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 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 dispensary 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.

Alameda Councilman says Impeachment march gives Congress confidence to oust President Trump

Alameda Councilmember Jim Oddie addressing marchers in San Francisco July 2 in support of impeaching President Donald Trump. PHOTOS/Zac Goldstein

By Keegan Tatum and Zac Goldstein 

As an estimated 2,000 people began their march down the Embarcadero, an East Bay city councilmember laid out the path towards achieving their collective goal: impeaching President Donald Trump.

Jim Oddie said other localities must repeat what he successfully pushed for in Alameda – the passing of a resolution calling for the impeachment of the president.

When our representatives in Congress “receive the report from the special investigators and special prosecutor, they'll know that the people in their communities have their backs,” Oddie said.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Alameda signature-gatherers hired by landlords could face criminal charges

The city of Alameda has received 51 affidavits alleging signature-gatherers paid by local landlords illegally misrepresented a proposed ballot measure intended to rollback recently-approved just cause tenant protections. The city is taking the charges seriously. According to a statement Tuesday from the city, it is consulting with the Alameda County District Attorney's office to discern whether any crimes have been committed.

The ballot initiative at the center of the complaints gained more than 7,300 signatures and was submitted last week to the clerk's office for authentication. Just 4,808 valid signatures are needed to place the initiative on a future ballot.

Oakland council committee moves to cool OPD coordination with ICE

Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan
addressing the public safety committee
on Tuesday night.
An Oakland City Council committee backed an ordinance Tuesday night that revokes authority previously given to the city administrator for entering agreements with the U.S. Immigration, Customs and Enforcement (ICE).

"It sends a strong message and brings peace of mind to members of our community," said Councilmember Abel Guillen, who also sits on the city council's public safety committee.

Monday, July 10, 2017

City Council support for cannabis in Alameda is building

Alameda Mayor Tish Herrera Spencer
The push for cannabis dispensaries and cultivation facilities in recent years in Oakland and San Leandro has long eluded Alameda where a moratorium has made the burgeoning industry a non-starter in local politics. That appears to be changing and quickly after the Alameda City Council laid at a short timeline that will soon begin the debate over dispensaries as early as September.

Ro Khanna blames his staff for Kimberly Ellis mishap

Rep. Ro Khanna
Rep. Eric Swalwell understood the fairly simple task last May of authorizing a proxy to place his vote for California Democratic Party chair candidate Kimberly Ellis. But neighboring Congressman Ro Khanna appeared flummoxed by the process.

Ellis, whose underdog campaign captured the imagination of progressives, came up short in her bid for party chair by just 62 votes. Her campaign issued an official challenge of the result last month leading to the disclosure of ballots and 220, which are under further examination.

Friday, July 7, 2017

EBC AGENDA | July 7-13 | OAKLAND's border wall plan; ALAMEDA COUNTY to expand Laura's Law; KAPLAN wants to revoke ICE deal; ARREGUIN holds state of the city

The extended Fourth of July weekend is behind us, although many East Bay politicos and government workers are likely looking ahead to the annual August Recess, which shuts down local government for a month and forces yours truly to scramble for something to write about.

Meanwhile another busy week in East Bay government returns and one Oakland politician was certainly not taking the holiday break sitting down. On Tuesday, Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan has not one, but three quite significant pieces of legislation to unveil in committee. That kind of political panache might make some people suspect she's running for something next year.

Here's your weekly highlights:
➤Big week in Oakland: Trump border wall ordinance, gender-neutral bathrooms at City Hall, revoking its ICE agreement and owner-occupancy rules.

➤Alameda County Supervisors look to expand the controversial mental health law from pilot to full implementation.

➤Supervisor Richard Valle wants to convene a surveillance workgroup and cultivation and dispensaries in unincorporated Alameda County come closer to expansion.

➤Hayward works on its Downtown Specific Plan

➤Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin hold his first state of the city on Monday night.

Nadia Lockyer arrested for abusing Bill Lockyer

Bill and Nadia Lockyer
Former Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer, whose brief tenure ended after she resigned due to drug and alcohol addiction, was arrested Thursday in Tuolomne County for spousal abuse. according to the Union Democrat. Nadia Lockyer is married to Bill Lockyer, the former state attorney general and treasurer.

Bill Lockyer, who retired from statewide office in 2015, suffered minor injuries, according to the report.

Ro Khanna endorsed Kimberly Ellis for state party chair, but didn't vote for her

Rep. Ro Khanna
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom last month famously announced support for both candidates in the hard-fought state Democratic Party chair race. But in the aftermath of the contentious campaign won by Los Angeles Democratic Party Chair Eric Bauman over the progressive Richmond upstart Kimberly Ellis, it was later learned that Newsom didn't cast a ballot. Neither did Sen. Kamala Harris.

Bauman defeated Ellis by just 62 votes out of more than 3,000 cast by party delegates last month. According to ballots currently being examined by Ellis' campaign, it turns out the tally should have been 61 votes.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

San Leandro tenant relocation payment ordinance stymied, sent back to Rules Committee

For the second time in as many weeks, a proposed tenant relocation payment program in San Leandro has failed to move forward. The San Leandro City Council sent back to committee, 5-2, Monday night a second iteration of the the program intended to compensate renters who are evicted through owner-initiated relocations.

The council previously voted, 6-1, on June 19 to support a tenant relocation payment ordinance requiring landlords to pay tenants three times the current Fair Market Rates published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It also caps payments at $10,000 and allows only a single $1,000 additional payment for tenants with minors or seniors. The ordinance also sets a threshold for landlords to pay relocation fees if they intend to raise rents by more than 12 percent during a given year.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


House of Representatives
13th District (Oakland-Berkeley-Alameda-San Leandro)
*Barbara Lee-D, congressmember

15th District (Hayward-Fremont-Tri Valley)
*Eric Swalwell-D, congressmember

17th District (Fremont-San Jose-Cupertino)
➠Filed Intent
Ron Cohen-R, certified public accountant
*Ro Khanna-D, congressmember
Khahn Tran-D, Alum Rock school board member

State Assembly
15th District (North Oakland-Berkeley)
➠Filed Intent
Judy Appel, Berkeley school board member
Jovanka Beckles-D, Richmond councilmember
Dan Kalb-D, Oakland councilmember
Andy Katz-D, EBMUD board director
Buffy Wicks-D, political consultant
➠Showing Interest
Ben Bartlett, Berkeley councilmember
Dianne Martinez, Emeryville mayor
Jean Quan, former Oakland mayor

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Sheriff Ahern remains steadfast in his stance on Alameda County's immigration practices

Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern at
a town hall Friday evening in Cherryland.
Activists at a town hall Friday in Cherryland shouted down Alameda County Gregory Ahern, jeered, hissed and booed him over his department's immigration policies. "I believe some people should be deported," insisted Ahern.

The town hall organized by the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union attracted more than 200 to a gymnasium in unincorporated Alameda County. Nearly a dozen sheriff's deputies surrounded the audience during the 90 minute conversation that included discussions between Ahern, members of the ACLU and public speakers.

Ahern repeatedly insisted that his department follows the rule of law when it comes to immigration law and coordination with the U.S. Immigration, Customs and Enforcement. Alameda County and many of its cities have declared themselves sanctuary cities.