Browsing All Posts filed under »Uncategorized«

Fumbled Investigations Have Brought Few Answers in Disappearance of Jonathan Bandabaila

May 4, 2020

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On May 21, 2019, members of the Bandabaila family took the podium at an Oakland City Council meeting, pleading for Council intercession into the investigation of the disappearance of their 19-year-old son and brother, Jonathan Bandabaila. Jonathan had been missing for nearly three weeks, and after a slow start to the investigation, the Oakand Police […]

Hyphy News Reporting on Patreon

April 6, 2020

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Hi there, thanks for supporting my writing all these years. Some of you may not know that I do a lot of news reporting on a Patreon account. Unfortunately, there’s no way to merge the things I like about the WordPress site, with the subscription format that Patreon provides. Patreon isn’t my favorite venue to […]

Debunking Ex-Chief Kirkpatrick’s PR Offensive

March 7, 2020

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The dismissal of Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick by the Oakland Police Commission and Oakland Mayor has had unintended outcomes. The banished public servant re-incorporated several days after her dismissal as a chimeric source of anti-oversight propaganda. Kirkpatrick’s post-firing jeremiads were now melded with complaints about Federal monitoring and the Police Commission—long a staple of […]

The Other, Other Side of the Kirkpatrick Firing Story: How Corporate Media Ignored, then Perverted My Reporting on the City’s Smears of Police Commissioner Harris

February 26, 2020

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Last month, I reported on a 50k contract outgoing City Administrator Sabrina Landreth paid to a private investigator, Public Interest Investigations, to investigate a community-appointed Police Commissioner. The contract was ostensibly to investigate claims about Harris that had been made by City employees. Some of these claims were disproved a short time later—as they had […]

Mayor’s “State of the City” Address “Not in Accord” with Charter, Says Assistant City Attorney Doryanna Moreno

February 7, 2020

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After avoiding the issue for months, at least since October, when the Mayor missed her Charter-required State of the City address before Council, the City Attorney’s office finally stated an opinion on the matter during a brief comment at the Rules Committee meeting, February 6, 2019. Moreno stated: “The meeting that is scheduled for tomorrow…the […]

Landreth Leaves Legacy of Obstruction at Oakland Police Commission

January 7, 2020

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Though many Oakland City Administrators leave their position in a shroud of scandal, current Administrator Sabrina Landreth seems to be leaving on a flat note. When she announced her resignation earlier this month [effective March 2020], local papers reported that she characterized her time at the City as one of cultivation, where she had gifted […]

Black, White, Blue: To Understand Where HBO’s Watchmen Succeeded, We Need to Understand How Moore’s Watchmen Failed

December 29, 2019

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  Like many, I’m still struggling with the disappointments of the HBO Watchmen series, mostly because of how good it was at the start. Recasting the African American struggle against white supremacy as a superhero origin story was a show-stopper, but Damon Lindelof’s production had very obvious failures elsewhere that are by now well-noted. The […]

Tuff Shed City: How Tool Sheds and a Few Parking Spaces Became Oakland’s Only Emergency Homelessness Response

December 20, 2019

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Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s Administration spent most of 2018 and 2019 etching into stone her signature emergency homelessness solution—what Schaaf calls “community cabins” and “safe parking” sites for live-in vehicles. The Community Cabins/Safe Parking model is made possible by City Council’s declaration of a shelter crisis emergency in 2017, which allows emergency homelessness responses by […]

The City’s Damage Control on My SWAP Workers Piece

October 26, 2019

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The City tried to spin DPW spokesperson Sean Maher’s response to my reporting by opening a records request in my name and submitting the SWAP contract. Though I didn’t ask for the document, and it didn’t answer any of my questions, the kerfuffle revealed even more information DPW was trying to hide.    I recently […]

Oakland Public Works Jobs Performed by Workers Trading Labor for Incarceration, Documents Reveal

October 20, 2019

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The workers trade incarceration time for work shifts at the City of Oakland for up to months at a time–but they aren’t paid, and the jobs would normally be filled by union workers. Being fired can mean going to jail.     The City of Oakland’s Public Works Department uses people sentenced to incarceration to […]

Demystifying the Howard Terminal Ballpark Proposal: Five Myths Debunked

October 13, 2019

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  News coverage and public reactions over the  proposed A’s Howard Terminal Ballpark the past few months have concretized some pernicious myths. Most of these have been circulated by local media, either lazily recycling A’s talking points for the benefit of the team, or for fan-service jingo. Perhaps it’s most charitable to say that local media […]

OPD’s Driving Problem: Public Records Reveal Police Have Had 100s of ‘at-fault’ Collisions Since 2016; Many Were Due to Reckless Driving and May Have Caused Serious Injury

October 8, 2019

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The Oakland Police Department had over 260 at fault vehicle collisions between 2016 and the first half of 2019, according to a recent public records release. During the three and a half years covered in the public records release, at least 28 at-fault collisions involved an OPD driver acting negligently, such as driving into a […]

Oakland Polluter Donated to Schaaf, Lobbied, Shortly Before Inclusion on “Battle for the Bay” Partners List

September 19, 2019

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A local concrete and asphalt recycling company penalized by the EPA In 2018 for polluting stormwater runoff to the San Francisco Bay was added to Oakland’s Battle for the Bay “partners” list shortly after donating a collective total of 2,000 to Schaaf’s mayoral campaign funds. Argent also gave $9,150 to the Oakland Chamber of Commerce […]

The Garbled Messenger: 12 Years After the Murder of Chauncey Bailey, Questions Remain about the Role of the OPD and FBI

September 4, 2019

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In 2012, Thomas Peele wrote the definitive book about the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey and the Your Black Muslim Bakery, Killing the Messenger. But a look at original documents show Peele left out a relevant part of the story that puts the violence of Yusuf Bey IV and his predecessor in another  light.    […]

Kill Squeaky: Tarantino’s Manson Family is Just the Latest Excuse for White Male Exceptionalist Carnage

August 13, 2019

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  Something odd happens in Inglourious Basterds, the Quentin Tarantino film widely considered to be his most entertaining work. By the last twenty minutes of the film, nearly every Jewish character in the film is dead. Most viewers don’t seem to have noticed this. I’ve never read a take, review or critique that mentions it, […]

Caltrans: Oakland Violated Mandela Community Cabins Lease by Failing to Post Hazmat Warnings for Residents

August 9, 2019

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Caltrans confirms that the City of Oakland’s failure to post hazmat warning signage in its new “Commnity Cabins” off Mandela Parkway has put the city in violation of its lease with the state transportation department. The signage is mandated to be placed at the entrance and throughout the site in the city’s lease, but as […]

Schaaf’s “Safe Parking” Site Had Intended Consequences

August 1, 2019

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Mayor Libby Schaaf’s “Safe Parking” program pilot was always predicated on evicting live-in vehicles along an adjacent industrial strip on 85th and Edes Avenues. But recently released information shows OPD tagged 70 vehicles for towing along that corridor after the “Safe Parking” site reached its limit. That’s more than twice the site’s capacity.    When […]

In the Last Hours of the 85th/Edes Rv/Vehicle Community, Broken Vehicles and Stranded Lives

July 15, 2019

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      A few weeks ago, the City of Oakland opened the first site in its new sanctioned RV parking program, ostensibly designed to help homeless people living in their vehicles escape from the cycle of living on the street. Located adjacent to the Oakland Coliseum, the first RV parking site promised room for […]

Oakland City Council Sells Public Land to Serial Campaign Finance Law Violator

July 10, 2019

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It was a scene reminiscent of the assassination montage from Godfather 2. In a single  legislative item discussion, the City Attorney okayed selling land to proven violators of Oakland’s Campaign Reform Act; the City Council demonstrated its willingness to sell public land without a now four-month late public land policy ordinance to regulate them; and […]

Lie to Me: the true story of Oakland’s Tuff Shed program

June 22, 2019

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Oakland City Council has a deal with the City Administrator’s Office. Lie, omit, and misdirect about Tuff Sheds, and we’ll give you everything you ask for.   In early 2019, the Oakland City Administrator’s Office faced several unanticipated obstacles to its Tuff Shed program. The CAO had presented an ambitious vision of homelessness management in […]

The Pacific Companies Never Stopped Lobbying Oakland

June 2, 2019

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Throughout 2018, the City of Oakland fought a losing battle to sell public land to charter school Aspire, and its allied developer, The Pacific Companies. Community opposition was fierce and sustained, and ranged from Oakland’s teacher’s union, education activists, student activists, community activists and even the actual school district—all opposed the Pacific Companies plan to […]

Oakland Council Votes on Proposed ‘Zoning-Anywhere’ Rules for City Tuffsheds and RV/V Encampments

May 20, 2019

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Oakland’s City Council will vote Tuesday, May 20, on relaxing Planning and Zoning rules for Tuff Sheds and planned RV/Vehicle camps managed by the City of Oakland. The move continues the City’s push to codify its ad hoc responses for homelessness into city laws governing emergency shelter policies. The City Administrator is asking City Council […]

Cold Comfort for the Homeless: The City Council will Vote on Codifying its Spartan, Unheated Tuffshed Design into Permanent Emergency Shelter Law Tuesday

May 5, 2019

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The Oakland City Council is considering an ordinance that would codify into law the health, safety and building standards the city currently uses informally for homeless encampment Tuffsheds. The move would add the standards into the city’s building code for use whenever an “emergency shelter crisis”–like the current one declared in 2017–is in effect. The […]

Oakland City Council Splits on Education Items: No to Collecting Taxes for Measure AA; Yes to OUSD Library/Restorative Justice Aid

April 19, 2019

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The Oakland City Council voted on Tuesday to instruct the City Administration to not collect Measure AA taxes. In another vote, Council also directed the city to use a year-end surplus to re-fund the Oakland Unified School District’s Library and Restorative Justice positions. Both items drew a large crowd of overlapping and diverse speakers from […]

Oakland Police Commissioner Claims City Administrator & City Attorney Have Obstructed the Commission

April 10, 2019

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The Oakland City Administrator’s Office has prevented the Oakland Police Commission from fulfilling certain elements of the Police Commission enabling ordinance–the law that grants the Commission its legal status and powers over the Oakland Police Department–according to public testimony given by Police Commissioner, Edwin Prather. Prather gave the testimony during a public comment period for […]

Chair of Oakland Chamber of Commerce May Have Violated Oakland Campaign Finance Law for Years

March 13, 2019

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  Oakland public records suggest that Robert Zachary Wasserman, the Chair of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, violated Oakland’s Campaign finance laws from 2017 to 2019 campaign cycles. Oakland’s Campaign Reform Act forbids individuals, companies or organizations or their principals from donating to city candidates from the time they begin negotiations with the city–defined as […]

Sutter Hotel Owner Sues City of Oakland Over Residential Hotel Conversion Ban

February 27, 2019

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584 14th St LLC, the owner of the Sutter Hotel,  filed suit against the city of Oakland last month in an attempt to invalidate recently passed City of Oakland rules that bar  demolition or conversion of residential hotels (aka SRO hotels). 584 14th St also seeks an injunction against the city to prevent it applying […]

Extremely Civil Parasites: Post-Election Reports Detail One Lobbyists Inordinate Control of Oakland Politics

February 3, 2019

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Semi-annual financial disclosure reports were handed in to the Oakland Ethics Commission Friday, and they reveal vast–actually unprecedented–spending in the 2018 city council and mayoral elections. Specifically, the anti-Desley Brooks PAC started by Police Commissioner Jose Dorado, Oaklanders for Responsible Leadership […], reported final fund-raising of $163,000, and spending of $195,000. This was by far […]

Targeting Troublesome Women: A New Alliance of Polluters, Developers & Trades Unions Attacked Social Justice & Environmental Candidates in 2018 California Elections

January 9, 2019

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I did a few deep dives into the institutional attack on Oakland’s District 6 council person, Desley Brooks this election season. Beginning early in the year, Libby Schaaf and her allies in both city government and local media dug deep into Brooks and hit bone, manufacturing, inflating and exploiting at least two scandals with lots […]

End of Year Piece: PACS for Polluters and Gentrifiers Find Labor Allliances; the Police Commission Puts the We in its Woes; and Tuff Sheds Move to East Oakland

December 29, 2018

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2018 was a big year for Oakland news, but there were several news stories with potential effects that will be felt for years to come that also occurred with less or disjointed attention. I chose to focus on three areas of reporting and analysis this year: the city’s homeless management regime, the Police Commission’s first […]

Oakland’s District 6: A Referendum on Big Money & Dirty Politics

November 4, 2018

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I’ve written extensively about where the money for the opposition to Desley Brooks in District 6 comes from. For a deep dive, read here. But before the election on Tuesday, I wanted to make one last argument about what the origin of the money means, and how it reflects on the candidates running against Brooks. […]

Tuffshed-ification: Phase 2

October 29, 2018

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Last month, the city council passed a city administrator’s office-recommended proposal to create a tuffshed encampment at Lake Merritt. Though it was the city’s 4th homeless camp, passing the legislation necessary to enact the Lake Merritt Tuff Sheds marked a new phase in the city’s homeless intervention strategy–or rather, it marked a phase of now […]

The United Front Against Desley Brooks, Part II

October 22, 2018

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Several months ago, Mayor Libby Schaaf and District 4 council person Annie Campbell Washington teamed up in press releases and local television and print news media specifically attacking District 6 council person Desley Brooks. The attack–which painted Brooks as a toxic presence on the city council, in the words of Campbell Washington and the “Donald […]

Orwelling Our Way out of Oakland’s Homelessness Crisis

September 13, 2018

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One year ago, Oakland’s City Council approved a shelter emergency ordinance . This legislation–along with a state level version of the shelter crisis legislation passed around the same time in late 2017–gave the city extraordinary powers to suspend the normal health and safety, building code and zoning laws that govern habitations to build emergency transitional […]

The Curious Case of the Backchannel Notebook: An Oakland City Council Mystery

July 20, 2018

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A funny thing happened on the way to the Oakland City Council Community and Economic Development Committee meeting on July 17th. Let me back up a bit. I usually sit on the second floor balcony at city council meetings and its not just because I’m a misanthrope. It lets me better focus on events. From […]