Oakland, CA

Tuesday in The East Bay: Oakland Symphony returns, investors compete to redevelop Oakland Coliseum site and more

Refugio Garcia

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Oakland Symphony's new season kicks off Friday at the Paramount

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The new season of the Oakland Symphony opens Friday at the Paramount Theater with a planned tribute to the late conductor Michael Morgan, who led the symphony for over 30 years, Local News Matters reports.

The symphony now plans to carry on Morgan’s legacy of innovation, including the inclusion of inspired music-making well into its future.

“Michael had this unique way of making people feel that he spoke to you in a very personal way, so that you felt like you knew him,” she said. “For each of us who knew him personally, we all knew him in very different ways. He had so many interests. It truly took a roomful of people and then some to put it together in a way that was representative of Michael’s many sides and interests.” said Oakland Symphony executive director Dr. Mieko Hatano.

A special holiday concert “Let Us Break Bread Together” will be held on Dec. 12 and will feature the music of Ray Charles and B.B. King.

For more information, visit oaklandsymphony.org.

Peralta Community College District to eliminate $2.8 million in outstanding student debt

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The Peralta Community College District will use $2.8 million of the $12.25 million in federal relief money it recently received to wipe out student debt with the remainder of funds slated to fund financial aid over the coming semesters, East Bay Times reports.

The outstanding student debt will be eliminated from the three most recent school terms.

The district serves 30,000 students and includes the campuses of Berkeley City College in Berkeley, Laney and Merritt colleges in Oakland and the College of Alameda in Alameda.

“With these funds, Peralta is demolishing the biggest roadblock between our students and their ability to continue their educational journey,” said Jannett Jackson, chancellor of the Peralta Community College District.

The funds allocated to the school district were provided by the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, consisting of grant money from the U.S. Department of Education.

Oakland City Council to select one of two groups vying for ownership of Coliseum

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The Oakland City Council will continue negotiations between two groups that are competing for the opportunity to redevelop the vast 100-acre Coliseum site off Hegenberger Road, East Bay Times reports.

The group selected by the city council would then have 18 months to flesh out a deal to either buy or lease the land before developing the site into a mixed-use project, according to a statement issued by the city.

However, the city council has noted that there’s no rush to redevelop the site while Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan is currently pressing for other council members to act quickly.

“It is located in East Oakland, which has historically been underinvested and harmed by past decisions that undermined key community needs ,” Kaplan wrote. “These communities are in danger of further disinvestment with the uncertainty of the Coliseum Complex’s future and risk losing jobs and economic opportunities if the site is not revived in a positive and effective way.”

The site includes both the Coliseum and Arena, as well as the surrounding parking lots. Each of the groups aim to transform the site into affordable housing, office complexes, businesses, sports fields and possibly a museum.

One of the two groups includes the African American Sports and Entertainment Group (AASEG), who announced its goal of bringing a Women’s National Basketball Association expansion team to the arena, which would be owned and operated by Black owners.

The other group is headed by former A’s star pitcher and Oakland native Dave Stewart and player agent Lonnie Murray, and have proposed that the Arena be refurbished to host concerts, along with the construction of housing, a library and museum, youth and recreational sports fields, and business and office space at the site.

The group has offered to pay $115 million for Oakland’s share of the site upfront.

The Oakland City Council is scheduled to meet Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. and can be watched online at oakland.legistar.com.

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