‘Disappointed’ with DA’s office, governor sends more CHP officers to Oakland

As the state expands its law enforcement presence in Alameda County, Gov. Gavin Newsom and District Attorney Pamela Price are expressing disappointment in each others’ handling of the partnership. Speaking at a news conference in Oakland Thursday, the governor announced that the state Attorney General’s Office would be stepping in to handle more cases originating in Alameda County. This will accompany a fourfold increase of California Highway Patrol personnel operating in the county.  The shift comes on the heels of…

Oakland voters being asked to add muscle to the city’s Ethics Commission

In the face of mounting political pressure, the Oakland City Council reversed course Tuesday and voted in favor of a November ballot measure that would beef up the Public Ethics Commission. Citing Oakland’s substantial budget shortfall, the council had previously turned down a proposal that includes a slate of reforms meant to modernize the city’s watchdog agency and give it more investigative muscle. Just under two weeks later, Councilmembers Carroll Fife and Rebecca Kaplan changed their minds. Fife, who called…

‘We think people should be educated voters’: On 100th anniversary, Oakland League of Women Voters recruits new members to mission

A century ago, in the shadow of a newly constructed Tribune Tower, a group of women met at Hotel Oakland to establish an organization that would reflect their nascent civic power. Over the ensuing 100 years, both landmarks would close, but the League of Women Voters of Oakland remains. Last month, on the shore of Lake Merritt, members of the Oakland League celebrated the organization’s centennial. Under strings of shimmering lights and a massive eucalyptus tree, generations of volunteers came…

Arrests made in chaotic night of violence that left 16 people wounded

In the chaotic aftermath of last Wednesday’s mass shooting near Lake Merritt, the Oakland Police Department overcounted the number of gunshot victims associated with the incident. The reason, a separate and nearly simultaneous double shooting. Initial reports said there were 15 gunshot victims who were transported to the hospital from the Lake Merritt area. But police have since determined that one of those victims was wounded less than 30 minutes later in a double shooting in the Bella Vista neighborhood….

Mayor Thao speaks out on FBI raid: ‘This wouldn’t have gone down the way it did if I was rich.’

Facing mounting public pressure to address last week’s FBI raid of her home, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao took a defiant tone at a news conference Monday, saying she is not  the target of the investigation and questioning its timing with the campaign to have her recalled. Reading from a prepared 10-minute statement at City Hall, Thao said in a voice shaking with emotion, “This wouldn’t have gone down the way it did if I was rich.” She said a handful…

FBI raids Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao’s home

The FBI’s San Francisco office raided embattled Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao’s home in the Oakland hills Thursday morning, carting off several bags and boxes. Hours later, the mayor — who will be up for recall in the November election — had yet to address the raid. No one answered the bell at her house on Maiden Lane. Her office referred questions to the FBI. It’s unclear what the FBI was searching for. The San Francisco office said only, “The FBI…

Ballot measure would increase taxes to raise millions for affordable housing in Oakland

When Alameda County voters go to the polls in November, they may be asked to decide how affordable housing is financed for decades to come. At Tuesday’s Oakland City Council meeting, local and regional housing experts stressed the importance of an upcoming $20 billion regional bond measure that could bring as much as $765 million to Oakland.  “It really is the most ambitious affordable housing program that we have ever embarked upon in the region and even in the state…

Three wounded, one arrested as gunshots mar Skyline High School graduation

Three people were wounded by gun fire when a dispute between two groups turned violent in the parking lot of Skyline High School after a graduation ceremony Thursday. Oakland police and California Highway Patrol officers responded to reports of multiple gunshots on the north side of campus around 7:45 p.m. Two adult victims, a man and a woman, were in stable condition Friday, according to Oakland police Lt. Robert Trevino. A third victim later turned up at a hospital and…

As A’s pack up, Oakland sells its share of storied stadium

Oakland has agreed to sell its stake in the Coliseum, ending decades of ownership at the storied East Bay event complex, Mayor Sheng Thao said at a news conference Wednesday. Following years of negotiations, Oakland and the African American Sports and Entertainment Group have reached an $105 million agreement for the city’s 50% ownership stake in the stadium site. The deal comes as city officials scramble to address a significant budget deficit while dealing with the loss of the city’s…

Alameda County sues Farmers Insurance, says it knowingly left homeowners underinsured

In a strongly worded complaint filed in Superior Court, the Alameda County district attorney said Farmers Insurance Group of Companies engages in business practices that harm consumers and violate California’s unfair competition and false advertising laws.  The assertions stem from the company’s reliance on a software tool that can be inaccurate and leave homeowners unwittingly underinsured. “The insurance companies gain a competitive advantage at the expense of proper coverage,” Price said at a news conference about the lawsuit on Tuesday. …

Baykeeper sues Oakland recycler whose plant caught fire last summer

From the end of a boardwalk that juts into Oakland’s Arrowhead Marsh, it can be hard to appreciate the fragility of this ecosystem. At low tide, native cordgrass and pickleweed brim with life, rustling, snapping and popping as they dry under the morning sun. California clapper rails dig their long beaks into the mudflats in search of small crustaceans. Above, bright white kestrels dart, periodically diving into the water and emerging with small, shining baitfish. Birdsong crescendos, sage fills the…

New era of baseball in Oakland — move over A’s, here come the B’s

Before the tractors showed up, Raimondi Park didn’t look like the future home of a professional baseball team.  Sitting in the shadow of Interstate 880, the long-standing West Oakland field felt forgotten. Almost every patch of grass was overgrown and the infield dirt had long since been blanketed with a thin layer of sod in a lighter shade of green. The pitcher’s mound, not much more than a bump, had become the territory of large Canadian geese that were seemingly…