Oakland Activists Occupy Park to Build Settlement
We heard it before we saw it: the thudding of nails on wood, an undercurrent of basketballs bouncing off asphalt, and the occasional growl of a generator. People had taken over Marcus Garvey Park, a small patch of grass under Grove Shafter Freeway at 36th Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, and begun to build The Village. (Marcus Garvey Park has an official name designated by the city that activists encouraged us to ignore.) As far as squats and “intentional communities” go, The Village... more
Oakland Delays Decision on Warehouse Eviction Protections
In an occasionally tense special meeting last night, Oakland’s City Council voted unanimously to delay any decision on the Emergency Tenant Protection Ordinance proposed by the Oakland Warehouse Coalition. In the wake of the fatal Ghost Ship fire, OWC has requested a 180-day moratorium on evictions, particularly “red-tagging” evictions caused by a lack of building code compliance. Among other policies, the Coalition is requesting that the city extend Just Cause eviction protections to... more
Club Chai Celebrates First Year of Oakland Grooves
The popular term IDM, for “Intelligent Dance Music,” presupposes that simplicity of form is inherently dumb, or at least of lesser intelligence. But we all know that’s bullshit. The Oakland DJ collective Club Chai knows there’s zero correlation between complexity and depth, and they seem to exploit the very falseness of that dichotomy into a wild success—not to mention a treat for the listener/dancer. Club Chai’s new mixtape Club Chai Vol. 1 culls the best material from their sweaty,... more
Oakland Town Hall Addresses Inequality, Warehouse Displacement
Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland’s City Councilmember-at-large, convened a forum in City Hall with the Oakland Warehouse Coalition last night. A panel including Councilmembers Gallo and Kalb, religious leaders, non-profit activists, and private sector organizers briefly discussed policy responses to the deadly Ghost Ship warehouse fire that killed 36 concertgoers on December 2nd. Over the course of three hours, attendance ranged from standing-room only to a handful of stragglers after the final... more
In Memoriam: Jsun Adrian McCarty
Jsun McCarty has been another hard loss for me to process. Out of respect and deference to his family, I refrained from eulogizing him until after his memorial service. And, my goodness, what a memorial service—loved ones from far and wide gathered to spin his favorite records, share stories, and gorge on mac and cheese. Just like Jsun would have wanted. (Please consider donating to this fund to help his family with travel and other ancillary costs.) Several days after the Ghost Ship... more
East Bay Barbecue Restaurant Will Raise Funds for Warehouse Fire Safety
Dorothy King has been homeless. She has lived in warehouses. Today, she runs her family business and wants her community to be safe. These noble intentions were misunderstood last week after the owner of Everett & Jones Barbecue held a press conference warning officials over potential fire hazards at the illegal live/work artist warehouse next door, known as the Salt Lick Collective. In the wake of the tragic Ghost Ship fire, with Oakland’s arts community reeling from grief and shock, King’s... more
Oakland Approves Temporary Moratorium on SRO Conversions
By a unanimous vote last night, Oakland’s City Council passed a 45-day moratorium on the conversion of Single Room Occupancy hotels (SROs) into other uses. Council chambers were flooded with supporters of the legislation during the special meeting, with many items pertaining to the December 2nd warehouse fire that claimed 36 lives. City Council also renewed the citywide state of emergency declared after the fire. The emergency ordinance, introduced by Council President Lynette Gibson... more
In Memoriam: Micah Danemayer
Micah Danemayer, 28, channeled a life force that even death could not extinguish. Indeed, the Ghost Ship tragedy that claimed his terrestrial existence along with 35 others seems to only have brought me closer to the community Micah himself introduced me to, just a few years ago. Micah was one of the first people to introduce themselves to me after I moved to the East Bay in 2014 and started attending local concerts. Between acts at the closing party for Downtown Oakland’s Moco Gallery,... more
In Loving Memory
Please donate to the relief fund for victims of the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland. Words cannot describe the devastation we feel at the loss of many beloved friends. I personally have lost heroes, mentors, incomparable kindred spirits. While I will remain offline for a few days to process this grief, readers should be aware of many relief efforts, benefit concerts, and other fundraisers to aid those affected and, hopefully, prevent future tragedy. On behalf of those who didn't, we owe it to... more
Activists and Developers Negotiate in Oakland Chinatown
Oakland’s City Council reviewed an appeal during a special meeting last night contesting the approval of 226 13th Street, a six-story mixed-use project with 262 residential units proposed by local developer Wood Partners. Though no legal basis was cited, a coalition of Chinatown neighborhood groups organized to oppose the project in order to “extract concessions” from the developer in the form of a “community benefits package.” Organized opposition was spearheaded by Lailan Huen, daughter of... more