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Bay News: A New SF Mayor, Berkeley to Build Housing, And an Arsonist in Concord

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It’s been a big week here at home and abroad. San Francisco got a new mayor, Berkeley is trying to build some housing, an angry Concord man gets to go to prison and Trump is making a lot of fans in Europe. Let’s dig in.

San Francisco welcomes a (sort of) new mayor

It was a bustling morning and packed afternoon around the scene at San Francisco City Hall Wednesday where London Breed was inaugurated as mayor, again…sort of. Breed stood in front of a crowd of thousands gathered in the Civic Center Plaza and officially became the city’s  first black female mayor, sworn into office by another former mayor and current Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. A large screen carried a congratulatory message from Senator Kamala Harris, who credited Breed with representing “the best of who we are as a city, county, state and country.”


This is the second time Breed will take the helm as mayor, the first being a short stint following Ed Lee’s death, but the job is hers to keep this time around, at least until Lee’s term ends. In just over a year, the city’s residents will go back to the ballot box to select a mayor to serve a full four-year term, a race she has already committed to. San Francisco’s judgments will come in a trial by fire: She’s promised to house the homeless, build affordable housing and establish a safe injection site. Although nobody can reasonably expect her to fix all the city’s woes in just one year, she will be watched like a hawk to see if she falls on the side of corporate interests or the constituents she now represents.

All about the housing

Berkeley voters will get the chance to approve or reject a $135 million bond marked for the establishment of more affordable housing and relief for families and individuals facing displacement. The November ballot measure is crafted to fund “a variety of projects” to help disadvantaged residents of the city and may be lead to housing endeavors for struggling teachers as well. According to Councilwoman Sophie Hahn, the bill could potentially make Berkeley 10 percent affordable by 2030, which is considered an big improvement in today’s East Bay economy. A two-thirds majority is required for the bill’s passage in the upcoming November election.

One hell of a guy in Concord

Alfredo Bautista seems to need a little mandatory anger management. In an August 2 road rage incident on Grizzly Peak Road, in Oakland and Berkeley, the 25-year-old Concord resident repeatedly rammed into his victims’ vehicle, threatened them with a rifle and then proceeded to light eight fires with a cigarette lighter, which burned 20 acres over five days.

Firefighters douse flames from a vegetation fire in the hills along Grizzly Peak Boulevard in Berkeley, Calif., on Wednesday, August 2, 2017. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

Bautista plead no contest and was sentenced to four years in state prison and is on the hook for $126,800 in restitution for the damage he caused. Hopefully, the time-out will do him some good. Woosah man, woosah!

Beyond the Bay

Good news: All 12 Thai soccer players and their coach were rescued from the cave as of Tuesday and seem to be in reasonably good health considering the harrowing ordeal they just went through. A big, fat kudos to all the divers, doctors and volunteers from around the globe that went in on that mission.

J20 riot. Photo courtesy of WeAreChange.

The last 39 J20 defendants got a big sigh of relief when federal prosecutors dismissed the remaining charges Friday. This officially puts to bed the witch hunt of 234 people arrested in connection with protests and riots during Trump’s January 20, 2017 inauguration that by some accounts was the most attended inauguration, ever! Several of the defendants were journalists and legal witnesses who got caught up in a police kettle and were charged with conspiracy to riot, just because they were there.

Maybe not-so-good news: Trump is ripping through a tour through of Europe, and ripping through our NATO alliances while he’s at it. His four-day stop in the UK, and specifically in London Thursday and Friday promise to be interesting with the presence of mass protests and a giant baby Trump blimp balloon floating above the city while he’s there. After a weekend golfing at his Scottish greens will help him recover from the tension prior to the last leg of his trip where he will meet, in private, with his best buddy Vladimir Putin in Russia.

Giant baby Trump blimp prepares for flight over London. Photo courtesy of Al Jazeera

Oh, and the administration missed the court-ordered deadline to reunite all separated migrant children under the age of five.

Weird and way-cool shit to do on your day off

Head down to Jack London Square in Oakland for July’s Second Saturday festival. Although you don’t need any dough to get in, be sure to grab a few bucks in cash to support the 100 vendors shilling out the goods and grub. Live entertainment and art will be provided as a free feast for the eyes and ears.

If you’re hella Asian, or hella love Asians, you can stop by Impact Hub in Oakland Friday for an evening of storytelling, food and entertainment – all for a good fundraising cause. The event starts at 7 p.m. and will cost you $25-50. More information can be found on the Facebook event page.

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.