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Ricky Graham, Acting District Director for Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Should Change Approach

Of all of the news from today's surprise inspection of the California Hotel, comes the shocking revelation that Ricky Graham, the Acting District Director for Congresswoman Barbara Lee, called Linda Carter, who's a tenants activist, not to express support for the tenants, but to complain to her for the negative press in Oakland Focus.

That's sad.

This is what Carter reports:

Ricky Graham, is described as being in charge of the press and media coverage for Congresswoman Barbara Lee's office in Oakland, and Mr. Graham called earlier today to voice his complaint because I pointed out recently that there has been no visible public support coming from Congresswoman Barbara Lee, that suggests that she supports the rights of the residents to remain in their housing at the California Hotel. Congresswoman Lee has not appeared at any of the recent rallys or protests by the residents of the California Hotel who are being unlawfully forced out of their housing, and I believe that Mr. Graham was irritated by someones July 20 posting at Oakland Focus, called; "Congresswoman Barbara Lee's Office Said To Be Silent on California Hotel Eviction." Click on the following link for the Oakland Focus posting; http://tinyurl.com/6fym5p .

In addition, Mr. Graham went on to try and convince me that he was a very important man, and that he spent many years working for a number of major publications before coming to Congresswoman Barbara Lee's office, and that I should have called up Congresswoman Lee's office to ask what her position was in regards to the plight of the tenants at the California Hotel. Fine I said, and quickly asked what is the Congresswoman's position in regards to the plight of the tenants at the California Hotel? We'll have to get back to you on that later on this afternoon, Mr. Graham said. I never did hear back from Mr. Graham by phone or e-mail later on, in regards to the position of Congresswoman Lee as to the unfortunate plight of the residents at the California Hotel.

What Ricky Graham should have done was call me to explain the Congresswoman's position so it could be reported. Why he called Ms. Carter is a mystery to me. When I worked for Elihu Harris as Economic Advisor, I called the press when I had an issue with what was covered and wanted to get out the Mayor's position -- but I also talked to the Mayor first. And yeah, sometimes I didn't because I felt my judgement on a specific issue was good enough to move forward properly.

But I contacted the press.

Linda Carter is a constituent of Congresswoman Lee. When the great now California Congressman, then Chief of Staff Sandre Swanson was representing Congresswoman Lee, he never took an action like this to my knoweldge. That's the standard set for Ricky Graham to follow. He should first inform Congresswoman Lee about this, because I'm certain she doesn't know the details and will feel blindsided. Ricky's job is to prevent this from happening, even if it means he takes the hit. That's the job.

Again, I'm a Congresswoman Lee fan, but I'm also a major fan of tenant justice and I know Congresswoman Lee is too.

Gee. Am I doing Ricky's job for him?
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