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Tue Apr 12 2016 (Updated 05/08/16)
Housing State of Emergency Declared in Oakland
Oakland renters have been facing nearly 1,000 evictions per month. Rents have skyrocketed and the median rent is currently $3,000 per month. Housing activists have been pushing for a temporary freeze on evictions and rent hikes to protect tenants from the massive upheaval. On April 6, the Oakland City Council responded by voting unanimously to support a 90-day moratorium on rent increases, but failed to pass a temporary freeze on evictions.
Community activists working independently on separate ballot measures have come together under the umbrella of the Oakland Justice Coalition. Together, the three measures they propose would radically transform police accountability, renters' protections, and the minimum wage in Oakland. On March 24, Oakland Justice Coalition members made a formal announcement of their intentions in front of Oakland City Hall. The canvassing kickoff will be held on April 2.
The California Apartment Association (CAA) has been meddling in the affairs of city after city in Northern California in an effort to stop any and all renter protections being promoted by renters, tenant activists, and their supporters. The same day that Oakland tenant activists filed a ballot initiative to strengthen renter protections called the Renters Upgrade, the CAA announced that they were keeping an eye on things, and are coming up with their own plan to counter the tenants' movement efforts.
Tue Mar 22 2016 (Updated 04/18/16)
Oakland Real Estate & Business Conference Shut Down
Before 8am on March 18, over a hundred housing activists caught the Oakland Chamber of Commerce off guard at their "Oakland is open for business" breakfast for real estate developers. Protesters were able to completely shut down the 2016 Economic Development Summit at the Kaiser Building on Lake Merritt before Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf could even give her opening remarks.
On March 15, the Oakland City Council approved moving forward with the latest iteration of luxury housing at the E12th Street parcel, public land that was created when the roads and bridges around the south end of Lake Merritt were recently reconfigured. Housing activists showed up at City Hall and successfully shut down the meeting, but the council then held their discussion and vote privately in Mayor Libby Schaaf's office. Critics vow to keep the fight alive for "public land for public good." A final vote on the proposed sale to UrbanCore will happen later this year.
Sun Feb 14 2016 (Updated 02/16/16)
Three Arrested Defending Gill Tract from Development
On February 9, farm defenders halted construction on the Gill Tract farm in Albany once again. Five farm defenders sat in silent meditation in the path of heavy machinery that was removing topsoil. Contractors attempted to operate the heavy machinery around them despite the risks to the safety of those on site. Three were arrested and two were taken to jail. The two were released later in the day.
Norman “Wounded Knee” DeOcampo (Miwok), a long-time resident of Vallejo, will be taking part in the Longest Walk 5 beginning February 13 at La Jolla Shores in San Diego, California. Wounded Knee is the Founding Executive Director of the Vallejo based organization Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes. (SSPRIT). He is the only person who will have participated in all five Longest Walks.
East Bay:   2