Mayor Libby Schaaf’s 384-page proposed budget includes a subtle but potentially significant change to the structure of Oakland’s city government: the creation of a Department of Transportation (DOT). It turns out Oakland has never, in its 162-year history, had a department dedicated to transportation. This omission is long overdue for correction, which needs to occur…

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As Oakland and Bay Area activists, we’ve sustained a localized hashtag that circulates nationally. These hashtags act as pillars — points of reference we can call upon as iconic moments within this movement.

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Elephants are one of the world’s most awe-inspiring animals, and at the same time, one of the world’s most vulnerable. Oakland’s City Council is currently considering an ordinance that would ban the use of weapons against elephants in the city, including pitchforks, baseball bats, and axe handles. But why? Are Oakland’s elephants being jabbed by…

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Ten years ago, the city claimed it was broke, and that there was a public safety safety crisis.  They asked voters to approve a “temporary” parcel tax that would last 10 years to lower crime.  Sound familiar?  After 10 years of the failed Measure Y, the public safety crisis is obviously far worse.  This alone…

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After my mother migrated from the Philippines with my father in 1983, she became employed as a domestic worker. She has worked in private households and in caregiving facilities. Since I was 5 years old, my mother has been the breadwinner and backbone of my family. With her low wages she’s provided the basic necessities for our family while continually sending money to our relatives in the Philippines.

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If you read the Measure A1 Expenditure Plan, you will see that, by law, the money must be used for animal care, children’s educational programs and maintaining the zoo’s affordability. It does specify that money would go towards upgrading animal enclosures and repairing animal shelters – but this “construction” is a far cry from using the funds to expand the zoo.

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I enjoy the zoo, and I truly appreciate how the East Bay Zoological Society transformed it into a special East Bay destination. But their agenda for the zoo conflicts with the preservation of open space and native habitats, and over the years they’ve worked very hard to blur the distinction between the Zoo and Knowland Park and to secure political allies that will back their proposals.

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At the Food Bank, we haven’t seen signs of an economic recovery. FY 2012 marked the first time we responded to more than 40,000 calls from people whose pantries were empty. People are lining up for food for three hours before their neighborhood pantry opens, rain or shine. More than 300 callers each month reach out to our Emergency Food Helpline for the very first time.

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I got a lot of love for my last op-ed, The Oakland Diss (thank you for your kind words). But I also received a lot of flak. I was called “delusional” and “naive.” I got emails asking me if I had ever even seen “the real Oakland.” My thoughts were even dismissed by SFist with an “uh-huh, sure” pat on the head.

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On Tuesday, Oakland is poised to make history with AC Transit. Specifically, International Blvd. is in a position to gain over $150 million of investment, bring in over 300 new, full-time jobs, improve safety from traffic and crime, receive attractive new streetscape (including street re-paving from curb to curb) and become a healthier corridor overall. AC Transit’s proposed “Bus Rapid Transit” (BRT) project will go before the Oakland City Council this Tuesday, and we urge them to vote in support.

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