Community

Panel discusses resolving homelessness in the East Bay

Over the years, Nella Gonçalves has become very used to hearing a certain question: “Ew, you work with the homeless? Don’t they stink?” Gonçalves is the deputy director of Beyond Emancipation, an organization that helps foster youth transition into lives as independent adults. Gonçalves meets a lot of very young people in very difficult positions; she said there’s not a single youth she works with who wouldn’t know what it’s like to fear homelessness. Yet, she observed, even though barely…

Teachers, Oakland school district strike a tentative deal

On Friday afternoon, just as Oakland’s school board meeting was supposed to start, a union representative wearing red–the symbol of the “Red for Ed” movement that has galvanized teachers’ strikes across the nation–stepped in front of the crowd and announced that teachers and school officials had reached a tentative four-year agreement. If ratified, it will end the strike that has shut down Oakland schools for the last seven days. Among the provisions: Teachers will receive an 11 percent raise, as…

Alameda County supervisors vote to to scale back, shift focus of Urban Shield

After more than five hours of public comment and heated debate, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to approve nearly all of an ad hoc committee’s recommendations to demilitarize the county’s controversial Urban Shield annual training program. They voted 4-0 to eliminate SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) deployment exercises and the event’s weaponry and military gadget show, shifting the focus of the training event to natural disaster preparedness. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office launched the annual Urban…

Will the Pacific Northwest measles outbreak jump over to the East Bay?

In 2015, a measles outbreak spread across California, sickening hundreds of people. The outbreak spread across the West Coast as well as Mexico and Canada, and led the California legislature to outlaw vaccine exemptions based on personal beliefs. Removing the exemption has caused vaccination rates across the state to increase dramatically, including in the Bay Area. But some Bay Area residents worry current outbreaks in Washington and Oregon may soon jump state lines into California.

Baseball legend Frank Robinson passes away at 83

On February 7, Oakland native and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson passed away at the age of 83 after a battle with a prolonged illness. The McClymonds High School graduate played 21 seasons in the league, hitting 586 home runs. He was a 14-time All-Star and the only player to win Most Valuable Player Awards in both leagues – 1961 for the Cincinnati Reds in the National League and 1966 for the Baltimore Orioles in the American…

Oakland’s teacher strike concludes its second day

On Friday morning, Oakland teachers returned to the picket lines as their strike entered its second day. The bargaining teams from the Oakland Education Association (OEA)—the teachers’ union—and the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) met in the morning to resume negotiations but as of 4 pm Friday afternoon, had not come to any resolution. The two sides have been negotiating on a new contract for over two years; teacher pay and class sizes have been the main sticking points in…

An Oakland teacher explains why he’s going on strike

Today is the first day of the Oakland teachers’ strike. Public school teachers and staff gathered outside their schools to form picket lines, chanting and rallying support in their quest for smaller class sizes, higher wages, more student support services and a promise from the district that there will be no more school closures. Earlier this week, we followed Alejandro Estrada, a 4th grade teacher at International Community School and the union representative for his school, as he prepared to…

Oakland teachers strike for higher wages, smaller classes

Early Thursday morning, Oakland teachers went on strike, calling for a pay raise and a reduction in class sizes. As early as 6 am, teachers gathered—equipped with coffee, jackets, and beanies to withstand the chilly morning weather—and started to picket in front of their schools. The strike follows two years of failed negotiations between the Oakland Education Association, which represents teachers as well as school nurses, counselors and other staff, and the Oakland Unified School District. The teachers have been working…