With no benefits and less pay than prosecutors, entry-level public defenders want a raise

They have no health insurance. They work ten or 11-hour days. They have no free weekends. No, they aren’t flipping burgers at a fast food restaurant. They are attorneys on the government’s payroll. Public defenders, the lawyers hired by the county government to aid those who cannot afford legal representation, showed up at the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors meeting on September 11th to demand better pay and benefits. They are not only overworked, but at entry-level jobs, they…

As vacant property tax vote nears, residents debate effectiveness

Richmond residents will vote in November on a vacant property tax that could raise $5 million in revenue for homeless services and code enforcement. While almost everyone agrees that homelessness and blight are major issues facing the city, there’s a debate over whether taxing property owners is the most effective way to address the problem.

Formerly incarcerated students return to school

Last year in June, East Bay-resident Dieudonné Brou graduated from UCLA in African American studies. During his commencement speech, he revealed himself as formerly incarcerated. Even though higher education offers chance to break the cycle of recidivsm, barriers like financial difficulties and social stigma are high for former incarcerated people.

For East Bay immigrants, notary fraud is a common legal threat

In 1996, an undocumented young man in the Easy Bay was tired of being paid under the table for his work, so he decided to do something about his legal status. Two friends recommended him to a notario—or notary—who had helped them obtain work permits. The man trusted his friends blindly, so on the advice of the notario, he filled out and signed some documents and was told that a work permit would be mailed to his home. The man…