Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Barbara Lee says Trump's plan to withdraw U.S. from Paris Climate Agreement is 'reckless'

East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee slammed President Donald Trump's reported decision to remove the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, a pact signed in 2015 that includes more than 150 countries seeking to reduce carbon emissions.

"Climate change presents the greatest threat humankind has ever known," Lee said Wednesday. "We simply cannot afford to let this president unravel the progress on climate change we've made as a nation and a global community.

Cannabis industry coming to Alameda?

Alameda is surrounded now by municipalities in Oakland and San Leandro that are taking full advantage of the highly-profitable cannabis industry in their cities, not to mention the potential windfall of new tax revenues that may follow.

Based on a council referral to be discussed next week, Alameda may be laying the groundwork, albeit belatedly, for cannabis businesses from dispensaries to cultivation sites to set up shop on the island. Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer will propose Tuesday night for the City Council to direct staff to begin studying the issue.

Oakland settles notorious police misconduct lawsuit for $1 million

Those involved in Oakland's notorious police misconduct scandal that included the alleged sexual abuse of a then-underage girl have either been fired, suspended, or charged with serious crimes. Now, it's the city's turn to pay for one of Oakland's darkest moments.

During a lengthy meeting that concluded just before 2 a.m, Wednesday morning, the Oakland City Council approved a settlement with Jasmine Abuslin for $989,000. The woman, known previously by her alias Celeste Guap, had sued the city for $66 million last year for violating her civil rights.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hayward school board applies pressure on City Council to become sanctuary city

The Hayward school board, and one pesky board member in particular, is adding pressure on the Hayward City Council to become a sanctuary ahead of their June 6 meeting on the subject.

The school board unanimously approved a resolution last week urging all levels of government in the state to become sanctuaries. Earlier this year, the Hayward school board voted to declare its schools "safe havens" for immigrants. In contrast, the city government has not broached the subject despite nearly every neighboring East Bay cities doing so over the past four months.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Alameda mayor trolls for votes from parents disgruntled over school closing

Elected officials don't usually weigh-in on controversial subject matter under the purview of another group of  officials within the same city. It's uncommon and almost verboten in local politics. Yet, Alameda’s unconventional Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer did so last week during a highly-charged Alameda school board on the indefinite closing an elementary school.

The controversy at Lum Elementary is a somewhat uniquely Alameda dispute. Last month, engineers concluded the soil at the school, located near the South Shore shopping center, was in danger of liquefaction in the event of an earthquake measured 6.8 or greater on the Richter Scale.

Interest builds for Thurmond's open Assembly seat

A growing number of politicos in the 15th Assembly District are realizing the race next year to replace Tony Thurmond is going to be a wide-open affair. And the list of potential candidate is growing by the weeks.

Oakland District 1 Councilmember Dan Kalb and Richmond Councilmember Jovanka Beckles were the first in after Thurmond announced in April that he will run for state superintendent of public instruction. Thurmond was first elected to the assembly seat roughly covering Richmond, Berkeley and North Oakland in 2014.

Haggerty: Alameda County is not helping transportation sales tax by buying cars from elsewhere

Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty says its purchasing policies, especially when it comes to big-ticket items such as automobiles, are undercutting its own ability to fund Measure BB, the countywide one-cent transportation sales tax used to rebuild the East Bay's roads.

At issue was an item on the Board of Supervisor’s agenda Tuesday morning asking approval for the purchase of an electric car to be used by the county's Building Maintenance Department. The cost of the vehicle, a Nissan Leaf, is $24,310.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Barbara Lee for President? Town hall says yes!

East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee's town hall meetings are usually lovefests between the popular progressive congressmember and her adoring constituents. But last Sunday at a town hall featuring Watergate-era White House counsel John Dean, the crowd in Berkeley cheered wildly after Lee was asked to consider running for president in 2020.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Bonta, Thurmond, Quirk join new Assembly Progressive Caucus

Last January, when a groundswell of progressive angst coarsed through the veins of local activists hoping to secure spots as delegates to last weekend's state convention, many in the East Bay were surprised to learn the most left-leaning state party in the nation didn't even have a dedicated progressive caucus. 

Self-described Berniecrats and Bernie bros subsequently made significant gains during the January delegate elections, including a surprising sweep of East Bay Assemblymembers Rob Bonta district, despite none having his endorsement. Assembly Democrats obviously saw the writing on the wall.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Richmond’s Kimberly Ellis falls just short of taking over the California Democratic Party

Richmond resident Kimberly Ellis narrowly
lost Saturday's race for California Democratic
Party chair by only 60 votes.
The race for the future of the California Democratic Party amounted to two choices: stick with the status quo that has served the state party extremely well over the past few decades or change course and back the type of progressive purity advanced over the past year by Sen. Bernie Sanders. Over the weekend, at the party’s convention in Sacramento, Democrats supported the establishment, but only barely.

Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair Eric Bauman, the runaway early favorite, narrowly beat the upstart Berniecrat Kimberly Ellis by just 60 votes out of nearly 3,000 votes cast by party delegates. The number of votes matched the amount of attention and energy party faithful had unleashed over the chair’s race to replace long-time John Burton. There were roughly 3,300 total voting delegates at the annual convention.

On Sunday morning, Ellis suggested to supporters that her campaign would not concede the election and also consult lawyers, the Los Angeles Times reported. Absent any accounts of wrongdoing in the voting process, it is likely Bauman’s victory will stand. The state party, for instance, has no rules in its bylaws for a recount.

The wave of progressive discontent with the Democratic Party, meanwhile, took Ellis, a previously unknown former head of the women’s political group Emerge California, to a near takeover of the state party, arguably the most powerful in the nation.

Labor and activists groups reacted with disappointment over Ellis’ defeat. It was especially stinging after rumors circulated at the convention and on social media that Ellis was leading the vote after 60 percent of votes were counted. The powerful California Nurses Association, which had strongly backed Sanders during the presidential campaign and Ellis’ run for party chair, appeared ready for victory. Within the hour, though, came news of Bauman’s slim victory.

Some disgruntled union members suggested wrongdoing in the election process. According to the Los Angeles Times, some nurses said voters should be required to provide photo identification before voting. However, this idea is abhorred among Democrats not only in California, but across the country, who say Republicans used the requirement to disenfranchise poor and minority voters.

California Republican Party Chair Jim Brulte reacted with glee Sunday in a press release that said state Democrats were hypocrites. “Democrats think voter identification laws are important for their party elections, but don’t think they are good enough for the California voters,” said Brulte.

Outgoing state Democratic Chair John Burton also gave ammunition for conservatives and online right-wing web sites after he repeated cursed into open mics during several different occasions over the weekend. During one crude instance, Burton, known for his bawdy vocabulary, led a chant of “Fuck Donald Trump,” while double-pumping his middle fingers in the air.

Friday, May 19, 2017

EBC AGENDA | May 19-25 | BARBARA LEE town hall with Watergate counsel - HAYWARD keeps drought restrictions- Electric buses - East Bay goes to state Dem Convention

The California Democratic Convention is like Comic-Con for political nerds. The big difference being dudes dressed as Chewbacca aren't scheming to backstab opponents waving a wand and donning Harry Potter glasses in the race for president of the geek senate.

When state Democrats assemble in Sacramento this weekend there will be a lot of anti-Trump trash talk peppered in convention speeches, but behind-the-scenes the skullduggery will pit local leaders against each other in advance of 2018 elections.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Oakland City Council may hear resolution in June seeking possible impeachment of Trump

Three Oakland elected officials introduced a resolution Thursday calling for Congress to investigate all impeachable offense alleged of President Donald Trump.

Eden Health District taps former St. Rose executive as next CEO

Michael Mahoney takes over for retiring Eden
Health District CEO Dev Mahadevan in June.
The Eden Health District Board of Directors on Wednesday named former St. Rose Hospital executive Michael Mahoney to be its next CEO. He replaces long-time CEO Dev Mahadevan, who announced his retirement in March.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Citing concerns of Vietnamese-American groups, veterans; Bonta pulls bill related to communists

Assemblymember Rob Bonta says AB 22
was intended to clean-up language in state
law long deemed unconstitutional.
A bill that would have stricken a Cold War-era reference in state law that allows for the firing of a state employee for their membership in the Communist Party was pulled from consideration Wednesday by its author, East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta.

Alameda City Council approves Just Cause tenant protections; targets actions by rogue landlord

Supporters for Just Cause at an Alameda City
Council meeting on Tuesday night.
Alameda is the latest Bay Area city to add Just Cause protections that restrict landlords from evicting renters without a specific reason. The Alameda City Council voted, 3-2, early Wednesday morning to amend its rent stabilization ordinance, passed more than a year ago, to include the new protections backed by renters.

The council also added language in the ordinance intended to counteract moves by the owner of the infamous Bay View Apartments at 470 Central Avenue. In May, the owner again issued 60-day notices to a group of tenants. Under the amended ordinance, the notices to evict are null and void.

Bonta bail reform bill may cost ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’

Assemblymember Rob Bonta during a Public
Safety Committee hearing in April.
A legislative analysis of East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta’s widely-watched bail reform bill estimates its costs will run in the “hundreds of millions of dollars” in state reimbursements for counties to establish and administer the proposed pretrial services agency.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Alameda may look into restrictions on bars, restaurants providing drinking straws

The proposal "straws on request" ordinance is
similar to the "water on request" restrictions
employed during the last drought.
During the depths of the most recent drought, many municipalities enacted restrictions on water use, including one somewhat symbolic method of conservation, restaurants giving patrons a glass of water only upon request.

Now, an Alameda grassroots environmental group is using a similar method to prohibit bars and restaurants from handing out drinking straws to customers unless asked.

Ro Khanna takes heat for opposing establishment Dems, while supporting Nancy Pelosi

Rep. Ro Khanna's attempt to lead a progressive
revolution is attracting some skeptics.
Last week, Rep. Ro Khanna joined, with some fanfare, a new progressive group that seeks to challenge so-called "establishment Democrats." But Khanna, a freshman elected last November, is taking some heat on social media for his recalcitrance in challenging to the most establishment Democrat of them all, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Friday, May 12, 2017

EBC AGENDA - May 12-18 - ALAMEDA to approve Just Cause - Proposed new OAKLAND department comes to full council


Here's your highlights for a big week in East Bay politics:
➤Alameda appears to be next up for Bay Area cities offering Just Cause protections for renters.

➤Oakland's proposed Violence Prevention Department comes to the full City Council.

➤San Leandro begins work on likely budget shortfall.

➤Embattled Eden Health District makes moves.

Glazer resigns from committee chair at behest of Senate leader

State Sen. Steve Glazer was the only Democrat
in the state Senate to vote against the $52
billion gas tax in April.
East Bay State Sen. Steve Glazer offered his resignation as chair of the state Senate Governmental Organization Committee, according to a letter posted Friday afternoon on his Twitter account. The move was prompted by state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Ro Khanna, once bankrolled by Silicon Valley elites, now joins anti-establishment group

Ro Khanna, left, with state Lt. Gov. Gavin
Newsom last October in Cupertino.
Rep. Ro Khanna is vowing to take over the progressive flank of the Democratic Party by joining a group whose sole intention is to bring down establishment Democrats in Congress.

The decision to become the first sitting member of the House to join the "Justice Democrats" caucus may make Khanna unpopular among his fellow Democrats.

It may also not pass muster with the fact Khanna's two campaigns for the 17th Congressional District were backed by some of the most powerful new corporatists in the country.

'The time for Just Cause is now': Alameda is poised to enact stronger tenant protections

Alameda renters rallying last fall for greater
tenant protections.
During a Alameda City Council meeting in April, island renters thought they were nearing approval for one of their top objectives over the past two years, enacting Just Cause eviction protections for tenants in Alameda. It didn't happen after Councilmember Jim Oddie, believed to be on of three votes needed for passage, pulled back from the proposal that would allow landlords to evict tenants only for transgressions such as non-payment of rent and nuisance violations.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hayward City Council ‘bummed’ by ballooning budget deficit

Hayward's proposed budget includes adding
6.6 full-time employees for staffing the new
downtown library.
Hayward City Manager Kelly McAdoo didn’t want the City Council to ask many questions Tuesday night after they learned about the fiscal health of the city. Save it for when the council meets for an in-depth discussion on May 20, she urged. But, all the council needed to know was one revealing fact: Hayward’s budget deficit for the next fiscal year is $10.4 million.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Controversial Alameda County EMS contract nears 3-year contract extension, but future relationship is doubtful

Texas-based Paramedics Plus won a controversial
contract for Alameda County EMS services in
2010, but has financially struggled ever since.
The three-year extension of a controversial Alameda County contract for emergency ambulance services was moved forward by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, but not without both sides recognizing the relationship’s future is doubtful.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors gave direction to staff to continue negotiations with the EMS provider Paramedics Plus to extend the contract through June 2020, along with a number of cost-cutting features for the health care vendor. Supervisor Keith Carson voted no and Supervisor Nate Miley recused himself.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Rob Bonta tries to erase vestiges of Red Scare from state law

Assemblymember Rob Bonta
Being a member of the Communist Party can get you terminated from a state job, according to existing California law.

A bill authored by East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta remove from state law a provision allowing a public employee's membership in the Communist Party to be grounds for termination.

The Bernie Sanders of the East Bay is exploring run for Lt. Gov.

Richmond Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin
formed an exploratory committee for state
lieutenant governor.
As a Richmond mayor and councilmember Gayle McLaughlin railed against Chevron, one of the most powerful corporations in the world, for its environmental indecency, sought to protect residents from the cold grip of home foreclosures by Big Banks through eminent domain and backed working people and immigrants at every turn by raising the city's minimum wage and becoming a sanctuary city.

Friday, May 5, 2017

EBC AGENDA -- May 5-11 -- AC TRANSIT's school bus controversy continues - Water rates going up? - 'Compassionate' UNION CITY - More HAYWARD Housing

After Tuesday night in Union City it's likely the Hayward City Council will be sitting quite alone when it comes to taking no official stance toward President Trump's immigration rhetoric and policies. Of course, what were really talking about is Hayward's reluctance to declare sanctuary city status or even using the less explosive term of "compassionate city."

This Tuesday, the City Council in Union City is set to receive a report on the issue from its Human Relations Commission. The proposed resolution recommends the council declare it a compassionate city. However, the language in the resolution is basically the same as other East Bay sanctuary cities.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Richmond Councilmember Jovanka Beckles announces run for open 15th Assembly District

Richmond Councilmember Jovanka Beckles
says her campaign for the 15th Assembly
District will not accept corporate donations.
With 15th District Assemblymember Tony Thurmond running for state superintendent next year, Richmond Councilmember Jovanka Beckles is the first to officially announce a campaign to be his replacement in the Richmond, Berkeley, and Oakland Hills assembly seat.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Alameda Healthcare District board fills two open seats

Alameda Healthcare District board members
Gayle Godfrey Codiga and Dennis Popalardo
being sworn-in Wednesday evening.
The Alameda Healthcare District Board of Directors is back at full strength. After a pair of elected board members resigned earlier this year, the remaining members appointed Gayle Godfrey Codiga and Dennis Popalardo to the board at a special meeting Wednesday evening.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Oakland City Council shakes up Schaaf's soda tax allocation

Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks said 
Mayor Libby Schaaf's soda tax budget ploy was
"dishonorable and desperate" on Tuesday..
Opposition among Oakland City Council members, and the public, toward Mayor Libby Schaaf’s budget proposal to use soda tax revenues to help close the city’s funding gap may have forced her Tuesday night to change her mind.

Schaaf appeared to concede the point offered by Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan, Anne Campbell Washington and Desley Brooks that the use of Measure HH soda tax dollars for filling budget gaps is not in the “spirit” of the initiative widely approved last November by Oakland voters.

Special Election: Hayward school parcel tax renewal wins

An $88 annual school parcel tax was approved by Hayward voters in Tuesday's special election.

The vote-by-mail-only ballot for Measure A received 70 percent support, according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters. A two-thirds majority of the vote was needed for passage.