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Center Column Archives
Advance the Struggle writes:
What follows is a critique of the West Oakland Specific Plan – WOSP – which the city of Oakland hopes will help in “developing” West Oakland and is attempting to pass in the coming weeks. The development that’s presented is about attracting an influx of capital investment – retail, industrial, and high wage residents – and transforming West Oakland into a center of commerce for a new set of residents. New growth is about raising property values and attracting new residents and businesses, not improving the situations of those who already live there.
Modeled after the Seattle Solidarity Network (SeaSol), EBSN is a group of workers and tenants who use direct action to fight landlords and bosses. Working against both wage theft at workplaces, despicable conditions in housing complexes, as well as against foreclosures, EBSN has worked to combat abuses and build power among workers and tenants. FireWorks through email reached out to the group to get more information on them and what it is they do in the East Bay.
On April 23, UC Berkeley removed all of the redwoods
behind Soda Hall, despite assurances some would stay.
On April 6, University of California Berkeley cut down the support foliage at the redwood grove behind Soda Hall. Larger redwoods have been severely pruned and smaller redwoods have been removed entirely. Paul Jacobs of Qualcomm wants the lot for a $20,000,000 privatized tech design institute, named after himself. The UC intends to cut down all the trees in the grove. Save the Ridge Redwoods has called for a "wave of action" protest to defend the trees at Ridge Road and Le Roy Avenue in Berkeley. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on April 12.
On April Fool’s Day, protesters blocked an Apple bus attempting to cross the High Street bridge between Oakland and Alameda. On the same morning in San Francisco, a Google bus was surrounded at 24th and Valencia streets. On April 2, protesters disrupted the tech bus pick-up zone in front of the MacArthur BART station in Oakland. An Apple, Google, and Yahoo bus were all surrounded and blocked. On April 3, a Google bus was blocked at Center and 7th Street in West Oakland. On April 6, Google venture capitalist Kevin Rose's home was picketed in San Francisco.
The City of Oakland has agreed to pay Scott Olsen $4.5 million to compensate him for devastating brain injuries he suffered when an Oakland police officer shot him in the head with a “less lethal” munition on October 25, 2011, during a demonstration in support of Occupy Oakland. The lead filled “bean bag” round, fired from a 12 gauge shotgun, shattered Mr. Olsen’s skull and permanently destroyed part of his brain.
In his quarterly report for January 2014, the court appointed Independent Monitor of the OPD found that “[t]he matter of the proper use of the Department’s PDRDs remains a concern.... [R]ecent assessments of force cases revealed several serious incidents in which officers — who were in a position to obtain evidence of the facts and circumstances surrounding the use of force — did not have or activate their PDRDs.”
On March 4, one hundred and forty-nine public speaker's cards were turned in prior to the Oakland City Council meeting. Public comment was unanimous against a city-wide Domain Awareness Center. Nevertheless, council members passed a resolution at about 1am on March 5 to proceed with a scaled-down Port-only version of the DAC. From the public galleries in council chambers, calls of "shame, shame, shame" rang out after the vote to continue development of the DAC.