It’s been a wild year of stories in Oakland: a heated race for the first new mayor in eight years, anguished debates over yet more school closures, “fishmaggedon,” stunning upsets in county elections, and more. Throughout it all, our newsroom has been working tirelessly to bring Oaklanders the high-quality, trusted reporting they deserve to be informed and engaged in the Town.

Now, for the first time since our launch more than two years ago, The Oaklandside is hosting an event where all of our editors and reporters will gather in one place for an evening of in-person conversation with a live audience.

We’ll be drawing back the curtain on how we work and going even deeper into some of the big stories that shaped our city in 2022. Review the election with Darwin BondGraham, dig into school closures with Ashley McBride, hear about an innovative approach to food justice with Nosh editor Eve Batey, and get to grips with road safety with Jose Fermoso. And meet the whole Oaklandside newsroom for an in-depth conversation on the year’s biggest wins and toughest challenges.

Before the show, attendees will enjoy small bites from three of Oakland’s most talked-about restaurants: Modern Ethiopian destination Mela Bistro, innovative Mexican fusion restaurant Xingones, and Lion Dance Cafe, one of the only vegan Singaporean restaurants in the world. Temescal Brewery and Head High Wines will provide libations, and no-ABV options will also be available. Local music trio El Tren will provide the sounds. 

Oaklandside Live takes place on Saturday, Nov. 19 at Oakstop. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the program will start promptly at 7 p.m. Here’s more on what you can expect.

‘Dining for Justice’

At the beginning of the pandemic, Community Kitchens co-founder Maria Alderete came up with a plan to feed some of Oakland’s most vulnerable residents: an almost-imperceptible surcharge tacked onto the bills of certain restaurants. Now businesses are clamoring to join the effort, and Alderete’s group feeds tens of thousands a month.

Eve Batey, the editor of East Bay Nosh (which provides The Oaklandside’s and Berekeleyside’s food coverage), will discuss this innovative approach to food justice with Alderete, how Oakland diners and restaurants can help with the effort and what the future holds for the area’s mission-driven dining scene.

Darwin BondGraham reflects on a wild election season

Oaklandside Live will happen about a week after polls close. Oakland voters will have decided on Oakland’s first new mayor in eight years, a ballot measure that could transform the city budget for years to come, new school board members amid controversial school closures, and much more. 

Who better to talk through the election’s potential reverberations and dramatic storylines than our own news editor Darwin BondGraham? He’s been deep in the weeds reporting on Oakland politics for well over a decade, and he’ll be in conversation with The Oaklandside’s editor-in-chief Tasneem Raja on what happened, how it happened, and what he thinks might be next. 

Ashley McBride on OUSD’s tumultuous year

It’s been a year of steep challenges, hard decisions, and discontent at Oakland Unified School District. 

In February, facing pressure to trim its budget, Oakland’s school board approved a controversial plan to close seven schools and merge others. This sparked street protests, a hunger strike, the community occupation of an OUSD campus, and a series of raucous school board meetings. The fierce backlash led one OUSD director to resign.

With 2023 shaping up to be another pivotal year for the district—three newly elected school board members will take office in January, and five schools are set to close in June—The Oaklandside’s education equity reporter Ashley McBride will sit down with managing editor Jacob Simas to revisit an intense year for Oakland school communities and look at might happen next.

Jose Fermoso on his obsession with Oakland’s dangerous streets

Oakland’s roadways are notoriously dangerous for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers alike. Oaklandside readers have asked us to investigate them since the earliest days of our newsroom. 

Over the past year, street safety reporter Jose Fermoso has left no stone unturned to understand why Oakland’s roads are so unsafe and explore what can be done about it. 

His stories have given voice to Oaklanders who’ve lost loved ones in collisions that could have likely been prevented, taken readers on deep dives into the history of urban development and roadway design in Oakland, questioned officials whose decisions impact public safety, and profiled frustrated community members who are sparking a grassroots movement for safer streets. 

Hear Jose’s beautiful reflection on this work and what it means to him as an Oaklander with deep family roots in this city.

Behind the scenes with the Oaklandside newsroom

We’ll cap off the night with an in-depth conversation with the Oaklandside newsroom—all nine of us!—about what it’s like to work in the only newsroom dedicated to covering Oakland.

Joaquin Alvarado of Oakland’s StudioToBe and The Lede turns the tables on our journalists, asking the tough questions about how we decide what to cover, the lenses we bring to our reporting, how we confront blindspots in our work, how our own relationships to this city have changed, and much more.

Oaklandside Live is generously presented by PG&E with supporting sponsors Kaiser Permanente and Port of Oakland.