Felicia Alvarez

Big jury award could open door to another cannabis dispensary in Richmond

A court case last month possibly set the stage for a new cannabis dispensary in Richmond, the resurrection of an old fight to keep it out — or both.  Two Richmond dispensary owners were ordered to pay $5 million in damages for conspiring against a rival owner. On Sept. 23, a Contra Costa County jury found that William Koziol and Darrin Parle, who operate the Green Remedy Collective, had prevented a prospective dispensary, Richmond Compassionate Care Collective, from establishing a…

Police Chief French put on administrative leave amid investigation

Richmond Police Chief Bisa French was put on leave Wednesday, after being accused in court documents of attacking a relative and threatening to kill a man. French’s husband, Oakland police Lt. Lee French, also was put on leave, pending an internal investigation. A family member requested restraining orders against Bisa and Lee French on Oct. 7, according to Contra Costa County court records. A hearing is set for Oct. 25. In court documents, an 18-year-old relative accused the Frenches of…

Contra Costa among first to resentence people under law addressing harsh prison terms.

Some incarcerated people with lengthy prison sentences may see a reduction in their time now that Contra Costa County is among the first in the nation to launch a resentencing pilot program, which it did this month.  For decades, California’s “tough on crime” stance sent swaths of individuals into state prisons with lengthy sentences. While the state’s political leaders and the judicial system have made moves in recent years to reduce prison populations, the legacy of mass incarceration has left…

Keller Beach is popular with swimmers despite history of poor water quality

The sound of waves sliding across the sand, children laughing, and people talking permeated Richmond’s Keller Beach on a warm Saturday afternoon in late August. Paddle boarders and swimmers dotted the ocean, with children splashing closer to shore. Seaweed dried on the beach, its scent mingling with that of food simmering on a grill. The water was warm and calm, said Christina Kossa, who lives in Berkeley and has been swimming in the bay for about eight years. It was…