FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: East Bay Community Law Center attorneys, law students, and community partners advance legislation to end criminal justice fees in Alameda County

Tomorrow, the Alameda County Probation Department, Public Defenders Office, and the Sheriff’s Office will testify in front of the Public Protection Committee to urge the adoption of legislation that will eliminate criminal justice administration fees in Alameda County. The East Bay Community Law Center, a legal services provider serving low-income residents in Alameda County, along with the Policy Advocacy Clinic of U.C. Berkeley Law School, Justice Reinvestment Coalition of Alameda County, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and the Urban Strategies Council, have been actively advocating for the elimination of these fees.

Inmates help battle California’s wildfires. But when freed, many can’t get firefighting jobs

But in a state ravaged by wildfires, where firefighters’ overtime costs are soaring and backup from Australia had to be called in to help fight the Carr Fire near Redding, advocates for the formerly incarcerated like Vinuta Naik, a staff attorney with the East Bay Community Law Center, have a hard time understanding why firefighting agencies are turning away formerly incarcerated people with hands-on experience.

‘The Oakland we knew is not going to remain’

“I go from a block where there are tents lining the sidewalk, to a block where there are Teslas and Mercedes lining the sidewalk,” said Osha Neumann, a staff attorney with the East Bay Community Law Center. “It’s almost like we’re dividing into two species. And it’s increasingly difficult for people to move from the streets, from the bottom, anywhere up away from there.”

Updates to the Name and Gender Marker Change Process in California

Under SB 179 and SB 310, California will (1) no longer require a physician’s declaration to change a gender marker on California identity documents and California court-ordered gender changes, (2) allow for a nonbinary gender marker option, (3) eliminate the need in most cases to attend a court hearing to obtain a court-ordered gender change, and (4) no longer deny the right to a court-ordered name and gender marker change for individuals who are under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or are in county jail.

Berkeley Marina vehicular community holds press conference with demands to city

Residents and allies of the vehicular community at the Berkeley Marina held a press conference Monday to demand access to basic needs facilities and call for an end to the city’s order to move or risk losing their homes.  Several speakers gathered at the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center about 12:30 p.m., including City Councilmember Cheryl Davila and Osha Neumann, a supervising attorney at the East Bay Community Law Center, according to Yesica Prado, a Berkeley Marina vehicular resident.

Berkeley Marina RV dwellers forced to move

“The situation they’re up against is that Berkeley has essentially made it illegal to live in a vehicle anywhere within the city limits,” said Osha Neumann, with the East Bay Community Law Center.

The Only Winners In California’s Fines And Fees System Are Private Debt Collectors

Furthermore, collection agencies are not bound by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which protects consumers from various forms of threat and harassment, because court debts are considered “involuntary.” As a result of this loophole, said Miguel Soto, an attorney at the East Bay Community Law Center, “We’ve had clients tell us that the [debt collector] they’re dealing with is threatening them with violence, imprisonment, or, in some occasions, deportation.”