From September 2012

Community Discusses Strained Relations with Sheriff’s Deputies

Top row, from left to right: David Brown, Felecia Gaston, Lt. Doug Pittman, Pam Bousquet, Sgt. Gary Brock, Royce McLemore, Gladys Denis. Far right: Sheriff Department Citizens Complaint Report. Bottom: Concerned residents expressing their frustrations with the Sheriff’s deputies. (Photos by Godfrey Lee).

By Godfrey Lee

The relationship between the Sheriff’s Department and the community in Marin City has become strained, and needs to be improved, according to the  Community Services District, which is holding meetings to encourage community members to discuss their experiences with Sheriff deputies.
A public safety town hall meeting  was held Monday, Sept. 24 at the Marguerita C. Johnson Senior Center, as a follow-up to discuss concerns shared during  previous meetings.
Attending the meeting were Jonathan Logan, who moderated the discussion, and Lt. Doug Pittman and Sgt. Gary Brock, who represented the Sheriff’s Department.
David Brown, Chief Deputy Public Defender for Marin County, gave out copies of the Victims’ Bill of Rights. Supervisor Kate Sears was also present.
Residents of  Marin City  said they feel deputies have been insensitive to them and have been harassing community members. They said they still respect the Sheriff’s Department, though these issues have been straining the community’s relationship with the department.
Robert Doyle, Marin County Sheriff, said he recognizes this problem and emphasized in  an op-ed piece “Marin Voice: Partnership Needed in Marin City” that the “Police/community relationship in Marin City needs to be improved.”
The  department’s substation in Marin City serves all the unincorporated community, south of Corde Madera, which includes Marin City, Doyle said in the column.
“Although Marin City represents less than 10 percent of the population we serve, over one-third of our calls for service are from Marin City,” he said. “Most of those calls require a response of more than one deputy, and more are calls for service involving violence.”
Because of robberies and crime in Marin City, the substation in Marin City is the busiest of the four patrol areas in Marin County. The deputies assigned to that area are therefore in “a state of heightened awareness,” Doyle said.
In addition, most deputies receive their training in Marin City, says Doyle. They are therefore “inexperienced,” he said, and this affects how they treat the people they are dealing with.
This experience and the pressure on the job may turn into the insensitivity and harassment experienced by members of the community, he said
Doyle said  it is important that residents file their complaints and document an incident if they think that a deputy acted improperly toward them. And the complaints need to be filed as soon as possible after an incident occurs, he said.
It is even OK to videotape the incident as long as the one doing the taping is not the one being stopped or arrested, he added.
Logan said that the residents should  mail copies of their complaint to the Community Services District so that they can know what happened and become a second pair of eyes to the incident.

San Francisco Named America’s Best City

Mayor Edwin M. Lee

Mayor Edwin M. Lee has announced that San Francisco has received the distinction as America’s Best City in Bloomberg Businessweek.com’s 2012 best places to live ranking.
San Francisco topped the list of 100 American cities researched.
“It’s certainly an honor for San Francisco to be named ‘America’s Best City,’ and it’s great to get recognition for the good work San Franciscans have done,” said Mayor Lee.
“San Francisco is committed to being the best place to live, work and visit, and there is nowhere else on earth where you will find the economic opportunities and world-class events found in our great city,” he said.
San Francisco ranked first overall due to its performance across the board, with the highest score for education, ranking sixth in leisure and placing in the top 20 for economic factors and air quality.
Also important are the continuous stream of international sporting events and cultural celebrations being held in San Francisco and the tourists who pour into the city every day, as well as the wealth of food trucks, restaurants, bars and parks that make it a unique and diverse places to live.
For the study, Bloomberg Businessweek.com evaluated data on the country’s largest cities, looking at the number of restaurants, bars, libraries, museums, professional sports teams, park acres by population, public school performance, the number of colleges, rate of graduate-degree holders, income, unemployment, crime and air quality.
San Francisco finished ahead of Seattle, Portland, New York, San Diego, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
For ranking results of the Businessweek.com’s 2012 Best Places to Live, go to: http://images.businessweek.com/slideshows/2012-09-26/americas-50-best-cities

Civil Rights Leader is First USF Diversity Scholar

Clarence B. Jones

Civil rights leader and scholar Clarence B. Jones is  University of San Francisco’s inaugural Diversity Scholar Visiting Professor.
Jones, a friend, counsel, adviser, and speechwriter to slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., assisted King in drafting his celebrated “I Have A Dream” speech and personally smuggled the famous “Letter From Birmingham Jail” out of the Birmingham, Alabama city jail on scraps of newspaper and toilet paper.
At USF, Jones is teaching the undergraduate course “From Slavery to Obama,” which features readings, lectures, and guest speakers that highlight the people and events that shaped America’s efforts to abolish slavery, address its historical consequences, and create a society based on racial equality.
The course is a tribute to the legacy of King’s leadership, a leadership that transformed America, Jones said. “It is designed to enable honest and critical discussion of race in our country.”
The USF Office of Diversity Engagement Community Outreach established the semester-long visiting professorship to bring leaders on social justice issues to campus to teach and engage the USF community.
“Dr. Jones is a living legend, and this is a remarkable opportunity for our students,” said Mary J. Wardell, associate vice provost of Diversity Engagement and Community Outreach. “As an internationally recognized leader in the civil rights movement, Dr. Jones brings an unmatched level of experience to the classroom.”
USF awarded Jones an honorary doctorate in humane letters in 2011. In 2008, the Museum of African American History honored him for his work during the civil rights movement. Former President Bill Clinton presented him with a White House Letter of Commendation in 1999.
In 1967, Jones was the first African American to become a partner in a Wall Street investment firm. Fortune Magazine twice named him businessman of the month.
Jones has appeared on a number of television and radio programs, including “The O’Reilly Factor,” “The Tavis Smiley Show,” and NPR, and he currently blogs for The Huffington Post.
Jones is co-author of the books “What Would Martin Say?” “Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech That Transformed a Nation,” and “Uprising: Understanding Attica, Revolution, and the Incarceration State.”
Article by Kathleen de Lara, courtesy of University of San Francisco.

Sugary Drinks Increase Health Risk

By Jeff Ritterman

The issue of the Richmond Soda Tax is being hotly debated in the Richmond Community.  I am grateful for the opportunity to address the readers of the Richmond Post on this important issue.
To set the record straight, infant formula, ensure and 100 percent fruit juices will not be taxed.  There was confusion about the infant formula issue, but it has been cleared up.  Since infant formula and ensure were never intended to be taxed, they are not.
As far as the charge that the tax is regressive and hurts the poor, let me say that diabetes, premature heart attacks, strokes and cancer hurt the poor much more than a one-cent per ounce tax on sugary beverages.
America currently spends close to $200 Billion a year on health costs related to obesity.
But it’s not the cost alone, and it’s not about being fat.  It’s about dying young.  That’s what will happen to our young people if we do not reverse the obesity epidemic.  Richmond’s African American and Latino students are at the highest risk of dying young from obesity related diseases.
When our kids drink sodas, the sugar goes right to the liver and gets converted to fat which causes fatty liver disease, diabetes and premature heart attacks.  If you drink one can of soda a day, your risk of a heart attack increases by 20 percent. That was published this year in the heart journal Circulation.
The science is new, and it is frightening.  These drinks are taking years off of the lives of Richmond’s children!
It’s like being the very first ones to learn that cigarettes cause lung cancer.  Richmond can lead the nation in reversing the obesity epidemic, and it will distinguish our city in ways that will also advance our economic development.
This week .a company from Chicago is looking at warehouse space in Richmond because they are interested in locating in a health conscious city.  The CEO and I made contact over the Soda Tax issue.
Why the tax?  Because all of the very best minds in medicine like Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, say that the tax could be “the single most effective measure to reverse the obesity epidemic.”
The Beverage Association’s own data in Richmond (personal communication Ralph Simoni, California and Nevada Beverage Association) show that the tax will result in a 15-24 percent decrease in consumption.
Decrease in consumption is what we want.  Just like we want with cigarettes.  The good news is we have great tap water, which is free.   No one needs to go thirsty, and everyone can get healthier, save money, get thinner and save the environment at the same time.
Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper wholly fund the other side.  Do you really think they care about the health of the kids of Richmond?
I know that some well-meaning folks are on the side of Big Soda, but most don’t fully understand the science and how devastating these sodas are to the health of our children.
I pledge that if the Soda Tax passes, I will work toward all of the revenue going for programs and projects that reverse childhood obesity like after school sports and more sports fields, swimming lessons for every third grader at The Plunge, putting gardening and nutrition teachers in all of our elementary schools and more.
Join the American Academy of Pediatrics, our children’s doctors who “applaud the Richmond City Council on behalf of the health of the children of California and strongly support” measure N.
Jeff Ritterman, M.D., serves on the Richmond City Council and was a cardiologist at Kaiser Richmond for 29 years.

Chevron Seeks Grant Proposals

Chevron has announced  opportunities to submit proposals for grants for an Economic Self-Sufficiency grant program and an  Energy for Learning program.
Chevron may award up to five grants through each program. The total amount available to be awarded is $1 million –about $500,000 for each program.
Last year’s grants resulted in investments in vocational and job creation projects, as well as increased opportunities for students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
For information go to http://richmond.chevron.com/home/community/programs.aspx. For additional information contact Andrea Bailey at (510) 242-5403 or email andreabailey@chevron.com.

New Law Reforms School Takeovers

Sandre Swanson

Governor Jerry Brown has signed AB 2279, a law that returns full local control to school districts that are repaying an emergency state loan by authorizing the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to remove the appointed trustee under certain conditions.
“The term of an emergency loan is typically 20 years, and existing law requires an appointed trustee to serve until the state loan is repaid, regardless of a district’s progress or demonstrated fiscal responsibility,” said Assemblymember Sandre Swanson.
“While the superintendent is required to appoint a trustee to monitor the school district, he lacks the authority to remove that trustee when the school demonstrates financial recovery. AB 2279 gives the superintendent this important tool while protecting the local district and safeguarding taxpayer money,” Swanson said.
AB 2279 allows the state superintendent to remove an appointed trustee, under specified conditions, from a district that is repaying an emergency state loan.
According to Swanson, this new law addresses concerns raised in hearings by the Select Committee on State School Financial Takeovers, which identified in some communities conflicts between the state administrator and the governing board.
“AB 2279 will give the state superintendent the authority to step in when necessary to resolve that conflict in an organized and constructive fashion while developing a positive learning environment for children,” he said.
The bill also gives the county superintendent the power to stay and rescind the actions of the governing board, if he or she determines that the actions may affect the district’s financial stability.
“The school emergency loan process was designed to help struggling schools through tough financial times,” he said “The process was not intended to compromise the ability of local parents and school board officials to participate in the education of their children,” Swanson said.

Wells Fargo Volunteers Rebuild Iron Triangle Neighborhood Homes

Jim Foley

John Stevens

Wells Fargo & Company, in partnership with Rebuilding Together East Bay North and the City of Richmond, sent more than 100 Wells Fargo Team Members on Sept. 22 to volunteer their time to help rebuild two homes, create a community garden and restore a building in the Iron Triangle neighborhood Richmond.
In addition to volunteering time, the company also announced a $35,000 grant to foster the ongoing operations of Rebuilding Together so that they can continue work such as the revitalization of the Iron Triangle.
“Wells Fargo is committed to the City of Richmond.  Our team members work and live in the community, and we’re proud to give our time and resources to help rebuild the Iron Triangle,” said Jim Foley, president of Wells Fargo’s Greater Bay Area region.
“Wells Fargo values its relationship with the City of Richmond and Rebuilding Together East Bay North, and we hope others may be inspired to support our local communities,” he said.
In 2011, Wells Fargo team members volunteered over 100,000 hours in the Bay Area, and gave $19.6 million to local schools and nonprofit organizations.
Wells Fargo has been a long-time supporter Rebuilding Together bringing volunteers to improve the homes and lives of low-income homeowners who are disabled or elderly by providing free repair services for those with the greatest need.
Each year Rebuilding Together serves dozens of homeowners as well as tens of thousands of facility users through its Community Facilities Program in the cities of Richmond, San Pablo, Alameda, Albany, Berkeley and Emeryville.
The group has rehabilitated more than 700 homes and facilities in the Bay Area with more than 20,000 volunteers, providing more than $10 million in market value.
“We work together to bring warmth, safety, and independence to our neighborhood by revitalizing homes and community facilities”, said John Stevens, executive director of Rebuilding Together East Bay-North. “It is great to see so many Wells Fargo team members coming together to help our neighbors.”

Center Donated School Backpacks

Angela Moore

Over 450 children from North Richmond and surrounding areas lined up for the 10th annual Afterschool Backpack Giveaway.Photos by Joe L. Fisher, Black American Political Action Committee (BAPAC).

By Kia Croom

The Center for Human Development recently hosted its 10th annual Afterschool Backpack Giveaway, which gave school supplies to more than 450 children from North Richmond and surrounding areas.
Prior to the event, which took place at 1410 Kelsey St., staff and volunteers from the Richmond Public library filled the backpacks with school supplies.
“We are partnered with PMI Insurance to support children in to the North Richmond community,” said Angela Moore, program director of the center.
“Many of the children had not gotten supplies since school started,” she said.
Moore said she appreciated the work of Barbara Moreland, director of Internal Communications at PMI, who coordinated a contest in which teams of employees competed to see who could produce the most supplies.
The Center for Human Development serves children and young adults between the ages of 5-26.  The center’s programs include an afterschool program and a Science Engineering Technology and Mathematics (STEM) club. For information visit www.CHD-prevention.org or call (510) 234-5359.

“Tax Targets Poor and Marginalized Communities,” Says Pastor Cassandry Keys

Pastor Cassandry Keys. Photo by Joe L. Fisher, Black American Political Action Committee (BAPAC).

By Kia Croom

Pastor Cassandry Keys, the new Pastor of Davis Chapel Christian Methodist Church, is concerned that the city’s proposed soda tax will hurt those who are already experiencing financial turmoil.
“To put any other expense on the backs of people keeps them from achieving their dreams. It takes away from their education and homeownership dreams,” she said.
“If passed, in the tax will affect the most poor and marginalized communities in West Contra Costa County,” she said. “ So, those communities not seeking the tax should stand with Richmond to prevent something similar from happening in their communities.”
Keys believes the best way to combat obesity is to promote physical activity among community members.
“We need to create physical activity for our kids. We have conditioned our kids to sit in front of the computer and use social media. We have to promote physical fitness.”

Pastor Jones: “City has imposed fees and closed recreation facilities, making it harder to fight obesity.”

Pastor Donnell Ricky Jones.Photo by Joe L. Fisher, Black American Political Action Committee (BAPAC).

 

By Kia Croom

Pastor Donnell Ricky Jones of New Direction Ministries opposes the soda tax scheduled to appear on the November ballot.
According to Jones, the proposed tax will not only hurt Richmond businesses and families, but also has the potential to promote theft among those who cannot afford to pay the tax.
Jones is uncertain about how effective the proposed tax will be in actually deterring the consumption of soda within the Richmond City limits and questions the authenticity city’s concern for the health and fitness of its citizens.
“If Richmond is really concerned about obesity and health, why do we charge to use facilities such as Booker T. You have to pay a fee just to be on the basketball court,” Jones said. “The city is the culprit of the obesity (issue)  in my opinion because many of the recreational facilities have been closed. And they impose fees.  Our kids don’t have the money to participate.”
Jones is doubtful that tax revenues would be used for the stated purposes of advancing anti-obesity programming and health awareness.
“I don’t see Richmond investing in the health of the community, and I do not think the money or the majority of it will be used for its intended purposes.”
He believes the best way to combat obesity and other health risk factors is by offering exercise programs at the city’s parks and recreation department and by challenging the local school systems to reinstate physical and health education programming.
Kia Croom is a contributing writer for the Richmond Post.

Shocking Silence on Lives Cut Short

By Jesse
Jackson

The silence is deafening.
Last week, the New York Times reported a horrifying measure of America’s shame. Life expectancy for white women without a high school degree had decreased by five years since 1990, according to a study in Health Affairs. Five years. The least-educated white men lost three years in life expectancy. And the life expectancy for American women is now dead last among developed nations, according to the Human Mortality Database.
Life expectancy in many ways is the measure of civilization. It rises as a society conquers deadly epidemics like smallpox or the plague. It rises as mothers giving birth receive adequate health care and nutrition. It rises as children are well-fed and grow up in safe neighborhoods and stable families. It rises as adults earn enough to feed their families and afford health care for them. It rises as seniors gain dignity and adequate care at the end of a life of working. And, of course, it rises as medical science advances.
I remember the shock at the precipitous decline in Russian life expectancy with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Yet in the U.S., this report on our own decline came and went with little notice.
Poverty is at record levels in the U.S. — now more than 48 million people. Wages are falling for working families. Health care, paid sick leave, adequate retirement pensions — all have been cut drastically.
The New York Times, citing an American Cancer Society study, reports that 43 percent of working-age adults with less than a high school diploma now go without health insurance, up from 35 percent in 1993.
In many of our urban areas, junk food abounds, but fresh vegetables and fruit are scarce and expensive. Too many poor children go to schools without playgrounds or gyms. In the ghettos and barrios of despair, drugs and violence threaten lives. But as we’ve seen, the drug epidemic extends even into rural areas scarred by meth addictions.
Life expectancy is a meter of our character, of what kind of society we are.
Yet this subject remains almost invisible on the campaign trail. President Barack Obama has focused his message, sensibly enough, on reviving a broad middle class that has been sinking over the last decades.
Republican Mitt Romney mentions poverty, but his agenda features a war on the poor rather than a war on poverty. He calls for more tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, paid for by deep and harsh cuts in programs for the vulnerable — Medicaid, Medicare, aid to poor schools, child nutrition, Head Start, home heating assistance, affordable housing and more.
His harsh view of the “47 percent” as “victims” who can’t take responsibility for their lives essentially writes them off his radar screen.
The contrast with our great leaders is stark. Franklin Roosevelt summoned Americans to build an economic bill of rights that would seek to ensure good jobs, health care and retirement security to all willing and able to work. Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty succeeded in reducing childhood poverty before it was lost in the jungles of Vietnam. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington sought to rally the country to address the plight of the poor.
In the presidential debates, we’re likely to see a lot of “gotcha questions” and sound-bite answers. But surely some focus should be on the spread of poverty and the shocking decline in life expectancy.
Jesus said our character is measured by how we treat the least of these. The debates should probe how the candidates will deal with the most vulnerable among us.

Additions to Homeowner Bill of Rights Become Law

Kamala Harris

The final parts of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights have been signed into law. The entire package of laws will take effect on Jan. 1, 2013
“California has been the epicenter of the foreclosure and mortgage crisis,” said Attorney General Kamala Harris. “The Homeowner Bill of Rights will provide basic fairness and transparency for homeowners, and improve the mortgage process for everyone.”
The new part of the Homeowners Bill of Rights include Senate Bill 1474, which gives the Attorney General’s office the ability to use a statewide grand jury to investigate and indict the perpetrators of financial crimes involving victims in multiple counties.
Assembly Bill 1950 extends the statute of limitations for prosecuting mortgage related crimes from one year to three years, giving the Department of Justice and local District Attorneys the time needed to investigate and prosecute complex mortgage fraud crimes.
Assembly Bill 2610 requires purchasers of foreclosed homes to give tenants at least 90 days before starting eviction proceedings. If the tenant has a fixed-term lease, the new owner must honor the lease unless the owner demonstrates that certain exceptions intended to prevent fraudulent leases apply.
Previously signed into law were three other components of the Homeowner Bill of Rights. Assembly Bill 2314 provides additional tools to local governments and receivers to fight blight caused by multiple vacant homes in neighborhoods.
Two additional bills provide protections for borrowers and struggling homeowners, including a restriction on dual-track foreclosures, where a lender forecloses on a borrower despite being in discussions over a loan modification to save the home. The bills also guarantee struggling homeowners a single point of contact at their lender with knowledge of their loan and direct access to decision makers.

SF Foundation Community Leadership Awards, Oct. 2

2012 Koshland Young Leader Award winners Luri Chen Zheng, Kyron Covington, Deandra Crawford, Mollie Cueva-Dabkoski, Marlyn Martinez, Edith Melendez, Rodrigo Mendez, Erica Nguyen, Nga Pham, and Stacy Thomas.

The San Francisco Foundation (SFF) will be holding its 2012 Community Leadership Awards Tuesday, Oct. 2 at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco.
The awards celebrate visionary leaders doing extraordinary work to strengthen Bay Area communities. This work may confront societal or civic issues, address health or environmental concerns, or promote arts and humanities. The 2012 Community Leadership Awards will be presented to Rita Semel, Brenda Way, Aim High, and Chinese for Affirmative Action.
The ceremony will include a celebration of F. Warren Hellman,  SFF Trustee and Chair Emeritus, Investment Committee Member, and Bay Area visionary and the Koshland Young Leader Awards, recognizing 10 high school students who are leaders in their community.
The awards ceremony begins  at 6:30 p.m. with a reception  following at the San Francisco War Memorial Veterans Building, 401 Van Ness Ave. RSVP to kluce@sff.org or call (415) 733-8502.

S.A.V.E. Says “Stop Violence in Oakland”

Community members mobilize against gun violence and “A Celebration of Life,” Sept. 22 at Oakland City Hall.Photos by Auintard Henderson.

Pastor Zachary Carey

“97 percent of the people just saying  stop the violence is not going to do anything.  Policing (alone) isn’t going to do it.  We have to change the culture and take a stand.” – Pastor  Zachary Carey

By Post Staff

Marchers met at five locations throughout the city Saturday morning, Sept. 22 and proceeded to Oakland Hall to hear speakers, listen to music and bear witness, reflecting a growing determination in the community to bring an end to the gun violence that is stealing the lives of so many in Oakland.
Spearheading this movement has been Pastor Zachary Carey  of True Vine Ministries at 1125 West St. in Oakland, and the organization he began two years ago, Soldiers Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE).
Among the core of faith organizations that worked on the peace marches and Celebration of Life were St. Paul’s Episcopal, Pastors of Oakland, Baptist Ministers Union, Acts Full Gospel C.O.G.I.C. Allen Temple Baptist and Shiloh.
Last year, 12 churches and community groups participated in the first march and rally. This year, the number has grown to 60.
Last Saturday’s marchers assembled at Cesar Chavez School at 29th Avenue and International Boulevard, Defremery Park at 18th and Adeline streets, First AME Church in West Oakland, Youth Uprising at 8711 MacArthur Blvd. and Uptown at 19th and Broadway.
SAVE also organizes “stand-ins” at the sites of homicides, where people commemorate the victims and call on the community to end the silence, to “say something.”
The idea for SAVE and the marches against violence were born after a member of True Vine, Leon Wilson, was killed two years ago.  He had been attending a G.E.D. class at Allen Temple and was shot down when he went outside.
“We got together at bible study and talked about how out of control the violence has become in our city. We started doing stand-ins where someone is killed. We’ve been standing in, even when it’s raining,” said Carey in an interview with the Post.
“If 3 percent of people are participating in this type of (violent) behavior, where are the other 97 percent,” he said. “We need our voices to be heard. All of us are being impacted by this violence.”
Carey emphasized that the roots of gun violence are complex, and the solution must address the real causes.
”It’s not just the fact that there’s a proliferation of hand guns that our kids have access to,” said Carey.
“It’s a whole host of things. We have to get rid of hand guns, mentor our young people, offer jobs and job training because poverty has a lot to do with violence and improve the school system.”
“Just saying stop the violence is not going to do anything.  Policing (alone) isn’t going to do. It.  We have to change the culture.”
The numbers of killings show that urban communities have become a war zone, he said. “We have a undeclared war, though it’s a war that has not been interpreted in that light.”
Nationally, 295,893 Africans Americans have died in homicides between 1976 and 2006.
“This is not just an Oakland problem,” Carey said. “This is a national crisis that is going on in every urban setting in America.”

Colleges Get $15 Million Jobs Grant

Dr. Jannett Jackson,
College of Alameda President

Dr. Elñora Webb,
Laney College President

The Peralta Community College District is part of an East Bay Consortium of colleges led by Los Medanos College from the Contra Costa Community College District that was awarded a $14.9 million grant this week from the Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Initiative.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced Thursday more than $500 million in grants for community colleges and universities nationwide.
Colleges from around the U.S. will receive funds to expand job training through local employer partnerships.
Peralta Colleges – Berkeley City College, College of Alameda and Laney College and Merritt College in Oakland – are part of an East Bay Consortium that also includes Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College, Los Medanos College, Ohlone College, Chabot College, Solano College, CSU East Bay and University of California, Berkeley.
Peralta will receive $5.4 million of the $14.9 awarded to the consortium, with College of Alameda and Laney College each receiving $1.8 million ($600,000 each per year over the three year grant period) and Merritt College and Berkeley City College each receiving $900,000 ($300,000 each per year for three years).
“I am very pleased that the Department of Labor has recognized the unique role that community colleges play in workforce development and job training,” said José M. Ortiz, Ed.D., Chancellor of the Peralta Community College District.  “I want to also thank Congresswoman Barbara Lee for her support during this grant process.”
The grants are designated to provide training in such fields as manufacturing, transportation, health care, science, technology and engineering. The program was created in 2009 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and funded within the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
Funds will be used for community colleges around the country for targeted training and workforce development to help economically dislocated workers who are changing careers.

Swanson: “Gay Plair Cobb does the job for Oakland”

Gay Plair Cobb, chief executive officer of Oakland Private Industry Council (PIC), receives a state proclamation from Assemblyman Sandré Swanson.

Gay Plair Cobb, chief executive officer of Oakland Private Industry Council (PIC), has received a state proclamation from Assemblyman Sandré Swanson honoring her path-breaking efforts to create jobs and job training programs,  which have led to opportunities for thousands of people.
The proclamation, which was presented  at a Workforce Investment Board meeting at Oakland City Hall, recognized Cobb as an active promoter  of women´s and workers’ rights. She served as  Swanson’s representative on the California Workforce Investment Board from 2007 to 2012.
“(She) has been instrumental in establishing PIC’s community service programs that have received national recognition for their innovative approach to providing job training for those most in need,” the proclamation said.
Cobb, who graduated from Queens College, City University of New York and received a Master of Social Work degree from UC Berkeley, served as Western Regional Administrator for the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor and was a member for 24 years of the Alameda County Board of Education.

City Attorney Parker Challenged By Brunner

Challenger Jane Brunner on the right, incumbent Barbara Parker on the left.

By J. Douglas
Allen-Taylor

After Oakland voters approved the popular election of the Oakland City Attorney in 1998’s Measure X, they were faced with a choice between electing the longtime appointed holder of that office-Jayne Williams-or a member of the City Council –John Russo. They chose Russo.
A little over a decade later, Oakland voters are being asked to make a similar choice: to give a full four-year term to City Attorney Barbara Parker, who was appointed to the post by the City Council after Russo resigned in 2000, or to replace her with veteran City Councilmember Jane Brunner.
Voters are being asked to choose between the two candidates for a position when a majority of Oakland citizens don’t appear to have a clear idea what, exactly, the City Attorney does or how the agency affects the city’s residents.
At a recent West Oakland candidates’ debate, for example, the first question posed to Parker and Brunner was to tell the audience the duties of the City Attorney’s office.
For the record, the City Attorney’s office represents the mayor, the City Council, the police department, and other city agencies in litigation, provides legal advice to city officials, and prepares contracts for the administration and ordinances and resolutions for the Council.
How voters decide may be determined by what qualifications they think are most important in a City Attorney. If the priority is experience in running the City Attorney’s office-one of the largest law firms in Oakland-that would favor Parker, who has been an attorney in the office for 20 years, 10 of them as chief assistant to John Russo.
If the priority is political experience and expertise, that will favor Brunner, a practicing attorney with the Siegel & Yee law firm who has served for 16 years on City Council.
Meanwhile, the City Attorney’s race is one of the more bitterly contested local races in the November Oakland election.
Brunner has charged Parker with what the Councilmember calls a “pay to play” practice, saying that “Outside attorneys who receive contracts from the City Attorney’s office are the key financial contributors to [Parker]’s campaign. The appointed City Attorney has disclosed that she received a total of over $34,000 from attorneys at law firms who received more than $8.7 million in outside contracts from the City Attorney’s Office in the past three years.
“Now we see the very attorneys who benefited greatly from these contracts and these settlements contributing to the election campaign of the Appointed City Attorney.”
Parker replies that she was “disappointed to see Councilmember Brunner use personal attacks in an effort to win this election.” Saying that “no campaign donor has ever or will ever receive preferential treatment from me or from my office, period,” the City Attorney has hit back with charges that Brunner has her own “pay to play” problem, noting that “a significant portion of Councilmember Brunner’s political contributions in this election have come from developers, lobbyists, and others with business before the City Council… Ms. Brunner also has solicited contributions from attorneys whose law firms have done or wish to do business with the City, including attorneys who have contributed to my campaign.”

Lorenzo Hoopes, 98

Lorenzo Hoopes

Lorenzo “Ren” Neville Hoopes, 98 – member of the   Oakland school board for 17 years,  Safeway executive and Mormon bishop –  died on Sept. 21.
An active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he served as bishop, stake president, England Bristol mission president and Oakland Temple president and sealer.
He began his career with Safeway in 1941 and was appointed executive assistant to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson in 1953.
Hoopes returned to Safeway in 1955 and became manager of the dairy and egg division. He was elected vice president and manager of supply operations in 1963, and elected senior vice president and director of Safeway in 1972. He retired in 1979.
Among his civic commitments, he served as a member of the Oakland Board of Education, SF Bay Area Council Boy Scouts of America and was in Rotary since 1941.
Hoopes was born in Brigham City, UT, Nov. 5, 1913, to Jesse Warner and Matilda (May) Eastman Hoopes. He married Stella Bobbie Sorens, in 1938 in Los Angeles. The couple had two children, David Craig Hoopes and Janet Hoopes Washburn, seven grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.
He attended Weber College and the University of Utah, graduated from Harvard’s AMP Program and received an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University.
He served on many boards of directors, including Belkorp Industries Inc. in Vancouver, BC; Paramount Theatre; Foundation for American Agriculture; California Coordinating Council for Higher Education; and the National Dairy Council.
Services are scheduled for 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 29 at Oakland Interstake Center Auditorium, 4780 Lincoln Ave. in Oakland.
Condolences may  be expressed at www.facebook.com/lorenzo.hoopes. or www.oakparkhillschapel.com. In lieu of flowers, donations are welcome to the LDS Church’s Perpetual Education Fund (PEF): www.pef.lds.org .

Karen Davis Takes First Place in Toastmasters Contest

Karen Davis, a local entrepreneur and president of ARPB Toastmasters, recently won first place in the Evaluation division of Toastmasters District 57, Area D30 Evaluation and Humorous Speech contest.
The contest was held in Oakland at the EBMUD corporate offices. The annual Evaluation and Humorous Speech contests feature winners from several local clubs.   Davis will now represent Area D30 at the Division D contest, which will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 23.
At the same event, the Humorous Speech contest was won by Charles Reid, from the Laugh Lovers Comedy club, (www.laughlovers.us) a specialty Toastmasters club that focuses primarily on humor-related topics.
Also competing in the D30 contest were Jacque Brown and Jason Matthews, who took second in the Humorous Speech contest, with his speech titled “The Art of War.”
Fellow Toastmasters Ernest Clark and Virginia Pieters served as Toastmasters of the Evening.
Assisting the contest were Tyree Johnson, Robin Houston, Andre Matthews, Vivian Prater, Lena Robinson, Raynard Jackson and Bruce Taylor.
“Toastmaster contests on any level are as much collaborative as they are competitive. At the same time it is a fun way for members of various clubs to work together.  Almost any member is capable of taking a leadership role, because at the end of the day our goal is to advance the best contestants to the next level,” said Randie Ellington, Area D30 Governor and Event Chair.
District 57, also known as the “Redwood Empire District”, (www.d57tm.org), encompasses most of Northern California, east and north of the San Francisco Bay, to the Oregon border. There are over 150 clubs in the district.

Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

From left to right: Back row: Christopher Matted (UCSF Men of Color Program); Raphael Forbes (BARAASEC’s Sgt. of Arms); Gloria Lockett (Executive Director California Prevention & Education Project Cal PEP); Braunz Courtney (Test Coordinator for HIV Education and Prevention Project of Alameda County HEPPAC); Jonita Lloyd (youth member BARAASEC); Kelly Nanney (Alameda County Department Public Health staff);Dr. Muntu Davis Alameda County Health officer); Front row: Lori Williams (Alameda County Department Public Health staff); Maurice Grahmn (Executive Director AIDS for SIDS Africa); Al Pierre (AIDS for AIDS Africa).

By Jesse
Brooks

September 27th marked the fourth National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, founded by National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) to encourage gay men to remember how much has been accomplished in the fight against the disease and to commemorate the quarter million lovers and brothers who have been lost to the epidemic.
HIV continues to be a major public health burden, disproportionately affecting men who have sex with men and racial and ethnic minorities.
NAPWA was founded in 1983 and advocates for all people living with HIV/AIDS. Only tangentially represented in national AIDS Awareness Days, an awareness day devoted solely to gay, bisexual, same gender loving and transgendered gay men fills a gap in national HIV/AIDS consciousness raising efforts.
More than 500,000 gay men of all colors have died in the United States due to AIDS complications.
Since the disease was first recognized in the early 1980s, the epidemic continues to affect gay and bisexual men to a degree that far surpasses their proportion of the U.S. population. From 2006–2009 HIV incidences in the U.S. haves remained relatively stable. However, among young men who have sex with men, particularly Black men, incidences have increased.
Reducing social stigma is essential to stopping the epidemic. Negative public views hinder discussions and disclosure regarding HIV status. Sexual behavior and orientation for many men who have sex with men is an important part of self-identification, while for others it is a question of sexual practice rather than identity.
Some men who have sex with men identify as heterosexual and may not relate to prevention messages directed towards self-identified gay men. While this may signal internalized homophobia, it is important to focus on connecting individuals with the desired service and to encourage safer sex practices.
An underestimation of personal risk is an important part of the problem. Some would say negligence, and irresponsibility are logically the most important factors of transmission.
Unfortunately, for this population it is not that simple.
Institutionalized homophobia and racism play a role. As Blacks, we understand what it is like be to part of a minority group. However, Black gay men are a minority group inside a minority group, which faces major stigmas.
Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself, and self-concept is who you think you are. In terms of Black gay men, the weakness is not their self-esteem, but their self-concept.
I grew up in Oakland in a Black family in the heart of the Black community, attending predominantly Black schools and worshiped at a traditional Black Baptist church. Whether it was on the playground, around the neighborhood, or at Sunday sermons, from the age of 5, all I ever heard were negative references to gay men.
Not only do gay men hear these messages growing up, but their families are affected as well by these destructive verbal assaults on one’s character. The connection between poor self-concept and HIV is difficult to pin down, but there is a connection.
It is time again for gay men, especially gay men of color, to lead the movement to end the epidemic. We now know how to do it, with routine HIV testing for all, every 3 to 6 months.
We know that an infected person who receives effective treatment is much less likely to pass the virus on to others.
We must strengthen our resolve and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS among gay men, encourage HIV testing, early diagnosis and linkage to care and promote better understanding of the complex factors that drive HIV transmission among gay men.
The HIV epidemic is far from over for gay men – it is time for action.

Keija Minor Named Brides Editor-In-Chief

By Julee Wilson
Huffington Post

Keija Minor has been named the editor-in-chief of Brides, succeeding Anne Fulenwider, making her the first person of color, after 103 years, to ever hold the title at a Condé Nast Publications (CNP) magazine.
Minor’s new appointment is major news.
CNP is a  privately owned company that produces 18 magazines including Vogue, Glamour, Vanity Fair and GQ.
Minor joins other Black editor-in-chiefs who have been at major mainstream publications.
Amy DuBois Barnett, who was Ebony’s EIC, became Managing Editor (Time, Inc.’s equivalent of an EIC position) at Teen People, which made her the first African-American woman to head a mainstream consumer magazine.
Newsweek’s former EIC Mark Whitaker, was the first African-American to lead a national news magazine before becoming Executive Vice President and managing editor for CNN Worldwide.
Other special interest publications, which reach a larger spectrum of ethnicities and focus on more niche subjects like music, have been run by an editor of color, as in the case of GIANT magazine, which was helmed by Emil Wilbekin–who is now the editor-at-large at Essence.
Corynne Corbett, the beauty director at Essence, was the executive editor at Real Simple, and Minor was the executive editor at Brides before this recent promotion.
Minor’s experience helming a magazine is anchored in her tenure (2008 to 2011) as EIC at Uptown, a lifestyle glossy aimed at affluent African Americans and as EIC of Gotham (2005 to 2007). Her journey from a Black publication to the pinnacle of a mainstream title is an example that Black editors can ascend in publishing, particularly after spending time at a niche publication.

California, Mexico Sign Anti-Trafficking Accord

Kamala D. Harris

California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and Mexico Attorney General Marisela Morales Ibáñez have signed an accord to expand prosecutions and secure convictions of criminals who engage in the trafficking of human beings.
The Sept. 21 accord will increase coordination of law enforcement resources targeting transnational gangs that engage in the sale and trafficking of human beings across the California-Mexico border.
The accord calls for closer integration on human trafficking investigations between the two offices and the sharing of best practices for law enforcement to recognize instances of human trafficking and provide support and services to victims.  Prosecutors from the two offices today held the second of a series of meetings to implement the initiative.
“California and Mexico are together taking steps to disrupt and dismantle the criminal networks that traffic human beings into our state as if they were just another commodity,” said Harris. “Targeting transnational gangs is a vital component of our efforts to protect public safety in California.”
Human trafficking is estimated to be a $32 billion global industry and the world’s third most profitable criminal enterprise behind drugs and arms trafficking. The United States Department of State estimates that between 14,000 and 17,500 individuals are trafficked into the country each year.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline and Resource Center received more than 54,000 calls between 2007 and 2011, with more than 15 percent originating from California.
“Criminal trafficking organizations are among the most dangerous threats that we confront and they are drawn to the trafficking of human beings by the high profit and low risk,” said Harris. “If we aim to be smart on crime, we have to change that calculus. Our goal is to disrupt trafficking networks, increase convictions and force these international traffickers away from our borders.”
Earlier this month, Attorney General Harris announced the arraignment on drug trafficking charges of six individuals with suspected links to the La Familia and Sinaloa cartels. Together, these two busts resulted in the seizure of more than 43 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of nearly $2 million.
The Justice Department is preparing an update to California’s Human Trafficking Report, which, in part, will examine the human trafficking activities of transnational gangs in California. This report is an update of a 2007 report mandated by the California Human Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2005, which was sponsored by then-District Attorney Harris and first made human trafficking a felony in California.
For more information on human trafficking, visit www.oag.ca.gov/human-trafficking.

Voters Evenly Divided on Death Penalty Initiative

After years of support for capital punishment, a new poll shows voters nearly evenly divided on the statewide ballot initiative Proposition 34, which overturns the state’s existing death penalty law and makes life in prison the ultimate penalty for a capital crime.
The latest statewide survey conducted jointly by The Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley and The Field Poll finds sentiment closely divided on Prop. 34, with 42 percent of likely voters intending to vote Yes to repeal the death penalty and 45% voting No to keep the law in place.
California currently has over 700 people on death row – by far the highest in the nation. However, no inmate here has been put to death in the last five years because of an ongoing legal battle over execution procedures.
The delay in California between the time someone is given a death penalty sentence and when an execution actually takes place is now averaging more than 25 years. If passed, Prop. 34 would go into effect the day after the election and would apply retroactively to all those currently on death row.
There are big partisan differences in preferences about the initiative. While pluralities of Democrats and independents are in support, Republicans are more one-sided in their opposition.
Support for repealing the death penalty is strongest among liberals, African-Americans, voters in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area and those who have completed post-graduate work. Opposition to Prop. 34 is greatest among political conservatives and voters who live in the state’s inland counties, especially those in Northern California outside the Bay Area.
The Field Poll has made regular periodic opinion measurements for over  50 years on the issue of capital punishment in California. These surveys have consistently found sizable majorities in support of keeping the death penalty as a punishment, especially for very heinous crimes.
However, recent Field Polls have found voter opinions changing when the death sentence is compared to the alternative of sentencing a prisoner to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
When asked which penalty they preferred for someone convicted of first-degree murder, a 2011 Field Poll found more voters in favor of life in prison without parole (48 percent) than the death sentence (40 percent). This represented a reversal in opinions from a similar 2000 poll, when more favored the death penalty over life in prison without parole 44 percent to 37 percent.
The same 2011 Field Poll also found that over time Californians have been changing their opinions about two arguments relating to the death penalty, both of which are key points of contention in the Prop. 34 debate. The first concerns the relative costs of the death penalty vs. life in prison without parole. The other relates to whether the sentence of life in prison without parole really meant that a prisoner would never get out of prison.
A shifting national climate may also be helping anti-death penalty campaigners in the state. There is a noticeable trend of declining support for capital punishment nationwide. Seventeen states across the U.S. have abolished the death penalty, with New York and Illinois being the most recent.

Law Expedites Food Stamps for Families

Nancy skinner

Assemblymember Nancy Skinner has announced that Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1359 to expedite food stamps, or CalFresh benefits, within three calendar days for families in immediate need.
“AB 1359 will make it easier for the 120,000 children and their families who are hungry in Alameda and Contra Costa counties to access our federally-funded food programs,” Skinner said.
This bill requires county human services agencies to evaluate all applications for CalFresh expedited services, which conforms to federal law. Households that qualify for expedited service will receive benefits by the third calendar day after filing the application.
More than six million Californians are living in poverty with more than two million of them being children, according to statistics recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Latinos Are the “Most Powerful Force in U.S. Politics,” Says Biden

Vice President Joe Biden

By Jana Kasperkevic,
Houston Chronicle

The race for Latino voters is full on.
“What a difference 35 years makes,” said Vice President Joe Biden as he walked onto the stage at Congressional Hispanic Council Institute’s 35th annual gala, referring to the increase in number of Latino elected officials serving in the U.S.
“The contribution of Hispanic community has been incredible, but you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Polls show the Obama-Biden ticket leading Republicans Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan by a margin of up to three-to-one among Latino voters. Democrats are hoping that Hispanics will tip swing states such as Florida and Colorado.
“You know, the Hispanic population has increased from about five percent to 16 percent of America’s population today and accounts for 60 percent of our nation’s population growth,” noted Biden. “And something else has changed, the rest of America is beginning to understand that your success is America’s success.”
This became evident in the nation’s support of President Barack Obama’s executive order on Deferred Action program for childhood arrivals immigrants, explained Biden. According to him, over two thirds of the nation supported the executive order. “That is progress,” said Biden.
Yet the administration is far from being done, and the vice president made sure that the audience understood that they need to get out the vote to re-elect the president. “We’ve got a lot more to do. And we will not rest in this administration until we find a permanent path out of the shadows for those who have spent their lives living in fear, a path to citizenship,” he said.
Biden hit all the right topics last night as he spoke of immigration, education, Voter ID laws, and Hispanics serving in the army.
“We’ve got our hands full with this Republican party. This is not your father’s republican party. As a matter of fact, it is not even Mitt Romney’s father’s Republican Party. This party that pushes voter suppression all around the country,” Biden said, echoing what many Democrats have said about Voter ID laws.
He transitioned into budget cuts to education, cuts to early education and to Pell Grants. He drummed home the message that the president,  Michelle Obama and he are of the common folk, saying he doubted any of them would have gotten where they are without college loans.
And at the very end, he delivered the line that summed up what both political parties know well: Latino voters might just decide this election.
“You are about to become and already are the most powerful force in U.S. politics. Exercise that power well and the country will embrace it,” said Biden.