Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan told KGO-TV Wednesday that his decision to resign for medical reasons was "one of the toughest decisions” of his 25-year career with the OPD. He declined to discuss any details of the ”debilitating health condition” behind his decision, saying these are “personal matters,” but stated that he is looking forward to “longevity, peace and harmony” as he seeks to attain a medical disability retirement.
“It is not easy being an Oakland police officer,” Jordan stated.
Jordan also said he was not forced out, and that the timing of his announcement, which came just before a scheduled press conference in which a report critical of the department by consultant William Bratton's group was to be released, was not related. The press conference had to be hastily postponed until today.
Meanwhile, KPIX-TV has posted a copy of the summary of the findings of the Bratton Report.
Kriss Worthington, a member of the Berkeley City Council, speaks against the lawsuit filed by the Justice Department to forfeit the property that is home to the Berkeley Patients Group, at a press conference on Wednesday. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)
A group of prominent East Bay political leaders spoke out Wednesday against a federal attempt to close the Berkeley Patients Group, one of California's oldest medical marijuana dispensaries.
Mayor Tom Bates, several members of the Berkeley City Council and a representative of Congresswoman Barbara Lee defended the dispensary against a forfeiture lawsuit that was filed on May 2 by U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.
"It's just incomprehensible why they would waste their time attacking law-abiding, taxpaying business, rather than going after the serious crime problems,” City Council member Kriss Worthington said.
“I think this is a horrible waste of money and a distraction,” he added.
Worthington said forcing patients to get their medicine underground “is taking us back 20 years.” Continue reading »
In the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, one section of the upper deck of the Bay Bridge's eastern span collapsed onto the lower deck. The bridge was closed for repairs for a month. In 2002, reconstruction started on a self-anchored suspension bridge to replace the eastern span, and it is scheduled to open around Labor Day 2013.
During the past six weeks, as it's become clear that the new bridge contains unsafe bolts that could fail in another earthquake, Caltrans has been scrambling to stay on that schedule.
California’s state government may be turning the corner from a painful recession, but Assembly Speaker John Perez is already thinking about the next one. The Los Angeles Democrat wants to start setting aside money in a rainy day fund, so legislators aren’t faced with deep spending cuts the next time the economy goes south.
Just like Gov. Jerry Brown, Speaker Perez isn’t getting too excited about the additional $4.5 billion of tax revenue that California collected this year. The better-than-expected tax haul has led to talk about restoring years’ worth of cuts in education and other state programs, but Perez said that conversation is premature.
“This does not mean that in the out year we’re going to continue to have extra amounts of money,” said Perez, pointing out the revenue is less than the $7 billion of new taxes that Propositions 30 and 39 generated. "So we have to be responsible in using this money that is short-term money differently than long-term money.” Continue reading »
San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum delivers against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on April 11, 2012. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Ever wonder how a major league baseball player hits a 90-mph fastball? Ask some researchers at UC Berkeley, who have identified an area of the brain that makes it possible.
Look at the numbers alone and hitting a home run seems next to impossible. A fastball takes .4 seconds to reach home plate after it leaves a pitcher’s hand, but a hitter needs a full .25 seconds to see the ball and react.
“Light hits our eye and the information needs to get to our brain,” said researcher Gerrit Maus of UC Berkeley. “That takes a tenth of a second. After that we make a decision to move, and that signal needs to get to our muscles.”
Maus said it’s an example of a fundamental problem: “Everything our brain receives is actually already out of date by the time the information gets to the brain.”
Luckily, the brain compensates for that lag time. Based on the movement of the object and the background behind it, the brain makes a projection of where the object will be. In a scientific paper released today, Maus and colleagues identified an area of visual cortex where that happens.
The old and new eastern spans of the Bay Bridge. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The planned repair for seismic safety rods that snapped on the new span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge could cost between $5 million to $10 million, a state transportation official said on Wednesday.
California Transportation Commission Executive Director Andre Boutros told a meeting of the Bay Area Toll Authority that repair officials plan to go ahead with a fix for the 32 rods that failed, which involves installing a steel saddle.
The saddle would be placed over the broken rods and held in place with steel cables that would be covered up with concrete so they wouldn't be seen, he said. Another repair option would have been more expensive. Continue reading »
Assistant Chief Anthony Toribio (center) is taking command of the police department during a nationwide search. (Francesca Segre/KQED)
Shortly before a scheduled press conference in which high-profile Oakland policing consultant William Bratton was set to announce a new crime reduction plan, city Police Chief Howard Jordan announced he will retire from the force for medical reasons.
Assistant Police Chief Anthony Toribio will take command of the department during the nationwide search for a new police chief, Mayor Jean Quan announced late Wednesday afternoon.
"These are very hard jobs," Quan said. "I hope you can hear my true affection for the Chief."
This morning I advised City Administrator Deanna Santana that, effective immediately, I am on medical leave and taking steps toward medical retirement. This decision has been difficult, but necessary. Through my 24 years of wearing an OPD badge and uniform, I have emulated the Department’s core values: Honesty, Respect, and Integrity – values I observed in the men and women who worked with me and for me. I know that the members and civilian staff of the Department will carry on these values to generations to come.
It has been an honor to serve the City of Oakland.
Howard A. Jordan
Chief of Police
Oakland Police Department
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers and Levi Strauss & Co have reached an agreement for a $220 million, 20-year naming rights deal for the team's future stadium in Santa Clara.
Levi's CEO Chip Bergh and 49ers CEO Jed York announced the deal Wednesday at Levi's Plaza in San Francisco. While the stadium will be in the heart of technology-rich Silicon Valley, the San Francisco-based apparel company will hold the name: Levi's Stadium.
The upcoming season will be the 49ers' last at historic Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The team is planning to move to the new $1.2 billion stadium, about 45 miles south in Santa Clara and adjacent to the 49ers practice facility, for the 2014 season.
The 49ers are bidding for the Super Bowl in 2016 and 2017 with hopes of landing one.
Two local software developers, Dan Grover and Mike Belfrage, have designed an interactive map that allows users to view how neighborhood incomes rise and fall along the Bay Area’s public transportation routes. The data is available for all BART, Muni and Caltrain routes.
The relative income disparities of residents along the routes can be dramatic, rising from the $20,000 range around BART stops in the Tenderloin or the Oakland Coliseum, to about $200,000 around the Caltrain stop in Atherton, or $160,000 near a Muni stop in Pacific Heights.
A view of the underside of the eastern side of the new Bay Bridge on March 27. Bolts can be seen in a rectangular formation in the center of the photo. A number of steel rods on the new eastern span have snapped. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)
Update: KQED's Dan Brekke reports from the meeting today in which Caltrans described its intended solution for the problem of fracturing steel bolts that have plagued the building of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge.
"Caltrans engineers said they’ve developed a solution that involves a 'saddle' -- sort of a rubber band made of steel cables -- that will wrap around the area affected by these broken steel rods and will allow the shear key structures, which are designed to absorb seismic movements, to operate as intended. The saddle will be held in place by very large anchors and wrapped in concrete."
Caltrans said the fix will cost as much as $10 million. Caltrans still hopes to open the bridge as scheduled over Labor Day weekend.
Later today, Caltrans is expected to say how it plans to deal with some flawed steel components installed in the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. After a series of reports from the San Francisco Chronicle revealed the agency ordered rods made from a kind of steel not recommended for use in bridges, many Californians are asking whether the $6.4 billion bridge will be safe to drive on, let alone open for Labor Day as promised.
The California Report’s Rachael Myrow talked to state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier of Contra Costa County. He chairs the Senate Transportation Committee.
MARK DESAULNIER: This is the largest public works project in the history of the state -- the largest, in fact, west of the Mississippi. So, having been involved with it for a long time -- being a former Metropolitan Transportation Commissioner and having voted on this design when I was in that position -- this was always sold as a safety issue. We're trying to make sure what happened during the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, that when that earthquake hits again that this bridge will be able to sustain that. So it's always been about safety. At this point, having spent $5.3 billion more than what we were told we were going to spend, I think it's really important that we make sure it's safe and we quantify to some degree what we get for paying all that money.