.Newsom Signs Two Bills That Move Along Ballpark Proposal

Plus illegal dumping in Oakland.

Amid new threats the Oakland Athletics could move to Las Vegas if a lawsuit by the city of Oakland is not dropped, the state capital has signaled its support for a new ballpark in downtown Oakland. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two Oakland-centric ballpark bills last week, each sponsored by local state officials, which will streamline the regulatory process and help fund infrastructure around the proposed site.

Legislation by Assemblymember Rob Bonta allows the State Lands Commission to streamline the process of working with other regulatory agencies and commissions with the goal of setting boundaries for the waterfront property. Another by Sen. Nancy Skinner allows the city of Oakland to set up a tax infrastructure district in the area around the proposed waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal.

The district would allow the city to issue bonds to help pay for infrastructure required to facilitate the large number of fans attending games, such as roads and transportation facilities, but also low-income housing and parks.

The A’s plan on building a 35,000-seat ballpark that will be privately funded, the team has repeatedly said.

Although, despite the recent signings of the two bills last weekend, the city balked at a proposal by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to sell its half of the Coliseum complex to the A’s, rather than to the city of Oakland, which owns the other half. Oakland city leaders followed up with a lawsuit this month seeking to block negotiations between the county and A’s.

The Coliseum complex represents a tantalizing opportunity for redevelopment, which both the A’s and city recognize. The A’s hope to redevelop the Coliseum area for housing and use some of the proceeds to help fund the Howard Terminal ballpark near Jack London Square.

Reid, Gallo talk trash about Oakland’s dumping woes

The scourge of illegal dumping is Oakland’s most unrelenting problem. And when you combine an update on the city’s actions toward limiting illegal dumping during an Oakland City Council committee hearing with appearances by its two most passionate opponents of trash on the streets, the rhetoric is glorious.

Oakland Coucilmembers Larry Reid and Noel Gallo participated in dueling rants about each others frustrations with the seemingly never-ending battle with illegal dumping during a Public Works Committee meeting last Tuesday morning.

“I’m frustrated,” said Reid. “I am freaking frustrated the way my community has to live with all of this crap. It is pathetic that people that come and visit our city has to look at this stuff.” Reid added that he wants to city to determine whether it is legal to slap the image of illegal dumping violators on billboards around Oakland.

When Reid told the committee that 800 abandoned cars were towed in his district over a one month span, Gallo chimed in, “Is that all?”

Both councilmembers are known to communicate their own nostalgia about how they perceive the Oakland of days gone by. But Gallo added a curious take.

“There was a time that, you know, we may have been out there killing each other in numbers, but there was no trash out in the street,” Gallo said.

He reiterated that exorbitant fees for properly disposing of large items such as couches and mattresses forces residents to resort to illegal dumping. But the city must also do a better job of enforcing its own rules against illegal dumping. “We’ve got to change the culture,” he said. “In our streets, sometimes the only culture we understand is enforcement.”

Not to be undone, Reid said he is aware of several offenders in his district around 105th Avenue and San Leandro Boulevard who continue causing trouble, yet seemingly never face any consequences. At one spot, an RV blocks seniors from walking on the sidewalks.

At another, sheer mayhem ensues, he said. “There’s two guys. Every time they get into a pissing match with their girlfriends, they go out and set cars on fire in my district. And we allow that stuff to continue.”

Even worse, Reid sounded a highly pessimistic tone about the future. “Like the homeless issue, I don’t know if we can ever solve illegal dumping,” he said.

In Other News …

PG&E cut power to hundreds of thousands of customers as part of a planned shut off, including residents in the Oakland Hills, Lamorinda and parts of the Hayward Hills. The utility continues to face the heat for its planned power outages last week. Gov. Gavin Newsom said the utility should pay rebates to customers who lost power, while state regulators want to reprimand PG&E, the East Bay Times reported. … A magnitude 4.5 earthquake centered in Pleasant Hill provided a late evening jolt for East Bay residents. …

In a move that could boost voter participation and affect some high-profile races, Newsom signed legislation that allows for same-day voter registration in California, the Los Angeles Times reported. Meanwhile, felons who have served their time can now serve on juries after Newsom signed a bill authored by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, per the EBT. … Newsom vetoed Skinner’s bill to require local jails to release inmates only during daytime hours in order to ensure their safety, the LAT reported. Newsom said the provision would be a costly expenditure for local governments. … Biologically, kids need more sleep. That’s the impetus behind a new law signed by Newsom that mandates middle school classes do not start before 8 a.m., and 8:30 a.m. for high schools, starting in 2022, EdSource reported. …

The American Independent Party, a far-right political group, can keep its name after Newsom vetoed a bill that would have prohibited parties with “independent” in the name from appearing on the ballot, the Chron reported. … In a blow to Sen. Kamala Harris’s insistence that she was a progressive prosecutor during her time as state district attorney, Bloomberg reported that she resisted efforts by the wrongly convicted to receive compensation for their imprisonment. …

An Alameda County sheriff’s deputy who crashed his car into the Livermore home of a retired Oakland police sergeant and then punched him is back on the job, NBC Bay Area reported. Deputy Gael Paredes had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit during the incident. …

A 28-story office building is coming to the corner of Telegraph and West Grand Avenues, the EBT reported. The 875,000 sq. ft. building will also include retail and a community theater. … Alameda County officials reportedly offered to sell their half of the Coliseum complex to Oakland for $78 million, but only if they paid up front, the Chron reported. The county later offered the A’s a deal worth $85 million, spread out over several years. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said the A’s could indeed move to Las Vegas, or elsewhere, if the city does not drop its lawsuit against Alameda County, the EBT reported. … Oakland A’s quality control coach Mark Kotsay interviewed for the open managerial position across the bay with the Giants, NBC Sports Bay Area reported. Kotsay was a standout centerfielder for the A’s in the early 2000s.


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