Public Policy

Five years after Ghost Ship: How local organizations are fighting artist displacement

In the 19th and 20th centuries, Oakland’s industrial zone bustled with canneries, metal works and warehouses. As the global economy changed, industries moved out and artists moved in. The low-rent buildings, with their vaulted interiors, were suitable for live-work studios.  Over the years, landlords looked the other way as tenants nested in spaces that were never coded for housing. On Dec. 2, 2016, the deadliest fire in Oakland history broke out in the Ghost Ship, a former warehouse in Fruitvale…

Vaccine plan for Oakland workers irks unions, who say they were left out

Oakland’s labor unions say they should have been involved in a draft mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy that would apply to the city’s 4,500 or so employees as a condition of employment. “Unions aren’t against vaccines at all,” said Elizabeth Ortega, executive director of the Alameda Labor Council. “But we do want to stay at the table.” Ortega said that the 135 unions that ALC represents received notice of the mandate only a few hours before the draft was released. She…

Oakland grapples with tenant protections and pitfalls

Housing advocates in Oakland are warning that the current tenant protections enacted and expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic contain loopholes that leave renters vulnerable to evictions and even lawsuits. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors issued a temporary eviction ban to protect residents from being evicted in March. It covered renters, homeowners and those living in mobile home parks throughout the county. A few days later, California governor Gavin Newsom announced a temporary statewide eviction ban. However, exceptions in the…

Oakland North’s 2019 year in review — our top stories

2019 brought a new group of student reporters to Oakland North from across the country and the globe. We covered a city that is always changing, but where tensions about city finances, policing, housing and the fate of the public schools run deep. We also produced three new episodes of our Tales of Two Cities podcast, which covers audio stories from Oakland and Richmond in collaboration with our sister site, Richmond Confidential. Click here to check out all episodes of the Tales of…

Never mind Reefer Madness, seniors are the next big cannabis consumers

It’s a quiet Monday afternoon at Magnolia Oakland, a cannabis dispensary on the industrial end of Adeline Street. From the outside, the blocky, concrete building looks like the kind of place you might go to get a package shipped or a document notarized. Inside, as a guy working security chats with a front desk employee checking IDs, a skunky whiff of weed floats by, indicating that this is, in fact, a place to legally buy a bewildering number of cannabis…

Labor unions at odds over West Oakland hotel development

Every theater seat was occupied in Oakland’s city council chamber on Tuesday night, with more community members spilling into the hallway, as members of two of the city’s biggest unions turned out to take opposite sides on a proposal to build a hotel in West Oakland. In November 2016, Architectural Dimensions, an Oakland architecture and planning firm, filed an application to build a six-story 220-room hotel on what is currently an empty lot on Mandela Parkway along Oakland’s border with…