White woman calls cops on black family who barbecued in Oakland Park's barbecue area

On April 29, a black family set up their charcoal barbecue in the designated barbecuing area in Oakland, Californias' Lake Merritt, only to have a hostile white woman come and demand that they move on or face arrest, because they were using charcoal in one of the areas designated for gas grilling. Read the rest

Oakland passes groundbreaking municipal law requiring citizen oversight of local surveillance

Oakland, California -- a city across the bay from San Francisco whose large African-American population has struggled with gentrification and police violence for decades -- has a long reputation for police corruption and surveillance. Read the rest

Watch 'The Lyft Rapper' co-create music with his passengers

Shakespeare wrote that "All the world's a stage." But for Oakland, California-based Ashel Eldridge, he's made his car his stage. Dubbed "The Lyft Rapper," he invites his passengers to choose a topic and style of song and he'll make up a song about it on the spot.

KQED Arts writes:

Elridge, who also goes by the emcee name Seasunz, says his mission is to elevate the consciousness of his community by helping people understand the forces that may be manipulating them.

His passengers say they’re startled at first when their Lyft driver begins rapping to them. But after the song, they admit the Lyft Rapper has turned a typically mundane trip into an unforgettable experience.

Here's his most recent video:

Yes, he has his passengers sign releases. And no, I don't believe he's sponsored in any way by Lyft. Read the rest

Dynamicland: a collaborative programming environment inside a whole building that you modify by doodling on paper

Dynamicland is a new nonprofit based in Oakland, where they are building a collaborative computing space, kitted out with cameras and projectors that allow people to work together to compose computer programs by scribbling on ordinary paper, have those doodles parsed by an interpreter, and then have the programs run as projections on the flat surfaces of the rooms. Read the rest

Oakland elementary school students resist Caltrans' insistence on taking copyright to their mural

Rogue archivist Rick Prelinger writes, "Oakland students planned to paint a mural on a dark freeway underpass in their city. The project is stalled because Caltrans asserts copyright to murals on its property. The details are a bit sketchy, but there's a petition here. Read the rest

Oakland Ghost Ship benefit concert 12/14 with Primus, Rogue Wave, Dan Deacon, Tycho, more

Our friends at Noise Pop and Another Planet Entertainment are co-hosting a benefit concert headlined by Primus on December 14 to support the Oakland Fire Relief Fund raising money for victims of the devastating Ghost Ship warehouse fire. The artist community tragically burned during an electronic music party earlier this month, killing 36 people and destroying the lives of so many more in the Bay Area creative community.

The concert, taking place at Oakland's Fox Theater and will also feature Dan Deacon, Geographer, Hieroglyphics, Jay Som, Rogue Wave, Sidecar Tommy, Thao Nguyen, The Coup, tUnE-yArDs, and Tycho.

Buy tickets here.

More info in this Billboard article. Read the rest

Search of Oakland's burned Ghost Ship warehouse ends: 36 people died

Firefighters and police have announced that they completed their search of Oakland's smoldering Ghost Ship warehouse, the artist community that burned during an electronic music party Friday night. A total of 36 people died. Our deepest sympathy goes out to those who lost friends and family in this heartbreaking tragedy for the Bay Area's creative community and beyond. What a loss.

The Gray Area Foundation for the Arts organized a Fire Relief Fund for victims.

(via SFGATE) Read the rest

Though crime happens everywhere, predictive policing tools send cops to poor/black neighborhoods

Researchers from the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (previously) reimplemented the algorithm Predpol predictive policing system that police departments around America have spent a fortune on in order to find out where to set their patrols, and fed it Oakland's 2010 arrest data, then asked it to predict where the crime would be in 2011. Read the rest

Oakland, CA launches ‘See Something, Say Something’ sex work snitch website

On Saturday, the city of Oakland, California will launch a website where authorities can collect reports of people who patronize sex workers. The reportjohn.org snitch site created by city officials is an odd development in a town plagued by sex abuse scandals within its own law enforcement ranks. It will be interesting also to see what sort of security or privacy measures the site offers to those who use it to submit photos, names, license plates, or other sensitive information to authorities. At the time of this blog post, reportjohn.org is not yet online. Read the rest

Oakland mayor denies firing police chief over officers who statutorily raped teen sex-worker

According to Mayor Libby Schaaf, Police Chief Sean Whent resigned for "personal reasons," and not because of a report in the East Bay Express that revealed that at least 14 of his officers (along with 4 Alameda County sheriff's deputies and a federal officer) trafficked and had sex with a prostitute who was underage when the trafficking began. Read the rest

Man gasps dying words into officer's bodycam: "They're killing me right now... I can't breathe."

In 2013, Ana Biocini called the Oakland police because she'd heard a noise and thought there might be an intruder in the house. When the police arrived, they handcuffed her brother, Hernan Jaramillo, "without any lawful reason or justification," dragged him 20 feet down the sidewalk, threw him facedown into the ground, and three officers knelt on him while he begged for breath. The 51 year old man died at the scene. Read the rest

Squirrel assault shuts down power in SF's East Bay

The assault on the power infrastructure interrupted regional transportation, and left 45,000 humans helpless. Only one rodent life was lost.

AK Press warehouse fire: crowdfunding for survival

The excellent radical publisher AK Press has had a devastating warehouse fire and is fundraising $150K to stay in business. Read the rest

Radical Brownies: girls of color push social justice, not cookies

Oakland's troop of Radical Brownies are girls of color, aged 8-12, who learn about the Black Panthers and Brown Berets, and who campaign for body-acceptance and an end to police violence. Read the rest

Undercover agent pulls gun on protesters and photographer during Oakland protest of police killings

In this photo from a protest in Oakland, an undercover police officer aims his loaded gun directly at a Reuters photographer.

Comic explains problems with Oakland's Domain Awareness Center surveillance plan

Hugh sez, "What's wrong with Oakland's proposed Domain Awareness Center? This new comic by Susie Cagle lays out the issues."

The Testing Ground for the New Surveillance

(Thanks, Hugh!) Read the rest

Petition: kill the Oakland "Domain Awareness Center" spy-program

Eddan sez, "The Oakland City Council is in the final stretch of approving the funding of the Domain Awareness Center to be built in Oakland. Though there has been a great deal of public outcry at the City Council itself, it just keeps going forward especially because they're now trying to pitch this as a crime-fighting law enforcement tool. Which is especially important to be on the right side of in Oakland during a City Council/Mayor election year. The Public Safety Committee to meet Jan. 28 is made up of most of the City Council members that are most skeptical and least supportive of the way this Department of Homeland Security new gadget funding is dangled before a resource-poor and embattled police department." Read the rest

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