School board to parents: No closures for now

By LINNEA EDMEIER Oct. 8 — The anxiety over the possibility of some school shutdowns played out in tonight’s Oakland Board of Education meeting as individuals and groups took the microphone to passionately say, “Don’t close our small schools.” In the wake of announcing a plan to study closing certain schools in order to increase fiscal stability, the Board found itself on stage tonight—literally and figuratively. Under spotlights, seated in a row behind a blue-skirted table lined with microphones, the…

Ethiopians in Temescal see hope in Obama

By KRISTINE WONG  Photos by BAGASSI KOURA OCT. 7 — As one of the oldest Ethiopian restaurants in Oakland, Asmara is a popular gathering place for Ethiopians in Temescal’s business district. Tonight was no different, as the Telegraph Avenue restaurant and bar drew in a steady stream of Ethiopian men who watched the second Presidential Debate over a glass of wine or beer. All kept their eyes fixed to the screen, with barely any conversation. Despite their intensity, they couldn’t…

Second debate not a game-changer, experts say

By MAGGIE FAZELI FARD, CLARE MAJOR and CHRISTINA SALERNO OCT. 7—The experts agree: the second presidential debate was a snoozer—and irrelevant. Three political experts analyzed the candidates’ performance after a debate-watching party sponsored by the Institute of Governmental Studies department at UC Berkeley, where a rather sedate crowd of about 140 students and professors gathered to watch the event.

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.