Tuesday night’s Oakland Public Safety Committee meeting’s main agenda item—reviewing a report about holding a special election to amend the regulations that govern the Oakland Police Commission—was initially upstaged by jarring testimony from former Councilmember Wilson Riles Jr. about his arrest last week.  Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan introduced the issue for the committee to address.…

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Over $6 million: That’s how much money flowed into the war chests of Oakland candidates and PACs in the November election for mayor and city council seats.

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In a packed home in the Grand Lake neighborhood, supporters of Mayor Libby Schaaf and her campaign’s volunteers nibbled on quesadillas and checked back and forth between CNN and the front door to see when the candidate would arrive. Everyone from Jon Sarriugarte, the artist who designed the now-famous snail car, to city hall officials…

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Jonah Strauss, a lead organizer with the Oakland Warehouse Coalition, speaks during public comments. "We're here to talk about keeping people in their homes," he said. Photo by Abner Hauge.

On Tuesday night, the council heard reports by working groups created by Mayor Libby Schaff’s Executive Order 2017-1 on January 11, calling for improving building and fire safety in non-permitted spaces while avoiding displacing their residents if code violations aren’t life-threatening. Should tenants have to be relocated, the order calls for the city to provide more relocation assistance. The order also calls for more notice for inspections; strengthening the Just Cause Ordinance, which prohibits landlords from evicting tenants except for specific reasons like failure to pay rent and illegal activities; as well as steps towards legalizing non-conforming spaces and reforming the city’s events permits system.

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