Thursday, February 23, 2017

Alameda City Council to take up resolution calling for Trump's impeachment

Rosemary Jordan, a member of
Alameda4Impeachment, addressing the
Alameda City Council last Tuesday.
When a few members of the public this week pressed the Alameda City Council to pass a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Trump, its likelihood seemed pie-in-the-sky.

But, according to a Alameda City Council agenda posted Thursday evening, Councilmembers Malia Vella and Jim Oddie will offer a referral at the Mar. 7 meeting asking their colleagues to approve a resolution urging Congress to impeach the president.

Alameda County updates mobile home rent ordinance; increases will still outpace nearby cities

A single-wide mobile home located on
Castro Valley Boulevard.
During a prolonged housing affordability crisis in the East Bay, mobile home parks have been a low-cost option for many residents, especially seniors. But in relative terms, the monthly rental rates for mobile home owners in unincorporated Alameda County is still outpacing stricter controls in nearby cities.

It's a trend that may continue after the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to update its rent stabilization ordinance to include a drop in maximum annual percentage increases, but also grants full vacancy decontrol to park owners. The latter gives park owners the ability to offer rental plot at a market rate.

Alameda halts new investments with Wells Fargo

Alameda uses Wells Fargo for its operating
accounts and owns three securities.
Wells Fargo has been under fire from state legislatures, including California, and numerous cities, namely Seattle, for it role in a systemic bank account scandal affecting millions of its own customers. The Alameda City Council is poised to join the chorus against the banking giants after it unanimously voted early Wednesday morning to immediately stop any new investments with Wells Fargo while the city staff and city treasurer study a complete divestment.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Khanna offers strategy for Democratic Party’s success, but hundreds shut out of town hall

Rep. Ro Khanna apologizing to constituents
who were unable to hear him speak Wednesday
night at Ohlone College in Fremont.
While congressmembers, particularly Republicans, are being harangued by constituents at town halls across the country, Rep. Ro Khanna’s first in Fremont, conversely, sounded more like an opportunity for the freshman lawmaker to vent about the current state of the Democratic Party.

Khanna’s thoughts on defending net neutrality, curtailing the influence of money in politics, Russian influence in the last election, Trump’s executive orders, and Supreme County nominee Neil Gorsuch, were all met with enthusiasm by the overflow crowd at Ohlone College Wednesday night.

Barbara Lee wants Steve Bannon off National Security Council

Rep. Barbara Lee voiced displeasure with Steve 
Bannon's appointment at a town hall Saturday.
East Bay Rep. Barbara introduced a House bill Tuesday that seeks to remove Steve Bannon, President Trump’s chief political strategist, from his position on the National Security Council.

“Steve Bannon’s bigoted ideology threatens the security of our nation and our international standing. As a permanent member of the National Security Council, Steve Bannon not only politicizes our national security--he endangers it," said Lee.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Despite threat of losing federal funding, San Leandro declares sanctuary city status

San Leandro recieves more than $9 million
in federal funding, but Trump's threat to defund
sanctuary cities did not make the council pause.
San Leandro became the fifth sanctuary city in Alameda County and the third local municipality to embrace a bulwark against President Trump’s immigration policies in the past month. The San Leandro City Council unanimously declared itself a sanctuary city Tuesday night after more than three hours of public testimony from immigrants, high school students, and progressive activist, some offering emotional stories filled with disillusionment and fear.

A push in Alameda for Trump's impeachment

The view of Alameda as a quiet, apolitical bedroom hamlet in the East Bay has changed rapidly in just the last year. A homegrown group of housing advocates stormed City Hall more than a year with tactics usually employed in progressive cities like nearby Oakland and Berkeley.

A community-based push for sanctuary city status last month and a nationally reported turnout of nearly 400 residents on short notice to protest President Trump's Muslim travel ban, may represent a paradigm shift in how the East Bay views politics in Alameda.

Bonta wants to create blue-ribbon panel to study tuition-free college

Assemblymember Rob Bonta's bill would call
for a nine-member commission to propose a
plan for tuition-free college by 2019.
More than never, California colleges and universities are facing increasing demand from potential students and an education system that is buckling under the financial demand. East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta believes the solution is tuition-free college for all, regardless of income.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Barbara Lee tells town hall that Dems are 'building the case' for Trump's impeachment

Rep. Barbara Lee's town hall last Saturday
was attended by an estimated 1,500 people.
When a question about impeaching President Donald Trump was posed during a town hall last weekend hosted by Rep. Barbara Lee in Oakland, the packed auditorium of an estimated 1,500 constituents rose to their feet in wild applause.

The entire panel on hand to discuss the future of the Affordable Care Care also offered a standing ovation to the suggestion, including Lee, and Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan. “I knew given all the phone calls I’ve been getting this would be a question I would be getting," Lee quipped.

Friday, February 17, 2017

San Leandro Times published letter calling Civil Rights hero Fred Korematsu a criminal

Fred Korematsu resisted orders to be interned during
World War II and was arrested in San Leandro.
San Leandro’s ubiquitous weekly newspaper, the San Leandro Times, published a letter to editor this week that calls Civil Rights icon Fred Korematsu a criminal for resisting internment during World War II. In addition, the author says, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was justified.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

San Leandro set to join list of sanctuary cities in the East Bay

The San Leandro City Council is set to join
Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, and Emeryville
as sanctuary cities in the East Bay.
Next week, San Leandro is set to join a growing list of sanctuary cities in the East Bay. The San Leandro City Council, acquiescing to growing demand in the highly diverse community to declare opposition to President Trump's immigration policies, is scheduled to discuss the issue next Tuesday.

Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco all reaffirmed existing sanctuary city policies earlier this year in an effort to push back at Trump's heated rhetoric against immigrants. Subsequently, city councils in Alameda, Emeryville, and Richmond have approved various versions of sanctuary status.

Immigrants in Alameda County are disenrolling from services, kids not attending school

Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle
represents numerous immigrant populations
in District 2. PHOTO/Matt Santos
A sense of panic within immigrant communities in Alameda County is pushing residents to discontinue accessing county social services due to fears their personal information will lead to deportations. High absenteeism among immigrant students is also resulting from uncertainty over President Trump’s immigration policies and proposals, according to an ad hoc committee on immigrant and refugee rights led Thursday by Alameda County Supervisors Wilma Chan and Richard Valle.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Warriors aversion to paying Oracle Arena debt is unchanged

Alameda County supervisors posing with the
Warriors NBA championship trophy in 2015.
Last month, the Golden State Warriors broke ground on a new waterfront arena in San Francisco. But before they make the move across the bay, Alameda County officials expect the Warriors to remedy roughly $50 million in debt owed on Oracle Arena.

With the Warriors now almost certain to pull up its roots in Oakland, questions surrounding the remaining debt on the 1996 remodel of the arena have been rekindled.

Swalwell questions whether Trump is loyal to U.S. or Russia

Rep. Eric Swalwell, right, asked whether 
President Trump is "with us or with Russia?"
During the early stages of the Trump presidency, House Democrats led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have used East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell as a flamethrower against the new president.

The gambit, if intended to bait President Trump into a war of words (i.e Twitter war) hasn't yet occurred. But on Tuesday Swalwell unleashed his most unkindest cut of all when he questioned Trump's patriotism: Is Trump working on behalf of Russia or the American people?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Hayward school district's spring special election will cost $600k

Hayward school trustees Annette Walker and
Lisa Brunner during a press conference last year.
Both voted to put a $88 parcel tax measure 
on the special election ballot this May.
A Hayward school parcel tax that has generated more than $11 million since its passage four years ago is due to sunset at the end of June. But the cost of renewing the parcel tax will be costly in itself.

Last month, the Hayward school board narrowly voted to approve a special election set for May 2 that will cost taxpayers $600,000 to administer. The election will by vote-by-mail only with ballots arriving in mailbox sometime around the beginning of April.

Alameda school trustee Solana Henneberry passes away at age 44

Alameda School Board Trustee Solana
Henneberry was first elected in 2014.
Alameda School Board Trustee Solana Henneberry passed away Tuesday from breast cancer. She was 44.

Henneberry won her first-term on the Alameda Unified School District Board of Trustees in 2014 and served as president of the board in 2016. She also taught special education in the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Eden Health District CEO says Bonta wants dissolution solely for their assets, not reasons stated

Eden Health District CEO
Dev Mahadevan
Alameda County elected officials and two East Bay assemblymembers have asserted for the past year that the Eden Health District no longer provides health care grants for its central county residents and should be dissolved.

Eden Health District CEO Dev Mahadevan, though, claims elected officials merely want the jurisdiction's holdings, including millions in land assets and revenue derived from medical offices it operates.

Alameda rent review member resigned after city disclosed his ties to landlord political group

Former Alameda RRAC member Robert 
Schrader during a hearing on Jan. 11.
Months after Robert Schrader was appointed to the Alameda Rent Review Committee in March of last year, he was asked to provide an analysis of the city’s rent stabilization ordinance for a local landlords’ group named Alamedans for Fair Rent Control, he said. The group formed part of the backbone of opposition toward a citizens-backed ballot measure last year to institute rent control on the island.

Schrader’s ties to Alamedans for Fair Rent Control gained the attention of the Alameda city attorney’s office last month because his participation with the group constitutes a conflict of interest for a sitting board member tasked with impartially mediating conflicts between Alameda tenants and property owners, said the city attorney's office. At the same time, the city also admonished Schrader for potentially violating a tenant's privacy rights during a meeting last month. On Jan. 31, Schrader resigned from the Rent Review Advisory Committee (RRAC).

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Swalwell berates Democratic Central Committee member for questioning his liberalism

Rep. Eric Swalwell, right, posing with law
enforcement while wearing a DEA cap.
Don't call East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell a Republican or you will pay for it.

After Swalwell tweeted a comment referring to his Republicans parents, Guillermo Elenes, an elected member of the Alameda County Democratic Party Central Committee, responded, "You are basically a Republican. Stop lying."

BART board members propose sanctuary transit agency

BART Board of Directors will discuss the option
of becoming a sanctuary transit agency at an
upcoming meeting. PHOTO/Wikicommons
BART trains already travel through three major Bay Area sanctuary cities--Oakland, San Francisco, and Berkeley. Now, the transit authority, itself, may move to become a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants using its trains.

Alameda County approves $750,000 in matching funds for immigrant legal services

Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan
As a child growing up in Boston, Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan saw through her mother, a translator in immigration court, just how frightening the process can be.

“I could see how much help and solace that gave people,” Chan said during a Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday that included approval for $750,000 in one-time funds to help county immigrants with legal services. The grant was matched by the San Francisco Foundation.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

As Alameda revisits its rent ordinance, advocates on both sides want changes

Tenants at the Bay View Apartments on 470 
Central Avenue in November 2015.
For  tenant advocates, the turmoil at Alameda’s Bay View Apartments symbolizes the plight of renters on the island. This week, families at the property known colloquially as 470 Central Avenue celebrated a victory over the San Jose-based landlord who had once previously attempted to evict tenants in defiance of a then moratorium on rent increases and evictions more than a year ago.

San Leandro gifts $800,000 loan for child care center

Access to affordable child care has been on San Leandro’s radar for years. On Monday, the San Leandro City Council backed it up with approval of an $800,000 loan for a 4,850 square foot child care center and adjacent playground at the Marea Alta affordable housing development, near the San Leandro BART station. However, barring any unforeseen problems over the life of the 20-year-old loan, the city will ultimately forgive its contribution to the project.

Hayward City Council approves 240-unit downtown housing development

A partial rendering of the 240-unit Maple & Main
housing development approved by the Hayward
City Council Tuesday night.
Maple & Main, a 240-unit housing development in North Hayward, which city leaders hope will help kickstart improvement in the downtown and provide much-needed foot traffic, was approved late Tuesday night by the Hayward City Council.

The development also includes 48 units dedicated for affordable housing and 5,500-square feet of retail. A remodeling of the existing medical offices on the same site is also part of the project.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bonta’s bill to help public defenders better represent undocumented immigrants passes committee

Assemblymember Rob Bonta appearing Tuesday
before the Assembly Public Safety Committtee.
An assembly bill that would increase training and resources for public defenders in order to represent undocumented immigrants passed its first step legislative step Tuesday. The Assembly Public Safety Committee approved the bill authored by East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta, 4-0.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Democracy will 'crumble' if Supreme Court nominee is confirmed, says Khanna

Rep. Ro Khanna
President Donald Trump's nomination last week of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court will have debilitating consequence for the nation, Rep. Ro Khanna told India West.

"If the Senate confirms Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, our fragile democracy under this administration will crumble even further,” said. Khanna.

After protest, Berkeley mayor walks back calling Milo Yiannopolous 'white nationalist," then kinda says it again

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin, right, during
a candidate forum last October.
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin has only been on the job over a month, but his first brush with national media attention may not have fared well. After a near riot ensued in Berkeley last Thursday in response to a scheduled speech at U.C. Berkeley by right wing provocateur Milo Yiannopolous, Arreguin's response was quizzical.

Friday, February 3, 2017

For Alameda County GOP, the new boss is same as the old boss

Sue Caro was reappointed last week as chair of the
Alameda County Republican Party.
A calming influence is returning to the moribund Alameda County Republican Party with the return of Sue Caro as chair of the local GOP. Caro, who ran a against Rep. Barbara Lee last November in the 13th District, served previously as party chair two years ago before working on the campaign of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Duf Sundheim last year.

Going back to her previous term as chair, Caro has been an  advocate for a far more moderate approach to fixing the local party, which over the years, has typically veered toward fringe elements, including the Tea Party and a takeover by Ron Paul supporters. Caro has also advocated strongly in the past for increasing the party’s dismal registration numbers in Alameda County, which is roughly seven percent.

A’s are looking at two different Port of Oakland properties

Oakland Athletics management identified Howard Terminal as one of five potential sites for a new ballpark in Oakland. Mayor Libby Schaaf and her predecessor Jean Quan have advocated for the same waterfront site, located just north of Jack London Square. And last week, the Athletics announced it would reveal sometime this year where they intend to build its baseball cathedral. But did the team give a hint of where that new site will be last week, in addition to interest in another Port of Oakland property not previously unidentified as a possible site?