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Feature Archives

Fri Apr 29 2016 (Updated 04/30/16)
New Fees to Be Charged to Subsidize Delta Tunnels
Attendees at the April 14 public meeting of the Santa Clara County Water Commission's Board of Directors in Gilroy were surprised to learn that a new fee will soon be added to their groundwater bills to support the Cal WaterFix, also known as the Delta Tunnels. Several users of small private residential water systems complained bitterly about the cost of the current groundwater charges on top of the cost of pumping and maintenance of their own wells.
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.
A bulldozer rumbled into the Beach Flats Community Garden early Thursday morning, March 24, tearing out mature fruit trees and nopales plants that city staff had earlier promised would not be touched, and damaging an already strained relationship between the City and community. Despite the loss of land, fruit trees, and nopales, the Beach Flats Gardeners are committed to making the best of the 2016 planting season.
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.
On March 8, the Santa Cruz city council voted 5-2 to oppose an amendment to municipal code 6.36.010, also known as the camping ban. The proposed amendment would have removed references to sleeping and covering up with a blanket from the text of the law, as well as removing references to sleeping in cars. Effectively, these changes would have made it legal for people sleeping outdoors to do so without fear of citation by police.