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Carolyn Jones @

The city€™s mayor-elect, Libby Schaaf €” given the barracuda nickname by a colleague €” had been at a City Council meeting until 2:30 a.m. She was in the midst of hiring a dozen staffers and a city administrator, and drawing up a transition plan for her first few months in office. She was also scheduled to volunteer at her children€™s school and meet with residents and police about recent protests. €œPeople like her are Oakland€™s secret sauce,€ Schaaf said, referring to €œTina Tamale€ Ramos, a third-generation Oakland tamale maker who just opened her first restaurant. Schaaf€™s relentless enthusiasm for all things Oakland €” from small-business owners like Ramos to its financial stability to the fate of its sports teams €” has fueled Schaaf€™s career since she entered Oakland€™s public arena 20 years ago, and it helped her defeat incumbent Mayor Jean Quan by a landslide in November. [...] for all her cheering of Oakland€™s strengths, its quirkiness and its potential, she has the will of a defensive lineman, observers said. Schaaf, who has represented the Oakland hills on the City Council the past four years, is often associated with the city€™s burgeoning business community. Business leaders loved her for it, and were major donors to her mayoral campaign. After graduating from law school, she helped organize school volunteers for the Marcus Foster Institute, an educational nonprofit in Oakland, and eventually got into politics. Having young kids has been perfect training for city government, she once told a reporter. Schaaf€™s management experience comes from a two-year stint as public affairs chief for the Port of Oakland. [...] she brought in millions in public funding for the city, but also €” more important, for a politician €” learned how to handle the media and understand public opinion, observers said. Campaign contributions, permit information and budget data are all things that should be easily available online, she said. Code for America, a nonprofit group that assists government agencies with tech issues, is working on the project now, she said. Schaaf points to cities like Los Angeles and New York, which have seen dramatic decreases in violent crime, and plans to bring their crime-fighting ideas to Oakland, she said. The city has seen almost daily demonstrations in the aftermath of the Ferguson, Mo., grand jury report, and many of those protests have devolved into vandalism, arson, looting and fighting after nightfall. [...] some in Oakland say Schaaf€™s biggest challenge will be balancing the development boom with the needs of longtime residents, so lower-income people are not forced out and the city retains some of the affordability and quirky, unpretentious and scrappy character that residents say they love. Community activist Naomi Schiff, who works with housing and historic preservation groups, said Schaaf needs to break away from the entrenched interests of the political establishment. Housing for middle- and low-income families should be a priority, she said, along with saving Oakland€™s historic buildings. [...] Schaaf has been outstanding on that front, said Esperanza Tervalon-Daumont, director of Oakland Rising, a nonprofit group that promotes the political interests of flatlands residents. Since she€™s been involved with Oakland government, Schaaf has been a strong advocate for policies that benefit low-income residents, immigrants and people of color, Tervalon-Daumont said.
Submitted 5 hours ago by eureka!
Bill Kortum, Sonoma environmentalist, dies at 87

Bill Kortum, a longtime Sonoma County environmental activist, died early Saturday in Petaluma after battling prostate cancer for more than three years. In 1972, he worked to pass Proposition 20, a measure that established the California Coastal Commission, the agency that regulates land and water use along the state€™s coastline. Mr. Kortum also helped establish an open space district in Sonoma County and worked to create Sonoma County Conservation Action, an organization that aims to educate the public on environmental issues. Soft-spoken but tenacious, €œBill was like a big, strong redwood tree €” bending with the wind but never breaking, and always looking far ahead,€ Cardo said. A veterinarian by trade, Mr. Kortum grew up on a poultry farm outside Petaluma, where he and his wife, Lucy, €” the strategist to her husband€™s idealism €” later raised their own three children and where they lived together until his death, said their daughter, Julie Groves. Groves said they were inspired by that country€™s open access to coastal land and came back worried that California€™s would be blocked from the public. €œWilderness is still rare in this country and marine wilderness is rarer,€ Mr. Kortum wrote in a 2011 Chronicle opinion piece urging the preservation of Drakes Estero. In Mr. Kortum€™s later years, he fought for voter approval on the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit, a train that will connect the two counties. Cardo said he was developing strategies for that project, which is still ongoing, until his last breath and that someday she hopes to see the ranch turned into a park with her friend€™s name on it.
Submitted 2 hours ago by eureka!

Christmas comes early to the Tenderloin  
David R. Baker @

Inside the Tenderloin church, Laurie Ferreira was pounding last-minute instructions into her army of 200 volunteers, packed into a meeting room crammed with toys. Make sure none of the donated goodies have any kind of sticker saying €œfor needy children€ or anything else that might make the kids feel bad about themselves. €œI just picked out two giant Nerf projectile ... whatever,€ said Ferreira, 60, a drill sergeant in a pink shirt and powder-blue vest. There were no violins hidden in the vast array of dolls, games, action figures, basketballs and books collected from Glide congregants, as well as from patrons of the Lefty O€™Doul€™s sports bar a few blocks uphill. Glide€™s giveaway has become one of the Bay Area€™s best-known holiday traditions, stretching back more than 30 years., a non-profit organization started by the computer gaming company in SoMa, helped fund this year€™s drive and sent a squad of volunteers to help staff it. [...] the city€™s recent changes, its booming wealth and soaring rents, have also boosted the number of families seeking free toys, toys they would otherwise struggle to buy. €œThe need is growing,€ said Janice Mirikitani, founding president of the Glide Foundation and wife of its long-time former pastor, Rev. Cecil Williams. €œThe cost of rent is so high these days,€ Payne said as her son, Jamel Baker, thumped a tiny arm on the playset€™s cardboard box. A few blocks deeper into the Tenderloin, St. Anthony€™s was holding its own charitable tradition Saturday, converting a lane of Golden Gate Avenue into a drive-through donation center. The organization €” which provides food, clothing and health care to the poor €” is trying to collect 500 hams it can serve on Christmas Day. €œA fresh pair of socks is a wonderful thing to give to someone who€™s homeless,€ said Karl Robillard, St. Anthony€™s communications manager, as volunteers sorted bags of donations into three big, blue bins at the curb.
Submitted 7 hours ago by eureka!

BART stations at both extremes of crime rates  
Michael Cabanatuan @

Powell, the third-busiest station in the system, sees a lively mixture of tourists, shoppers, vagrants and street musicians. Like BART€™s other three stations beneath San Francisco€™s Market Street, Powell is also a Muni Metro subway station, which adds to its hectic nature. Unlike Embarcadero and Montgomery stations, which are thick with office workers during commute hours, or Civic Center, bulging with bureaucrats working government schedules, Powell stays busy all day. Many of those are for what BART calls €œquality of life€ crimes €” like public urination, vagrancy and disturbing the peace. BART says police are enforcing a building code requirement to keep station access clear, but homeless advocates say they€™re illegally rousting homeless people. With the mall, the BART station, parking lots, an AC Transit bus hub and roads connecting them all, Bay Fair sits in the midst of concrete suburbia. A wall of thick, tall iron bars stands guard around the entrance to the station, giving it a somewhat intimidating look. Signs warning against loitering, begging, soliciting and open containers are tagged with graffiti. Crime statistics show that Bay Fair has a high number of robberies and thefts. The station sports an unusual design with a small entry plaza, a compact street-level concourse with a marble mural and a glass ceiling and long stairways and escalators to the subterranean train platforms. BART police recorded two violent crimes at Glen Park in the 10-month periods in 2013 and 2014, including a rape in 2013, a robbery in 2014 and an assault or battery each year. There€™s a steady flow of passengers on and off trains, which sit at the station for several minutes while drivers get out of one end of the train and walk to the other.
Submitted 4 hours ago by eureka!

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The Nooner for December 19th">Jim Brulte doubled CA GOP fundraising from 2012 to 2014
When Brulte and Dhillon took over the helm, the state party was deep in debt. Now, as of Dec. 1, according to state campaign finance disclosure reports, the California Republican Party has $1.48 million in cash on hand. This year, state Republicans have raised $19.2 million - more than double the amount in 2012.

Anti-illegal Immigration Group Protests GOP On Budget Vote
Congressional offices of Royce, Calvert, Cook and Hunter are picketed; Issa is next on list.

California Schools Chief Stars In Country Music Video
Alexei Koseff @
In California, we do things "different" – like put our top schools official in a country music video to kick off an education conference. Over the summer, the state Department of Education shot "California: We Do Things Different," a musical welcome for the Council of Chief State School Officers’ annual policy forum, starring Superintendent of Public Instruc . . .

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