You Tell Us: Oakland needs a Department of Transportation

Mayor Libby Schaaf’s 384-page proposed budget includes a subtle but potentially significant change to the structure of Oakland’s city government: the creation of a Department of Transportation (DOT). It turns out Oakland has never, in its 162-year history, had a department dedicated to transportation. This omission is long overdue for correction, which needs to occur soon, and could happen with little cost to Oaklanders. “Hold up,” one might think. “Oakland has roads, buses, and even some bike lanes. How did…

You Tell Us: Our Young People Deserve an Education – Not Cuts

Today, many families in the East Bay face serious challenges. Some are working two or three jobs and still struggling to make ends meet. Many face the terrible reality of hunger and homelessness. Others are fighting to get their young children into Head Start programs to give them a jump-start in life, while others struggle to afford a college education or get their children into quality after-school programs. I personally know these families’ challenges.  As a young single mother raising…

You Tell Us: #Reclaim MLK

As Oakland and Bay Area activists, we’ve sustained a localized hashtag that circulates nationally. These hashtags act as pillars — points of reference we can call upon as iconic moments within this movement.

You Tell Us: Oakland should ban the bullhook

Elephants are one of the world’s most awe-inspiring animals, and at the same time, one of the world’s most vulnerable. Oakland’s City Council is currently considering an ordinance that would ban the use of weapons against elephants in the city, including pitchforks, baseball bats, and axe handles. But why? Are Oakland’s elephants being jabbed by pitchfork-wielding mobs? No, just bullhook-wielding circus trainers. Circuses control and train elephants through violence and intimidation with an implement called a bullhook. A bullhook is…

You Tell Us: Oakland voters should reject Measure Z

Ten years ago, the city claimed it was broke, and that there was a public safety safety crisis.  They asked voters to approve a “temporary” parcel tax that would last 10 years to lower crime.  Sound familiar?  After 10 years of the failed Measure Y, the public safety crisis is obviously far worse.  This alone is sufficient reason not to support Measure Z, the proposed successor.  We can see that simply throwing money at a problem will not make it…

You Tell Us: Why I support Measure FF to raise the minimum wage

Measure FF is a ballot initiative in Oakland looking to raise the minimum wage from $9 an hour to $12.25 an hour. That $3.25 hourly increase provides someone working 40 hours a week with roughly an extra $520 each month. That alone might cover somebody’s car payment, health insurance, or help cover daycare costs.

You Tell Us: Mandela’s Oakland visit was turning point for young refugee

The death of Nelson Mandela last week revived memories of the day in 1990 when the anti-apartheid leader spoke in Oakland. Among those present was Oakland resident Sonny Le, a former boat person from Vietnam, now a U.S. citizen and instructor at San Francisco State. In a guest op-ed, Mandela’s example altered his DNA, and changed the course of his life.