Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Year in East Bay Politics: The wild and wacky: Let's Taco About It and Bill Quirk 'Jumps Around'

>>>>The state legislature decides in January that a new portrait of Assemblymember Bill Quirk would be a good idea for his 20th District website. The resulting creation, though, inparts vampire-like features to Quirk's face. Funny thing, according to his district staff, is the web designers thought the new photo looked good. By the way, the real Quirk is on the right.

●After Alameda Councilmember Jim Oddie failed in early April to deliver a majority vote that would have prohibited all no cause evictions, a renters activist sent him a terse email during the meeting. Oddie then read the email from dais with the stunned sender looking on.

>>>>Jan. 20 was a rough day for many East Bay progressives. But Assemblymember Rob Bonta coped with Trump's inauguration by tweeting a rainbow.

2017 Year in East Bay Politics: With 2018 election cycle ahead, candidates made early moves

It was not too early for a number of potential East Bay candidates to announce intentions to run next year, or, at least, begin to put out feelers. A number of statewide candidates from the region opened campaign accounts, including Richmond's Gayle McLaughlin (Lt. gov), Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (state superintendent), and Delaine Eastin (governor). Nine people currently covet Thurmond's 15th Assembly District seat next June. But the days of an overflowing primary ballot are over in the East Bay, with most moving elections to November. One of the last holdouts, Hayward, will make the move from June to November, giving the mayor and two councilmembers up for re-election an extra five months in office. But let's start with the governor's race where Eastin, who once represented the Fremont area in the state assembly and oversaw the state's schools, is one of five major candidates--and the only woman--hoping to replace Gov. Jerry Brown.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Renters at infamous Alameda apartments received evictions five days before Christmas

Assemblymember Rob Bonta, left, and Alameda
Councilmember Malia Vella, right, listen to
concerns Friday from tenants at the Bay View Apts.
"Everyday I open my door to check and see if there's a eviction notice," said Alameda renter Julia Balthasar. Just five days before Christmas, Balthasar found an unwanted holiday delivery--a 60-day eviction notice affixed to her front door, right next to a picture of Christmas tree she had placed there to celebrate the season.

Two other tenants at the infamous Bay View Apartments at 470 Central Avenue also received notices to evict last Wednesday. Over the past two years, the apartment building has become both the epicenter and symbol of Alameda's continuing housing crisis.

Desley Brooks is naughty, jury finds; awards $3.5m to Black Panther icon for injuries

Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks
Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks is one of the most notoriously feared elected officials in the East Bay. Her reputation, though, is growing at the expense of Oakland taxpayers after an Alameda County Superior Court jury Thursday found Brooks assaulted former Black Panther icon Elaine Brown at a well-known downtown restaurant in October 2015.

Friday, December 22, 2017

2017 Year in East Bay Politics Part IV - Oct-Dec: Oakland Strikes

As fall began to bleed into winter, everything seemed to go wrong for Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. The unions were already nipping at her heels with a campaign-style website  portraying her leadership in dire tones. An August raid by ICE agents in West Oakland, is later found to have been aided by Oakland Police. Did the police chief know her department was coordinating in a deportation case? Did Schaaf know beforehand? Then in early December a barrage of bad news hits the mayor's office within a 10-day period. First, 3,000 city workers, led by SEIU Local 1021, go on strike for seven day, in the meantime, slamming Schaaf at every opportunity. Uncertainty over the A's staying in Oakland returns during the same week, and ends with the untimely death of Schaaf's colleague across the bay, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. All the while, sprawling tent cities are visible all over the city. Progressives may not like Schaaf, but we start the last part of 2017 with another subject that angers lefties in the East Bay. 

2017 Year in East Bay Politics: Sports franchises and elected officials strike out

The Oakland Raiders are gone for Las Vegas. But, wait, they're still in town for another 2-3 years? So you're saying there's a chance? Probably not, but with the Warriors' new arena in San Francisco beginning to rise, the focus toward the last half of 2017 was on the Athletics, the only franchise saying it wanted to stay in Oakland. However, despite the team making good on its pledge to announce a preferred location for a new 35,000-seat ballpark, the choice of the Peralta site near Laney College was panned by officials and critics as too difficult to navigate Oakland and the state's regulatory maze. They may have ultimately been right, but in the short-term, it was a raggedy, but well-organized group of students and housing advocates who made the A's brain trust look like A-ball amateurs. But the year started, in a sense, as the beginning of the end for a new football stadium in Oakland. By late November, it was clear that Oakland and Alameda County officials were ready to learn from their mistakes and begin consolidating ownership of the Coliseum under the umbrella of the city.

2017 Year in East Bay Politics Part III - July-Sept: Fire Fight Ignites in Alameda

Controversy hit two historically quiet East Bay hamlets during the summer months. First, came Piedmont Mayor Jeff Wieler's Facebook postings and conversation that denigrated African Americans and the LGBT communities. Piedmonters called Wieler out for comments. He apologized but the rancor was too much for his council colleagues who urged him to resign. Tame stuff, however, as compared to Alameda where the fairly new city manager went to war with the island's hardest punchers, the Alameda Firefighters' union. City Manager Jill Keimach's then turned on some councilmembers by alleging they illegally interfered in her selection of a new fire chief. Names were called, ulterior motives alleged and an independent investigation was launched. Those finding are expected as early as next month, according to sources. But while we're in Alameda, July also marked the resumption of the two-year battle between renters and landlords and a surprising capitulation.

2017 Year in East Bay Politics: We grabbed Trump by the politics

It's difficult to imagine what the prevailing story line of politics in the East Bay would have been without the daily barrage of tweets and general insanity emanating from President Donald Trump in 2017. Much time and energy was expended everywhere chronicling his first year in office, including the East Bay where residents, councilmembers, state legislators, congressmembers, and even elected transportation officials took turns thwarting his policies.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

2017 Year in East Bay Politics: Part II: April-June: Richmond's Ellis loses Dem chair race

Heading into the spring, most a number of East Bay cities had already moved toward declaring sanctuary city status. Some began contemplating the next step: urging Congress to impeach Trump. But issues closer to home dominated the conversation. In Oakland, the mayor and police department was still dealing with the stench of the Celeste Guap police scandal. Oakland and Alameda County officials also took yet another hit from the civil grand jury in June. Meanwhile, up in Sacramento, Assemblyman Rob Bonta's ambitious bail reform bill stalls by the slimmest of margins. Richmond's Kimberly Ellis, who runs an upstart bid for California State Democratic Party chairperson, knows the feeling. She also falls excruciatingly short of winning. But we start first with State Sen. Steve Glazer. Let's just say he was a bad boy.

2017 Year in East Bay Political Quotes. 'Let's kick Trump's ass!'

"My friends’ first question is not why am I running for DA. The first question is 'have you lost your mind?'
--Oakland attorney Pamela Price, in June, announcing her candidacy to challenge Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley in 2018. Indeed, Price faces an uphill battle, but her early fundraising numbers proved positive.

2017 Year in East Bay Politics: Jan-Mar: Battle of Berkeley

East Bay residents didn't exactly head into the new year with hopes of prosperity and self-renewal. President-Elect Donald Trump's shadow was already darkening every door in the East Bay, especially those griped with fear in our large and diverse immigrants communities. In fact, Trump did not only overshadow every story on a daily basis at the national level, but also for the roughly 800,000 voters in Alameda County, many of which formed the spine for The Resistance.

As we kick off the annual Year in East Bay Politics in four parts, starting with Part I, you won't see much related to the region's political reactions to Trump. That's because the Trump story gets its own review on Friday. In addition, this year's review of East Bay politics includes the best, most biting quotes, Top 10 stories, the year in sports and local politics, and, let's just say the wild, wacky and cringe-worthy moments from the past 365 days, along with much more.

But first, let's start in Oakland, where the city's was still reeling from the 36 people who perished in the December 2016 Ghost Ship fire. As the calendar turned to 2017, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf was ready to make history, yet a few days later the city was reminded about its chronic problem with gun violence.

The Nation names freshman Rep. Ro Khanna rookie of the year

Rep. Ro Khanna wins high praise from the
progressive "The Nation" magazine.
Since even before his election to Congress and swearing-in last January, Rep. Ro Khanna has tried to burnish an exemplary progressive image. Progressives in his own congressional district were skeptical, and for good reason. Khanna sought to unseat a perfectly good progressive in Mike Honda and he did it with millions in campaign contributions from Silicon Valley leaders, moderates and even conservatives.

Should the doubters hold their tongue after a year of steadfast left wing ideology proffered by Khanna? In fact, the bible of progressive thought, The Nation, says yes. John Nichols, writing in this week's The Nation, named Khanna its "Most Valuable House Newcomer."

INSIDE THE EAST BAY: Kaplan pushes to keep her seat on Bay Area Air Quality board

◼Is Libby trying to give Kaplan the Schaaf?
◼Fremont councilmember's flippant defense
◼Assembly candidate could be risking union's wrath
◼Ellen Corbett's curiously busy lately.

Before Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan gained a seat on the nine-county Bay Area Air Quality Management District board (BAAQMD), the city had been without direct representation since the early 90s. The primary importance for East Bay residents is the district's help in overseeing and improving air quality in West Oakland, where asthma and respiratory ailments continue to be high. But Oakland stands to lose Kaplan's service after the Alameda County Conference of Mayors, which appoints Alameda County's four members to BAAMQD moved to change its bylaws to reserve the seats for mayors and exclude councilmembers.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

In a reversal, Alameda County approves adult-use cannabis sales in unincorporated areas

Tuesday's resolution will allow Alameda
County's two medical cannabis dispensaries
to seek state licenses for adult-use.
Unincorporated Alameda County's two medical cannabis dispensaries would be financially impacted if not allowed to sell recreational cannabis starting next month, said the Alameda County's Director of Community Development.

A majority of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday, and, in a reversal of a previous staff recommendation, voted to allow adult-use sales for its two current dispensaries.

Bereft of housing, Alameda City Council sinks 589-unit housing development for now

The Alameda City Council put on hold Tuesday
a  proposed 589-unit Encinal Terminals project
on the Northern Waterfront.
In a city that has long resisted meeting minimum state standards for the creation of new housing, the Alameda Council Tuesday night denied a 589-unit waterfront housing and retail development, at least, for the time being.

A portion of the development, which at 14 stories would be the tallest building in Alameda, also includes 79 affordable housing units for low-to-moderate incomes.

But the council returned the proposal back to the developer, Tim Lewis Communities, and city administration for revisions. Some councilmembers, though, questioned whether the proposal, named Encinal Terminals, was actually too ambitious for its own good and whether the city will receive a fair share of the profits.

Alameda County's first Mexican-American elected official, Bernie Morales, dies at 100

Bernie Morales, the first Mexican-American elected to public office in Alameda County history, died Monday. He was 100.

His passing marked a somber beginning to Tuesday morning's Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting. In addition, to Morales, the wife of appointed Alameda County Treasurer-Controller Henry Levy, who passed away earlier this month was also mourned, along with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

The meeting, the last of the year, was adjourned in memory of all three.

In 1964, Union City voters elected Morales to the city council. Two years later, Morales was appointed Union City mayor less than a decade after its incorporation. He would serve as mayor two of his four year on the council.

On Tuesday, Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle, himself, a former Union City councilmember, moved to adjourn the meeting in Morales' honor.

Lee, who passed suddenly on Dec. 12. was a long-time friend and neighbor of Supervisor Wilma Chan, she said.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Fremont mayor, vice mayor, admit to violating state campaign finance rules

The FPPC will decide this week if Fremont 
Mayor Lily Mei will pay a $1,406 fine for
violating campaign finance rules.
Fremont Mayor Lily Mei violated state election law after failing to report almost $24,000 in late campaign expenditures during the hard fought 2016 election, according to the state Fair Political Practices Commission. Mei, who upset incumbent mayor Bill Harrison last year, also failed to report more than $5,700 in contributions, in addition, to more than $11,000 in loans and contributions filed after various late reporting periods has passed. 

The FPPC is scheduled to approved a stipulated judgment against Mei's campaign on Dec. 21. The FPPC, though, found no effort on Mei's campaign to conceal the campaign finance errors, and could be subjected to a $1,406 penalty.

Friday, December 15, 2017

EBC AGENDA | DEC 15-21 | BERKELEY revisits police pepper spray policy; ALAMEDA land swap for 589 housing units; ALAMEDA COUNTY Coliseum sale talks; OAKLAND reboots


--BERKELEY-- Special council meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 6 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--MOVE TO REPEAL PEPPER SPRAY ORDINANCE-- Last September, the City Council approved authorization for the police department to include pepper spray under its use-of-force policy. Pepper spray had been prohibited under the 1997 city ordinance, but the outbreak of conflicts this year between protesters in Berkeley necessitated a discussion on the issue. Berkeley's Police Review Commission recommended on Oct. 25 for the City Council to revisit the issue, repeal the ordinance and reinstate the 1997 ordinance, due to the use of pepper spray as a health concern.

--ALAMEDA-- Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--598-UNITS AT NORTHERN WATERFRONT-- Alameda's Northern Waterfront project includes up to 589 housing units, including 79 affordable units. To make the Encinal Terminals project work, though, a supermajority of the council (four of five members) must approve a Public Trust Lands exchange. The waterfront transit-oriented development includes the city's nearly landlocked 6.4 acres at the center of the project. The developer is proposing to expand the Public Trust land with 7 acres of waterfront property, at no cost. The project includes a marina and 50,000 square feet of retail and commercial space.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Alameda County supervisors begin talks Tuesday to sell its half of Coliseum to Oakland

Alameda County officials are moving quickly toward a potential sale of its portion of the Coliseum complex to the City of Oakland.

Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi will recommend at next Tuesday morning's Board of Supervisors meeting that the county move to "expand discussions and negotiations" with Oakland city officials over not just the Coliseum proper, but the former Malibu Grand Prix lot on Coliseum Way, and the Raiders training facility in Alameda.

Hayward group contemplates recall campaign against firebrand school board member

Hayward school board member Luis Reynoso
has served since 2008.
One of the most controversial, if not colorful, elected officials in the entire East Bay resides on the Hayward school board. Dr. Luis Reynoso's political resume, however, includes a number of formers. He is a former candidate for the state assembly and Alameda County Board of Supervisors, and even a former member of the Republican Party (He's now registered No Party Preference).

Now, a local group calling itself C.L.A.S.S., that last year successfully got one of its candidates elected to the Hayward school board, is thinking about adding another former to Reynoso's name with a potential recall campaign, according to its Website. CLASS and Reynoso went toe-to-toe during the 2016 June campaign, in which, Reynoso won re-election.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

San Leandro's revenues have dipped over past six months, says city manager

San Leandro City Manager Chris Zapata
suggested Monday that the council revisit
pension reform in January.
After a few years of robust revenues, San Leandro's tax receipts have fallen short of expectations over the past six months, said City Manager Chris Zapata.

For roughly the past three years, San Leandro's revenue streams, including various successful tax-generating ballot measures, have bolstered its general fund, in part, leading to a boom in the city's capital improvement projects. San Leandro's economy, however, might be showing signs of regression.

Monday, December 11, 2017

How A's, Dave Kaval choked on Peralta site still eludes many

The Peralta Community College Board of
Trustees delivered a strong blow last week
to the A's plan for a new ballpark
 near Laney College.
In the early 2000s, a young and talented Oakland Athletics ball club appeared on the cusp of clearing a long pesky obstacle by finally upending the New York Yankees in the playoffs. Up to 2-0 in the series, the A's were in an advantageous position, that is, until Jeremy Giambi, a lumbering figure who is also the brother of the team's then-superstar Jason Giambi, seemingly forgot the most elemental of baseball acts. He didn't slide at home plate and was tagged out on a glorious play by Derek Jeter.

"Slide, Jeremy, slide!" is a phrase that curdles the blood of many A's fans, but the appearance of another unforced error last week, this one political, could have similarly painful ramifications for its loyal fans. 

Bonta and Wieckowski's holiday wish: Let's kick Trump's ass!

Assemblymember Rob Bonta has used fiery 
rhetoric against President Trump in the past.
Alameda County Democrats, led by Assemblymember Rob Bonta and State Sen. Bob Wieckowski, were in a festive holiday mood last week, except when it came to talk about President Donald Trump.

Bonta and Wieckowski, speaking at last Wednesday's monthly Alameda County Democratic Central Committee meeting in San Leandro, sent a message intended to whip up the gathering of progressives. The message was typical boilerplate--recapping the county Democrat's accomplishments, along with continued success in 2018.

Part of their future success, according to Bonta, apparently, includes giving Trump a swift kick in the rear. "Let's kick Trump's ass!" exclaimed Bonta, as party leaders cheered. Bonta has represented Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro in the assembly since 2012.

Friday, December 8, 2017

EBC AGENDA | DEC 8-14 | OAKLAND strike continues; 200-unit senior market-rate housing in HAYWARD; multiculturalism in SAN LEANDRO


--OAKLAND-- [MEETINGS CANCELLED DUE TO STRIKE] City Council committee meetings, Tuesday, Dec. 12, start at 9 a.m.

Finance & Management Committee, 9 a.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--PUBLIC SAFETY OT IN THE RED-- Oakland's overtime budget for police and fire is projected to be in the red by more than $38 million, according to a staff report. The 2017-18 fiscal year budget alloted only $14.8 million for overtime. The bulk of the increased overtime this year comes from OFD, projected to be $22.3 million, but the city only budgeted $1.2 million for the year, while setting aside $12.4 million for OPD. The police department's overtime, conversely, is projected to be $29.9 million. // Embattled Oakland City Auditor Brenda Roberts will provide the committee with the offic's annual report.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Chabot, Las Positas Colleges become sanctuary campuses

Chabot-Las Positas Community College Board
of Trustees voted Tuesday to declare its
campuses as sanctuaries for students.
After months of sidestepping the issue, the Chabot-Las Positas Community College Board of Trustees approved a pair of resolutions Tuesday declaring a sanctuary campus designation for each college. The board also directed its staff to explore a similar district-wide policy.

58 House Democrats considered impeaching Trump, but Swalwell, Khanna wasn't one of them

The White House said the 58 Democrats who 
supported President Trump's impeachment
were "extremists."
A procedural vote in the House Wednesday on whether to table discussion on the impeachment of President Donald Trump included support from Republicans and Democrats that effectively

A motion to table Texas Democratic Rep. Al Green's Article of Impeachment against President Donald Trump was supported Wednesday by House Republicans and Democrats, effectively ending the discussion for now.

A's strike out looking at Laney College ballpark site

A's management has long maintained there
is no "Plan B" if Laney plan strikes out.
The Oakland Athletics' dream of building an intimate downtown ballpark near Laney College may have been dashed Wednesday without the team ever stepping up to the plate in negotiations over the site with the community college board.

The Peralta Community College Board of Trustees Tuesday instructed its chancellor to scrap plans with the A's for the purchase of 15-acres its owns near Laney College, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Chan raises possibility of countywide ballot measure to combat homelessness

Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan
at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting
in Oakland.
Homelessness is so pervasive in Alameda County that the only long-term solution to the problem may be to ask voters to approve a bond measure, says Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan.

"There just isn't enough money to serve this county," Chan said during an agenda item at Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday to allocate $1.9 million for the unsheltered homeless.

Monday, December 4, 2017

3,000 Oakland city employees set to strike on Tuesday

Oakland is headed toward a work stoppage as more than 3,000 members of the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) Local 1021 and other city unions announced they will strike on Tuesday.

SEIU Local 1021 and the Oakland city administration have been in negotiation since the early spring. In recent months, SEIU Local 1021 representatives have alleged the city has committed unfair labor practices and its overreliance on temporary workers has not only impacted its members, but by extension, lowered the quality of life in Oakland.

Friday, December 1, 2017

EBC AGENDA | DEC 1-6 | BERKELEY Climate plan makes progress; ALAMEDA weighs-in on Israel-Palestine; OAKLAND labor strike cancels meetings


--OAKLAND-- [MEETINGS CANCELLED DUE TO LABOR NEGOTIATIONS] City Council committee meetings, Tuesday, Dec. 5, start at 9 a.m.

Finance & Management Committee, 9 a.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
--PUBLIC SAFETY OT IN THE RED-- Oakland's overtime budget for police and fire is projected to be in the red by more than $38 million, according to a staff report. The 2017-18 fiscal year budget alloted only $14.8 million for overtime. The bulk of the increased overtime this year comes from OFD, projected to be $22.3 million, but the city only budgeted $1.2 million for the year, while setting aside $12.4 million for OPD. The police department's overtime, conversely, is projected to be $29.9 million. // Embattled Oakland City Auditor Brenda Roberts will provide the committee with the offic's annual report.