The attorneys seeking to place the embattled Oakland Police Department under federal control asked a Judge Friday to require Mayor Jean Quan to show up for a deposition or face contempt of court charges.
Quan canceled her scheduled all-day deposition Thursday, citing the need to attend a special council meeting that lasted less than an hour, according to a motion filed by attorneys Jim Chanin and John Burris.
They want to depose Quan well before Oct. 4, when they are required to submit a brief in support of putting a federal receiver in control of the police department, which has failed to fully implement reforms required in a 2003 court order. U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson has scheduled hearings on receivership beginning in December.
Chief Howard Jordan and City Administrator Deanna Santana appeared for depositions in August, but Quan canceled her deposition two days before it was scheduled. Randolph Hall, an attorney for the city, wrote that the mayor wouldn't be available again before Sept. 25 -- less than 10 days before the brief had to be submitted.
Hall also refused to guarantee that Quan would appear on Sept. 25, spurring Chanin and Burris to ask Henderson to make the appearance mandatory.
"We waited two months for this, and we're willing to work with her, but she has not been willing," Chanin said.
Quan's duties required her to attend Thursday's special closed door council meeting, said her Chief of Staff Anne Campbell Washington. "The mayor has every intention of being cooperative with the plaintiffs' attorneys and the need to schedule a deposition," she said.
San Leandro begins drafting pot dispensaries ordinance
San Leandro has begun crafting an ordinance regulating medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.
The council's rules and communications committee took up the matter on Tuesday.
San Leandro has a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries, but it expires at the end of September. On July 16, the council voted to table a proposed ban on the dispensaries, opting instead to draw up regulations for dispensaries to operate within the city.
At that meeting, Mayor Stephen Cassidy said he was concerned about medical marijuana patients in San Leandro having access to dispensaries. Northern California district U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag has spearheaded efforts to shut down dispensaries in the area.
"I think we have an assistant United States attorney general that is operating as a bully, and I don't like bullies," Cassidy said.
At Tuesday's meeting, both Cassidy and Councilman Jim Prola stressed the need for an ordinance that would stand up to legal challenge.
"I want to make sure it's not raided by Ms. Haag," Prola said.
Cassidy and Prola asked the staff to draw up a draft ordinance using Oakland's and state attorney general regulations as guidelines. The committee will take up the matter when it meets again at the end of 4:30 p.m. Sept. 25. Both Cassidy and Prola stressed the importance of public feedback in drawing up the ordinance.
Oakland crematory court battle looming
A fight over whether to allow one the state's busiest crematories to set up shop in East Oakland appears heading for the courts.
Neptune Society President Mike Miller said Friday that his company would likely file a lawsuit challenging the City Council's action earlier this year effectively blocking construction of a facility that would cremate up to 3,000 people per year.
Less than two weeks after Neptune had secured a city building permit for the facility at 9850 Kitty Lane last May, the council approved an emergency ordinance requiring it to get additional approvals from the Planning Commission.
On Wednesday, the commission rejected Neptune's claim that it shouldn't be subject to the emergency ordinance because it already had a building permit for the crematory. In response to opposition from community leaders concerned about potential mercury emissions.
Miller wasn't optimistic about the commission granting the additional approvals, noting the strong community opposition to the project. "People don't understand crematories," he said. "They don't want them in their neighborhoods."
Neptune was blocked from moving its operations from Emeryville to Richmond in 2006 when residents successfully argued that the city already had too many industrial polluters. The company has been looking to leave its Emeryville facility, which was rezoned for housing about a decade ago and now sits adjacent to an apartment complex.
The company has already spent nearly $2 million on the Oakland site, which in an industrial area where crematories had been permitted.
90-room hotel at Union Landing approved
The City Council has approved plans for a 90-room Hampton Inn Hotel to be constructed at Union Landing shopping center.
The five-member council unanimously voted Tuesday for Lotus Hotels and Investments, a Walnut Creek-based company, to build the hotel at 31140 Alvarado Niles Road.
The hotel is expected to be near Century 25 Union City movie theaters and Holiday Inn Express Union City, which also is owned by Lotus Hotels and Investments.
Oakland to collect parking tax at Port
Oakland will collect $800,000 in back parking tax revenue after settling a lawsuit against the operator of a truck parking lot at the Port of Oakland.
The settlement with the Port and AMPCO System Parking acknowledges the city's claim that port land is not necessarily exempt from the city's parking 18.5 percent parking tax.
The city did acknowledge that the parking tax did not apply for certain port operations and at boats docked at a boat slips, berths or dry-docks.
The settlement, which the City Council approved on Thursday, ends the final lawsuit stemming from the city's parking tax, which includes an 8.5 percent surcharge tied to the voter-approved 2004 Measure Y anti-violence ballot measure.
Earlier this year, the city settled a lawsuit with the county, agreeing to share parking tax revenue at the jointly-owned Coliseum complex.