Saturday, August 16, 2008

Oakland's Neighborhood Law Corps

Problem Liquor Store

We recently got a rather slick brochure from Oakland's Neighborhood Law Corps with City Attorney John Russo and Staff looking rather imposing on the front cover. The brochure was sent out to educate the community about the Neighborhood Law Corps which is intended to take on slumlords, shut down problem liquor stores and help make neighborhoods safer.

The Neighborhood Law Corps is an innovative program that bases lawyers and resources in our toughest communities to solve difficult neighborhood problems. Inspired by the Peace Corps, Oakland City Attorney John Russo created the Law Corps in 2002 to put lawyers out in the streets to work in collaboration with residents, neighborhood groups and merchant organizations to improve the quality of life in our community. This is the first program of its kind in the nation.

The Neighborhood Law Corps asks residents to identify and prioritize problems and concerns. Attorneys canvas neighborhoods, conduct town hall meetings, and attend living room gatherings. The program focuses on educating residents about their rights and how to navigate government bureaucracy.

Berkeley Police Making a Stop in Oakland

The Law Corps was created because too many Oakland neighborhoods face public safety, economic and residential social challenges. The overwhelming majority of residents in these neighborhoods are hardworking decent people trying to make a good life for themselves and their families under difficult circumstances. Often, residents who live in these challenged neighborhoods are unaware of their rights under the law. As a consequence, Oakland's more challenged neighborhoods suffer from dangerous and substandard housing, blight, dumping, toxic pollution, and other illegal conditions that provide a crucible for violent crime.

Blighted Commercial Property

The Neighborhood Law Corps improves the community by abating chronic problems such as crack houses, slum housing, problem alcohol outlets and other health and safety issues. If there is a problem with drug dealing, blight, or dangerous housing conditions in your neighborhood, please call John Russo, Oakland City Attorney, at 510-238-3601.

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