Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Oakland City Council Rolls Back the Domain Awareness Center

by Ali Winston
Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Early this morning, the Oakland City Council voted to drastically reduce the scope of the Domain Awareness Center by restricting the controversial project to the Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport, instead of having it cover the entire city. The original blueprint of the federally funded surveillance center would have merged CCTV footage, gunshot detectors, license plate readers, news feeds, and first responder communication systems into a centralized, live-monitored facility.

Privacy advocates first raised the alarm over the Oakland surveillance center last summer when plans were announced to integrate controversial technologies such as automated license plate readers and video feeds from city traffic cameras, the Oakland Unified School District, the Oakland Housing Authority, the Oakland Coliseum, and regional transit agencies. The lack of a privacy policy or data retention guidelines — which, as of yesterday, still had not been created — also raised concerns about storing information on the whereabouts of Oakland residents and sharing it with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

As the Express previously reported, there were other questions about the privacy, legal, and budgetary risks presented by the Domain Awareness Center — for example, the initial contractor had a history of fraud, the city's intention was to use the DAC to monitor protests rather than the stated purpose of fighting violent crime, and the project’s costs to city taxpayers was undisclosed

Protesters at last night's city council meeting. - ALI WINSTON
  • Ali Winston
  • Protesters at last night's city council meeting.

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Oakland Among the Top US Cities With Racial Disparity in Breast Cancer Mortality

by Julian Mark
Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Oakland is among 23 cities in the nation with the worst racial disparity in breast cancer mortality, according to a new study funded by the Avon Foundation for Women. The study (PDF link) also placed Oakland among the 35 US cities where the black: white breast cancer mortality gap is growing.

According to the study, the disparity is due to the difference in access to breast cancer screening and treatment. In a press release, Steve Whitman, director of Sinai Urban Health Institute and the study’s senior author, stated, “… certain technological advances related to screening and treatment that became available in the 1990s – such as digital mammography, advances in surgery and new drugs for treatment – have been less accessible to black women, who are disproportionately poor and un- or under-insured and less able to obtain access to these advances.”


On the national level, the study concluded, an average of 1,710 black women — about five women per day — are dying annually due largely to the racial disparity in screening and treatment. While death rates declined among both groups during the test period (1990-2009), the white death rate declined twice as much.

Conducted in five-year intervals between 1990 and 2009, the study found a dramatic increase in the number of cities with the black: white disparity over the study period. During the first interval (1990-1994), relatively few cities had a racial disparity, but this changed during the most recent interval (2005-2009), with 39 out of the 41 cities analyzed showing a disparity. Oakland is among the 23 cities deemed statistically significant. (The city ranked eighteenth.)

“The 2014 Racial Disparity in Breast Cancer Mortality Study has made it evident that a large racial disparity for breast cancer mortality exists in the United States,” Marc Hurlbert, executive director of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, said in a statement. “While the size of that disparity varies, it exists in virtually every one of the cities analyzed – and it appears to be growing. Public and private institutions in these cities need to join together to address these disparities. The burden cannot be left only to the ‘safety net’ hospitals and health centers.”

The 2014 Racial Disparity in Breast Cancer Mortality Study was conducted by Sinai Urban Health Institute and the Avon Foundation for Women to expand on a 2012 study, which examined the racial disparity in breast cancer mortality over a three-year period (2005-2007) in the 24 largest US cities. This most recent study examines how these disparities have changed over a longer time period.

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