Covid-19

Vaccine plan for Oakland workers irks unions, who say they were left out

Oakland’s labor unions say they should have been involved in a draft mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy that would apply to the city’s 4,500 or so employees as a condition of employment. “Unions aren’t against vaccines at all,” said Elizabeth Ortega, executive director of the Alameda Labor Council. “But we do want to stay at the table.” Ortega said that the 135 unions that ALC represents received notice of the mandate only a few hours before the draft was released. She…

Think Newsom should be recalled? People in Oakland weigh in.

For the second time in 20 years, a California governor is facing recall. On Tuesday, the state will find out if Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom will finish the last 15 months of his term or become the second governor — after Democrat Gray Davis in 2003 — to be recalled. Voting started by mail in August, with two questions on the ballot: Shall Newsom be recalled? And, if so, who should replace him: one of the 46 candidates on the…

As COVID-19 infections rise, is this year’s ski season as safe as people think?

On Nov. 25, one day before Thanksgiving, Squaw Valley in Lake Tahoe ushered in the first day of the snow season. At 9 a.m., the parking lot was already more than half full, with about 2,000 cars. People wearing their ski boots and helmets lined up in the 34-degree temperature to collect their season passes. It looks like any other snow season—except this year, everyone is standing six feet apart and wearing masks. Lake Tahoe offers world-class skiing and is…

COVID-19 cases remain stable at Santa Rita Jail despite rising community cases

COVID-19 infections have largely remained stable despite rising case numbers in the Bay Area, according to the latest data published by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO). At the time of writing, two people in custody have tested positive, while 11 others are symptomatic and are awaiting test results.  The sheriff’s office has implemented a number of measures designed to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the jail since the start of the pandemic. Compared to other detention…

New China travel policy makes travel uncertain for Oakland residents

Sally Wang wanted to take her three year-old child to China in early March to spend time with her family. But the ticket prices were too high, so she opted to wait.  “I’ve been waiting for eight months to learn about the travel policy, get the paperwork, and check ticket prices,” she says. Wong was very excited about going back home to see her parents after two years when she finally got to book the tickets. But then the Chinese…

Oakland grapples with tenant protections and pitfalls

Housing advocates in Oakland are warning that the current tenant protections enacted and expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic contain loopholes that leave renters vulnerable to evictions and even lawsuits. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors issued a temporary eviction ban to protect residents from being evicted in March. It covered renters, homeowners and those living in mobile home parks throughout the county. A few days later, California governor Gavin Newsom announced a temporary statewide eviction ban. However, exceptions in the…

Voting rights restored for Californians on parole

After over four decades of disenfranchisement, Californians on parole now have the right to vote. Because the U.S. invests heavily in mass incarceration, the number of people who have lost their right to vote because of their parole status has risen from 1.7 million Americans in 1976 to 6.1 million in 2016. This act would start to reverse those numbers.  In Alameda County, an overwhelming majority of residents voted to make this possible. 74% of the population voted to restore…