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Union members walk out of Kaiser Permanente to support engineers on strike for 62 days

More than 40,000 Kaiser employees and members of three local unions walked out at 21 Kaiser hospitals across Northern California on Thursday in support of striking stationary engineers.  On Friday, the California Nurses Association will follow suit. “Every single worker in our health care system, including the engineers who are on strike, deserve to have fair working conditions and a union contract,” said Oakland City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas, who came to show solidarity with the International Union of…

Boxes, buckets, Buicks and Chevies: Sideshows are at a crossroad

Tires screech and cars dance on the streets of Oakland as sideshow culture fills the air, along with the smell of burning rubber.   Originating in Oakland in the 1980s, sideshows have gained traction in the Bay Area, exciting audiences, frustrating motorists and irritating police. Oakland recently unveiled a bold plan to crack down on sideshows, which are classified as reckless driving and punishable as a misdemeanor. Richmond City Council recently took action to deter sideshows. And a state law signed…

RV dwellers can park on private property in residential areas under new ordinance

Oakland City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday that allows people to park and occupy recreational vehicles, mobile homes, and manufactured homes on private property in residential areas, if the property owner permits. The Construction Innovation And Expanded Housing Options ordinance was crafted to create more housing options for Oakland residents. It also updates zoning and blight restrictions, which previously made it illegal to reside in permanently parked RVs in residentially zoned districts.  “As part of the multifaceted effort to…

Alameda board appoints Chan’s chief of staff to fill seat

On Tuesday, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors held its first meeting without Wilma Chan, the beloved District 3 representative who was fatally struck by a car Nov. 3 near her Oakland home.   A bouquet of flowers adorned her empty seat. Tearful laments were followed by a strenuous debate over who should fill that seat. Three of the four supervisors voted to appoint Dave Brown, Chan’s chief of staff, to serve in a caretaker role for the remainder of her…

Oakland looks to make Chinatown’s streets safer by redesigning them

From horses to highways, the streets of Oakland’s Chinatown have been shaped by every form of traffic since its founding in 1850. Soon it will be reshaped again. With a $500,000 Caltrans Sustainable Communities grant, Oakland’s Department of Transportation will fund a multilingual community outreach program to collect input from the neighborhood and redesign the streets of Chinatown. The public’s opinion will be solicited beginning early 2022. The project’s goal is to increase pedestrian and bicycle safety and reduce carbon…

East Oakland scraper bike program gives kids a chance to safely cycle

Beside bikes dazzling with brightly colored tape and foil, about a dozen East Oakland elementary school children excitedly, in unison, recited their ABCs:   “Air, brakes, chains.”  The kids learned the drill to check bike parts during a new six-week, after-school bike course this fall for children at Brookfield and Madison Park elementary schools. Mentors from The Scraper Team and the nonprofit Higher Ground launched the program to teach kids about bicycle safety and maintenance in a neighborhood that has very…

Caltrans bulldozes tiny home without required notice, advocates say

Volunteers with Artists Building Communities spent 10 days last month building a fire-proof, 4-foot-by-8-foot cobbed tiny home in the Wood Street encampment under Interstate 880. The next morning, neighboring residents watched as California Highway Patrol officers and California Department of Transportation workers bulldozed the home. Residents of the encampment and advocates from Artists Building Communities say the tiny home was demolished on Oct. 11 without the legally required 48-hour notice. Tariq Ahmad Bhat was looking forward to moving into the…

VIDEO: Watch Oakland muralist turn a blank wall into a work of art

Rachel Wolfe-Goldsmith is a muralist and artist in Oakland. As creative director of the Bay Area Mural Project, Wolfe-Goldsmith works to gain exposure for local artists, while painting the walls in Oakland with image that resonate. Her work reflects the culture, history and dreams that shape communities, as it presents empowering representations of BIPOC individuals. In this video, Wolfe-Goldsmith does the physically demanding work of a mural artist and talks about the piece she is most proud of.

Will Oakland get federal rescue dollars for anti-violence measures?

City officials and community leaders want to pump newly available federal money into addressing the gun violence that has claimed more than 100 lives this year and the health inequities that enabled COVID-19 to devastate communities of color.  Both Oakland and Alameda County declared gun violence a public health crisis in the hopes of speeding up the process of securing money from the American Rescue Plan, which passed in March. But the money is still tied up in red tape…