Sam Laird

Hashing it out with marijuana activist and educator Richard Lee

Richard Lee is president of Oaksterdam University, a cannabis trade school located in downtown Oakland. He’s also a driving force behind the November state ballot initiative to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in California.

Homeless and misunderstood

When is a homeless person a vagrant nuisance? And when is a homeless person just a fellow human being victimized by circumstance and bad luck? Sometimes with the indigent, there’s more than meets the eye.

A 60s radical turned kids’ music star

Welcome to Oakland North Radio, our new podcast! Ever wonder what happened to all those 60s radicals? Reporter Sam Laird has the story of one activist and freedom singer who’s still spreading the message of love and peace — albeit to a much younger audience.

As gears begin to turn, Temescal hopeful for new park space

If you could turn a slab of cement and portable classrooms into a vibrant neighborhood park, what would it include? Last night at a community meeting in the Oakland International High School library, a group of approximately 25 North Oaklanders took part brainstorming what a new park could look like in their Temescal neighborhood.

AC Transit cuts less drastic than originally planned

This fall, AC Transit officials announced a proposal to reduce bus service by 15 percent. A reshuffling of agency funds has brought the reduction down to 8 percent. At a Tuesday evening meeting, riders were invited to learn more about how service cuts will affect them.

Black Friday passed, North Oakland retailers see slow start to holiday buying season

Full-bellied, bleary-eyed, and shaking the last vestiges of their turkey-induced tryptophan hangovers, shopoholics and bargain-hunters nationwide kicked off the holiday spending season, lining up before dawn the morning after Thanksgiving to raid their favorite stores on Black Friday. But while consumers flocked to big-box stores across the Bay Area, local North Oakland retailers reported a much quieter beginning to the year’s shopping season.

“What is justice?” Inside a death penalty trial

In 2001, Christopher Evans murdered two people at 85th Avenue and International Boulevard in East Oakland, setting him up for either the death penalty or a sentence of life without parole. This week, a jury of his peers would return a verdict on his fate. A look at what they considered and what they decided.

Bus stop at 40th Street and Telegraph Avenue

The tall man in black sweatpants fidgets as he waits for the bus and talks into his cell phone. His voice is gravelly. “One, two. What it do?” he says, leaning against the pole on which a sign explains what buses come to the intersection of 40th Street and Telegraph Avenue, and at what time.…

After final arguments, murderer’s fate lies with jury

Christopher Evans, convicted this summer of a pair of 2001 East Oakland killings, will undoubtedly end his days in prison. What jurors must now decide is whether that end will come via capital punishment or of natural causes at the end of a life-without-parole sentence.

Oakland gives locals a look at citywide rezoning plan

Oakland is finally updating residential and commercial corridor zoning regulations that haven’t been touched in more than 40 years. A weekend gathering in North Oakland showed off early proposals that could change building heights, restrictions on commerce, and other kinds of zoning rules.

Mosswood garden dispute reflects the neighborhood’s uneasy change

In Mosswood Park’s community garden, two local businessmen have installed a growing area that displays their new eco-technology. It’s got vegetables, goldfish, and self-contained watering–and it’s set off deep divisions among the neighbors.

Bicycle Master Plan, MacArthur BART project

Imagine it’s a warm summer evening after another monotonous day’s soul-crushing workplace tedium.  You get back to your North Oakland abode, slip into something more comfortable, and hop onto your fixie bike, fat-tired mountain bike, or tricked-out scraper bike. You cycle down through Emeryville, onto I-80, and over the Bay Bridge to watch the sunset…

Hometown hero Henderson honored by alma mater

Recently-minted Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, the former Oakland Tech Bulldog and Oakland Athletic, returned to his old neighborhood on Saturday afternoon for a ceremony renaming a North Oakland baseball field in his honor. Story by Sam Laird/Oakland North

Oakland Hills fire, tsunami warning make for eventful Tuesday

A small wildfire in the Oakland Hills was contained by fire crews Tuesday afternoon, when the Bay Area also got a rare tsunami advisory from the National Weather Service. But damage from the two natural not-quite-disasters is thought to be minimal.