Young Teacher Aims For Oakland

May 27, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, California, economy, education, Oakland, school budget cuts · Comments Off on Young Teacher Aims For Oakland 

Youth Radio profiles a recent graduate of UC Berkeley, Nessa Mahmoudi, who wants to put her Masters of Education to use in the Oakland Unified School District. Watch below to find out why Oakland Unified is both a challenging and attractive district to teach in and why they may be turning away teachers like Mahmoudi.

Gang Injunctions in Oakland

March 18, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, Oakland, politics · Comments Off on Gang Injunctions in Oakland 

Both Youth Radio and Forum recently covered The City of Oakland’s call for an injunction against North Side Oakland, a gang the police identify as one of the most violent in the city. Youth Radio producer Denise Tejada interviewed a resident who opposes the injunction and wants to see resources allocated to other programs. Read the interview at

Several weeks ago Forum discussed the injunction with representatives from the Oakland city attorney’s office, the Oakland Police Department, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Youth UpRising, a youth development organization. Listen to an archive of the show below.

The Art of Sign Spinning

February 1, 2010 · Filed Under Bay Area, California, economy, Oakland · Comments Off on The Art of Sign Spinning 

By David Cruz

Sign spinning, the job of holding a sign two feet by six on a street corner for hours at a time, has developed into a display of dance and wit. A display that, luckily for advertisers, is hard to ignore. There’s even a national competition where spinners are judged on technique, style and execution. The California Report caught up with a local advertising company at a spin-off to decide which of its sign spinners would move on to the national event.

Watch a video of the competition and listen to the audio report below:

Legalize Sideshows?

October 23, 2009 · Filed Under Bay Area, culture, news, Oakland · Comments Off on Legalize Sideshows? 

In Oakland, a sideshow-related accident killed three people last weekend. This week, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums announced that he’s considering legalizing the underground events in hopes of making them safer. KQED’s Cy Musiker talked to City Council President Jane Brunner about the idea.

City of Oakland to Settle Civil Suit

September 17, 2009 · Filed Under news, Oakland, Uncategorized · Comments Off on City of Oakland to Settle Civil Suit 

By Denise Tejada

The City of Oakland started 2009 with the shooting death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant by former Bay Area Transit officer Johannes Mehserle. But Oscar Grant isn’t the only African American man who has lost his life at the hands of police in Oakland.

On Sept 20th, 2007—almost two years ago—20-year-old Gary King was shot in the back by an Oakland police officer after being pulled over for fitting the description of a “person of interest.” I went to school with Gary and I can remember him being extremely friendly, outgoing, and always surrounded by a crowd of people. Gary and I had mutual friends and the times we spoke it was obvious he was a fun, creative, and playful person–always playing pranks and smooth with the girls. It was shocking to hear someone I went to school with was shot to death by a cop.

The city of Oakland is expected to pay $1.5 million to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Gary King’s family. After two years it’s about time the King family gets some kind of closure.

As this civil suit settles, Oakland waits to see the outcome of another- that brought by Oscar Grant’s family against BART.  Former Officer Mehserle awaits to hear if  his criminal trial will be granted a change of venue. Mehserle’s attorney argued in a 76 page request that more than 96 percent of nearly 400 Alameda County residents surveyed were familiar with the case. He also added that in the survey he found that 78 percent of blacks and 33 percent of whites believe Mehserle is guilty.  The Town waits with baited breath to see if justice will be served.

Oakland Passes “Respectability Tax” for Pot Clubs

July 22, 2009 · Filed Under California, economy, news, Oakland, politics · Comments Off on Oakland Passes “Respectability Tax” for Pot Clubs 

By: Orlando Campbell

You’d think youth in Oakland, California would be celebrating a watershed moment of cultural distinction – becoming the first city to levy a tax specifically aimed at the sale of marijuana…

Measure F was one of four local measures that passed this week, designed to bring more money into the struggling city by the bay.

Measure F’s overwhelming success is seen as a major victory for local cannabis clubs who actually went to the city requesting that they be taxed more. It may seem weird for any business, or human being for that matter, to actually want to be taxed more, but for cannabis clubs, it’s about building a positive relationship with the city, and moving towards a day when marijuana could become completely legal. In short, the vote further legitimizes the local medical marijuana industry. How can the government, police, or any other official hate on weed, when weed is paying the bills?

Various cannabis clubs, and Oaksterdam University, which educates students in the business and botany of legal marijuana, are right around the corner from Oakland city hall and nearby the youth organization where I work.

Read more

Ballots Due for Oakland's Marijuana Tax

July 21, 2009 · Filed Under Oakland, politics, Uncategorized · Comments Off on Ballots Due for Oakland's Marijuana Tax 

By Youth Radio

Oakland voters must return mail-in ballots by Tuesday, July 21, 2009 to weigh in on the Oakland's marijuana tax, Measure F. The measure asks voters, "Shall City of Oakland's business tax, which currently imposes a tax rate of $1.20 per $1,000 on "cannabis business" gross receipts, be amended to establish a new tax rate of $18 per $1,000 of gross receipts?" If passed, the higher business tax will generate much needed revenue for the city. It would also help establish cannabis sellers as legitimate businesses.

Some cannabis vendors who want measure F to pass are also vocal about their support for full legalization of marijuana for individuals 21 or over. Many see passage of Measure F as a positive sign for full legalization of marijuana in the future. On KQED, guests discuss a bill a California lawmaker has introduced to "tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol."  U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has also indicated that the Obama administration may end raids on pot dispensaries in California.  

Is Measure F the beginning of major drug policy changes not just in Oakland, but in California and the U.S.? YMI's Rachel Krantz spoke with a representative from Oaksterdam University about why they are advocating for passage of Measure F as a good opportunity for Oakland.

Click here for a video tour of the university, which provides students with horticulture, business, and legal training of the cannabis industry.

Challenging Oakland's Superintendent

July 17, 2009 · Filed Under education, Oakland · Comments Off on Challenging Oakland's Superintendent 

By Youth Radio

The Oakland Unified School District's new superintendent Tony Smith  faces daunting budget problems and pressure to raise academic achievement. He's been reaching out to community members, which has helped people keep an open mind about him, at least for now. However, many wonder what he can do to help fix Oakland schools when both the city of Oakland and the state are facing unprecedented budget woes. How can he prevent another state takeover? YMI's Venus Morris just graduated from an Oakland high school and has a challenge for the new superintendent, which aired on KQED. She and Pendarvis Harshaw also had the opportunity to question Superintendent Smith in this video interview:



Oaksterdam to Take on City Debt

July 16, 2009 · Filed Under California, economy, news, Oakland, politics · Comments Off on Oaksterdam to Take on City Debt 

Oakland has taken a big hit from the recent economic crisis. Now medical marijuana dispensaries want to help ease that burden with an offer to be more highly taxed.

Bad puns aside, the proposed Measure F in Oakland would raise the taxes on medical marijuana dispensaries in Oakland from $1.20 per $1000 of revenue to $18 per $1000. The measure will be voted on in Oakland on Tuesday and was actually proposed by the marijuana dispensaries themselves. So why would the medical marijuana community want to be taxed so much higher?

“We want to form a partnership with the city,” said Salwa Ibrahim, executive assistant for Oaksterdam University. The university itself is not a medical marijuana dispensary. Instead, the institution holds classes training students to grow and even bake marijuana. Classes are open to students 18 and older and cost about $500 a semester.

“Allowing them to tax us more would bring a lot more resources for the city,” said Ibrahim. “Oaksterdam is not only trying to spearhead the use of medical and recreational marijuana use, we’re also trying to revitalize our community and make Oakland a better place to live.”

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Oakland made nearly $20 million in revenue last year, and the proposed increase in taxes would mean at least $300,000 in additional revenue for Oakland.
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Tony Smith: Oakland's New Superintendent

July 6, 2009 · Filed Under education, Oakland · Comments Off on Tony Smith: Oakland's New Superintendent 

In 2003, the Oakland public schools were taken over by the state. Last week, they were given back. On KQED, we hear from Tony Smith, Oakland's new superintendent. Smith, 42, was an administrator in San Francisco and previously ran schools in Emeryville. Smith has a daughter currently enrolled in an Oakland public school. Smith plans on rebuilding the school system and has been praised for reaching out and connecting to different groups. YMI will be following this story in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

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