Christine Schiavo

Oakland wants to give voters money to make campaign contributions

Oakland voters will be asked on the Nov. 8 ballot if they want the city to give each of them $100 in campaign vouchers that could be donated to the candidates of their choice. The program would cost the city $4 million every two years. The City Council passed it Monday, with six votes in favor; Noel Gallo and Rebecca Kaplan were not present for the vote.  “If we want to increase democracy, if we want more people who are…

‘They did what we expected them to do, though it was hurtful’: OUSD board rejects community attempt to save schools

After five months of heated meetings, tensions boiled over Wednesday as the Oakland Unified School board voted decisively against a resolution brought by the community to reverse the scheduled closures of seven schools.  Board President Gary Yee moved the meeting online after several community members protesting the vote approached the board’s table, a metal chair crashing to the floor as people in the audience moved. Security guards stepped in to maintain order.  “I think that they knew that the vote…

OUSD board appoints member of mayor’s staff to fill Gonzales’ seat

The Oakland Unified School District board selected Kyra Mungia, the deputy director of education for the mayor’s office, as the provisional District 6 director Wednesday. Mungia won the seat against eight other applicants in a 4-2 vote during a special board meeting, with directors Mike Hutchinson and VanCedric Willaims voting no. She replaces Shanthi Gonzales, who abruptly resigned in May, and will hold the appointment until Gonzales’ term expires on Jan 2. An election for the four-year seat will take…

Oprah picks 19-year-old Oakland author’s book for her club, saying it ‘wowed’ her.

Leila Mottley, the 2018 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, began writing novels when she was just 14. Now, at 19, her debut novel, “Nightcrawling,” has been selected for Oprah’s Book Club. “I think that I just have instinctually always been writing,” Mottley said during a Zoom interview this month. “But I think from a young age it felt very natural to me.” The Oakland native began writing “Nightcrawling” at 16 and hopes it will represent the lives and thoughts of people…

Community to OUSD: ‘You have the opportunity … stop this whole madness’

Chanting “Whose schools? Our schools,” parents, teachers and community members erupted into protest at Wednesday’s Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting, prompting the board to recess the meeting and move it online. Protesters approached the dais with signs that read, “Hands off our schools” and “No school closures” after the board failed to act on their proposed resolution to rescind the closures of seven schools, including Parker K-8 and Community Day, which closed at the end of this…

Don’t be surprised if you see more rattlesnakes on East Bay trails this summer

Sandra Rose hikes frequently in East Bay Regional Parks and is no stranger to rattlesnakes. Last month, she saw three in one week.  “We all heard the hiss as the snake went up the hill.” Rose said, referring to a hike in Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve in Oakland. Rose says she expects to see snakes in the park. “They won’t bother you if you don’t bother them,” she said. “I’m not scared of them, I think they’re fascinating.”  Last month,…

School board considers putting tax for career programs on fall ballot

The Oakland Unified School District board is scheduled to vote June 22 on whether to put Measure N, which funds career pathways programs, on the Nov. 8 ballot.  The school board agreed at its Wednesday meeting to ask voters if they want to continue paying a $120 per-parcel tax to support Measure N, which Oakland voters approved in 2014 to be in effect for 10 years. The money, according to the OUSD website, is used for programs to reduce the…

Oakland Council caps rent increases for many tenants

Oakland tenants of rent-controlled buildings will no longer see their rent raised above 3% annually. City Council passed an ordinance Tuesday, ensuring that annual rent increases will be capped at either 60% of the Regional Consumer Price Index or 3%, whichever is lower. The landmark measure, which was introduced last week, won on a 6-1 vote, with Noel Gallo voting no and Loren Taylor abstaining.  “Thousands of Oakland residents will rest a little easier knowing their housing is secure,” Councilmember…

Oakland has spent millions fighting former police chief’s successful lawsuit

Oakland has spent almost $2.9 million to date to defend a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by former police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick.  A federal jury last Saturday, finding the city had no grounds to fire Kirkpatrick, awarded her $337,645 in damages — an amount equal to a year’s compensation.  Ryan Richardson, Oakland special counsel, said the award was “equivalent of the one-year severance the City was ready and willing to pay when she was terminated in 2020.” According to an expense…