Friday, April 28, 2017

EBC AGENDA -- April 28-May 4 -- OAKLAND budget talks - Election Day in HAYWARD - FREMONT pores over district maps - RIP Daylight Savings?

Quite overlooked, but nonetheless breathtaking, is the Fremont City Council's move toward district-based elections and its expansion from five to seven members. Of course, the City Council isn't making wholesale changes on their own volition.

Like many things in life, a lawsuit is the sole impetus of the massive remodeling going on in Fremont politics. It started in February when a Malibu-based attorney targeted Fremont for violating the voting rights of Latinos. Because of Fremont's at-large system of electing councilmembers, Latinos voting strength was diluted to the point the demographic was blocked from power.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Warriors agree to 2-year lease extension, with options, to play at Oracle Arena

The Warriors will continue paying $7.5 million
a year in debt service on Oracle Arena.
The Golden State Warriors are set to sign a two-year lease extension to play in Oracle Arena that will ease the transition to the new Chase Center in San Francisco set to open in late 2019.

The lease deal, scheduled for discussion at next Tuesday's Oakland City Council meeting, also includes three one-year extensions with staggering penalties for the team opting out.

Oakland public bank study postponed as questions arise over $100,000 proposal

The momentum for Oakland becoming only the second public bank in the entire country was slowed Tuesday when an Oakland City Council committee declined to support a feasibility study worth $100,000.

A majority of the Finance and Management Committee strongly questioned whether the proposal recommended by city staff was sufficient to conduct a thorough study that also includes additional information for a regional or countywide public bank.

The committee also said funding avenues for a public bank should be included in the city's upcoming budget deliberations that begin in earnest next month. Rather than move the item to the full council or register a no vote, the committee directed city staff to further study the proposal's scope of work in time for the June 13 finance committee meeting.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

San Leandro looks to ban flavored tobacco products, but falls short on menthol cigarettes

San Leandro Councilmember Lee Thomas
wants to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes 
within city limits.
The San Leandro City Council is set to take on the tobacco and vaping industries after its Rules Committee voted Monday to move legislation banning the sale of flavored tobacco products within city limits. The proposal includes flavored "juices" used in conjunction with vaping pens, whether or not they contain nicotine. A more controversial proposal to completely ban menthol cigarettes, however, was put on hold.

The full council is scheduled to discuss the proposed ordinance at its June 5 meeting. The legislation, first backed by San Leandro Councilmember Lee Thomas last November, also places strict penalties on retailer for non-compliance, including a 90-day suspension of the tobacco license for a second offense, and up to a five-year ban for a fifth violation. In addition, the ordinance establishes a minimum number of cigarillos to be sold at 15 per package.

Hayward City Council approves massive market rate-only downtown housing project

Lincoln Landing, a 476-unit market-rate housing development with 80,500 square feet of retail space was unanimously approved Tuesday night by the Hayward City Council.

The 11-acre project replaces the long-vacant Mervyn’s building on Foothill Boulevard includes the demolition of the office space, but retains the existing 579-stall parking structure. It also includes up to 11,000 square feet of open space with the housing portion of the project encompassing two six-story buildings containing studio-size apartments to three-bedroom units. However, none reserved for affordable housing. City official believe the development will spark commerce in Hayward’s struggling downtown, while retaining and attracting new residents.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Alameda County Supes appoint treasurer-tax collector, but some question his integrity

Henry Levy will be sworn-in as Alameda County's
next treasurer-tax collector sometime in May.
In the end the unions got their man. Following an hour-long deliberation, highlighted by some contention, including questions about the applicant's integrity, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors appointed Henry Levy as treasurer-tax collector, replacing the retired Donald White.

Levy, a long-time East Bay certified public accountant, received backing from Alameda County Supervisors Richard Valle, Nate Miley and Wilma Chan—arguably the board’s three most union-friendly officials. But the appointment was not unanimous. Supervisor Keith Carson voted no and Supervisor Scott Haggerty abstained after supporting the runner-up for the position, former Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison.

Monday, April 24, 2017

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

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

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

Hayward Task Force strongly recommends Council declare sanctuary city status

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

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

Friday, April 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

➤Oakland has $2.46 billion in unfunded liabilities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Thursday, April 20, 2017

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bonta's landmark bail reform bill passes Assembly committee

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 17, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf will seek second term

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

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

Friday, April 14, 2017

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

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

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

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

➤West Oakland rezoning and San Leandro is interested in parklets

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

Fight for next leader of California Democratic Party visits Alameda

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

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

Thursday, April 13, 2017

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Oakland councilmembers propose to reduce violent crime with new city department

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

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

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

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

Eden Health District escapes Chan's bid for dissolution

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

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

Monday, April 10, 2017

McElhaney, Reid propose Oakland city department to curb violence

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

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

Saturday, April 8, 2017

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

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

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

Friday, April 7, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Urban Shield opponents want Alameda County to pull funding

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

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

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

Thursday, April 6, 2017

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

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

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

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


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

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

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

No cause evictions nearly banned by Alameda City Council

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

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

Monday, April 3, 2017

Tony Thurmond announces run for state superintendent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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