Surveillance upgrade; OK for chopper landing

STINGRAY UPGRADE The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office is asking the Board of Supervisors to approve an allocation of $113,419 for an upgrade to its controversial Electronic Surveillance Telephone Tracking Technology, more commonly refer to as Stringray. The device, manufactured by Harris Corporation, mimics a cellphone tower and tricks users’ mobile phone data and calls to it. Police have often denied its use in municipalities and privacy advocates have long registered protest. Law enforcement counters the device aids in fighting terrorism, among other things. Funding for the Stingray upgrade comes from a 2014 regional Urban Area Securities Initiative federal grant worth $6.3 million. Within the grant is $180,000 allocated for the Stingray retrofit.

TRACKING REENTRY The matter of reducing recidivism in Alameda County also includes keeping an accurate count of whether those formerly incarcerated are getting the help they need. The creation of a web portal is coming for the Alameda County Probation Department to track reentry client including managing services, referral and providers, said a staff report, in addition to measuring the department’s outcomes and performance. The department does not currently have this capability, said the report. The contract for creating the portal with Tribridge Holdings, LLC is for $499,450. County supervisors will also decide whether to spend $56,100 on diversity and conflict resolution training for the Probation Department. The contract runs through June 30, 2016.

CHOPPER LANDING Supervisor Nate Miley is running for re-election next June. Keep this in mind. According to an agenda item Tuesday, Miley is asking for board approval to land a helicopter on county-owned land in unincorporated Alameda County. The item is absolutely Trumpian and reminiscent of presidential candidate Donald Trump’s arrival a the Iowa State Fair this summer via helicopter. By the way, the chopper is part of the Ashland/Cherryland FamFest on Oct. 10.

COMMITTEES/Sept 29, 6 p.m.
Changes to garbage contract; housing crisis discussion

FOOD SCRAPS Under the city’s new garbage contract, commercial compost rates are “upside down,” meaning its far more cheaper for restaurants to throw food scraps away than place them for pickup in a compost bin. Tuesday night’s council meeting is dedicated to garbage and proposes a new agreement with Waste Management be approved that lowers the maximum commercial organics materials rates to 30 percent below rates for regular commercial pickup through June 2016 and 25 percent thereafter. A lengthy list of other changes to the contract are included. The issue had caught the council off guard after it was approved late last year, they said. Restaurants later balked leading to the changes up for debate Tuesday evening.

A second item, the other half of Oakland’s controversial garbage contract last year, California Waste Solutions says it is losing $800,000 annually for recycling services because of erroneous information provided by the city and later factored into its proposal. The information, it turned out, came from Waste Management, which was previously the exclusive holder of Oakland garbage contract. An amendment to the ordinance will allow California Waste Solutions to recoup their losses by raising per household recycling rates in Oakland by an average of 0.96 cents, says a staff report, staring July 1, 2016.

COMMITTEE SCHEDULE A lackluster slate of City Council Committee hearings does not include the always notable Public Safety Committee, which is canceled.    

OAKLAND/Sept. 30, 6 p.m

HOUSING PROBLEMS A week after Uber’s triumphant move to Downtown Oakland and its potential for hastening gentrification dominated the news, the City Council will address the issue of displacement of Oakland residents and the steps than might be taken to alleviate the continually growing housing crisis in the city. “The displacement crisis is tearing families and communities apart,” Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan wrote in a memo last week to her council colleagues. “In many cases people are being kicked out of their homes in ways that are illegal. Oakland has laws on the books that protect tenants from unjust evictions, but many residents do not know about these laws and they are not adequately enforced.”

HOUSING SOLUTIONS A Housing Equity Roadmap report approved by a City Council Committee last June makes its way to the full council Wednesday night. The report says the city should address the issue of displacement and lack of new affordable housing by pledging goals for building 7,000 new affordable housing units in Oakland over the next 7 years. In addition, it suggests the city improve the living conditions of 5,000 existing units, while maintaining its affordable rent and homeownership stock over the long-term, said the report. A quarterly report of the city’s progress is also recommended.