The sound of jazz—a melody, harmony, rhythm, or timbre—hadn’t filled the lobby of the California Hotel, just off San Pablo Avenue, for more than a decade. And as over a hundred people filled into the hotel on Wednesday—Billy Strayhorn numbers setting the mood—for a groundbreaking marking the city’s decision to revitalize the historic hotel, passersby, many of them with iPods, didn’t know the hotel was a venue for the most preeminent figures on their playlists: James Brown, Ray Charles, Billie Holiday, Sly Stone, Aretha Franklin and Big Mama Thornton.

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When it comes to the interests of low-income people, affordable housing and clean air advocates usually work side by side in Oakland and the Bay Area. However, the issue of impending air quality guidelines for new or renovated affordable housing sites has caused disagreement between the two groups.

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