SAN JOSE STATE at WYOMING
Records: San Jose State 2-1, 0-0 in the Mountain West; Wyoming 3-2, 1-0
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m. Saturday at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyoming
TV: CBS Sports Network
Radio: KTRB 860 AM
Series history: Wyoming leads 7-5, but San Jose State won last year’s Oct. 30 matchup at CEFCU Stadium, 27-21. The Spartans have won four of five games since joining the Mountain West in 2013. San Jose State has won every game in series decided by one possession or less, while Wyoming has won every game decided by more than a touchdown.
San Jose State storylines: The Spartans are 14-25 in Mountain West play under Brennan, but 10-5 since 2020 … Have won four of their past six road MW games after losing first 12 under Brennan … Opened conference play last season with a 17-13 win at Hawaii … Have won past two MW openers, including 17-6 vs. Air Force in 2020 when they went unbeaten in the regular season (7-0, all conference games) and went to the Arizona Bowl … Linebacker Jordan Pollard named MW Freshman of the Week after eight tackles and interception vs. Western Michigan.Related Articles
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- College Sports | Pac-12 recruiting: Arizona’s visitor, Oregon’s weekend, USC hosts Bosco
- College Sports | Robinson gets San Jose State running game moving heading into Mountain West opener
Wyoming storylines: The Cowboys have scored on their first possession in each of the last four games … Wyoming is 3-0 at home this season, including a 17-14 win in conference opener vs. Air Force Sept. 16 … Went just 1-3 in MW play at home last year, scoring three or fewer points twice.
Stats that matter: Wyoming has scored on 15 of 16 red-zone opportunities, second-best red zone scoring percentage (.938) in Mountain West and No. 27 (tied) in FBS, but eight red-zone field goals are tied for No. 1 in NCAA … Second-least penalized team in Mountain West, and No. 13 in FBS … After holding WMU to 71 passing yards last week, SJSU is No. 18 nationally and third in Mountain West in pass yards allowed per game (169.7) … Both teams are in bottom 30 of FBS teams in yards per game, but San Jose State is fifth in the Mountain West at 338.0.
— MIKE NOWELS & LAURENCE MIEDEMA
OAKLAND — There’s only one place in this city where you can go watch salsa dancers perform, answer trivia questions posed by Jeopardy champion and longtime resident Amy Schneider, and hear drummers wearing Luchador masks pounding rhythms entire sections of bleachers chant to: an Oakland Roots game.
Most other professional sports teams that could muster anything resembling the warm community that is the Roots fanbase are gone from Oakland. But what sprouted in their place more than four years ago says it is here to stay.
As the Roots fanbase grows, the club is looking at sites for a permanent stadium, including the city-owned Malibu racetrack site on Hegenberger Road near the Coliseum. The possibility of the Roots leasing the racetrack site from Oakland was mentioned at an Oakland Coliseum Joint Powers Authority meeting, where it was noted talks are in very preliminary stages. For now, the Roots will keep playing at Laney while the Oakland Soul women’s soccer team will play at Merritt College when it launches next spring.OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 3: Oakland Roots Soccer Club fans watch a United Soccer League game against San Antonio FC at Laney College soccer field in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. The Roots is looking for a new stadium to fit its growing fan base. Matches at Laney College average 4,300 fans a night, with a maximum capacity of 5,500 while multiple games have sold out, said Roots spokesman Tommy Hodul. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
With the search for a new home for the team ongoing, fans who helped sell out Laney College’s football stadium this season voiced their perspectives on the first professional sports team to commit itself to Oakland since the Raiders came back from Los Angeles in 1995. In fact, some of them came to a recent game straight from the drumming sections at Athletics games and the Black Hole of a bygone Raiders era.
Juan Lepe held season tickets for both teams —spending 12 years tailgating in parking lot D at the Coliseum on Raiders game days — before joining Los Roots, one of many supporter groups of fans dedicated to generating fun and team spirit from Laney’s bleachers.
“When the Raiders left that had left a hole, and when we found the Roots it filled that,” Lepe said, adding that his supporter group’s relationship with Roots ownership is far more inclusive than what he experiences as a fan of other sports teams. “They give us so much access. They do a lot, compared to the A’s and the Raiders. They ask us, ‘What do you guys want? What do you guys need?’ It’s different. It’s a different atmosphere. I love going to Raiders games, you know. I’ve gone to Las Vegas to watch them. But this is just different.”OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – JULY 27: An Oakland Roots Soccer Club fan cheer during a United Soccer League game against the Phoenix Rising at Laney College soccer field in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. The Roots is looking for a new stadium to fit its growing fan base. Matches at Laney College average 4,300 fans a night, with a maximum capacity of 5,500 while multiple games have sold out, said Roots spokesman Tommy Hodul. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
Jorge Bejarano held Raiders season tickets for 14 years and co-founded the Drummers at Left Field Bleachers group at A’s games. He says dozens of Roots supporters migrated directly from Athletics fandom, including members of the Oakland 68’s right field drum corps.
These days the visual artist designs and illustrates a new character and stickers to hand out at each game on behalf of his Abstract Oakland business. Bejarano says former A’s fans like him migrated specifically “because of the threats” the A’s have made to leave Oakland.
He contrasts that with how the Roots treat him and what he loves about the team: “How small it is, how dedicated to the community they are. They allow fans to dictate what they want to do. Anything that we want, they’ll provide. … The Roots man, it’s home. We can talk to the owners; we have all their numbers. It’s such a closer connection than what you feel with these bigger teams.”
Edreece Arghandiwal, Oakland Roots co-founder and chief marketing officer, says that’s part of his mission to create a different kind of sports model here.
“We’re all coming together to try and build something special here in Oakland, which is a sports model driven by humanity,” Arghandiwal said. “We believe in access not because that’s a cool thing to do but because it’s the right thing to do.”OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 3: Oakland Roots Soccer Club fans cheer during a United Soccer League game against San Antonio FC at Laney College soccer field in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. The Roots is looking for a new stadium to fit its growing fan base. Matches at Laney College average 4,300 fans a night, with a maximum capacity of 5,500 while multiple games have sold out, said Roots spokesman Tommy Hodul. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
Roots season ticket holder Elsa Seiwald scored an access upgrade when out-of-town friends offered her VIP sideline tickets to the Roots 0-2 loss to San Antonio F.C. in September. The Oakland resident said she’s been a fan since before the team played its first game.
“I was walking around Lake Merritt, I guess 2019, and I like saw somebody taking a photo in a shirt and it must’ve been some promotional photo shoot for their swag and I was like ‘What is that?’ and Googled it, and we were like, ‘Oh, my god, it’s an Oakland soccer team and we could pay $5.10 as a deposit for future membership,’ I thought that was so funny,” Seiwald said in reference to the deposit price equaling Oakland’s telephone area code.
As a Bay Area native who grew up playing soccer for Alameda Soccer Club and East Bay United Soccer and coached her younger sisters at Alameda, she’s now excited to see the women’s soccer team Oakland Soul debut next spring.
“We love supporting the team that’s local. I feel like that’s cliche but also it’s so nice to have somebody so close,” Seiwald said, adding that Laney is too small for the club now, as more than 5,090 fans roared from the college football stadium’s bleachers a few yards away.
“[Laney’s] expensive to play at but I think it would be a huge miss if they put a field where somebody couldn’t BART or the public transportation wasn’t there. So many of my friends that I brought into the Roots community are BARTing in” from San Francisco, she said.OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 3: The Oakland Roots Soccer Club and San Antonio FC compete during a United Soccer League game at Laney College soccer field in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. The Roots is looking for a new stadium to fit its growing fan base. Matches at Laney College average 4,300 fans a night, with a maximum capacity of 5,500 while multiple games have sold out, said Roots spokesman Tommy Hodul. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
Arghandiwal is keeping fan presence center-focused as the Roots hunt for their new home.
“We do not exist if fans do not show up. We do not exist if fans do not love us. We do not exist if Oakland, which is in our name, does not want us to represent it,” Arghandiwal said. “So a lot of everything we do leans into our tagline: Oakland First Always, and knowing your roots. I’m a firm believer that you have to tap into your roots in order to know where you’re going, and every decision we try to make is with the lens of Oakland first and always. Whether it’s how we communicate with people, how we treat people, the decisions we make every single day.”
To Arghandiwal’s point, first-timer Lena Gaazarin, who said friends invited her to a late July game with 3,335 other fans where the Roots played a scoreless match against Phoenix Rising F.C., said that she would definitely return:
“No offense to the A’s.”
—Going to the next match?
Oakland Roots vs. Birmingham Legion FC
Game starts at 7 p.m. Oct. 1 at Laney College, 900 Fallon St, Oakland
Tickets are sold out
More info: Oakland Roots website
CAL at WASHINGTON STATE
Records: Cal 3-1, 1-0 in the Pac-12; Washington State 3-1, 0-1 in Pac-12
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Gesa Field in Pullman, WA
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: KGO (810 AM)
Series history: Cal leads 48-29-5 with the teams trading wins over the past six meetings. WSU won 21-6 last season in Berkeley. Their most recent scheduled game in Pullman, in 2020, was canceled because of COVID-19 issues within the Cal program.
Cal storylines: The Bears will try to start 2-0 in the Pac-12 for the first time since 2015. A victory sends them into a bye week before they hit the road to face Colorado, the Pac-12’s worst team, on Oct. 15 . . . Cal is coming off a 49-31 win over Arizona in which the Bears outscored the Wildcats 28-7 in the second half. The 49 points matched the most Cal has scored in a Pac-12 game in six seasons under coach Justin Wilcox . . . Cal ran for a season-high 354 yards last week but WSU’s defensive front is stout so the Bears may need to throw the ball downfield to exploit the Cougars. Quarterback Jack Plummer passed for 245 yards and three touchdowns against Arizona and has eight TDs vs. two interceptions on the season. . . . Cal is one of one FBS teams still without a lost fumble this season and has lost just two in its past 19 games, dating back to 2020.Related Articles
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Washington State storylines: The Cougars opened the season 3-0, including a 17-14 road win against then-No. 19 Wisconsin. They held a 27-15 lead entering the fourth quarter at home last week against Oregon before the Ducks scored 29 fourth-quarter points to win 44-41 . . . Coach Jake Dickert took over in Week 7 last season when Nick Rolovich was fired for failing to meet a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for state employees. Dickert is WSU’s first head coach with a defensive background since Bill Doba in 2003 . . . Quarterback Cameron Ward, who passed for 4,648 yards and 47 touchdowns last season at FCS Incarnate Word, already has 1,102 passing yards and 10 TDs for the Cougars. Dickert, referring to Ward’s improvisational skills, said he “has magic in his hands” . . . Another transfer, senior linebacker Daiyan Henley, leads the Pac-12 with 8.5 tackles for loss and recently was projected by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. as a first-round NFL draft pick next spring.
Stats that matter: Cal and WSU each have scored exactly 120 points and given up the identical totals of 82 points . . . WSU leads the FBS with 38 tackles for loss and is tied for fifth with 14 sacks . . . According to College Football Film Room, 70 percent of Jaydn Ott’s 274 rushing yards against Arizona came after contact.
See a photo you like? Click Here to see these and more and to purchase high-quality prints or a keepsake photos on mugs, buttons, greeting cards, and more.McClymond’s Redmani Albert (5) reaches but can’t hold onto a pass while being guarded by Pittsburg’s Khai Taylor (7) during the second quarter of their game at Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) Pittsburg’s Elijah Bow (25) runs with the ball and is tackled by McClymond’s Tayshon Clayton (24) during the first quarter of their game at Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Clayton would be called for a face mask penalty. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) Pittsburg’s Budha Boyd Jr. (15) blocks a pass intended for McClymond’s Redmani Albert (5) during the first quarter of their game at Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) Pittsburg’s Jadyn Hudson (10) runs with the ball as McClymond’s Rafael Campbell Jr. (10) is called for a face mask penalty during the fourth quarter of their game at Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Pittsburg defeated McClymonds 39-21. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) McClymond’s Tony Hamilton III (3) reacts after suffering an injury to his knee while playing Pittsburg during the fourth quarter of their game at Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Pittsburg defeated McClymonds 39-21. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) Pittsburg’s Zack Card (11) battles McClymond quarterback Deontae Faison (12) for a fumble after a bad snap during the fourth quarter of their game at Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Pittsburg would recover the fumble. Pittsburg defeated McClymonds 39-21. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)
Serra 35, Archbishop Mitty 7,
See a photo you like? Click Here to see these and more and to purchase high-quality prints or a keepsake photos on mugs, buttons, greeting cards, and more.Serra’s Jaden Green (3) breaks a tackle on a run against Mitty’s Austin Barbeau (15) in the third quarter at Serra High School on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in San Mateo, Calif. (Photo by Jim Gensheimer) Serra head coach Patrick Walsh directs his team as he sends in Jayden Weber (2) against Mitty in the first quarter at Serra High School on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in San Mateo, Calif. (Photo by Jim Gensheimer) Serra quarterback Maealiuaki Smith (7) passes against Mitty in the second quarter at Serra High School on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in San Mateo, Calif. (Photo by Jim Gensheimer) Serra’s Danny Niu (1) breaks away on a run for a first down against Mitty in the third quarter at Serra High School on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in San Mateo, Calif. (Photo by Jim Gensheimer) Serra’s Jabari Mann (5) runs in a touchdown against Mitty in the first quarter at Serra High School on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in San Mateo, Calif. (Photo by Jim Gensheimer) Half Moon Bay 22, Menlo-Atherton 21,
See a photo you like? Click Here to see these and more and to purchase high-quality prints or a keepsake photos on mugs, buttons, greeting cards, and more.Menlo-Atherton’s Jayden Moss (3) fails to catch the ball against Half Moon Bay’s Kai Zanette (45) in the second half at Half Moon Bay High School in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group) Menlo-Atherton’s Johno Price (2) runs with the ball against Half Moon Bay at Half Moon Bay High School in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group) Menlo Atherton’s Jordan Masuisui (43) runs with the ball against Half Moon Bay’s Connor Heath (13) at Half Moon Bay High School in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group) Half Moon Bay’s Liam Harrington (9) throws the ball against Menlo-Atherton in the second half at Half Moon Bay High School in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group) Half Moon Bay’s Liam Harrington (9) runs with the ball against Menlo-Atherton’s James Gray (15) in the first half at Half Moon Bay High School in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group) Lincoln-San Jose 40, Branham 12,
Top-ranked Serra was far from perfect but still managed to comfortably beat 11th-ranked Archbishop Mitty.
Third-ranked Pittsburg pulled away late to turn back No. 5 McClymonds.
Half Moon Bay held off seventh-ranked Menlo-Atherton in a league opener and Lincoln-San Jose cruised past Branham in a matchup between teams that had not lost.
Our roundup has details and/or links to all those games.
Check back every Saturday for scores, highlights and top performers, updated throughout the day.
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On to the roundup …Ranked teams No. 1 Serra 35, No. 11 Archbishop Mitty 7
Serra built a two-touchdown cushion by halftime and led by three touchdowns after the third quarter on its way to a victory in its only night home game of the season. Maealiuaki Smith threw two touchdown passes and Teddy Chung intercepted two passes to help lead the way. Darren Sabedra has the recap here.No. 3 Pittsburg 39, No. 5 McClymonds 21
Pittsburg, playing on its home field, broke open the game late as the Pirates bounced back from their loss two weeks ago to Folsom. Elijah Bow propelled the Pirates with 183 and a touchdown in 33 carries. Check out Joseph Dycus’ game story here.No. 19 Half Moon Bay 22, No. 7 Menlo-Atherton 21
For the second week in a row, Menlo-Atherton lost on the road by a point. Last week, Wilcox beat the Bears 21-20. Friday, in a league opener, Half Moon Bay held off M-A after the Bears moved inside the 10-yard line with less than two minutes to go. David Kiefer has all the details here.No. 17 St. Francis 42, St. Ignatius 20
The Lancers, for the first time since Week 1, returned to the win column with a victory on the road against St. Ignatius in West Catholic Athletic League play. Keala Keanaaina started the scoring with a three-yard plunge late in the first quarter. Then quarterback Matthew Dougherty sneaked in from the 1 in the second quarter to give the Lancers a 14-0 lead at halftime. Dougherty also caught a 40-yard touchdown from Riley Long. Soren Hummel threw a couple of scoring passes to give St. Ignatius life, but St. Francis (2-3, 1-1) pulled away when Dougherty connected with Ned Righellis and Andrew Adkison for touchdowns. St. Francis plays host to Sacred Heart Cathedral next Friday, while St. Ignatius (1-4, 0-2) will be back at home to face Valley Christian. — Joseph DycusNo. 21 Heritage 41, Freedom 18
Devon Rivers scored five rushing touchdowns as the Patriots (5-1) bounced back from their first loss of the season last week. Rivers had 192 yards on 37 carries and scored all five TDs on runs of 7 yards or less. The Fresno State commit now has 1,264 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. Last week in a 17-7 setback against James Logan, he was held under 100 yards and without a score for the only time this season. Friday night’s Bay Valley Athletic League opener for both Heritage and Freedom was close for a half. The visitors led 14-12 at halftime against the much-improved Falcons (2-3, 0-1), but they took charge in the third and fourth quarters. It began on the very first play after intermission when quarterback Austin Peters threw a 73-yard touchdown to Brooks Davis. That made it 21-12, and Heritage built the lead to 34-12 on two more Rivers runs before Freedom finally managed a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Heritage is off next Friday before visiting Antioch on Oct. 14. Freedom also has a bye before playing at Liberty on Oct. 14. — Mike LefkowEast Bay Antioch 61, Deer Valley 16
Antioch snapped a four-game losing streak on Thursday behind solid offensive performances from Charles Brown and Larenzo Mayfield. Brown rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns and Mayfield threw one touchdown and ran for two more to lead the Panthers to a victory in the inaugural Antioch Sports Legends trophy game. Elijah Stingley, Issac Gaines, Robert Edward and Curtis Tucker all scored for Antioch. Marc Mixon and Jaion Gray found the end zone for Deer Valley. Both will resume play on Oct. 14. Antioch (2-4, 1-4) will play host to Heritage and Deer Valley (0-6, 0-1) will be at home against Pittsburg. – Jesús CanoDougherty Valley 50, Vallejo 12
Dougherty Valley is 6-0 for the first time in program history after winning at home against Vallejo. Devin Garcia had two touchdowns for the second consecutive game. Aryan Guar also had a pair of touchdowns, which included a 90-yard run. Aditya Ved, Michael Bae, and Gavin Bergstedt also scored. Dougherty Valley will start East Bay Athletic League Valley Division play next Friday at home against Foothill. – Jesús CanoSouth Bay/Peninsula/SF Santa Teresa 47, Independence 0
Santa Teresa stretched its winning streak to three games, building a 34-point halftime cushion en route to a non-league victory Thursday at home over Independence. Joseph Tapia threw two touchdown passes and Evan Smith ran for 109 yards and a touchdown in 22 carries to help lead the way. Joshua Reyes added a two touchdowns on the ground and one receiving and Ian Quintero and Joshua Rahimi also scored touchdowns for Santa Teresa (4-2). Reyes, who plays strong safety, led the defense with eight tackles. Weak safety Alex Villaneda finished with seven tackles, middle linebacker Davis Aguirre had six tackles and an interception and defensive lineman Joe Brush contributed four tackles and a sack. Santa Teresa has next week off, then plays host to Live Oak in a league game on Oct. 14. Independence (1-4) visits Pioneer in a league game Thursday. — Darren SabedraWillow Glen 35, Evergreen Valley 0
Cooper Nixon had 12 carries for 130 yards and two touchdowns as Willow Glen prevailed on the road over Evergreen Valley in a Blossom Valley Athletic League West Valley Division game. Cedeno Chavez, Dylan Dallas and Joshua Sanchez also scored. Chase Otrowoski had an interception and Taggart Severson recovered a fumble to contribute to the shutout. Willow Glen (3-2, 2-0) has won two in a row. The Rams will return home next Friday to play Hill. Evergreen Valley (2-3, 1-1) plays host San Jose next Friday. – Jesús Cano
Check back throughout Saturday for updates.
For two years, Discovery Duck — the Children’s Discovery Museum’s inflated, yellow mascot — has had a big purple mask covering her beak. It served as a way to let the learning center’s young visitors know that it wasn’t so scary to wear a mask, and maybe as a reminder to their grown-up companions that everyone needed to be masked up during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But with most Santa Clara County restrictions relaxed because of widespread vaccinations and schools returning this fall without masks, Discovery Duck had her mask removed Friday afternoon. And it’s still symbolic because Children’s Discovery Museum is now mask optional.Discovery Duck, photographed in 2020, wearing a purple mask. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)
After being closed for a week for cleaning and maintenance, the Purple Museum in downtown San Jose was set to reopen Saturday, Oct. 1, with a pair of live performances by Grammy-nominated musician David Sharpe, better known to fans by his stage name, PapaHugs. The museum is open Wednesday through Friday mornings and all day Saturday and Sunday. Go to www.cdm.org for hours and other details.
LAW FIRM TURNS 50: The worlds of law and art came together Thursday night at the San Jose Museum of Art, where a crowd of more than 300 people celebrated the 50th anniversary of San Jose law firm McManis Faulkner. It was a who’s who of Silicon Valley’s legal community, with attorneys, clients and judges mingling with other community leaders and members of the art community.
The venue was a perfect fit, as partner Bill Faulkner has served on the museum’s board of trustees for 25 years and it’s right next door to the firm’s offices at 50 W. San Fernando Street. As it did for several of its milestone anniversaries, McManis Faulkner commissioned Berkeley graphic artist David Lance Goines to create a print to celebrate the occasion. Like previous versions, this one features a female figure holding the scales of justice. Interestingly, this time around, she’s also holding the hilt of a sword.
To be accurate, McManis Faulkner is 51 years old, but partner Jim McManis said the firm had postponed its golden anniversary celebration a year so it could have the party it wanted to have and without the stringent COVID-19 policies that were in place last year.
FUN AND GAMES WITH SPUR: Once San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and City Councilman Raul Peralez are termed out at the end of the year, they might want to hit the stage at the San Jose Improv with a comedy act.
During the 10th anniversary of SPUR San Jose, Liccardo congratulated the urban planning group for its work in the city over the past decade but realized he had shown up empty handed to Blanco Urban in San Pedro Square. Just then, Peralez came bounding to the rescue with a city commendation in hand.
“I was about to say that the slacker mayor forgot the commendation,” Liccardo said.
“I’m not the slacker,” Peralez retorted with a laugh. The pair, joined by council colleagues David Cohen and Matt Mahan presented the certificate to SPUR San Jose Director Fred Buzo.
CAPITAL HONOR: As one of Silicon Valley’s legendary developers, Barry Swenson has built thousands of walls in this region. But now Swenson and his famous white cowboy hat are going to be featured on one as the latest honoree on the Silicon Valley Capital Club’s Wall of Fame.
Swenson, 83, was honored in a ceremony at the business club on the 17th floor of 50 W. San Fernando St. with his wife, Molly Swenson, and children, Case Swenson and Tamara Current, telling a few family stories. Ron Gonzales, former San Jose mayor and current Hispanic Foundation CEO, presided over the event as chair of the club’s board of governors and was able to welcome Swenson to the wall. Gonzales himself was inducted a few weeks ago.
BOOK REPORTS: Former Mercury News scribe Larry Slonaker recently released his first novel, “Nothing Got Broke,” about a ex-newspaper columnist from the Bay Area who packs up for Montana only to be embroiled in the mysterious death of a man in San Jose. It’s only partly biographical — Slonaker grew up in Montana and moved to California, and to the best of my knowledge hasn’t been embroiled in any mysteries outside the pages of his book.
He hopes he can bring the novel to some book clubs here in the Bay Area and recently got back from doing a reading and signing in Montana. “My qualms — about whether folks there would have taken offense as some of the portrayals — turned out to be for naught,” he said. You can pick up the paperback on Amazon.com.
Meanwhile, San Jose author M.D. Neu has released his latest sci-fi fantasy novel, “Volaria,” which features vampires in space. And like Neu’s previous works, this one features LGBTQ characters and has a San Jose setting, though it’s San Jose 100 years in the future. “This is something different for me,” Neu said. “I wanted to stretch my writing muscles and see if I could write something darker and outside the norm for me.”
It’s been a busy year for Neu, who released “A New World – Conspiracy” — the third book in his science-fiction series — in August.
THE SHOW WILL GO ON … NEXT SUMMER: So maybe we’re not done with COVID-19 yet. Because of an outbreak, San Jose Stage Company was forced to postpone its “Monday Night Live” fundraiser that was set for Oct. 3. I’m really disappointed about that because I was slated to be this year’s guest host. The show, which had been postponed once already from June, is now scheduled to go on June 26, 2023.
Part of the reason behind the postponement was to keep from disrupting the schedule for the first show of San Jose Stage’s 40th anniversary season, “Sex With Strangers,” which opens Oct. 12. You can find out more at www.thestage.org.
During what has been such a wonderful baseball season in New York, one that brought us to a night like Friday night, with Aaron Judge going for No. 62 and Jacob deGrom starting the Mets’ biggest regular-season series in years against the Braves, there has been some very heavy side action going on. Call it Moneyball for Judge and for deGrom. And not the kind of Moneyball from the book and the movie.
The book and movie were about looking for big results by spending small money, the way Billy Beane used to in Oakland. No, this is all about big money in New York, for Judge and for deGrom, both looking for new contracts when this season ends, however the season ends for the Mets and Yankees.
We know the kind of money Judge turned down in the spring, with free agency looming for him. And now we see how he has responded, with one of the great offensive seasons in baseball history, not just the home runs but the chance to win a Triple Crown in New York for the first time since Mickey Mantle did it for the Yankees back in 1956. We know the score Judge is going to make, if not from the Yankees then somebody else.
So he is winning all over the place right now, on his first-place team, on his side of Baseball New York. He placed this kind of bet on himself and you see how he has delivered, with history.
It is going to be more complicated with deGrom, who came back from injury to finally make his first start for the Mets in July. And on Friday night he pitched the first of his Moneyball starts in Atlanta, the night before October, first game of a series that will likely decide first place in the National League East. He struck out 11 Braves batters, but also gave up three solo home runs to the Braves, two of them in the second inning, back-to-back, one from Austin Riley and then a moonshot from Matt Olson, making Braves fans at Truist Park all rise.
Jacob deGrom wasn’t the only reason the Mets ended up in a tie with the Braves by late Friday night, but he was as big as any, even if the Mets did load the bases in the 9th. But on a night when they needed him to be at his best he was not.
He may get another chance in Game 162 if the division comes down to that for the Mets. He will sure get his chance to stand and deliver in the postseason. Maybe he will make the decision about the Mets signing him to his own big-money contract when the season is over a slam dunk, if he wants to stay.
It just isn’t that yet.
He is 5-4 now, and still has struck out 102 batters in 64.1 innings, but his earned run average has now crept over three runs a game for the season after Friday’s loss. He has still been something to see at his best. Everybody remembers another day against Atlanta when he first came back and was perfect into the sixth until Dansby Swanson took him over the wall for a 2-run homer. That day he looked like the deGrom who had won back-to-back Cy Young Awards for the Mets and the deGrom who would eventually reach 40 starts without giving up more than three runs in a game. The way he could strike out people, seemingly at will, he looked like Edwin Diaz, just as a starting pitcher.
“I just threw some pitches down the middle. I didn’t do a good job of locating when I needed to. I left some balls over the middle of the plate and they did damage on them,” he said after the loss in Atlanta.
It is what everybody says when a few pitches beat them. Except that we’re used to deGrom not being everybody. Again: He did not get lit up by everybody on the Braves, everybody knows that. But he got lit up three times before Tylor Megill came out of the bullpen and allowed the Braves to pull away to 5-2. He did not come up as big as the Mets needed him to, on a night when the Mets offense, including their stars, came up short as well.
In fairness, of course, deGrom developed a blood blister that forced him out of the game after six innings, more as a precautionary measure than anything. He did not use that as either a reason or excuse afterward.
DeGrom is 34 now, and will turn 35 next June. He still has a season on his resume like in 2018, and had a remarkable 1.08 ERA last year before being shut down because of his right shoulder. We all see what Max Scherzer has done at the age of 38, after signing with the Mets for three years and $130 million, even missing a lot of starts this season because of injury, if not to his pitching shoulder. We see what Justin Verlander, back from Tommy John, has done for the Astros at the age of 39.
DeGrom can exercise a $30.5 million option and stay with the Mets in 2023. Or the Mets can try to sign him for more years and more money before he becomes a free agent. It’s easy to know how Mets fans will weigh in on this. They know what they have seen from him, know that at the top of his game deGrom has been Tom Seaver at the top of his game; come as close as anybody for the Mets ever has to being Dwight Gooden in 1985.
Then deGrom got hurt and took more than a year off in real time. Came back on fire, you bet. Then the A’s banged him around last Sunday. He gave up three home runs Friday night and things could have been worse for him if Francisco Lindor hadn’t made a honey of a play at short, holding the ball on a play when he had no chance at first and waiting for Orlando Arcia to round third, before the Mets got Arcia in a rundown.
The Mets needed a deGrom Day in Atlanta. They got just another day at the office instead. They got good from him on a night when they needed him to be great. Not a Moneyball start. We know the Yankees have to spend whatever they need to spend to keep Judge. But how high do the Mets go for deGrom when the season is over? He can make the decision easy for them the rest of the way. He just hasn’t yet.JUDGE CLASSES UP THE STADIUM, RUSH GETS BEST OF DANIEL & SALEH NEEDS TO WIN SOME GAMES …
The enduring beauty of what Aaron Judge did, as we all watched him hit these home run marks, is the grace he brought to the whole thing.
For these handful of September days in 2022, the Yankees truly felt like the Yankees again.
Judge brings class to the whole thing the way Derek Jeter did.
There are always reasons why Daniel Jones doesn’t take the Giants down the field to win the game when the Giants lose the game in the end.
But that is the job, no matter how much you get chased around or banged around.
It was the great Ernie Accorsi who once said this about quarterbacks:
“You’re never better than they are.”
That isn’t true one hundred percent of the time, but it is true most of the time.
The reality of what we saw on Monday night, as much as the Cowboys got after Jones, was this:
In the end, he was no better than a Cowboys backup named Cooper Rush.
Mike Breen is not only my friend, but he is one of the nicest people to ever have a big job in this business.
You probably know by now that the home belonging to him and his wife Rosanne in Manhasset burned down last Sunday while they were on a vacation trip to northern California.
Nobody was in the house when it happened, but they lost all of their possessions, so many treasures that honored and remembered the life of their family.
And the touchstones of Mike’s life in a Hall of Fame broadcasting career.
So this was an exceptionally bad thing happening to really good people.
But you know what will be the best tonic for him over the next few weeks, and into the basketball season?
It will be hearing him call Knicks game again, before he is doing the same for NBA games on ESPN and ABC.
It will be hearing him yell “Bang!” again when somebody makes a big shot.
You know, I probably wasn’t as excited about Derrick Rose’s weight loss as I should have been.
My friend Barry Stanton is right:
What has happened to Tua over the past couple of weeks should scare everybody at every level of football.
Robert Saleh needs to win some games.
Eduardo Escobar went through a lot in his first season in New York, and there was so much of a shout for Buck Showalter to put him on the bench and leave him there.
But Buck hung with him.
And at the end of that, Escobar rewarded his manager by having the kind of September he’s having.
Is Patrick Reed going to file a lawsuit every time somebody on television hurts his feelings?
Oh man, you are going to love Ian Rankin’s new Rebus novel, “A Heart Full of Tombstones” when the book is in stores later this month.
I’ve mentioned this before, but Dylan McDermott, who graduated Fordham when Breen did, is a total star on “FBI: Most Wanted” on Tuesday nights.
If you haven’t seen Jon Hamm and John Slattery in “Confess, Fletch,” you ought to, first thing.
Boston sports hasn’t exactly been a lot of laughs lately, has it?
OK, it’s October now.
Do you know who your Yankee closer is?
In addition to state propositions to legalize sports gambling or codify abortion rights, Contra Costa County voters will need to decide on a number of important local ballot measures in the Nov. 8 election.
Some of those new laws are tax measures to upgrade school facilities or help pay for basic city services. Here is a rundown of taxes that residents of the county’s central region will encounter:Walnut Creek sales tax — Measure O
After the county went to great lengths in 2020 to get a half-cent tax — 0.5% of every sales transaction — approved by voters, regional groups have squared off at county meetings to claim a slice of the pie.
Walnut Creek could invite the same drama with its own half-cent sales tax ordinance, which if passed by simple majority would generate $11 million annually for the next 10 years, according to the ballot language.
The city promises a laundry list of benefits from the tax revenue — everything from crime prevention to homelessness solutions to facility upgrades, such as a new swimming pool at Heather Farm Park.
But since it’s a general tax, the revenue itself would go into the city’s general fund and wouldn’t need to pay for any of those services. The council, in effect, could spend the money however it wants.
Still, the city would form a citizens’ oversight committee and hire independent auditors each year to make sure the money is collected and spent responsibly.
One benefit of a general tax, said Councilman Kevin Wilk, is that the council can be flexible with where it allocates money as needs change.
“When all of a sudden there’s something like the pandemic, we can put money (for the swimming pool) toward homelessness prevention,” Wilk said.
Dan Buckshi, the city manager, said earlier this year that Walnut Creek is in “sound financial shape” but noted that a majority of residents indicated in a survey that they would support a tax increase.
The council may eventually find itself deciding whether to send tax revenue to the police department, an issue that has drawn controversy among residents for years, especially after the fatal police shooting in 2019 of Miles Hall, a 23-year-old Black man who had a mental health crisis.
The tax, if passed, would take effect Jan. 1. Residents would begin paying an overall sales tax of 9.25% on every transaction, the same rate as Pleasant Hill residents and lower than those in Concord.Martinez school bond — Measure K
With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing more focus to public school funding, the Martinez Unified School District has promised to make “health, safety and security” improvements to its classrooms.
To do that, the district needs 55% of voters to approve a $90 million bond measure to build “modern labs, career training facilities and equipment,” as well as fix leaky roofs and replace air-conditioning systems.
The district’s adult-school facility is so out of shape that if “you lean on the wall, you push through it,” said district Superintendent Helen Rossi in an interview.
The bond would be repaid through an annual property tax lasting until around 2058. Property owners would pay up to $39 for every $100,000 of their property’s assessed value each year.
A median-value homeowner would pay $533.29 per year in property taxes, according to the district. That would include both Measure K and previous bonds approved by voters, including a $120 million bond in 2016 that went toward extensive renovation of the district’s elementary schools.
The new property tax would generate $5.6 million annually to pay back the Measure K bond, plus interest.
The district, which serves nearly 4,000 students at four elementary schools, Martinez Junior High and Alhambra High, promises to create an independent oversight committee and annual audits. By law, none of the revenue can be used for administrator salaries or benefits.Walnut Creek school bond — Measure J
The Walnut Creek School District is asking voters to approve a $134 million bond to renovate classrooms, restrooms, labs, libraries, cafeterias, playgrounds and other facilities, the ballot language states.
The measure, which requires 55% approval to pass, would be repaid through annual property tax assessments of $22 for every $100,000 of assessed value.
In 2016, 73% of voters approved a $60 million bond to “upgrade classrooms, libraries and computer networks.”
By deadline, district officials had not provided an estimate of the average homeowner’s property tax obligation between Measure J and existing bonds.
The language of the bond measure this time around is very similar to what it was in 2016. But, in addition to yearly audits and an oversight committee, the district promises to seek matching funds from the state to defray its overall tax obligation.
“Our schools are well maintained and intermediate schools have recently been renovated,” the proponents’ ballot argument states, but “aging local elementary schools need critical repairs.”
The NFL terms its concussion policy a “protocol,” which is a stout word meant to suggest order and progress. It’s documented over 19 regimented pages offering how the NFL of 2022 cares for players’ health over teams’ needs.
The protocol, at its core, is a joke.
And core is there on page six.
That’s where the idea of the “independent” doctor deciding on players’ concussions and held up this past week around the Miami Dolphins as some purveyor of truth, justice and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s health is a fantasy action hero like Iron Man or Captain Marvel.
Oh, the protocol has full pages about this doctor with the sturdy title of an “Unaffiliated Netrotrauma Consultant.” But here’s the nut graph of his role and the entire protocol in action:
“For the avoidance of doubt, the responsibility for the diagnosis of concussion and the decision to return a player to a game remain exclusively within the professional judgment of the Head Team Physician …”
Bottom line: The independent doctor is window dressing, if so desired. The team doctor decides if this independent doctor is consulted or if a player enters the concussion protocol. He decides if a player returns to the game as Tagovailoa did last Sunday against Buffalo after his head banged the ground, he shook his head to clear cobwebs, couldn’t walk without help and went to the locker room with what the team initially announced as a head issue.
“A back issue,” Tagovailoa corrected everyone afterward.
Maybe it was. Maybe the NFL players’ union immediate call for an investigation goes nowhere. Maybe Tagovailoa being carried off the field Thursday in Cincinnati was not the result of one head-trauma incident contributing to a second one four days later. Maybe the criticism of players and coaches across social media and four sports medical people in pro sports I talked with are empty words.
This just seems so yesteryear, like the early 1970s when Dolphin safety Jake Scott was allowed to keep playing against Buffalo despite teammates insistence he was loopy. After the game, Scott went to the Buffalo locker room in a daze and O.J. Simpson escorted him back to the Dolphins, saying, “I think this is one of yours.”
Football is full of “funny” concussion stories that don’t sound so funny now with decades of research and knowledge. Dolphins quarterback Trent Green was knocked out so completely in Houston in 2007 he was snoring on the field. Literally snoring.
Escorted to the sideline, Green insisted to coaches and medical staff he was good to go, and to put him back in. Fortunately, common sense prevailed.
Tua returned to play on Sunday and then played Thursday. This isn’t to question Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel, who can only follow medical counsel and was nearly brought to tears over Tua’s condition. Nor is it to challenge team doctor John Uribe who concluded Tua had a back issue.
Tua was a louder Green on this subject, according to a league source. He demanded to return to the game. He’s playing well this year, turning two years of questions into a third year of belief and insisted on playing in a big game. That’s a tough spot for a team doctor.
That’s why the “independent” doctor has been held up so loudly this past week as a defender of all things good. It’s just a hollow idea in practice.
Should Tua have been allowed back last Sunday? Should he have played Thursday? Should he play next Sunday against the New York Jets?
That’s left to trained medical minds and NFL players’ union investigators. But the protocol that the NFL touts as making a violent game less violent needs some selective editing. Page 6 needs a good rewriting.
Everyone should agree on this much: Please, don’t play Tagovailoa again until he’s healthy. Please keep him out of football until his headaches cease, his MRI clears and the computer base-lines involving his brain taken in the quiet of the offseason are normal.
And please, please, quit pretending some “independent” doctor oversees players’ health on concussions when the NFL of 2022 operates more closely to the one of 1972.
Max Strus laughs at the conversation, but not the reality.
Because no matter where his Miami Heat journey takes him after being elevated to starter last season, his NBA legacy is now secure.
Just as Bird Rights stand as homage to Larry Bird and the rule designed to entice free agents to remain in place, and just as the Arenas Provision dates to Gilbert Arenas and a salary-cap workaround for restricted free agents, there now is a Strus Rule.
Well, not officially. But perhaps that element only is a matter of time.
Because of the lengthy delay in the time it took for the announcement during Game 7 of last season’s Eastern Conference finals that a successful Strus 3-pointer, upon video review, had been nullified by an out-of-bounds ruling, the NBA this season has changed the way such notifications will be handled.
“Clearly the Max Strus play in Miami highlighted that time that passes between the event and the dead ball,” NBA officiating supervisor Monty McCutchen said during a media seminar.
So now, rather than waiting for the next dead ball or time out, once the NBA Replay Center determines a scoring change is necessary, a blue light will illuminate on the scorers’ table. Play then will be stopped during a “neutral” moment during the action, when neither team has an advantage in a potential scoring situation.
“The announcement will be made, and the ball will immediately be put into play under the conditions that existed before,” McCutchen continued. “We think that will take significant time off the announcement, allowing for the teams to have the best information possible to make the best schematic changes that they would like to, strategy changes that they would like to.”
The irony is that Strus saw it coming (even if he still doesn’t agree with the ruling of his stepping out of bounds).
“My brother did say to me after the game, ‘You’re going to have your own rule named after you,’ " Strus told the South Florida Sun Sentinel, with the Heat shifting from their Bahamas training camp to work back at FTX Arena. “So I guess there’s that. He spoke that into existence.”
McCutchen said 72 seconds of game action simply was too long to go without knowing the corrected score, after the ruling had already been made at the league’s Secaucus, N.J., offices.
“I thought something was going to be talked about,” Strus said of his after-the-fact surprise when he learned that day of three of his points coming off the scoreboard. “I thought that was such a crucial basket, they were going to have to make a [rules] change.
“So I’m happy they talking about it and discussed it and hopefully this helps people.”
But, no, not happy that he had to serve as the test case, still not convinced there is a definitive replay angle showing him out of bounds in the game when a late 3-point attempt by teammate Jimmy Butler could have been a game winner.
“They’re still reviewing it, huh?” he said with a laugh. “Obviously it sucks the time and the place that this one happened, it’s not fortunate.”
While it might take time for Strus Rule to formally enter the NBA’s vernacular, the league has adapted over the years to several player-inspired changes, among them:
— The Allan Houston Rule. This one allowed teams a one-time amnesty exception to remove a bad contract from their books, an approach that has morphed into the current stretch provision.
— The Charles Barkley Rule. This is when the NBA instituted a five-second rule for backing defenders into the post, as opposed to such extended sequences created by Barkley (and his posterior).
— The Rodman Rule. Cameramen were moved further from the baseline, ostensibly to keep Dennis Rodman from kicking them (and for the landing safety of other players).
— The Mutombo Rule. No more waving a finger (or gesturing toward an opponent) as Dikembe Muitombo did after blocking an opponent’s shot.
— The Trent Tucker Rule. After the Knicks guard was credited with a successful 3-pointer off a play with one-tenth of a second remaining, it was deemed that at least three-tenths of a second must remain for a successful perimeter attempt.
— The Reggie Miller Rule. From what had been a signature Miller move to gain free throws, the league ruled unnatural kicking motions by shooters would be deemed offensive fouls.
— Hack-a-Shaq. From the incessant fouling of Shaquille O’Neal due to his poor foul shooting, rules were instituted to prevent such intentional off-the-ball fouls during the final two minutes.
— The Durant Rule. Players no longer are awarded free throws when ripping the ball through a defender’s outstretched arm just prior to a shot attempt, an approach that had been maximized by Kevin Durant. (An even stricter definition has since come to be known as the Harden Rule, for James Harden’s theatrics in getting to the line.)IN THE LANE
TOUGH ENOUGH: No sooner did Markieff Morris arrive to camp with the Brooklyn Nets then he let on about what he thought was missing from the Nets while he was with the Heat last season. “They were soft, just point-blank. Period,” said Morris, who took a one-year free-agency deal from Brooklyn at the veteran minimum. “When we played up against them, they were soft. Just go right in their chest. That’s what we did.” Truth be told, there wasn’t much first-hand experience in that regard for Morris, who played in only one game, for 14 minutes, last season against the Nets, as he battled back from the neck injury sustained in his run-in with Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. Morris said he hopes his words resonate. “I’ve been on soft teams before, and people called us soft, and I was a part of the team,” Morris said. “I know I’m not soft, but that’s just what it is sometimes.” Morris somewhat qualified his comments about the 2021-22 Nets, “I don’t think they thought they were soft, but that’s what we thought from the outside.” As for new teammate Kevin Durant initially seeking a trade from the Nets before that was patched up, Morris said, “That’s the NBA. You break up with a girlfriend, you get back with her. . . . I broke up with my wife a couple times; we still married.”
TUCKER’S IMPACT: To the Philadelphia 76ers, P.J. Tucker showed up as advertised after his free-agency defection from the Heat. “You can see certain guys like P.J. stand out, especially defensively,” coach Doc Rivers said during 76ers camp. “When he’s on the floor, when he’s off the floor, it is night and day.” Rivers added, “He’s smart, and he’s played for coaches that I’ve been under. He’s been in the Miami system. I’m a [Pat] Riley disciple in a lot of ways.” While the Heat also offered Tucker a three–year deal, it was not as lucrative as the one offered by the 76ers. “You have other teams that were interested,” Tucker said, “and somebody has to jump out there a little bit more to make it happen, and they did.” Tucker, 37, revealed on the eve of camp that he had an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee in the offseason. “It made sense time-wise to go ahead and get it knocked out,” he said. “It’s been six weeks. I’m fully cleared and back on the court and doing everything. So, I’m excited.”
SOLID ATTITUDE: Last seen in the playoffs in the 2020 NBA Finals with the Heat, Kelly Olynyk has endured his share of losing since, during his time with the Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons. Now more figures to be the case with his trade to the lottery-lusting Utah Jazz. But, to his credit, the spirit remains strong from the versatile 31-year-old big man. “I think they have a great direction and plan in place in where they want to get to and want to go and how to get there. I believe in them,” Olynyk said of his faith in Jazz CEO Danny Ainge, who drafted him out of Gonzaga for the Boston Celtics in 2013. “It’s crazy, because when I got drafted by Boston, we were almost in the exact same situation with Danny that they’re in here right now. You have some older guys with experience, you have some young guys, you got a bunch of draft picks coming in for the next few years.” Olynyk noted how he broke in with the Celtics under first-year coach Brad Stevens, and is arriving to Utah to work under Jazz first-year coach Will Hardy.
NEXT STEP: Acquired from the Heat in the 2021 offseason transaction that sent Kyle Lowry to the Heat, Precious Achiuwa is finding the ante raised with the Toronto Raptors. “His biggest goal would be to play more consistently above average night in and night out,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said of the No. 20 pick in the 2020 NBA draft. “I think that none of us should ever expect somebody to have a good game every night; it’s not the way it works. But the average-to-above-average games need to increase from two out of five to three out of five to four out of six. That’s what to me is going to show us our growth and progress. And I would imagine he’ll have some games where we’re like, ‘Wowee, how did he get 25 tonight?’ and then he’ll probably have a few games where we’re wondering where he was.”NUMBER
4. Teams for former Heat forward Moe Harkless since the end of last season. Dealt by the Heat to the Sacramento Kings in March 2021 for Nemanja Bjelica, Harkless was dealt by the Kings to the Atlanta Hawks in July, then dealt Tuesday by the Hawks to the Oklahoma City Thunder and then on Thursday dealt by the Thunder to the Houston Rockets. Harkless next could wind up with a buyout, making possible joining a fifth team since July.
Bay Area authorities are in the final stages of closing the region’s two largest homeless encampments, displacing hundreds of unhoused people as they clear massive clusters of tents, shacks and broken-down vehicles that have drawn complaints for years.
The closure of the camps – one by the San Jose airport and one off Wood Street in West Oakland – is part of a regionwide push to crack down on encampments that were allowed to grow while people sheltered in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Local officials, state agencies and even Gov. Gavin Newsom say shutting the sprawling, often unsanitary camps is necessary to protect public health and safety. But the process in both cities has been fraught, peppered with everything from lawsuits and protests to a train collision.
And both Oakland and San Jose have struggled to find enough housing and shelter placements for everyone uprooted from the camps, leading to fears residents will be pushed to new encampments. The two cities’ efforts highlight the challenges communities throughout the Bay Area are grappling with.
“We’re trying to move into the side streets nearby because we want to stick together, because we’re a community of folks and we look out for each other,” said 24-year-old Jaz Colibri, who is homeless and has been helping her neighbors vacate the West Oakland camp. “But at the same time, it’s hard to do that when they’re intentionally scattering us and displacing us without anywhere for us to actually go.”
In San Jose, city officials were racing against a Sept. 30 deadline to clear an encampment on 40 acres near the airport or risk losing millions in funding from the Federal Aviation Administration. The city has cleared the FAA area, moving 174 people into shelters and transitional housing. Another roughly 100 people, whom the city hasn’t been able to house, have been pushed off the FAA lot and onto a nearby section of Columbus Park. But the park – where people are crammed together in RVs and trailers on a dusty baseball diamond with no shade, or in tents along the park’s perimeter – is not a long-term solution.
“Significant fire and safety hazards created by this new encampment are extraordinarily difficult to mitigate,” city parks and housing employees wrote in a recent memo to the mayor and City Council. The city plans to clear the park by Nov. 18, placing those who qualify in housing or shelter, and asking the rest to move along.
“We don’t have a place to go,” said 70-year-old Roberto Agundez, who is living in the baseball field in a broken-down RV. “It’s not fair. We need more time.”
In Oakland, Caltrans is continuing its cleanup of a camp of 200 to 300 people off Wood Street, on vacant land owned by the agency under the Interstate 80 and 880 overpasses. More than 240 fires have started at the site since March 2020, with some of the blazes disrupting traffic on the freeways above. A federal judge briefly barred Caltrans from dismantling the camp, following a lawsuit filed by residents. But the judge recently reversed course after Caltrans, the city of Oakland and Alameda County collaborated on a plan to move the residents into shelters.
Over the past week, dozens of Caltrans workers were on-site dismantling make-shift shacks and tents and towing vehicles, while volunteers helped frantic residents pack up their belongings. Caltrans plans to clear the entire camp by the beginning of November.OAKLAND, CA – SEPTEMBER 26: Workers remove a vehicle from the Wood Street homeless encampment on Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, in Oakland, Calif. Caltrans is overseeing the cleanup of its property along Wood Street. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)
“Caltrans is responsible for maintaining the state’s transportation network for all Californians,” agency spokeswoman Janis Mara said in an emailed statement. The city, Alameda County and other service providers have offered help to all 40 people displaced in “phase two” of the closure – which started in late September – but only 12 accepted alternative housing, she said.
Colibri estimates this phase of Caltrans’ closure will displace closer to 100 people. Many fell through the cracks because they weren’t around when outreach workers came by, while others rejected shelter beds because they couldn’t bring their RVs, trailers, pets or other belongings, she said. Instead, people have relocated to the sidewalks along Wood Street and nearby city-owned and privately owned vacant lots.
On Tuesday, the cleanup effort ran into another obstacle – an Amtrak train hit a forklift while traveling through the encampment. Mara confirmed a train with 63 people on board hit equipment near the tracks, but said there were no injuries.
Included in Caltrans’ eventual closure plans is Cob on Wood – an unsanctioned community center that residents and volunteers built at the Oakland encampment. The cluster of whimsical cabins made of mud, sand and straw, interspersed with gardens of flowers, herbs and vegetables, resembles a fairytale hideaway in the midst of the trash-strewn encampment.
Three unhoused people sleep in the cabins, but the center also serves as a place for encampment residents to gather for barbeques and parties, visit a pop-up medical clinic, receive donated clothing and other supplies, and shower.OAKLAND, CA – SEPTEMBER 28: Jared DeFigh is photographed in front of a structure he is living in at the Wood Street homeless encampment on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, in Oakland, Calif. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)
Jared DeFigh, 38, moved into one of the cabins a few weeks ago. DeFigh, who has been homeless off and on since he was 19, previously had been living in a tent a few blocks away off Wood Street, and before that, in his car at the Berkeley Marina. Having access to a shower and other resources at Cob on Wood has been a game-changer.
“This place is what I’ve been looking for,” he said.
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Councilwoman Carroll Fife has asked to set aside space at the former Oakland Army Base for up to 300 people displaced from the Wood Street encampment, and the Cob on Wood community hopes it can go there. The City Council is set to vote on the idea Tuesday.
These days, DeFigh spends his evenings around a campfire at Cob on Wood researching legal strategies that might help him and his friends save their community.
“It’s really nice here,” he said, when they aren’t under threat of eviction.
Test scores just soared in the upper grades at one Seattle elementary school, Northgate, recouping all the lost learning of the pandemic, and then some. How?
The Smiley campaign has complained to the Federal Election Commission that The Seattle Times is illegally using corporate resources to support Sen. Patty Murray.