Public Policy

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.

Supporters pass out candy bars to encourage an equal “Payday” for women

On Tuesday afternoon, Mary Boergers, a member of the American Association of University Women (AAUW)’s Oakland-Piedmont Branch, handed out candy bars to passersby at the Rockridge BART station and cried, “Equal pay for women! Would you like a candy bar?” Many people didn’t take the candy bars, shaking their heads—while some took them and said, “Thank you!” “This is just a great way to let people know, remind them that women aren’t making money as much as men,” said Boergers….

Equity in Education panel brings Oaklanders together to discuss schools

On Thursday, a row of people carrying umbrellas gathered in downtown Oakland, standing in a long line going down the entire block, despite the spurts of rain. Although the people in line were smiling, they were here to conduct a serious conversation. The panel discussion, hosted by Lincoln, an organization that helps children and families through social programs, was titled “Equity in Education.” The free event invited members of the community to come together and discuss important topics affecting the…

East Bay women build a net of support to help cope with the fear of deportation

Every morning in front of Melrose Leadership Academy, the same choreography is repeated: the uproar of the children arriving at the school displaces squirrels and birds to the cherry and palm trees that adorn the sidewalk. At this public school, in the sanctuary city of Oakland, people exchange greetings in Spanish. The first poster near the school’s entrance doesn’t inform parents about opening hours or extracurricular activities. Instead, it states: “You have rights, don’t let ICE or police enter your…