Public Policy

The battle over rent control in the East Bay

As rents and home prices continue to skyrocket across California, a major ballot fight is brewing between tenants and the real estate industry over the state rent control law Costa Hawkins. Watch the video to learn more.

Incarcerated people, parolees can’t vote in California, but people are trying to change that

Californians who are incarcerated in state prison or on state parole are prohibited from voting—which affects 162,000 people across the state. Taina Vargas-Edmond is seeking to change that with a grassroots initiative to put the issue before voters. Her partner in the campaign is her husband, Richard Vargas-Edmond, a prisoner organizing signature gathering from within prisons, even though he can’t sign the petitions himself. This May, they fell short of their signature goal, but pledge to try again in 2020….

Nurses union, Oakland City Council push for single payer health bill

Most healthcare bills have a hefty price tag attached, but Senate Bill 562 may have one larger than some Californians are willing to take on—an estimated $400 billion a year, according to an analysis from the California Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill, commonly called a “single payer plan,” is being pushed by members of the California Nurses Association, which is headquartered in Oakland. Should it pass, all healthcare costs would be covered under the expansive umbrella provided by the state…

Oakland prepares to move homeless to new “Northgate Cabins” site

In late April, in a formerly empty lot at the corner of Northgate Avenue and 27th Street in Oakland, the city installed 20 sheds that will house up to 40 people who are currently living on the street. This area, being referred to by the city as the “Northgate Cabins,” is supposed to serve as the first step toward transitional, and eventually permanent, housing for homeless folks who live in nearby encampments. According to officials in the City Administrator’s Office,…

EPA fines Oakland and municipal utility district for sewage discharge violations

Last week, the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) and five East Bay communities were fined $389,300 in penalties for violating the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2014 Clean Water Act settlement. Oakland was penalized the most harshly, collecting $226,500 worth of those fines for its failure to both repair its sewage system’s defects and to prevent sewage from overflowing into the San Francisco Bay. The effects of overflooding—not just in private homes and neighborhoods, but also into the bay—are deadly for…

May Day march through downtown Oakland calls attention to labor, immigration and police issues

Papery doves of peace hovered above Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland, among people carrying colorful signs and banners demanding the end of immigration raids and deportations. “No ban, no raid, no wall—sanctuary for all!” people chanted from a flatbed truck as different groups from throughout the Bay Area gathered at the plaza on Tuesday afternoon to celebrate May Day, also known as International Worker’s Day.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee discusses tech economy in Oakland

On Monday afternoon, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who represents California’s 13thDistrict, which includes Oakland, stood in front of a stage at the Barbara Lee Science and Allied Health Center at Merritt College in Oakland. She was speaking at a media briefing with three other members of Congress who belong to the Congressional Black Caucus(CBC) Diversity Task Force, which she co-chairs. “We here not only to discuss the lack of equity and inclusion, but also the broader impact that the tech sector…

In the Temescal, businesses push for a Telegraph Avenue pothole fix

A particular stretch of road is causing controversy in North Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood. Five blocks, from 45th to 51st Street, are facing scrutiny due to a recent campaign by the Temescal Business Improvement District to repave that portion of Telegraph Avenue. “We’re really eager. We want to get this repaved,” said Shifra de Benedictis-Kessner, executive director of the Temescal Business Improvement District (BID). Kessner said the group has been lobbying to get this stretch of the street repaved for the…

Anti-war rally protests American influence on foreign countries and violence within the U.S.

Andrea Turner has been singing protest songs against war for four decades. On Sunday morning, she joined the Rally against “US Wars at Home and Abroad,” organized by a coalition called Spring Action 2018. At the Lake Merritt Amphitheater in Oakland, speakers not only raised their concerns about American influence in the Philippines, Yemen or Syria, but they also denounced violence against the black community within the United States. Among the attendees was former Oakland mayor Jean Quan.