Staff writers

The Oakland City Council will consider changing police protocols on hiring officers from other departments in light of the shooting death of an 18-year-year-old high school senior by Officer Miguel Masso.

Councilwoman Desley Brooks requested a report on the department's policy for hiring transfers Thursday during the council's Rules Committee meeting. The department will present its policy to the council's Public Safety Committee on Nov. 27 and to the full council in December.

Masso, who has been out on paid leave since shooting Alan Blueford three times in the chest, had been accused of abusing a detainee while working for the New York City Police Department.

Blueford's family and dozens of supporters have questioned why Masso got the job in Oakland given the accusation in New York.

Police have said that Blueford was pointing a gun at Masso when he was shot.

Oakland to get identification cards

Oakland is finally hoping to roll out municipal identification cards by the end of November.

The cards, which also can be used for banking, were developed to help undocumented immigrants. Personal information will be stored with a participating bank rather than with the city to help keep it from immigration authorities.

The City Council approved the card plan Tuesday. The city still must sign a final agreement with the card vendor and finalize an office lease for the program's headquarters.

The card was first proposed in 2009 by Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente and then-Councilwoman Jean Quan. On Tuesday, Mayor Quan said she hoped the card would also include functions for paying for school lunches and parking.

San Leandro to allow larger in-law units

San Leandro is expanding the size allowed for in-law units.

Currently, in-law units, known formally as secondary dwelling units, may be no larger than 30 percent of the main house and no larger than 450 square feet.

That will go up to 50 percent under a proposal unanimously approved by the San Leandro City Council on Monday. The square footage would be based on both the size of the main house and the lot, but it could be as much as 750 square feet.

The new guidelines "are more appropriate for families of the 21st century," city planner Sally Barros told the council.

She later said that it's becoming more common for young people to move back home, "but they don't necessarily want to be under the same roof or share the same kitchen" with their parents.

"And some people want to have in-law units so their aging parents can live with them," she said. The larger units would be more comfortable than the current standards, which don't allow for anything larger than a studio, Barros said.

The changes go before the council for a final vote Oct. 15.

Fremont hires PR firm to attract businesses

Fremont politicians and residents for years have complained that the city needs to promote itself better to attract businesses. This week, the City Council voted to pay a San Jose firm to do the job for it.

The deal calls for The Hoffman Agency to receive $195,000 in its first year, followed by three one-year options at $120,000 per year.

"Fremont has a great story to tell, and we need to start telling it," Councilman Bill Harrison said. "This is an investment that we'll receive a nice return on."

The company's two-pronged approach includes starting a marketing campaign "that showcases Fremont as a first-class, business-friendly Silicon Valley city," according to the city staff report. The firm also will create a website, apart from the city's, that touts Fremont's planned economic development and business opportunities, said Lou Hoffman, the firm's chief executive officer.

The website will be an important component because so many people do their research online these days, Hoffman said.

"If someone wants to find Fremont, they can find you easily," he said. "But we're trying to find people who are searching on terms such as 'Silicon Valley office space,' so we can bring that kind of search traffic to the city."

Fremont is the first city to hire The Hoffman Agency for public relations work. Despite that, Hoffman said he believes the job's requirements fall in line with the company's Web-savvy skill set.

City Manager Fred Diaz said very few California cities have hired a public relations firm. "Hence, the bold and unique approach we are undertaking," he said.