After controversy, Alameda County supervisors choose Elisa Márquez for District 2 seat
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors have selected their newest supervisor – and avoided stoking controversy in the process.
After hearing hours of public comments in support of the four candidates on Thursday, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors chose to appoint Hayward City Councilmember Elisa Márquez to the board.
The selection process began on Tuesday, when interviews of each candidate were conducted publicly. Early on, it was clear that Márquez and Teresa Keng, the vice mayor of Fremont and local business owner, had hearty support from the community.
“It’s surreal,” Márquez said in an interview. “The biggest takeaway is that District 2 showed up in full force.”Related Articles
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Márquez, a lifelong resident of the district, will replace popular supervisor Richard Valle, who passed away in February. During the public comment portion of the meeting, numerous labor advocates argued that Valle would have wanted the board to appoint a different candidate, Ariana Casanova, as his successor. Casanova moved to the district just six weeks ago, which some critics argued should have made her ineligible for the role. She was eliminated after the first vote.
Although Márquez may not have been handpicked by Valle, she said their approaches to government aren’t so different.
“I think we’re very similar, we care about working people, we care about the youth, we want to help people make better choices,” Márquez said. “I know there are a lot of things that we cared about equally.”
Márquez said she hopes to pick up where Valle left off. She said she’s already reached out to the other board members to get a better understanding of their districts, and wants to examine any initiatives Valle may have left unfinished. She also hopes to bring his same calm demeanor to the Board of Supervisors.
Márquez said she aims to emphasize transparency and hold more town meetings. She also wants to tone down divisive rhetoric and invite one-on-one conversations, referring to herself as an “open book.”
On her application, Márquez named housing affordability, safety, and the county’s financial stability as her top priorities. She’s served on Hayward’s City Council since 2014 and described herself as an “active and engaged lifelong resident” of the city.
In the final round of voting, the board ultimately had to choose between Márquez and Keng, although they were quick to say that all the candidates were capable and qualified.
“I wish I could have as many people coming to the chamber giving as many accolades as all you received,” said Supervisor Nate Miley, the president of the board.
Márquez will be sworn in next Tuesday, April 4. Although the board appointed Márquez, she’ll have to run in the next election, in March of 2024. If she wins that election, she’ll serve two years before another election is held in 2026 for a full four-year term.
Ultimately, Márquez said that she believed she was the right person for the role, and will remain the right person next year.
“It’s really important that these positions are held by people from the community,” Márquez said. “I did the best I could to present that case.”
Clarke Schmidt gets his first real chance to stick in Yankees’ rotation
Clarke Schmidt has gotten the short end of the stick during his Yankees tenure.
The 2017 first-round pick spent nearly his entire college and minor-league career as a starting pitcher however, despite a few spot starts here and there, he’s yet to have a real opportunity to become a mainstay in the Bombers’ rotation.
That will change beginning Saturday afternoon.
Schmidt will take the ball for the Yankees — with a tough act to follow after Gerrit Cole’s record-setting Opening Day performance — in their second game of the season against the San Francisco Giants.
The right-hander began spring training in competition — after Frankie Montas’s shoulder surgery that will keep him out until at least the second half of the season — with Domingo German to become the clubs’ fifth starter. However, a forearm injury to the newly-signed southpaw Carlos Rodon and a lat injury to Luis Severino has extended that competition through the beginning weeks of the season.
“My mentality never changes,” Schmidt said after Rodon’s injury was announced. “I’m always trying to be aggressive and on the attack. I’ve always wanted the opportunity to be a consistent starter in the big leagues and I always felt that would come.
“I think for me, it’s continuing to stay within myself, go out there and throw strikes, I’m trying to be myself and go out there and cover a lot of things.”
The 27-year-old will be making just the sixth start of his career. Schmidt made cameos in 2020 and 2021 combining for two starts and five appearances total. In 2022. he appeared in 29 games while starting three of them registering a 3.17 ERA — also adding three postseason appearances to his résumé — as he traveled back and forth between the Bronx and Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre.
Schmidt will be relying on a new pitch to lock him in as a mainstay in Aaron Boone’s staff for the foreseeable future. The cutter.
“It’s like getting a new car; you’re itching and itching to use it,” Schmidt said after his first spring start against the Braves on Feb. 26. “I think it’s going to be a big pitch for me…
“I’ve noticed a lot of hitters are swinging under it because they’re expecting some sink, and it stays up with the cut,” Schmidt added. “It’s been such a high strike-percentage pitch for me early on. It was almost like I started throwing it and I felt like it’s been my best pitch for years.”
The Yankees’ skipper approved of the addition to his right-hander’s arsenal citing that it could be something that puts him over the edge and allows him to break through as they expected when the organization selected him with the 16th overall pick in the 2017 draft out of the University of South Carolina
“That could be something that really unlocks him and makes him now in play versus lefties in a longer, starting kind of role,” Boone said.
The Yankees have garnered a reputation under pitching coach Matt Blake for squeezing every bit of potential out of their arms. Nestor Cortes, Wandy Peralta, Clay Holmes, and many others were not exactly frontline pitchers prior to being under the wing of Blake and the Bombers’ staff.
Schmidt could be the Yanks’ next breakout candidate with the pedigree of being a first-round pick and a new weapon to use in his first real shot to become a starting pitcher in pinstripes.
Even after lawsuit victory, clock is ticking for Oakland A’s on Howard Terminal stadium
OAKLAND — Another baseball season is just getting underway, but it appears that the Oakland A’s are already running out of time.
The clock is ticking for the team to find another home before its lease at the Coliseum expires next December, and there’s little word from the city about a deal being struck over a new, billion-dollar 35,000-seat waterfront ballpark in West Oakland.
That stadium development — plus 3,000 new homes, massive retail and other commercial space, hotel units and more — cleared a hurdle Thursday when an appeal by shipping companies challenging the proposal’s environmental details was defeated in court.
“Oakland will continue upgrading our infrastructure so we can support sustainable and resilient communities and promote economic development,” Mayor Sheng Thao said Thursday in a statement. “And we are now one step closer to reaching our goals.”
The shipping companies operate at the city’s busy port, and would need to cede to the team a section, called Howard Terminal, that is currently used for container storage.
Last year, a coalition of those businesses had filed suits claiming the A’s desired development would pose a litany of environmental harms, including negative air quality impacts and greenhouse gas emissions.
But a state appellate court on Thursday upheld a previous ruling by Alameda County Judge Brad Seligman knocking down all the environmental challenges, with one exception — potential wind hazards, for which the court said the project needs a more precise standard of measurement and mitigation.
The team commented publicly it was “pleased with the appellate court’s decision, which affirms the significant and thorough work completed on our environmentally sound visionary waterfront ballpark project.”
Even after this win, though, there’s still a long way to go before Howard Terminal could save the city’s last major professional sports franchise from skipping town.
In January, the A’s lost their own appeal to the state Supreme Court in a separate case where the team sought to stop Schnitzer Steel, a manufacturing plant in West Oakland from dumping excess product into landfills directly adjacent to the proposed development.
“It really highlighted the absurdity of trying to build housing and a ballpark on a working port,” said Nola Agha, a professor at the University of San Francisco who researches financing for sports stadiums.
The team has already blown past a self-imposed deadline last November to strike a deal with the city. No one’s said a thing about the current timeline for the team and city to potentially reach an agreement.
Last month, the team hired a group of lobbyists to lean on the Nevada legislature in order to secure public financing for a stadium in Las Vegas, where the team has threatened to go if a deal isn’t reached in Oakland.
A’s President Dave Kaval has even registered with the state as a lobbyist to help campaign himself, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported.
“If the Nevada legislature somehow comes through with the money, every team owner has always shown that they’re going to go where they can get the most profit,” Agha said.
It has been a cause for concern among A’s fans who often accuse the Oakland City Council of not doing enough to retain the team.
The city, without any certainty of reaching a deal with the team, directed hundreds of millions of grant dollars last fall toward infrastructure projects that would make it possible for people to reach the waterfront ballpark through public transportation.
And despite the massive scale of the potential development, city officials are continuing with business as usual — the issue has hardly come up at recent public meetings.
Councilmember Carroll Fife, whose district would contain the new ballpark, said her focus remains on more immediate issues like public safety, housing and the health of local businesses, though she plans to meet with staff next week to receive an update on where negotiations stand.
“I haven’t seen a proposal that was serious from the A’s organization, one that would lead to me spending a lot of time thinking about what they’re going to do” in Nevada, Fife said in an interview. “The ball is in their court. When they’re ready to step up to the plate and provide a proposal in Oakland, then I’ll spend time on it.”
Letters: Light pollution | Making an effort | Intolerant call | Bad government | Common sense
Submit your letter to the editor via this form. Read more Letters to the Editor.Cities should guard
against light pollution
Re: “Council votes down digital billboard plan” (Page B4, March 22).
Good news. Gilroy City Council rejected an electronic billboard along Highway 101 that the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, Sierra Club Loma Prieta and Green Foothills also opposed. Nighttime light harms wildlife and has been shown to harm human health too. The structure would have been 75 feet tall with a 672-square-foot display area, adversely affecting our environment, safety, energy consumption and health, and impairing our view of the universe too.
Gilroy, along with San Jose and other cities, should develop a dark sky ordinance to guide light pollution decisions. Approving an electronic billboard project without a dark sky ordinance fails to consider its overall impact and the proper management of light pollution. The city of Cupertino has such an ordinance, and residents of other cities deserve the same level of protection of their sky.
Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society
to improve San Jose
Re: “Stricter stance on homeless camps?” (Page A1, March 22).
As a lifelong resident of San Jose, I have been disheartened in recent years by the decline and deterioration of our once great city and place to live. I need to applaud Mayor Matt Mahan for his approach: “back to the core basics” for the city.
Earlier this week, I read the column regarding his strategy for the many encampments that exist in our city. What has been attempted isn’t working. (Just drive almost anywhere in the city to see that.) Wishing him the best with a new game plan.
That said, I am dismayed at the quick negative reaction by District 4 Councilmember David Cohen. What has he done during his time in office to find a solution to this issue? You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem.
Mayor Mahan was elected to make a difference for our city. At least he’s trying.
Mark Milioto Sr.
Re: “Sharks should cut intolerant goalie” (Page A6, March 23).
Intolerant Nino Repetti demands the San Jose Sharks cut “intolerant” James Reimer, the goalie, for refusing to wear LGBTQ gear.
All players are required, by league rules, to wear the standard equipment; some other items can be optional but not mandatory.
Reimer’s decision may not be palatable to Repetti and others, but — in our free society — it is his full right to agree or disagree with social issues based on his own personal and religious beliefs.
To connect his personal choice to his on-ice performance is ridiculous and hateful.
for bad government
In “Government, big or small, is essential” (Page A6, March 23) Ron Harmon asks how big is too big? A better question is essential for what? Much of Hanson’s reasons for government expansion, service demands, fire and police protection apply to local governments. Federal incursion, especially in education, is a prime reason for calling it too big. American democracy is generating poor leadership, incapable of coping with decline in either domestic living standards or world hegemony.
Capitalistic corporations, though not perfect, do a much better job of wealth distribution than government. Government as a backstop against financial crisis is only half right. As Keynes pointed out, government should stop deficit spending to rebuild a positive balance during better times.
History shows that when government takes on the function of wealth redistribution in place of corporations and charities, it has become too big and is primed for a fall.
sense on gun control
Our laws limit what some people can own and operate because we’ve learned of the damage caused.
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2. Dynamite cannot be purchased by anyone who wants it.
3. It is illegal to purchase machine guns.
How in the world did we switch gears and delude ourselves that we have a “right” to own nearly any weapon we choose? Are we nuts? Yes.
Let’s require training and insurance for gun ownership. Let’s get rid of high-capacity magazines. Let’s get our heads screwed on right about gun “rights.”
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Cleanup begins after fiery Minnesota ethanol derailment
Workers have started removing contaminated soil and damaged railcars left behind after Thursday's fiery train derailment in southwest Minnesota.
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Hackers exploit WordPress plugin flaw that gives full control of millions of sites
Hackers are actively exploiting a critical vulnerability in a widely used WordPress plugin that gives them the ability to take complete control of millions of sites, researchers said.
The vulnerability, which carries a severity rating of 8.8 out of a possible 10, is present in Elementor Pro, a premium plugin running on more than 12 million sites powered by the WordPress content management system. Elementor Pro allows users to create high-quality websites using a wide range of tools, one of which is WooCommerce, a separate WordPress plugin. When those conditions are met, anyone with an account on the site—say a subscriber or customer—can create new accounts that have full administrator privileges.
The vulnerability was discovered by Jerome Bruandet, a researcher with security firm NinTechNet. Last week, Elementor, the developer of the Elementor Pro plugin, released version 3.11.7, which patched the flaw. In a post published on Tuesday, Bruandet wrote:
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Oakland police, MLB investigating altercation between Angels’ Rendon, A’s fan
Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon was caught on video grabbing an A’s fan by the shirt and confronting him about heckling at the Opening Night game between the teams Thursday at the Coliseum.
Major League Baseball and the Oakland Police Department are both investigating the incident.
In the 12-second video posted on Twitter by the account for a Los Angeles sports talk show, the fan is seen being pushed by another spectator toward the Angels, where he is grabbed by Rendon through the guardrails near the dugout.
Watch the video here: Rendon altercation with fan (profanity warning)
Rendon asks what the fan said and accuses the fan of calling him a profane name, then lets go of the shirt, taking a swipe toward the fan’s head and missing. Other Angels players are seen walking by behind Rendon during the incident.Related Articles
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No video was immediately available to show what led up to the altercation. Oakland police said no victim has come forward, but officers have reviewed footage of the incident and have created a report.
Rendon went 0-for-3 in the A’s 2-1 comeback win.
He joined the Angels before the 2020 season, signing a seven-year, $245 million contract after winning the World Series with the Nationals in 2019. He has played in 158 of the Angels’ 385 games since, battling injuries each of the last two seasons.
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Twitter posts the code it claims determines which tweets people see, and why
Twitter has made good on one of CEO Elon Musk's many promises, posting on a Friday afternoon what it claims is the code for its tweet recommendation algorithm on GitHub.
The code, posted under a GNU Affero General Public License v3.0, contains numerous insights as to what factors make a tweet more or less likely to show up in users' timelines.
In a blog post accompanying the code release, Twitter's engineering team (under no particular byline) notes that the system for determining which "top Tweets that ultimately show up on your device's For You timeline" is "composed of many interconnected services and jobs." Each time a Twitter home screen is refreshed, Twitter pulls "the best 1,500 Tweets from a pool of hundreds of millions," the post states.
British govt tech supplier Capita crippled by 'IT issue'
Capita, a major business and IT services provider that has scored multi-million-dollar contracts with several UK government agencies, confirmed some of its systems went down today due to "an IT issue."…
Sam Bankman-Fried using millions sent to Stanford dad to pay for lawyers: report
Stanford Law School professor Joseph Bankman is using a “multimillion gift” he received from his embattled son Sam Bankman-Fried to pay for his son’s high-priced legal defense, according to a new report this week.
The report from Forbes also alleges that this gift to the longtime Stanford academic was created using money taken from Alameda Research, the sister company of Bankman-Friend’s doomed cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
One-time billionaire Bankman-Fried claimed in November that he only had $100,000 in his bank account following the collapse of FTX, prompting questions about how he can afford the team of high-powered attorneys he’s hired to fight an array of criminal charges, including wire fraud, money laundering, securities fraud and bribery.
Bankman-Fried is accused of misappropriating billions of dollars in FTX customer funds to finance risky bets on his hedge fund, Alameda Research. The entrepreneur allegedly used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle and to funnel contributions to American politicians.
The 31-year-old entrepreneur appeared in federal court in Manhattan to plead not guilty to a new set of charges, which brings to 13 the total number of criminal counts he faces. One of the new charges alleges that he conspired to bribe Chinese government officials in 2021 with $40 million in cryptocurrency, the New York Times reported.
A source close to the 31-year-old entrepreneur told Forbes that his defense costs are likely to rise to the single-digit-millions range. But Forbes also reported that Bankman-Fried and his father have apparently found a way to cover that cost — a “large money gift” he received from his son in 2021.
Citing two sources with operational knowledge of both FTX and Alameda Research, Forbes said Bankman-Fried secured at least a $10 million loan from Alameda Research and sent that money to Joseph Bankman, using his lifetime estate and gift tax exemption. The gift essentially would have been tax free because the exemption covers the maximum amount someone is allowed to give in their lifetime with being taxed.
Forbes said that Bankman, a prominent attorney who specializes in tax law, did not respond to multiple questions about the alleged gift. Representatives for Bankman-Fried and his parents also did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the New York Post.
The case against Bankman-Fried, which federal prosecutors have called “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history,” has put intense focus on his parents, who were long known as esteemed members of Stanford’s faculty and well-regarded legal scholars.
Following the collapse of FTX and Bankman-Fried’s arrest in November, the once high-flying crypto financier moved back into his childhood home, located in faculty housing on the Stanford University campus. He’s living there under house arrest.
Bankman and his wife, Barbara Fried, have rallied to support the oldest of their two sons at all costs. “I’ll be spending substantially all of my resources on Sam’s defense,” Bankman wrote in an email to the executive of Chicago nonprofit executive whose donation from FTX was interrupted by the bankruptcy, Forbes reported.
In December, the Wall Street Journal reported Bankman and Fried “have told friends that their son’s legal bills will likely wipe them out financially.”
As Bankman-Fried awaits trial, his parents used their $1.8 million home to help to secure a $250 million bail package that allowed him to be released on his own recognizance.
They also relied on the kindness of Stanford friends to help keep their son out of custody. Stanford Law School dean emeritus Larry Kramer signed a bond pledging to pay $500,000 if Bankman-Fried violated the terms of his bail, while Stanford senior research scientist Andreas Paepcke signed a bond for $200,000.
Forbes wasn’t able to confirm how much Bankman-Fried will end up paying for his high-powered defense, which is led by Mark Cohen and Christian Everdell, who were part of the legal team that represented convicted sex offender and Jeffrey Epstein companion Ghislaine Maxwell, the New York Post said. Bankman-Fried also is receiving pro bono advice from David W. Mills, a criminal defense attorney who also is a close friend of his parents and their colleague at Stanford, a source told Forbes.
Bankman-Fried’s attorneys also have argued that federal prosecutors give their client access to 56 million Robinhood shares he bought in 2022 with money lent by Alameda Research, Forbes said. The shares, worth $485 million at today’s prices, were seized in January based on allegations that they were purchased with allegedly stolen customer funds.
Bankman-Fried’s legal expenses aren’t his parents’ only concern. Bankman and Fried’s reputations have been jeopardized by their son’s fraud scandal, and they’ve opted to step away from their duties at Stanford. Bankman is on leave from teaching at Stanford this quarter, while Fried told the Stanford Daily she had to decided to retire, though she could still teach classes in the future.
In addition, the couple have had to pay for 24/7 security around their five-bedroom home, while dealing with their own legal issues. Both Bankman and Fried have received subpoenas for personal records of any financial assets they received from FTX, according to Forbes.
Moreover, Bankman has hired his own white-collar criminal attorney, as investigators are looking into the extent of his involvement in FTX and its collapse, Puck writer William D. Cohan wrote in January.Related Articles
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“I’m convinced the dad is up to this in his eyeballs,” a person who has recently spent time with the family told Cohan.
Reuters also reported in January that Bankman is cooperating with prosecutors, though it’s not known what information he has provided. Reuters said that Bankman “closely advised” his son when he launched Alameda Research in 2017.
For the time being, Bankman and Fried at least don’t have to worry that their son will have to go back into custody. U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan had raised concerns that he violated the terms of his release by using his electronic devices to contact a potential witness in the case.
On Tuesday, Kaplan authorized a new set of bail conditions for Bankman-Fried, who generally can’t leave his parents’ home and must wear a GPS monitor strapped to his ankle. The New York Times said the new conditions significantly curtail his internet access by letting him use only two electronic devices — a laptop configured with limited internet access and a phone with no internet connection.
GM kills more than CarPlay support, it kills choice
A long while back, Toyota told me it didn't want to give up interior real estate to Apple’s CarPlay. The automaker felt that losing that space to the tech company would be a huge mistake. Fast forward a few years, and after what I assume were some internal struggles, it caved and now you can get CarPlay and Android Auto on your fancy new Highlander, Prius, Tacoma, or Camry. It seemed like a silly decision had been reversed. Now it’s GM’s turn to go down the same path.
Today, news dropped that GM would be phasing out CarPlay support in future EVs. In its partnership with Google, it hopes that all the features you get from mirroring your iPhone can be replaced with an Android Automotive feature. GM, like Toyota before it, wants to control the digital real estate in its vehicles. It’s a revenue-based and walled-garden (ironically against Apple) decision that will cost them.
Software-driven vehicles should be about choice. Instead, GM is making a short-sighted decision based on a trickle of revenue under the guise of better integration. Owning all the data that a vehicle generates while driving around could be a great source of cash. The problem is potential customers have become accustomed to choosing which device they use to navigate, chat, text, and rock out within their vehicle. They’ve grown weary of being mined for data at the expense of their choice and they’re really not all that keen on in-car subscription services.