Public Policy

Police arrest protesters at Oakland school board meeting

For the last three Oakland school board meetings, protesters from the newly-formed Oakland Is Not for Sale Coalition have tried to prevent the meetings from taking place, chanting, raising banners and attempting to take over the stage where board members are seated in order to hold what they call a “people’s board meeting.” The group is protesting the “The Blueprint for Quality Schools,” a district-run plan that supports the closure and merger of under-enrolled and underperforming schools. The protests coalesced…

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…