The court-appointed director overseeing Oakland's police department has now gone two months without releasing a mandatory monthly status report -- a lapse that concerns city officials.
While it appears that Thomas Frazier has been preparing the reports, the last report released publicly was in the first week of December.
Frazier is required to prepare the monthly reports on Oakland's progress in complying with a decadeold reform effort under a 2012 order by U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson.
When Councilman Noel Gallo asked Chief Sean Whent about the lack of a report for January and February during a Friday meeting, he didn't get an answer.
"For me, Mr. Frazier and Judge Henderson expect accountability on our part," Gallo said. "We should expect some accountability on their part."
Federal police oversight is expected to cost Oakland more than $1.7 million this year. The lack of progress reports from Frazier, who does not speak publicly, raises questions about when the oversight will end.
Since arriving in Oakland last March, Frazier has used his power not only to direct the reform effort but to try to improve the department. He has pushed for the city to replace broken radios and boost its technological capacity to aid investigations.
However, Frazier's progress was called into question last month when a monitoring report from a different court-appointed official found that the department had backtracked on a key reform task last summer.
Oakland: Firm doesn't violate law
After a week of research, city officials have determined that the firm tapped to complete a hotly debated intelligence center does not violate Oakland's law against contracting with firms that work on nuclear weapons projects.
While Schneider Electric has done nuclear weapons work, the multinational industrial equipment firm had no current contracts that would violate Oakland's law, according to a city report released Friday.
The finding in support of Schneider could provide political backing for council members to move ahead with the Domain Awareness Center -- a joint project with the Port of Oakland to establish a data hub that consolidates feeds from street cameras, gunshot sensors and other surveillance tools.
Privacy advocates concerned that the center could be used to spy on residents had zeroed in on the city's 22-year-old anti-nuclear¿ law as a tool to fight the project. They successfully got the prior contractor removed from the project last year because it violated the law.
Brian Hofer of the Oakland Privacy Working Group said the city report didn't fully address whether Schneider's affiliates and subsidiaries were involved in nuclear weapons work. He also said the group still intends to file a lawsuit to block the project if the council approves a contract for Schneider at its Feb. 18 meeting.
If the council were to reject Schneider, the city and port would most likely lose a $1 million grant that is tied to completing the project by the end of May.
In finding that Schneider didn't violate the anti-nuclear¿ law, city officials pointed to the fact that the company was listed on a stock index for ethical firms and that a previous bid in 2010 to be included on the listing was rejected over the firm's military contracts at that time.
When asked by the city about websites in which the company claims involvement in nuclear submarine work, the firm said that it was still contacting its many divisions, but that all of its entities in the U.S. said they were not involved with nuclear weapons work.
San Lorenzo to break ground for mini-park
A vacant lot in San Lorenzo will be transformed into a pocket park.
The lot at the corner of Grand and Washington avenues is owned by PG&E, which installed a gas line testing station, also called a pig station, on the site.
The station takes up about a quarter of the irregularly shaped lot, said Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan.
"I negotiated with PG&E to turn the rest of it into a park," Chan said.
The utility company will install landscaping, including trees, and places for people to sit, she said.
Groundbreaking for the park, which will be just over three-quarters of an acre, takes place at 11:30 a.m. Monday.
The PG&E station is used to launch robotic devices called pigs to inspect a gas pipeline.
The park has not been named, "but we're not going to call it the Pig Park," Chan said.
Fremont asks public for housing input
The city is asking residents for feedback as staffers work to update the document that envisions Fremont's future housing stock.
The Housing Element examines a city's key housing issues, such as removing obstacles to reaching the city's goals, identifying future construction sites and finding resources to support affordable housing.
It also outlines how those and other needs should be addressed in the future.
Fremont's document, which studies the issue in 8-year periods, will expire at the end of 2014. The next period runs from 2015-2023.
The city held a public meeting on the issue last week, and has scheduled another one for April, with time and place to be determined. Public hearings on the document likely will be held at City Hall in May or June, according to the city website.
Staffers expect the Planning Commission and the City Council to consider approving the Housing Element by the end of this year.
Residents can give feedback online at www.fremont.gov. Or, they can call city planners at 510-494-4543 or 510-494-4436.