Vanessa Rancaño

Unions protest Quan’s proposed budget at City Council meeting

Some 250 workers rallied on City Hall steps ahead of Tuesday’s City Council meeting to protest the mayor’s proposed budget, which focuses on investments in public safety, job creation, economic development, and job training. But union members felt some of the most hard hitting cuts were proposed to service programs–many of the jobs they do in the city of Oakland.

At swaps, women find clothes and community

People in the Bay Area are turning to creative alternatives to buying new. Clothes swaps have been around for a long time, but they’re more popular than ever. Some swaps charge an entrance fee — Like SwapSF, a San Francisco exchange that draws over three hundred people. Swap-O-Rama-Rama, a swap and DIY workshop in a hundred cities around the world, is donation based.

Union protest overwhelms early Oakland City Council budget talks

As the city gets ready to tackle a new two-year budget, councilmembers heard a presentation on Oakland’s fiscal future at Tuesday’s city council meeting. Whoops, jeers and the sound of a cowbell punctuated the meeting, and before the council could hear the presentation, they heard from dozens of angry union members and chants of “Enough is enough!” from the audience stalled proceedings more than once.

At estate sales, people find more than just “stuff”

Every weekend there’s a sign posted on some telephone pole for an estate sale.  Maybe you’re someone who follows the signs, but if you’re not, you might be surprised by what people can get out of these sales. Listen to the audio piece to hear more about fans of Oakland’s estate sales and the people who make them happen.

One month after deadly shooting, First Friday returns with a focus on peace

One month after a homicide forced city leaders and event organizers to question the future of Oakland’s First Friday art festival, the event returned this weekend—smaller and more low-key than past versions, but turnout was strong. The themes of the March 1 were peace and unity. People gave peace signs all night, some wore neon green t-shirts that read “Respect Our City,” and organizers held two moments of silence in honor of Kiante Campell, the 18-year-old who was shot and…

Warriors’ Landry meets kids at East Oakland boxing gym

The children and youth who participate in health and education programs at the East Oakland Boxing Association got the chance to meet Golden State Warriors forward Carl Landry on Thursday afternoon. The NBA star joined representatives from Good Sports, a national nonprofit that donates sports equipment to kids, in gifting the community organization $10,000 for new equipment.

After shooting, First Friday organizers discuss how to keep future events safe

Nearly a week after the post-First Friday festival shooting that killed 18-year-old Kiante Campbell and wounded 3 others, event organizers say they’re waiting for a cue from the city about how to proceed. City of Oakland officials have called a meeting with the festival’s key stakeholders for Thursday to examine ways to keep future events safe. The art festival that takes over swaths of downtown Oakland on the first Friday of each month started as a humble gallery walk in…

City hands out free reusable bags as Oakland shoppers adjust to bag ban

Alameda County shoppers are adjusting, if reluctantly, to the single-use bag ban that went into effect January first. The Reusable Bag Ordinance, passed a year ago by Alameda County Waste Management Authority, is intended to abate waterway pollution by limiting the distribution of single-use carryout bags and coaxing people to opt for a reusable alternative.

At alternative court, homeless find second chances

Judge Gordon Baranco donned his robes at the last minute, putting them on over a grey suit and a tie on which a reindeer tugged Santa in a sled. Baranco normally hears cases in the Alameda County Superior Court, but today he was presiding over a ragtag crowd in a well-used community center, where the homeless and formerly homeless defendants had gathered to have the fines associated with minor offenses waived. Baranco stood in front his makeshift bench, a rectangular…