Thursday, November 30, 2017

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

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

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

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

Hayward elected officials voice strong support for Urban Shield

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

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

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

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

Swalwell and Trump finally agree on something

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

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

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

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

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

Khanna gets into a spat with FCC Chair over Net Neutrality

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

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

SEIU files suit against Oakland for violation of City Charter

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

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

Monday, November 27, 2017

Khanna has first piece of legislation signed into law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 24, 2017

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


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

Thursday, November 23, 2017


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

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 17, 2017

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


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

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

Hayward's Dobbs saga ends with dropped lawsuit

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

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

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

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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

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

Swalwell probes Sessions on Carter Page, WikiLeaks

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

Friday, November 10, 2017

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 9, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bonta hopes Trump continues to be successful at failure

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

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

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

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

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

Repayment of federal loan is hampering proposed San Leandro dispensary permit

The fate of a San Leandro medical cannabis dispensary may hinge on the repayment of a federal loan previously used to purchase the building where the group intends to open its business sometime next year.

The San Leandro Board of Zoning Adjustments reaffirmed its vote last Thursday to pave the way for the Davis Street Wellness Center dispensary to open in a portion of what is presently the Davis Street Family Resource Center on Teagarden Street.

Monday, November 6, 2017

EBC AGENDA | NOV 6-9 | Housing dominates City Halls across the East Bay; ALAMEDA COUNTY begins issuing housing bonds; ALAMEDA pot ordinance


--SAN LEANDRO-- Regular council meeting, NoV. 6, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--CITY-OWNED REAL ESTATE DEAL-- Town Hall Square, the roughly 1.5 acres plot of undeveloped land bounded by East 14th, Hays, Davis Streets in Downtown San Leandro is slated to be sold to a developer for $2.1 million. The vision for Town Hall Square includes 120 housing units within a four story building above retail. Plans for the site, though, have laid dormant since at least 2004 due to the panoply of separately-owned properties. Three properties remain owned by non-city entities including a building belonging to Union Bank. Don't expect the development to sprout anytime soon, though. The developer plans to "wait out" Union Bank's lease that runs through 2022.

--OAKLAND-- Regular council meeting, Nov. 7, 5:30 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--HOUSING REHAB EXEMPTIONS MORATORIUM-- "This legislation would impose a moratorium of approximately 180 days, beginning October 20, 2017, on new petitions for the substantial rehabilitation exemption under the City of Oakland's Residential Rent Adjustment Ordinance... The purpose of the exemption is to encourage private investment in deteriorated residential units in Oakland. However, numerous residents have recently complained to the Oakland City Council and Housing, Residential Rent and Relocation Board that their rents will increase to unaffordable levels if recent petitions filed for the substantial rehabilitation exemption are granted and that this will lead to displacement."

--OAK KNOLL PROJECT-- Expect the union faithful come out in droves Tuesday evening to oppose the Oak Knoll project, a 935-unit housing development in the Oakland Hills. Labor leaders oppose the project after the developer SunCal shut out union workers. On Monday, a coalition of East Bay labor groups delivered a petition with 1,600 signatures to the mayor's office calling for the city to reject the proposal.

➤Rules Committee meeting, Thursday, Nov. 9, 10:45 a.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]

Thursday, November 2, 2017


Rebecca Kaplan is going to sweep into the
AD15 race late and take it.
➤I think its absolutely useless to do an analysis of the 15th Assembly District's current large field of candidates because the person who will sworn-in December 2018 is even in the race yet. I think sometime early next year, Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan will enter the race and gain momentum and media attention that nobody in the current field will have attained. There's a reason why there is so many candidates to replace Tony Thurmond, because every one that has entered the race has failed to move the needle. This only entices others to assess the field and figure they too have as good a shot as anyone else. That ends with Kaplan.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


By the looks of it, Alameda Mayor Trish
might be running for re-election against
the entire City Council.

➤I think after what the East Bay Times and columnist Daniel Borenstein pulled with the Alameda City Council and city manager interference story, you should assume every story in that paper is Fake News or contains strains of lies and inaccuracies. Borenstein wrote a flimsy column alleging serious wrongdoing by one Alameda councilmember without offering any evidence, and then penned an unsigned editorial the next day calling for that person and another councilmember to be removed from office. The whole thing was so amateur. To me, these two pieces amount to Borenstein hinting he's about to retire. He's better than this.