Friday, December 29, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Renters at infamous Alameda apartments received evictions five days before Christmas

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 22, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 18, 2017

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

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

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

Friday, December 15, 2017

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


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

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

Thursday, December 14, 2017

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

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

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

Hayward group contemplates recall campaign against firebrand school board member

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

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

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

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

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

Monday, December 11, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 8, 2017

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


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

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

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Chabot, Las Positas Colleges become sanctuary campuses

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

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

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

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

A's strike out looking at Laney College ballpark site

A's management has long maintained there
is no "Plan B" if Laney plan strikes out.
The Oakland Athletics' dream of building an intimate downtown ballpark near Laney College may have been dashed Wednesday without the team ever stepping up to the plate in negotiations over the site with the community college board.

The Peralta Community College Board of Trustees Tuesday instructed its chancellor to scrap plans with the A's for the purchase of 15-acres its owns near Laney College, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Chan raises possibility of countywide ballot measure to combat homelessness

Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan
at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting
in Oakland.
Homelessness is so pervasive in Alameda County that the only long-term solution to the problem may be to ask voters to approve a bond measure, says Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan.

"There just isn't enough money to serve this county," Chan said during an agenda item at Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday to allocate $1.9 million for the unsheltered homeless.

Monday, December 4, 2017

3,000 Oakland city employees set to strike on Tuesday

Oakland is headed toward a work stoppage as more than 3,000 members of the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) Local 1021 and other city unions announced they will strike on Tuesday.

SEIU Local 1021 and the Oakland city administration have been in negotiation since the early spring. In recent months, SEIU Local 1021 representatives have alleged the city has committed unfair labor practices and its overreliance on temporary workers has not only impacted its members, but by extension, lowered the quality of life in Oakland.

Friday, December 1, 2017

EBC AGENDA | DEC 1-6 | BERKELEY Climate plan makes progress; ALAMEDA weighs-in on Israel-Palestine; OAKLAND labor strike cancels meetings


--OAKLAND-- [MEETINGS CANCELLED DUE TO LABOR NEGOTIATIONS] City Council committee meetings, Tuesday, Dec. 5, start at 9 a.m.

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

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Alameda County rekindles idea of selling its share of Coliseum property to Oakland

Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson
McElhaney, center, speaking at Thursday's
Coliseum JPA meeting at Oracle Arena.
Oakland and Alameda County representatives on the Oakland Coliseum Joint Powers Authority showed keen interest Thursday for revisiting the idea of the county selling its interests in the stadium complex to the city.

In the midst of running negotiations in recent years with all three of city's sports franchises, several Alameda County supervisors have raised an interest in getting out of the stadium business and selling its share of the jointly-owned and operated Coliseum to the City of Oakland.

With the possibility that all three teams will leave the Coliseum complex within the next seven years, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, during a retreat for the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority Board of Commissioners Thursday morning, urged the city and county to resume talks for a proposed deal. "It would be best if the city bought out the county," said Miley.

Hayward elected officials voice strong support for Urban Shield

Activists protesting Urban Shield last year
in Pleasanton. PHOTO/stopurbanshield.org
Few local issues rankle East Bay progressive more than Urban Shield, the annual emergency training event and law enforcement trade show in Pleasanton founded and hosted by Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern.

Community activists and immigrant groups say Urban Shield increases the militarization of local police departments and targets immigrant groups. The depiction of Muslims as terrorists in some Urban Shield training exercises proves this point, say its critics.

In fact, political will in Oakland, where the event was previously held, was so great it forced a move to the Tri-Valley two years ago. Urban Shield costs roughly $1 million and is funded by federal Homeland Security grants.

But in Hayward, which represents the largest concentration of Latinos in the East Bay--roughly 40 percent of the population--the City Council on Tuesday offered strong support for the city's involvement in the annual event.

Swalwell and Trump finally agree on something

East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell has fashioned himself as one of the leaders of the so-called "resistance" to President Donald Trump. For the better part of this year, Swalwell has skewered Trump both in social media and repeatedly appearances on cable news show to highlight the the president's alleged ties to Russia.

Swalwell almost never sees eye-to-eye with Trump. But that ended Thursday following the acquittal of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, the undocumented immigrant, who in 2016, killed Kate Steinle in San Francisco. The incident become an early lightning rod for then-presidential candidate Trump's fiery campaign rhetoric against illegal immigration.

Following the verdict, Trump tweeted his disapproval, as did Swalwell:

Before Swalwell began his political career in 2010, he was an Alameda County prosecutor. His interest in the Steinle case is also personal. According to the Los Angeles Times, Swalwell knew Steinle and her family.

Coliseum JPA officials question whether A's interest in Peralta site is a 'bait-and-switch'

When it comes to the Oakland Athletics' plan for building a new ballpark near Laney College, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley said he just wanted to put out in public what some have recently speculated about in private.

"I'm just hoping the A's don't do a bait-and-switch," Miley said during a retreat Thursday morning for the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority Board of Commissioners .

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Hayward accepts new anti-discrimination plan, but still has 'Commitment' issues

Hayward's Community Task Force on anti-
discrimination during a meeting in April.
A community task force's list of nearly 50 recommendations to help foster equity and equality in Hayward was accepted by the council Tuesday night, although three of its most controversial items were set aside for further examination.

Hayward councilmembers unanimously voted to accept the report, which was produced by a 22-person task force created by the council last January to update its 1992 Anti-Discrimination Plan. The group was later tasked with offering a recommendation to the council over whether Hayward should declare sanctuary city status.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Oakland police chief says she didn't know about deportation before August ICE raid

Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick reiterated that she was not previously aware that a raid conducted by federal agents in West Oakland on Aug. 16 involved a potential deportation matter. 

The raid in West Oakland by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents involved a warrant for human trafficking, but ultimately included the arrest of a person now at risk for deportation. 

Community members and later Oakland officials criticized OPD's involvement acting as traffic control during the operation and following a council resolution last summer prohibiting collaboration with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Khanna gets into a spat with FCC Chair over Net Neutrality

Rep. Ro Khanna's tweet last month has
garnered nearly 65,000 retweets, but also
received criticism from FCC Chair Ajit Pai.
Rep. Ro Khanna has had it in for Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai almost from Day One.

Upon Pai's nomination to chair of the FCC in February, Khanna, himself, a newly-minted congressmember, called him a "poster boy" for placing corporate interest over those of the public, and his appointment by President Donald Trump as “one of the worst picks possible in government.”

SEIU files suit against Oakland for violation of City Charter

Oakland's largest public employees union filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court Tuesday alleging the City of Oakland is violating its City Charter with an over-reliance on part-time workers.

Representatives for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 1021 contend Oakland administration is undermining full-time positions with less expensive temporary workers.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Khanna has first piece of legislation signed into law

They say you always remember your first. President Donald Trump last week signed into law a bill authored by Rep. Ro Khanna that is intended to help veterans gain apprenticeships.

Trump's signature make Khanna the only Democratic freshman legislator in either the House and Senate to have a bill signed into law, according to his congressional office.

Man known as "Papa John" dies. Helped save San Leandro Hospital from certain closure

"Papa John" Kalafatich passed away Nov. 22
He was 80.
John Kalafatich is a big man. He doesn't use his size to intimidate, nor does he raise his voice very often. His face is ruggedly ringed with a white beard and topped by a thick mane of gray hair. He conveys a point without a word said, but the man known as Papa John cannot stay quiet any longer; not when his entire livelihood is dependent on the fate of San Leandro Hospital. It's the source of the food in his pantry and the health of the heart beating in his chest. If Papa John can save the hospital, he figures, he can save lives, including his own.
--"Papa John's Crusade," East Bay Citizen, Sept. 19, 2009

On the day before Thanksgiving, the man known to many in San Leandro simply as "Papa John" passed away. He was 80. It's a seemingly apropos date since so many people in San Leandro owe an endless amount of gratitude to people like John Kalafatich.

He didn't save San Leandro Hospital from impending closure earlier this decade all by himself, but he was one of the handful, who, through their words and tenacity, likely saved the life of loved ones all over the East Bay by keeping the hospital's emergency room in operation. In a medical emergency, it is said, the difference between life and death is mere seconds. "If you're having a heart attack, every minute counts and you are interfering with the possibility of me living," he reminded an Eden Township Healthcare District board member in 2010.

EBC CLASSIC | Papa John's Crusade: One man's fight to save his life and others by keeping a community hospital open

John Kalafatich is a big man. He doesn't use his size to intimidate, nor does he raise his voice very often. His face is ruggedly ringed with a white beard and topped by a thick mane of gray hair. He conveys a point without a word said, but the man known as Papa John cannot stay quiet any longer; not when his entire livelihood is dependent on the fate of San Leandro Hospital. It's the source of the food in his pantry and the health of the heart beating in his chest. If Papa John can save the hospital, he figures, he can save lives, including his own.

The story of how San Leandro Hospital has reached the precipice of closure is a long and complicated tale of government secrecy, corporate deceit and community apathy. When you couple that triumvirate of evil, you have a recipe for disaster and Papa John is on a crusade to do what he thinks is the only right thing to do; speak up.

Aside from hurling a few choice barbs at a television set, Papa John had never been involved in a cause and his first foray into public speaking nearly fell flat. He meticulously wrote out notes to address the Eden Township Health District for a meeting in May, but mistakenly left them at home. He spoke extemporaneously only to see a camera crew from a local television station capturing his speech for the 10 o'clock news. Everybody told him he was great.

Since then, Papa John has spoken at nearly every hearing on behalf on saving the hospital. Once, Papa John, with his large frame ambled to the microphone during a meeting one afternoon in June and addressed the cocksure Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty. He punctuated his allotted time by pointing at the supervisor and saying, “Remember my name. I'm Papa John.” His visage and moniker has become so popular that there is no longer any need to utter it. Just last month when addressing a panel brought together by state Sen. Ellen Corbett, Papa John merely rose to the podium, twisted his body towards the group of 300 behind him with outstretched arms like a prophet leading his flock and said, “What's my name?” There were cheers among a cascade of nurses, yelling “Papa John!” But, that's where the fun ends.

Friday, November 24, 2017

EBC AGENDA | NOV 24-30 | OAKLAND probes ICE raid, remembers Ghost Ship; HAYWARD adopts 'The Commitment'; BERKELEY examines Measure GG


--OAKLAND-- Special council meeting, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 5:30 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--OPD/ICE PROBE-- A likely volatile discussion of the events surrounding the Aug. 16 ICE raid in West Oakland returns to the council agenda after being pulled in Rules two weeks ago. According to OPD, U.S. Homeland Security notified Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick that its agents would be conducting a criminal search warrant related to human trafficking. "Chief Kirkpatrick agreed that traffic control was advisable to ensure both officer and public safety," according to the report. "Chief Kirkpatrick provided strict instructions that OPD personnel were not to engage in any other capacity. On the morning of August 16, 2017, OPD deployed one sergeant and two officers to the area of the HSI operation in West Oakland. The assigned OPD personnel were directed to provide traffic control only. OPD personnel were directed to take no part in the efforts undertaken by HSI." The event, however, resulted in one undocumented immigrants being detained. Further complicating the incident is the council voted this summer to cut all ties with ICE.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


1I think Rep. Eric Swalwell is the greatest salesman in America. Over the past two years or more absolutely nobody, except for fellow Golden State Rep. Adam Schiff, has leveraged cable news and social media better to raise their profile in Washington. It started with clever, cutesy social media postings--"#swalwelling on Twitter and short videos on Vine--and morphed into hours upon hours of appearances on the gamut of cable news networks. Here's a story: I was on vacation in New York City two weeks ago and met a man from New Jersey (I also met another man from New Jersey. His name is Bruce Springsteen. More on that another time). I told him I write about politics in Northern California. This person was clearly a political junkie, so I asked if he knows Swalwell. He clearly knew more than the name and was appreciative that he was always slamming Trump on TV. Swalwell is clearly making an impact. Here's the crazy thing: All of this has been done without Swalwell ever accomplishing a single thing during his political career! This isn't hyperbole, either. He didn't even accomplish anything while on the Dublin City Council.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

San Leandro councilmember opposed sending its armored police vehicle to U.C. protests

San Leandro's Lenco Bearcat MedEvac on
display at a community meeting in 2015.
As the threat of violent protests at U.C. Berkeley this year escalated, San Leandro Police allowed the university police to twice borrow its armored emergency vehicle. It's a decision that at least one San Leandro elected official criticized Monday night.

"We have to be mindful and have a very balanced conversation right now in the public eye between free speech and hate speech," said San Leandro Councilmember Corina Lopez following a year-end presentation by the city's police brass. "In some cases, vehicles like the MedEac have been used in a way that has sort of inflamed an already volatile situation."

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

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

Monday, November 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 17, 2017

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


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

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

Hayward's Dobbs saga ends with dropped lawsuit

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

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

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

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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

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

Swalwell probes Sessions on Carter Page, WikiLeaks

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

Friday, November 10, 2017

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 9, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bonta hopes Trump continues to be successful at failure

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

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

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

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

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