I moved to Oakland about a month ago, and I love it.
One of my favorite things to do is go for a run around Lake Merritt. The views of the city over the water are beautiful, and it really feels like the heart of the city.
Lake Merritt has been a witness — and some would say a big player — in the city's ongoing story of race and space. Earlier in the year, the lake went viral when a white woman called the police on two black men for barbecuing there. Black Oakland responded with a massive "BBQ'n While Black" event, which reminded some people of a Lake Merritt summer event that was the place to be in the 1980s and 1990s: Festival at the Lake.
KQED's Sandhya Dirks talked to the people who were there to reminisce about Festival at the Lake and what the lake means to people today.
It's been a good year for supporters of criminal justice reform in California. Several major pieces of legislation — ending cash bail, opening up police records and making it harder to prosecute teens as adults, to name a few — passed the state Legislature and await Gov. Jerry Brown's signature.
But for the 8 million Californians (that's one out of every five people in the state) with a criminal conviction on their record, there are thousands of other laws that make their lives very hard.
A new report shows just how hard things can be for Californians with criminal convictions, and some advocates are hoping the report acts as a call to push for even more reforms.
Here's a wild solution to the Bay Area's affordable housing crisis: turn the region into one giant megacity.
Instead of leaving it up to the region's 101 cities to try and solve — or ignore — the housing issues in their communities, a megacity in theory could direct resources where they need to go across the region.
It could bypass local NIMBYism and finally make a dent in the housing problem. While it's at it, it could build a truly regional transit system that connects us all in a way that makes commuting easier and better for the environment.
Or, communities could still find ways to block development and public transit in the major cities might actually get worse with resources diverted to other parts of the region.
Whatever the result would be, it's highly unlikely that it would ever happen. But it's a fascinating thought experiment.