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John Russo's Oakland Law Corps Wins League Of Cities Award - Oakland Tribune

Oakland's Law Corps wins 'profound honor'
Organization has dealt with drug dealing cases, including crackdown on liquor stores


Article Last Updated:12/05/2006 02:51:44 AM PST

OAKLAND — The National League of Cities on Monday named Oakland one of nine winners of its 2006 award for municipal excellence, honoring the work of the Neighborhood Law Corps.

City Attorney John Russo, who founded the organization five years ago, said the city constantly seeks innovative, creative ways to address chronic urban problems.

"It's a profound honor to be recognized for such a prestigious award," Russo said.

Oakland was also named one of three Gold award winners.

Law Corps attorneys, who are usually fresh out of law school, focus on quality-of-life issues and have tackled dozens of cases involving drug dealing and building-code vio-lations.

The Law Corps has also led the city's crackdown on liquor stores that blight the community when they provide a haven for drug dealing and other nuisances.

Each of the nine cities, which included Chicago and Tempe, Ariz., will receive a cash award to be donated to the community nonprofit organization of its choice.

"These winners prove that our cities are the leading innovators of our time, creating programs and services that can be replicated all across America," said League President James Hunt, a councilman from Clarksburg, W. Va.
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