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Showing posts from February, 2011

Checking in: Oakland Tribunal on Police Violence, Oakland Rising House Party and Organizing against Ranked Choice Voting

So many things to do in Oakland, so little time-you can check this report from Pamela Drake on some you may have missed: If you’re active in the life of this city, there’s a plethora of ways to keep informed. I found both our special talents and serious shortcomings on display this recent winter week. On Saturday and Sunday the East Side Arts Alliance, the National Lawyers’ Guild, the New Year’s Movement for Justice (for Oscar Grant), and a host of other civil rights and media groups sponsored A People's Hearing on Racism & Police Violence in a chilly auditorium in central Oakland. On Saturday I heard heart wrenching testimony from parents’ who had lost their children to police violence, and on Sunday young people who have been stalked by the police bore witness to being singled out for their activist activities since the murder of Oscar Grant. More testimony was given describing the profiling of Muslims and other immigrant groups targeted by US officials and the gr

Oakland City Attorney Appointed? Mayor Quan's Terrible Idea

Over the years and before Oakland had an elected lawyer starting in 2000, one of the main complaints was that an appointed Oakland City Attorney was too much the shill of the then-powerful Oakland City Council.  Of course, it was Oakland's mayor who made that complaint more often than others. At times, given that the Mayor couldn't trust who was talking, the lawyer or the council, the complaint was just. But all have agreed having Oakland's top lawyer at the hands of the Mayor would be equally disastrous, which is why it was not don when Oakland had the chance. Now, with a massive turnover in institutional memory, comes newly-elected Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, pulling a fast one in suggesting Oakland have an appointed and not elected lawyer.  That can't be allowed to happen; here's why. Mayoral Impulse And Oakland's Lawyer I remember when, in 1997, and during the time I served as Economic Advisor to Mayor Elihu Harris, Elihu called then-Oakland City Attorney

A Better Solution than Gang Injunctions

I’ve been reading and listening and thinking about the proposed new gang injunctions and the fate of the existing one. I’ve also been thinking about the fates of the proponents and opponents of said injunctions, City Attorney John Russo, OPD Chief Batts, and local legal beagles and civil rights attorneys, Siegel, particularly the younger Siegel, Michael, someone whose courage and heart I’ve long admired. John Russo was my council member before becoming the City Attorney. He fought against the loitering ordinance because of its pre-emptive and racial profiling components. I always thought gang injunctions were some of the weird and slightly scary things that happened in LA, a weird and somehow scary place with all those manic freeways and seedy strip malls (even the term is seedy). Now they’ve come to Oakland and the injunctions as well as the gangs seem to be tearing our political community apart. Today (Feb. 16th)a judge will decide whose career might be promoted and whose might be d

Natalie Munroe Blog Bloggate: What If Oakland Teachers Blogged?

Natalie Munroe is a teacher at Central Bucks East High School in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia who got so fed up with her kids, she decided to blog about it. And now, while all that blogging may cost Ms. Monroe the job she's held, she's still blogging. It brings up the question "What if Oakland Teachers blogged like that?" And the other question: "When will Natalie be the subject of a TV show?" First, Natalie Munroe has taught English since 2006 and has a reported salary of $54,500 (not bad considering the cost of living there) according to Her blog Natalie's Handbasket contains (well, contained, since she's taken some entries off public view but the one I'm about to post is still cached as of this writing), some really candid thoughts about the little ones she teaches. Here's a sample direct from her blog post from fall 2009: A Big Problem Today Kids! I don't know what's wrong wi

Valentine's Day 2011 In Oakland - Keep Your Money In Oakland

Ok, for all practical purposes, Valentine's Day 2011 is here, (or if you did it on Saturday, gone) even though it's really on Monday. And while I am in suburban Atlanta doing what I'm supposed to do at this stage of life - keeping my Mom company (she's in good health, thanks for asking) I have a life in Oakland, too. For all of my complaints about Oakland, it's a wonderful, beautiful city, that too often takes itself for granted. So, on Valentine's Day 2011, I ask you to please keep your money in Oakland.  Don't go over to San Francisco, as I often do, or jet off to LA or New York or Chicago or Atlanta.  And it's nothing against SF or LA or New York or Chicago or Atlanta; I go because I know a lot of people there and Mom's here in the ATL.  But the more time you spend in Oakland, the more you realize it's a massively cool place to be. I got a message from beautiful, dear friend, that she was going to try Miss Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant at

Oakland Kona Club Ejects Patron For Negative Twitter Tweets

Talk about the bad business practices of sensitive bar workers, and the Kona Club comes to mind. This only because of the Club's unbelievable-but-true act of asking Aimee J to leave simply because she made a Twitter Tweet against them. What good asking Aimee to leave the Kona Club - formerly the legendary King's X Bar on 4401 Piedmont Ave, between Pleasant Valley Ave and Ramona Ave (and not far from where my grandfather rests at Chapel Of The Chimes) - was going to do, I have no idea.  It certainly did a lot of bad, including a bunch of tweets that can be seen on Twitter if one does an "Oakland" search today, and this blog post.  Aimee took to Yelp to complain about the action : Against my promises i would NEVER return to this place, I did, because friends were there and I am not to proud to bend to the will of my friends. And SHOCKINGLY i had just as horrible time as ever. I actually had this conversation- I CANNOT BELIEVE IT. them: "Are you the Aimee

Oakland Zoo Names New Board Members Including Mark McClure

Just got this press release announcing the Oakland Zoo's new board members: Sebastian DiGrande, Daniel Boggan, Jr., Cassady Hudson, Mark McClure, Lora Tabor and Jim Wunderman. To them all, and to one of them, I say congratulations. To my friend amoung, them, Mark McClure (pictured in an Oakland Chamber photo), let me say not only congrats, but maybe this is a good time to get off the Ron Paul bandwagon, eh? Just kidding, sorta. But back to the Oakland Zoo. The rep for the Board of the East Bay Zoological Society (EBZS) was good enough to send over full bios of all of the new board members, so here they are: Jim Wunderman is the President and CEO of the Bay Area Council, a business-backed public policy organization. Since becoming CEO in 2004, Wunderman has significantly helped increase the council’s advocacy efforts. A couple of the accomplishments under his leadership include: expanding the reach of the Bay Area Council with the opening of its first overseas office in

"Save Cal Sports?" Does The University Of California Care?

Today's the day that we'll learn the fate of several University of California sports slated for reduction to reduce a large annual deficit that, in point of fact, has existed for over a decade. It's just that, in the past, the University could afford to carry it; not today. Still, faced with the prospect of losing men's and women's gymnastics, women's lacrosse, and baseball, you'd think there would be massive alarm bells going off. You'd expect this to be a front page issue on the Cal Athletics website . You'd think " Save Cal Sports " would be a rallying cry for the University itself, and not just a set of concerned alumns. It's not.  And the Cal Athletics website doesn't ask you to donate money for any one of the sports on the chopping block. I get the impression the University of California at Berkeley just really doesn't give a damn.  Cal lacks the fight required to maintain its athletic programs; it's just not