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New prosecution team aims at “gateway crimes”

By MAGGIE FAZELI FARD SEPT. 29 — Against the backdrop of Oakland’s highly publicized homicide rate, City Attorney John Russo introduced a new crime-fighting team this morning–a group of three city prosecutors charged with investigating crimes like disorderly conduct, graffiti and cockfights, in hopes of improving quality of life for residents all over Oakland. “These crimes are not as shocking or evil as homicide or rape,” said Russo, “but they have a chilling effect on quality of life.”

Cyclists’ pack rides Oakland to press for better routes

Story and slideshow by MARTIN RICARD SEPT. 29 — As anyone who has traveled on two wheels along some of the city’s busiest streets knows, bicycling through Oakland can be a challenge. There are already more than 85 miles of designated bike routes for cyclists. But some of the bike lanes are confusing, not all the roads are paved and there are some areas that are just plain not safe to ride on. That’s where Walk Oakland Bike Oakland thinks…

Debate-watching parties draw jeers, applause

By OAKLAND NORTH STAFF Sept. 27—They cheered, they jeered and they rolled their eyes. Some even slurped “Obama-Mama” cocktails—a special concoction of coconut rum and pineapple juice—at one of the dozens of debate-watching parties held throughout Oakland and Berkeley on Friday night. Ardent supporters of Barack Obama or John McCain gathered to watch the season’s first presidential debate at neighborhood bars, restaurants, homes and corner stores.

Lower fee hike recommended for residential parking

By MAGGIE FAZELI FARD Sept. 23 — In a compromise over city parking costs, the City Council finance committee agreed today to recommend moderate residential parking permit fee increases — in exchange for starting a performance audit into what was repeatedly called an “inefficient” parking division.

City Council to consider increased parking fees

By MARTIN RICARD SEPT. 23 — Over the summer, some North Oakland residents were furious with the city when they unexpectedly got tickets for parking their cars in front of their homes after they had already paid to renew their residential parking permits.

Oakland Democrats focus on local elections

By BAGASSI KOURA Sept. 22 — As the California Democratic Party works on playing a larger role in the battleground states for the presidential election, Bay Area Democrats opened Sunday a new Oakland campaign office that will focus on local races. “We want the Obama supporters to get involved for the different propositions that we support, and also are trying to make sure they get passed,” said Matt Hummel, a field director in charge of the new office in downtown Oakland,…

Back to school for OUSD Board of Education

Put into state receivership five years ago, the Oakland Unified School District is close to regaining full authority. The Board’s agenda for Wednesday’s 4:00 meeting is packed with programs and initiatives intended to improve student performance and district financial stability. By focusing on those two goals, the Board moves closer to being completely out of state receivership by the end of the school year.

New sports complex opens in Berkeley

Plenty of people were eager to talk about Berkeley’s new sports fields complex. Mayors and city officials from five East Bay cities – Berkeley, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Richmond and Albany – lined up on Saturday to address the crowd of two hundred onlookers who came to celebrate the grand opening of the two new multi-purpose fields. The celebration had all the trappings of an opening ceremony: a podium, folding chairs for the crowd, a ribbon waiting to be cut. But…

Critics give local cities “failing grades” on immigration policies

by CLARE MAJOR RICHMOND, Sept. 6—Critics of Bay Area immigration policy and a panel of local city officials crowded into a Richmond church cafeteria today to address issues affecting undocumented workers. The Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition (BAIRC), which organized the four-hour midday meeting, asked the panel of officials from Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, San Pablo, San Francisco, and Marin county to respond to four specific issues. Attendees gave five local counties “failing grades” for their protection of immigrant rights, accusing…

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