From December 2010

Smoking Declines Among Blacks and Latinos

Continued on page 8

New state figures released this week by the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) and the California Department of Public Health show a 41 percent decline in adult smoking since 1988 for African Americans.
Latinos saw a similar drop. Statewide, adult smoking rates have dropped 42 percent since 1990 to 13.1 percent, the lowest ever.
“I am proud of the tremendous progress that California has made during the past 20 years,” said CHHS Secretary Kim Belshé, “but our job is not yet complete because nearly four million Californians still smoke, and tobacco remains the No. 1 cause of preventable death and disease.”
Tobacco use was highest among African-Americans, at 14.2 percent, compared with 8.1 percent among Asians and 10.2 percent among Latinos. The highest smoking rates were seen among men, people with lower income and education levels, and rural residents. Read more

“Kitchen of Champions” Trains Chefs

By Tracy Baxter

Lonnie (left) and Derrick at St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County’s culinary training and job placement program. Photo by Tracy Baxter.

Participants in Kitchen of Champions, St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County’s culinary training and job placement program, have been putting their newly minted kitchen skills to use in helping staff chefs prepare a nutritious midday meal for anyone in need, serving up to 1,000 diners a day.
The   program   acts as a reset of sorts. Many of the participants have grappled with addictions, been laid off or suffered personal setbacks that took them out of the workforce. Completion of the program offers a fresh start, armed with new skills and a new outlook. In its first full year of operation, the Kitchen of Champions graduated 70 individuals. Nearly two-thirds of those graduates are working today. Read more

National Search Begins for New Oakland City Administrator

Mayor-elect Jean Quan

Mayor-elect Jean Quan began a national search this week for a new city administrator to help manage Oakland.
Quan announced that Sacramento-area based Ralph Andersen & Associates has been chosen to work with a team of current and former municipal administrators to find an experienced, progressive day-to-day city administrator for her new administration.
Ralph Andersen & Associates will be working closely with Henry Gardner, former Executive Director of the Association of Bay Area Governments and former Oakland City Manager; Former Berkeley City Manager Dan Boggan; Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi; and San Francisco City Administrator Ed Lee, she said. Read more

“Bible Fellowship’s Disaster Relief Ministry”

Volunteers at Bible Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church prepared holiday food boxes to feed 150 families. Photo by Gene Hazzard.

Bible Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church recently prepared holiday food boxes to enable 150 families to enjoy the season with a festive dinner.
Each box contained turkey, ham, chicken, macaroni & cheese, stuffing mix, canned vegetables, cake mix, corn bread mix, chicken stock, cranberry sauce, fresh fruit, potatoes, rice, beans, eggs, can milk, onions, bell peppers, celery and beverages such as bottled water, milk, eggnog and orange juice. Read more

With No More Cotton To Pick, What Will America Do With 36 Million Black People?

By Phillip Jackson

What will America do with 36 million Black Americans now that there is no more cotton to pick?  Even in states like Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, Black people are not involved in the planting, growing or harvesting of cotton.  This is now done by White and Latino men and women who drive machines that plant and pick the cotton, as millions of Black men of working age stand idle on street corners.  For Black people in America, there is no more cotton to pick.
Black people were brought to America as slaves to pick cotton, tobacco and sugar cane.  America’s dilemma today is: what to do with 36 million Black American descendants of slaves who were shipped to American shores 400 years ago for their economic value yet whose heirs today have lost that value?  While America might have once considered shipping Black Americans back to Africa, that is no longer a practical or palatable option. Read more

New Technology Guide Helps Entrepreneurs Grow Their Small Businesses and Create Jobs

Earvin “Magic” Johnson

A new technology tool for small businesses is now available to help them grow and create jobs.  The new education resource, Business Technology Simplified, helps small business owners connect the dots between entrepreneurship and technology to give them a competitive edge.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has a free, comprehensive guide on how technology can improve the small business owner’s chances for success.  The Business Technology Simplified guidebook includes fundamentals on the importance of technology, and on how it can be used to achieve a business’s goals.  In the guidebook’s foreword, Earvin “Magic” Johnson writes about his journey in developing a multimillion dollar company and the value of technology to remain competitive. Read more

Agyeman’s Sankofa Experience

Allows buyers to “Go back  and fetch what you forgot.”

By Tasion Kwamilele

Ellen Ama Agyeman

In Ghana, West Africa, the Ghanaian people are taught to never forget their history and to always pay tribute to their African roots.  Now a U.S. resident, Ellen Ama Agyeman is holding steadfast to those lessons and her downtown store SANKOFA is a testament of that truth.
Sankofa means “go back and fetch what you forgot”
“It is said that during the Atlantic Slave Trade, the birds would follow the slave ships but after a certain point they wouldn’t fly. Instead, the birds would fly back to Africa. That is where the Sankofa bird and ideology comes from and that is what my store is all about,” said Agyeman.
Agyeman’s family already owns a business in Ghana, so when she moved to the United States in the earlier 90’s, she felt the need to keep the family tradition alive.   In 1996, she began selling her items at the Ashby flea market and soon moved to a store in Albany on Solano Avenue. As her business continued to flourish, she moved to 9th and Washington before finally settling at her current location in downtown Oakland, 120 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. Read more

Bishop Flunder, City of Refuge Church Dedicate New Senior Center

The City of Refuge United Church of Christ (COR) has established a new senior center to assist the low income, neglected population that confront extreme risks.
“COR is established to help the vulnerable elderly who suffer when government agencies cut funding to public services,” said Bishop Yvette Flunder founder and pastor COR United Church of Christ for the past twenty years.
Center Chairperson Georgia Jackson, first visited COR United Church of Christ and has faithfully attended the church since because, ‘the spirit-filled congregation made me feel at home,” she said. “It’s our mission to share that same loving spirit with other seniors.”
Bishop Flunder announced that Activist Queen Mother MaShiAat Oloya will be the keynote speaker at the dedication of the Senior Center, located at 30 Harriet Street, San Francisco, on December 22nd from 12;00 pm to 4:00 pm.
For information call 510-517-7299. – The New Secret Santa

Whitney Greer

Chicago-based ( is not putting on a fake beard and a red hat! But they are asking the question “What do you want for Christmas?”
As Christmas approaches, BDO will ask its 1.8 million users what health-related “present” they would like for Christmas, such as, “I want to lower my blood pressure!” or “I’d like to shed 20 pounds!”; BDO will then compile a list, check it twice, then email “gifts” and feature the select gifts on from Christmas Day to the New Year. Read more

Tyson Named President of Kaiser Permanente

Rolled Out the Thrive Campaign, managed paperless records revolution

Bernard Tyson

Kaiser Permanente has promoted Bernard J. Tyson to become President and Chief Operating Officer. The announcement was made by George Halvorson, Kaiser’s Chairman and CEO. Tyson will continue to report to Halvorson.
Halvorson said “Bernard Tyson has functioned as the chief operations officer for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan’s regions for the past four years, and, he was a key factor in Kaiser Foundation Hospitals winning 16 of the 53 hospital excellence awards given out by The Leapfrog Group.”
Before overseeing the regional operations and hospitals, Tyson led the effort to enhance the Kaiser Permanente brand, and was instrumental in the creation of the Thrive campaign. Tyson has more than two decades of operations and hospital experience — including running several Kaiser Permanente hospitals. Read more

Don King Stopped at Airport for Ammo in Luggage

Boxing promoter Don King was stopped by security at Cleveland ‘s Hopkins International Airport for having ammunition in his carry-on luggage.
Hopkins Airport spokeswoman Jacqueline Mayo said the 79-year-old King was stopped by members of the Transportation Safety Administration.. She says King had ammunition for .38-caliber and .357-caliber firearms in his bag. Mayo says the ammunition was taken and that King was released to continue his trip.
WIOI-TV in Cleveland first reported the incident and said King was in Cleveland for his wife’s funeral.
Eighty-seven-year-old Henrietta King died Thursday in Florida from complications from stomach cancer.

“Defender” Ishmael Reed Goes “On Offense” for Obama

By Lee Hubbard

Ishmael Reed

Ishmael Reed has been called many things in a writing career that has spanned over 40 years.  Now the Oakland resident and UC Berkeley professor, author and social commentator of over 20 books, has become  “the defender” and gone on the political offensive in his support of President Barack Obama.
Reed, author of the recently published book, Barack Obama and the Jim Crow media: The Return of the Nigger Breakers,” feels the Obama presidency is being sabotaged by both the republican party and right wing critics, but also from the left wing progressives. In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, he wrote that progressives calling for Obama to “Man up” against the republicans are out of step with reality.
‘There has been a massive resistance to President Obama and his policies, just like it was a resistance to desegregation,” said Reed in an interview. Read more

Jesse Allen-Taylor’s Pen Punk’d Perata

By Post Staff

Jessie Alan Taylor (right) with daughter Olabayo Taylor, and Geoffrey Pete in the back. Photo by Gene Hazzard.

Jesse Allen-Taylor was honored for his role in the election of Mayor-elect Jean Quan. His website,, focused the city’s voters’ attention on reasons why they should cast their votes for any candidate except former State Senator Don Perata. His website was effective because it did not endorse any candidate, and, because the election was Oakland’s maiden voyage into rank-choice voting.
The website was compared to a stealth aircraft and a military drone plane that was able to drop information bombshells while flying undetected by the antennae of campaign consultants. Jesse Allen Taylor, because he endorsed no one, flew below the political radar.
Many speakers and elected officials saluted him for his “steadfastness and unwavering commitment to getting the complete story of Senator Perata’s dealings as a politician.” He was also honored by Mayor Ron Dellums staff assistant Kitty Kelly Epstein.   Read more

Lend A Hand Foundation Brings Gifts

By Carla

Josiah Aguliar, 2 years-old gets a hug from mom Misty after receiving Christmas gifts at Lend A Hand’s 8th Annual Holiday Celebration.

Santa came to town this past weekend to spread a lot of joy amongst children and families residing in transitional housing shelters, led by Oakland’s Lend A Hand Foundation (LAHF) at the Masonic hall.
Two year old, Josiah Aguliar, hugged his mother Misty, after getting his gift bag from Santa Claus.  “This is special, my son is really happy,” said Aguliar.
President of LAHF Andrea Lovett, expressed her excitement about the celebration.  “All the wonderful kids are here, it’s a beautiful day and it’s a lovely party and everybody is just enjoying themselves. It’s just a blessing to have holiday spirit in the holiday season,” said Lovett, in her first year as president. Read more

AHO Cottage Drop-In Center a Safe Haven for Youth

A bedroom in the AHO Cottage for youth.

The AHO Cottage has been the home base of Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity (AHO), a nonprofit organization for the past 6 years.  The Cottage has functioned as the Drop-In Center for homeless youth ages 16 to 25 which AHO serves. It is also the location for youth task force meetings and projects, board meetings, AHO fundraising-events, meetings with host family members and AHO adult ally coaches.
In August 2010, Safe Haven housing was added to the Cottage to provide short-term 24/7 emergency housing for youth until they are matched with an adult ally coach and an appropriate longer-term housing option. Youth are then connected with the comprehensive supportive resources through a 25-member Alliance for Youth service partner network. These resources include employment, medical and dental care, scholarships for college, legal aide and other basic needs so they can move forward in their lives. AHO has provided this safety net to over 800 homeless young adults who are now in stable housing, working one to three jobs, going to school and “giving back” to AHO.
The Cottage is managed and staffed 24/7 by a licensed professional with extensive experience with this demographic of at-risk youth. AHO’s Safe Haven can accommodate 1 or 2 youth at a time for a period of 1 to 10 days. The Cottage offers meals and showers in a cozy home-like setting and is located conveniently a few blocks from transportation. Youth’s living space has a private entrance with bedroom in an apartment like setting. Youth staying at the Cottage “give back” by helping with upkeep of the Cottage property as needed including yard work and other chores.
Fourteen youths have stayed at the Cottage since it opened a few months ago.  All youths, prior to staying at the Cottage, have met one-on-one with the Executive Director, and had a brief intake interview, including a mental health assessment to ensure the setting is an appropriate fit for each youth.  They are then matched with an adult ally coach, and are connected with the resources they need to move forward on their personal life goals.
AHO is a nonprofit organization supported solely by gifts of time, money and materials generously given by individuals, organizations, businesses and foundations dedicated to making this a better community, both locally and globally, for everyone. AHO receives no government funding and relies on community donations to help provide the safety net and hand-up to youth that have no family or resources to fulfill their potential to become contributing adults.
The Donald O. and Ronald R. Collins Fund of the Marin Community Foundation has donated $20,000 to AHO for this project. A $15,000 Challenge Grant was included to kick off this Holiday Challenge Campaign to help the homeless youth of Marin. The community now has an opportunity to invest in the future of our youth that will allow businesses (local and otherwise), private families and corporations a chance to do good this holiday season, by having their donations matched by the Collins Fund.
AHO is seeking a level of donations that will enable sustaining support for one week; one month; one year as well as multi-year support levels. Donations will be matched toward meeting a $15,000 Challenge Grant to benefit the homeless youth of Marin. Donations must be received by January 31, 2011.
If you would like to donate to AHO, here is a small wish list for Christmas: small apartment refrigerator, blue Flannel sheets and pillowcases (queen size), laptop computer, bath linens, blankets, a microwave and toaster oven.
For more information on AHO, contact Zara Babitzke, MA (Founder/Director) at Or call (415) 381-7173

Pastor Fred Small’s 80th birthday Celebration

Over 120  guests showed up for Pastor Fred Small’s 80th birthday Celebration that was held at the I.D.E.S.S.T Hall in Sausalito. Pastor Small and his guests enjoyed live music from leaders of the praise team at the church where he pastors. His daughter, Alfreda Akognon dedicated a special song to him.
There was a special time and reflection of a picture tribute that was dedicated by his wife, Evelyn Small.
Pastor Small also ubveiled  his new autobiography  called “Destiny by Design.” This book covers the life of Pastor Small from a young boy to where he is today.
His son Pastor Marcus Small  thanked  everyone from People’s Inter-Cities Fellowship who participated in making the celebration  a success.

Brenda Knight Elected Board President

Brenda Knight

The Napa Valley College Board of Trustees elected Brenda Knight of American Canyon as president for 2011.  A community activist and motivational speaker, Knight was re-elected to the board in November. She was first appointed to the board in 2007.
Michael Baldini was elected vice president and Bruce Ketron was elected clerk; both were also re-elected to the board in November.
Retiring trustee Charles Meng was thanked for his 20 years of service with a reception following the December board meeting. Newly elected trustee Bill Blair was sworn in to fill the seat vacated by Meng.
Brenda Knight served for eight years on the Peralta Community College Board of Trustees and served three years on the California Community College Trustee Board (CCCT). She was elected nationally and served for five years on the Association of Community College Trustees Board–the first African American woman to serve as chair for ACCT.
She has often been honored for her work including being named as the Senate’s 1995 Oakland Woman of the Year and in 2008 was the recipient of the CBS Channel 5 Jefferson Award for Public Service. Read more

PG&E Responds to NTSB Report on San Bruno Accident

Chris Johns, president of PG&E.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)  responded to the release by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of its second interim report on the tragic San Bruno pipeline rupture on September 9, 2010.
The report documents NTSB’s progress on its meticulous investigation but draws no definitive conclusions as to the cause of the accident.
The NTSB report found no evidence of external corrosion on the ruptured pipe pieces, no evidence of excavation damage and no physical evidence suggesting a pre-existing leak.
Based on detailed metallurgical analysis, NTSB said it is still working to determine the nature of the “fracture origin and failure mechanisms.” The safety board said the investigation “is still in an early phase and there is much factual information to be developed” before reaching conclusions about the cause of the accident.
The report does note a discrepancy in PG&E’s records on the type of pipe installed at the San Bruno location.
However,PG&E said, “at no time did the pressure in the pipe exceed the Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure nor did the discrepancy impact the required maintenance and inspection protocols.” Read more

PG&E Responds to NTSB Report on San Bruno Accident

Chris Johns, president of PG&E.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)  responded to the release by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of its second interim report on the tragic San Bruno pipeline rupture on September 9, 2010.
The report documents NTSB’s progress on its meticulous investigation but draws no definitive conclusions as to the cause of the accident.
The NTSB report found no evidence of external corrosion on the ruptured pipe pieces, no evidence of excavation damage and no physical evidence suggesting a pre-existing leak.
Based on detailed metallurgical analysis, NTSB said it is still working to determine the nature of the “fracture origin and failure mechanisms.” The safety board said the investigation “is still in an early phase and there is much factual information to be developed” before reaching conclusions about the cause of the accident.
The report does note a discrepancy in PG&E’s records on the type of pipe installed at the San Bruno location.
However,PG&E said, “at no time did the pressure in the pipe exceed the Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure nor did the discrepancy impact the required maintenance and inspection protocols.” Read more

Aretha Leaves Hospital, Home for Christmas

Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul”, is home for the Christmas holidays from the hospital.. Despite her hospital visit, she’s already making plans for the holidays. In a statement released Wednesday, December 16,  the Queen of Soul said she’s been home for three days and her family and friends are taking great care of her. Franklin says she also has a private nurse who checks on her every day.
She also says she’s hoping to see a play about Sam Cooke in her hometown of Detroit soon and to see the production of “Dreamgirls” there before it closes this month.
Franklin had surgery for an ailment she has not disclosed. She says her doctors deemed the operation “highly successful.”
Franklin was forced to cancel concerts recently because of illness.

VA Clears Freking Mess

Miller says Federal Employee Cleared in Selected Services Technicality

Chris Freking

Congressman George Miller announced that Bay Area resident Chris Freking was cleared of any wrong doing in the Selected Service mix-up that nearly cost him his federal employment and 19-year career at the San Francisco Veterans Affair Medical Center.
“Best Christmas present ever. I am eternally grateful to Congressman Miller and his staff for their hard work and perseverance on finding a positive resolution to my case,” said Freking.
In 2007, it was brought to Congressman Miller’s attention that while up for a promotion in 2005, a background check showed that Freking had not registered for the Selected Services. However, since Freking was raised and attended high school and college in the Philippines, he was not aware that all American males are required to register for the Selected Services upon turning 18 years of age.
The Director of the Selective System agreed  that “Mr. Freking satisfies the reasonable person test that he did not knowingly and willfully disregard the Military Selective Service Act”, but in 2007,  Office of Personnel Management, under the Bush Administration, reviewed Freking’s case and made the determination that Freking should be terminated. Read more

“Richmond Main Street” Puts Minority Entreprenuers on Front Street

By Tasion

Richmond Main Street members, from left to right: Arnie Kasendorf, Cindy Haden, Jamila Rideau, Adminstrative Coordinator, Richmond Main Street; Agnes BrionesUbalde, Vice President and Senior Community Development Officer, Wells Fargo Bank; Amada Elliott, Executive Director, Richmond Main Street, and Janet Johnson, Richmond Main Street Board Member.

Richmond Main Street, is a community-based nonprofit corporation dedicated to revitalizing historic downtown Richmond into an area that reflects the community’s rich and diverse heritage. Recently, the corporation hosted their annual Holiday Bazaar.
Each year, the Holiday Bazaar brings together local entrepreneurs and merchants to offer Richmond residents an opportunity to support small local businesses. Local businesses included Joanne’s Boutique, Mary’s Little Lamb, Habibatique Ethnic Collections, Gwendolyn’s Floral and Gift Baskets, Moore Enterprise, Communities United Restoring Mother Earth (CURME), Boutique Alicia Marie, and Redtrigress Designs.
Patrons were able to purchase jewelry, accessories, baked goods, clothing, cosmetics, ornaments and other specialty gifts. Many shoppers found “one of a kind” gifts for their loved ones and each business conducted raffles to give out special prizes to lucky shoppers.  Merchants and vendors even exchanged information and discussed ways to further support each other throughout the year. Read more

Seven Nonprofit Organizations Receive $1 Million from Chevron

Grants to The West Contra Costa Business Development Center; Richmond BUILD program; Greater Richmond Interfaith Program; Rubicon Programs; MESA Schools Program/CSU East Bay; Gooden College Connection and the Alameda County Office of Education.

Chevron, through its California Partnership which invests in education and economic development, gave one million dollars to seven Richmond area nonprofit organizations last week.
Grant recipients were selected based upon proposals demonstrating how their projects would improve education, expand vocational training and increase job opportunities in Richmond and West Contra Costa County.
“We are a big part of this community and we believe it is important for us to help the area thrive and succeed,” said Mike Coyle, general manager of Chevron’s Richmond Refinery.  “These seven nonprofit organizations that were awarded the grants make a substantial difference and bring improvement where it counts the most – at work and at school. These organizations help people and change lives.” Read more

Hollis Carr, 84,

Alan Carr, son of the late Hollis Taylor Carr, led the New Orleans Jazz Club into the Memorial Celebration in the top hat and attire worn by his father, as Marshall of the group. Alan Carr is shown carrying a photo of his late father.
The celebration of the life of Hollis Taylor Carr, longtime Berkeley resident, on Dec. 12, at Northbrae Community Church, was resplendent with a variety of musical offerings.  The Carr family and their friends gathered from far and near to remember Carr.  His grandson Ian Carr reminded the celebrants, “in a time when the world isn’t so good, my grandfather proved it is possible to be great.”
Hollis Taylor Carr, born in Washington in 1926, graduated from Montclair High School and enlisted in the U.S. Navy at age 17. He met his wife Francis I. Madison (Carr) at a naval dance in Alameda, served in W.W.II and later in the Korean War.
Hollis and Frankie Carr were among the first to break the “color barrier” in Bay Area Real estate when they purchased a home in Berkeley, where racial covenants restricting ownership by Blacks was in effect.
Carr was a postal carrier for 51 years, and, he walked the same postal route in Kensington for 36 years.  He was a craft pilot and a great supporter of music, especially the Traditional New Orleans and Dixieland Jazz.
He was a Grand Marshall with the Zenith Jazz Band and led many parades in the Bay Area. He supported the Berkeley Jazz Band, N.A.M., and attended Four Season’s Concerts with his family for many years.  Carr emphasized the importance of public service and volunteering in community activites to his family and encouraged them to pursue artistic experiences.
Text and photo by by Barbara Fluhrer.