Economy

UC strike organizer draws from immigration struggle in fight for campus workers

Maricruz Manzanarez grabbed tight to weeds and scrub brush growing out from the dirt ridge on one side of the tracks, bracing herself as the train approached, afraid. She worried that the train was going so fast it would suck her in as it went by. She felt its pull on her as it sped past. Caught between the railcars and the ridge, between Mexico and the United States, Manzanarez held on tight. Just a few years ago she had…

How Richmond rebuilds abandoned homes

The house on South 37th Street is the ninth one rebuilt under the housing renovation program that turns abandoned, uninhabitable homes into livable ones and sells them to local, lower to medium income, first-time homebuyers.

Small businesses along Albany’s commercial corridors struggling to find employees

Located at the intersection of Albany and Berkeley, the Tokyo Fish Market is never empty. Customers buying salmon, sushi or Japanese rice desserts fill the large room, and workers carrying, cutting, and wrapping fish abound. Or so it seems. The market needs more workers, said Li Nakamura, who has been running it since 1990. “Every business has a hard time right now finding workers,” he said. “We do not know why.” Up and down Albany’s commercial district of Solano and…

Richmond’s homeless community hangs on as Prop 2 promises limited new funding

At the corner of 22nd Street and Carlson Boulevard in Richmond sits a homeless encampment where the unofficial mayor, Oretha “Porkchop” Stevens, is calming down her next-door neighbor Tone. His phone is missing and Porkchop works to reassure him.  “You’re not crazy, you know where you put your stuff! Don’t play with your own mind,” she says with authority, perched on the bed inside her tent from where she presides all day over her dozen neighbors’ lives. She and her…

New Tenant Ordinances To Help Low Income Residents

The Richmond City Council decided last Tuesday to start drafting two new ordinances to help low income tenants find housing in Richmond. The council was responding to a proposal put forward by Vice Mayor Melvin Willis and several groups. It will make it cheaper for tenants to apply for rental housing and also outlaw discrimination against residents using housing choice vouchers, also known as Section 8, named after section 8 of a decades old federal law that assists very low-income…

Calling it a ‘sick pig,’ residents urge reopening of Point Molate settlement

Audible gasps spread through the Richmond City Council meeting on Tuesday when it was announced that nearly 50 people had signed up to speak during the public comment period, most about the city’s most valuable piece of shoreline that is once again the subject of tense debate. The gasps foreshadowed some colorful comments from the residents who blasted city officials about how they approved a settlement agreement for the prized shoreline, known as Point Molate. Richmond resident Juan Reardon denounced…

Mayor promises long-term homeless plan, but surprise evictions of Richmond’s homeless continue

As city workers continue to uproot the homeless from encampments around Richmond, at times without any warning or help, Mayor Tom Butt is pushing to raise $1.5 million from local companies to pay for a managed homeless encampment. He has asked several local companies, including Chevron Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, Blue Apron, Costco Wholesale and Sims Metal Management to donate $154,000 each—to build and run a camp serving 100 people for a year. As a group of homeless people were being…