A new entertainment and dining center is being planned for Oakland's Jack London Square, a project that's expected to fuel economic activity in the city's waterfront and downtown districts once it opens on the site of a long-closed bookstore, executives said Friday.
The new facility, slated to open by late summer or early fall, will feature dining, a beer garden, gastropub, luxury bowling lanes, bocce courts, live music, entertainment and arcade games, the developers of the complex said.
The principal developers of Jack London Square, Ellis Partners, have teamed up with Trifecta Management Group, a Southern California group that creates entertainment and dining venues that are custom-tailored to a city's needs.
"We are really excited about this because it's a venue where people can go out on a Friday or Saturday or other night, and in the afternoons. People can take their families there," said Dean Rubinson, senior vice president of development with Ellis Partners.
Construction has begun on the complex, a one-time Barnes & Noble bookstore at 98 Broadway that is about the size of a city block. The facility will consist of a 34,000-square-foot building that housed the bookstore and a 15,000-square-foot plaza next to the building.
The entertainment and dining center is expected to be a regional draw.
"This is a one-of-a-kind waterfront venue," said Mike Auger, managing partner with Agoura Hills-based Trifecta Management. "We are looking forward to finalizing and debuting our unique food and entertainment concept."
Trifecta has developed 30 independent entertainment and dining concepts around the country.
Group wants same-sex benefits provided
After losing a contract to search for Oakland's next police chief, the Alexandria, Virginia-based International Association of Chiefs of Police said it wants to provide benefits for employees' same-sex partners, but it is restricted by state law.
As previously reported, Oakland cited the benefits policy in its decision not to contract with the organization.
In an internal memo obtained by this paper, Bart Johnson, the IACP's executive director, wrote that he had ordered that benefits be extended for partners of gay employees but was told the organization needed to be guided by Virginia state law, which does not recognize same-sex marriage.
"When and if a law is passed allowing same-sex marriage, we will immediately extend benefits to these partners," Johnson wrote.
Director accused of making racial slur
The head of Oakland's animal shelter placed on administrative leave last week was accused of using the n-word, multiple sources said on condition on anonymity. The complaint, sources said, was filed by an African-American police officer.
Animal Services Director Gary Hendel was escorted out of the animal shelter by a police lieutenant last Saturday. On Monday, he said he was unaware of the nature of the complaint and he had not "alienated anybody." Hendel has not returned phone calls in recent days.
Hendel got the shelter job in January after a much criticized search that divided shelter workers and volunteers between Hendel and another candidate.
Oakland council tackles rent control, dogs
The Oakland City Council will take up two hot-button issues at its 6:30 p.m. Tuesday meeting. Council members are expected to consider changes to Oakland's rent control law to limit rent increases landlords can impose to cover their costs for building improvements. The council also will consider allowing leashed dogs in several parks.
County auditor race now contested
A second candidate is now running to be Alameda County's auditor.
Kathleen "Kati" Knox, who owns the Rose Gate assisted living home in San Leandro, filed to run in the June 3 election before the Wednesday deadline, not long after it was learned the longtime incumbent was stepping down.
For the first time since he was elected in 1986, Alameda County Auditor-Controller/Clerk Recorder Patrick O'Connell is not running to keep his seat. O'Connell's chief deputy auditor, Steve Manning, filed papers to replace him late last week. Manning has worked in the auditor's office for nearly 27 years and in his current role for 12.
"I always thought when Mr. O'Connell retired, I would consider it," Manning said Friday. "He told me (he was retiring) about a week or so ago."
Then came Knox, bringing competition to what otherwise would have been an uncontested election. Knox said Friday her campaign will be about "transparency, understanding of the money and the use of the scarce resources in the county."
Her father, Robert "Bob" Knox, was Alameda County's treasurer and later a county supervisor in the 1980s.
Fifth candidate in superintendent race
A fifth and final candidate this week entered the June 3 contest to replace retiring Alameda County Superintendent of Schools Sheila Jordan.
Naomi Eason said she "got the calling to run a little late" but has a strong background in administering education programs.
She worked for eight years until June 2012 at the Alameda County Office of Education, most of that time as Jordan's assistant superintendent in charge of educational support services. She now directs the California branch of a nonprofit organization, Building Educated Leaders for Life, providing after-school education. Among her passions is finding better opportunities for kids returning from juvenile detention.
She is a mother of five, three of whom are students at the Oakland Unified School District.
Eason's entrance into the race pits her against Jordan's current associate superintendent, Karen Monroe, who has Jordan's endorsement.
Also running are Pleasanton School Board Member Jeff Bowser, San Lorenzo School Board Member Helen Foster and San Leandro City Councilwoman Ursula Reed.
Decorum needed at Newark meetings
Some Newark residents Thursday called for better decorum from speakers at City Council meetings, saying they don't want a repeat of the tense exchange between City Hall critic John Henneberry and city leaders two weeks ago.
That Feb. 27 incident resulted in Mayor Alan Nagy asking police to remove Henneberry as he angrily addressed council members.
Earlier in the meeting, Henneberry had three times yelled insults at Nagy. Each time, Nagy warned Henneberry that he could be ejected from the room for disrupting the meeting, saying he should wait until the oral communications part of the meeting, when the law allows him to say nearly anything he wants.
"You're on my time, Nagy, shut up!" Henneberry said each time the mayor interrupted him. After an officer threatened to arrest him for trespassing, followed by a 10-minute recess, Henneberry was allowed to complete his speech.
For two years, Henneberry has angrily denounced Nagy, City Manager John Becker and other Newark leaders at public meetings, saying their high salaries could be better spent on programs benefiting the community. He did so again Thursday night.
In response, Tim Jones, a part-time Newark police employee, and Wynn Grcich, a Hayward resident and frequent public speaker, criticized Henneberry's methods, calling them "misguided" and "scary."
Jones added: "These outbursts need to stop."
In November, Henneberry filed a civil rights lawsuit against Newark police and the city, alleging that his arrest last year at the State of the City address was unconstitutional and unlawful, and his subsequent 32-hour detention at Santa Rita Jail was excessive.
That case is winding its way through the courts.