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Showing posts from January, 2009

Pam Drake Mike Colbruno Sean Sullivan Vicky Kolkaski Talk Oakland

At the election for the 16th District Democratic Delegates on January 8th, I talked with Oakland Activists Pam Drake Mike Colbruno Sean Sullivan Vicky Kolkaski about Oakland, elected officials and the BART Shooting. Pam Drake is a long-time Oakland activist who has worked as an assistant to then-Oakland City Councilman and now Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, and was recently head of the Lakeshore Business District Association. Mike Colbruno is the chair of the Oakland Planning Commission. Sean Sullivan ran for the District Three Council seat currently held by Nancy Nadel. Vicky Kolkaski is very active in the Oakland LGBT community.

BART Shooting: Johannes Mehserle Bail Set At $3 Million - Tribune

I thought there wasn't going to be a bail set, but now I'm interested in why this turned to a bail hearing. OAKLAND TRIBUNE - OAKLAND— Bail for former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle, accused of murdering a 22-year-old Hayward man while on duty early New Year's Day, was set at $3 million Friday by an Alameda County judge who said Mehserle was both a danger to society and a flight risk. Noting that the crime Mehserle is accused of is serious and the officer's account of the events that led to Oscar Grant's death seems to contain contradictions, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson said he was forced to set bail according to state law. However, Jacobson ruled that the bail amount is high enough to ensure that Mehserle will not skip town if his parents are somehow able to find $3 million to free their son

SF Bayview Hunter's Point CAC/PAC Lennar Community Meeting

This is a video of the meeting held Wednesday night and regarding the Urban Design plan for the proposed Bayview Hunter's point Lennar development which would include a stadium for the San Francisco 49ers. The video captures the anger that community members had over the process, expressing a desire to see the committee just approve the plan and build the project, but making sure the site is cleaned up and jobs are provided for them, It's the second video on this community process and includes the roll call vote. You can hear who voted and how they voted.

Oakland Police Said To Have Covered-Up 2000 Beating - Inside Bay Area

Documents point to Oakland police cover-up - Inside Bay Area : “OAKLAND — There is "strong circumstantial evidence" that police covered up the 2000 beating of drug suspect Jerry Amaro III, who died a month after suffering broken ribs, according to confidential city documents obtained late Wednesday. Two other people also arrested in the same drug sting and put in a police car with Amaro later told investigators Amaro was "complaining constantly that he was in pain, and wanted to see a doctor and that (he) was sweating profusely, consistent with a painful injury," the document states. Amaro was denied immediate medical care. The FBI is investigating Amaro's death, and police last week suspended a senior officer, Capt. Edward Poulson, with pay as his role in the matter is probed. Poulson is suspected of kicking Amaro and then ordering subordinate officers to lie about it. Administrative charges against Poulson were sustained for interfering in an internal affairs

Bowoto v. Chevron Is Back In Court Feb 6th 2009

Bowoto v. Chevron Is Back In U.S. 9th District Court, Northern California, San Francisco, Feb 6th 2009 and for the purpose of the plaintiffs explaining why a new trial is needed.  The plaintiffs (Bowoto) believe that the core idea that claims Chevron acted in violation of the Alien Tort Act was not understood by the jury, but given the nature of the incident -- tresspassing by Bowoto -- it's hard for me to see how they can make that claim.

Oakland rapper Too Short is growing up at 42 Years Old - Keepingitreal

More at Keepingitreal : “When you've had a 25-year career like Too Short's, what's left to accomplish? For the pioneering Oakland rapper - who has 17 solo albums under his belt, many of them gold or platinum - the answer was simple: form a band and make some more high-quality music.At 42, the guy who enthralled generations of hip-hop listeners with his salacious "Freaky Tales" has matured. And with maturity has come a willingness to expand his musical parameters. With his new project, a fledgling Bay Area supergroup called Town Bizness, nasty-mouthed Too Short has become grown 'n' sexy Todd Shaw.” -- Wait! Too Short is 42 Years old? Get out of here! You've got to be kidding me! I can't believe it. Still ballin for 42 years, well, ok, 20 of those 42 years, but still! Nice work at Keepingitreal!

Oakland police Chief Wayne Tucker on Chauncey Bailey Murder Probe: "Mistakes" - Inside Bay Area

More at Inside Bay Area : “OAKLAND — As he announced his resignation Tuesday, police Chief Wayne Tucker acknowledged "mistakes" in his department's investigation of journalist Chauncey Bailey's 2007 killing. Tucker also described former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV — who is uncharged in Bailey's slaying — as "the one we want" to complete the investigation. "We made mistakes on that case," Tucker, 65, said at a news conference. He wouldn't offer details, but did say homicide detectives "rely too much on interrogations" as a substitute for other investigative techniques "to a fault." Referring to him only as "the other party," Tucker said it is obvious that Bey IV was involved in Bailey's Aug. 2, 2007 killing.”

Robert Bobb Is Detroit Schools financial manager | Detroit Free Press

More at FREEP : “Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed Robert C. Bobb, a Washington consultant with ties to Michigan, to become the emergency financial manager for Detroit Public Schools on Monday. "This will challenge me in ways in which I don't believe I've been challenged before," Bobb, 63, said. As the DPS financial manager, Bobb will have all authority over DPS's $1.1-billion budget. The financial takeover came after the state superintendent declared DPS in a financial emergency because of its $129-million deficit and struggles to pay bills. Bobb has served as Washington's city administrator, deputy mayor and as homeland security adviser. He has managed a workforce of approximately 20,000 and an annual budget of $8 billion, according to Granholm's office. He also served as the city manager of Oakland, Calif.; Richmond, Va.; Santa Ana, Calif., and Kalamazoo.” -- So the search for a Chief Adminstrative Officer continues.

Wayne Tucker: Oakland police chief resigns, blasts City Council - Inside Bay Area

Oakland police chief resigns, blasts City Council - Inside Bay Area : “Criticizing the Oakland City Council for paying only "lip service" to resources for public safety, embattled Police Chief Wayne Tucker announced his resignation this morning. Tucker, at a press conference, spoke for about 10 minutes and then handed the podium to Mayor Ron Dellums. "Quite frankly I've lost faith in the City Council," Tucker said. "They've given lip service to public safety in the city." Oakland City Council members on Monday said that Tucker should resign or be fired because of scandals plaguing his department -- a position they planned to announce at a news conference today while calling for a vote of no-confidence.” -- I don't think Chief Tucker understands how to run a police force in a 21st Century urban environment like Oakland, especially in the wake of the Oscar Grant murder.

Oakland State of The City Dellums Speech Highlights

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums gave a great 2009 State of The City Address but it was twice interrupted by Oaklanders concerned about the matter of police brutality in the wake of the murder of Oscar Grant by BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle two weeks ago. The Mayor responded to them well. Later, I talked with new At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan and Brother Keith Muhammed on their views of Dellums' speech.

Live from the Oakland March for Life-UPDATE

More at JohnMalloy's DB : “Go to to follow along live as the good Reverend Walter Hoye leads us in defense of the unborn! UPDATE: It was great! Good Reverend Walter Hoye led us, we had great speeches by Karen Shablin, Craig Deluz, and Pastor Clenard Childress was on fire! Jocelyn Golden was there too and led us in song throughout the march. God bless them all and all who came.” -- Wild. There are pro-lifers in my liberal Oakland? Proves Oakland has a diversity of opinions, not just ethnic groups.

Gregoire, the Prince of Potato Puffs in Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto

More at The Eaten Path : “No well meaning trip to the reality resistant bubble of Berkeley is complete without a visit to one of its three major restaurant rows. In the city’s southeast corner, bordering the upscale settlements of North Oakland, is Elmwood, home to such neighborhood favorites as Trattoria La Siciliana and Ici. On the northern edge of the city is Solano Ave, where university and downtown dwellers can escape central Berkeley to a sunny afternoon of brunch and shopping. Between the two upper crusts of Berkeley stands the Gourmet Ghetto, the foundation of Berkeley’s reputation for delicious food in every form. Anchored by Alice Waters’ universally acclaimed Chez Panisse, the world’s first Peet’s Coffee and a collection of other culinary offshoots and institutions, this is where organic, locally grown ingredients are granted full license to gratify the taste buds of hundreds on a daily basis.”

Oakland White Elephant Sale Celebrates 50th Birthday

More at Today in Montclair : “In Oakland, the best-known White Elephant Sale is about to celebrate its 50th birthday!  There’s a preview sale tomorrow, followed by the full event in March. The Oakland Museum Women’s Board (OMWB) organizes this annual extravaganza to raise funds for the museum.  They raised only $500 back in 1959, the first year the sale was held.  Fast forward, and the OMWB hauled in a whopping $1.28 million last year.”

Tony West Appointed Assistant Attorney General By President Obama

Tony West, who you've frequently seen if you're a visitor to the Oakland Focus Blog , and my YouTube channel Zennie62 , was appointed Assistant Attorney General by President Barack Obama. Congratulations, Tony! I just interviewed Tony , who became a friend during the campaign, on November 12th here and in a talk where one can learn more about the man and his vast background (for example, he's worked in some way for six presidents and now seven) who was just appointed on Friday of this week: But that was not the first time I talked with Tony. Here's the other videos: This one last year at the California State Democratic Convention: And this one when then-Senator Obama visited San Francisco for a large fundraising event:

BART Shooting: Cal students march for Oscar Grant on Friday

More at Inside Bay Area : “BERKELEY — About 40 UC Berkeley students braved a steady drizzle Friday for a protest march to call attention to the killing of Oscar Grant by a BART police officer on New Year's Day. The group picked up a few more protesters on its way from Sproul Plaza at the university to the downtown Berkeley BART station. A small group of King Middle School students from Berkeley was set to join them for a walk from the downtown station to the Ashby BART station. The protesters, shadowed by UC Berkeley police, BART police and Berkeley police, passed out petitions that demanded prison for officer Johannes Mehserle and other BART police present at Grant's killing, an open investigation of the incident, disarming the BART police and dropping charges against people involved in previous protests in Oakland. The protest, sponsored by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary, was peaceful

Jeff From Oakland talks Obama and America's Racial Future

I was in the middle of finishing an interview in front of the Capital on the night before the Inauguration, when this man came up and said "Hey. You're Zennie. I read yout blog." It turned out he was from Oaklland, and is active in the North Oakland political scene. That led to this video conversation I recorded with Jeff from Oakland.

Chris Matthews' Stupid Blogger Comment Today

According to The Huffington Post, MSNBC's Chris Matthews tried to make "Bloggers" a perjorative on his show when he denounced Bloggers as a source for news. This is what was written: Earlier in the segment Matthews speculated that the 'personal problem' that was given as Kennedy's reason for withdrawing was her marriage to Edwin Schlossberg. But when Benjamin said that the "affair question" was surfacing on blogs, Matthews abruptly cut her off: "Let's stick to journalism. I don't do that here. If it's just blogging let's drop it." Chris does not understand the term "Blogging" or that journalists can blog to, thus my video:

New Downtown Oakland Housing Developments Hurt By Economy

Major Oakland developments default on loans - Inside Bay Area : “OAKLAND — At least three major residential-retail projects deemed to be important catalysts for the downtown's revival have toppled into separate mortgage defaults that together total $140 million. The loan defaults have jolted the financial prospects for the downtown Oakland projects that, combined, would bring nearly 300 residential units to the city's urban center. The projects were all originally devised as for-sale condominium developments. "Clearly Oakland is not immune to the soft economy, the problems with the credit markets and the slow housing sector," said Ken Meyersieck, managing partner with the Oakland office of commercial realty brokerage Colliers International.”

Oakland Raiders to interview Al Saunders - Inside Bay Area

More at Inside Bay Area : “The Raiders are making another run at Al Saunders. This time, it will be for the offensive coordinator vacancy created by the departure of Greg Knapp to the Seattle Seahawks. Saunders was just fired by the St. Louis Rams as part of the purging of the Rams staff by new coach Steve Spagnulo. He is scheduled to interview with the Raiders as soon as today. "We anticipate giving him an interview within the next day or two," Raiders senior executive John Herrera said Tuesday afternoon. Raiders managing general partner Al Davis interviewed Saunders for the head coaching vacancy before he settled upon Art Shell. Saunders was hired by the Washington Redskins that season. He returned this season to the Rams franchise that he helped reach the Super Bowl in the 2000 season. However, new coach Steve Spagnuolo already is interviewing prospective replacements for Saunders. Saunders is regarded by many as one of the most innovative and gifted offensive coordinators

Oakland police seek gunman in shooting at Frank Ogawa Plaza - Inside Bay Area

More at Inside Bay Area : “Oakland — Police are seeking a gunman who wounded a 22-year-old East Oakland man Sunday night during an apparent gang-related confrontation at Frank Ogawa Plaza near City Hall. The man, whose name was not released, was wounded in the abdomen and is expected to recover. The shooting happened about 8:30 p.m. Sunday in the 300 block of Frank Ogawa Plaza. Police said members of a West Oakland gang apparently got into a confrontation with another group that included the 22-year-old man. Fighting broke out, and at least one person believed to be associated with the gang pulled a gun and began shooting. The 22-year-old man told police he was running away and did not realize immediately that he had been shot. Police found him near the intersection of 15th Street and Broadway. Several other people were with him at the scene but refused to talk to officers.”

Joe Scarborough: Obama Speech Best Since JFK

I literally ran into Joe Scarborough, the host of MSNBC's Morning Joe as I was walking into the lobby of a hotel for the sole purpose of warming up from the cold weather after President Barack Obama's great Inauguration acceptance speech. Joe was good enough to share his view of that speech with me, saying that it was the best one since John F. Kennedy's speech in 1960.

Obama Inauguration - Toshira on It's Meaning

As I walked along the Capital Mall the night before The Inauguration of Barack Obama as our 44th President, a young woman came up and asked -- and I kid you not -- "Are you a CNN reporter". I explained that I am an iReporter and we created this video of her message. Pretty funny but she had something to say and I wanted to help her say it.

Angela Bassett, Giancarlo Esposito On Obama and "Gospel Hill"

While In Washington DC for the Inauguration, I was invited to a great premier of a cool new movie called "Gospel Hill". Directed by Giancarlo Esposito, it stars Angela Bassett, Danny Glover, Esposito, and others including South Carolina Charles James essentially playing himself. I talked to them about not just the movie, but the Obama Inauguration and the festivties held to that point in time.

Obama Inauguration Concert Mass Of Humanity

This was an incredible Sunday concert experience as part of Obama Inauguration festivities, even if, like me, you got their around 2 PM and thus were not able to get close to the Lincoln Memorial, let alone past the Old War Memorial. I estimate the crowd at about 2 million. I've not seen a written estimate yet, but if it's in the thousands, it's just plain wrong!

Obama Inauguration - What To Do In Oakland?

Hey everyone.  I'm in Washington DC at the last minute just to really cover the experience of it all -- no tickets to events, but then I'm press, so I need a credential.  Didn't think I would be here as recently as Wednesday, but things happen fast:   So with that, if I were in Oakland, what would I do?  Wow, a lot.  There are a ton of events today, Sunday, and through Tuesday.  There's the Tuesday evening event called "Barack and Roll" at ZCafe, and produced by the East Bay Young Democrats (here's their Facebook Page  ).  Then there's the giant event at Oracle Arena that Tuesday morning. There's also an event at The Uptown Nightclub, and again on Tuesday night, and here's their Facebook Page  .  At any rate, there's more than I have time to post.  But the Berkeley Daily Planet has a great breakdown of events  , here's a list of some of them: • Sunday, Jan. 18, 4 p.m., Beebe Memorial Cathedral, 3900 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. •

Oakland Police Department wants to fire 11 officers in warrant scandal - Inside Bay Area

More at Inside Bay Area : “OAKLAND — The Oakland Police Department wants to fire 11 officers at the center of the department's search warrant controversy, pending an administrative hearing, police and city officials confirmed Thursday. The officers were told of the department's plans earlier this week through a letter sent to their homes. The group includes two sergeants but no command staff. Another officer, Karla Rush, was given notice last year that the department wanted to fire her. The department also wants to suspend at least one officer and cleared several others, sources said. In total, 18 officers were under investigation in relation to the search warrant imbroglio. The department wants to fire the officers because of false statements made on sworn affidavits given to judges in hopes of securing search warrants for the homes of mostly suspected small-time drug dealers in East Oakland. Some officers also were given notice because they gave untruthful statements to inter

Raiders interview Gilbride - Inside Bay Area

More at IBA : “New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride spent more than four hours at the Raiders' year-round facility in Alameda on Thursday in an attempt to persuade managing general partner Al Davis that he deserves a second shot at an NFL head coaching job. Gilbride arrived from New York in the early afternoon, headed to the team's facility and met with several people in the Raiders front office, as well as Davis. His day concluded in the early evening without any official word on whether he made any headway. For now, Gilbride is competing with Tom Cable and Green Bay Packers assistant head coach/linebackers coach Winston Moss for the job Cable held for the final 12 games last season on an interim basis.” -- Kevin Gilbribe is not the best choice for the job. Mike Shanahan's a better pick, if Mr. Davis would get over his petty issues with him.

Johannes Mehserle's attorney enters not guilty plea for client - Inside Bay Area

More at Oakland Tribune : “The attorney for Johannes Mehserle, the former BART police officer charged with murder stemming from a shooting on New Year's Day, entered a not guilty plea for his client in an Oakland courtroom Thursday. Attorney Christopher Miller entered the plea in front of a packed courtroom with extra security. In a red Santa Rita Jail jumpsuit, Mehserle, who could barely be seen behind a protective clear encasing, waived his right to a quick preliminary hearing. Miller then asked Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert McGuiness for a bail hearing, which was set for Jan. 26 in Oakland. Mehserle was arrested on a no-bail warrant, and no bail has been set. The full courtroom included Mehserle's friends and family and those of Oscar Grant III, the man Mehserle is accused of killing Jan. 1 on the Fruitvale BART platform. Sheriff's deputies carefully let different groups into the courtroom separately to avoid any problems with heightened tensions.”

BART SHOOTING: Ron Dellums, Mayor of Oakland Calls For Reform

In the aftermath of the late-night arrest of BART Officer Johannes Mehserle, a planned Oakland City Hall-based protest went ahead as scheduled Sunday but with a less-angry energy than existed last week, when over 100 people were arrested and many downtown Oakland buildings were damaged in a night of rampaging protests against both Officer Mehserle's actions and the overall response of BART and elected officials. In today's event, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums took the microphone and really talked to the crowd about how their voice led to change.  Then I talked with Mayor Dellums about his call for change and if that would lead to reforms within the Oakland Police Department. Here's the video:

The Grand Lake Guardian Is In A Coma - Founder Said To Have Given Up

The once popular news site "The Grand Lake Guardian" is in a coma and according to my source, it's not coming out of it anytime, soon.   "He's gone on to other things" my source said, "He's not done anything in a while." That's for sure.  The topmost post is dated "2008-02-13" which was last year before Valentine's Day.  It's too bad for the area around Lake Merritt, which came to adopt the site in a way, if only because Jim Ratiff, the founder, had collected a group of some of Oakland's most involved Lake citizens. But as happens with blogs from time to time, the people lose interest.  A blog must be updated each day just to keep fresh.  And that's the problem.   Jim's site was more of a website than a blog, which causes more work just to update.  I can see why he may have tired of the whole effort: he used the wrong kind of platform. If you're going to do this you have to make it easy on yoursel

Oscar Grant was Avenged By The Alameda County DA

Where was Oscar Grant's Due Process? , originally uploaded by Focal Intent . This photo asked the question, Where was Oscar Grant's due process, well, Tom Orloff the District Attorney of Alameda County seems to have avenged Grant's death with the arrest of Officer Johannes Mehserle.

Oakland Hills fire from 80/Powell, October 1991

Oakland Hills fire from 80/Powell, October 1991 , originally uploaded by marymactavish . I remember where I was when this happened: I was having coffee with Val Ostrom, my Skyline Classmate, at Lynn and Lou's Cafe on Grand when we looked up and saw smoke. I ended up helping her parents move out of their home on Proctor.

Police Violence in Oakland Over BART Shooting

Police Violence in Oakland , originally uploaded by Brooke Anderson . I just saw this in the process of blogging. Here's what the poster wrote: Two young folks being arrested a block from my house for doing nothing other than not moving as fast as police wanted them to. Protests shook Oakland several days after a BART cop executed a young African American man as he was pinned face-first on the floor, and last night more police violence ensued. What do you think about this? I think it's an example of what's wrong with our law enforcement system -- police are at war more than enforcing the law.


In a shocking turn of events, it was reported by KTVU that BART Officer Johannes Mehserle, who was the central focus as the cop who shot 22-year-old Oscar Grant in the back on New Year's Day morning, was arrested in Nevada.   This is a dramatically fast development, since it was reported that Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff wasn't expect to take action until this Friday at the earliest and BART spokesperson Linton Johnson asked for everyone to let the process move forward.   Here's my video report with more below: Whatever the case, the incident has attracted every law enforcement official from California Attorney General Jerry Brown, to the Department of Justice on Monday.   My bet is the investigative report BART Chief Gary Gee turned in to Orloff had something to do with this lightening fast action.  But also Officer Mehserle himself essentially wrote this ending when he refused to give a statement, "taking the fifth" regarding why he s

Phil Tagami On "KQED's Forum" For An Hour On Oakland Development - Podcast

On Monday, Oakland Developer and friend Phil Tagami, who you can find out more about with a click here or to the right where his photo is, was on KQED's Forum on Monday.  It was an outstanding peformance, although Phil can be a bit combative at times, but that's Phil. What's most important is he was able to talk about how Oakland can achieve a possible future as a great city, and how people can and should get involved in the process.  You can hear the show below:

Robert Bobb Consultant Report on Oakland Government Released Today

Report on Oakland seeks accountability, cuts : “Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums laid out a 60-day plan today for restructuring city government with an emphasis on greater accountability, cost cutting and greater civic engagement. Dellums released a report by Public Financial Management Group, a Philadelphia firm owned by former Oakland City Manager Robert Bobb, which Dellums described as a "call to action" for his vision for making Oakland a model city - a place with a robust economy, safe streets and healthy residents who are engaged in their community.” -- I've only skimmed over the report thus far, but you can take a look at it right now. Just download it here: Oakland Consultant's Report

BART protesters in SF: Video From Solaraqua

Solaraqua writes: "On January 12, 2009 a group of demonstrators gathered at the United Plaza, in San Francisco to protest over the fatal shooting by a BART police officer of Oscar Jullius Grant, an unarmed young Afro-American man,. The incident occurred on New Year's Day at Fruitvalle BART Station, in Oakland and it was witnessed by standing bys and others BART commuters from a distance. Fortunately it was captured by multiple eye witness cell phone's cameras. BART completed the investigation and now Oakland District Attorney takes over to determine the charges regarding this case."

Oakland Chamber Budget Cut May Cause Release Of Popular Kayla Brand

For about ten years, Kayla Brand has been a valued and popular member of the staff of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce as Events and Development Director. But now she's almost out of a job due to the falling economy and its impact on the Chambers budget. As of this writing, she's still on the Chamber payroll, but come February that may change. The Oakland Chamber of Commerce has long been a major resource for Oakland business. Supporting the Chamber via membership or donation is very important. The problem is -- according to sources -- that the Chamber's events did not reach their expected revenue levels. Of course, the best way to fix that is via good viral online marketing . I'm sure there's some celebrity the Chamber's hosted that would be great fodder for a cool video set, among other things!

Alameda Mayor Beverly Johnson Defends Rotating Fire Station Closures

More at : “Less than a week after low-level City of Alameda functionaries appeared on the news trying to dismiss claims by Save Our City! Alameda that the city is in dire financial straits, Mayor Johnson and Council member Frank Mataresse were on the local news themselves defending cuts to fire services and fire station “brownouts.” Johnson and Mataresse were interviewed on KTVU news along with Domenick Weaver, president of the local firefighters association, about the rotating brownouts which will begin at the end of this month. Last week, the City scrambled to respond to assertions by Save Our City! Alameda in a TV ad that the City is on the path to bankruptcy, as evidenced by the City’s inability to avoid the brownouts, outstanding lawsuits against the City, and the City’s plans to subsidize SunCal’s project at Alameda Point to the tune of several hundred million dollars.”

Monday Night BART protesters in SF: 'We are Oscar Grant!' -

More at SfGate : “(01-12) 21:36 PST San Francisco -- A raucous crowd protesting the shooting death of a BART passenger marched through downtown San Francisco tonight, overturning trash cans, tossing traffic barriers and lighting small garbage fires. San Francisco police in riot gear quickly moved in and closed off streets as the crowd broke up into smaller groups, scattering in all directions. No arrests were reported.” -- And I'm not sure if this constant drumbeat is going to help. The courts are the best way.

Ruckus Society Plans More BART Shooting Protests - Inside Bay Area

More at the Trib : “Activists plan to return to downtown Oakland on Wednesday, one week after a small group of rioters marred what had been a nonviolent protest over a BART police officer's shooting of an unarmed, prone man. This week's event, scheduled to start at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza outside Oakland City Hall, is part of a national day of nonviolent protest over the New Year's Day death of Oscar Grant III, 22, of Hayward, at the hands of Officer Johannes Mehserle, 27, in the Fruitvale BART station. The shooting was captured on video by several onlookers, and has caused consternation around the world. Gatherings also are planned for Wednesday in other cities, including Pittsburgh, Pa.; Columbus, Ohio; Little Rock, Ark.; and Erie, Pa., according to a Web page hosted by the Oakland-based Ruckus Society , a nonprofit that teaches nonviolent protest and civil disobedience methods to activists.” -- I'm not sure if all of these protests are a good idea o

Keith Carson - Alameda Co Supervisor Pissed With BART Board

At Sunday's BART Board Committee Meeting, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson took the mic and let lose, expressing his frustration with the BART Board and the slow pace of the investigation into the matter of the murder of Oscar Grant. Carson was particularly upset that the meeting was held on a Sunday at 2 PM, when community religious leaders were either in church or just getting out of church.

Naked, Unconscious Woman Found Under Oakland Freeway Dies - News Story - KTVU San Francisco

More at : “OAKLAND, Calif. -- Oakland police have a mystery on their hands after the discovery of a woman who was naked and unconscious beneath a freeway overpass near Fruitvale Avenue Monday night. The woman was found at around 5 p.m. early Monday evening along East 8th Street at Fruitvale after police received a phone call from a passerby. She died at the hospital a short time later. Officers say the woman still had a faint pulse when they arrived at the scene. "We found a woman that was unconscious and was transported to the hospital," said Captain Rick Orozco. "She passed away at the hospital. Now we're investigating this and seeing what exactly happened."”

BART Protest Set For 5 PM in San Francisco - Why SF?

There's a planned BART Protest set for 5 PM in San Francisco, but why the heck someone would try San Francisco is weird to me. Whatever the case, this is what KGO put out: SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A different kind of obstacle is expected in downtown San Francisco Monday night, when BART protestors are expected to take their outrage across the Bay for the first time. The latest noisy protest over the shooting of Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale BART station will be held in San Francisco around 5:00 p.m. and could affect traffic. There could also be a vocal turnout when BART explains a new review of its police Monday afternoon. Monday morning, BART riders found a quieter form of protest in their seats waiting for them as they boarded. They found flyers that look like something BART might issue, until you read the text. The anonymous author compares BART Police to a violent gang saying, "All members of this gang, which refers to itself as the "BART Police" are known

DOJ sends conciliation team to Oakland -

More at : “WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Justice Department has sent mediators to Oakland, Calif., to help resolve tensions arising from the fatal New Year's Day shooting of an unarmed black man by a white transit police officer. The officials are from the department's Community Relations Service, which was created by the 1964 Civil Rights Act to help resolve and prevent racial and ethnic conflict and violence. DOJ notified California's U.S. senators and  Rep. Barbara Lee on Thursday of the deployment, according to a department memo obtained Monday by The Associated Press. The memo says Justice officials will "meet with law enforcement officials and African American community leaders in response to community racial tension." The officials will conduct an assessment and provide needed follow-up.” -- Personally, I'm not sure what good they're going to do unless it's to make sure that all of this is quickly resolved.

BART Mtg: Oakland City Council Desley Brooks v. BART Board

Oakland City Councilmember Desley Brooks takes on the BART Board and BART Board Member Carol Ward Allen at the community meeting held on Sunday, January 11th at 101 Eight Street. Ward Allen walked out of the meeting. Councilmember Brooks anger is understandable. There's too much in the way of meetings and no action that anyone can point to that shows progress. She's right. IF anyone else shot another person, charges would have been filed by now. Still, the process must be respected and must take place. The person who calmed Ward Allen down was none other than former Oakland City Manager Henry Gardner. We went into his office for a spell, then Allen emerged and went back to the meeting. Gardner has and always has been a class act.

2009 California Democrat 16th District Delegate Election

This video covered the 2009 California Delegate election for the 16th District. The event was held on Saturday, January 10th at The Alameda Hospital. For those who think this is not important at all. Not so. The delegates vote on matters impacting California State Elected Officials and often determine who you get to vote for before you vote for them. The delegates set the party platform and for all practical purposes are the "Face" of the local Democratic Party. I talked to a number of people running for the 12 delegate positions, and even talked to a couple of people about the matter of the BART Shooting and the Oakland Riot. WINNING DELEGATES: WOMEN: Ronnie Caplane Alice Fried Frieda Edgette (Glantz) Sumi Paranjape Esperanza Tervalon-Daumont Tara Marchant Wilson MEN: Mark Briggs Joel Freid Abel J. Guillen Wayne Nishioka Dan Rush Jakada Imani

Zennie Abraham Takes On CNN's Ali Velshi On Economic Stimulus

For me this was a ton of fun to do. But it's even better when someone takes time to let folks know you did a great job. Such was the case with the CNN iReport and, who contacted me regarding my question for CNN's Ali Velshi on what he thought of giving $3,500 to each American taxpayer under $100,000. Here's the video: Embedded video from CNN Video This is what CNN iReport's Rachel8 wrote : Would you go head-to-head with CNN's top economic expert on an economic stimulus plan? How about live on the air? Fearless iReport superstar Zennie Abraham did. After submitting an iReport suggesting a taxpayer stimulus package, he discussed his plan with CNN chief business correspondent Ali Velshi on Velshi said the plan -- which calls for a $3,500 stimulus check to those making less than $100,000 a year -- was not targeted enough to work. But Zennie courageously defended his idea. "I disagree, with all due respect," he said to Vels

Robbery at Gunpoint On Euclid Between Lagunitas and Van Buren, Adams Point

This was from the Yahoo Adams Point Message Board: A friend called this a.m. to say he and two others were walking home yesterday mid-evening and were held up at gun point by one man: black, wearing black hoodie and black pants. This occurred on Euclid between Lagunitas and Van Buren. Thankkfully, no one got hurt. He will post more details himself when he gets to a computer with Internet service, but in the meantime, I wanted neighbors to be alert.

BART Meeting on Oakland Shooting Sunday Jan 11 2 PM to 4 PM

I was just informed today, Saturday evening January 10th, 2009, that BART is holding a "community meeting" on Sunday, January 11th, which is tommorrow, from 2 PM to 4 PM at 101 Eighth Street, the Joseph P. Bort MetroCenter in Oakland, off Lake Merritt BART. The timing of the meeting is questionable because I got the intel on it today (Saturday) in the afternoon. And it was clear that today was the date of the creation of whatever release went out on the meeting. I think BART's officials were trying to prevent the activation of New Media to annouce the meeting to any possible "undesirables" that may attend. In other words, they were trying to control the spread of the message. It's clear BART has learned NOTHING from this entire affair. The knoweldge of the shooting and the reaction to it was the child of New Media. Traditional media played a bit part because it was not able to do what New Media can do, constantly repeat an event in the pasttim

Public vents over BART shooting at BART board meeting

From The Contra Costa Times: "BART held it's Board of Directors meeting and the public showed up in force to voice their frustration and anger about the shooting death of Oscar Grant III by a BART police officer on New Year's Day." I missed this because I was litterally sitting on my ass first doing with Ali Velshi then HLN Headline News right after that. Hard to be in more than one place at once. This I wanted to attend. But thank God for New Media.

Oakland Latino's United's Video Opinion on The Oakland Riots and Shooting

This man makes a great point about how the media did not show the peaceful protest at Fruitvale BART and did show the violent riot. The only problem is his video gets a bit nasty toward the end, so be warned. He's pissed. But part of the problem -- he does not know this -- is Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums called a press conference at exactly the same time as the BART protest and press conference. Why? DaveyD has his view:

New Footage of Oakland Man Murdered By BART Cop

The YouTuber write that this is new, but it's not. However it's still worth another look, if only to see that the man next to Oscar Grant on the ground was very still and silent. He was also not dark-skinned Black. I hate to point that out but it seems there was a kind of selective treatment based on race and evident in the video, and led to the taking of Grant's life by the officer. Why? More on that later.

Officer in BART shooting abruptly resigns

More at : “(01-07) 19:14 PST OAKLAND -- The BART police officer who shot an unarmed man to death on a station platform early on New Year's Day quit the force Wednesday, avoiding an interview with police internal affairs investigators trying to get to the bottom of an incident that has prompted broad outrage. Officer Johannes Mehserle, 27, was supposed to make a statement Wednesday about why he shot 22-year-old Oscar Grant as the supermarket worker lay face-down at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland, BART said.”

BART Cop Needs to Be Held without Bail

'I have yet to see any widespread nationwide coverage on the New Year's execution style murder of Oscar Grant by a Bay Area Rapid Transit - BART - police officer. Somebody told me that they saw 5 minutes of coverage on CNN last night. I would think they would syndicate it across all networks by now.' read more | digg story

Jane Tyska Foe Art Michel Resigns -Oakland schools police chief leaving - Inside Bay Area

More at Inside Bay Area : “OAKLAND — Art Michel, the Oakland school district police chief who detained a Tribune videographer last fall during a student protest, will leave the department this week, school district spokesman Troy Flint confirmed Tuesday. Flint would not give the reasons behind Michel's departure, saying that it was a personnel matter that had yet to be approved by the school board. But some familiar with the situation say the police chief's resignation might have been triggered — at least, in part — by concerns about compensation and benefits, rather than by his confrontation with photojournalist Jane Tyska on Oct. 31, which was captured on video. Michel retired from the Oakland Police Department as a sergeant in 2003 after 31 years of service. In 2007, he joined the newly resurrected Oakland school district force as a lieutenant and was promoted to interim chief in January 2008. But questions recently arose about Michel's employment in light of his retirem

Geoffrey's, a place to be and be seen, is closing - Inside Bay Area

More at Inside Bay Area : “Geoffrey's Inner Circle, the popular black-owned and -operated nightclub in downtown Oakland, is closing. Owner Geoffrey Pete said little Tuesday other than he is transferring the lease to a church and a nonprofit. Pete has complained in the past, however, that police were unfairly targeting his night spot as well as other black-owned clubs downtown, many of which have closed in the past few years. Some of the clubs closed voluntarily or were pressured to do so by the city after crowds leaving the establishments were involved in fights, shootings and sideshows that resulted in injuries and death. Police said the incidents ate up overtaxed police resources as officers from beats around the city were called in to restore order and make arrests. Geoffrey's drew a mature, well-heeled crowd and had relatively few problems compared with other now-defunct nightclubs, such as Mingles and Sweet Jimmie's, but Oakland police Sgt. Kyle Thomas said that change

Nemekhbayer Gaitav, 42, found stabbed to death in Oakland apartment

More at : “A man was found stabbed to death in downtown Oakland, police said today. Nemekhbayer Gaitav, 42, was found inside an apartment on the 1400 block of Jackson Street near Lake Merritt about 10 p.m. Monday, authorities said. He had been stabbed and was pronounced dead at the scene. No arrests have been made.”

The Oakland BART Shooting By Police at Fruitvale Station Was A Deliberate Act

The Oakland BART Police Fruitvale Station shooting was a horrifying act of an individual police officer that, upon reflection, went insane for a moment. I'm glad people had video cameras and used them. But I'm not happy with the state of the police in Oakland and the East Bay. What the officer did to young Oscar Grant was shameful. If you look at the videos, the officer first drags Grant over the station floor then positions him against the ground, and then pulls out his gun slowly then shoots him, but then looks up as if to say "Oh, that was an accident." It did not look that way. This should prompt a major investigation into how police are trained and the backgrounds and attitudes of the people that are recruited and how they're trained. There's something wrong and where there's smoke,there's fire. Now, Oakland Lawyer John Burris has introduced a $25 million lawsuit against the police department and BART, and given the look of the videos -- ther

BART / Oakland Police Shooting - A Very Angry Video

Of all the videos I've seen on last New Year's Day Morning's shooting by the BART / Oakland Police at Fruitvale BART Station, this one is the first I've seen that expresses an urban anger that was not expressed before. The evidence is clear the officer directly shot Oscar Grant, even if it was by accident. I have to have a closer look at his actions -- if he reached for his gun and took it out deliberately, then it was not an accident. This is tragic.

Inauguration 2009 Party January 9th Washington DC 8:30 - 1:30 PM

Famous stylist and restauranteur B Smith and Dan Gasby are the hosts for a major party to be held in Washington D.C during Inauguration Weekend, Saturday, January 17th at the lovely B. Smith Restaurant in Union Station, which can be seen in this video: There's a great list of Oaklanders and even former Oaklaners who now live in Washington DC, like former City Manager Robert C. Bobb, To attend, you have to fill out a form, which you can obtain here: REGISTRATION FORM  . Tickets are $150 per person. For more information, call 510-562-5560.

Jane Brunner's the New President of The Oakland City Council

Today, as I was attending the memorial service for Dr. C. Diane Howell, the Oakland City Council selected Councilmember Jane Brunner (D-1) as its new President, replacing and breaking the long string of Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente (District 5) serving in that role. Frankly, I say "Congratulations" to Jane, who was rewarded for her long term of service to her North Oakland constituents.   But I can't help but feel that Councilmember Larry Reid should be the President.  But then one has to have the votes for that to occur, and perhaps Larry counted heads and saw they weren't there.   Regardless of who the head of the helm is, the City has a laundry list of large problems.  According to my friend Tom Guarino of Pacific Gas and Electric, Oakland City Attorney John Russo gave what Tom called an "incredible speech" about how Oakland needs to improve and what to do.    Sorry I missed it.  The City Council has it's first meeting every year, I'

Bay Area Women Against Rape looks for ways to raise money as cuts loom - Inside Bay Area

More at Inside Bay Area : “OAKLAND — Bay Area Women Against Rape, the nation's first rape crisis center, held a house party recently to raise money for programs and services that could lose out on thousands of dollars in state and federal funding in the coming year. About 50 turned out at the home of State Treasurer Bill Lockyer and Nadia Davis-Lockyer, executive director of the Alameda County Family Justice Center and a supporter of Bay Area Women Against Rape, the Oakland-based crisis and prevention organization that was founded 38 years ago. The group raised $2,050 for direct client services, which includes about 4,000 calls for rape crisis services annually and the education of another 11,000 people annually through its programs. But BAWAR officials said they also raised awareness about restorative justice programs conducted inside state prisons — some of the "most compelling rape prevention work that the agency has done since its inception in 1971," said Marcia Black

Al Davis blasts ESPN report that he's selling part of Raiders - Inside Bay Area

More at Inside Bay Area : “The Raiders dismissed an ESPN report Sunday that said managing general partner Al Davis is negotiating to sell part of the team to a group with designs on moving it to Los Angeles. The report was written by ESPN's Chris Mortensen, who Davis called "a professional liar" on Sept. 30 for his penchant for writing stories about the Raiders without attributing them to named persons employed by the Raiders. On Sunday, Mortensen wrote that Davis and chief executive Amy Trask are negotiating a transaction with a group led by C. Dean Metropoulos a transaction that would turn over at least 10 percent of the Raiders. Mortensen attributed the story to unnamed "league sources." Raiders senior executive John Herrera spoke with Davis on Sunday morning and characterized Davis' reaction to the report as "incredulous." He also vehemently denied the report.”

2008 a year of chaos for the Oakland Raiders

To say that the year of 2008 was tumultuous for the Oakland Raiders would be in the running for the understatement of the decade. The year started and ended with questions about the head coaching situation, and saw a wide receiver beat up along the way. In fact, for much of the year the actual team on the field was more of an afterthought. read more | digg story

Oakland, Ca Fruitvale Bart Station Shooting. Full Video and interview with Karina Vargas

This is the first of several videos that are literally flying around the Internet. This one shows the actual clip that has an unarmed BART rider, 22 year old Oscar Grant, shot apparently by accident by a BART police officer. It's followed by the explaination of Karen Vargas who made the video. On Saturday, January 3rd, this newspaper account in the San Jose Mercury News has BART police claiming that Mr. Grant had scuffled with them. But the video does not show this. Here's the newspaper: Oscar Grant was unarmed when he was shot by a BART police officer who was standing over him at the Fruitvale station early on New Year's Day, said Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris, who has been hired by the victim's family to investigate the death. Grant, 22, of San Leandro, was fatally shot on the BART platform shortly before 2 a.m. Thursday, police said. BART officers were called to the station in response to reports of fighting between two groups of men on board a train bou

Oscar Grant Fatally Shot at Fruitvale Bart New Years Day

According to the family's lawyer, it sounds like there is a lot of gaps and holes in this story. This is a very sad story, and I can't imagine the frustration and agony that this family is going through trying to piece together exactly how their loved one died in such a public place on one of the busiest nights of the year. VIDEO COMMENTARY: full story on the Oakland Tribune.....