five seeking to replace retiring long-time 
County Treasurer Donald White.
As Alameda County treasurer-tax collector Donald White is the name property owners loathed to write at tax time. But after White announced his retirement last year, his position became open for applicants across the East Bay.

The treasurer-tax collector appointee will only serve the remainder of White's term and be required to run for office in June 2018.

The county released a list of five potential finalists for the position late Thursday that includes former Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison. Aside from his service in public office, Harrison is a certified public accountant and owns a Fremont accounting firm. He was narrowly denied re-election in Fremont last November.

Urban Shield opponents want Alameda County to pull funding

The Trump administration's expanding definition of terrorism, including a focus on undocumented residents, is renewing opposition to the annual law enforcement training exercises and weapons exposition in Pleasanton, known as Urban Shield.

A grassroots organization will address the Alameda County Board of Supervisor's Urban Shield Task Force Friday morning in Oakland. Alameda County Supervisors are scheduled to discuss allocating $5.7 million in federal funding for Urban Shield at its April 11 meeting.

Stop Urban Shield is scheduled to make a presentation. The Alameda County Sheriff's Department, which oversees the training exercises, will also address the task force.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Citing constituency, Steve Glazer is only Senate Dem to vote against transportation tax

East Bay State Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) broke from his Senate Democratic Caucus Thursday after casting a no vote against Gov. Jerry Brown's $52 billion transportation bill.

Senate Bill 1, backed by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and Brown, would raise taxes on gasoline and vehicle registration fees to fund $52 billion in transportation improvements over 10 years.

[VIDEO] You've Got Blackmail: Alameda councilman calls out tenant advocate for sending him terse email during meeting


Any parent or police officer will tell you nothing good ever happens after midnight. In Alameda, council meetings like last Tuesday's, which bled into the early morning hours, went seriously haywire. In this case, when Councilmember Jim Oddie, who had moments earlier failed to deliver a third vote to eliminate no cause evictions from island landlord's tool bag, called out a member of the Alameda Renters Coalition sitting in the audience who had just sent him a nasty email over his decision.

"COWARD," said the email read by Oddie during the meeting. "You had better move all the way right because you just lost the tenant vote. Alameda Renters Coalition just became you adversary in 2018. I hope the [California Apartment Association] compensates you." Oddie identified the sender as Eric Strimling, one the Alameda Renters Coalition's more prominent members. Strimling could be seen in the above video sitting in the front row with his laptop.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

No cause evictions nearly banned by Alameda City Council

Alameda renters groups at a rally before Tuesday
night's City Council meeting.
Alameda’s new progressive city council majority fell a vote short early Wednesday morning of banning evictions without cause, an issue hotly-debated by island voters during last fall’s election.

Tuesday night’s agenda featured the first annual review of Alameda’s rent stabilization ordinance passed by the city council in March 2016. After a long discussion and subsequent direction by the council to city staff to make tweaks to the ordinance, including adding regulations for fixed-rate leases, it was a late mention by Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft in support of just cause evictions that set off emotions.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Tony Thurmond announces run for state superintendent

15th District Assemblymember Tony Thurmond
is running for state superintendent in 2018.
East Bay Assemblymember Tony Thurmond wants to be California’s top educator. The two-term Richmond state legislator announced Monday that he is running for state superintendent of public instruction.

In a statement declaring his candidacy, Thurmond vowed to renew the state’s focus on education, innovate its public schools and provide a bulwark against President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of Education Betty DeVos, a staunch supporter of charter schools.

“There was a time when California schools were the nation’s best,” said Thurmond. “Now, by most accounts, California ranks forty-first in the nation in per-pupil spending. It’s time to make our public education system among the greatest in the nation. I won’t stop until we get there.”

A shortage of quality teachers exists in public schools, he added, along with expanding class sizes. “A good plan will strike a balance between bonuses and other incentives that will allow us to attract and retain great teachers,” said Thurmond.

Thurmond’s platform includes a focus on technology, science and engineering, including coupling internships with tech companies, he said.

During an election cycle assured to be a referendum from many angles on President Trump, Thurmond said, “fighting for education starts with opposing the efforts by President Trump and Betsy DeVos to defund our public schools. I will fight the Trump Agenda to gut our public schools at every step. California needs to be ready to face this crisis head on.”

Monday’s announcement was not a surprise. Thurmond’s candidacy had been rumored for months and was first reported last month in the East Bay Citizen.

Charter schools advocate Marshall Tuck joined the state superintendent’s race in March and he quickly raised more than $200,000 in campaign contributions. In 2016, Tuck lost to incumbent Supt. Tom Torlakson, in what was the most expensive race in the entire state. Former San Diego State Sen. Marty Block is also contemplating a run.

Thurmond’s candidacy, though, comes with one big risk. In order to run in next year’s statewide race, Thurmond is giving up his seat in the Richmond, Berkeley and Oakland assembly district.

Among the early list of potential candidates is Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb, who opened an exploratory committee for the 15th District on Mar. 9. Candidates from the Richmond and Berkeley City Councils are also expected to join what will likely be a wide-open race.

Friday, March 31, 2017

EBC AGENDA -- Mar 31-Apr 6 -- Rent rehash in ALAMEDA -- BILL QUIRK takes on balloons -- FREMONT begins council reforms

Saturday is April Fool's Day. Sadly this first item isn't a prank. The city of Hayward is celebrating the life of labor leader Cesar Chavez at City Hall on Saturday morning. Aside from Chavez's inspiring accomplishments within the labor movement, the event should have additional importance in Hayward, which has the East Bay's largest concentration of Latinos.

Here's why the ghost of Cesar Chavez might be restless since the Hayward City Council, save one member who was not on the council at the time, voted to impose wage cuts on nearly 300 of its city workers three years ago. The decision, hotly-contested by SEIU Local 1021, was later deemed illegal by the state. Nevertheless, expect many councilmembers to be in attendance Saturday to laud Chavez. In addition, it's almost a certainty Chavez would not take kindly to Hayward's embarrassing foot-dragging recently when it comes to declaring sanctuary city status.

--Back to City Halls across the East Bay -- Here's the highlights:

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Recent FCC ruling may undermine San Leandro's WiFi network

San Leandro's public WiFi network, part of
Lit San Leandro, could be affected by the
FCC's ruling in February.
San Leandro’s downtown fiber-optics loop, known as Lit San Leandro, is often viewed as the catalyst for the city’s transformation from factory town to burgeoning tech manufacturing hub. It’s no wonder city officials are concerned over a ruling issued by the Federal Communications Commission in late February that could potentially undermine the performance of the public Wi-Fi portion of the network in favor of major telecoms and their customers.

FFC commissioners voted Feb. 22 to authorize cell phone carriers to begin use of the unlicensed five gigahertz band for new devices known as LTE-U. San Leandro’s public Wi-Fi network operates on the same unlicensed band, although running parallel. Telecoms have pushed for this ability in order to ease periodic burdens on its own licensed networks due to Internet use by its customers. But there is significant disagreement whether or not unlicensed Wi-Fi networks will be affected by the new ruling.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

After defeat of Trumpcare, Lee tells town hall to 'stay woke'

East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee at a town hall
Saturday at Laney College in Oakland.
Uplifted by the failure of the House Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and a bit exhausted following a red-eye from Washington, Rep. Barbara Lee told another large town hall to focus on the GOP's plan to cut taxes for the rich.

"First of all, let me say it's good to be home for a couple of minutes," Lee said to constituents at the early Saturday morning town hall at Laney College in Oakland. Lee arrived in the East Bay just after midnight and planned on returning to Washington later in the afternoon.

Monday, March 27, 2017

With Raiders departure, Oakland once again sticks it to 'The Man'

The NFL announced approval Monday for the
Raiders relocation to Las Vegas. The team is
scheduled to play in Oakland through 2018.
Raise a banner from the rafters at Oakland City Hall! By refusing to acquiesce to the threats of the Raiders and the National Football League, the city proved once again that the East Bay rests in the bluest county in the bluest state in the country. From an entirely political standpoint, it’s no surprise the East Bay would stand firm against the NFL and the type of extortion it applies in nearly every city with a franchise. In fact, Oakland has fought back against corporate greed time and again over the past few years.

This is a region represented by the intensely popular Rep. Barbara Lee, likely the most rock-solid progressive in all of Congress. Oakland is a city that through a small band of activists almost single-handedly turned back the rapidly-creeping surveillance state attempting to put eyes and ears at the Port of Oakland, various points on public streets and even schools. This is where Occupy flourished on the west coast, in addition, to other protest movements, such as Black Lives Matter. Oakland is where city council meetings are forcibly shut down by housing activists.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Schaaf delivers emotional call for Raiders to stay in Oakland

Oakland Raiders fan displays his displeasure
with the team's intention of moving to Vegas.
With the clock admittedly winding down, Mayor Libby Schaaf launched a passionate, sometimes defiant effort Saturday to keep the Raiders in Oakland. NFL Owners could possibly vote on allowing the team to relocate to Las Vegas as early as Monday.

Oakland’s seemingly last-ditch effort includes a pledge from the Ronnie Lott-backed investment group offering a similar loan reportedly backed by Bank of America to build a retractable-dome stadium in Las Vegas. NFL executives reportedly are balking at the existence of the Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum, along with a persistent gripe against the city’s inclusion of a third-party developer.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Rob Bonta on private prisons: ‘They have a duty to shareholders, not to California’

East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta wants California to cease doing business with for-profit private prisons. Bonta introduced legislation Thursday that would prevent the renewal of state contracts with private prison operators by 2018.

EBC AGENDA -- Mar. 24-30 -- Hail Mary for RAIDERS? -- SAN LEANDRO'S State of the City -- ALCO PUBLIC DEFENDER gets $$ for immigrants legal services

A quiet week in East Bay government is on the horizon, although, not surprising for the end of the month. Nevertheless, "resistance" to President Trump and his policies continue to erupt or constantly percolate all over the East Bay. This also could be the week when the long-running saga over the Raiders future in Oakland finally ends, but does Mayor Libby Schaaf have something up her sleeve?

NFL owners could schedule a vote allowing the Oakland Raiders to relocate to Las Vegas on Monday, according to several reports. Noted NFL insider Jason LaCanfora believes it's a done deal.

--After being a skeptic throughout this process and especially in the aftermath of owner Mark Davis’ deal with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson falling apart around the Super Bowl, there are too many people I trust telling me this has become basically a fait accompli for me to deny it any longer," wrote LaCanfora on CBSSports.com.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Oakland city attorney files amicus brief opposing Trump’s sanctuary city executive order

Oakland is joining 33 other cities nationwide in aiding Santa Clara County’s lawsuit against President Trump’s executive order that threatens sanctuary cities and counties with the loss of federal funding.

The lawsuit filed on Feb. 3 seeks an injunction against the executive order. Oakland has long declared itself a sanctuary city and reaffirmed its status last December amid rhetoric posed by then president-elect Trump against immigrants and religious groups.

San Leandro picks lower than expected tax on medical cannabis

Many government entities are expected to take their own cut in the form of taxes from the burgeoning cannabis industry, but San Leandro is choosing to give businesses and patients a small break.

The San Leandro City Council decided this week to start its cannabis business tax rate at a rate of 6 percent. The rate rises to 7 percent in July 2019 and again to 8 percent by 2021.

With 'lightning speed' Fremont moves to district elections, may expand council to seven

Fremont's potential move from at-large to district-based elections represents the most stunning change to how the city chooses its elected leaders since its founding, said Fremont City Attorney Harvey Levine. The switch is also occurring at "lightning speed," he added during testimony before the Fremont City Council on Tuesday night.

With the type of swiftness that usually arrives via the threat of a potentially-costly lawsuit, Fremont is poised to radically change how it elects members to the city council, in addition, to possibly expanding the number of seats from the current five to seven.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Struggling St. Rose Hospital gets $8 million lifeline from county

Hayward's St. Rose Hospital is still facing
a $6 million budget deficit this fiscal year.
Hayward's St. Rose Hospital is Southern Alameda County's main provider of indigent health care. This fact also means the hospital continually struggles to keep its doors open due to the number of Medi-Cal patients its sees on a daily basis, roughly 50 percent.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday sought to alleviate St. Rose Hospital's chronic financial problems by allocated $8 million in funding to the facility. The funding is expected to be parlayed into an additional $6.5 million in federal matching grants, bringing the total to over $14 million.

Hayward City Council is open to dabbling in cannabis

Hayward city leader have shied away from the
cannabis industry over the past seven years.
The Hayward City Council is now on track to allow cannabis businesses in the city at some point in the near future. During a work session Tuesday night there appeared to be unanimity in favor of Hayward dipping its toes into the burgeoning cannabis industry.

The City Council appeared amendable to allowing cannabis businesses to open shop, possibly including cultivation and manufacturing in its industrial areas, while also rezoning some areas for retail medical dispensaries in addition to recreational sales.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Oakland approves city ban on companies hoping to build Trump's wall

Oakland Councilmember Abel Guillen's
legislation rebuking the building of Trump's
wall was approved Tuesday night.
If a business specializing on a gamut of services from construction to internet services to public relations wants to help build President's Trump controversial southern border wall, they won't be able to enter into contracts with Oakland, the City Council unanimously declared Tuesday night.

Oakland becomes the second city in the East Bay and nationally to pass such a resolution viewed as a rebuke of Trump's policies against immigrants.

Nadia Lockyer posts alarmingly cryptic message on Facebook

Nadia Lockyer has made allegations against her
husband Bill Lockyer on Facebook in past.
Former Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer wrote an alarming message on Facebook Sunday that sounded to some as a suicide note while briefly alarming her friends. At minimum, Lockyer’s comments were yet another public outcry against her husband, former California State Senate Pro Tem and Attorney General Bill Lockyer, including a reference to drugs.

“My children are the reason i’ve held on this long…but bill’s controlling ways, drugs, and dishonesty publicly have killed me, everything i ever wanted to do to help others, all about my heritage and purpose in life…i’m so very tired of carrying his cross…and my children suffer becuz of it. i can’t put them through it anymore. sabrina, anja, marisa, luke, mark, erik….please take care of my babies. goodbye,” wrote Nadia Lockyer.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Threat of lawsuit is pushing Fremont toward district elections

Significant changes for how Fremont chooses
its elected officials could be on the horizon
over the next few years.
Fremont’s use of “at-large” elections violates state law, says a Southern California attorney who has successfully sued other cities by arguing the voting method has been shown to unfairly diminishing the chances of minorities, especially Latino candidates from winning elections. The complaint’s desired effect appears to be working. A Fremont staff report recommends city officials begin the process of shifting to district-based elections in coming years based, in large part, by a potential legal bill that could exceed $1 million.

The complaint letter sent by Malibu-based attorney Kevin Shenkman last month asks the city to begin the switch from at-large elections to district-based system or face a lawsuit under the California Voting Right Act (CVRA).

Friday, March 17, 2017

Why is Eric Swalwell allowing himself to be Tucker Carlson's punching bag?

Rep. Eric Swalwell appearing with Tucker
Carlson on Fox News in January.
Take it from me, Rep. Eric Swalwell typically responds to tough questioning by fleeing the scene in order to avoid confrontations with his allegedly political sins. Knowing this, it seems highly peculiar that Swalwell continually agrees to appear on Tucker Carlson's Fox News program in what amounts to every time an embarrassing pummeling at the hands of the conservative talk show host.

As many have noticed in recent weeks, Swalwell has been a cable news talking head on an almost daily basis. On more friendly turf, such as Thursday on MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews," Swalwell is confident and sharp with his repeated criticisms of President Trump and his alleged ties to Russia.

Few Hayward elected officials support starting public discussion of sanctuary cities

Hayward Councilmember Elisa Marquez
says she supports becoming a sanctuary city.
While many East Bay city councils have offered almost unanimous support for defying President Trump and his immigration policies, Hayward is a notable outlier. Even the politically moderate city of Dublin agendized a discussion on sanctuary cities last week before shooting it down.

But in Hayward, elected officials have remained silent, while the stirrings of its large minority communities in support of becoming a sanctuary city become more noticeable.

The reason for the Hayward City Council's apparent inaction is simple, said Hayward Councilmember Elisa Marquez, there is no current support among elected officials to even start a discussion about sanctuary cities, let alone approve a resolution.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

San Leandro proposes tax rate on cannabis purchases

San Leandro's initial tax rate on cannabis
purchases could start at 7 percent, according
to a city staff report.
San Leandro city staff is proposing a tax rate on cannabis purchases that would exceed Oakland and Berkeley.

Next week, the San Leandro City Council will be presented with a cannabis business tax that would begin at 7 percent of gross receipts through June 2018 and gradually increase to 9 percent by 2021, according to the proposal.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hayward officials showing resistance to becoming sanctuary

Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday, center, and
City Manager Kelly McAdoo, left, at an anti-
discrimination task force meeting last Monday.
Hayward stands to risk $33 million in current and future federal funding if it becomes a sanctuary city, several city officials reiterated Monday night during a city task force meeting on anti-discrimination. The moniker also provides no additional relief for residents fearful of the Trump administration’s stance toward immigration, they said. Hayward City Manager Kelly McAdoo said declaring itself a sanctuary city may give residents a “false sense of security.”

“We have to honest with people,” said interim Hayward Police Chief Mark Koller. “Local police departments don’t have the authority to stop the federal government from carrying out their laws any more than we can’t stop the I.R.S. from going after tax evaders." He added, “We don’t want to build up hopes.”

Monday, March 13, 2017

How Trump is already wreaking havoc on affordable housing in the East Bay

FOR MANY IN THE EAST BAY, the early days of Donald Trump’s presidency have been at worst, an all-out assault on American democracy. At minimum, a excruciating daily mockery of common decency. But the reality television show most in the East Bay view on cable news can seem far away from our daily lives.

Last week, several city governments in the East Bay were directly impacted by President Trump’s rhetoric. Literally from Trump’s puckered mouth to negative financial implications for six affordable housing projects in Oakland, San Leandro, Alameda and Fremont.

Oakland and San Leandro make banking statements

San Leandro Councilmember Benny Lee is
leading the push for divestment of Wells Fargo.
Big banks took a big hit in East Bay politics last week. The Oakland City Council voted to cease its relationship with JP Morgan Chase. Then quickly reversed an apparently haphazard decision after realizing, on second thought, the absence of a banking account would likely mean its 5,000 city employees wouldn’t be receiving a paycheck this month.

Meanwhile, in San Leandro, city leaders followed Alameda in beginning an early study for possible divestment from Wells Fargo and other institutions helping finance the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Guillén says Oakland won’t help build Trump’s ‘big, beautiful wall’

Oakland Councilmember Abel Guillén's plan
to stymie Trump's wall will be heard Mar. 14.
If President Trump’s ballyhooed wall on the southern border is ever constructed, it will have been done without the help of companies doing business with the city of Oakland, according to a council resolution authored by Councilmember Abel Guillén.

“A government should reflect the values and goals of the community it serves. Oakland has historically been and remains today a diverse community, with a great many of its residents having come as immigrants and refugees from all corners of the globe,” said Guillén.

Eden Health District CEO to retire this summer

Dev Mahadevean has served as Eden
Health District CEO for nine years.
Eden Health District CEO Dev Mahadevan announced Friday that he is retiring, effective July 1, after nine years leading the day-to-day operations of the central Alameda County health care agency.

During Mahadevan’s tenure the district (known previously as the Eden Township Healthcare District) greatly expanded its financial holdings, including the construction of medical offices on Lake Chabot Road in Castro Valley and Dublin Gateway Center. At the same time losing operational control of both of its hospitals, Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley and San Leandro Hospital.

Tony Thurmond eyeing statewide office in 2018; others already coveting his Assembly seat

Assemblymember Tony Thurmond may be
itching for a move to higher office in 2018.
After just one term representing Richmond, Berkeley and parts of Oakland in the 15th Assembly District, Tony Thurmond is showing strong interest in running for the state superintendent of public instruction seat opening in the fall of 2018, according to numerous sources with knowledge of his plans.

Rumors of Thurmond's interest in succeeded soon-to-be termed out State Superintendent Tom Torlakson have been bandied about in recent months by many East Bay politicos.

Hayward mayor offends Latina advocating for sanctuary city

Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday, leader of one
of the largest Latino communities, in the Bay Area
voiced skepticism Feb. 24 about sanctuary cities.
Hayward's lack of urgency when it comes to alleviating the fears among its minority and immigrant communities is unique in the Greater East Bay. Since January, city councils in Emeryville, Alameda, San Leandro and Fremont have become sanctuary cities, while Oakland and Berkeley have recently reaffirmed existing declarations.

But curiously, Hayward, with one of the largest Latino populations in the Bay Area, has taken a slow bureaucratic track toward protection its immigrant and Muslim communities. Instead, the Hayward City Council chose in January to convene a large 22-person task force to update its existing anti-discrimination policy.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Fremont, Dublin with diverging opinions about sanctuary cities

Dublin Councilmember Abe Gupta offered likely
the most vociferous opposition to sanctuary 
cities of any official in Alameda County.
Fremont became the sixth East Bay city to declare it a sanctuary city and become the fourth to do so this year. The spreading of sanctuary cities across the Alameda County has accelerated with President’s Trump’s heated rhetoric against minorities and a threat by way of executive order to punish the designation.

On the same night, however, residents in Dublin and its city officials roundly dismissed the movement.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Alameda approves resolution urging investigation of Trump, possible impeachment

A resident offers support Tuesday night for
the Alameda City Council's resolution 
to impeach President Trump.
Alameda’s sharp left turn on the political spectrum continued late Tuesday night with a resolution giving support to Rep. Barbara Lee for the urging of Congress to investigate and potentially impeach President Donald Trump.

The East Bay island city follows nearby Richmond in approving the resolution that is gaining strong support among Bay Area progressives.

But the resolution appeared headed to defeat before a dramatic comeback aided in part by a plea from Councilmember Jim Oddie to Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft to reconsider her stated intention to abstain, and thereby subduing the resolution.

Kate Harrison wins Berkeley City Council special election

Kate Harrison leads Ben Gould by more than
500 votes in Tuesday's special election.
Kate Harrison is cruising to victory in Tuesday night’s special election for the open Berkeley City Council District 4 seat.

Early results from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters Tuesday night show Harrison leading Ben Gould by a 550-vote margin.

The seat was vacated last November upon former District 4 representative Jesse Arreguin’s election as mayor.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Since when did Alameda become an island of progressive activism?

WHEN A FEW DROPS OF BLOOD from a protesting renter hit the floor at City Hall in November 2015, something seemed to have changed in Alameda’s politics.

A grassroots renters group flooded City Hall that night urging the council to enact an ordinance with strong rent control restrictions, but some of the renters wouldn’t take no for an answer and attempted to storm the room in an effort to briefly “occupy” the chambers. There was yelling, a cop was pushed, a city department head broke his hip, and one man’s face was smashed to the ground leaving a round smear of his blood on the ground.

There was unanimity in the local media’s reaction: "Protests in Alameda?” said one anchorman. To others, the scene was something that only happens at the more raucous Oakland City Council chambers, surely not pastoral Alameda.

In the subsequent year and a half, a number of other actions precipitated by an organized and very active grassroots, along with a new council majority and, of course, the presidency of Donald Trump, have turned Alameda into one of the most unlikeliest hot beds of progressive action in the East Bay.

Alameda County may be poised to sue President Trump

Just days after an executive order signed by President Trump in late January amounted to a shot across the bough of sanctuary cities, Santa Clara County and San Francisco asked a federal judge to block the order.

Alameda County, which is also a declared sanctuary county, may soon follow suit. A closed session briefing on the matter is scheduled for Tuesday morning's Board of Supervisors meeting. The Santa Clara and San Francisco Counties lawsuits are referenced on the agenda.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Alameda City Council to take up resolution calling for Trump's impeachment

Rosemary Jordan, a member of
Alameda4Impeachment, addressing the
Alameda City Council last Tuesday.
When a few members of the public this week pressed the Alameda City Council to pass a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Trump, its likelihood seemed pie-in-the-sky.

But, according to a Alameda City Council agenda posted Thursday evening, Councilmembers Malia Vella and Jim Oddie will offer a referral at the Mar. 7 meeting asking their colleagues to approve a resolution urging Congress to impeach the president.

Alameda County updates mobile home rent ordinance; increases will still outpace nearby cities

A single-wide mobile home located on
Castro Valley Boulevard.
During a prolonged housing affordability crisis in the East Bay, mobile home parks have been a low-cost option for many residents, especially seniors. But in relative terms, the monthly rental rates for mobile home owners in unincorporated Alameda County is still outpacing stricter controls in nearby cities.

It's a trend that may continue after the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to update its rent stabilization ordinance to include a drop in maximum annual percentage increases, but also grants full vacancy decontrol to park owners. The latter gives park owners the ability to offer rental plot at a market rate.