Public Policy

Oakland tries a new way to prioritize city improvement projects: by considering equity

Rows of people sway together during a lunchtime Tai Chi session at Lincoln Square Recreation Center. Not a space is left in the full-size gym. “In and out,” the instructor chants, reminding the practitioners to breathe as they try to avoid colliding with each other and the walls.  “It’s like this every day,” says Gilbert Gong, the center’s longtime director, referring to the size of Friday’s crowd as he surveys the attendees. In the corner of the gym, he stops…

Dream Beyond Bars report offers a new way to study the effects of youth incarceration

About two years ago, when Xochtil Larios was in Alameda County Juvenile Hall in San Leandro, she decided to do more than just participate in classes and programs. “I didn’t feel like it was enough for me. I felt like the girls in there deserved better,” she said. During a session on vision boarding, Larios met staff members from Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ), an Oakland nonprofit that works to empower young people affected by the criminal justice…

Faced with budget cuts, the future of school libraries in Oakland is uncertain

While the teachers’ strike ended weeks ago, the Oakland Unified School District’s financial troubles are far from over. Less than 24 hours after the strike, on March 4, the school board narrowly voted to cut $22 million dollars from next year’s budget. The move was to keep the district from financial ruin, but school libraries are among the programs being affected by the cuts. We focused on the story of just one library at Frick Impact Academy in East Oakland…

Oakland’s schools are open again, but tension remains over budget cuts, teacher contract

The Oakland teachers’ strike officially ended on Sunday evening, but the debate over their contract and district budget cuts is still not over. The vote on Sunday was far from unanimous. Members of the teachers’ union—the Oakland Education Association—gathered at the Paramount Theater for four hours of debate before voting on whether or not to approve the tentative agreement, or TA, reached by union and the Oakland Unified School District. Teachers held signs that read “Say no to the sellout…

Alameda County supervisors vote to to scale back, shift focus of Urban Shield

After more than five hours of public comment and heated debate, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to approve nearly all of an ad hoc committee’s recommendations to demilitarize the county’s controversial Urban Shield annual training program. They voted 4-0 to eliminate SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) deployment exercises and the event’s weaponry and military gadget show, shifting the focus of the training event to natural disaster preparedness. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office launched the annual Urban…

Sen. Kamala Harris kicks off presidential campaign with Oakland rally

Senator Kamala Harris leaned into her East Bay roots as she held the first official rally of her presidential campaign in Oakland on Sunday. Stepping onto a podium in the shade of a flag-draped Oakland City Hall, Harris waved at the largest crowd ever gathered in her support, unable to contain a broad, excited smile. An estimated 20,000 people poured into Frank H. Ogawa Plaza and overflowed into the streets surrounding Oakland City Hall. Cheers and chants drawing out the…