From February 2013

Banker by Day, Poet by Night

Stephen Sharpe. Photo by Joe L. Fisher, Black American Political Action Committee.

By Kia
Croom,

Most days, long-time Richmond resident Stephen Sharpe, 25, can be found at the local Mechanics Bank branch where he works as a corporate banking senior specialist.
What most of his clients don’t know, however, is that this banker is  a performance poet and has written more than 300 poems .
To showcase his lyrical talent, Sharpe attends popular poetry events in Oakland such as the Open Mic night at the Air Lounge or Golden State Slam at the Grand Avenue Coffee House.
Call him a banker by day and penman by night.
“I began performing in 2009 and got to know some great poets who do it professionally.  They gave me tips, strategies and challenged my writing style,” Sharpe said. “I write about lessons I’ve learned in relationships and my observations of others, as I am a people watcher.”
Sharpe hopes to publish some of his works by year’s end. In the meantime he is busy writing and preparing to copyright his works, including one of his favorites: “Origins of a Love Poet.”
Poetry aside, he is also pursuing his financial interests. Sharpe plans to relocate this summer to attend University of Notre Dame, where he will seek a master’s degree in business administration.
Kia Croom is a contributing writer for the Richmond Post.

Charter Academy Celebrates 102 Days of Perfect Attendance

The 6th grade class at Richmond Charter Academy middle school achieved 102 days of consecutive attendance. Students went to Stanford on a surprise field trip on the 100th day. Parents helped with keeping the trip a secret. From left to right, front row: Sahira Cornejo, Julisa Ponce, Keili Gonzales, Cinthia Garcia, Alexia Montes; 2nd row: Kevin Vidrio, Andres Martinez, Miguel Noyola, Stephanie Romero, Erik Munoz, Eliana Cerda, Leslie Santillan, Maria Diaz; 3rd Row: Carlos Candelas , Alexis Beltran, Maceo Lopez, Luis Ruiz, Oscar Hurtado, Ulises Hurtado, Jose Hernandez, Evelin Guzman, Jennifer Sosa.

The 6th grade class at Richmond Charter Academy middle school has announced that it has reached the milestone of 102 consecutive days of perfect attendance.
“I am truly proud of my students, parents and teachers,” said Principal Evelia Villa, “We set lofty goals from the start, and through thick and thin, the 6th grade class demonstrated that goals can be accomplished as a team.”
As part of the celebration of the achievement, the 6th grade class earned a day at Stanford University to promote college readiness. The children had an opportunity to talk to Stanford professors and university students.
Richmond Charter Academy is one of four public charter schools in the East Bay that are part of the Oakland-based Amethod Public Schools.
Truancy rates among California public schools have been an ongoing challenge.   In January 2011, the state legislature passed a truancy law that says parents and guardians of chronically truant K-8 students can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and face imprisonment or a fine,
In West Contra Costa Unified School District, the 2010 truancy rate among K-8 grades was 70 percent.
The Richmond Academy serves a predominantly low-income and Latino student population, most of whom come from homes where parents do not have college degrees.
“We cannot be successful as a school, community or state if we continue to allow parents and children to miss school days for frivolous reasons,” said Jorge Lopez, CEO of Amethod Public Schools.
“Missing a few classes or days may seem insignificant to students, or families. However, each instructional lesson presented to students is based upon or related to those that just preceded it. Just as we can never regain a moment of time wasted, the child who misses a day of school also misses a day of education, which cannot be retrieved,” he said
For more information, visit www.amethodschools.org

Haiti, Nine Years After the Coup

The end of February marks nine years since the U.S.-backed coup in Haiti, as well as the second anniversary since President Aristide has returned to the country.
Haiti Action Committee will commemorate the dates with featured speaker Walter Turner, host and producer of radio Station KPFA’s Africa Today. He will talk about his recent trip to Haiti on Saturday, March 2 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.at La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley.

Desmond Tutu Challenges Drones: “American or Not, All Victims Are Human”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

By Lauren McCauley,
Common Dreams

In a letter to the New York Times, South African Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu calls the US and its citizens hypocritical for accepting a killer drone program when it pertains to foreign suspects while demanding judicial review when those targets are American citizens.
He writes in the Feb. 12 letter:
“Do the United States and its people really want to tell those of us who live in the rest of the world that our lives are not of the same value as yours? That President Obama can sign off on a decision to kill us with less worry about judicial scrutiny than if the target is an American?
“Would your Supreme Court really want to tell humankind that we, like the slave Dred Scott in the 19th Century, are not as human as you are? I cannot believe it.
“I used to say of apartheid that it dehumanized its perpetrators as much as, if not more than, its victims. Your response as a society to Osama bin Laden and his followers threatens to undermine your moral standards and your humanity.”
Tutu was responding to an earlier New York Time article that discussed the idea of a “special court” or tribunal to review drone strikes against US citizens. Though not entirely new, the plan has gained momentum since the confirmation hearing of CIA director nominee John Brennan during which lawmakers, including Senators Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Angus King (I-Maine), discussed the option.
During the hearing, Senator King reportedly said he thought the special court “would pass constitutional muster only if it were limited to cases involving American citizens.”

Jim Hines Selected for OAL Hall of Fame

Jim Hines (right), a McClymonds High graduate, was the first man in history to break the 10-second barrier in the 100-meter sprint during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. School Board member Christopher Dobbins, co-founder of the OALHOF, said Hines was a “unanimous selection for his achievements on and off the track. He and 12 other high achievers will be inducted March 16, at 6 p.m., in the Courtside Club in the Oracle Arena. Hines said he hopes his Olympics gold medal will inspire youth to become academic and athletic high achievers.

The following are corrections to “The Roots of Toni Beckham’s Success” in the Feb. 13 Post.
The article by Lee Hildebrand inaccurately said “PR, et Cetera is now one of the most successful African-American-owned publicity companies in the United States.” Rather, it should read “In 2011, The Atlanta Post—a New York-based national news site targeting African-American business news and politics—listed Beckham among its selection of 10 of the nation’s top African American Public Relations agents.”
Also, the article inaccurately said “the University of Indiana,” when it should have said “at an Indiana University.”

The inaugural class of honorees includes: Don Budge, Curt Flood, Rickey Henderson, Zoe Ann Olson, Jackie Jensen, Joe Morgan, Bill Russell, Gary Payton, Frank Robinson, Lola Smith and George Powles. The induction event will held 6 p.m., March 16, at the Courtside Club in the Oracle Arena.

Berkeley’s First Citywide College and Career Day

Pamela Harrison-Small, Executive Director

Andrea Taylor, Special Projects Coordinator Photos courtesy of Berkeleyalliance.org

By Danielle
Savage

Berkeley will hold its first citywide College and Career Day Friday, March 1, sponsored by the Berkeley Alliance and the UC Berkeley’s Center for Educational Partnerships.
Every school in city is organizing an activity for its students that day, including after school programs and pre-kindergarten schools.
Activities will fit the age and needs of students at each school. LeConte Elementary, for example, will have a “Cap and Gown Photo Booth,” while 4th graders at Malcolm X Elementary will visit Laney College.
Activities are designed to encourages students and their parents to think about and plan for the future.
“What we want to do is for everyone in the community to send a message [to the students], which is, we have high expectations for you, we believe in you, and we support you. You can get to college or develop a career or both,” said Gail Kaufman, deputy director of the Center for Educational Partnerships.
In addition to wanting schools to participate, Kaufman said, “It’s a day where we hope everyone in the community will share their own educational or career journeys to increase the talk about college and careers. Kids start seeing that the adults in their lives also had choices to make, [and] there are things that students can learn from that.”
Andrea Taylor, special projects coordinator at the Berkeley Alliance, explained the ambitious goals that motivate the event.
“We’re trying to close the achievement gap between whites and Blacks by the year 2020,” she said. “We have a theme for the day ‘Picture Yourself There.’ We want to help [children], especially students of color, to picture themselves going on and making something of themselves.
“We want you to go and to excel where you are going, whether it’s a trade school, a two-year college [or a] four year college. “Our goal is to have students, families [and] teachers benefit.”
Schools will bring in sororities, choirs and cheerleaders from different colleges. An event featuring dinner and film for adults will also be held.
“The evening event is for families to become more involved. If we can’t get the family on board, it will be hard to get the students,” said Taylor.
Because this is the program’s first year, it is concentrating on community outreach. “We’ve reached out to businesses, city and school officials, our community leaders and churches,” but there is still more to do, said Taylor.
For more information, go to http://berkeleycollegeandcareerday.org/

Amya Harris, Doctor in the Making

Amya Harris says after becoming a doctor, she wants to open her own clinic and make a positive impact in the world. Photo by Ashley Chambers.

By Ashley
Chambers

Amya Harris, 15, is bound for success.
Holding a 4.2 GPA at Alameda Community Learning Center, the aspiring doctor is driven to level the playing field for young African American women.
Following in the footsteps of Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, the  African American doctor who was the first to perform open-heart surgery, Harris wants to become a heart surgeon and start her own clinic. She is determined to make an impact in her community.
“I love helping people,” she said. “I want to inspire others, and just bring positivity because I know there are a lot of negative things impacting a lot of people, and I see that.”
Harris enrolled in the Youth in Medicine (Y.I.M.) summer program through Alta Bates Summit Medical Center and Samuel Merritt University to study the cardiovascular system.
“We would go to the labs and look at skeletons, cadavers, and I was really interested in the heart,” she said. “I thought if I’m interested in doctors, why don’t I just become one.”
She has received awards as “Role Model Student” and “Most Likely to Go into the Medical Field.”
Harris says being a part of Girls, Inc has also helped prepare her for a career in medicine by learning the skills of public speaking and other college preparatory courses for college.
Her curiosity and passion for the medical field led her to create 4 Young Doctors, a website she started with her brother in 2006 featuring tutorials on the heart and human anatomy. Harris encourages people to become more involved in the field with colorful diagrams, video lessons, and important facts about health issues such as strokes and heart attacks.
She plans to enroll in the Youth Bridge internship program at Alta Bates.
“That’s a big step because now I’m not just going to look or play with the little pieces but actually work at the hospital with the doctors. It’s really great,” she said.
On her journey to success, Amya Harris is taking the first steps.

“We Do Not Need This Flying Invasion of Privacy”

By Neil Satterlund

Alameda County Sheriff Ahern wants surveillance drones.
At last Thursday’s hearing of Alameda County’s Public Safety Committee, over powerful objections from more than a hundred members of the community, he clarified what he wants: a small, quiet robot helicopter with a camera and thermal imaging that can see you through the bushes.
He wants to fly it anywhere in California.
The sheriff’s list of drone missions looks focused on disaster response, but includes fire prevention and crime scene monitoring. When veteran ACLU attorney Linda Lye, calling this “vastly overbroad,” asked whether jaywalking would provide an excuse to observe demonstrations, he dismissed the question as “rude.” (He had earlier told a reporter that “we don’t want to rule out a lot of uses.”)
First, he was only going to use the drone to monitor felonies. Then he backtracked, saying that the drone might also be used for surveillance at the scene of “some” misdemeanors.
But he insists that the drone will never be launched on a pretext and used for another purpose. (Just like stop-and-frisk policies are never used to harass and oppress the public under the pretext of preventing crime).
Sorry. I must not use these words. The sheriff ordered the county supervisors and the public not to say “surveillance,” or for that matter “drone,” while discussing his surveillance drone.
He refused to promise not to collect off-mission information for the national intelligence fusion centers. These centers track “suspicious activity” (like anti-war protests, or the threat apparently presented by the “diversity” surrounding a Virginia military base).
Even if you trust the sheriff not to abuse surveillance, drones aren’t safe. Customs and Border Control’s drones crash seven times more often than the aviation average.
The sheriff also does not understand the drone he’s asking for— he claims that the drone’s “signal hopping” makes it impossible to hack. But cell phones have used signal hopping since 1995—apparently, the sheriff hasn’t seen The Wire, or otherwise heard about wiretapping.
Last year, a similar drone was hacked using off-the-shelf hardware. The Homeland Security Committee called it a “gaping hole in the security of using unmanned aerial systems domestically.”
The sheriff offers no reason why Alameda County should be the first drone agency in California, and one of the first nationwide. We shouldn’t be on the cutting edge of civilian surveillance and police militarization. We do not need this unsafe, expensive, flying invasion of privacy.
Neil Satterlund is a member of Alameda County Against Drones

Promised Youth Job Funds Fail to Materialize

Henry Rosales

At the last meeting of the Oakland Workforce Investment Board, Executive Director John Bailey pledged to resolve snafus that have held up the cash advances for the past eight months to nonprofit agencies that serve some Oakland youth who are most in need.
Bailey made the promise on Feb. 7, but at least some agencies say they have not received the money by Thursday, Feb.21 as promised.
“We were told we would get the money by Thursday, but we have not,” said Henry Rosales, director of the Spanish Speaking Citizens’ Foundation, whose WIB-funded program  provides job training for students and out of school youth.
“As of Monday, we will have to suspend the program until we receive funding,” Rosales said.
“It puts an organization that is doing good work but doesn’t have a huge reservoir of money at a disadvantage.  They require us to front the money and wait for reimbursement. Small nonprofits cannot wait very long,” said Peter Roos, president of the board of the Citizens’ Foundation.
At press time, Bailey had not responded to the Post’s  questions.

DeVry University Offers “Passport 2 College”

Beverly Lewis, Educational Advisor at DeVry University.

For high school students looking to get a jumpstart on their college career, DeVry University has the perfect solution with its Passport 2 College program.
Students in their junior and senior years can earn college credit at no cost while getting their high school diploma taking college courses such as business, math, psychology, and English.
In preparing students for a successful college career, the program seeks to help bridge the gap of students who take remedial college classes upon graduating from high school.
To be eligible for the program, students must maintain a 2.5 GPA or better, be a U.S. citizen or have permanent residency status, graduate from high school in the next two years and want a head start on their college education.
Classes begin every eight weeks.
To apply for the Passport 2 College program, visit www.devry.edu/passport2college or call Beverly Lewis, Educational Advisor, at (510) 267-1340.

For high school students looking to get a jumpstart on their college career, DeVry University has the perfect solution with their Passport 2 College program.
Students in their junior and senior years can earn college credit at no cost while getting their high school diploma taking college courses such as business, math, psychology, and English.
In preparing students for a successful college career, the program seeks to help bridge the gap of students who take remedial college classes upon graduating from high school.
To be eligible for the program, students must maintain a 2.5 GPA or better, be a U.S. citizen or have permanent residency status, graduate from high school in the next two years and want a head start on their college education.
Classes begin every eight weeks.
To apply for the Passport 2 College program, visit www.devry.edu/passport2college or call Beverly Lewis, Educational Advisor, at (510) 267-1340.

Looking for Answers: Why Did Oakland Lose $600,000 for Jobs?

John Bailey

Desley Brooks

Part III
By Ken A. Epstein

The head of the Oakland Workforce Investment Board has submitted a memo to the City Council blaming the administration of former Mayor Ron Dellums for the loss of over $600,000 in federal funds for unemployed workers, nearly two years after Dellums left office.
Several problems with carrying out the grant “were not disclosed until October 2011, more than halfway through the funding period,” said John Bailey, executive director of the Oakland Workforce Investment Board in a Feb. 15 memo to Mayor Jean Quan, City Council and City Administrator Deanna Santana.
“When this new administration discovered these problems, staff worked with the California Employment Development Department (EDD), making every effort to correct the contract errors and obtain a three-month extension to the original grant to allow us to expend as much of the grant as possible,” Bailey wrote.
However, according to the state EDD, which was responsible for overseeing the federal money, Oakland had received support and warnings with enough time to spend the money to help the unemployed.
“During the initial phase of this project, the state hosted periodic conference calls with all 20 of this grant’s project operators (grantees). Many of them were challenged to get their projects operational due to their limited expertise running this type of training program,” said Dan Stephens, of the Communications Office, EDD Public Affairs Branch.
“The city was periodically reminded of the need to develop a corrective action plan that would get their project implemented quickly,” Stephens said.
“Warnings were issued … primarily through the conference calls … with all the grantees,” he said.
“The city’s current Workforce Investment Act (WIA) administrator John Bailey and his staff were first notified in late October 2011, that the City needed to deobligate (send back) funding from this project or present a written justification substantiating why they should be allowed to retain this funding as the availability of this funding to the state was scheduled to end on June 30, 2012,” Stephens said.
“It’s easy to blame people who are no longer here about why things didn’t work. If you think about the unemployment rate in our city, there should have been some urgency on the part of our administrators,” said Councilmember Desley Brooks.
The Dellums administration applied for and received the National Emergency On-the-Job Training Grant, which was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act from the Department of Labor in Spring 2010.
Two issues required the new administration to make changes to the original plan. The original plan proposed to train first-time workers, such as the formerly incarcerated, rather than placing laid-off workers in on-the-job training positions, as required by the Department of Labor.
The plan also proposed to utilize Volunteers of America and the Youth Employment Partnership to implement the program, though they had no OJT background or were they part of an open bidding process, as required by the state.
Bailey, who took his city position the beginning of 2011, was previously CEO of Volunteers of America, one of the agencies that had been originally selected by the city to implement the grant.
In part, the WIB staff has said it had no time to find new agencies to implement OJT programs because the Request for Proposal (RFP) progress was too lengthy to complete in the remaining months. But those who are familiar with the procedures say the state accepts other methods of competitive bidding, such as a Request for Quote (RFQ), which could take as few as two weeks.
“They couldn’t get it together to do an RFP. Are you kidding me?” stated Councilmember Brooks.
Initially, $400,000 was sent back on Dec. 27, 2011.  An additional $125,462 was sent back on May 7, 2012, Stephens said.
Left in the grant was $200,000, for which the Oakland Private Industry Council (PIC) received a contract from the city three weeks before the originally scheduled sunset date. PIC was able to spend $80,849 by Sept. 30, after the state granted an extension.
An additional $119,150.72 was returned on Nov. 2, 2012 as part of the city’s “closeout,” Stephens said.
In addition, Bailey said WIB has since January 2011 been involved in the complicated process of taking citywide workforce system responsibilities for picking and evaluating agencies to implement programs and to distribute timely funding to these agencies.
“The transition of system administration to the city is nearly accomplished,” he wrote.
“It speaks volumes of the ill preparedness of the (city) staff to take over these functions,” said Brooks. “It has been historically true about the city that we don’t run problems well. The people who suffer are not those who make over $100,000 a year. It’s the people who are supposed to be served by these programs.”
At least one head of a nonprofit who regularly attends WIB meetings warned City Manager Santana in 2011 that the city was facing the loss of federal job funds.
“The WIB has already forfeited some of its funding because they had not produced a plan to the State of California for the use of these funds in a timely manner,” wrote Rashidah Grinage, executive director of PUEBLO in a Nov. 16, 2011 letter to Santana.
“We look forward to an early response which provides an explanation for this irresponsibility and indicates how the problems that exist can be addressed,” wrote Grinage, who never received a response to her letter.
Vice Mayor Larry Reid is planning to hold a public hearing on why the city lost the money and other issues related to the city’s handling of federal job-training fund.

Tagami Conflict of Interest Charged in Army Base Evictions

Phil Tagami

Lynette Gibson McElhaney

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor

The president of one of the companies that must soon move to make way for Oakland’s development of the old Army Base property has charged that with the city’s assistance, Oakland developer Phil Tagami is operating under a “great conflict of interest” in the Army Base Gateway development.
Construction on the 165-acre Army Base property is expected to begin sometime this fall.
Oakland Maritime Support Services (OMSS) head Bill Aboudi told members of the Oakland City Council’s CEDA Committee last week that Tagami’s California Capital Investment Group (CCIG) could benefit financially from OMSS’ eviction from the Army Base property, an eviction over which the city has given Tagami full control.
“I don’t think it’s fair for the city to relinquish all control” over Army Base property evictions, Aboudi said.
At issue is a 15-acre slice of the 165-acre Army Base Gateway Development area that was once the subject of an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) between OMSS and the city to develop a port-support truck facility on the property.
The OMSS-Oakland ENA to develop a port-support truck facility on the 15 acres dates back to 2007, long before Oakland reached agreement with CCIG to develop the remainder of the Army Base property.
If OMSS and the City cannot reach agreement on a new ENA for any reason, Tagami’s company will take over development of the 15-acre site under Oakland’s agreement with CCIG.
The OMSS 15-acre ENA was renewed at least twice by the City Council but has now expired, and Aboudi told CEDA Committee members last week that since that time, negotiations for a renewed ENA with the city have “been backset. We haven’t moved forward.”
A Feb. 5 eviction notice from CCIG to OMSS says that the City of Oakland has “appoint[ed] CCIG as its sole point of contact” for any negotiations with OMSS “regarding a possible extension” of the eviction date.
Oakland faces a series of looming deadlines to move existing tenants—including OMSS—off of the city’s portion of the Army Base property or else forfeit millions of dollars in federal money for the base redevelopment.
Aboudi says that his company, which currently provides trucking-related services to the Port of Oakland, is not fighting the eviction from the old Army Base site, but only wants to ensure that it has somewhere near the port to move before agreeing to any eviction date. OMSS is currently in negotiations with the Port of Oakland to relocate to the port portion of the old Army Base, but as with all of the other Army Base tenants attempting that move, those negotiations have been slow.
Tagami’s office was contacted for comment on the Aboudi charges, but Tagami was not available for interview.
But District Three Oakland City Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney, who represents the old Oakland Army base area and sits on the Council CEDA Committee that is overseeing the base development, said in a telephone interview that she thinks Aboudi should drop any protest over the eviction notice and move forward with securing his business with the City and on the Army Base property.
“Delaying the eviction notice is just not going to happen,” McElhaney said, noting that the City and CCIG are under a tight federal funding timeline to get the property cleared of all current tenants in order to start construction.
“My suggestion to Bill is to move forward with all deliberate speed on finalizing the negotiations on his deal to relocate to the Port portion of the Army Base property and not get bothered by procedural things or spend time bickering or whining over the eviction notice. He shouldn’t be seen as being an obstructionist.”
McElhaney called Tagami’s dual developer and agent role on the Army Base project “convoluted,” but pointed out that “while I think there’s so much frustration over who Phil Tagami is and there are a lot of people who want to keep litigating that, that can’t be the primary concern now that we’re in this deal. We’ve got to move forward to secure the federal money and secure the jobs that this project will bring.”
McElhaney added that she was “hopeful that we’re going to be able to find a solution for OMSS, that they’ll be able to be located on the Port portion of the property and that they’ll be relocated to a permanent location under a separate (development agreement).”

Oakland Youth Win National Baseball Tournament

From left to right, front row: Raoul Fabian, Malik Davis, Dieckrimar Orta, Roberto Leyva; 2nd row: Rodney Robinson, Jamir Gibson, DaShawn Rogers, David Briseno, Jecary Middleton; 3rd row: Miekai Finnie, Amir Ealy; 4th row: Coach Vincent Ealy, Program Director Mr. Louie Butler, Coach Will Davis. Photo by YSN.

The Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program in Oakland, partnered with the Oakland Boys & Girls Club, and Youth Sports Nation (YSN), helped more than 40 youth and parents participate in a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada in December for the National Baseball Tournament.
Even though very few minority teams participate in youth baseball programs, Oakland’s determined group of players won first place in the 10-and-under age group in the World Series baseball tournament.
The Oakland team established a good record this season by winning 5 out of 6 tournaments.
“The continued support of the Oakland RBI program allows parents to give more focus to the players, and the players are able to focus on nurturing their hidden talents in the game of baseball,” said team mom Veronica James.
In a national effort to increase the number of inner city youth participating in the sport, the RBI program was founded in 1989 by the Major League Baseball initiative in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club.
The Oakland RBI chapter serves over 400 youth through the leadership of program Director Louie Butler and Calvester R. Stanley, president of the Oakland Boys & Girls Club.
Youth Sports Nation promotes positive images to youth through inspirational music and a prestigious group of sports icons: Joe Morgan, Bill Russell, Vida Blue, Fred Biletnikoff, Raymond Chester and Mike Norris.
Working together, they promote education, role models and community.
“Through the dedication of life coach Will Davis, assistant coaches, parents and community support, the team hopes to continue competing at a high level and using youth sports as a positive outlet,” said Terry T. Butler, founder of Youth Sports Nation and co-sponsor of the trip.

Spurs defeat Kings to start second half

By: Malaika Bobino

Sacramento, CA – It’s back to business with the NBA, the All-Star weekend is over and the second half of the season begins.  The San Antonio Spurs who maintain the best recored in the NBA finished the first half with three wins and they picked up where they left off.

“We know they are probably one of the best teams in the league,” DeMarcus Cousins said.  “They’re playing team basketball, that’s why they’re as good as they are.”

The Spurs 108-102 victory over the Sacramento Kings looked to easy.  While the Kings trailed the entire game, Isaiah Thomas matched-up well against Tony Parker.  Thomas finished with 22 points and did his best while driving through the lane with a spectacular crossover on Parker in the second quarter.

But that just wasn’t enough to stop the veteran guard who led San Antonio with 30 points and 11 assists despite his 17 turnovers.  The Spurs got their 15th win in their last 16 games.  A strong start to begin the second half, while the Kings have now lost three straight games.

“I just wanted to be aggressive, that’s what I’ve been trying to do all year long,” said Parker.  “The first game after All-Star break is always tough.  We’re going to have some turnovers, some missed shots and stuff like that.  Overall, it’s a big win because if you win on the road it’s sweet, I’ll take it.”

Sacramento went 4-for-22 on attempts made in the first quarter but only trailed by 9 points despite poor shooting.  They got better in the second half, Marcus Thorton made back-to-back 3′s and followed with a fast-break layup bringing the Kings within 3 points (100-103) with 59 seconds left in the game.

But Tony drove through the lane against Cousins with 19 seconds left and Manu Ginobili made a pair of free throws to extend their lead to six  points.  Sacramento stayed close down the stretch but never recovered.

“We didn’t make shots,” Thomas said.  “The whole first half we shot 30 percent, that was the biggest thing.  When you don’t make shots it makes everything else look bad.”

Mayor Kevin Johnson was in attendance to tonight’s game and is still fighting to prevent the team from moving to Seattle.  He wants to develop a financial plan for next week.  The NBA’s owners meeting will be mid April and determine the outcome of this move.

“I see a whale sighting,” said Mayor Johnson.  “I cant tell you how close to shore, but I can see it.”

Memorable Accomplishments of C’Aubrey O. Peoples, 56 Years at Fouche’s Hudson Funeral Home

C’Aubrey O. Peoples, General Manager of Fouche’s Hudson Funeral Home.

Corporate officers and staff of Fouche’s Hudson Funeral Home in Oakland  are honoring  C’Aubrey O. Peoples.
Peoples’ career spanned 56 years with Fouche’s Hudson, from apprentice embalmer to general manager. The demands and changes in the funeral industry over these decades made him exceedingly resilient.
His ability to manage the company and maintain a cohesive staff was masterful, according to those who worked with him.
Peoples’ management style was to lead by example with integrity as a core component, according to the staff. Under his leadership, Fouche’s compliance history was reflective of his ability to effectively manage staff by demanding ethical practice and compliance with California State Funeral Law.
Well respected by staff, he was knowledgeable and experienced in all aspects of funeral practice.
Peoples was a budget analyst, decision maker, problem solver and supporter of community endeavors. He was highly dedicated to serve families and staff needs and held in high esteem by local clergy.
Those who knew and worked with him knew his longevity and loyalty to Fouche’s Hudson Funeral Home and the funeral profession were commendable and unequivocal accomplishments. His honesty and integrity was unquestionable.
Working for Fouche’s for 56  of the 90 years it has been in business, Peoples had  embalming skills that set the company apart from all others. His warmth and compassion endeared him to families.
Fouche’s motto, “Our history and distinguished reputation is our legacy,” was achieved through his many years of service.
C’Aubrey O. Peoples’ love for the funeral profession had not diminished during his career. The staff at Fouche’s recognize his loyalty and outstanding management.
“He is worthy of the respect and honor we give him,” according to the staff.

Bay Area Home Depot to Hire 1,500 Workers

By Danielle Savage

Home Depot stores across the nation are hiring 80,000 part-time and full-time workers to handle the company’s busy spring home and garden rush.
About 1,500 of these jobs will be at Bay Area stores, according to Katherine Ellison, Corporate Communications Specialist for Home Depot. The positions will include cashiers, lot attendants and lawn and garden associates.
The Home Depot website recently introduced an online aid to assist military veterans match their talents with available positions. The company is willing to hire students and the formerly incarcerated, she said.
Interested job seekers should start by going online and filling out an application at http://careers.homedepot.com. Select “In-Store Hourly” and then the state and press “Go.”
Those without access to the Internet may visit a Home Depot store, which will provide them access to a computer to apply online.

Paid Transportation Internships for High School Students Available

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s  annual High School Internship Program is seeking student applicants for paid summer internships in local transportation agencies throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
High school sophomores, juniors and graduating seniors in the nine counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma  of the San Francisco Bay Area are encouraged to apply.
“The program’s purpose is to introduce students to career opportunities in transportation,” said MTC Executive Director Steve Heminger.
The program’s flexible schedule allows students to be employed either full-time or part-time for up to 10 weeks between June 19 and Aug. 30. Students will work with local public agencies in a department related to transportation planning or engineering, public works or public transit.
Students must be at least 16 years old and have completed the 10th grade by the start of the program in June. Additionally, students must live and go to school in the county where the position is offered. Students graduating in 2013 are also eligible to apply.
There are 38 paid internships available, and the deadline for submissions is Feb. 28.
To apply, submit the completed application, along with a one-page response that describes, in your own words, a transportation problem in your community and what you think could be done to resolve it. A letter (or letters) of recommendation from a teacher, principal, counselor, religious leader or employer must also be included.
Applications will only be accepted online at http://jobs.mtc.ca.gov/InternshipOpportunities/jobinternship.html. Program requirements can be found at: www.mtc.ca.gov/jobs/high_school/. For more information, contact Michelle Tan, MTC’s high school internship coordinator, at 510.817.5807.

Macy’s Salutes Gordon Parks in Celebration of Black History Month

Gordon Parks

Macy’s will honor the legacy of American cultural hero Gordon Parks in celebration of Black History Month with a special film series event and exhibit at Macy’s Union Square on Thursday, Feb. 21.
In partnership with The Gordon Parks Foundation and the American Black Film Festival, the “Gordon Parks: Black American Icon” event will feature Parks’ photographs and “In Conversation” discussion focusing on the artists’ influence on film and the future of African-American cinema.
Eriq La Salle, of “ER” fame, will be the featured speaker.
“Exemplary Americans like Gordon Parks serve to inspire generations with a rich legacy of achievement that crosses boundaries. From photography to film and music, Gordon Parks is the perfect American hero to honor during Black History Month celebrations at Macy’s,” said Dineen Garcia, Macy’s vice president of Diversity Strategies.
From the early 1940s until his death in 2006, Parks created a body of work that documents many of the most important aspects of American culture, with a focus on race relations, poverty, Civil Rights and urban life.
“Parks’ genius was based on the respect and trust he brought to his subjects, not only through the lens of his camera but through his own personal story,” said Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr. executive director, The Gordon Parks Foundation.
Parks had a profound impact on the arts as the first African-American to work as a photographer at LIFE  magazine.
In 1969, he became the first African-American to write and direct a Hollywood feature film based on his bestselling novel “The Learning Tree,” followed in 1971 by the hugely successful motion picture “Shaft.”
For more information visit www.macys.com/celebrate.

Alameda Students Sponsor “More Than a Month” Film Screening

High students in Alameda will be showing and discussing a provocative documentary, “More Than a Month,” in which a young man travels across the country, examining what Black History means in “Post-Racial” America.
The event will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 27 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Ruby Bridges Elementary School, 351 Jack London Ave. in Alameda and is sponsored by the Black Student Unions at Encinal and Alameda High Schools, along with their peers from Island High School and the Alameda Multicultural Community Center.
Following the showing  of the award-winning film by African American filmmaker Shukree Tilghman, a panel of local high school students, educators and community members hold  a discussion with the audience, moderated by Rick Moss, chief curator and director of the African American Museum and Library in Oakland.
Students will also present Profiles of History, biographies of game-changers who have impacted both Black and American history.
For information, contact Dexter Moore at (510) 798-1236 or dmoore@alameda.k12.ca.us

Malique Amenhotep Shines a Light on African History

Malique Amenhotep

By Ashley
Chambers

It is crucial that African Americans to do whatever it takes to know their history, which is rooted in Africa, says entrepreneur and Oakland native Malique Amenhotep, who has been an avid researcher all his life, studying the lives of Harriet Tubman, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X and others.
“I have been (fortunate) to travel and see great influences and contributions by all human kind. After watching Dr. Asa G. Hilliard on ‘Master Keys of Kemet,’ that set me off to becoming an entrepreneur, to correct history and to tell our story through diligent research and studying.”
He has travelled to the Nile Valley, Kemet, and Aswan in Egypt and studied historians such as  J.A. Rogers, John Henrik Clarke, Carter G. Woodson, and Gerald Massey.
Amenhotep lectures on the history and civilization of  Africa. He started his company Amenhotep Productions in 2007, hosting African speakers and researchers on the continent’s historic contributions that have influenced the world.
On Saturday, Feb. 16, he will host author and independent Egyptologist Anthony T. Browder at the E One Lounge from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., 200 Hegenberger Road in Oakland. Browder is the author of “From The Browder File” and “Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization.”

SF Foundation Calls for Nominations for 2013 Community Leadership Awards

The San Francisco Foundation announced this week  a call for nominations for the 2013 Community Leadership Awards. Each year, the awards celebrate visionary leaders doing extraordinary work to strengthen Bay Area communities.
Winners are those who  confront societal or civic issues, address health or environmental concerns, or promote arts and humanities. One of the four awards is designated for an under-recognized, mature artist who has made a significant and ongoing contribution in the Bay Area.
Last year’s winners were Rita Semel, Brenda Way, Aim High, and Chinese for Affirmative Action.
Individuals and nonprofit organizations in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties are eligible. Awards are $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for organizations. The deadline for nominations is Friday, March 1, by 5:p.m.
The foundation has been serving the Bay Area since 1948, granting more than $800 million over the past 10 years. The organization serves San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo Counties, addressing community needs in the areas of community health, education, arts and culture, community development, and the environment.
The foundation  brings together donors and builds on community assets through grantmaking, leveraging, public policy, advocacy, and leadership development to make a greater impact in the community.
Visit www.sff.org/cla for more information and to access the online nomination form. Contact Jen Thom at 415.733.8565 or cla@sff.org with additional questions.

Supervisor Carson Hosts “African American Organizations Making Connections”

Keith Carson

“Strategies and Outcomes for Our Black Community” is the theme of African American Organizations Making Connections 2013, a free event featuring panels and workshops for members of the Black community that will be held Saturday, Feb 23, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the gymnasium at Laney College, 900 Fallon St. in Oakland.
The one-day event is designed to help community members connect, learn and take action around critical issues like public safety, health and job creation.
Workshops and panels will support those who are seeking positive outcomes and real strategies for improving the Black community in the Bay Area.
Sponsors are Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, Clorox, Laney College and the Socially Responsible Network.
The plenary panel will be: “A Look into the Black Community – Where We Have Been, Where We Are, Where We Are Going.” Workshops will include   “Our Community a Safe Place – Public Safety,” “Business / Job creation / Workforce Development Strategies,” “Faith-based and Community Organizations,” “Black Health and Wellness and “A Black Community as One – Intergenerational Relationships”
The first Making Connections event in 2010 attracted more than 350 people, and organizers expect more than 500 at this year’s event.
With a focus on solutions and measurable outcomes, this event will bring together experts and community members who have a wealth of knowledge, expertise and access to resources, according to the organizers.
The event will provide a free catered lunch. Youth are encouraged to attend.
To RSVP, go to http://aamakingconnections2013.eventbrite.com/ Join the Facebook group at /www.facebook.com/AfricanAmericansMakingConnections

Lee Hildebrand to Speak on Historic Richmond Blues, Gospel and Soul

Noted music writer Lee Hildebrand will speak on Richmond Blues, Gospel and South of the 1940s to the1970s, Saturday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. at the Visitor Center of the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond.
The mass World War II migration of African Americans, many from such states as Texas and Louisiana, to Richmond and North Richmond, led to vibrant blues and gospel music scenes during and after the war.
Hildebrand will discuss venues like the Club Savoy, Tapper’s Inn, Minnie Lue’s, the Mekesmo, and Tommy’s 250 and play recorded examples of music of singers and groups who lived in and or performed in Richmond, including Lowell Fulson, Jimmy McCracklin, Roy Hawkins, Willie B. Huff, Little Joe Blue, the Golden West Gospel Singers, the Jackson Brothers, Dorothy Morrison, Joe Simon, Jesse James, the Two Things in One, and YBS.
Hildebrand has been writing about blues, jazz, soul and gospel music since 1968, with a focus on the East Bay. He has contributed to the San Francisco Chronicle since 1974 and served as an editor of the East Bay Express from 1978 to 2001. His work appears regularly in the Oakland Post and Living Blues.
The presentation is the first in speaker series on the legacy of the American World War II Home Front, hosted by the National Park Service. The second event will take place on Saturday, March 9, “A League of Their Own – Female Archetypes on the Diamond and on the WWII Home Front,” presented by Doc Stull.
The Rosie the Riveter Visitor Education Center is open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located at 1414 Harbour Way South, suite 3000, Richmond.  For more information and directions to the Visitor Education Center, call (510) 232-3108 or go to www.nps.gov/rori/planyourvisit/directions.htm. There is no charge for admission to the Visitor Center.

Paul Robeson’s Songs and Struggles Live at Allen Temple

 

Lawrence Beamen

By Lee
Hubbard

Lawrence Beamen was 20 when he learned about legendary singer and political activist Paul Robeson, captivated by stories of the historic struggles Robeson went through and how he used his artistic talents to help fight for Black civil rights and equal opportunity.
“I began to immerse myself in the study of his life,” said Beamen. “Robeson believed that fate had drawn him to the path of drama and stressed the only ‘original’ (American) culture was African American culture.”
Beamen has appeared and sung at events and venues all over the country.  He will bring his talent to Oakland with his interpretation of Robeson in his show, “From Renaissance to the Struggle of Paul Robeson,” on Friday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m. at Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland.
The event will feature a concert and re-enactment of the 1956 House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) testimony with actors Paul Abbott and Michael Walraven, The dramatization of the hearing will help tell the story of Robeson’s life and tribulations.
“(The show) opened up the door for people to know who I am,” said Beamen.  “It has taught me to be more humble and to be patient, to keep moving on with what I do best.”
Beamen, a native of Mississippi, grew up in Oakland and began singing at a young age. He developed his deep baritone voice while singing in the church. He performed locally before getting his national break as a top-five performer on the television show NBC’s “America’s Got Talent. “
“Every attempt was made to silence and discredit Paul Robeson,” said Beamen.  “I’ve performed the single most popular Robeson song ‘Ole Man River’ so many times that it has become a powerful mantra and metaphor for me, with a deeper meaning that depicts the inevitable continuum of life.”
Robeson was a Renaissance man. He was an exceptional athlete, actor, singer, cultural scholar, author, and political activist, and he was revered by some and hated by others for his beliefs and activism.
“The ‘Paul Robeson’ show has been an evolving vision of mine for many years, and facets of the ‘Show’ have taken shape in venues throughout my career,” said Beamen.
Tickets for the for the Feb.  22 show at Allen Temple Church, 8501 International Blvd. in Oakland, can purchased at the door or www.allen-temple.org.

District Attorney Redeems Gun Buy Back Vouchers

The Marin County District Attorney’s office announced that vouchers will be redeemed in full to all individuals who surrendered firearms Jan. 15 at the Marin County D.A.’s Gun Buy Back Program. The final tally of surrendered weapons from the Gun Buy Back was 857. The plan is to destroy the firearms within the next couple of weeks. Types of weapons surrendered included long rifles, bolt action and semi-automatic; shotguns; sawed-off shotguns; pistolsand semi-automatic handguns, several of which were assault-style weapons. About two-thirds of the money needed to redeem the vouchers was obtained from contributions by private individuals and trusts. Other funds
are coming from the Marin County Board of Supervisors and City Councils.
The voucher redemption will occur on Feb. 15 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Showcase Theater complex, 10 Avenue of the Flags (Marin County Civic Center) in San Rafael. For more information, call (415) 473-2727 or visit www. marincounty.org/depts/da.