Community

Earth day cleanup in Oakland: “If it’s helping my community, I can’t say no to that.”

When they arrived at the Rockridge-Temescal Greenbelt, aka FROG Park, on Saturday morning, Alya Davidman and her 6-year-old daughters Evelyn and Josephine Ellis-Davidman found a group of over 100 volunteers hard at work raking leaves, pulling weeds, and picking up trash across the narrow greenway tucked between a row of houses, the DMV and the Temescal farmers market in north Oakland  Josephine and Evelyn, waddling with bright orange trash pickers in one hand and garbage bags as big as their…

Once a last resort, hunger strikes now used to pressure local officials in Oakland

Hunger striking may be most well known as a political tool used by suffragettes and Irish prisoners, which is why it caught some off-guard recently to see it being used in Oakland to influence a school board decision. Two Oakland Unified School District employees launched a hunger strike in response to proposed school closures in January, signaling that the once drastic measure may change the way communities protest local issues. “Oakland Unified now faces the prospect of many future hunger…

East Oakland foundry pollution spurs two lawsuits to protect community

The state of California and an Oakland-based environmental group are suing the pipe casting facility AB&I Foundry for reportedly emitting excessive levels of a carcinogenic chemical into East Oakland’s air.  Both lawsuits, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, accuse the foundry of violating California’s Proposition 65 — a law requiring businesses to warn people about significant exposures to harmful chemicals. The state’s lawsuit, filed by Attorney General Rob Bonta on Feb. 15, states that McWane Inc. operating as AB&I Foundry,…

Parents, students, teachers make final push to keep their schools from closing

The Oakland Unified School District board is expected to vote Tuesday night on a controversial proposal to close or merge up to 15 schools in the next two years to help shrink its budget deficit.  Over the weekend, parents, students, educators and community leaders rallied at campuses at risk of closure in a last-ditch effort to persuade school board members to reconsider the plan. Oakland Unified has experienced enrollment declines and budget shortfalls in recent years. Pressured by the Alameda…

Protesters rally outside OUSD directors’ homes against plan to close schools

A caravan of vehicles that stretched for blocks paraded through the streets of Oakland Thursday evening, honking in solidarity against the Oakland Unified School District’s plan to close eight schools and merge others.  The caravan slowly made its way through the streets, stopping at the home of OUSD Director Sam Davis, where dozens of people, old and young, showed up with handwritten signs and posters that read “No School Closures!” After protesting for an hour, the caravan moved across the city to…

More police patrols for East Oakland after homicides spike

This month, the Oakland Police Department will shift 48 officers to East Oakland and implement a new patrol plan in a section of the city that has been hit hardest by a sharp increase in violent crime. In a year-end news release, the department reported that it investigated 134 homicides in 2021, the most since 2012. Homicides were up 30% from 2020 and shootings were up 21%. “Many of the homicides and shootings involved gang and group members and conflicts,”…

As overdoses hit crisis point, groups respond with free tests, Narcan and other life-saving help

Jesse Foley-Tapia and Andrew Lopez As the sun set on a November day, Blue and her friend Seb prepared to go to a Mission district club in San Francisco. Blue had bought some ketamine and they agreed to bring it with them. Knowing there might be fentanyl in the drug, they decided to stop at Seb’s home in Oakland to use a fentanyl test strip.  They mixed a pinch of ketamine with an ounce of water, stuck the detection end…