From July 2009

City Releases First Annual Housing Report

The city has released of the first Housing Annual Report, designed to offers a clear explanation of housing-related activities funded by the city – from housing the homeless, to assisting first-time home buyers, to rebuilding public housing.
The report describes the city’s efforts to increase affordable housing options and is informative for homeowners and renters.
“As we face challenging economic times, San Francisco strives to provide residents with decent and affordable housing, and to aggressively push housing development as an economic stimulus,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom.
“Home construction plays a vital role in maintaining strong communities since construction of new housing creates valuable jobs and revenue for our City, as well as places to call home for residents of all income levels,” he said.
The report describes the need to create more housing, particularly new affordable housing, in San Francisco as critical to combating the local housing imbalance between housing supply and market demand. During 2008, Mayor Newsom pursued the goal of doubling the pace of housing production by continuing to push forward the reforms of San Francisco’s permitting process that are central to the Home 15/5 Initiative.
Furthermore, the city is working to address a broad range of housing challenges for families and individuals that need affordable housing.
Highlights from 2008 demonstrate that San Francisco has achieved the following; 576 new affordable homes were built, and an additional 973 are currently under construction; developers built a total of 3,340 new housing units (including both affordable and market rate units), a 73 percent increase over the 10-year average in new production; over 9,000 homeless single adults left the streets or shelter system for permanent housing since 2004.
For a copy of the report go to www.sfgov.org/moh

City Receives $96 Million in Housing and Infrastructure Funds

The California Department of Housing and Community Development has awarded over $96 million in funds to housing developments in San Francisco seeking to start construction.
Awards were from two state programs created through the 2006 passage of Proposition 1C, the Transit Oriented Development and Infill Infrastructure Grant programs.
“This funding is a critical piece of San Francisco’s economic stimulus efforts—these developments will get people back to work quickly on projects that will make San Francisco a more environmentally and economically sustainable city,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “If not for this state support, these projects would be severely delayed or entirely abandoned.”
The purpose of both programs is to foster the development of environmentally sustainable, higher-density infill housing situated near existing transit, public services and amenities.
Among the successful applicants was Hunters View, the city’s first mixed-income public housing development as part of its HOPE SF initiative to sustainably redevelop and preserve its remaining severely distressed public housing projects.
The state gave Hunters View $30 million, the maximum amount possible.
After receiving only one award from either program in 2008, San Francisco succeeded in securing support for seven projects this year; two transit oriented development projects and five infill infrastructure projects.
“These programs represent a terrific partnership opportunity for the City, State and private developers to both build significant new affordable housing and provide much needed economic stimulus,” said Doug Shoemaker, Director of the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing.
The seven San Francisco developments represent a total of over $600 million of development activity within the City and over 1,200 units of housing. The projects awarded for infill infrastructure are: Hunters View, $30 million; 
333 Harrison, $11.6 million; 
5800 Third Street, $10.4 million; 
2235 Third St., $7.4 million; 
178 Townsend St., $3.6 million.
\The awards for transit oriented development projects are: Tenderloin YMCA, 220 Golden Gate Ave., $17 million; 
1000 Fourth St., $17 million.
The timing of the delivery of these funds depends on the state’s financial situation, but the funds are expected to be available to projects this fall.

Generation next: “The Black Calvin Klein”

By Tasion
Kwamilele

Fashion has been the focus of Brice Glenn’s life since he was a young boy. Always having a keen sense of style and a love for the fashion industry, he has dedicated his energies to creating unique styles of clothing for both men and women.
Raised in Naples, FL, Glenn relocated to Tampa, where he attended the International Academy of Design and Merchandising. After completing his studies, he moved to San Francisco where established his own company, “Fashions by Brice” with both men’s and women’s lines.
The men’s line, known as “2020 – 2K3” is sophisticated with a contemporary twist. Glenn has added a unique style and design to everyday items such as shirts that have unique cuts and jeans that have innovative pocket designs and themes.
Overall, the line enhances the male physique with styles and cuts that have a universal appeal. Even the women’s line known as “Salt Shaker” embodies women’s physique, regardless of size, adding flair and a new approach to everyday wear.
While Glenn calls himself the “Black Calvin Klein,” he pays respect to African American designers who came before him and defied all limitations in the fashion industry.
Designers such as Willi Smith, CEO of Williwear Ltd, paved the way for many African American male designers. Smith attended the illustrious Parsons School of Design in New York and studied and freelanced with fashion greats such as Arnold Scaasi and Bobbie Brooks Sportswear Company.
Smith’s company broke all barriers for Blacks when his company began grossing $25 million in clothing sales a year.
“In the next 10 years, I see my fashions setting an even greater precedent for African Americans, especially males, in the world of fashion,” said Glenn. His designs are on sale in stores around the Bay Area including, Yesy’s Imports in San Carlos, Fashion Trends in San Francisco and “A Diva’s Closet” in Oakland.

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Obama Honors S.F. State Professor for Science Mentoring

For nearly 20 years, Frank Bayliss’ mentoring work has made San Francisco State a leader in training and educating minority students in the sciences. For his efforts, Bayliss has been awarded a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.
Bayliss will officially receive the award during a reception at the White House this fall.
Bayliss had already been teaching biology at SF State for nearly two decades when he noticed a shortage of students –particularly underrepresented minorities –in the sciences who went on to complete master’s and doctoral degrees.
He founded the Student Enrichment Opportunities (SEO) office in 1992 to meet that need. The office provides financial support and mentoring to students in the sciences from the undergraduate to doctoral level. SEO now helps send 20 to 25 underrepresented minority students from SF State to doctoral programs each year.
The SEO office provides financial support, hands-on research opportunities and supplementary instruction for science students. Bayliss himself provides one-on-one mentoring with the 70 current students in the program. To date, more than 800 SEO-funded students have benefited from the office’s mentoring, scholarships, classes and seminars.
“In the sciences we’re apprentices that go through apprenticeship after apprenticeship,” said Bayliss, who came to SF State in 1975. “Science is the product of generations of scientists passing on what they came to know and how they came to know it. You get a tremendous reward watching somebody with potential and talent rise above their history.”
The SEO has yielded significant results including higher retention and academic achievement of underrepresented minorities in the sciences. From 1984 to 2003, only one minority undergraduate from SF State went on to complete a doctorate in the sciences.
From 2004 to 2007, 21 underrepresented minorities completed doctorates in the sciences, with another 73 expected to complete doctorates in the next five years.
“Too much scientific talent goes unused in the United States because many students have not had appropriate encouragement and opportunity to pursue scientific careers,” said Sheldon Axler, dean of the College of Science and Engineering. “Because of Professor Bayliss’ work, many students whose scientific talents would have been lost to our nation are now working on the frontiers of science.”
In addition to mentoring students, Bayliss and the SEO have been active in helping to increase the diversity of SF State’s science faculty and mentoring junior faculty members. He helps new faculty learn everything from time organization and teaching techniques to securing grants and running lab budgets. Bayliss said he receives phone calls from former students who are now professors at other universities looking for advice in their careers and how to mentor students at their own institutions.
Equating mentoring to coaching, Bayliss said: “I get all the credit, but I’m like the coach with the All-American quarterback and the great team.”

Frank Bayliss

Frank Bayliss

NAACP Back Civil Rights for Musicians Law

The National Association for the Advanced of Colored People (NAACP) has passed a resolution supporting a federal bill that would provide performance royalties for musicians
The resolution, passed July 14 at the NAACP’s national convention in New York, backs Rep. John Conyer’s Performance Rights Act, H.R. 848—a civil rights bill for musicians.
Big radio corporations like Clear Channel and Radio One refuse to pay musicians a single cent when their music is played on the radio—a practice the bill would end, according to the NAACP. The bill in Congress applies to big corporate radio – a specific provision protects small radio stations including all small Black-owned radio stations.
“The NAACP recognizes that many black musicians are penniless in old age because Radio One and Clear Channel don’t pay royalties. Performance rights is a civil rights issue, it is a workers’ rights issue,” said Sean Glover, spokesperson for the musicFIRST Coalition.
“This civil rights for musicians legislation guarantees fair pay for musicians. This is a rebuke of Radio One and Clear Channel for exploiting musicians and smearing members of the Congressional Black Caucus,” Glover said.

More Mosquitoes, Birds Test Positive for West Nile Virus

More mosquitoes and three more dead birds were confirmed positive for West Nile virus in Contra Costa County.
The mosquitoes were trapped near Lakewood Drive and Summer Lakes Drive in Oakley on July 13. Last week, another group of mosquitoes were confirmed West Nile virus positive from the same location.
The birds were found in Danville near Bordeaux Court and Tuscany Way; in Concord near St. George Drive and Port Chicago Highway; and in Martinez near Via El Dorado Lane and Howe Street.
“This hot weather coupled with standing water is the perfect environment for mosquitoes and increases the risk for contracting West Nile virus through their bites,” said Deborah Bass, spokeswoman for the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District.
“Besides wearing mosquito repellent, reporting standing water such as neglected swimming pools is critical to reducing your risk,” she said.
Repellents with the ingredient DEET is highly recommended, along with repellents containing Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
The district uses surveillance information such as virus-positive mosquitoes and dead bird reports to concentrate their control efforts in areas where people have a higher risk of contracting the disease. The public is reminded to report neglected swimming pools or other water sources where mosquitoes emerge. Reports may be made anonymously.
Most people who are bitten by a mosquito with West Nile virus will not get sick; however, up to 20 percent of the population infected with West Nile virus will get West Nile fever. West Nile fever causes people to experience mild to severe flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, body ache and possible paralysis.
Less than one percent of infected individuals will require hospitalization. The elderly and those with compromised immune systems are most susceptible to illness and death caused by the virus.
For information concerning human West Nile virus symptoms, prevention, or testing, please call the Contra Costa Health Services department at (888) 959-9911 or visit their Web site at www.ccpublichealth.org.

Obesity Could Cost Contra Costa Over $1 Billion

Rising obesity rates could cost Contra Costa County more than $1.3 billion annually in health care costs and lost productivity, according to a study released recently by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy.
The report shows a 33 percent rise in obesity rates statewide and the reported economic impact of being overweight, obese and physically inactive has nearly doubled, now costing California as a whole an estimated $41 billion a year.
An update of a 2000 report, this study breaks down the costs by county to allow local policy makers, business and community leaders, and community residents to know the economic effect of these conditions in their geographic areas.
Obesity is a troubling epidemic, said Dr. Wendel Brunner, Public Health Director with Contra Costa Health Services, which is Contra Costa’s public health system.
“With the epidemic of obesity we are seeing an increase in risks for heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that if current trends continue, as many as one out every five children today will grow up to have type II diabetes,” he said.
“Such health problems are devastating to the community and significantly drive up health care costs,” Brunner said “However, this analysis shows that if we can reduce obesity by even a small amount, it can have a significant benefit. This is why it is important to put resources into programs that help prevent and reduce obesity.”
The health services agency is involved in the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) collaborative in West County, which is working with communities, schools, business and health providers to promote healthy eating and physical activity in the community.
The City of Richmond has developed a Health and Wellness element in its general plan that is designed to encourage the building of walkable neighborhoods, bike paths, access to healthy food, and safe parks and play grounds.

More Painful Budget News for Schools, County

Governor Schwarzenegger and the State legislative leaders have an agreement to close the additional $26 billion gap that occurred after adoption of the state budget. This agreement will carry plenty of pain for local public schools and Alameda County residents, who must brace for more reductions in services to children, the elderly, the poor and the disabled.
The budget deal, which still must be approved in Sacramento, calls for $4.3 billion to be diverted from local governments into the state’s coffers. In addition, the cuts will include an estimated $6.1 billion for school districts and community colleges, including retroactive cuts for the 2008-09 school year, as well as $2.8 billion to the university and state college systems.
The new round of reductions announced by the Governor and legislative leadership will come on top of cuts to local services that Alameda County approved on June 25 by adopting a balanced final budget for 2009-2010, which closed a $178 million budget gap.
Alameda County is particularly concerned about the state’s plan to take more local revenues — property tax, gas tax and redevelopment funds — to pay its bills. Alameda County stands to lose as much as $40 million more in local property taxes “borrowed’’ by the state in the coming year, while the move to take local gasoline taxes will cost the county $35 million over the next two years and decimate county road maintenance and traffic safety programs.
The budget also calls for shifting $1.7 billion in local redevelopment funds to the state, which will carry another $9 million impact on Alameda County. The state’s spending plan also includes significant cuts to health, social services, public safety and other programs that will impact Alameda County residents.
“The Governor and the legislative leadership may have an agreement but unfortunately, they do not understand the dire impacts it will have on the critical safety net services for our most vulnerable populations – children, the elderly, the poor and the disabled,’’ said Susan S. Muranishi, Alameda County Administrator.’’

City Seeks Input to Improve Parks

Have ideas on how to improve Berkeley’s parks and recreation facilities? Community input is needed to decide how to spend nearly $5 million in Measure WW funds that will be used to make permanent improvements in Berkeley parks and facilities.
The city is conducting a public process to identify community priorities for the use of Measure WW funding. Through the East Bay Regional Park District, Measure WW will provide the city with nearly $5 million toward park improvements over the next nine years.
Berkeley residents are invited to submit a one-page proposal for each project that they would like to see given top priority. The Parks and Recreation Commission will review the proposals.
Residents whose proposals are placed on a short list may be asked to provide a brief presentation or additional information for the commission’s consideration. The commission will make a recommendation to the City Council in November 2009.
In order to be eligible, projects must be consistent with the city’s General Plan as it relates to parks and recreation, must have completed the environmental review process and must be located on land that is owned by the city or leased by the city for at least 25 years.
Projects for libraries, street beautification and public art that is not associated with a parks and recreation facility are not eligible.
Measure WW is a local grant program for the acquisition and development of countywide and regional parks and recreation facilities. It is funded by a bond measure approved by Alameda County and Contra Costa County voters in November 2008.
For a complete list of eligibility criteria, a project proposal form, and more information regarding the public process and Measure WW, please see the Measure WW Park Bond page at www.CityofBerkeley.info/parks.

Bill to Expand Port Chicago National Memorial

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer has reintroduced the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial Enhancement Act to improve visitor access to the World War II site and assure its long-term preservation. 


Boxer introduced the legislation on the eve of the 65th anniversary of the explosion at Port Chicago, which killed and wounded hundreds of African-American sailors. The incident played a central role in the desegregation of the U.S. Armed Forces. 


“The Port Chicago National Memorial ensures that the stories of those who served and died there will not be forgotten,” Boxer said. “By expanding visitor access to this historic site, we will assure that future generations can honor and learn from these brave soldiers, who selflessly served our country and fought to overcome racial segregation.”
On the night of July 17, 1944, sailors were loading merchant ships when more than 5,000 tons of ammunition ignited, killing 320 sailors and wounding hundreds more in the deadliest homefront disaster during World War II.
Less than a month after the explosion, the surviving sailors were ordered to resume duty at a new site. Most refused, citing their concerns about unsafe conditions. In response, the Navy charged 50 men with mutiny, and all were convicted. 


The case of the “Port Chicago 50,”which was championed by civil rights lawyer and future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, influenced the Navy’s decision in 1946 to begin racial desegregation. In 1948, President Truman ordered the desegregation of all of the Armed Forces.
In 1992, Congress authorized the creation of a National Memorial at Port Chicago. Senator Boxer’s bill would designate the Memorial as a unit of the National Park System and authorize the Interior Department to work with the City of Concord and the East Bay Regional Park District to operate a visitor’s center. 


If the Secretary of Defense determines that the land is no longer needed for military purposes, the bill would authorize the transfer of the Memorial to the National Park Service.

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Port Chicago after the July 17, 1944 explosion.rial to the National Park Service.

Port Chicago after the July 17, 1944 explosion.rial to the National Park Service.

Federal Hate Crime Laws Strengthened

The U.S. Senate has passed legislation that will strengthen the ability of federal, state and local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute hate crimes. 


The Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, passed by the Senate on July 16, adds gender, sexual orientation, disability and gender identity to the list of protected categories under federal hate crimes laws. The measure also provides additional federal support to state and local authorities investigating and prosecuting hate crimes.
“(The) vote to combat hate crimes is a great step forward in our journey to form a more perfect union,” Senator Barbara Boxer said.
“Violent acts based on gender, sexual orientation, disability and gender identity are hate crimes propelled by bias and bigotry, and they can never be tolerated in a fair and just society. This legislation will help law enforcement investigate and prosecute hate crimes across the country,” she said.
“This vote brings us closer to the day when we will truly be able to say there is equal justice for all.”

Kenneth Stampp, 96, Berkeley Historian

Kenneth M. Stampp, a University of California, Berkeley, professor emeritus of history and a scholar known for paving the way to a sharply revised assessment of American slavery, the coming of the American Civil War and Southern Reconstruction, died in Oakland on July 10. He was 96.
Although Stampp’s work aroused controversy in some academic quarters, his interpretations prevailed, and he is recognized today as one of the most influential 19th century historians.
In his 1950 book “And the War Came: The North and the Secession Crisis, 1860-1861,” Stampp rejected the then-common theory that sectional compromise might have saved the Union, and he also traced the cause of the Civil War to slavery.
His 1956 book “The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South” remains “the indispensable reinterpretation” of the enslavement of African men and women and has influenced decades of scholarship and teaching, said Leon Litwack, a UC Berkeley professor emeritus of history as well as a former student and colleague of Stampp’s.
“In any subsequent study of slavery, the voices of the slaves themselves could no longer be denied,” Litwack said, referring to the impact of Stampp’s extensive documentation of the daily lives and resistance efforts of slaves.
“He humanized enslaved African Americans and read what they said about slavery rather than depend on the recollections of those who had been their masters.”
As an example, Litwack pointed to Stampp’s final chapter of “The Peculiar Institution,” which contains remarks by a slave who said, “Tisn’t he who has stood and looked on, that can tell you what slavery is, – ‘tis he who has endured. I was Black but I had the feelings of a man as well as any man.”
Stampp, a native of Milwaukee, WI., was born on July 12, 1912. He earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph. D. in history at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Stampp’s “The Era of Reconstruction, 1865-1877” (1965) rejected the traditional notion of Reconstruction as a period of unredeemed sordidness and misrule, and it forced a reappraisal of the often misunderstood and caricatured era.
As a survivor of the Great Depression, Stampp developed a strong sense of social justice and was committed to progressive politics, said his attorney, Richard F. Hill. Stampp actively opposed the Loyalty Oath imposed by the University of California system in the early 1950s, even though he said family concerns led him to reluctantly sign the oath. He participated in one of the 1965 Civil Rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.
His survivors include a son, Kenneth Mitchell Stampp Jr. of Oakland; daughters Sara Katherine Stampp of Berkeley, Jennifer Elizabeth Stampp of El Cerrito, and Michele S. Macartney-Filgate of Toronto; as well as four grandchildren and his partner, Jean Working of Oakland.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Isabel B. and Kenneth M. Stampp Fund for the San Francisco Symphony, c/o the San Francisco Symphony, Davies Hall, San Francisco, CA 94102-4585. A campus memorial event will be held in September

Kenneth M. Stampp

Kenneth M. Stampp

Oakland International Welcomes Volaris Airlines

By Clifford L. Williams

Volaris Airlines recently announced plans to begin its low-cost, nonstop flights between Oakland International Airport and three destinations in Mexico: Guadalajara, Tijuana and Toluca (31 miles west of Mexico City).
The Toluca-Oakland route is targeted to business travelers, as well as leisure travelers visiting family and friends of the Mexican community in the different locations throughout the Bay Area.
“For our new routes, we will continue to offer out traditional affordable prices and first rate quality services, connecting from Oakland to a number of destinations in Mexico,” said Volaris CEO Enrique Beltranena. “From these daily flights, Volaris customers will be able to connect to destinations including Cancun, Hermosillo, Los Cabos, La Paz and Monterrey.”
The three flights represent the beginning of an important investment in the Bay Area region. Volaris is deploying new Airbus aircraft, expected to have an economic impact of $30 million at the Oakland airport over the next two years.
Volaris, based in Santa Fe and Mexico City, was founded in 2006 and currently serves 39 routes in 23 cities throughout Mexico. The company is known for competitive pricing and an end-to-end operations model that has earned the airline the reputation for being Mexico’s most on-time carrier.
Volaris, which has more than 1,500 employees, operates a modern fleet of 18 Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft with an average age of 2.17 years.
For information on Volaris Airlines visit www.volaris.com.mx.

From left to right: Carlos Félix Corona, Consulate of Mexico - San Francisco; Victor Uno, President, Oakland Board of Port Commissioners; Deborah Ale Flint, Assistant Director of Aviation, Port of Oakland; Enrique Beltranena, CEO, Volaris; Honorable Ron Dellums, Mayor, City of Oakland; and Omar Benjamin, Executive Director, Port of Oakland.

From left to right: Carlos Félix Corona, Consulate of Mexico - San Francisco; Victor Uno, President, Oakland Board of Port Commissioners; Deborah Ale Flint, Assistant Director of Aviation, Port of Oakland; Enrique Beltranena, CEO, Volaris; Honorable Ron Dellums, Mayor, City of Oakland; and Omar Benjamin, Executive Director, Port of Oakland.

County Increases Equitable Contract Access

Efforts to make contracting in Alameda County equitable and accessible have recently taken a giant step forward. Alameda County on July 16 released its contracting data from the past three years, which outlined how many contracts go to locally-owned, women-owned and minority-owned businesses.
In addition, on July 15, the county kicked off the Contracting Bonding Assistance Program, an innovative effort designed to help small local contractors and minority-owned business receive bonding, which is essential to their success.
The Contracting Bonding Assistance program is sponsored by Alameda County’s Office of Risk Management. It aims to help small contractors enhance their credit worthiness while minimizing risk and increasing their number of bids on county projects.
This new program offers classes, one-on-one consultation and other business services to assist small contractors in efforts to help them qualify for and participate in projects. The initiative also works in close collaboration with agencies responsible for certifying small, local and emerging businesses.
Ingrid Merriwether, President and CEO of Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services, called the assistance program “a paradigm shift,” one that “eliminates barriers” for small businesses that otherwise cannot qualify for bid bonds.
The Program will help make Alameda County “the clear leader in leveling the playing field so that everyone has access to jobs,” Supervisor Keith Carson told to a large crowd gathered for launch of the assistance program.
“We still have a way to go,” Supervisor Carson said, but the bonding assistance program “is a great start.”
Information released at the July 16 meeting compared county contracts awarded from July 2000 – June 2003 to those awarded from July 2006- June 2009, broken down by gender and ethnicity. Also highlighted were policy changes that have been implemented since the delivery of the Availability Study by Mason Tillman in 2004, and the recommendations put forward by the county’s Executive Steering Group and the Committee’s Community Advisory Group.
Successes included an increase in percentages of contracts going to Minority Owned Businesses and Small, Local and Emerging Businesses, which jumped from 10.4 percent to 38 percent. Specifically noteworthy was an increase in contacts over $500,000 awarded to these businesses growing from 6.8 percent to 38.9 percent.
Yet, not all the news was good. While construction contracts for African American males increased by 50 percent going from $1.8 Million to $2.7 Million, the actual percentage of construction contracts awarded to African American males was about 2.8 percent while numbers of construction contracts that went to firms owned by white males was still close to 51 percent.

Jeannie Chang, Arthur Washington and Geoffrey Pete are members of the Alameda County Procurement and Contracting Committee Advisory Group. Pat O’Connell is the Auditor-Controller for the County, Susan Muranishi is County Administrative Officer, Keith Carson is the County Supervisor for District 5, and Scott Haggerty is the County Supervisor for District 1.

Jeannie Chang, Arthur Washington and Geoffrey Pete are members of the Alameda County Procurement and Contracting Committee Advisory Group. Pat O’Connell is the Auditor-Controller for the County, Susan Muranishi is County Administrative Officer, Keith Carson is the County Supervisor for District 5, and Scott Haggerty is the County Supervisor for District 1.

Gates Arrest at Obama’s Alma Mater, Suggests Post-Racial Era Not Yet Here

Harvard Scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., was arrested last week at his home in Cambridge, MA after a white female passerby thought he was breaking into his own house and called police.
He was charged with disorderly conduct.
“Professor Gates was taken to the Cambridge Police Station where he remained for approximately four hours before being released that evening”
Authorities abruptly dropped criminal charges Wednesday against noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., but for Gates and others, it appeared to be a case of too little, too late.
Black leaders continued to condemn the actions of a Cambridge police sergeant who handcuffed the African-American professor outside his own home last week. Gates extended an unusual offer to the officer: in exchange for an apology, personal tutoring sessions on the history of racism in America.
Last week, Gates had just arrived home from a trip abroad when a Cambridge police officer, alerted to a possible break-in at the house, appeared at the professor’s front door and demanded to see identification. According to a police report, Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct after he became belligerent, yelled at Crowley, repeatedly called him a racist, and declared that the officer had no idea who he was “messing with.’’
Gates denies raising his voice at Crowley other than to demand his name and badge number, which he said the officer refused to give. Crowley wrote in the police report that he had identified himself. Gates also denies calling Crowley a racist.
The Police Department and Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone signed a statement with Gates’s lawyers dropping all charges and declared: “All parties agree that this is a just resolution to an unfortunate set of circumstances.’’ They then declined to respond to requests for further comment.
Not so with Gates, who flatly told a Globe reporter, “I’m outraged. I shouldn’t have been treated this way, but it makes me so keenly aware of how many people every day experience abuses in the criminal justice system. This is really about justice for the least amongst us.’’
Some black leaders said that simply dropping the charges is not enough. The police and the city of Cambridge need to address the intricacies of race in a direct manner, they said.
During the meeting, the police agreed to drop the charge of disorderly conduct, and the parties drew up a conciliatory statement in which they called the incident “regrettable.’’
Harvard’s president, Drew Faust, said in a written statement that while she is gratified that the charges have been dropped, she remains “deeply troubled by the incident.’’
Civic, religious, and civil rights leaders also said the case shows that more needs to be done to improve race relations.
“On one hand, there is a black man who is a millionaire who occupies the White House, and on the other hand, you have one of the most distinguished racial bridge-builders in the country, a scholar intellectual, being arrested,’’ said Rev. Eugene Rivers III, a black leader in Boston.
“The reality is that it doesn’t make a difference how distinguished or exceptional a black person thinks he or she is or may in fact be,’’ Rivers said. “You can be arrested for breathing while black in your own house.’’
Mayor E. Denise Simmons, the first black woman mayor of Cambridge, said the incident has reminded the city that people need to be vigilant about their own behavior and biases.
Two months ago, Cambridge held a public forum on race and class at City Hall. It will hold another dialogue on the topic in October with Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
“Let’s not focus on the Police Department,’’ she said. “It’s all of our problem.’’

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

Brunner Wants to Know How City Benefits From Army Base

City Council President Jane Brunner is raising major questions about the costs and benefits to the city and its residents of two competing Oakland Army Base development proposals and is seeking answers before the council makes a final decision.
“This is one of the biggest decisions we are going to make,” said Brunner, speaking at the at the council’s Community and Economic Development Committee meeting last week. Before making a decision is made, she said, the council needs to know: “What is the financial benefit to the city?”
At stake is the135-acre piece of the Army Base property that belongs to the city. Combined with 168 acres that belong the Port of Oakland, a total of 303 acres are available for development.
The front-runner in the competition is the AMB/California Capital Group (CCG) proposal, whose spokesman is developer Phil Tagami This mixed-use proposal focuses on logistics support for the Port.
The other mixed use proposal, back by Federal/Em Johnson and represented by Michael Johnson, focuses on retail and hospitality development for the site.
The group that wins council support will have 360 days to conduct exclusive negotiations with the city. The council’s decision is scheduled for next week.
Brunner said that she knows that if retail is built at the site, the city will receive sales tax revenue. But how does the city benefit when ships deliver cargo, which is then shipped to other parts of the country.
“To take the only land that we have and say that we are going to make this Port related …– I can see how the Port’s going to benefit…I can how lots of people are going to benefit,” she said “(but) how is the City of Oakland is going to benefit? Where is our revenue stream? I don’t see it in this report.”
She said she was also concerned whether the developers have the financial capacity to back up their proposals. It would be terrible to give one team 360 days to negotiate, only to waste a year after learning that the companies do not have the funds to deliver, she said.
Another problem is that the staff report does not say how much the city will have to pay to subsidize the project, she said. “We’ve been saying we are going to get a lot of stimulus money,” she said, “(But) I would like to have a sense of that.”
Brunner requested wanted to know why the staff has rejected retail development. “I don’t quite understand why you can’t carve out a little retail,” she said. “I hope when you come back that you give a real analysis of why retail won’t work there.”
Brunner backed comments by Port Commissioner Margaret Gordon, who said jobs are always promised to the community when projects are proposed. But they never materialize.
Brunner also commented on the flurry of accusations of improper influence that have surfaced. I’m a little disappointed this has gotten so political, who has who on their team,” she said. “It’s almost starting to feel like who’s been bought off with what?
In related news, the Port Commission on Tuesday awarded the right to negotiate development of its 168 acres of army base property to the AMB/CCG. team of developers.

Jane  Brunner

Jane Brunner

Stimulus Funds Put Youth to Work

Special to the Post

Young people filled every available seat at a recent job preparation workshop at the community center at West Oakland’s Lowell Park.
The session was the first of three mandatory workshops for youth looking for summer employment. The series of workshops, which repeated for several weeks, were sponsored by the Scotlan Center, one of 13 Oakland-based organizations awarded contracts to prepare youth for employment and to send them out to work or train for a six-week period.
Just as instructor Camille Cyrus had warned, that initial workshop was tedious, with rules to go over and paperwork to complete. However, not one young person complained.
Cell phones were off and the youth were attentive. An observer could see they were serious about getting jobs.
As requested, the youth took turns reading the rules out loud. Cyrus reminded the group, dressed as they had been advised – nothing fancy, but appropriate for the workplace – that participation was a key element for success in the workshop.
The more outgoing encouraged the more reticent to read. “The resume and interviewing workshops will be more challenging,” Cyrus promised.
At the end of the three workshop sessions – assuming the youth complete all three and follow the rules – it is expected that 198 young people, age 14 to 24, will end up with a summer job through Scotlan.
This year, Oakland has two summer jobs initiatives and will offer youth across the city about 1,700 jobs. There are different criteria for each of the programs. The Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program, in existence since 1968, serves those Richard de Jauregui, Scotlan executive director, calls the “working poor.” They come from families struggling to make ends meet, but are not considered at poverty level.
The second program is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. California is getting $158 million for its summer youth jobs program. Funds are funneled through the Employment Development Department to local Workforce Investment Boards. In Oakland, the program is administered through a partnership between the Mayor’s Office and the Private Industry Council.
Better known as stimulus funds, this money targets below poverty level youth with special needs such as those who are homeless, parenting, or who have been incarcerated. The designation of poverty varies by family size. A family of four must earn less than roughly $27,000 a year to be considered below poverty level.
The YMCA and Highland Hospital are among the employers who have stepped forward to employ the youths. Hiring young people for the six-week program costs the employer nothing. The program pays each young person $8 per hour up to 160 hours.
Other nonprofits – awarded contracts through competitive bidding – that conduct workshops and send the youth to work or training include the Oakland Green Civic Program (Peralta Foundation), the Spanish Speaking Citizens Foundation, the Lao Family Community Development Center, Youth Radio, The American Indian Child Resource Center, Cycles of Change, Leadership Excellence, Civicorps Schools, Youth Employment Partnership, Inc., Youth Uprising, East Oakland Boxing Association and McCullum Youth Court.

 Youth working to find jobs at a West Oakland workshop. PIC administers the citywide summer jobs program.

Youth working to find jobs at a West Oakland workshop. PIC administers the citywide summer jobs program.

West Oakland Family Fights Foreclosure

By Ken A. Epstein

Tosha Alberty, holding back the tears, stood in front of her West Oakland house Tuesday, explaining how she, her children and grandchildren had been evicted that morning from their home by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department.
“I’m here, standing by the grace of God, doing all I can to keep this home,” said Alberty, who was born and raised in West Oakland and had bought the home at the corner of 10th and Willow streets in 2005.
“Who are they helping with all the (bank bailout) money?” she asked. ”I need the money. I’m a worker, and I’m trying to raise my children.”
The sheriffs had forced their way into the home at 8 a.m. while Alberty was at work. The children were moved out onto the street, with many of their possessions still inside the home. The locks were changed and the windows boarded up.
She has the organized backing of Oakland ACORN, as well as help from the office of County Supervisor Keith Carson and City Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan, Desley Brooks and Nancy Nadel.
At the time of this week’s eviction, with the backing of ACORN she had headed off two previous eviction attempts, and she was under the assumption that negotiations with the bank were still under way.
When Alberty originally purchased the home, she paid $550,000 and had monthly payments of $3,800. Though she was unemployed at the time, a real estate broker arranged a loan and told her that she would be able to refinance in six months, she said.
The family struggled to make their payments. Alberty found a good job – as a union employee working for the county – where she continues to work today. For two years, despite how high the payments were, she paid her mortgage on time and never missed a payment.
Then her payments went up about $1,000 a month more, and she and her family could no longer pay. The mortgage went into default. For months Alberty called the bank to ask for help but was told there was nothing they could do, she said.
Alberty was joined Tuesday afternoon by supporters, including Oakland ACORN and her relatives.
“Tosha is a hard worker. She has good principles. I raised my children good, and she raised her children good,” said Tosha’s father, Charles Alberty, who is a pastor.
“My sister is a victim of fraudulent activities of the bank lenders. These fraudulent lenders should be held accountable,” said Alberty’s brother David Goudeau.

Tosha Alberty (second front right) stands in front on her foreclosed home at 10th and Willow streets with supporters (L to R) Merlyn Amaya and Martha Daniels, from Oakland ACORN; her brother David Goudeau; her son Chris; and her father Charles Alberty. Photos by Gene Hazzard

Tosha Alberty (second front right) stands in front on her foreclosed home at 10th and Willow streets with supporters (L to R) Merlyn Amaya and Martha Daniels, from Oakland ACORN; her brother David Goudeau; her son Chris; and her father Charles Alberty. Photos by Gene Hazzard

“Fashion on the Square” Hits Runway

By Sandra Varner

The 6th Annual Fashion on the Square hits the runway this Saturday and Sunday, July 25 – 26, at the Intercontinental Hotel, 888 Howard St., in San Francisco. The event welcomes b michael with his collection of over 20 looks for both women and men during the couture runway show.
Activities include industry workshops and seminars; a VIP Reception and Couture Designer Runway Fashion Show on July 25, at 6 p.m.; and the popular All Children/Teen Runway Fashion Show on July 26 at 3 p.m.
The Children/Teen runway show will feature over 10 lines with more than 50 models. A partial list of the featured clothing includes: Gymboree, LL Cool J Apparel, Fabulosity, Blue Sky on Broadway and many others.
Event organizer Y’Anad Burrell shared her passion for the event:
Sandra Varner: What made you decide to do this event?
Burrell: Given my passion for fashion, I was inspired to do this event to bring something very unique and different to the San Francisco/Bay Area.
SV: In today’s ever-changing fashion climate, what tips would you give to cost-conscious shoppers?
Burrell: For those “fashionistas” who keep up with trends, we all know that just as history repeats itself, so does the world of fashion. So a big tip for cost-conscious shoppers is to never throw away items that you believe have ‘gone out of style’.
SV – How does your event compare to other major fashion shows such as Macys Passport and the Ebony Fashion Fair?
Burrell: Fashion On The Square (FOTS) is very different, on many levels … Our models are not always the ‘industry height and size’ and our audience is so diverse in age, income level and ethnicity that placing our target audience in a box is a challenge.
Tickets to the shows and seminars are on sale and can be purchased online at www.fashiononthesquare.com. For more information contact: Glass House Communications, Y’Anad Burrell at either info@fashiononthesquare.com or yanad_burrell@glasshousepr.com. Tickets are $75; VIP tickets are $110 with special seating, goodie bag and a meet-and-greet with the designer.

Host A Block Party for National Night Out

Mayor Ron Dellums, the Oakland Police Department and the City’s Neighborhood Services Division are urging Oakland residents to participate in National Night Out Tuesday, August 4 from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
National Night Out is a countrywide block party and an opportunity for residents to organize a barbeque, ice cream social, or other event that is designed to both strengthen neighborhood spirit and raise crime prevention awareness, by helping neighbors get to know each another.
Mayor Dellums, police officers, firefighters and other city staff will be visiting parties throughout the city.
“National Night Out sends a simple, yet profound message to the residents of Oakland,” said Dellums. “When neighbors know each other, neighborhoods are safer. I am confident that the 2009 National Night Out block parties will again serve as a great motivation for people to get out and get to know their community.”
A specific goal of the event will be to communicate to the community that the city understands the various public safety challenges and that a comprehensive public safety strategy is underway. Earlier this year, the mayor made a commitment to reduce crime by 10 percent, and so far homicide is down more than 20 percent, according to police department statistics.
Assaults with firearms are down almost one-third. Part 1 crimes — everything from assault to burglary — are down about 15 percent this year.
Many registered block parties will receive a visit from police officers, firefighters and other city staff. All registered block parties will have give-away items for kids and special gifts for party hosts. To register an event on-line visit www.oaklandnet.com/nno2009.html or call (510) 238-3091.

Beth Eden Holds Scholarship Fundraiser

The Scholarship and Education Committee of Beth Eden Baptist Church in Oakland will host its annual scholarship luncheon Sunday, Aug. 9 at the West Berkeley Senior Center from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 1900 Sixth St. in Berkeley.
The speaker at the event will be Clara Jackson, a retired Oakland teacher, who is a long long-time active member at Beth Eden.
The Education and Scholarship Committee provides scholarships for college students in the Bay Area. There will be door prizes, music and other festivities. Tickets are $35 for adults and $15 for children under 12 years old.
To purchase tickets call the church office at (510) 444-1625.

Michael Jackson’s Funeral a Jehovah’s Witness Service

By Dan Wooding
Founder of
ASSIST Ministries

It has been revealed that Michael Jackson’s private funeral at Forest Lawn cemetery in the Hollywood Hills was a Jehovah’s Witness service.
According to a story posted on www.actressarchives.com, David Fossett, 50, who was Michael Jackson’s cousin, told People magazine that on the Tuesday morning, July 7, the Jackson family gathered for a private ceremony at Forest Lawn, where a Jehovah’s Witness service was conducted by Jackson’s cousin, Wendell Hawkins, and another cousin, Myron Hawkins, who is Wendell Hawkins’ brother.”
“Fossett, who isn’t a Jehovah’s Witness, said that the service was ‘spoken in a way that their belief is that he [God] is going to be back on this earth,’” said the www.actressarchives.com story.
“Hawkins addressed guests and said he was glad that his [Michael’s] life was connected with Jehovah.”
The story went on to say, “Michael Jackson had been vocal about how difficult it was to be raised by Jehovah’s Witnesses, and expressed his sorrow at never getting to celebrate birthdays or holidays as a child. Once he was in his twenties, he began to celebrate his birthday.
“Jackson’s three children attended the service where they leaned on their family members to get them through the emotional experience.”
Fossett was also quoted as saying, “They lost their father. They were sad. All of us were comforting each other.”
Fossett stated in the story that the night before Jackson’s memorial service at the Staples Center, his family viewed his body in an open casket at Forest Lawn cemetery.
Speaking to People magazine, Fossett revealed, “He looked like himself. He looked like he just was lying there sleeping. He looked peaceful.”
Fossett, who grew up with Jackson, explained that relatives who gathered around Jackson’s casket “talked to each other and cried.” Michael’s parents, Katherine and Joe Jackson were not among the gathered family members, but after the viewing, the family headed back to the Jackson home in Encino.

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David Fossett outside Michael Jackson’s boyhood home in Gary, Indiana.

David Fossett outside Michael Jackson’s boyhood home in Gary, Indiana.

“Sistahs Getting Real About HIV/AIDS”

By Jesse
Brooks

Like so many other social problems, the AIDS epidemic is most destructive to those members of society, who are most vulnerable because it is a pattern of poverty and social neglect.
AIDS is the No. 1 cause of death for Black women ages 25 to 44, beating out heart disease, cancer and homicide. When AIDS emerged 25 years ago, it was branded a gay white man’s disease.
Even though it was a leading cause of African American deaths from 1990 through 2000, it wasn’t until 1999 that first National Conference on AIDS explored AIDS as a Black issue, A U.S. study in 2006 showed that Black women are 23 times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV than white women.
From the epidemic’s start, Black people have been disproportionately likely to test positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. African American men, women, and children now account for 51 percent of new HIV diagnosis, although we make up 13 percent of the U.S. population.
As the years have continued, this disease has hit the Black community hard and has rapidly become a Black disease. 

Often buried within the statistics of the general AIDS population, or lumped together with Black men, the statistics on how this disease affects Black women are startling.
There are several factors associated with the vulnerability of women. Biologically women are more likely to contract HIV through sex. Studies show that the virus passes from men to a woman much more easily than from women to men, followed by injection drug use.
Some women may be unaware of their male partner’s risks factors for HIV infection, such as unprotected sex with multiple partners, sex with men, or injection drug use. Male dominance, reinforced by societal norms, reduces women’s ability to protect themselves from infection.
Drug and alcohol abuse is a factor, either through inability to make healthy decisions, or where sex is traded for money or drugs. 

On Saturday, July 25, the Oakland chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women (NCBW) will sponsor a free forum at The Linen Life Gallery at 770 E.14th St. in San Leandro. from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The forum “Sistahs getting real about HIV/AIDS ” will discuss effective interventions to reduce risk behaviors among African American women.
Expected guests are Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Senator Lonnie Hancock and San Francisco Assemblymember Tom Ammiano.
NCBW was founded in 1971 by a group of dedicated women in New York City who initially began meeting in their homes, to assess the problems and opportunities left behind in the wake of the turbulent1960s. These meetings resulted in founding and forming the Coalition of 100 Black Women, with over 7,00 members today.
The Oakland chapter was chartered in 1995 and is one of 63 chapters within the U.S. NCBW is an organization of progressive women of African descent whose voice and force fight for gender equity and social political advancements to drive meaningful change to benefit women of color.
To RSVP for the July 25 event, visit www.onehundredblackwomen.com.
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Few Opportunities for Today’s Convict

By Rico Sims 
 
 
 


Here it is in the year of 2009, and the convict and inmate of today is being treated the same as yesteryear.
When I say yesteryear, I can take this back as far as the early 60s. As an ex convict who served nine years in California prisons, I have seen very little change for the convict of today.
I got out in 1976 with $200 in my pocket from the state. It is still the same. There is no inflation for a convict.
When I got out, I went straight to work for Coca Cola. This was a program, which among others, provided meaningful jobs just for the convict. But now there is nothing for the convict.
That leaves an almost 99 percent chance they will return to prison unless they have family members or know someone with money or a business and have a very cool parole officer.
When I left prison, you had to have a job or register in school. Today, when it’s time for you to parole, all you need is an address. Any address, such as 5th and Main or 6th and Broadway. It’s just something to put on paper.
Today’s reform is five years felony probation. And just think, if you violate the terms of probation, you will be extended. Some of you will never get off of paper. Why? It’s simply because you don’t have Jesus working for you.
I know; no one can tell me what to do; I’m grown. I said the same thing for years. And all it got me was more time. Oh did I tell you that I had to do five years felony probation, along with fines, peeing in a cup monthly and attending a group weekly, for which I had to pay out of my pocket?
Remember, sooner or later, you’re going to have to mind somebody. It took me a while to realize that I couldn’t live my life right without prayer. Prayer changes things.
After spending almost half of my life behind bars, I am now almost 60 years of age. I do have the knowledge of how to stay out of prison. B-36607 is my prison number, which I gave back to them in 1977.
Though I’ve had little scrapes here and there, I avoid all madness and manage to have my behind off the streets before dark.

PG&E’s Black Employees Award Scholarships

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and its Black Employees Association have awarded $90,000 in college scholarships to 48 high school seniors and continuing college students from northern and central California.
Students received scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 in recognition of their demonstrated excellence in leadership, community service and academic achievement. They were chosen from more than 400 applications submitted by students who live within PG&E’s service area.
“We are proud to encourage this year’s scholarship recipients in their efforts to pursue higher education,” said Bill Harper, the association’s sponsoring officer and chief diversity officer for Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
“Investing in the education of students who have shown dedication, leadership and service commitment is an investment in the future of our communities,” he said.
This is the 28th consecutive year that the employees association has awarded scholarships to deserving students of all backgrounds. The funds were collected from PG&E employees’ contributions to the company’s Campaign for the Community program, fundraising events and from PG&E’s corporate charitable giving.
Students interested in applying for future PG&E’s scholarship programs may visit www.pge.com/scholarships for more information.

The 2009 scholarship recipients are: Sydney Allen, Nediva Anderson, Bethlehem Aynaken, Jordan Bryant, Gregory DeRenzis, Marcia Dos Santos, Conrad Egan, Hagar Elgendy, Benjamin Fong, Alejandro Gonzalez, Jose Guzman, Kristina Hammarstrom, Chuar Herr, Samantha Hirsch, Jonathan Ho, Kevin Hsiue, Terence Johnson, Brittany Jones, Leonard Jones, James Kuhle, Yammy Kung, Yvonne J Lin, Brianda Macias, Marquis Marcilous, Symone McDaniels, Vivian Nguyen, Rebecca Obasi, Babatunde Onadele, Brianna Pang, Christopher Paschal, Anamaria Perez, Lindsey Poole, Na’im Powell, Adaramola Redmond, Rosario Reyes Garcia, Azucena Robles, Nina Saunders, Marissa Souza, Jessica Smyers, Deminika Spears, Alicia Stevenson, Breayre Tender, Clara Tsao, Michael Tubbs, Taneya Vines, Kevin Wu, Maria Yepez, Stacey Yip.

The 2009 scholarship recipients are: Sydney Allen, Nediva Anderson, Bethlehem Aynaken, Jordan Bryant, Gregory DeRenzis, Marcia Dos Santos, Conrad Egan, Hagar Elgendy, Benjamin Fong, Alejandro Gonzalez, Jose Guzman, Kristina Hammarstrom, Chuar Herr, Samantha Hirsch, Jonathan Ho, Kevin Hsiue, Terence Johnson, Brittany Jones, Leonard Jones, James Kuhle, Yammy Kung, Yvonne J Lin, Brianda Macias, Marquis Marcilous, Symone McDaniels, Vivian Nguyen, Rebecca Obasi, Babatunde Onadele, Brianna Pang, Christopher Paschal, Anamaria Perez, Lindsey Poole, Na’im Powell, Adaramola Redmond, Rosario Reyes Garcia, Azucena Robles, Nina Saunders, Marissa Souza, Jessica Smyers, Deminika Spears, Alicia Stevenson, Breayre Tender, Clara Tsao, Michael Tubbs, Taneya Vines, Kevin Wu, Maria Yepez, Stacey Yip.