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Public Policy

Oaklanders root for Warren and Harris at Democratic debate watch party

On Tuesday night, about 40 people gathered at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle in downtown Oakland to watch the Democratic presidential debate. The debate started at 5 pm, so most people came in business attire, which underscored the formality of the white tablecloths and stately white columns in the room. Attendees sat in rows facing a large projection screen, balancing on laps and tables their glasses of wine and paper plates limp from generous portions of fish, chicken, mac and cheese, beans…

Controversial property tax is tabled after public outcry at City Council meeting

Oakland City Hall was packed Tuesday night, with nearly every seat filled by a resident who had something to say. As the meeting crept towards the midnight hour, people trickled out and one man left huffing in exasperation. Most of the people were there to talk about the last agenda item of the evening, the impending Vacant Property Tax Act authored by Council President Rebecca Kaplan, Dan Kalb (District 1), and Abel Guillén (District 2). The tax, on the ballot…

“Intelligent Lives” documentary screening highlights educational needs of students with intellectual disabilities

On Monday evening, parents, students and providers of special needs education in the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) gathered at the Cole Campus to watch the premiere of Intelligent Lives, a documentary by filmmaker Dan Habib. “This movie is a tool to transform and change the label of intellectual disability from a life sentence of isolation,” he said as he spoke from New York in a recorded message to the viewing audience. Parents and educators watched attentively as the documentary…

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…

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