Ghost Ship Verdict: One Acquittal, One Mistrial
Yesterday, a jury handed down a mixed verdict in a months-long trial over the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland in December 2016 that claimed 36 lives. The jury acquitted defendant Max Harris on all charges but couldn’t reach a decision over Derick Almena, the master tenant who was accused of illegally converting the building into a living space and violating multiple fire codes. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Trina Thompson declared a mistrial for Almena. He and Harris each faced 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter and up to 39 years in prison if convicted.
- Don Clyde or another KQED reporter
- Hadar Aviram, professor, UC Hastings College of the Law
U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Pleasanton)
Next Thursday, 10 Democratic presidential candidates will face off for a debate in Houston. As Joe Biden maintains his lead, concerns are growing among some in the party that time might be running out for one of the more progressive and youthful candidates to challenge the status quo. In June, 38-year-old East Bay congressman Eric Swalwell confronted Biden on the debate stage, exhorting him to “pass the torch” to a younger generation. Although he ended his presidential bid in July, Swalwell made fighting gun violence a defining feature of his campaign and recently praised the giant retailer Walmart for its decision to end the sale of ammunition for handguns and assault weapons following a deadly shooting rampage in Texas on Saturday.
- U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Pleasanton)
Warriors’ New Arena Opens
This Friday, the Golden State Warriors’ new state-of-the-art arena opens in San Francisco. The $1.4 billion Chase Center is the first privately financed modern sports arena, owned and operated by the Warriors. But it’s more than just a place to watch basketball games. Chase Center aims to turbo-charge development in the Mission Bay neighborhood with retail space for new restaurants, office towers and a music venue for legendary acts such as Elton John, Janet Jackson and Metallica, who perform with the San Francisco Symphony on opening night. But just blocks away from the million-dollar suites and craft beers for sale are homeless encampments, a stark reminder of the Bay Area’s growing income inequality.