Before you know it, candidate for office next year will be meeting face-to-face in forums and community meetings, each making their case for their respective office. Last week, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley and her challenger Oakland civil rights attorney Pamela Price kicked off the season at a contentious forum at Merritt College.

It’s just another reminder, though, of how strange the East Bay is when it comes to public debates. The problem is, we don’t have them and this isn’t typical around the state. Candidate forums are fine, but they’re merely informational and this suits the incumbent and takes away the single most important, and inexpensive shot, a good, but under-financed candidate can take at their opponent. Not that anyone noticed, but last year Claire Chiara, a Republican challenger in the 15th District, pummeled Assemblymember Tony Thurmond at a forum in Berkeley.

Hopefully, this coming election cycle allows important local races to gain greater attention through proper debates. At the presidential level, raucous debates where candidates can peel away their opponents weaknesses and potential offer voters greater insight into how a candidates performs on their feet and grasps the issues.

As was seen Wednesday night at Merritt College, O’Malley’s campaign may have a considerable financial advantage over Price, but toe-to-toe, in even just a candidate forum format, she looked vulnerable.

Here’s your highlights for this week in East Bay government:
➤San Leandro and Berkeley look to join Oakland in banning flavored tobacco

➤Oakland looks to create “safe havens” for the city’s homeless

➤Berkeley seeks to weigh impacts of Alta Bates closing

➤More market-rate housing for Hayward

➤Fremont to approve massive 2.5 million sq. ft. tech business center

–SAN LEANDRO– Regular council meeting, Monday, Oct. 2, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–BLUNT TALK– San Leandro will discuss a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products Monday night. The issue met some resistance back in June and was referred back to the council’s rules committee. The proposed ordinance also limits the sale of packaged cigarillos to five. The prohibition on flavored tobacco applies to products whether they contain nicotine or not. Penalties include a $2,500 for a second offense and revocation of their license for three years.

–But there’s a big omission in the ordinance and that is menthol cigarettes. Oakland passed a similar flavored tobacco ban this month that included menthol. San Leandro’s city attorney, however, has offered the council more conservative advice, stating a ban on menthol may put the city at risk of a lawsuit from Big Tobacco.

Board of Zoning and Adjustments meeting, Thursday, Oct. 5, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–DISPENSARY CONDITIONAL-USE PERMIT– The controversy over the dispensary permit awarded last year to the Davis Street Wellness Center continues at the BZA Thursday night. The local permit-holder is seeking approval to open the dispensary on Teagarden Street at the property of the Davis Street Family Resource Center. But the city is a recommended the BZA deny the application. Whether the proposal is successful or fails at the BZA, it appears destined to be appeal and heard before the full City Council later this year.


–HAYWARD– Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–MORE HOUSING, NONE AFFORDABLE– “The proposed Haymont Townhomes and Apartment Mixed-Use Project is proposed to be developed on a site located along the west side of Mission Boulevard north of Sorenson Road within the South Hayward BART/Mission Boulevard Form-Based code area” and includes 35 three-story town homes and 39 mixed-use apartments and retail. The project does not include an affordable housing component, a fact noted by Planning Commissioner Heather Enders, who voted against it. She criticized the city for leaning on in-lieu payments from developers instead of insisting on affordable housing units.


–OAKLAND– Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 5:30 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]

–SAFE HAVEN– The unsheltered population in Oakland has increased by 30 percent since 2015 and the City Council identified and provided funding for multiple strategies in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018-19 budget to address this crisis.”

–“One of those strategies is the creation of a Safe Haven. This report provides an update on staff efforts at launching a Safe Haven including potential locations and the anticipated structure of services provided at the site.” The city has identified six possible locations to temporarily shelter the homeless. Costs include purchasing “Tuff Sheds” and bedding for one-time annual total of more than $551,000.

–POLICE COMMISSION APPOINTMENTS– Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is naming four members to the Police Commission. They include, Regina Jackson, Edwin Prather, Thomas Smith, and Andrea Dooley. The selection panel’s appointments, however, are being held up while the nominees’ background checks are completed.

–PORT REAPPOINTMENTS– Port of Oakland Commissioners Michael Colbruno and Earl Hamlin are being reappointed to their posts by Schaaf.

–BERKELEY– Special council meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 4 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–FLAVORED TOBACCO, BAN BERKELEY-STYLE– The Berkeley City Council, like Oakland previously and San Leandro the night before, is seeking to snuff out the sale of flavored tobacco in cigarettes and various other forms. But Berkeley’s version contains one sizable exemption for tobacco-only retailers. “The ordinance exempts the sale of tobacco flavored products at authorized retail tobacco stores that primarily sell tobacco products, generating more than 60% of gross revenues from the sale of tobacco products,” according to a city staff report.

Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 6 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–HEALTH IMPACT OF ALTA BATES CLOSURE– With Sutter Health previously announced an intention to close Alta Bates Hospital, the council will be asked Tuesday to approve research to create a Health Impact Assessment on the community and public safety. According to the proposed resolution, the hospital’s closure will “likely include delay of care for emergency medicine events, impacting patient health outcomes for cardiac and stroke, pulmonary, obstetrics, psychiatric, alcohol and drug poisoning, and trauma emergencies.”


–ALAMEDA– Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–WATER TREATMENT INCIDENT UPDATE– The city council will receive an update on the water quality incident that occurred earlier this month at Alameda Point that affected businesses and some residents. What we know now from the city is “the source of the water quality issue is related to a cross-connection between a potable drinking water line and a non-potable irrigation line.” However, the “how” is not yet known.

–PUBLIC ACCESS TO TIDAL CANAL– Three little-known, but relatively unkept public access points between residential homes to the Oakland-Alameda Tidal Canal created controversy earlier this spring when some urged for the areas to be enhanced, possibly for recreation or landings for small boats. A feasibility study is being conducted, but a recent public polls appears to show strong support, although not likely from those living on the waterfront near the access points.

–LGBT PROCLAMATION– Typically proclamations do not warrant much political attention, but one to highlight LGBTQ History Month in Alameda could be notably. That’s because another LGBTQ proclamation earlier this year turned into an embarrassing moment for Mayor Trish Spencer after some activists declined to accept the proclamation from Spencer due to comments she made against the LGBTQ community as a school board member.


–GATHERINGS– Berkeley public safety town hall on the sale of high-alcohol content beverages in our downtown, hosted by Berkeley Councilmember Kate HarrisonThursday, Oct. 5, 6 p.m., North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Avenue.

–Alameda County Democratic Central Committee meeting, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 7 p.m., San Leandro Main Library, 300 Estudillo Avenue.

–ALAMEDA COUNTY– Regular board meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 10:30 a.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–WASTEWATER VARIANCE– Waste Management, which operates Livermore’s Altamont Landfill, is seeking a county variance to use a holding tank for wastewater disposal. The particular use is prohibited by the Alameda County Onsite Wastewater Treatment System regulations. But the Alameda County Health Care Services director says the arrangement is an allowable alternative. The landfill’s closest sewage hook-up is three miles away. Nevertheless the hearing for an automatic appeal will come before the Board of Supervisors.

Transportation/Planning Committee meeting, Monday, Oct. 2, 9:30 a.m. (Alameda County Conference Center, 125 12th Street, Oakland, Fourth Floor) (ENTIRE AGENDA HERE] // BART to Livermore Environment Impact Report // Medical cannabis ordinances implementation update // Cannabis cultivation pilot update.

–FREMONT– Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 7 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–MASSIVE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS CENTER– The southernmost portion of the Pacific Commons development comes to the council for approval to create a tech campus on its remaining 153 acres and composed of 11 industrial buildings and 2 auto dealerships totaling 2.5 million sq. ft. The area is near where the Oakland Athletics once proposed a ballpark in Fremont.