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Weekly News: Bad Santas, Text Tax, Tactless Twits y Mas

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Welcome to your week in news. On the menu this week are two very bad Santas, the undignified treatment of Oakland’s homeless, the state of the Raiders, talk of a text message tax, some tactless winners of the week, a national rundown and a couple ideas to help keep your mood up this weekend. Let’s go…

Shitty Santas catch a charge

As we reported earlier this week, two drunken, female Santa Con participants got a little too wild with it during the Saturday pub crawl. They showed up at the city’s beloved Shalimar, a Pakistani restaurant on Polk Street – the two were visibly intoxicated when they entered, and we know this because the geniuses were caught on security camera footage. They demanded food they didn’t pay for, knocked over all sorts of stuff from the counters, punched an employee and then smashed the front door with a chair.

Thankfully, Eater San Francisco reported Wednesday that the two 21-year-old women surrendered themselves to San Francisco police and were arrested and charged with felony vandalism and battery charges. The bad Santas are sitting in County today.

And just because I’m a fan of pub crawls, Santas and nice folks who make bomb Pakistani food, I wag my finger at you two for f’n up a good time and being shitty people. Shame.

Dignity Village eviction: all eviction, no dignity

The city of Oakland and Oakland’s Dignity Village, a homeless encampment for sober women and children, legally battled and negotiated for the encampment’s right to exist in the space at Edes Avenue and South Elmhurst Avenue. The tiny-house community was suddenly evicted on Dec. 6, with structures broken apart and belongings shoved into trash compactors. Activists showed up to try and stop the sweep, but to no avail – they then swarmed Tuesday’s City Council meeting, where they were met with threats of removal from the chamber by Council Member Larry Reid. Advocates are calling on the public to call and email a little pressure on Mayor Libby Schaaf and Council Member Larry Reid.

Fighting eviction at the The Village in Oakland, Calif. Photo courtesy of KCBS Radio

Raiders limbo

The city of Oakland called team owner Mark Davis’s bluff and filed a lawsuit against the franchise and the NFL to recoup the losses as a result of the team’s move to Las Vegas. Davis had previously stated that the team would move prior to 2020 if the city brought a suit. According to an ESPN report after a Wednesday NFL owners meeting, “the Raiders’ $7.5 million lease proposal to the city for one final season in the Oakland Coliseum is off the table in the wake of the lawsuit.”

Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Quarterback Derek Carr doesn’t seem as quick to want to give up on playing in Oakland. He says he knows people talk trash about the Coliseum, but that he loves it. “”It’s ours. It’s been fun. And the fact that it could be the last [game] is crazy. But when that time comes, we will enjoy it,” Carr said.

Text tax?????????

The California Public Utilities Commission is set to vote next month on a proposal that if passed would somehow, someway tax consumers for use of text messaging. The full plan hasn’t been established as of yet – they don’t know if the tax would roll out as a per text fee or a flat tax added to the sea of extra fees already living at the bottom of your bill. The proposal is packaged as way to generate revenue for programs that help the poor access phone services.

Now, if you’re in the “a phone is a luxury and poor people shouldn’t feel so entitled” camp – this idea will really piss you off. But allow me to also point out that you’re wrong – a phone is essentially a life requirement anymore. Try telling your children’s school that you can’t be reached during the day. And when was the last time you saw an operational payphone?

Still, even for the pro-social safety net people, this proposal is a hard pill to swallow when you realize that instead of an alternate tax on the wealthier among us, the almost poor among us will be largely footing the bill to help the super poor among us access what amounts to an absolute necessity in this technological era. And, to sweeten the deal, “under the regulators’ proposal the charge could be applied retroactively for five years — which they call “an alarming precedent” — and could amount to a bill of more than $220 million for California consumers.” Yippee!

Tactless twits

One of my personal favorites this past week is Tucker Carlson, the Tucker Carlson of Fox News and the Daily Caller…yeah, that guy. He’s suddenly confused about why the country is so divided.

 

Next runner up is former-Trump fixer/attorney Michael Cohen, who begged and cried for his life during his sentencing hearing Wednesday. He wanted the judge to know he’s had a change of heart and regrets all the bad and illegal things he once did for our current president, at the president’s direction, because “blind loyalty” to the president led him down a “dark path.” He then proceeded to quote from holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” – I kid you not.

“There are forces beyond your control that can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.” Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

In case you’ve got some extra popcorn you need to get rid of, here’s a link to the transcript for the complete Cohen statement.

National nausea

I’m going to go easy on this topic this week, because if the sky falls (as is pretty much inevitable), we’re going to have plenty to say next about the state of Trump and constitutional matters. But, here’s a speed round: Maria Butina (the Russian/NRA foreign agent/spy who embedded herself in Trump circles during the campaign) took a plea deal and agreed to cooperate with the FBI, Michael Cohen got three years in the pen after he implicated Trump in straight-up federal crimes, Paul Manafort is still screwed, Roger Stone has yet to be indicted (dammit) and the president and fam may soon be caught trying to flee the country – at least, they should…because it looks like everyone else they know is being given immunity to flip on anyone with the name “Trump.” 

Weird shit to do on your day off

Craft something! Bust out your scissors and get your ass to crafting some holiday gifts. Do it either because you can feel glitter in your soul (FYI: I haze zero soul glitter) or because you’re broke AF and that’s the only way in anyone you know is getting a gift from you. Listen, it’s cheap, fun and therapeutic, even if you’ve never even accidentally looked at a Martha Stewart magazine. Do it on your own or get some friends together with some booze and you’ve got yourself a party…with scissors, glue guns and sequin – it’s bound to work out. Check out our guide to East Bay guide DIY gifts here.

Spend all day Saturday in Berkeley – there’s plenty going on down there. Head to Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley Saturday to stock up on those unique gifts you can only get at a place like Telegraph. The annual Holiday Street Fair and Festival of Lights will be humming along all day and there’s no charge to stroll the street – check details here for exact locations and vendor info.

If you want to get off the main street, carve out a path through the 27th Annual Open Studios tour where you can drop in on all sorts of craftspeople, artists, artisans and potters. Check out the list and maps of open studios here.


Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the date of the Dignity Village eviction as Dec. 12. It has since been corrected.

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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.