From July 2012

A's go 15 innings to get 12th walk-off win

By: Malaika Bobino

Oakland, CA – Pick a player, any player!  That’s what it’s coming down to when the A’s come to play.  You’ll never know who the hero will be and tonight after fifteen long innings, it was Jemile Weeks turn.

In another dramatic ending, Oakland beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 with their 12th walk-off win of the season.  With the bases loaded and two outs, bottom of the fifteenth Weeks sacrifice fly drove in the winning run.

“I was confident,” Jemile said.  “You’ve got to be confident.  I went up there looking for a pitch up, and said if I got it, I was going to put it in the air.  Thankfully he gave me that pitch and I did that.”

After loading the bases in both the ninth and tenth innings, the A’s failed to score a run.  Instead a hitter struck out to end the threat both times.  But the opportunity came again, a leadoff single by Brandon Inge sparked the offense for the victory.

Despite Jemile going 0-for 7 as well as Josh Reddick (which is rare), the bullpen did their work in shutting down the Rays.  Four relievers combined allowed only three hits over eight innings after A.J. Griffin was relieved of his duties.

“It’s probably easy for any one of our guys to let up when the game’s going that late into the night,” said Inge.  “Everyone’s tired.  Those guys battled the whole time as if it was the last game they ever played.”

Rookie Griffin has another spectacular night.  Going a career-high seven innings, he surrendered five hits, three runs (all earned), walked two, gave up one home run and struck out six.  Pitching seven quality starts since his call up from the River Cats has been simply amazing.

“I can’t say it was a really exciting baseball game.  It was well pitched on both sides,” manager John Maddon said.  “We were prepared to go 20 innings.”

Tampa Bay got back in the game after being down 0-2 in the fourth.  Carlos Pena’s two-run double tied the game 2-2 when Griffin gave up three hits in the inning.  Fortunately, Jose Molina grounded out to short stop Brandon Hicks to end the inning before anymore damage was done.

They extended their lead when Matt Joyce blasted a solo home run in the sixth.  That was the only hit and run scored in the frame.  Oakland’s defense was at it’s best in the next inning when both Pena and Jose Molina hit back-to-back singles.

Molina singled on a line drive to right field, Reddick threw to third to tag Carlos out.  And while Sean Rodriguez was at-bat Jose was caught stealing for the second out.  A.J. struck out Rodriguez to escape the inning.

The A’s tied the game in the bottom of the seventh when Brandon hit a home run to right field.  No other runs were scored until the game went into extra innings.  Yoenis Cespedes who singled twice in the infield to get on base has been a huge part of this offense.

Behind the Scenes at the AileyCamp Summer Dance Program

By Aneesah Dryver


Ailey Camp students taking a break on the Zellerbach stage. Photos by Adam L. Turner.

AileyCamp, a nationally recognized summer program, has been teaching the art of dance to underserved Bay Area youth for 11 years, and the camp is still going strong.

Co-sponsored by Cal Performances, the six-week camp provides instruction in world dance forms and other creative arts, as well as self-esteem building.

Classes include West African dance, introduction to ballet, jazz dance, personal development, creative writing and communication workshops.

The camp was created in 1989, starting in Kansas City, Missouri. Since then, it has blossomed and spread throughout the country to New York City, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta and other cites

“Berkeley’s camp definitely has its own flavor,” said Berkeley/Oakland camp director David McCauley.

“We are blessed to be on the UC Berkeley campus,” he said. “Students are really integrated into the community here. They have breakfast and lunch provided by the dining commons.

“We do a scavenger hunt that takes them around campus where they are interacting with some of the students on campus. I think that being on a college campus sends a message to the students that says ‘this is for you.’”

McCauley noted that even students who arrive at the camp with a negative attitude are completely transformed by the end of six weeks and the final performance.

“There is a lot of structure involved with the camp, and the students see the value in it and want to positively change,” he said.

AileyCamp students

Alli, 13, a current Ailey camper, said she wants to continue with ballet after taking the camp’s ballet class.

Tamara McCree, 23, was one of the original Ailey campers in its first year in 2001, and Spencer Pulu, 20, was a camper in 2005. Now, they are both group leaders for a new batch of AileyCampers and want to continue to incorporate dance into their lives.

Tamara plans to audition for the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. Spencer is studying dance at City College in San Francisco and wants to open up a nonprofit dance school for at-risk kids.

AileyCamp alumni can attest to the positive impact the camp has made on their lives.

“I was one of the huge troublemakers at camp,” Tamera said, laughing. “But I got it together. One thing that I learned was patience, coming from a background where I fought a lot and learning that I couldn’t do that here.

“It’s just amazing that this one little dance camp that they brought to Berkeley one year, can be here all this time and change all these lives. It helped us find ourselves,” Tamara said.

Spencer agreed, explaining that dance has expanded his horizons.

“Dancing wasn’t seen as masculine for males, and I was made fun of. But I broke a lot of boundaries at home,” Spencer said. “My family saw that this was something I wanted to do in life. AileyCamp really helped me find my path.”

“Infinite Possibilities/Colors” is the dual theme for this year’s final performance.

Priya Shah (right), AileyCamp ballet instructor, teaching a student a ballet move.

“The theme came about for me because of the sometimes overwhelming negativity of society when really, there’s a wealth of possibilities out there if we put our creativity and our hearts into it,” said McCauley.

“The camp means a lot to me,” he said. “Sure, there are difficult times, but I think it’s a phenomenal program, and I wish more students had the opportunity to be in a program like this. So support your arts and education.”

For information go to

Mayor Ed Lee Says Aurora Killings Justify Stop and Frisk

By Aaron Sankin, 

Huffington Post 


San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee

Despite widespread public opposition, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee appears increasingly committed to pursuing some form of a stop-and-frisk policy for the city. Most recently, he used the tragic mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., as evidence for why it’s needed.

“I am as, if not more, committed [to the idea]…especially in light of the massacre that occurred in Aurora,” Lee told the San Francisco Chronicle at a press conference on Monday.

The mayor initially voiced the proposal during an interview with the Chronicle’s editorial board after having a conversation with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose implementation of the program has come under fire for alleged racial profiling of minority communities.

Stop-and-frisk is a practice that permits law enforcement officers to detain and search anyone they consider suspicious.

“The month of June in San Francisco experienced a spike in shootings and homicides in our southeast neighborhoods,” Lee said in a statement released last week. “This is unacceptable and while I take this issue extremely seriously, I want to be clear that I have not considered implementing a policy in San Francisco that would violate anyone’s constitutional rights or that would result in racial profiling. I have stated that I am willing to look at what other cities are doing to reduce gun violence, including cities like New York and Philadelphia that both have stop and frisk programs.”

Lee, a former civil rights lawyer, has repeatedly said he won’t pursue a policy infringing on anyone’s Fourth Amendment rights; however, critics have charged that implementing stop-and-frisk at all resembling what’s going on in New York City or Philadelphia will necessarily do just that.

“I’m not into any program that will violate people’s rights, but we’ve got to get to the guns,” he explained.

Earlier this month, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution urging the mayor to abandon any attempts to bring stop-and-frisk to San Francisco. More than 100 people gathered on the steps of City Hall in a rally organized by the Black Young Democrats of San Francisco, during which protestors dropped off 2,000 signatures against the plan.

“This pushback from the community is begging a difference that the mayor who has come out of a civil rights background can still live up to that by withdrawing this stop-and-frisk idea here in San Francisco,” Supervisor John Avalos told CBS San Francisco.

There has been a recent spike in gun violence in San Francisco neighborhoods like the Bayview, though the city’s overall violent crime rate is at a historic low point not seen since the 1960s, decreasing for the third straight year in 2011.

In New York, a recent report by the New York Civil Liberties Union found that the overwhelming percentage of people detained under that city’s stop-and-frisk policy were minorities. In one heavily African-American Brooklyn neighborhood, 93 percent of residents claim to have been stopped by the police.

In 2011, 87 percent of people detained under New York’s stop-and-frisk were Black or Latino, although those groups combine to only about half of the city’s overall population. The Center for Constitutional Rights estimates that one-third of all these searches were unconstitutional.

No specific proposals for exactly what a stop-and-frisk program in San Francisco would look like have yet been made public.


Supporters Work to Save City College

By Alex Wukman


City College of San Francisco

Concern has spread throughout San Francisco after news broke that the City College of San Francisco’s accrediting agency, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, ordered the school to begin making preparations for closure.

College Interim-Chancellor Pamela Fisher and the board of trustees held a series of public meetings to discuss ways to save the school.

The accrediting agency said CCSF was at “a financial breaking point” because the school used 92 percent of its budget on salaries and benefits.

But much of the community reaction to the news of the impending closure has been to advocate for increases in state education funding. In an editorial  sent to the media, CCSF Trustee Chris Jackson argued that the real problem is “the state’s defunding of public education and its disinvestment in our community-college system.”

In 2011 California reduced state aid to community colleges by $1 billion which cut $17 million from City College’s budget alone.

College spokesman Larry Kamer addressed the issues raised in Jackson’s essay and said “like all of our trustees Mr. Jackson speaks for himself.” He then stated that the college suffers from “structural, managerial, and governance issues that would still exist even if funding is restored.”

One of the ways that the college is seeking to restore funding is by putting a $79 parcel tax before San Francisco voters. If the resolution passes it is expected to raise roughly $18 million or increase the school’s budget by approximately 10 percent.

In addition to the proposed tax, California voters will be going to the polls to decide on Governor Jerry Brown’s tax plan which, if passed, would provide the school with another $11 million.

However, Kamer acknowledges that funding increases would not solve all of the school’s problems. One of the persistent problems that the accrediting agency identified in its report was the school’s  shared governance organization, a model that significantly reduces the amount of administrators and slows down the decision making process.

Despite being the second largest college in the country, with a student body of 90,000 and more than 2,700 faculty and staff members, CCSF only has 39 administrators. Jackson states that the relatively low number of administrators represents the embodiment of the San Francisco value of “chopping from the top,” or cutting administrators before teachers.

Kamer said the model reflects the college’s cultural commitment to “be more democratic,” and places much of the institution’s authority in the hands of senior faculty and department heads.

Obama Names SF State Professor as Top Young Scientist

Mariel Vazquez

President Barack Obama has named SF State mathematician Associate Professor of Mathematics Mariel Vazquez as one of the nation’s most promising young scientists.

She has been selected to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the U.S. government’s highest honor for researchers in the early stages of their careers.

Vazquez is a pioneer in an emerging field called DNA topology, which applies pure math to the biological mysteries of DNA. She is the first SF State faculty member to receive the prestigious PECASE award.

“This tremendous honor recognizes Mariel Vazquez’s research at the frontiers of scientific inquiry and her passion for teaching, mentoring and community outreach. She embodies the model of teacher/scholar that San Francisco State University values so highly,” said SF State President Robert Corrigan.

Vazquez is among 96 researchers selected for the award this year. Recipients are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service.

Federal departments and agencies nominate researchers whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for keeping America at the cutting edge of science and engineering.

The award citation states that Vazquez is being honored for her “excellent interdisciplinary and international research at the interface of mathematics and biology, and for creativity and dedication to recruiting, training, and mentoring, and helping students from underrepresented groups achieve their goals.”

“”She does research at the highest level, using sophisticated mathematical tools to answer important biological questions. She is also a wonderful mentor and does exemplary work with students from underrepresented backgrounds,” This amazing honor is a real certification of the high quality of Mariel Vazquez’s work,” said Sheldon Axler, dean of the College of Science and Engineering.

Vazquez uses knot theory to study the entanglement of DNA as it packs tightly into living cells, and her findings may inform the design of antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs. The National Science Foundation nominated her for the PECASE award.

In addition to her research, Vazquez is passionate about showing young people how mathematics can be used to address tangible problems. She mentors college students and teaches DNA topology to children through SF State’s Math Circles, math clubs for elementary school students.

“I’m honored and humbled to be selected for the PECASE award,” said Vazquez. “I hope this recognition will put the young field of DNA topology into the spotlight. DNA is the molecule of life. Understanding how DNA is packaged in the cell and how it interacts with proteins is important for understanding how essential biological processes work.”


International Black Women’s Film Festival

By Aneesah Dryver


From left to right: Andrienne Anderson, Octavia Spencer and Devin Badgett. Photo by Adam L. Turner.

The International Black Women’s Film Festival kicked off its 10th year with an opening ceremony July 20 in San Francisco featuring live entertainment from Trinidad and Tobago’s master percussionist and steel drum player Val Serrant and Sharon Baird.

Adrienne Anderson, founder and curator, created the festival in 2001 because as an antidote to the way Black women were portrayed in film.  The festival spotlights images of Black women who do not fall into the typical stereotypes.

One of the films that was featured was “The Unforgiving Minute,” directed by Octavia Spencer, who recently won an Academy Award for her supporting role in “The Help.”  The short film, narrated by Academy Award nominee and fellow co-star Viola Davis, chronicles the life of a young boy, played by Devin Badgett, who is bullied in school.

Despite the harassment, the boy is resilient on his path to success. The film was created in 2010 with a budget of only $3,000.

The film’s co-writer/producer Kelly Shipe feels that parents must take bullying seriously.

“As a parent of two boys, I think it’s important to make sure they’re not being bullied but also to raise them so that they know that it’s important to be kind and considerate.”

The star of the film, 12-year-old Devin Badgett, believes that physical bullying is not as much as a problem now as verbal bullying. “I think the movie shows that bullying is bullying, whether it’s verbal or physical,” he said.

Resilience is what Spencer wants viewers to take away from the film. “These moments of pressure don’t have to define who you are,” she said. “You can always choose the path to greatness.”

Shipe recommends that parents and children watch the film together and take time afterwards to discuss the issues.

The film was followed by a documentary called “Calypso Rose: Lioness of the Jungle,” about McCartha Linda Sandy-Lewis, the celebrated queen of calypso music.

Filmmaker Pascale Obolo spends four years with Calypso Rose as the artist traveled around the world.

The festival also featured an additional eight films at Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Public Library.

For information on the International Black Women’s Film Festival visit


New Downtown Richmond Improvement District

The Richmond City Council has adopted a resolution to form a Property Based Business Improvement District in Historic Downtown Richmond, encompassing the commercial district from 6th-16th streets between Bissell and Barrett Avenues.

The majority of downtown Richmond property owners approved the district, a self-imposed and self-governed property tax assessment to fund new economic developments, enhance city services and protect the infrastructure investments made by the former Redevelopment Agency.

Business Improvement districts have been popping up all over the country over the past decade. These districts are seen as a revitalization tool for downtown areas throughout the Bay Area including Oakland’s Temescal District, downtown Berkeley, and the Fruitvale District in Oakland.

The district in Richmond will be managed by the Richmond Main Street Initiative, a nonprofit organization that has been working to revitalize the downtown Richmond area for more than a decade.

The purpose of the improvement district is to create and sustain a prosperous downtown by producing a consistently clean, welcoming and attractive downtown experience, attracting and retaining new businesses and cultivating a fun and vibrant environment.

Richmond Main Street has made significant improvements including promoting arts and entertainment, supporting an annual Summer Youth Entrepreneur Program, increasing access to Healthy Village Farm Stand events and Zumba classes and establishing a weekly Farmers’ Market.

For more information call Richmond Main Street at (510) 236-4049.

Eco Village Farm Grows in Richmond

By Tony Wilkinson


Young people pick fruit with Eco Village Farm Executive Director Shyaam Shabaka

The Eco Village Farm Learning Center is tucked into a semi urban section of farmland, a 5.6-acre oasis that holds an orchard of fruit trees, vegetable gardens, animal corrals and paths, bordered by San Pablo and the Wilkie creeks in Richmond.

During the school year the farm is host to young urban residents. Nearly 3,500 students a year, 8 years of age and older, visit the farm. They connect with nature, learning how bees make honey, shearing sheep, caring for small animals, chickens, ducks, goats and sheep. They plant, cultivate and harvest fresh fruits and vegetables.

During the summer, young interns repair fences, clear fallen trees, plant crops, care for animals and clean enclosures

At the center of all this activity is the Eco Village ‘s founder and executive director Shyaam Shabaka, whose vision is to create a healthy sustainable environment and a socially/economically just society.

He uses his years of experience to help young people learn through hands-on activities how to restore and protect mother earth and her people.

“I had been a public health professional working in Berkeley for 30 years,” Shabaka said. ” I worked in South and West Berkeley, primarily with low-income residents and primarily people of color. I worked days and nights on HIV-AIDS, substance abuse and cardiovascular diseases.”

In 2000, he retired, and he was faced with what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. “I decided I wanted to work with young adults, particularly Afro American youths,” he said. “I wanted to help them travel the journey of life better than I have.

“I knew from my own observation that working in gardens could change low-income lives. I had worked with high-risk youth in Berkeley starting a number of gardens including Strong Roots Garden (at Sacramento and Woolsey Streets).”

At Strong Roots, he worked with young people whose parents were addicted to drugs and faced other serious life challenges.  “Out of all of those young people, not one was jailed or became an addict,” he said. “The work they were doing in the garden helped them achieve a more productive life.”

Shabaka decided to create an “eco village,” a farm learning center in Richmond

“I found this property and put $10,000 from my personal savings down with the promise to find the rest. It took a long time and a lot of work,” he said.

The work on the Richmond farm is interconnected with all the social issues that people in urban settings face, he said.

“It is essential to know that if you control your own destiny, you can make a difference – you work together to grow a more healthy society. It isn’t just about growing tomatoes, fruit trees, or organic produce,” he said. “ If you can’t walk down your street without getting shot, all that means nothing. You have to have a fair and just society. That takes working together across all lines for the common good.”

In the Eco Village classrooms, young people learn about a range of issues, from obesity and soft drinks to personal violence prevention work,” he said.  “We also learn about our history and the history of the food we eat.”

“For us, Eco Village is a microcosm of the whole world. Richmond has lost homes, jobs and livelihoods. This creates major stress on working families. When you are talking to young people about how to grow corn, squash, you are talking about the same skills you need to grow a healthy society – and the same intent to grow a healthy world.”

For information go to

Recycling Center to Provide 100 Paid Internships

From left to right: Heri Garcia, Recycling Manager (started as an intern); LaTrice Thomas, Refurbishing Manager (started as an intern); and Cliff Lewis, Director of Refurbishing and Recycling.

ReliaTech, a nonprofit social enterprise of the Stride Center, held a grand opening event this week of its 5,200-square- foot Refurbishing, Recycling, and Distribution (RR&D) Center.

The center will allow ReliaTech to become more efficient by bringing all refurbished, recycled and distribution of computer equipment and supplies to one site.

“By expanding business capacity, ReliaTech will more than double the number of paid internships and jobs from 35 to 100 in the first 12 months for Stride Center graduates and students,” said Ben Delaney, CEO of ReliaTech.

“This experience is proven to help launch well-paid technology careers for low-income adults who have received certifications from the Stride Center. The RR&D will more than double the number of opportunities in Richmond and San Pablo.”

The RR&D Center was made possible by the sponsorship of Chevron Richmond and a  grant from the San Francisco Foundation.

“Chevron is proud to support ReliaTech’s mission of providing high quality, professional and affordable computer repair services, internships and jobs for the Richmond community,” said Andrea Bailey, Chevron Richmond Community Engagement Manager.  “Chevron recognizes that investments in job training and e-waste recycling are investments in Richmond’s future economic growth.”

This new warehouse space will enable ReliaTech to refurbish up to 10,000 electronic units annually and increase recycling from 61 tons in 2011 to 400 tons starting in 2012.  The online sales department is expected to contribute $60,000 per year in revenue to the training, certification and job placement of low-income community residents throughout the Bay Area.

The center is available for drop-offs of corporate and personal unwanted electronics, including computers, networking gear, printers, stereo equipment, TVs, cables, and anything else with a cord or batteries except large appliances.

ReliaTech is located at 222 S. Garrard Blvd., Richmond. For information. go to

Museum Highlights 110 Years of Chevron Richmond

An exhibit of the 110-year history of Chevron Richmond will be showcased Aug. 7 through Nov. 17 at the Richmond Museum of History, 400 Nevin Ave. in Richmond.

The exhibit will feature historic artifacts and tell the story of the Richmond refinery.

A kickoff reception for the exhibit will be held from from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 7.

For information go to

“Black Enterprise” Magazine Recognizes PG&E for Diversity

Tom Guarino, Senior Governmental Relations Representative of PG&E.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) was recognized for the eighth year in a row by “Black Enterprise” magazine as one of the “40 Best Companies for Diversity.”

The national publication recognized PG&E’s supplier diversity program and the diverse representation on its Board of Directors as key strengths.

“This recognition would not be possible without the support of our customers and the diverse communities we serve every day,” said Tom Guarino, Senior Governmental Relations Representative of PG&E. “We are privileged to be recognized by ‘Black Enterprise’ and excited about our continued partnership to identify opportunities and provide support to the African American community in the East Bay.”

“Diversity is integral to PG&E’s core values and strategy,” said Bill Harper, PG&E’s Vice-President in talent management and Chief Diversity Officer.

In selecting the top 40, the magazine conducted an outreach effort to CEOs and diversity executives at the top-grossing 1,000 publicly traded companies and the 50 leading global companies with significant U.S. operations.

The survey focused primarily on activities related to the participation of African Americans and other ethnic minority groups in four key areas: supplier diversity, senior management, board involvement, and employee base.

The results of the survey showed that PG&E has developed one of the nation’s leading supplier diversity programs that support economic development and job creation in the communities it serves. In 2011, the company spent over $1.61 billion on products and services from businesses owned by minorities, women, and service-disabled veterans.

PG&E’s total spending on African American-owned business enterprises also reached an all-time high of $265 million, an increase of $62 million over 2010.

In addition, half of PG&E’s Board of Directors have diverse backgrounds – four are ethnic minorities and two are women.

For information visit


Educators Push for More Latino Teachers

Kitty Kelly Epstein

Libre youth organizer Cory Aguilar and Emiliano Zapata Street Academy teacher Marisol Nuño recently joined communities from all over the U.S. to campaign for a diverse teaching force.

Currently, only 6.9 percent of U.S. teachers are Latino, though 22 percent of U.S. students are Latino.

Nuño experienced the problem first-hand as a student in Oakland.

“I never had a Latino teacher until I was 16 years old,” she said. “Then I had Israel Macias at Street Academy, and it changed my whole attitude about education.”

She went to college, earned a credential at the University of San Francisco and applied for a job at the Street Academy in Oakland, teaching the same classes once taught by Israel Macias.

She also helps to recruit Latino candidates for Teach Tomorrow in Oakland.

The institute organized by the National Association for Multicultural Education sponsored workshops for people around the country to discuss   how to break down the barriers that keep Latinos and African-Americans out of teaching.

A workshop by Kitty Kelly Epstein and Fred Ellis helped participants from Utah, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas and other states figure out a plan to deal with costly and biased requirements.

The presenters shared details of Oakland’s successful programs for creating political will and support systems.

Cory Aguilar works with youth at Fremont High and United for Success in Oakland, inspiring students to love life and value education. He found the national institute valuable in planning how to work to increase the numbers of Latino educators.

“The institute provided a space for conversations that need to be addressed locally as well as globally when it comes to education,” he said. “I felt as if I was at the forefront of a new teacher movement that needs to be heard.”


Kamala’s $4M Mortgage Scam Judgment

Attorney General Kamala Harris keeps Obama and the White House informed on California’s foreclosure issues.

Attorney General Kamala Harris announced this week that defendants who ran a national loan modification scam were ordered to pay more than $4 million in penalties and restitution, including $2 million to consumers who were falsely promised modifications of their mortgage loans.

More than 1,000 customers paid more than $2 million for loan modification services to Statewide Financial Group, Inc., which did business as US Homeowners Assistance and, and was based in Orange County.

In July 2009, the Attorney General’s office shut down the business, which had been in operation since January 2008.

“These defendants took advantage of vulnerable people in extremely difficult circumstances, including many who faced imminent loss of their homes,” said Harris. “The significant financial penalties imposed by the court let scammers know that severe consequences will flow to those who defraud California consumers.”

The court ordered that every US Homeowners Assistance loan modification customer should receive a full refund upon request.  The defendants were also permanently enjoined from engaging in the conduct that led to the lawsuit and were ordered to pay $2 million in civil penalties.

It is unclear, however, how much money will be recovered and available to pay refunds.

The business’ owners were all found liable for violating California’s Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law.

Harris formed the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force in May 2011 to investigate and prosecute crimes related to mortgages, foreclosures, and real estate.

For information go to

39 from Northern Calif. Compete in Olympics

By Bill Hanstock


Kibwe Johnson

When the 2012 Olympics kick off in London on July 27, the Bay Area will be more than well represented. Thirty-nine Olympic athletes from Northern California will be representing the United States.

San Francisco native Howard Bach of Cal State Fullerton will be competing in Badminton.

Anthony Fahden of Oakland will also be competing in rowing. Shannon Rowbury of San Francisco will compete in the 1500 run.

Kibwe Johnson of San Francisco will compete in the hammer toss.


Kaiser Auditoriun, Abandoned Treasure

By Jesse Douglas 



Oakland’s 98 year old Kaiser Auditorium.

Despite the still-weak national economy, these should be boom days for Oakland’s 98 year old Kaiser Auditorium. Ten years ago, Oakland voters passed the $198 million Measure DD water and park bond which, in part, completely renovated the southwestern end of Lake Merritt, near where the Kaiser sits.

But the Kaiser Convention Center has been empty and unused since 2005 when, at the request of then-Mayor Jerry Brown, the Oakland City Council closed it down, saying that the Center was losing $600,000 to $700,000 a year in city funds.

In the six years since, through the two succeeding mayoral administrations of Ron Dellums and Jean Quan, the City has tried to either sell the Kaiser property, lease it out, or reopen it. None of the efforts have succeeded.

“When times are tough, everybody tries to sell off public land,” says Oakland Heritage Alliance board member Naomi Schiff, a veteran of Oakland’s many development battles. “It happens every time the city runs short of cash, they decide to sell off public assets.

But the assets around the lake are pretty irreplaceable, and they should not be sold off.”

But longtime Oakland City Councilmember Jane Brunner, Chair of the council’s Community and Economic Development committee that oversees development issues in the city, says that the Kaiser probably cannot be saved without some sort of private involvement.

“I think in reality, it has to be a combination,” Brunner said. I don’t know where you get the money to refurbish that building and keep the whole thing public.”

Late last year, the city issued a Request For Qualifications (RFQ) “to retain a Professional Real Estate Marketing or Brokerage Services firm to market the [Kaiser Convention Center] with the goal of identifying the optimal buyer, operator, tenant, or group of tenants.”

After a November walk-through of the building, two firms responded with proposals.

By that time, however, the rehabilitation of the Kaiser had been caught up in the statewide dissolution of California’s city redevelopment agencies.

The decision over what to do with the two proposals coming out of the Kaiser development RFQ will now be made by a state-mandated seven-member oversight board consisting of Mayor Quan and representatives of AC Transit, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, the Peralta Community College District, and the Oakland Unified School District.

Courtesy of “Race, Poverty and the Environment,” published by Urban Habitat.

Open Arms for Obama

Congresswoman Barbara Lee gives a welcoming hug to President Obama at Oakland International Airport. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh).

Discussing his economic policies at a fundraiser in Oakland Monday night, President  Barack Obama, told supporters that “we tried our plan — and it worked.”

“We tried that and it didn’t work,” Obama said of Mitt Romney’s proposed tax cuts and spending cuts, which he dismissed as a Bush-style “top down” economic policy.

“Just like we’ve tried their plan, we tried our plan — and it worked,” he added later in the speech.  “That’s the difference. That’s the choice in this election.  That’s why I’m running for a second term.”

Obama cited his successful bailout of the auto industry. “I refused to turn my back on a great industry and American workers,” he said. “Three years later, the American auto industry has come roaring back.”

President Obama attended a fundraiser at the Piedmont home of Quinn Delaney and spoke at a reception at the Fox Theater in downtown Oakland.

“We are so honored that President Obama (spoke) in Oakland,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who attended the Fox Theater event.

“He knows the East Bay has his back. In 2008, Barack Obama won 88 percent of the vote in our district, the best in California.”


International Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Celebrates 65th Boule

By Chanelle Bell and Ashley Chambers



Carolyn House Stewart (top, right) is the 28th International President of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Photos and collage by Adam L. Turner.

Over 10,000 members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA) attended the organization’s international convention July 21-27 in San Francisco – its 65th Boulé – honoring unsung women heroes of the Civil Rights Movement and the spirit of community service for which the AKA is known.

Founded in 1908 by 16 women at Howard University in Washington, D.C., the sorority has an international membership of 260,000, with members across the U.S., the U.S. Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Bahamas, Canada, Japan, Germany, South Korea and in Africa.

In her remarks, International President Carolyn House Stewart heralded the historic contributions to equal rights made by AKA women.

“These pioneers marched, sat in, participated in non-violent demonstrations, fought for equal pay, human rights and social justice lawsuits and initiatives – all to knock down barriers, overcome exclusion and exploitation, eliminate the color bar, stand up to Jim Crow and fight the many battles for 20th and 21st Century equality,” she said at the convention, held at the Moscone Center.

AKA heroines, celebrated in a museum exhibit at the convention, included sorors Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King, poet Maya Angelou, author Toni Morrison, and Mae C. Jemison, the first Black woman to travel in space.

Rev. Dr. Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, attended the opening.

“The first person who faced the real manifestations of the threats they lived under was my mother. Her demeanor, her commitment level, her sacrifice, in many regards made the difference in whether (Dr. King) continued on or not,” Rev. King said.

Awards were given to honorees whose lives and entrepreneurial efforts were devoted to public service. Among those who were recognized were NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock; Harry E. Johnson, Sr., who led the successful campaign to build the King Memorial on the National Mall; Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Lisa Jackson; actor and comedian Cedric “The Entertainer”; Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Allison-Madueke; and founder of “Black Girls Rock” Beverly Bond.

Local AKA leaders described the service initiatives their chapters are undertaking.

Robin Thomas, president of the Alpha Nu Omega chapter that serves the Berkeley-Oakland Bay Area community, has been part of AKA since 1977 when she was a student at Howard University.

Thomas and her chapter have been working to make a difference in Bay Area communities. “We have several community services and a slew of health initiatives,” she said.

The chapter also works in Richmond where members participate in the Richmond Greenway Project, which transforms abandoned railroad property into a green space for community use.

Alpha Nu Omega also has programs for Bay Area youth. “We work with the young ladies at Alameda County Juvenile Hall,” Thomas said. “We provide reading and help them make better life decisions.”

The chapter is currently starting an emerging young leaders program for girls in the 6th – 8th grade.

Sonya Simril, principal at Saint Leo the Great Catholic School in Oakland, has been a member of the Alpha Nu Omega chapter for over 20 years.

“We have adopted the Prescott Elementary School in West Oakland,” said Simril, explaining that the chapter started a reading program at Prescott and supports the school’s 5th grade graduation.

“It is important to give back to our own community,” she said.

For more information, visit

Hanley's goes deep at AT&T Park

By: Malaika Bobino

San Francisco, CA – It all went down in the tenth inning.  Never a dull moment when these two teams meet.  With the Giants leading the National League by 2 1/2 games the Dodgers look to take over the number one spot.

It was newly acquired Hanley Ramirez who blasted a two-run homer in the tenth that secured the Dodgers 5-3 win over San Francisco.  It was the second home run allowed this season by Giants pitcher Sergio Romo.

The crucial pitch came two deliveries earlier that might’ve been the game changer.  Romo barely missed the the strike zone with a 3-2 slider and walked Andre Either with two outs.  However, that pitch was ruled ball four by home plate umpire Ed Hickox when it should’ve been strike three to end the inning.

“That’s one we definitely want,” said catcher Buster Posey.  “I guess [Hicksox] saw it as inside.”

“It’s tough to lose those extra-inning games at home,” manager Bruce Bochy said.  “But the guys played well.”

Not on of San Francisco’s best games but the defense did a good job in keeping the at-bats low for the Dodgers.  They scored two runs in the fifth after a dominating inning.  Back-to-back doubles from Jerry Hairston Jr. and pitcher Stephen Fife.

Mark Ellis followed with a RBI single and James Loney added another run in the sixth to extend their lead to 3-1 in the sixth.  But the Giants rallied back to tie the game with Brandon Belt’s two-run single bottom of the eighth.

“The goal was to go out there and relax,” Belt said who had been struggling lately.

Matt Cain who pitched seven innings, allowed nine hits over a span of three frames.  Not his best work, giving up three runs, walked none and struck out two.  The bullpen didn’t back him for the win but did come close had the umpire ruled what many thought was a strikeout on Either instead of a walk.

“This series is bigger than us than for them,” said manager Don Mattingly.  “We have to reestablish ourselves in the race.”

The Dodgers last visit to AT&T Park came without Matt Kemp and Ellis.  The addition of Hanley only impacts their line-up more.  While his teammates have embraced him San Francisco will need to focus on one big piece of their puzzle in losing Pablo Sandoval a few days ago.

Posey and Giants off to good start to begin the homestead

By: Malaika Bobino

San Francisco, CA – At this point in the season you wouldn’t expect anything less.  The Giants got hits, played great defense and got a stellar performance from Buster Posey.

It was a great start for San Francisco in their 7-1 win over the Padres.  Posey had a RBI single in the first frame when the Giants took a 4-0 lead.  San Diego’s pitcher Clayton Richards got himself into a jam loading the bases while he gave up four hits and four runs.

“Those two walks were critical,” said Richards.  “The first inning, I didn’t have command of anything, to be honest.”

Ryan Theriot leadoff the soaring offense with a double, followed by to back-to-back singles and two back-to-back walks which scored in the second run.  Clayton’s night ended after five innings giving up nine hits, seven runs (all earned), two walks, one home run and three strikeouts.

It was the most runs he allowed in a game since yielding eight earned runs against the Dodgers on April 18.  San Diego got their only run in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by Yonder Alonso.

“Those guys played great tonight, both sides of the ball,” Ryan Vogelsong said.  “We hit the ball and scored some runs and made a bunch of nice defensive plays.  I felt like I was just along for the ride tonight.”

Buster knocked in four runs which included a three-run homer in the fifth that extended the Giants’s lead and secured the win.  The sellout crowd at AT&T Park had plenty of entertainment.  In the next inning Melky Cabrera made a leaping catch into the stands for the first out in the sixth.

“His plate discipline,” said Richards of what impressed him most about Posey.  “He’s knows what he is looking for.”

“I knew it would take him a little time with all the time he missed last year,” manager Bruce Bochy said.  He’s that good, it didn’t take him long to get his timing and get into the flow of the game.  It’s just gets better with him.”

An unbelievable call took all by surprise when Mark Kotsay had a diving catch that was overturned in the first.  All of the Padres players left the field and had to return with now only two outs.  Vogelsong struck out to end the inning again.

“In a nutshell, when they convened, three of the four [umpires] had the ball as trapped,” said manager Bud Black.

Crawford got ejected on another reverse call in the bottom of the sixth not in favor of San Francisco, Brandon’s double was taken back after the replay video showed he did not tag first base.  It appeared as though he did which is why he argued the call.

“I don’t really know what to say about it,” said Crawford.  “I knew I touched the bag when I rounded it but obviously he [1st base umpire] didn’t see it.  You saw the reply to see I touched it, I guess mistakes are made and that’s what that was.

FDA Approves First Drug for HIV Prevention

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced approval this week of a drug for daily use by uninfected adults to help prevent the sexual acquisition of HIV.
The drug combination, called Truvada,  has been commercially available as an HIV treatment since 2004.  But this is the first time any drugs have been approved for the prevention of sexually acquired HIV infection.
“With 50,000 new HIV infections in the United States each year, additional prevention methods are urgently needed,” said Dr. Kevin Fenton, Director, CDC National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD & TB Prevention.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention applauds the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision to approve the use of Truvada to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV,” he said.
If delivered effectively and targeted to those at highest risk, the medication could play an important role in the medical response to the HIV epidemic, officials said.  Strong research evidence indicates that when used consistently, the drug is safe and effective at reducing the risk of acquiring HIV sexually.
The CDC has already issued guidelines to gay and bisexual men who may be considering the use of the drug  and soon will publish similar guidelines for heterosexual men and women.
In order to be effective, the drug must be used consistently.
Furthermore, it should be viewed as as part of a comprehensive package of prevention services, including counseling regarding risk reduction and the importance of adherence to daily doses of medication, ready access to condoms, and diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, according to medical and public health experts.

“We Cannot Give Up the Fight Against AIDS”

By Jesse

Hundreds of advocates marched on July 12 through the streets of Durban, South Africa to call attention to recent PEPFAR budget

On Sunday I will be joining thousands of other advocates to call out to the  world with one voice: “Keep the Promise”.
The “Keep the Promise” March on Washington is expected to be one of the highlights of  the 19th International AIDS Conference (IAC), which will be held in downtown Washington D.C., from July 22 to July 27.
The conference itself will be attended by over 20,000 delegates, composed of scientists, community leaders, advocates and activists from over 200 countries who face the daily reality that AIDS is still here and it is still deadly, a fact that we cannot allow to slip out of our consciousness.
The Washington DC marchers want world leaders and governments to realize that although there have been victories in the fight against HIV/AIDS, we still have a long way to go before AIDS is defeated. We cannot afford to give up the fight.
The march begins at the Washington Monument, where thousands of participates will receive a souvenir red umbrella that will help to form a giant AIDS ribbon for commemorative aerial photos.
The “Promise” program includes a performance by musician and activist Wyclef Jean. Joining him onstage will be keynote speaker, former U.S. Congressman Ambassador Andrew Young, civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, broadcaster and author Tavis Smiley, prominent democratic intellectual Dr. Cornel West and in a special message from South African human rights activist and Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Comedienne Margaret Cho will serve as host.
The march comes at a critical time when public interest in the epidemic is waning here at home and abroad.  Absent today are headlines and news reports.
This complacency is largely due to the discovery of lifesaving antiretroviral drugs that have revolutionized HIV/AIDS treatment. The new drugs allow people infected with HIV/AIDS to live long lives and in consequence, many people have begun to believe the problem was fixed.
HIV/AIDS is very much alive and is still killing people every day. In the U.S. 1.2 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, and the CDC estimates indicate that in 2010 more than 25,300 people were diagnosed with AIDS.
Annually, over 16,000 people die of AIDS-related causes in this country, while over 2,000 people are on waiting lists for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), which is funded by state and federal governments to provide assistance to low-income people living with HIV/AIDS.
The “Keep the Promise” Declaration also calls for the nation to keep its commitment to the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which provides funding for HIV/AIDS treatment programs in developing countries.
Recent cuts to PEPFAR represent an alarming retreat on AIDS treatment and care, which signals the wavering of resolve by the U.S. to fight the AIDS epidemic.
Hundreds of advocates marched on July 12 through the streets of Durban, South Africa to call attention to recent PEPFAR budget cuts.

State Report Tackles Mental Health Disparities

V. Diane Woods, DrPH (L) is the director and lead investigator of the California Reducing Disparities project (CRDP) for African Americans. Woods and Kristee Haggins, PH.D., a counseling psychologist in the UC Davis Counseling Center and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the African American Studies Department, attended the press conference to release a statewide study that examines ways to reduce disparities in mental health care for black Californians. For a copy of the report go to Photo by Carl M. Dameron.

African Americans in California receive far less adequate mental health treatment than whites, according to a report issued July 17 by the California Department of Mental Health.
This discrepancy will continue until the state’s mental health system implements changes to make services culturally competent, according to V. Diane Woods, DrPH, the director and lead investigator of the California Reducing Disparities project (CRDP) for African Americans.
“Too many African Americans end up in county jail or prison, when they may need behavioral health assistance,” said Woods, the founding president of the African American Health Institute of San Bernardino County.
“And, many African Americans do not receive appropriate mental health services, even when they go to places that are supposed to help them.”
The fact-finding team initiated 35 focus groups, 45 individual interviews, 635 surveys, and nearly a dozen public forums throughout the state to gather information on African American’s opinions on what practices promote good mental health in the community.
“It is important for we African Americans and everyone to shift the conversation when it comes to mental health concerns,” says Dr. Daramola Cabral Ibrahim, DrPH, Chair Health Sciences at John F. Kennedy University and a consultant on the study.  “
We need to be able to talk about a mental illness, be it depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc. as we talk about diabetes or asthma.  And, it is important to be able to talk with a willingness to learn, to be open-hearted and compassionate.”
Lack of knowledge about mental health, coupled with poverty, fragmented families, stigma associated with mental health concerns, and a need for culturally proficient providers are some barriers to treatment in the black community, according to the report.
“Family members, friends and co-workers are the eyes and ears of the community,” Cabral Ibrahim says.  “Early recognition and intervention can prevent major emotional issues later on in life.”
The study includes more than 200 recommendations, including the development of programs to help build resilience, especially among youth; the support of community agencies, clergy and families as first responders; developing mobile mental health centers; and the requirement that mental health providers have cultural competency training.
“Most of us (Blacks) know when we fall out of a tree and break our arm, we go to the hospital. But, most of us don’t know where to go when we’re severely anxious or depressed, or we are around someone who is severely anxious or depressed,” said Nicelma J. King, a public policy analyst and one of the principal investigators.
“We don’t know what the response ought to be.  We won’t have change in mental health in our community until people know where to go to see about these problems.”
The study on African American mental health disparities is one of five state-commissioned demographic-specific studies conducted as part of the California Reducing Disparities Project.  These reports will be compiled into a statewide strategic plan that will inform how the state will spend $60 million in funds earmarked to address mental health disparities.
Woods said the next step is to start devising a statewide strategic plan, which will prioritize and fund the recommendations.
For more information, call the Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services at 510-567-8100.

Black Genealogy Through the Eye of an Artist

Artist Nate Creekmore was inspired to create this artwork by the story of a formerly enslaved African named Litt Young given him by curator Kheven LaGrone for the “I Am America” exhibit.

“I Am America:  Black Genealogy Through the Eye of An Artist,” a well-received traveling exhibit, will open at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, previously known as the Alice Arts Center, at 1428 Alice St. in Oakland.
Public viewing is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 14 through Tuesday, Sept. 11.  The public is invited to hear from the participating genealogists and artists at a reception, 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 16.
“I Am America” commemorates the Black citizens and families who contributed to the making of America immediately before, during and after the Civil War. Family stories and documentation uncovered by African American genealogists refute the kind of U.S. history that W.E.B. DuBois called “lies agreed upon.”
For” I Am America, “a few genealogists provided family stories, black-and-white photographs, marriage certificates, land deeds, census records, military papers, and published narratives.  Then artists used the documentation to re-imagine these stories and images.
“This exhibit features an American—even world—history and identity I wasn’t taught in school.  Thus, I titled the exhibit ‘I Am America,’” said curator Kheven LaGrone. “We are the quintessential ‘All-American.’”
For information contact Kheven LaGrone at

Oakland “Relay for Life”

By Tanya

Earl Starnes, who lost his wife Annie Mae from cancer in February, is someone who feels the call to join the fight against the disease, which strikes one in three people during their lifetime.
“I can’t think of a better way to honor my wife and keep her memory alive than to actively participate in eradicating cancer from the planet,” he said.
Starnes will join other Bay Area residents Saturday, July 28, by walking around the clock in the battle against cancer at the 8th Annual American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Oakland.
The 24-hour relay gets underway with teams of residents gathering at 10 a.m. at Bishop O’Dowd High School at 9500 Stearns Ave. in Oakland.
Relay for Life, which is being hosted at 4,800 events nationwide, celebrates the courage and strength of the survivors and honors the victims.
“Relay is a unique opportunity for our community to come together to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember those we’ve lost, and fight back against the disease,” said Angela Caulboy, chair of the Oakland Relay.
“The first lap at the relay is special, it’s the survivor’s lap,” she said. “Cancer survivors are invited to walk the first lap.  It’s very emotional and hopeful to see how many people do survive cancer.”
Each team captain is encouraged to recruit 8 to 15 friends, family and coworkers, who will seek contributions prior to the event.  On the day of the relay, team members will show up with their tents and chairs and take turns walking around the track.
One person will always be walking one the track, representing the team for 24 hours.
In 2010, Relay for Life raised $388 million to fund cutting-edge cancer research, early detection and prevention educations, advocacy efforts, and life-affirming patient services.
“We urge the community to come and see what our event is all about, stay for a lap or all day, just help us fight back against cancer,” said Caulboy.
For more information, contact Angela Caulboy at (510) 258-3458 or go to

Know Your Medicare Rights

By David

As a person with Medicare, you have certain rights and protections. And it’s worth knowing what they are.
You have rights whether you’re enrolled in Original Medicare – in which you can choose any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare – or Medicare Advantage, in which you get care within a network of health care providers. Such networks are run by private companies approved by Medicare.
Your rights guarantee that you get the health services the law says you can get, protect you against unethical practices, and ensure the privacy of your personal and medical information. You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times, and to be protected from discrimination.
You also have the right to get information in a way you understand from Medicare, your health care providers, and, under certain circumstances, Medicare contractors. This includes information about what Medicare covers, what it pays, how much you have to pay, and how to file a complaint or appeal.
One very important right is to get emergency care when and where you need it – anywhere in the United States.
If you have Medicare Advantage, your plan materials describe how to get emergency care. You don’t need permission from your primary-care doctor (the doctor you see first for health problems) before you get emergency care. If you’re admitted to the hospital, you, a family member, or your primary-care doctor should contact your plan as soon as possible. If you get emergency care, you’ll have to pay your regular share of the cost, or copayment. Then your plan will pay its share.
If your plan doesn’t pay its share, you have the right to appeal.
In fact, whenever a claim is filed for your care, you’ll get a notice from Medicare or your Medicare Advantage plan letting you know what will and won’t be covered. If you disagree, you have the right to appeal.
For more information on appeals, you can read our booklet “Medicare Appeals,” available at Or call us, toll free, at 1-800-MEDICARE.
You can also file a complaint about services you got from a hospital or other provider. If you’re concerned about the quality of the care you’re getting, call the Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) in your state to file a complaint. A QIO is a group of doctors and other health care experts who work to improve the care given to people with Medicare. For information go to or call 1-800-MEDICARE.
Many people with Original Medicare also enroll in Medicare prescription drug plans. Here, too, you have certain rights.
For example, if your pharmacist tells you that your drug plan won’t cover a drug you think should be covered, or it will cover the drug at a higher cost than you think you’re required to pay, you can request a coverage determination.
If the decision isn’t in your favor, you can appeal.
You can ask for an exception if you, your doctor, or your pharmacist believe you need a drug that isn’t on your drug plan’s list of covered medications, also known as a formulary.
You don’t need a lawyer to appeal in most cases, and filing an appeal is free. You won’t be penalized in any way for challenging a decision by Medicare or your health or drug plan. And many people who file appeals wind up with a favorable outcome.
For information, read our booklet, “Medicare Rights and Protections,” at
David Sayen is Medicare’s regional administrator for Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada.