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Kate McLean

Haitian dancers raise money for loved ones in Haiti

After the earthquake, Haitian dancers Portsha Jefferson and Colette Eloi were hearing from loved ones in Haiti who needed help. So they came together with other artists in Oakland, California to perform at a benefit concert. The money they raised was sent directly to friends and family in Haiti, where it will be distributed in their communities. Kate McLean reports. Photos courtesy of Congo SQ West, Rita Daniels and Rara Tou Limen.

Oakland aglow with stimulus dollars, plus a bounty of other news

Hello Oakland. Today’s theme: bounty and afterglow. First up, our own Lauren Callahan covered last night’s city council meeting, where the mayor had a twinkle in his eye because Oakland got more stimulus money than any other (except Chicago). In other news, it is cold. Very very cold. It may even rain. But in the spirit of wishful thinking (this is what we do over the holidays, right?), we have compiled info about a few holiday light shows to spread cheer in…

“Gang Wars: Oakland” leaves locals perplexed, upset

Gangs are a complicated reality in Oakland, a city haunted by violence and the negative reputation that comes with it. But this fall, the nationwide broadcast of “Gang Wars: Oakland” added a new layer of complexity to many viewers’ already complicated feelings about what that violence means and how outsiders perceive it.

Fortune Cookie Factory

Entering the dark little storefront in Oakland’s Chinatown, the first thing I smell is caramel—the scent of toasting sugar and oil.  No one is behind the counter, but I can see that the back area is alive with activity. Women in hairnets work attentively over the enormous, creaking wheels of six cookie baking machines. A middle-aged lady with her hair in a bun notices me and comes to see what I want. No one told her anything about a reporter. …

Batts touts police improvements, says tough choices ahead

“What I have to do is take what I have and make that as efficient as I possibly can, ” new police chief Anthony Batts told reporters. “We can’t do twenty things. But we can do the top two or three or four or five that this city says it wants to do.”

Free evening parking returns

Oakland merchants are hoping you’ll park your car and take a stroll through neighborhood shops tomorrow night in celebration of “the return of free evening parking.” The free parking is returning because the Oakland city council opted to roll back the parking meter hours that they extended in July. The unpopular meter extension brought droves of businesses owners into council chambers complaining that the parking hikes were driving away customers, which lead council members to roll the hours back to…

Council bows to protests, rolls back parking hours

Amid calls for civility and compromise, members of the Oakland City Council apologized last night for their handling of unpopular parking hikes and voted to roll back meter hours from 8:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

In a six to one vote, the council passed a rollback proposal from two weeks ago, with the recommendation that the city recoup a reported one million dollars in lost revenues though parking and other endeavors—including a crackdown on the misuse of handicapped parking permits and the sale of new billboard space.

Parking wars back on tonight’s council agenda

Fireworks are expected at tonight’s Oakland City Council meeting, as the explosive debate about rolling back parking meter hours returns to City Hall. The council will hear at least two proposals at this evening’s 6:00 meeting—one to roll the meter hours back from 8:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and another to roll them back to 7:00 pm. At the request of the council, city staff will also report on how to recoup the revenue lost by shortening the meter hours….

Council balks at rolling back tough parking laws

In a raucous meeting that drew emotional public comments and lasted well past midnight, the Oakland City Council late last night declined to roll back parking meter enforcement hours. Story by Kate McLean/Oakland North

Seen “Gang Wars”? Want to question producers?

In part one of the Discovery Channel’s “Gang Wars Oakland,” which aired Monday, viewers saw Oakland streets beset by drugs and violence. From a prison interview with a crime lord named M.A.C. to a ride-along with Oakland PD’s Gang Unit, the program depicted a cycle of murder and retaliation that, filmmakers say, “keeps on spinning faster.” The emotional core of the story came during the funeral of Ronnie Grier, a 16-year-old who was found shot to death near a 580…

Gang Wars Oakland on Discovery Channel

Discovery Channel focuses on violence in Oakland tonight, with the first episode in a two-part series called “Gang Wars Oakland.” The channel web site’s calls Oakland is “the new frontline in an American gang war” and says, “the murder rate rivals a war zone.”

Oakland students give old computers a new home

On a hot day in West Oakland, children and parents sat at rows of desks in a warehouse classroom. It was dark, the fan hummed and people chattered in low voices. A sense of expectation filled the room. In three hours, every child would get a voucher for a free computer

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