This reporter and I were at this same meeting, a North Oakland Community meeting where this time Ron Dellums, our mayor spoke. I have some different takeaways from what she wrote, though top of mind for everybody at this meeting was how to control the violence in North Oakland. You’d think the easy answer is get more cops on the street but it’s not that easy. If it was easy, it’d be already done. So violence was the main issue, the expansion of Children’s Hospital/zoning in general was the other top issue. I should be more concerned since several murders and shooting have happened within a one/two block radius of my house, but I know the neighborhood is getting better. I see it everyday. What I did like hearing was what Ron Dellums had to say with Oakland as a model city. I think he’s right about the opportunity. There’s a lot of Oakland pride and there’s a lot to like about Oakland, people just see the violence in Oakland but don’t see the there there. People outside of Oakland don’t get it and that’s fine with me. What I believe we’re going to get from Ron, is... visit Rebron.org for the rest of the story.
October 15th, 2007 | Coast Guard, Waterway Security, Security
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - The Department of Homeland Security has announced the awarding of over $6.1 million in supplementary Port Security Grant funds to the ports of San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond and Stockton, California.
The San Francisco Marine Exchange was selected by the Coast Guard Federal Maritime Security Coordinator as the fiduciary agent to oversee the use of these funds on behalf of the Northern California Area Maritime Security Committee.
The Port of Redwood City received an additional award of $33,000.00. These funds are to be used to enhance seaport security, mitigate seaport risks, and aid the resumption of seaport trade following an incident or disaster.
The funds will be spent in accordance with a risk mitigation and resumption of trade plan that will be developed to steer the use of future Port Security Grant funds over the next five years.
A great article that needed to be written! It's amazing how stupid we are not to try to develop a diverse work force.
Blacks see bleak future in Silicon Valley Census shows dot-com bust harder on African Americans, Latinos By Mike Swift, MEDIANEWS STAFF Article Last Updated: 10/15/2007 06:57:51 AM PDT
When Geoffry Brown was laid off from a marketing job with a San Jose software company in 2003, he could not know what lay ahead: several years of unemployment, a divorce and, ultimately, a pay cut when he went back to work.
"Nobody wants to hire a 46-, 47-year-old guy. Could I say that being black had anything to do with it? I won't go that far," Brown said. "But I will say I didn't have some of the (employment) networks some people had."
Brown questioned whether he should leave Northern California for a place with cheaper housing and a more vibrant African-American culture. During the tough years after the 2001 tech bust, many blacks in Silicon Valley weighed the same question.
New 2006 data from the U.S. Census Bureau suggest the valley's post-bust economy has been tougher on blacks and Latinos than on other ethnic groups. While the typical white and Asian household in Santa Clara County has nearly recovered to the same income it had before the crash, the typical African-American household is earning about three-quarters of what it earned in 1999.
Over that time, hundreds of blacks have left the valley, although their reasons for moving, many say, are frequently more complicated than simple economics.
San Jose has about one-quarter fewer black children and teenagers than in 2000 — the result both of an aging population that has fewer children and fewer young adults in their child-bearing years, and of the fact that people have moved away.
"The last time we had a large number of young African Americans moving to California was many, many decades ago," said Hans Johnson, a demographer with the Public Policy Institute of California.
Johnson said there has been a steady flow of blacks out of big California cities — including San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and San Jose — to inland suburbs with cheaper housing such as Elk Grove, outside of Sacramento; the Inland Empire of Southern California; and cities like Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix.
San Jose's black population fell by about 11 percent from 2000 to 2006, to about 27,000, even though the city's total population is growing. In San Francisco, where the African-American population is down more than 15 percent since 2000, Mayor Gavin Newsom has called for the creation of a task force to try to stabilize the city's black population.
Some black engineers, executives and managers at Silicon Valley tech companies say that while their numbers have never been large, the dwindling population can add to a feeling of isolation, both in and outside the office.
There's a shorter supply of people who can serve as mentors or champions when companies start deciding whom to lay off. "You are happy to see another African American when you see them because it's so rare," said Pamela Jackson, director of product marketing for Symantec, the Cupertino software maker that is headed by one of the most prominent black chief executives in the valley, John Thompson. "But you become very accustomed to being the only one in a meeting. It doesn't mean you ever like it, or anything like that."
In small or midsize companies "you almost expect to be the 'only one,' or one of a few," said David Lewis, a veteran of four Silicon Valley start-ups.
And compared with the 1980s and 1990s, many black professionals say there are fewer black nightclubs or entertainment choices, and a bigger chance that sons or daughters might be the only black child in their classroom — or even their school. Nor does Santa Clara County, unlike neighboring San Mateo and Alameda counties, have a place that could be considered a traditional black neighborhood.
"The only way you can relate to the African-American community is on Sunday in church," said Rick Callender, president of San Jose Silicon Valley NAACP. "That makes it a hard place to live."
Jackson and Lewis, Bay Area natives with a network of family and friends, never thought of leaving. But Ian Laing did. The former CEO of a telecommunications company that had trouble after 2001 finding venture capital funding to develop its voice-over-Internet-protocol technology, Laing and his family sold their Almaden Valley house in 2004 and moved to an Atlanta suburb, where he's a vice president of sales with Nokia.
"It was just a good time to reposition the family," Laing said. "It's a bigger, more vital African-American community. It's just a much higher quality of life for the same amount of money. All of those things kind of weighed in."
Some say the valley's tech companies don't have a strong enough commitment to having a work force that includes blacks and Latinos.
"There's much more focus on making money," said Ken Coleman, the African-American chairman of software maker Accelrys and a veteran of more than 30 years in Silicon Valley as a manager and executive with Hewlett-Packard and Silicon Graphics. "I don't see a company or a leader kind of taking that on and having a significant impact in the diversity area."
Laing and Coleman said Silicon Valley companies pride themselves on being meritocracies. "They are not proactively looking for strong African-American and Latino talent that is probably not as easy to come by," Laing said.
To be sure, some African Americans are flourishing in the valley's tech industry. The number of black households in Santa Clara County with incomes of more than $150,000 a year increased substantially from 1999 to 2006, to about 1,200 households — a 29 percent increase. The real decline has been among middle-class households: black families earning $50,000 to $150,000. Their numbers have declined by about 1,700 households, or about 20 percent, since 2000. Meanwhile, the number of black households with incomes less than $25,000 is up.
"We just do not embrace mathematics, science like we should," said Lewis, the multiple start-up veteran.
"Mainstream America does not understand how far the gap is becoming, especially with black males. It is scary out there."
Lewis had a rough six months in 2001 when the optical networking start-up he was working for closed. But with the help of the extensive professional and personal network he had built since graduating from San Jose State University in 1991, he quickly found another job.
"The circle I run with has fared just as well as any other group" after the 2001 crash, he said. "But I think it's because they are over that $150,000 range."
Lewis said he also knows many friends who were hired when big valley companies were in desperate need of workers during the late 1990s, but who quickly lost their jobs when the layoffs started.
"They all got caught up in that first wave of people getting let go," he said. Other black professionals have similar stories. Brown believes his four years of limited employment after his layoff from Cadence Design Systems contributed to his divorce. He temporarily moved to Washington, D.C., but he always felt he was going to come back.
"Once you've worked in high tech in Silicon Valley, there's not many places you can work where people will recognize your value," he said.
In February, he landed a job with a Sunnyvale software start-up, FastScale Technology. He makes 35 percent less than he did with Cadence, but there's a silver lining — something far more precious than silver, actually. During two years as a stay-at-home dad, Brown's relationship with his young son deepened. Now his 6-year-old, Geoffry, lives with him.
Did the travails of the past four years make Brown a stronger, better person?
"I know that's a popular thing to say," he said. "But I don't know if I want to do something like that again."