Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Breaking: PCCD appoints former San Leandro police chief to Interim Executive Director of Public Safety
Breaking: PCCD appoints former San Leandro police chief to Interim Executive Director of Public Safety
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Li Khan, Editor in Chief • June 21, 2024
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Archives
A cap at the Laney College commencement ceremony on May 24 reads in Spanish, This is for my mom who gave me everything. (Photo: Marcus Creel/PCCD)
Graduations, resignations and more: PCCD Trustees wrap up school year at 5/28 meeting
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Student Trustee Natasha Masand believes her voice has the power to impact the PCCD community.
Student Trustee Natasha Masand finds her voice
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • March 19, 2024
Archives

    Hands off Dewey

    Laney College

    Students, teachers, and other community members gathered on the evening of October 29 on the Laney campus to discuss future of Dewey Academy High School in response to Oakland Unified School District plans to “develop” the land where it sits.
    The “Hands Off Dewey Coalition” convened the discussion in the D-200 lecture hall at Laney regarding little-known “development” plans for the school.
    Dewey, located at 1105–1111 Second Avenue in Oakland, is a continuation school serving some of the most vulnerable teens in Oakland. According to Alex Mejia, the discussion’s mediator, the City of Oakland has created a Specific Area Plan (SAP) for the Lake Merritt Station. Therein, the land on which Dewey sits has been re-zoned as “Urban Residential,” opening the doors to real estate developers. 
    Mejia, a teacher at MetWest High School and member of Classroom Struggle, an OUSD teachers’ group, passed out information packets including photocopies of the Lake Merritt Station SAP, a document the city does not make available digitally, to illustrate his point. He explained that SAPs are used to streamline the development process by providing a full Environmental Impact Report for potential developers with regard to areas considered “opportunity sites.” 
    Also included in the packet were photocopies from the Request For Qualifications, or RFQ, a document made available to design firms as an invitation for construction proposals.
    The RFQ lays out an intention to demolish OUSD’s apparently irreparably flood-damaged Paul Robeson Administration Building at 1025 Second Avenue and “…temporarily relocate and surplus the adjacent Dewey Academy High School…” and “…merge the 1025 and 1105 parcels…” for redevelopment. 
    According to the document, this plan, after Dewey returns to the site, will reduce the school’s area to 35,000 square feet. Mejia stated its current footprint is 50,000 sq. ft. This would be a 30% reduction in square-footage.
    The RFQ “…contemplated that…multi-family residential, which may include some component of affordable housing or teacher housing, is the primary use proposed for the Site in order to meet the goals of maximizing annual revenue to the District over the long term.”
    Attendees of the discussion expressed dismay at the plan, citing concerns over Dewey’s temporary move to an undetermined location and how this may affect rates of truancy and put students in danger gang violence. 
    Mikey, a MetWest student who assisted in the presentation of the issues, was concerned about the reduction of square footage. He said that students who have difficulty controlling their anger often need to seek open space to cool off. “If the school is small,” he asked, “where are they going to walk away to?”
    Ana, another MetWest student, declared the position of the All City Council, an OUSD student council group, against the plan. Her mother, an OUSD employee who asked not to be named, said, “Things got dirty because there’s money involved… it’s disheartening to see how little attention we have from the community.” 
    She recalled seeing heavy police presence outside the building where the SAP was originally discussed, and how subsequent meetings, upon seeing little public opposition, saw less and less law enforcement.
    Mikey also expressed despair at the public’s apparent ignorance or lack of interest in the issue, saying, “If somebody’s in need, help them. Dewey was doing that. I know too many people at Dewey to let this slide.”

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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