In the News

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

Monday, July 2, 2018 | ,

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.”

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Superior Court of Alameda County has revised its criteria for low-income applicants seeking a fine reduction for traffic infractions, making fine reduction more accessible to low-income residents.

Friday, June 29, 2018 | ,

Monday, June 25, 2018: OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA:   The Superior Court of Alameda County has revised its criteria for low-income applicants seeking a fine reduction for traffic infractions, making the Court’s fine reduction program more accessible to low-income residents.

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Eviction Protections Could Be Extended to Thousands More Oakland Homes Through Proposed Ballot Measure

Thursday, June 28, 2018 |

Shallyn Wells, an attorney with the East Bay Community Law Center, shared the story of her client, Samantha Lao, at today’s committee hearing. Lao lives in the upper unit of a duplex. Her downstairs neighbor left after a new owner purchased the building and evicted them. The new owner now claims to be living in the bottom unit, but Wells claims that this isn’t true, and that instead the landlord is simply using the exemption to get rid of Lao and increase the rent.

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Spotlight on special education: Who’s included in Berkeley’s ‘full inclusion’ program?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 |

“Berkeley has one of the most progressive school discipline policies I’ve ever seen. They’re really trying,” said Bay, who represents families from Oakland and Hayward too. But she said there’s still work to be done, and black students are vulnerable to “the biases we carry.” The students she’s seen in special day classes are subject to “hyper-surveillance” in her view, where their every move is written down and their behavior “pathologized.”

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City shuts down another West Berkeley homeless camp

Thursday, June 7, 2018 |

“Does the City have any idea who’s living on Second Street?” Neumann wrote. “It’s mostly people who have been homeless for many many years for reasons too numerous to mention, but which include the fact that they have significant mental and physical disabilities. They are people with difficult lives who do not deserve to have their lives made more difficult by us. If we can’t help, at least let us do no harm.”

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Few Winners When Courts Privatize the Collection of Public Debts

Monday, June 4, 2018 | ,

The clinic is run by the Center’s Clean Slate Practice, which focuses on “the decriminalization of poverty,” according to Brandon Greene, one of its lead attorneys. Some of Greene’s colleagues do post-conviction work, helping to seal arrest records, reduce probation, and help people who’ve been denied employment because of criminal backgrounds. But Greene’s clients are facing a particular set of issues: court-ordered debt related to things like traffic violations and parking tickets.

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