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Katey Rusch

Oakland tries a new way to prioritize city improvement projects: by considering equity

Rows of people sway together during a lunchtime Tai Chi session at Lincoln Square Recreation Center. Not a space is left in the full-size gym. “In and out,” the instructor chants, reminding the practitioners to breathe as they try to avoid colliding with each other and the walls.  “It’s like this every day,” says Gilbert Gong, the center’s longtime director, referring to the size of Friday’s crowd as he surveys the attendees. In the corner of the gym, he stops…

Oakland City Council backs teachers; doesn’t vote on rent protections

The Oakland City Council meeting ended in confusion and shouts of anger Tuesday night after a legal issue delayed a vote on an ordinance that would have extended rent control protections to tenants living in own-occupied duplexes and triplexes.   “What’s the issue?” shouted attendee Reisa Jaffe at new Council President Rebecca Kaplan (at-large). “I’d like to know what happened?” demanded another atttendee, standing up with his hands in the air.  “These issues were just brought to our attention tonight,” said…

Ghost Ship memorial mural

Smashed between an auto body shop and a building supply warehouse is a mural. Blended in with the neutral tans and whites of its industrial surroundings, the brown and cream artwork sits hidden in plain view. No people stand to view it. No one in passing cars stops to stare. If they did, they would see 36 names listed on a painting of an old parchment scroll. Those are the names of the 36 people killed when a fire ravaged…

As early returns trickle in, Oakland voters and candidates wait

In a packed home in the Grand Lake neighborhood, supporters of Mayor Libby Schaaf and her campaign’s volunteers nibbled on quesadillas and checked back and forth between CNN and the front door to see when the candidate would arrive. Everyone from Jon Sarriugarte, the artist who designed the now-famous snail car, to city hall officials like District 3 Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney, waited under orange and blue streamers. Schaaf’s older sister, Chris Schaaf, even drove in from Castro Valley to…

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