Chicken cages at center of intense Prop. 2 fight

By MAGGIE FAZELI FARD On first viewing, the TV ad seems to say it all. An animated pig with a soft spot for Motown gives viewers a tour of a macabre farmhouse, where pigs are packed tightly in their crates, a cow is licking its own excrement, and chickens are stacked one over the other. At the heart of the story is an evil farmer who goes as far as to pull a suckling calf away from its mother. The…

Freeways closed for hours where truck blew up

  OCT. 22 – Lanes of the I-880 South and the I-980 West remain closed today, after a fiery crash early this morning involving a gas tanker truck and a passenger car. Although the flames have been doused, concerns of hazardous material contamination remain, forcing Oakland commuters to make alternate travel plans. “The Oakland 880 corridor is a big one here,” said Bob Haus, spokesman for Caltrans. “It provides access to the port of Oakland and the city and the…

After night of pleas, council passes cut-down budget

By MAGGIE FAZELI FARD Oct. 22 — After five hours of heated discussion–including pleas, arguments, and even musical performances by more than 200 Oaklanders begging city council members to reconsider layoffs and spending cuts–last night’s budget discussion ended somewhat anti-climactically.

Black church leaders urge no vote on Prop 8

By KRISTINE WONG Oct. 21 – On the steps of Oakland City Hall this morning, African-American ministers and politicians declared their strong opposition to Proposition 8, the state ballot initiative that would make same-sex marriage illegal in California. Citing civil rights as well as religious, legal, and personal reasons, they challenged the assumption that the African-American community did not support gay marriage. But while they presented an united front, recent poll results show the majority of African-Americans in California support…

“Madness” registers thousands before deadline

Story by MARTIN RICARD Video by CHRISTINA SALERNO Oct. 21—Twelve dedicated staff. Four extra-long tables. Floodlights. A decked-out AC Transit bus playing “God Bless America” and other patriotic songs. And a whole lot of coffee, hot chocolate and cookies. That’s what it took for the Alameda County Registrar of Voters’ office to pull off its “Midnight Madness” voter registration drive Monday night, braving the cold from 5 p.m. to midnight to allow as many people as possible to get registered…

Local hearing addresses imperiled retirement plans

By SAMSON REINY Oct. 22– Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) were back home this morning, listening to Bay Area citizens and economic experts about the future of American’s retirement plans in light of the growing financial crisis. The hearing, held in San Francisco City Hall as part of a series by the Education and Labor Committee, featured a panel that advocated both new approaches to retirement planning, and more clarity and honesty in 401(k) investment policies….

“Can I wear my Obama T shirt?” Polling place FAQs

by MELANIE MASON Voting is the basic building block of our democracy, but Election Day presents its own confusions.  Here are commonly asked questions in anticipation of November 4.  If you have other questions, please submit them as a comment and we’ll try to get them answered for you.

Dispatch From a Red County

By LINNEA EDMEIER In this photo and audio essay from her hometown in northern California’s Amador County, where life-size John McCain and Sarah Palin cutouts decorate shop entrances, Oakland North reporter and former fire captain Linnea Edmeier listens to friends and neighbors who live a long, long way from the Democratic strongholds of the Bay Area.