From November 2008

Barack Obama and Chauncey Bailey

Chauncey Bailey interviews his old Tribune buddies at the Cafe just one week before his murder.Left Chauncey Bailey, Paul Cobb, Dave Newhouse ,Tribune columnist and Lee Susman, cartoonist. Photo by Gene Hazzard.

By Dave Newhouse

A confluence of thoughts hit me Monday: Chauncey Bailey Project, the Oakland Tribune, the Pulitzer Prize, Oakland’s disturbing crime situation, Barack Obama, Paul Cobb, and the last time I saw Chauncey Bailey, one week before his killing.

The Tribune has won two Pulitzers for photographic excellence – Bill Crouch’s 1950 photo of two airplanes nearly colliding in midair, and the Tribune’s coverage of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

Now the Tribune has launched The Chauncey Bailey Project, whose leader-of-the-pack investigative reporting of Bailey’s death has graced this newspaper and is worthy of Pulitzer consideration. Read more

December Police Academy Postponed

By Post Staff

Mayor Ron Dellums explained his decision to postpone the December Police Academy in a letter to the City Council, saying the city lacks funds to pay for training new recruits.

The academy had been scheduled to start Dec. 8 and will be postponed at least until next spring.

“Given the harsh fiscal realities that we face today — which are more severe than expected even a few months ago — delaying the December police academy is the only responsible decision we can make,” Dellums said in the letter dated Nov. 21.

Dellums said he regretted having to postpone the academy and the potential impact suffered by new recruits. Read more

Nominees Needed for Women of Greatness Awards

Mayor Ron Dellums announced this week that nominations are now being accepted for 2009 Women of Greatness recognition awards. The mayor will present the awards at the Model City Summit on Women in February.

“The Annual Women of Greatness Awards are established to recognize individual women for their exceptional contributions within the San Francisco Bay Area,” Dellums said.  “Historically, women in Oakland and the Bay Area have been great contributors to our society, and it gives us great pleasure to present this award to honor the women that have impacted our lives.”

Mayor Dellums and First Lady Cynthia Dellums, who are the summit’s co-chairs, and the 2009 Women of Greatness Nomination Committee will select up to 10 women to be awarded this prestigious honor.

Nominees will have demonstrated civic leadership on a local or national level, demonstrated service and contribution to the advancement of women and families and shown commitment to the spirit of cooperation and collaboration within the community. Read more

116 OUSD Students Receive Awards for “College-Level Achievement”

The College Board, the organization responsible for the SAT and Advanced Placement (AP) exams, has named 116 Oakland Unified students as “AP Scholars” in recognition of their exceptional results on the college-level test.

Just 18 percent of the 1.6 million students who sat for the AP exams earned this distinction, which gives students an advantage in the college admissions process and, at many institutions, college credit upon enrollment.

“We were thrilled to see that so many Oakland students are not only taking advantage of the rigorous college-level curriculum offered in Advanced Placement courses, but also demonstrating mastery of the material on the AP exams,” said OUSD Chief Academic Officer Brad Stam.” Read more

Over 500 Attend the FAME’s 150th Gala Awards Celebration

fame.jpgLeft to Right -  Bernard Tyson, Kaiser Foundation Leadership Award 2008, Marc Morial, CEO, The National Urban League, Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Visionary Award, 2008, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Trailblazer Award, 2008, Assemblymember Sandre Swanson, Lady Mary Mayberry, Dr. Harold R. Mayberry, Bishop  T. Larry Kirkland,  Presiding Prelate, 5th Episcopal District AME Church

More than 500 people attended the African Methodist Episcopal Church, (FAME), as it celebrated 150 years of service.

The gala was held Nov. 14 at the Oakland Marriott City Center Hotel at 10th and Broadway. Honorary co-chairs included Dr. and Mrs. Harold R. Mayberry, the Honorable Mayor Ronald V. Dellums and First Lady Cynthia Dellums, City Councilmember Desley Brooks and Actor Delroy and Mrs. Neshormeh Lindo. Read more

Bay Area Black Music Awards Set for Dec. 13

The Second Annual Bay Area Black Music Awards (BMA) will honor superstars like Hammer, Joe Sample, George Duke, Tower of Power, Shelia E and the Oakland Symphony.

The event will pay tribute to entertainers from around the Bay Area who have been nominated in categories such as jazz, hip-hop, blues, spoken word, R&B and neo soul. This year, the event will also present the Bay Area Gospel Jubilee Awards.

The BMA will be held Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Berkeley Community Theater, 1930 Allston Way, Berkeley. The show will begin with red carpet ceremonies at 6 p.m. and awards at 7 p.m.

In addition to awards for major entertainers, this year the BMA will feature Verge Awards, recognition of entertainers who are on the verge of major stardom.

Tickets and exhibit booth reservations are now being sold and accepted by phoning (510) 393-7930. Information on the BMA is also available at

Elementary School Options Fair Dec. 4

On Thursday, Dec. 4, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the Oakland Unified School District will hold its fourth annual School Options Fair at the Downtown Oakland Marriott, 1001 Broadway in Oakland.

Open enrollment for students who want to attend a school other than the one to which they are assigned will begin Dec. 10 and continue through Jan. 15.

Unlike previous year, this fair focuses exclusively on elementary schools to provide additional support to pre-K families who have never experienced the Options/Open Enrollment process.

Elementary Schools also will offer site tours and open houses. Similarly, Middle and High schools will host open houses and school tours targeted at prospective 5th Grade and 8th grade families throughout the month of December. Read more

Lack of Response To AIDS Epidemic Protested by Marchers

About 50 people marched recently from the Alameda County Administration Building to the federal building and state offices, ending with speeches in front of Oakland City Hall.  At each location they placed coffins and held “die-ins” reminiscent of the early days of the AIDS epidemic in protest of the lack of governmental response.

“I welcome the protests by African American residents in Oakland,” says Dr. Tony Iton, director of the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD), referring to the march that was held Nov. 18.  “The need for increased funding is exceeded only by the need for greater public awareness of the threat of HIV and AIDS in minority communities.  HIV/AIDS prevention funding in California,” he observed, “is a casualty of the state’s ongoing budget crisis.” Read more

Mayor Kicks Off Holiday Toy Drive

Ron Dellums is seeking donations to the 2008 Mayor’s Holiday Toy Drive for the holiday season.

“The Toy Drive works to ensure that many needy children throughout the city are able to share in the holiday season and receive a gift from the City of Oakland and our generous donors,” said Mayor Dellums.

This year marks the 29th year the Mayor’s Holiday Toy Drive has provided toys for Oakland’s children in need.

All financial donations are tax deductible, and checks should be made payable to United Way of the Bay Area/Oakland Toy Drive ; Attn: Cashier’s Office; 221 Main Street, Ste. 300, San Francisco , CA 94105.

Rebecca Kaplan’s Backers Celebrate Victory

kaplan.jpgFrom left to right: Assemblymember Sandre Swanson, Oakland City Councilmember-elect At-Large Rebecca Kaplan, Alameda Labor Council Secretary/Treasurer Sharon Cornu.
By Ken  A. Epstein

Supporters came out Friday evening to the 19th and Broadway campaign headquarters to celebrate Rebecca Kaplan’s recent landslide victory in the race for the Oakland City Council at-large seat.

Kaplan, a member of the AC Transit board, won 62 percent of the vote against Kerry Hamill, a member of the Oakland Board of Education.

“The partnership of the Democratic Party, the labor movement and the community brought about this victory,” said Sharon Cornu, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Alameda County Central Labor Council, speaking at the celebration. Kaplan represents “a new way of operating, a new of listening to diverse constituencies,” Cornu said.

Read more

Awards Recognize Contributions To African American Community

unsung.jpg2008 Unsung Hero Awardees; from left to right, Angela Stewart, Kimberly Kelly Alex Bagwell (in back) Harriet Bagwell, Larry Ware (back) LeRoy Gillead, Nathanial Williams Sr. (back) Monifa Turner, Dr.James Calloway, Thomas Piggee, Radwana Bentley. Photo by Ace Washington.

By Wade Woods

2008 marks the 20th anniversary of the Unsung Hero Awards. Over the past 20 years the San Francisco Library has commemorated more than 125 people with this award which honors the service they have given to the African American community.

In his message to the awardees and members of the community attending the awards celebration City Librarian said “the awardees’ enhance our neighborhoods, support the youths of our community and bring joy through music, goodwill and selfless volunteering.”

The award began at the Western Addition Branch Library 20 years ago in honor of Carter G. Woodson, the father of African American History Month. This years festivities where held at the Koret Auditorium at the Main Library.  Read more

SF NAACP Freedom Fund Gala Celebration

patterson.jpg1. Governor David Patterson and Rev. Amos Brown-SF NAACP  President; 2. NAACP Award recipients Louis L. Garrett Sr. and  Rev. Darolyn Dyson; 3.Jan Williams, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and Rev Cecil Williams; 4. NAACP Award Recipients Dr. Henry Augustine Jr. and Kanema Middleton; 5. San Francisco Purchaser Naomi Kelley, Dr Nathan Hare and wife Dr Julia Hare; 6. Judy Young, Cheryl Troup and Mayor Newsom aide Dwayne Jones; 7. Dr. Fred Moore and CPA Hyacinth Ahuruonye; 8. National NAACP Director Benjamin Jealous and SF NAACP President Rev. Amos Brown; 9. Rev. Arnold Townsend, Governor Patterson and Post writers David Scott and Wade Woods; 10. Governor Patterson, SF Post writer Kevin Jefferson and Post photographer Ace Washington; 11. Governor Patterson and KGO Host Ray Taliafaro; 12. Aileen Hernandez; 13. Willie Brown, Alice Huffman, Governor Patterson and Hollywood NAACP President Willis Edwards; 14. Governor Patterson and daughter of Nancy Pelosi, Christine   Pelosi; 15. Governor Patterson and CA State President Alice Huffman. Photos by Ace Washington  and Kevin Jefferson and graphics by Alapi Bhatt.

Faces Around the Bay: Rarity Lemons

raritylemmons.jpgRarity Lemons, born in 1988, is a  student at U.C. Davis, majoring in Linguistics and Biology and interested in being an Interpreter in the U.S. Embassy.  She calls San Pablo her home, and Providence Missionary Baptist Church, her church.

What is especially rare about Rarity is her gift.  San Pablo Mayor Paul Morris says, “She has a voice like an angel.”  And there seem to be many others who agree that she is a rising new star in our midst. Among her accomplishments: 6 trophies and a tiara from the Miss California Teen pageant, and more trophies at the national pageant….all for her musicianship.

But the interests go on: at Hercules High in San Pablo, president of the African-American Student Union, Mistress of Ceremonies for the Martin Luther King Day celebration, and an active volunteer for breast cancer organizations. She writes for the school paper at Davis. Her vocal appearances in the Bay Area and beyond are full of promise.

Her Mother and Father, Leerma and Donald Lemons, also have two sons Debonaire and Charles.

Photo and text by Barbara Fluhrer.

African-American Baritone-Bass in Heavenly Performance

baritone.jpgThe choir, orchestra, soloists and smaller ensembles prior to performance.  Photos by Adam Turner

On Sunday, the 23rd of November, at Hertz Hall (UC Berkeley) “superlative comments only” was the rule after the University of California Alumni Chorus, augmented by the UC Men’s Choral and UC Women’s Choral, plus selected voices from the San Francisco Unitarian Universalist Choir performed as a 170-voice choir.

The choir, together with a talented women’s ensemble – Perfect Fifth, and, professional soloists, plus a 26-piece orchestra provided the musical background for the 14th best film of all time – Carl Dreyer’s silent movie, “The Passion of Joan of Arc”. The oratorio background, “Voices of Light”, was a composition by Richard Einhorn. Read more

Martin Reynolds Talks Journalism

martinreynolds.jpgFrom left to right: Ron Krause, retired doctor; Martin Reynolds, Editor, Oakland Tribune and Rob Stewart, President of Lake Merritt Breakfast Club and former Oakland Police Officer. Photo by Billy Wilkes.

By Bill Moore

The Oakland Tribune has been around for 134 years, but like newspapers generally, it is in a struggle for survival, according to Tribune Editor Martin Reynolds, who spoke and answered questions last Thursday at a regular meeting of the Lake Merritt Breakfast Club.

“My goal is to tell you where the journalism business is today and the challenges it faces,” said Reynolds, who edits one of 11 local newspapers that make up the Bay Area News Group.

Reynolds, born in San Francisco and raised in Berkeley, rose through the ranks at the Tribune from being an intern in 1995 to his current role, where as editor he has day-to-day impact on what readers see in the paper.

Read more

The Obamas Have a Rabbi in the Family

By Anthony Weis
Jewish Daily

capersfunnyemug.jpgWhile Barack Obama struggled to capture Jewish votes, it turned out that one of his wife’s cousins is the country’s most prominent black rabbi.

Michelle Obama, wife of the Democratic presidential nominee, is a first cousin once removed of Rabbi Capers Funnye, spiritual leader of a mostly black synagogue on Chicago’s South Side. Funnye’s mother, Verdelle Robinson Funnye, and Michelle Obama’s paternal grandfather, Frasier Robinson Jr., were brother and sister.

Funnye (pronounced fuh-NAY) is the chief rabbi of the Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation in southwest Chicago. He is well known in Jewish circles for acting as a bridge between mainstream Jewry and the much smaller, and largely separate, world of black Jewish congregations, sometimes known as black Hebrews, or Israelites. He has often urged the larger Jewish community to be more accepting of Jews who are not white.

Funnye’s famous relative gives an unexpected twist to the much-analyzed relationship between Barack Obama and the Jewish community. On the one hand, Jewish political organizers, voters and donors — including some of the city’s wealthiest and most prominent families — played an essential role in Obama’s rise to power in Chicago. But the Illinois senator has struggled to overcome suspicions in some parts of the Jewish community, including skepticism about his stance on Israel, and discredited but persistent rumors that he is secretly a Muslim. Read more

Partnership to Mentor High Risk Youth In Oakland

By Post Staff

jacksondellums.jpgMayor Ron Dellums and the Oakland Police Department are working with the national O.K. (Our Kids) Mentorship Program to create a local partnership between police, schools, students, community members and the faith community to provide positive guidance for youth who are at high risk for incarceration and homicide.

The focus of the program will be young African-American men between the ages of 12-18 years old. Utilizing one-on-one mentoring, the program is designed to reduce the high incarceration rate of African American males, reduce gang affiliation and gun violence and promote healthy life styles and academic performance.

“This program is one of the ways we can step up” to meet the needs of young African American men,” said Mayor Dellums, speaking at the program’s kick-off press conference last Saturday at Acts Full Gospel Church.

“One reason I’m here today is because someone stepped up and gave me an opportunity,” he said. “Life is a marathon; it is my generation’s job to pass the baton to the generation of our youth, and it is their job to pass the baton to the next generation.” Read more

DeVon Franklin’s Hollywood Executive Star is Rising

devonfranklin.jpgThe producer’s chair in Hollywood is rarely occupied by African Americans, but things are changing.  DeVon Franklin, a Bay Area native  who attended Albany High School and earned Business Administration degree from USC, has been recently named vice president of production at Columbia Pictures.

The dynamic Franklin has already become a major player in the industry having worked on box office hits such as “The Pursuit of Happyness” and “Hancock,” both starring Will Smith, which grossed $305 million and $550 million, respectively.

Franklin began his career as an intern for Handprint Entertainment, and went on to work as a production assistant to James Lassiter at Overbrook Entertainment..  He then became an executive at Tracy Edmond’s, Edmonds Entertainment.

In addition to his entertainment industry pursuits, Franklin is a Christian minister and motivational speaker.  He travels from Los Angeles to Oakland at least one weekend a month to preach at Wings of Love Maranatha Ministries, where he is an ordained Elder. Read more

Ralph J. Grant’s Crowning Glory

ralphgrant1.jpgRalph Grant has been added to the list of great baseball stars whose names appear on Oakland’s playing fields, ballparks and recreation centers. When Greenman Field was renamed in Grant’s honor last week, he joined his friends Rickey Henderson, Joe Morgan and Curtis Flood and other baseball and professional stars who have guided youth. His wife Gloria (upper left), councilmember  Desley Brooks, former Mayor Elihu Harris and John Burris were among the hundreds who dedicated the field and placed Ralph Grant’s name alongside of other Oakland Hall of Famers. Photos by Gene Hazzard and graphics by Alapi Bhatt.

Friends, fraternity brothers and family of Ralph J. Grant came together on Sunday, November 23 at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Center to honor a great man in the community.

The City of Oakland held the ceremony, changing the name of Greenman Field Park to the Ralph J. Grant Park, located on 66th Avenue near International Boulevard. Widely recognized for his passion for baseball and his commitment to his profession as an accountant, he dedicated his energies in both to serve the community for a span of 30 years. Read more

Mayors from Cape Verde, West Africa Visit the Bay Area

capeverde.jpgCape Verdean West Association President, Barbara Andrade of Oakland with Camilo Andrade Goncalves (left), Mayor of Brava, Cape Verde. West Africa and Eugenio Veiga, Mayor of Fogo. Photo by Gene Hazzard.

Mayors from Cape Verde in West Africa, Camilo Gonçalves of Brava and Eugénio Veiga of Fogo, along with Deputy João Alves and interpreter Armindo Gonçalves, arrived in Oakland Nov.20, where they met with Mayor Ron Dellums.

The delegation was in the Bay Area was to meet with experts and establish relationships to create a more sustainable future in Cape Verde. They were seeking information about environmental and economic issues, private land investment, humanitarian causes, solar energy, education and jobs for youth, water development and conservation, community gardening and sustainable products for positive waste management.
Read more

Change breeds hate among racist groups

Not everyone is happy about the Obama presidency, as evidenced by the rise in race related hate crimes since Nov. 4. This LA Times Article details the renewed energy in the of hate groups around the country.

Aspiring KKK member killed

The Ku Klux Klan is emerging from decades of disorganization and obscurity, and the turnaround is acutely evident — more than 200 hate-related incidents have been reported since the Nov. 4 election.

By Howard Witt

Reporting from Bogalusa, La. – Barely three weeks since America elected its first black president, noose hangings, racist graffiti and death threats have struck dozens of towns across the country.

More than 200 such incidents — including cross burnings, assassination betting pools and effigies of President-elect Barack Obama — have been reported, according to law enforcement authorities and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups. Read more

Obama brings hometown mentor to the White House

President Elect Obama has been receiving kudos from major news media dn observers for his careful choices to key power positions. This article in from the New York Times shows that he’s also staying true to his roots and not forgetting the people who put him in power.

Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

An Old Hometown Mentor, and Still at Obama’s Side


CHICAGO — On a dark afternoon last week, the road to Jerusalem and Beijing momentarily veered through the office of a real estate company here.

Valerie Jarrett, the company’s chief executive, had signed her resignation letter an hour earlier, and now she was taking phone calls from potential top diplomatic appointees.

“You don’t need to thank me,” she said soothingly to a booming male voice on her cellphone. “I just wanted you to have a chance to make your case.”

If someone were to rank the long list of people who helped Barack and Michelle Obama get where they are today, Ms. Jarrett would be close to the top. Nearly two decades ago, Ms. Jarrett swept the young lawyers under her wing, introduced them to a wealthier and better-connected Chicago than their own, and eventually secured contacts and money essential to Mr. Obama’s long-shot Senate victory.

In the crush of his presidential campaign, Ms. Jarrett could have fallen by the wayside, as old mentors often do. But the opposite happened: Using her intimacy with the Obamas, two BlackBerrys and a cellphone, Ms. Jarrett, a real estate executive and civic leader with no national campaign experience, became an internal mediator and external diplomat who secured the trust of black leaders, forged peace with Clintonites and helped talk Mr. Obama through major decisions. Read more

GPS: invasion of privacy or cop's secret weapon?

An interesting article from the Los Angeles Times. What does this mean for privacy rights?The units can place a suspect at a crime scene, undermine an alibi or prove fault in an accident. And though privacy rights advocates don’t like the intrusion, courts tend to side with authorities.

GPS technology doubles as crime-fighting tool

By Carol J. Williams

In their cocoons of leather upholstery, soothing high-tech sound systems and automatically-activated personal seat settings, drivers have come to regard their car interiors as mobile extensions of the homes that are their private refuges.

The courts have tended to disagree.

Global positioning systems and factory-installed “black box” event data recorders effectively keep late-model vehicles under 24/7 surveillance, providing evidence that can place a suspect at a crime scene, undermine an alibi, expose a cheating spouse or prove liability in an accident.

Although privacy rights advocates warn that the devices augment an already intrusive network of security cameras, speed-monitoring radars and instantly available databases, police and prosecutors hail the technologies as powerful investigative and forensic tools. Read more