‘Fair Pay for Fair Play’ Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk

Plus, legislature is busy in final week, and Kaplan suggests Oaklanders don’t attend Warriors games.

East Bay state Sen. Nancy Skinner’s game-changing legislation that would potentially allow student athletes to be paid for their efforts was approved by the state legislature, and headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk for consideration.

“California is loud and clear: Our student athletes will no longer be denied the right to their name, image, and likeness,” Skinner said following passage in the state Senate. The vote was 39-0. Earlier this week, the Assembly approved the bill by a 73-0 vote.

Officials with the National Collegiate Athletic Association have voiced concerns over Skinner’s bill. Earlier this summer, they threatened to exclude California universities from participating in NCAA championships, if the legislation were to become law. The entity’s Board of Governors urged Newsom not to sign the bill, arguing that the law will give California schools a competitive advantage in recruiting athletes, among other reasons.

The bill, if signed by Newsom, would allow student athletes to receive compensation for their name, image, or likeness. Under NCAA rules, student athletes under scholarship are prohibited from receiving any compensation, not even a part-time job to earn money on the side

For decades, critics have equated the prohibition to slavery since some universities can derive hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from high-profile sports, such as football and basketball, while paying its athletes nothing in return.

The new rules would not go into effect until 2023, at the earliest. However, the NCAA could sue the state to block implementation of the law.


Alameda’s City Prosecutor could go after businesses that don’t comply with AB5

Just prior to the State Legislature approving a landmark bill last week that reclassifies gig-workers and freelancers as employees, it was amended to include language that could bolster the authority of Alameda’s new city prosecutor to go after violators of the law expected to be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Assembly Bill 5 sailed through the Legislature after months of talks with gig economy companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Doordash. Newsom said he will sign the bill that will require many industries to reclassify their contractors and freelancers as employees. A separate bill approved Friday night delays implementation of the law for one year with regard to newspaper carriers..

Some industries like doctors’ offices, law firms, and salons, however, are exempt.

But the inclusion of specific language for city prosecutors to litigate potential violations of the law could be another reason for other Bay Area cities to follow Alameda’s lead. Aside from Alameda, city prosecutors exist only in Southern California.

Here’s the amendment added to AB5:

“In addition to any other remedies available, an action for injunctive relief to prevent the continued misclassification of employees as independent contractors may be prosecuted against the putative employer in a court of competent jurisdiction by the Attorney General or by a city attorney of a city having a population in excess of 750,000, or by a city attorney in a city and county or, with the consent of the district attorney, by a city prosecutor in a city having a full-time city prosecutor in the name of the people of the State of California upon their own complaint or upon the complaint of a board, officer, person, corporation, or association.”

On Sep. 3, the Alameda City Council unanimously approved creation of a city prosecutor position under the supervision of its city attorney. But under the current setup, Alameda would not be able to prosecute employees alleged to have violated AB5 without the consent of the Alameda County District Attorney’s office.

Changes to the city’s charter Alameda officials is currently under discussion and now include the question of giving the new city prosecutor more fulsome authority to go after not only those who flout AB5, but violations of the city’s minimum wage and rent control ordinances, in addition, to prosecuting lower level misdemeanor crimes.


Rebecca Kaplan Suggest Dubs Fans Think Twice Before Buying Warriors Tix

The Golden State Warriors’ move to San Francisco has always rankled Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan. When the team attempted to skip town without paying its continuing share of a bond debt used to reconstruct the Oakland Arena (previously known as Oracle Arena), it was Kaplan who repeatedly called out the team.

Now that the team is gone to Mission Bay and poised to begin play at the gleaming new Chase Center, Kaplan is still initiating a full-court press on the Warriors. In a tweet last week, she again referenced the Warriors reluctance to pay off the bond. But this time she suggested that fans in the Bay Area should not help the team by purchasing tickets to its games.

“Warriors owners also still spending millions to try to rob Oakland tax payers of tens of millions of dollars!” she tweeted. “Each time you buy their tickets, you are funding an assault on struggling communities as they take tax payer money needed for vital services.”

The tweet was prompted by another that criticized the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency for limiting bus service in poorer areas of the city to accommodate Chase Center patrons.

The $140 million bond for reconstruction of the arena called for both the city and county, in addition, to the Warriors, to pay off the debt. But when the Warriors announced plans to finance their own arena in San Francisco, the team raised questions over whether they were obligated to continue paying roughly $7.5 million in bond payments. Roughly $40 million remains on the debt.

In 2018, Kaplan created an online petition protesting the Warriors refusal to pay their share of the bond payments. She bluntly wrote in the petition, “WE ASK THE WARRIORS — DON’T steal $40 million from local tax-payers!”


Hayward Councilmember Wants to Revisit Action That Hastened Evictions

Weeks after the Hayward City Council approved just-cause protections for its renters, the ordinance came back for an amendment to exempt one developer from the restrictions. Using state tax credits, Reliant Group planned rehabilitate a Hayward apartment complex for affordable housing. But after reports of evictions at the Leisure Terrace Apartments, Hayward Councilmember Aisha Wahab wants a do-over, saying the developer hid its true intentions from the council earlier this year.

Wahab asked the city council to revisit the decision it made last spring and take corrective action. She believes officials from Reliant Group misled the council when it lobbied earlier this year for the city’s help in gaining access to state Low-Income Housing Tax Credits for the converting the Leisure Terrace Apartments on ‘E’ Street into strictly affordable housing units.

There were hints of concern back in February when some councilmembers lightly questioned Reliant’s plan. Comments about tenant relocation payments for some of the current tenants who may earn too much to qualify for the future affordable housing units were mentioned at the public meeting.

At a Sep. 10 discussion, the council reluctantly kicked Wahab’s referral down to the city’s Housing and Homelessness committee for study. But city staff said little can be done to help the evicted residents return to their units because the developer has finished rehabbing the building and brought in new tenants. One possible solution would be to give the 58 tenants some amount of tenant relocation payments, either from the city or the developer, Reliant.

Reliant Group’s foray into the East Bay goes far beyond Hayward. The group purchased the Leisure Terrace Apartments from American Management Group in March. The transaction included six other properties in Antioch, Napa, Vallejo, Hercules, and Dublin, for a total price of $116 million.


In Other News

The legislature approved a bill that would limit annual rent increases to 5 percent, Curbed LA reported. If signed into law, the bill would cover cities that do not already have rent control. And East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta’s bid to rid the state of for-profit prisons appeared successful after the legislature approved his bill banning their existence in California, starting in 2028, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. And Bonta’s legislation streamlining the permitting process for a potential Oakland A’s stadium at Howard Terminal was approved. Finally, a bill Bonta co-sponsored that would transfer authority for approving charters schools from the state to local school district was approved. Meanwhile, a bill that would ban police departments from using facial-recognition in body-worn cameras for three years was sent to Newsom’s desk for approval, the Chronicle reported. However, legislators punted on two bills that would have phased out single-use foodware and packaging, Calmatters reported. The bills faced stiff opposition from the plastics industry. Newsom now has until Oct. 13 to sign or reject all these bills. …

The Oakland Unified School District voted to merge Kaiser Elementary with Sankofa Academy on Wednesday night, EdSource reported. There was strong opposition to the proposal, which is part of the district’s plan to eventually close up to 24 schools in Oakland. … BART directors voted 8-1 to allocate $227 million for a move from their current headquarters near Lake Merritt in Oakland to another a few blocks away on Webster Street. The move was touted as saving taxpayers money in the long run. …

Gov. Gavin Newsom asked Trump for 50,000 additional housing vouchers to help California’s homelessness problem, the Associated Press reported. Last week, Trump administration officials were eyeing sites for possibly relocating homeless individuals to camps. … The Trump administration wants to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, CNBC reported. In the Bay Area, San Francisco and Livermore have made similar moves. On Tuesday night, Richmond joined the group, the Chron reported. … More than 1,200 students from 17 universities across the country, including U.C. Berkeley and Stanford are pledging not to work for software company Palantir because of its contract with U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement, The Hill reported. …

Actress Felicity Huffman was sentenced to two weeks in jail for paying a proctor $15,000 to doctor her daughter’s SAT exam, the Associated Press reported. The Desperate Housewives star will serve her time in Alameda County at a women’s prison camp in Dublin. … Alice Waters, the founder of Berkeley’s legendary Chez Panisse, said she never liked the name “Gourmet Ghetto,” and thinks it should be changed, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. … The Tribune Tavern is re-opening. Original owner Chris Pastena is back in charge with a new menu. … East Bay brewers took home medals from the inaugural California Craft Brewers Cup last weekend, SFGate reported. Richmond’s East Brother Beer Co. won a gold medal for its Czech Pale Lager, while silver medals went to Berkeley’s Triple Rock Brewing Co. for its Scottish Ale, and San Leandro’s Drake’s Brewing Co. for its Rye IPA. …

Cal football’s 3-0 start has earned the team its highest ranking in nearly four years, the  Chron reported. The Golden Bears head to Mississippi on Saturday ranked 23rd in the nation. … U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents seized unauthorized NFL gear worth $11,000 at the Oakland Coliseum before last Monday’s night Raiders game, the Chron reported. …

For the first time since 2000, a full moon coincided with Friday the 13th. A few days later, President Trump visited the Bay Area for the first time during his presidency, reportedly at the Palo Alto home of Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy.

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