Saturday, September 23, 2017

Hayward anti-discrimination task force recommends PD withdraw from Urban Shield

Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday at a 
community task force meeting in March.
A Hayward community task force created earlier this year to update the city's 25-year-old Anti-Discrimination Action Plan is recommending the city's police force end its participation in Urban Shield, the disaster training exhibition and weapons trade show held annually in Alameda County.

Friday, September 22, 2017

EBC AGENDA | SEPT 22-28 | HAYWARD hearts immigrants; ALAMEDA COUNTY garbage bond; AC TRANSIT fares well in survey

The Oakland City Council and Alameda County Board of Supervisors passed resolutions calling for the reinstatement of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) over the past few weeks. For progressives government bodies this is expected, but this week Hayward is passing its own resolution. The agenda item shows just how far Hayward has shifted in its public support for immigrants. Hayward was the last hold out in the Greater East Bay this year for declaring sanctuary city status. The fact was disheartening to many activists since Hayward is home to the largest Latino communities in the East Bay--roughly 40 percent.

Suffice to say it took awhile for Hayward administration and city council to come around and their breakneck pace in just the last six weeks has been noticeable. It started when Hayward's city administration moved quickly to keep the public informed after ICE arrested two undocumented immigrants. Its next test also comes Tuesday night with a draft update to its 1992 Anti-Discrimination Action Plan. The document includes a recommendation that Hayward Police Department end participation in Urban Shield, the controversial disaster training program held each year in Alameda County. Notably, a city staff report singles out the recommendation and in typical Hayward fashion, takes pains to highlight why it's not a good idea.

Here's your highlights for this week in East Bay government:
➤Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan wants to help bake cannabis locations.

➤Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty helps Fremont's Washington High.

➤Public bank forum in Oakland on Monday night

➤AC Transit: Love 'em or hate 'em?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

As Oakland labor talks stall, SEIU unleashes a flame throwing web site at Mayor Schaaf

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf won't likely face
a credible candidate for re-election next year
but SEIU Local 1021 is acting like anopponent.
Few East Bay labor unions are more aggressive than the Service Employees International Union Local 1021. Whether in Hayward where union leaders screamed at elected officials during a long labor contract impasse or the seemingly routine appearances of purple-clad SEIU members packing the Oakland City Council chambers, the union is hard-core.

Earlier this week, a report detailed stalled labor negotiations between the Oakland city administration and SEIU Local 1021, along with IFPTE Local 21. Together the unions represent roughly 3,000 city employees. According to the East Bay Express, negotiations became contentious after the city offered an initial contract containing no cost of living increases, and thereby angering the unions.

Apparently, SEIU Local 1021 is very upset. On Tuesday, it released a website taking dead aim at Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

Oakland's public bank feasibility study opens its account

Susan Harman, an Oakland activist and member of an advocacy group hoping to create potential ground-breaking public bank in Oakland held the head of fierce red dragon at Tuesday's city council meeting. The puppet head to Harman represented the group's last obstacle to a month's long push merely to convince city leaders to fund a $100,000 study on the feasibility of a public bank in Oakland and the region.

"That is the last dragon we're killing. No more dragons. We're starting a public bank. No more imaginary dragons," said Harman, in a celebratory move after the Oakland City Council approved an $75,000 allocation toward the study Tuesday night.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Amid grumblings, Alameda will evaluate city manager's performance in closed session

Alameda City Manager
Jill Keimach
There's a curious closed session item Tuesday night on the Alameda City Council's agenda, an evaluation of City Manager Jill Keimach. Curious because her annual performance review isn't until next March.

Sources at City Hall, including council members, won't say why they are chatting about Keimach in closed session Tuesday evening, but there has been a very noticeable uptick in complaints about her in just the past few weeks.

We love the A's, say community activists, just not a ballpark at the Peralta site

Alvina Wong, right, with a Chinatown business
owner who expressed concern about an A's
ballpark near Laney College.
Alvina Wong grew up in Chinatown. As a child she walked with her grandmother to buy groceries, learned Chinese calligraphy and made friends in the park. "That's the type of community we have in Chinatown as well as East Lake and that is what is forgotten when we look at big sports stadiums," said Wong during a rally attended by community activists, students and local business owners who believe the A's planned 35,000-seat ballpark will negatively impact the working-class immigrant community.

"We get to decide the fate of our community," said Wong, a member of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. "In no part of that dream did we ever imagine putting a stadium there."

Monday, September 18, 2017

EBC AGENDA | SEPT 15-21 | OAKLAND public bank; FREMONT rent review ordinance; HAYWARD shuttle study; KHANNA town hall

Without a doubt, affordable housing is the biggest issue facing the East Bay. Last week, the state legislature delivered some help to alleviate the crisis, but only time will tell if the wisdom of allowing developers a quick path to building more housing was ultimately pan out. The potential loss of local control in some Alameda County cities created opposition and now skepticism. On the flip side, the total lack of new housing in places like Alameda likely renders the state's actions prudent.

Meanwhile, this week city governments in Oakland, San Leandro and Fremont continue to address housing and excessive rent increases. Like many issues in Alameda County, once one has a suitable idea, they all eventually--eventually!--copy each other. Tuesday in Fremont is a perfect example as the council is set to create a revamped rent review structure. The proposal is similar to Alameda and San Leandro. However, those cities eventually added stronger renter-friendly amendments later such as landlord-paid relocation payments to renters, and, briefly in Alameda, just cause restrictions. These additions are included in Fremont's ordinance. It begs the question, if Fremont believes rent ordinances in nearby cities are good enough to copy, then why don't they copy the entire amended ordinance instead of the sluggish piecemeal approach being offered in south county?

Here's this week's highlights in East Bay government:
➤Oakland's public bank feasibility study returns. But who's going to pay?

➤Alameda County supervisors respond to scathing grand jury report

➤Hayward eyes BART shuttle service

➤How will San Leandro pay for its tenant relocation payment program?

➤Rep. Ro Khanna town hall on Wednesday.

--OAKLAND-- Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 5:30 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--PUBLIC BANK FEASIBILITY STUDY-- An Oakland-based or more likely regional public bank to localize investment in local business and mortgage opportunities for underserved communities returns to the Oakland City Council after a road block during its budget season last June. But the public bank is really about giving cash-based cannabis enterprises a legitimate banking solution. Because of the federal prohibition against cannabis, most banks shy away from the industry.

On his way to Santa Clara, Coliseum JPA retains CEO

Oakland Coliseum Authority Executive Director Scott McKibben had a verbal agreement to take a similar position with the Santa Clara Stadium Authority, the government body that runs Levi's Stadium. However, the Coliseum JPA Board of Commissioners on Friday morning offered a deal he could not refuse.

Friday, September 15, 2017

During marathon legislative session, Bill Quirk walks 52 laps around Assembly floor

Going back to his days on the Hayward City Council, a departing colleague once noted with a smile that Bill Quirk's surname matched his personality. Assemblymember Bill Quirk, in fact, fully embraces his quirkiness and it showed again Thursday night.

While the Assembly was continuing a long slog through hundreds of bills Thursday night and today, Quirk and San Diego Republican Assemblymember Marie Waldron passed the time with a little exercise around the perimeter of the Assembly floor. It also gained the attention of equally bored members of the capitol press corps.

Noel Gallo pledges council district funds to support citizen-led lawsuit against Raiders

Godfather Griz, representing Forever Oakland,
addresses the Coliseum JPA Friday morning
at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
While some Coliseum Joint Powers Authority commissioners appeared less than enthused about a fan base seemingly grasping again at a long-gone straw to keep the Raiders in the East Bay via a lawsuit, Oakland Councilmember Noel Gallo says he will offer discretionary funding from his office to help the cause.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Progressive wave of Bay Area candidates strike unifying message against Democratic Party: 'They're not us'

Alameda County District Attorney candidate
Pamela Price speaking to voters Wednesday 
at the City of Alameda Democratic Club.
PHOTOS/Zac Goldstein
Four prohibitive political underdogs took the stage in Alameda Wednesday night with visions of unseating entrenched incumbents in the U.S. Senate, Congress and the Alameda County District Attorney's office. While their platforms hovered around slightly different points on the far left, there was a unifying message: the state and national Democratic Party is out of touch with own constituency.

"We are the progressive wave," said Stephen Jaffe, who is challenging Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi next June. "We are here because we are the true believers. We represent the fundamental core values of the Democratic Party. I do not adhere to the politics and programs and the people presently in control of the Democratic Party. They are corporatists. They are centrists and they are elitists. They are not us," said Jaffe. "It is our job as progressives to band together in this fashion and take back the party from the people who have hijacked it."

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

UPDATE: CEO leaving Coliseum JPA to oversee Levi's Stadium

Scott McKibben is headed to the South Bay.
UPDATE: On his way to Santa Clara, Coliseum JPA retains CEO
Like many of the professional sports franchises in the East Bay, Oakland Coliseum Joint Powers Authority Executive Director Scott McKibben is skipping town.

McKibben, a former East Bay newspaper publisher and CEO of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, will be named executive director of the Santa Clara Stadium Authority, which runs Levi's Stadium.

Coliseum JPA weighs support for fan-led strategy to sue Raiders

A potential lawsuit against the Raiders and
the NFL may lack legal standing without
support of a government entity like the JPA.
The Oakland Raiders are gone to Las Vegas, at least, in 2-3 years, but a legal strategy hatched by some fans to keep the team or its logo and colors in the East Bay, is seeking the support of the Oakland Coliseum Joint Powers Authority.

The proposal backed by the fan group "Forever Oakland," is scheduled to be discussed at the Coliseum JPA's monthly meeting on Friday.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A's choose site for downtown ballpark: It's Laney College

An overview of the general area the A's
plan to build a 35,000-seat, privately-
financed ballpark in Oakland.
After years of uncertainty and concerted efforts by the Oakland Athletics to build a new ballpark in Fremont, then San Jose, the team has chosen a downtown location near Laney College in Oakland.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported news of the announcement Tuesday night, along with a estimated completion date of 2023.

Berkeley City Council backs use of pepper spray during protest

Berkeley is facing an unprecedented and highly-coordinated effort by extremists groups to repeatedly turn the city into a battle ground, Interim Berkeley Police Chief Andy Greenwood told the City Council Tuesday afternoon.

With large plywood shields and rudimentary weapons used recently by protesters splayed on the city council chamber floor, an amendment to the Berkeley's use-of-force policy allowing police to deploy pepper spray when protesters attack law enforcement and the public was approved Tuesday evening by the City Council.

The council voted, 6-3, to include an amendment to the city's 20-year-old policy on the use of pepper spray. Councilmembers Cheryl Davila, Kate Harrison, and Kriss Worthington opposed the proposal backed by Mayor Jesse Arreguin.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Former East Bay legislative candidate is running for state insurance commissioner

Peter Kuo finished a surprising second in the 
2014 10th State Senate race that included Dems
Bob Wieckowski and Mary Hayashi.
Republican Peter Kuo ran for the state senate's 10th District in 2014 and followed it up last year with a challenge in the 17th Congressional District. Kuo lost on both occasions, although, he advanced to the 2014 general election, only to lose to Bob Wieckowski.

Kuo, though, lacked any experience in government during his first run, but the Taiwanese American businessman caught the eye of some California Republicans, primarily for his opposition to Senate Constitutional Amendment 5, which would have added some affirmation action requirements for admissions to the University of California system.

Sheriff Ahern wants to use asset forfeiture funds to pay officer's overtime at DUI checkpoints

Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern at a
town hall in Hayward in June.
Starting last Labor Day weekend, Alameda County sheriff's deputies staffed various DUI checkpoints in an effort to discourage holiday drinking and driving.

To pay any overtime associated with the operation and two others slated during the Christmas holiday season and Memorial Day weekend next year, Sheriff Gregory Ahern is asking the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to tap in federal asset forfeiture funding.

Berkeley looks at decriminalizing display of female nipples

Berkeley Councilmember
Kriss Worthington
An inequity exists within Berkeley municipal nudity laws, says Councilmember Kriss Worthington, that criminalizes the display of women's breasts and, specifically, nipples while overlooking topless men in public.

Worthington's proposal Tuesday evening would delete a reference to the public display of female areola in the city's municipal code. Violators could be subjected to a misdemeanor or fine. Worthington says the current law pertaining to women is "non-sensical."

Prominent Tri-Valley developer indicted for illegal campaign contributions to Swalwell

Eric Swalwell announcing his first run for
Congress at a 2011 rally in Dublin.
On a rainy night in April 2012, during what would be former Rep. Pete Stark's final political campaign, the irascible 40-year congressman lashed out at his young opponent, then Dublin Councilmember Eric Swalwell, alleging he took bribes from a well-connected Tri-Valley developer. "If I were a lawyer, I would call that bribery," Stark charged. "So, I'll let Mr. Swalwell define what he thinks taking all this money from people that he gave special zoning privileges to is. Maybe it's how he sees his role in government."

Somewhat shaken, Swalwell regrouped and quipped to the overflow audience at the Hayward City Council chambers, "As far as I know, I have not accepted any bribes. I don't know what Congressman Stark is talking about. Maybe the F.B.I. is waiting for me outside."

Years later, it turns out, a kernel of Stark's charges appears to again have some credibility after one of the donors referenced during that fateful candidates forum, influential Tri-Valley developer James Tong of Charter Properties, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 31 for making more than $10,000 in illegal contributions in the names of family members. The contributions were made to Swalwell's 2012 congressional campaign.

Friday, September 8, 2017

EBC AGENDA | SEPT 8-14 | BERKELEY strives for nipple equality; OAKLAND burglaries up; Sheriff wants $$ for OT; water thieves get leniency

A hallmark of 2017 in the East Bay is that many of the issues in previous year that usually focus solely on the national level are flooding down to the local level on a regular basis. For the most part, thank President Trump. This week both the Oakland City Council and Alameda County Board of Supervisors will offer resolutions opposing Trump rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. And for those prepared to watch disaster porn all weekend on television, the county is also keeping its disaster relief fund open for Hurricane Irma. In addition, this week begins the East Bay Citizen's foray into Berkeley and, boy, did they not let us down.

Here's your highlights for the week in East Bay government:
➤Burglaries in Oakland have skyrocketed over the last three months, says OPD.

➤Oakland construction firm charged with bid-rigging is losing a county contract

➤Idling your vehicle for too long in Berkeley might get you in trouble.

➤EBMUD is allowing water thieves an $800 discount on their first offense for meter tampering.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Tenant relocation payments finally approved in San Leandro

A proposed tenant relocation payment program in San Leandro has for more than a year shuttled back and forth between the City Council and its rules committee without resolution, worrying tenants and angering landlords who have balked at added rent restrictions.

Despite approving Tuesday night, what is now called the "Tenant Relocation Ordinance," the council was still less than resolute in its support. Throughout the council discussion, a few members appeared confused, if not highly apprehensive, about the agenda item.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

In a surprise, Alameda repeals its just cause ordinance at the behest of local renters group

Over the past month, members of the Alameda Renters Coalition had been toying with a counterintuitive proposal. Instead of fighting a costly election campaign sometime next year to oppose a referendum offered by Alameda landlords to roll back just cause protections for renters that was approved in May, maybe it was time to cut their losses and live to fight another day.

On the night the Alameda City Council was scheduled to decide whether to set an election date for the proposed ballot measure to repeal just cause, a spokesman for the group urged them to instead repeal the ordinance.

The council obliged, voting 4-1, to rescind the action approved just four months ago, an amendment to the more wide-ranging rent stabilization ordinance approved by the council in March 2016. Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft was the lone opposition.

Piedmont picks a new mayor as city moves forward following Wieler resignation

Robert McBain, left, seated withCouncilmember 
Teddy Grey King, was chosen as Piedmont mayor 
Tuesday night. PHOTO/Keegan Tatum
By Keegan Tatum

Bob McBain tapped his left hand on the papers of an open binder with an obvious mixture of nerves and excitement as he addressed a few dozen people for the first time as Piedmont’s mayor.

McBain succeeds Jeff Wieler after Wieler made bigoted comments on social media; resigned as mayor; and, then, left the City Council entirely on Aug. 31. Piedmont’s mayor is elected by vote of the city council.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Brooks, Kaplan, Gallo to offer Oakland council resolution supporting restoration of DACA

Later this month, three Oakland councilmembers will introduce a resolution offering the city's support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that was rescinded Tuesday by the Trump administration.

The executive order issued under President Barack Obama in 2012 allows undocumented immigrant minors who were brought to the U.S. before 2007 an opportunity to stay in the country and are allowed work permits for renewable two-year periods.

Alameda, citing sanctuary city policy, rejects federal grant

Months after Alameda became one of the first cities in the county to pass legislation declaring sanctuary city status, they now may be the first to reject a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Last week, Alameda city officials declined to sign a document required by the Department of Justice in order to apply for federal Justice Assistance Grants (JAG). Signing the document would certify that Alameda "does not restrict sending or receiving information regarding citizenship or immigration status."

But the city says signing the document would violate its sanctuary city policy approved Jan. 17--three days before President Donald Trump's inauguration--that prohibits the city from cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

EBC AGENDA | SEPT 1-7 | ALAMEDA to end dispensary moratorium, selects just cause elex date; SAN LEANDRO tenant relocation $$; Piedmont rages

As far as the dreaded August council recess period goes this was awful. Nothing much happened because the players in politics took some time to relax. Many went of vacations, near and far. I even saw one Oakland councilmember on my own vacation earlier this month.

But those on a staycation in the East Bay raised their collective eyebrows when an Alameda County sheriff's deputy in charge of the department's Twitter feed says he accidentally retweeted a video from a well-known neo-nazi. Protesters again rallied in Berkeley

Assemblymember Bill Quirk's criminalization of mylar balloons got popped by the governor and Assemblymember Rob Bonta's big push for bail reform might have to wait until next year, but state help to build more affordable housing looks to be on the way.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Pressure builds on Piedmont elected official to resign over offensive social media comments

The Piedmont City Council says Jeff Wieler, who stepped down as mayor last Sunday, should also resign as a councilmember.

Wieler resigned earlier this week after a number of Piedmont residents became upset over a series of derogatory social media comments he made recently against Black Lives Matter and members of the transgender community, among subjects

The comments, since deleted by Wieler, were nonetheless read into the record by a Piedmont residents during a council meeting on Aug. 21.

Berkeley councilman becomes ninth to file for Tony Thurmond's open assembly seat

Berkeley Councilmember Ben Bartlett
They're going to need a really big table for debates next year in the 15th Assembly District. First-term Berkeley Councilmember Ben Bartlett filed an intent to run Tuesday for the seat being vacated by current Assemblymember Tony Thurmond. Bartlett becomes the ninth candidate--all Democrats--to file for the June 2018 primary election.

Bartlett's interest in the state assembly comes just 10 months after winning election to Berkeley's District 3 council seat, but believes he has accomplished a number of important initiatives in the city during his short time in office.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Piedmont mayor resigns amid criticism over his right-wing social media comments

Piedmont Mayor Jeff Wieler 
resigned Sunday.
Piedmont Mayor Jeff Wieler resigned Sunday after an uproar over offensive comments he made on Facebook last week against members of the black and transgender communities.

Piedmont, a small hamlet of more than 10,000 residents encircled by Oakland, does not directly elect its mayor. Instead, the five-person city council appoints the mayor. For that reason, Wieler was essentially demoted from mayor to councilmember.

When Schaaf falls in Oakland, it always seems to be into progressives arms

The Uber building that never was.
In late 2015, it could be argued that Uber's announced move to Downtown Oakland, based on its transformative potential (good and bad), was the biggest news story in Oakland that year. The purchase of the old Sears Building for $123 million and Uber's promise to bring between 2,000 and 3,000 new employees to Oakland was hailed as major get for Mayor Libby Schaaf.

The deal heralded once again a stark new trajectory in Oakland that was to signify the type of Oakland cool Schaaf had been espousing ad nauseam. It also appeared to show a break from the type of dysfunction critics of former Mayor Jean Quan screamed about.

But the warm embrace of Uber back in 2015 had many skeptics. The ride-hailing company was already facing criticism for its misogynistic corporate ethos and many imagined a beacon of the Silicon Valley shared economy sitting on the corner of 20th and Broadway, often an area where protesters vandalized businesses, might as well place sign on the windows that read, "Hit here."

Barbara Lee wants to cut salaries for controversial Trump aides

North Bay Rep. Jared Huffman and East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee wants to punish two of President Donald Trump's top aides where it hurts--in the checkbook. Huffman and Lee introduced an amendment Friday to a government spending bill that would cut off the salaries of Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka.

Along with former National Security Advisor Steve Bannon, Lee, for one, has strongly opposed each for what she believes is anti-immigrant and racist policies.

“Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller have long embraced the views of white supremacists, white nationalists and Neo-Nazis," Lee said on Aug. 15. "These prejudiced ideologies have no place in the highest office in our land. I urge President Trump to remove Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka from the White House without delay.”

Monday, August 21, 2017

Nancy Skinner wants crimes committed by white supremacists groups to be treated as terrorism

Protesters in Berkeley last April.
Before the events last week in Charlottesville brought national focus to skirmishes between white supremacists groups and counter-protesters, East Bay State Sen. Nancy Skinner's district, which prominently includes Berkeley, was the epicenter of bloody clashes and debate over free speech.

On the day the State Legislature returned to session Monday, Skinner introduced legislation that would change California's anti-hate laws to include that crimes committed by white supremacists be prosecuted as terrorism.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bonta on Charlottesville: 'This is not who we are.' Says no permits should be given for hate rallies

Assemblymember Rob Bonta
East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta says President Donald Trump's comments last weekend asserting a moral equivalence between white supremacists marching in Charlottlesville and protesters marching in opposition were "irresponsibly and dangerously stated." On two separate occasions, Trump suggested blame for the death of one counter-protester and injuries to 19 others last Saturday rested on "many sides."

"This in not who we are," wrote Bonta in a lengthy piece posted on social media Wednesday night and emailed to followers of his assembly campaign.

Hayward to swear-in new police chief on Monday

Interim Police Chief Mark Koller was born
in Hayward and has served on the police
force in various capacities since 1981.
Mark Koller, a second-generation Hayward police officer, will be sworn-in next Monday as the city's fourteenth chief of police. The ceremony will be held at the Hayward City Hall rotunda, Aug. 21, starting at 3 p.m.

Koller has served as acting and interim police chief since August 2016 following the resignation of Diane Urban. Hayward City Manager Kelly McAdoo announced last month that Koller would be given the job full-time following what the city called a national search for the position.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

With Alameda just cause ordinance on pause, notorious landlord issues eviction notices

Renters and housing activists at Alameda's
Bay View Apartments.
Residents at Alameda's Bay View Apartments on Central Avenue have stood as the symbol of the island community's struggle with rising rents and a lack of affordable housing for more than two years.

On Wednesday, just days before the start of a new school year, three families received 60-day eviction notices from the owners of the complex, known in popular parlance as 470 Central. Three additional tenants were given three-day notices for non-payment, said the Alameda Renters Coalition.

They evictions come at a time when an Alameda landlords group successfully postponed implementation of just cause restrictions approved by the Alameda City Council in June. A referendum petition sought by landlords to nullify just cause, which allows property owners to evict tenants without cause, was certified in July by the Alameda city clerk.

Eric Swalwell has visited Iowa so many times that CNN thinks he represents the Hawkeye State

Rep. Eric Swalwell barnstormed Iowa last week,
fueling conversation that he's eyeing a run at
the 2020 Iowa Caucus.
Over the last 10 months, Rep. Eric Swalwell has made up to four trips to Iowa. Starting in October 2016 when he visited Iowa City to chat with milennials about student debt, buzz is increasing that the three-term congressman is eyeing a run for president in 2020. It also doesn't hurt that Swalwell was born in Sac City, IA before his family moved to Dublin.

In late February 2017, Swalwell addressed Democratic activists in Des Moines. He followed with a scathing rebuke of Iowa Rep. Steve King's comments in March against immigrants, while gamely noting that he was born in King's congressional district.

State superintendent candidates Tony Thurmond, Marshall Tuck talk teacher shortages

Early candidates for state superintendent, Richmond
Assemblymember Tony Thurmond and Marshall Tuck.
"At an education conference Thursday, the two announced candidates for state superintendent of public instruction called for more strategies to counter a teacher shortage they said is gripping the state. The comments by Marshall Tuck and Tony Thurmond indicate the issue will factor heavily in their campaigns to replace retiring State Superintendent Tom Torlakson next year," according to an article in EdSource.

Alameda County Dems say sheriff's spokesman who mistakenly retweeted white supremacist should be replaced

Alameda County Sgt. Ray Kelly said his retweet of white supremacist Richard Spencer Monday night was a mistake, according to multiple news reports.

“It’s 2017, the person in charge of your official Twitter account should be expected to know how to use Twitter” said Robin Torello, the chair of the Alameda County Democratic Party.

A day after the retweet, which included a hour-long video of Spencer following the Charlottesville tragedy last weekend, the Alameda County Democratic Party condemned the tweet and called for Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern to reassign Kelly from his duties as spokesperson.

"If Sgt. Ray Kelly’s actions were truly in error, then the Alameda County Sherriff’s Department should take immediate steps to ensure this type of error never happens again," said Torello.

“At a minimum, Sgt. Ray Kelly should be relieved from his duties with regards to the Department’s social media accounts, a person with demonstrated technical expertise should be put in charge of electronic communications, and a ‘101’ training on social media use should be conducted with the Department’s current Public Information Team”.

Torello added, “Given the Department’s recent history and actions by the current Sheriff and their PIO team, an apology alone will not suffice.”

Alameda County leaders say Monday night's incident "fits what is becoming a disturbing pattern on behalf of the department."

In the wake of the Trump's administration's focus on undocumented immigrants, Ahern has been heavily criticized by local Democratic Party leaders, in addition, to activists for what is viewed as his willingness to coordinate with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Form 460: East Bay's semi-annual campaign finance reports

It may be only August, but for federal, state and county races, the time for campaigns to raise money in advance of the June Primary is now. Based on mid-year campaign finance reports through June 30, several East Bay politicians were busy this year. Below are contributions, expenditure and ending cash on hand for East Bay races for Congress, State Legislature, Alameda County contests and November 2018 municipal elections in Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland, and San Leandro.

Alameda County Sheriff's Office briefly retweets message from white supremacist leader

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office Twitter
feed mistakenly contained a retweet from 
Richard Spencer Monday night.
Shortly before midnight, the Alameda County Sheriffs Office retweeted a video from prominent white supremacist Richard Spencer.

The tweet sent to followers of the Alameda County Sheriff's office Twitter page late Monday night included video of a hour-long press conference featuring Spencer's reaction to the incident in Charlottesville  Va. that included one dead and 19 injured after a 20-year-old from Ohio drove a car through a throng of counter protesters last Saturday.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Alameda County Dems are going to give Swalwell the riot act over his vote favoring Kate's Law

Rep. Eric Swalwell on CNN earlier this year.
Russia this. Russia that. East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell has basked in the glow of television studio lights in recent months. He's a fixture on CNN, MSNBC and sometimes Fox News. His task is to repeat attacks ad nauseam against President Donald Trump and the on-going allegations that his campaign colluded with Russia.

But back home in the 15th Congressional District, Swalwell is taking heat himself from the Alameda County Democratic Party.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Wicks grabs everyone's attention with big fundraising haul in 15th Assembly District race

The biggest political campaign in the East Bay next June is wasting little time revving up its fundraising engine.

The race in the 15th Assembly District already appeared to many local politicos as a early toss-up and a litany of endorsements and already large campaign coffers is only bolstering this initial analysis.

The seat was opened up last April when 15th District Assemblymember Tony Thurmond announced he would not run for re-election to a third term and instead declare his candidacy for state superintendent of public instruction. In the months since five candidate have officially filed intent to replace him.

They include Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb, Richmond Councilmember Jovanka Beckles, political consultant Buffy Wicks, East Bay MUD board director Andy Katz and a potential darkhouse candidate in Berkeley school board member Judy Appel. The list, though, is likely to grow.

But before the race stabilizes, those already in the race are beginning to make their moves. It started last month when Beckles made a move to grab the attention of Berniecrats in the district. Our Revolution East Bay, a local offshoot of Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign announced support for Beckles.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Khanna says without Pelosi, House Democratic leadership would move to the right

Rep. Ro Khanna, rebutting some progressives who criticized him recently for supporting Nancy Pelosi's continued service as House minority leader, said without her the leadership position would move to the right.

"Who would we have if Nancy Pelosi wasn't minority leader? Next in line would be [Reps.] Steny Hoyer and Joe Crowley," said Khanna during a wide-ranging interview Wednesday in Fremont.

"My point is the caucus would move to the right. Find me a progressive person. If [Rep.] Keith Ellison said tomorrow I want to be minority leader and we need a bigger progressive voice, I would entertain that. But what I don't want to do is have the caucus move to the right."

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Quirk's Mylar balloon bill is vetoed by the governor

Assemblymember Bill Quirk called Gov.
Jerry Brown's veto "misguided."
Legislation that would have added criminal liabilities for those who willfully release metallic helium balloons at power lines was vetoed Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The bill, authored by Hayward Assemblymember Bill Quirk, however, was deemed by Brown as an unnecessary expansion of criminal law. Violations in Assembly Bill 1091 include a fine not to exceed $100, but also a threat of a misdemeanor for repeated offenses of the proposed law.

Barbara Lee is taking heat for saying Trump's new chief of staff is an 'extremist'

Rep. Barbara Lee during a town hall last
April at Laney College in Oakland.
East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee is under fire from the right after labeling President Donald Trump's new chief of staff John Kelly an "extremist" in a tweet last Friday. Lee also charged Trump with "militarizing the White House" by naming Kelly, a former Marines general and recent director of U.S. Homeland Security.

The firestorm was lit over the weekend after a tweet sent shortly after news that Trump's former chief of staff Reince Preibus had resigned and Kelly was tapped to replace him. "By putting Gen John Kelly in charge, Pres Trump is militarizing the White House & putting our executive branch in the hands of an extremist," said Lee, in the tweet.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Schaaf offers 'wholehearted' endorsement of Assembly candidate Dan Kalb

Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb is one
of five declared candidates for the 15th
Assembly District race next year.
In 2014, Libby Schaaf's path to the Oakland mayor's office was famously paved by a pivotal endorsement from Gov. Jerry Brown. Next year, Schaaf hopes her imprimatur will have the same effect for Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb and his campaign next year for the 15th Assembly District.

Nearly 10 months from the June 2018 primary, Schaaf announced her endorsement of Kalb's campaign.

ICE arrests two undocumented immigrants in Hayward, city says it had no involvement

Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday during
a task force meeting in March discussing
sanctuary city.
U.S. Immigration, Customs and Enforcement agents arrested two undocumented immigrants in Hayward last Thursday, but the city says, based on its policies, it did not participate in the action. The Hayward Police Department, however, had been notified two days prior, on Tuesday, of ICE's intention to check-up on some individuals currently being monitored by GPS  the city said on Monday.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Nadia Lockyer says she's leaving Bill Lockyer

Bill Lockyer and Nadia Lockyer
Former Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer wrote in a posting on Facebook Wednesday morning that she has filed for legal separation from her husband, Bill Lockyer.

Last month, Nadia Lockyer was arrested in Tuolomne County for spousal abuse. Her blood-alcohol level was reportedly .22, which is nearly three times the legal limit. In the posting, Nadia Lockyer also says she is currently living in a women's shelter.

Friday, July 21, 2017

A potential Alameda City Charter crisis again flares over mayor's latest planning board picks

Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer's
future planning board nominations might
face indefinite uncertainty. 
Alameda may be in the midst of a City Charter crisis. Earlier this week, two of Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer's nominations to the influential Planning Board were rejected by the council's progressive majority.

Under past mayors, the periodic appointment to various boards and commissions was typically uncontroversial. But Tuesday night's opposition to Spencer's picks for two seats on the planning board again brought to light exactly what powers to appoint are afforded to the mayor and whether the entire ordeal is an offshoot of the divide between progressives in Alameda and the moderate to conservative nativists.

Khanna seeks to stop Washington from Dialing for Dollars

The concept of "Democracy Dollars" just might coax game show host Wink Martindale out of retirement. Except, it's not a pilot for an ABC television show next fall, but an idea Rep. Ro Khanna promoted this week to rid Washington from the effects of special interest campaign contributions.

Along with Yale Professor Bruce Ackerman and Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, also a strong Khanna supporter during the most recent election, the trio are pitching a plan they call “Democracy Dollars.”

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hayward City Council tells city manager to begin accepting applications for cannabis permits

Hayward was originally one of the first cities in the East Bay to allow medical cannabis dispensaries. But after concerns over the safety of its dispensaries, including one instance when the current mayor toured one such establishment while it was being robbed, the Hayward City Council closed them down and placed a moratorium on zoning in 2010. Times, though, have changed significantly even since just a year ago in Hayward.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

'A slap in the face': Paul Ryan strips Barbara Lee's AUMF repeal from defense budget bill

Rep. Barbara Lee met last week with
House Speaker Paul Ryan.
As East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee expected, House Speaker Paul Ryan removed her proposed repeal of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force amendment Tuesday night from a defense appropriation bill.

Lee famously cast the lone vote in opposition to the resolution just days after the attacks of 9/11.

Oakland bans sale of flavored tobacco and vaping liquids, along with menthol cigarettes

Oakland City Council President Larry Reid
says he quit smoking in April after more 
than 50 years.
"I started smoking when I was 15-years-old," Oakland City Council President Larry Reid said late Tuesday night before the council approved a citywide ban on the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping liquids, and menthol cigarettes.

"I'm 66-years-old. I stopped smoking on April 14. I have so many freaking stents in my heart, if I don't die, my next step at Kaiser Hospital is open-heart surgery," Reid said of his recent health problems. "This stuff is killing our community."

San Leandro councilman says dispensary permit holder lobbied council colleague's employer

San Leandro Councilmember Pete Ballew
slammed the city's second dispensary permit
holder for acting unethically.
The cross section of cannabis and politics clashed Monday night in San Leandro after one elected official said the group seeking to retain its previously approved dispensary permit has acted unethically in its zeal to protect their investment.

San Leandro Councilmember Pete Ballew read potentially explosive remarks into the record during Monday night's meeting, in which the Davis Street Wellness Center, the city's second approved dispensary, was allowed to continue with progress towards fulfilling requirements laid out in the conditional-use permit issued in July 2016.

Monday, July 17, 2017

East Bay's GOP Assemblymember Baker voted for cap-and-trade

Assemblymember Catharine Baker
To get Governor Jerry Brown's cap-and-trade bill passed Monday night, it took help from Republicans to get it done, including the East Bay's Assemblymember Catharine Baker.

Baker, the East Bay's lone Republican state lawmaker, was one of eight to support Assembly Bill 389. The legislation backed fiercely by Brown over the past week, extends the state's cap-and-trade legislation through to 2030. It was due to expire in 2020.

Locally-based San Leandro dispensary, not yet in business, may lose conditional-use permit

Over the past two years, San Leandro has approved three conditional-use permits for medical cannabis dispensaries. None, though, have yet to open for business. But now, the locally-backed group controversially approved by the city council last summer is at risk of losing its permit.

In July 2016, the city council approved the conditional-use permit for a group connected to the Davis Street Family Resource Center. The decision to choose the Davis Street Wellness Center, a move some attributed to the lobbying strength of Davis Street's well-connected city insiders, came after the city approved its first-ever dispensary permit in September 2015 for the Oakland-based Harborside Health Center,

Friday, July 14, 2017

Roger Stone calls Eric Swalwell a 'yellow-bellied coward'

Rep. Eric Swalwell and Trump associate
Roger Stone won't be sharing a glass of 
Livermore wine anytime soon.
It's not the first time Roger Stone has trash talked with Rep. Eric Swalwell, but on Friday the flamboyant associate of President Donald Trump had some choice words for the East Bay congressmember.

"I mean, have you seen this guy, Eric Swalwell? The lightweight, mannequin, pretty-boy from California?" Stone said on a radio show Friday. "I think he’s a yellow-bellied coward."

Stone was scheduled to appear next week before the House Intelligence Committee, which Swalwell is a member. However, Stone's appearance was postponed by the committee until after the August recess, according to Bloomberg.

Stone says he's itching to testify before the committee, but doesn't believe Swalwell has the nerve to face him. "I don’t think he will show. But if he does show, he will regret it for the rest of his life," Stone continued.

Stone and Swalwell have faced-off before. In March, the two exchanged barbs on Twitter.

EBC AGENDA | JULY 14-20 | Up in smoke: OAKLAND, SAN LEANDRO, HAYWARD discuss cannabis; Oakland may ban flavored tobacco sales; Drones in the 'Dro?

It may be a mellow week in the East Bay. Not only is this the last council meeting in some cities before the annual August recess, but Oakland, San Leandro and Hayward will all be discussing various issues associated with the cannabis industry. Oakland is keeping tabs on its recently approved Equity Permit Program, San Leandro is re-thinking one of its conditional-use permit holders and Hayward is showing signs of re-joining the cannabis permitting game (although Mayor Barbara Halliday may still be spooked after that time a dispensary once located in Hayward was robbed while she was touring it). As a side note, the San Francisco Planning Commission voted last Thursday to approve a dispensary to be run by former Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and her husband Dr. Floyd Yuen. In addition, Oakland is again working on smoking cessation with a proposed ban on flavored cigarillos and fruity liquids used in vaping. Alas, a menthol cigarette ban on the wishlist in both Oakland and San Leandro is not yet there.

Here's your highlights for a busy week in the East Bay:
➤As mentioned, lots of smoke in Oakland, San Leandro and Hayward

➤Oakland "Loves Life."

➤Hayward eyes Dark Fiber.

➤San Leandro wants to use a drone for public works

➤Plastic straw ban in Alameda.

While promoting progressive cred, Khanna got himself banned from liberal-leaning website

Rep. Ro Khanna and his staff has been
accused of misusing Daily Kos in the past.
Rep. Ro Khanna has vowed to support a growing list of bedrock progressive principles since he was sworn-in to Congress last January. He's strongly backed an open Internet, smacked around Walmart for exacerbating income equality, and called for a steep increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit, among other issues. He even said Sen. Bernie Sanders should run again for president in 2020.

It's the kind of boilerplate that brings readers of the influential progressive website Daily Kos to their feet in rousing applause. But in his zeal to attract progressives, Daily Kos' audience is no longer available to Khanna.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

No surprise here: Speaker Paul Ryan not likely to accept Barbara Lee's AUMF repeal amendment

Rep. Barbara Lee's famous Sept. 2001 speech
opposing authorization for war in 
Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks.
The powerful House Appropriations Committee offered a sympathetic ear two weeks ago to Rep. Barbara Lee's amendment to a defense budget bill that would repeal authorization of military force used for the 16-year war in the Middle East.

Lee was so surprised by the Republican-led committee's vote in support of the amendment that she tweeted a celebratory "whoa."

The East Bay representative was the only member of Congress to vote against the authorization, a vote that attracted scorn from around the country, but ultimately proved insightful after the war become difficult and intensely unpopular.

How in the heck did Ron Dellums get his name into Trump's Russian collusion scandal?

Ron Dellums lobbied for the repeal of the
Magnitsky Act, a federal law mentioned
in the growing Russian collusion scandal.
Ron Dellums represented the East Bay in Congress for 13 terms. He later served as mayor of Oakland. Those years in government, apparentely, did little to pad his bank accounts. Dellums, it was reported in 2009, owed the government $293,000 in back taxes.

As Robert Gammon noted in the East Bay Express at the time, the debt threatened Dellums' re-election as Oakland mayor and may entice him to return to his lucrative government-lobbying job. That's exactly the road Dellums took.

But now, his lobbying work has oddly brought his name into the Russian collusion scandal currently barrelling toward President Donald Trump and his family.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Berkeley Mayor Arreguin comes out strong at state of city address

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin delivers his first state of the city address Monday night at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. PHOTOS/Zac Goldstein
By Keegan Tatum and Zac Goldstein

The sense in the room was, finally, someone said it. That mood endured for the entire State of the City address delivered by Berkeley’s new mayor, Jesse Arreguin.

Throughout his nearly 45-minute address at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, several voices on several occasions could be heard uttering a relieved “yes” as their young mayor laid out specific policy. The few hundred in the theatre were most responsive as Arreguin spoke about homelessness, income inequality, and the cost of rent.

Bonta urges Alameda to disqualify landlord referendum accused of violating election law

Assemblymember Rob Bonta
Assemblymember Rob Bonta wants the Alameda City Council to investigate and potentially disqualify a pending ballot referendum brought forth last month by local landlords after a raft of complaints that signature-gatherers intentionally misled residents.

The landlords' petition seeks to overturn Alameda City Council's decision last month to add a just cause amendment to the its rent stabilization ordinance.

Khanna staff caught again surreptitiously posting comments on progressive website Daily Kos

Someone affiliated with Rep. Ro Khanna has been
kicked off the progressive site Daily Kos a second
time for making comments while  using a fake 
user name, known as sockpuppeting.
Rep. Ro Khanna has always ran on the pledge to be Silicon Valley's man in the halls of Congress. One of his first forays into the nexus between progressive ideology and the tech world came earlier this year when he slammed President Donald Trump's pick for the Federal Communication Commission for being a strong opponent of net neutrality.

It came as no surprise two weeks ago that Khanna posted a short commentary on the influential progressive website Daily Kos that cozied up to lefties while supporting the concept of net neutrality, which calls for all online content to be access equally regardless of the source.

There is much sentiment in support of Khanna's stance on the left, but the posting perhaps unwittingly returned the spotlight to his most recent campaign's darkest moments.

According to Daily Kos, a user named "csquared2" interacted in the comments section of the piece with a Daily Kos contributor who has written numerous articles highlighting Khanna's campaign donors, especially those affiliated with the charter school movement, a decidedly un-progressive issue.