From April 2013

Joan Davis Receives Community Service Award

Joan Davis. Photo by Joe L. Fisher, Black American Political Action Committee.

By Kia
Croom

Joan Davis, president and CEO of the Richmond Community Foundation, is one of five individuals who will be recognized by the Sixth Annual Judge George Carroll Community Service Awards Program sponsored by the Black American Political Action Committee (BAPAC) of Contra Costa County.
Davis is a native of Omaha, Nebraska and is the fifth of seven children born to Ralph and Lavina Adams. She is a graduate of Omaha Central High School where she was a National Merit scholar.
She earned her bachelor’s degree and a law degree from the University of Nebraska. She also received an advanced leadership certificate from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Before moving to California, Davis’ career allowed her to develop her skills in corporate, nonprofit and public entities in several cities. She was recruited by Xerox Corporation in Kansas City where she had a successful career in sales.
After earning her law degree, she had a fellowship at Legal Aid of Western Missouri where she augmented legal assistance to the most vulnerable groups of clients by assisting them with housing problems such as illegal evictions, foreclosure and landlord-tenant disputes.
After working at Legal Aid, Davis was employed by a minority-owned law firm with a focus on general litigation, personal injury and employment litigation. Davis then received an appointment from the U.S. District Court to be executive director of the Desegregation Monitoring Committee for the Jenkins vs. Missouri school desegregation case.
In that case the plaintiffs alleged that the state, surrounding suburban school districts and various federal agencies had caused and perpetuated one of the nation’s most hyper-segregated metropolitan areas, with a high degree of segregation in housing patterns, suburbanization, inner-city disinvestment and school segregation.
The court established the Desegregation Monitoring Committee, with Davis as executive director. This plan grew to be the largest remedy in history requiring $2 billion in improvements to the school district.
Afterwards, Davis became regional director at the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, now known as NeighborWorks America, one of the country’s preeminent leaders in affordable housing and community development. She led offices in Kansas City and Chicago, creating opportunities for lower-income people to live in affordable homes in safe sustainable neighborhoods.
After serving in this capacity for over six years, she accepted a two-year fellowship with the US Department of HUD in partnership with Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The aim of the fellowship was to recruit and prepare a new generation of leaders from diverse professions who were committed to building stronger, healthier American communities.
This appointment allowed Davis to use her experience, knowledge, and special skills where it mattered most –to help a community design an effective strategy to address a full range of needs – including home ownership and economic development – while helping cities and towns access national assistance by cutting through red tape that is often a deterrent to progress.
After completing the Harvard program, Davis moved to California in 2001, where she began working as CEO of Satellite Housing, Inc. – a nonprofit housing development corporation based in Berkeley.
In 2005, she became regional director of the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern CA/Northern NV, one of over 70 Alzheimer’s Association chapters serving communities across the country.
In 2009, she became president and CEO of the Richmond Community Foundation, where she currently works to build the capacity of the Richmond community.
Davis lives in the Marina Bay neighborhood of Richmond. She has three children and four grandchildren: three teen-agers and one 22-month old.
Kia Croom is a contributing writer for the Richmond Post.

Dr. Desmond Carson: “I work for the community I love”

Dr. Desmond Carson. Photo by Joe L. Fisher, Black American Political Action Committee.

By Post Staff

To call Dr. Desmond Carson “committed to his community” would be an understatement.
Carson, a Richmond native, is something of a hometown hero: an emergency room doctor in West Contra Costa’s only public hospital, a crusader for public health education, a mentor to youth and husband and father of two.
In his spare time, he’s also the coach and past president of the Richmond Steelers, a youth football league that gives kids, pre-teens and teens the opportunity to exercise, develop teamwork and stay out of trouble.
For Carson, his motivation to serve is simple.
“I love Richmond,” he said. “I’m from Richmond, I was raised in Richmond. I work for the kids, and I work for this community that I love.”
Carson said he’s looking forward to channeling his energy into his latest project as the newest steering committee member of the For Richmond coalition, a new community service organization working to improve the quality of life in the areas of jobs, health, safety and education.
Carson said he looks forward to helping the coalition tackle some of Richmond’s biggest healthcare challenges, such as increasing access to better health education and helping residents develop habits to live longer, healthier lives.
“It’s great to be part of an organization that’s really making things happen,” Carson said.
Born and raised in South Richmond by Crescent Park, he credits his success to the community that raised him. In Richmond, Carson flourished as a son, student  and standout player on the Steelers youth football team, which he now coaches.
He went on to earn his undergraduate degree from Berkeley and his M.D. from the Medical College of Wisconsin.  He returned to Richmond as soon as he finished his residency and has lived in his hometown ever since, working since 1999 as an ER doctor at the Doctors Medical Center.
Since returning to Richmond, he has dedicated most of his free time to giving back, easily exceeding more than 5,000 hours in service work to Richmond and the surrounding region.
He enjoys coaching the Steelers, the youth football league that, for more than 40 years, has provided Richmond youth with a sense of community, a positive, goal-oriented after-school activity and strong role models. Carson currently serves as treasurer of the league, which has made a mark in national youth football by winning multiple California state titles.
In addition to his coaching duties for the Steelers, Carson founded a team of healthcare professionals to educate people living in Western Contra Costa about preventing chronic diseases and managing their health and well-being.
He also hosts high school students from the West Contra Costa Unified School District to shadow him in the ER.
This month, the City of Richmond recognized his dedication with a Distinguished Volunteer Service Award for his demonstrated commitment to volunteerism.
Joe Fisher, For Richmond steering committee member and treasurer of the Black American Political Association of California (BAPAC), says Carson will be a tremendous asset to For Richmond’s work.
“When we talk about health, well here we have a professional who is actually involved in the field,” Fisher said. “Dr. Carson knows and sees things we wouldn’t see. We are truly lucky to have him on board.”
As for Carson, he’s looking forward to accomplishing several major public health goals in Richmond.
“It’s all about making a difference by helping meet the needs of this community,” he said.

New Children’s Book “Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop”

By Terri Schlichenmeyer
The Bookworm Sez

It was the scariest half-hour of your life.
You were somewhere with Mom or Dad and they let go of your hand for just a minute. Just a minute, and suddenly you were in a sea of legs with no idea what happened.
You were totally, completely lost.
You might’ve cried a little but honestly, you knew what to do: you looked for a security guard or policeman and asked for help, knowing you’d be safe. And once you’ve read “Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop” by Helen L. Wilbur, illustrated by John Manders, you’d look for the biggest policeman you could find.
You’ve got to be calm and cool to be a New York City cop. It takes nerves of steel and months of training because anything can happen on a busy city street.
Nobody knows that more than 10-year-old, 1,256-pound Finnegan the horse. He and his human partner, Tyrone Jefferson Fox (or T.J., for short) work the Times Square beat in New York, a famous place where visitors and tourists like to go.  It’s always crowded there.
Every morning, Finnegan and Fox start their day by checking the neighborhood. They say “hello” to Hussan with his fruit-and-vegetable cart. Officer Serafina Ruiz always gives T.J. a big smile. Food-Cart Tony gives T.J. his morning coffee and pats Finnegan on the nose because, really, who doesn’t like a horse?
For sure, everybody in Times Square did on that one day when lots of people stopped to say hello to Officers Finnegan and Fox. That included a group of kids on a school visit from Cheyenne, Wyoming. One of them, a little girl named Maggie who loved horses, really fell in love with Finnegan. Finnegan liked her, too.
But much as he would have liked to be hugged all day, Finnegan had to get back to work with his partner. There were emergencies to watch out for, tourists to help, people to direct, traffic to oversee, and tickets to write. It was another busy day in Times Square with lots to do, including – uh oh! – looking for a little girl who was lost and probably very frightened.
A missing little girl from Cheyenne, Wyoming…
Most kids might think that horses and Big Cities don’t go together. They probably think that horses belong in grassy corrals, not crowded streets. Which is why most kids will be delighted with “Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop.”
Author Helen L. Wilbur’s story will surely make future law officers want to join the mounted patrol, while young horse lovers will want a horse exactly like Finnegan.
Heck, after reading this story, I wanted a horse like Finnegan – partly because Wilbur gave him a winning personality, and partly because artist John Manders made Finnegan almost human in his illustrations.
If your 3-to-6-year-old is an animal lover, dreams of becoming a police officer, or (hearts) NY, then this adorable book is one they’ll ask you to read again and again.
For them, for sure, “Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop” will be quite arresting.
“Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop” by Helen L. Wilbur, illustrated by John Manders, c.2013, Sleeping Bear Press, $16.95, 32 pages.

A Retrospective of Chicano Political Poster Art

The Spanish Speaking Citizens’ Foundation will show a major collection of “Chicano Political Poster Art: A Retrospective.” The grand opening and reception will be held Thursday, May 2, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Citizens´ Foundation offices at 1470 Fruitvale Ave. in Oakland.
For information call (510) 261-7839.

40 Years of Succeeding Against the Odds

L to R: Meg Chopurian, SLC social science tutor; Alex De Guia, assistant director; Paul Smith, former staff member; Rex De Guia, social science program coordinator; Carolyn Swalina, writing program co-coordinator; Liz Keithley, assistant director. Photos by Rex De Guia and Alberto Lesdesma.

Gonzalo Arrizón, study strategies coordinator. Alberto Lesdesma photo.

By Cathy Cockrell,
UC Berkeley News

Typecast in high school as bad at numbers, Maria Martinez is now earning her doctorate in mathematics at Berkeley.
Convinced he “didn’t belong” at UC’s flagship campus, when he landed as an undocumented freshman from South Central L.A., Joel Portillo graduated a University Medal finalist and is now earning a pair of master’s degrees at Stanford.
Raised in rural California, Kyle Livie became (with his twin brother) the first in his family to graduate from college, and went on to earn a doctorate in history and become a professional educator.
Testimonies about lives forever changed, often against steep odds, flowed freely at last Saturday’s gala celebrating the Student Learning Center’s 40 years on the UC Berkeley campus.
Part anniversary, part reunion, part fundraising-campaign launch, the event brought nearly 150 current and former SLC tutors, tutees, professional staff and supporters together for a reception, dinner and dance at Memorial Stadium.
“Family,” “lifeline” and “transforming” were descriptors used repeatedly over the course of the evening. “Thank god the center had my back,” one young scholar was overheard saying. The SLC was the “place I would always go for safety and confidence,” Portillo said of his undergraduate years.
The learning center, located in César Chavez Student Center, offers academic support to 8,500 undergrads a year (80,000 in all since its launch in 1973) and plays a key role in Berkeley’s retention and graduation rates, which are the highest in the UC system and third among public institutions nationwide.
Calling it “a crucial part of our undergrad teaching enterprise,” Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer praised the SLC’s effectiveness in responding to “the changing character of our student body” since the early ’70s, when it was largely U.S.-born, middle-class and male.
Today, he noted, well over half of each freshman class has at least one parent whose first language is not English. Increasing numbers of out-of-state students, international students and those with learning differences are negotiating the academic and cultural terrain. “As Berkeley students have become increasingly diverse, we have become a national model for how you adjust your pedagogy to that diversity,” said Breslauer.
The SLC has pioneered and honed a peer-centered, process-oriented learning model, helping undergrads transition to Berkeley, reflect on their own learning process, and receive academic support in math, writing, study strategies and other foundational skills. Fellow undergrads, hired by the center and trained by SLC professional staff, provide the tutoring; group work is encouraged.
“Although you’re getting high-quality academic support, you’re not being graded,” Alberto Ledesma, who came to the center as an undergrad in the early ’80s. He earned a Berkeley B.A., M.A. and Ph.D.; Cal State faculty appointment; and now is SLC writing coordinator.
Without the center, “it’s likely that many students would have had a very different experience with this institution, and maybe would have left,” said SLC Director Cara Stanley.
The center’s pedagogical contributions extend, as well, to its undergrad tutors – more than 5,000 since its launch – some of whom were in attendance. Fourth-year political science major Meghry Chopurian recalled being recruited to assist fellow undergrads in an intimidating subject: empirical analysis and quantitative methods.
At the time she was excited to share her expertise, she said over dinner, but was not prepared “for the vast amount of experience I would acquire” via weekly seminars for SLC tutors. “They professionalize how to be a tutor,” she observed.
.

Postal Service Approves Sale of Downtown Berkeley Post Office

Berkeley’s historic downtown post office.

By Judith Scherr

Despite the Berkeley community’s solid and vocal opposition to a postal service plan to sell the historic downtown post office, postal officials announced Monday they intend to move forward with the sale.
Opponents have until May 7 to appeal the decision.
“It’s outrageous that the postal service would take this unilateral action to sell off our patrimony, our heritage, our treasure,” said Dave Welsh, retired letter carrier, active with Save the Berkeley Post Office and the national organization, Community and Postal Workers United.
Postal officials, however, say they must sell buildings, cut service hours and consolidate facilities to save a post office bleeding billions of dollars every year.
Calling the USPS decision “very disappointing ,” City Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, whose district includes the downtown post office, said postal authorities ignored “the overwhelming opposition of the community and the unanimous City Council – and it’s not often that the council’s united on an issue.”
But USPS spokesperson Augustine Ruiz explained: “While we have taken all those concerns and opinions of the public that attended [a February public hearing], we have to balance that against our fiduciary responsibility to keep this post office and the postal service viable….And part of that has to do with looking at our extensive real estate holdings.”
Arreguin argued that the budget problem is manufactured, a result of a Congressional mandate requiring USPS to pay 75 years of retiree health benefits in advance over ten years.
Ruiz said USPS hopes an eventual buyer will lease the part of the building now used to service postal customers – just a fraction of the 57,000 square-foot building – back to USPS. If not, the postal service will rent space nearby.
But Arreguin said it doesn’t make fiscal sense to sell the building for one-time windfall profit, then pay high rents in perpetuity to lease back the space. Community members suggested, instead, keeping the building and renting out unused space.
Ruiz said he didn’t know what the USPS budget is for rent or the projected sales price. (If appeals fail, the post office will be marketed by San Francisco-based CBRE, headed by Richard Blum, a University of California trustee and husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein.)
The law requires any buyer to preserve designated historic features of the post office. However, the buyer can restrict public access to the interior of the 1914 building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and to the New Deal-era mural inside the building. The art work will remain USPS property.
“We want to maintain that front space from whoever buys that building,” Ruiz said. “So if we’re able to work out that lease then of course the public access stays put.”
But if the buyer does not want to lease the space back to the post office, “public access will be determined by whoever buys that building,” Ruiz said, further noting, “while they don’t own the mural, they do have ownership of any access to their building.”
While bidding for the building has not begun, Arreguin said both the University of California and the Peralta Community College District have shown interest.
Welsh said the sale of the Berkeley Post Office is emblematic of the larger problem –  the United States Postal Service’s “attempt to dismantle and privatize the postal service piece by piece.” He said, with its 550,000-strong workforce, USPS is the second-largest employer in the U.S. after Walmart and has the largest unionized  workforce, with African Americans making up about 21 percent of postal workers.
“They want to destroy the unionized postal service and the living wage jobs which go with it,” Welsh said. “What they want is to reduce this 550,000 workers to Walmart wages. We’re determined to fight it.”
Letters to appeal the decision to sell the post office can be sent to: Vice President, Facilities, Facilities Implementation – Pacific Area, 1300 Evans Ave. Ste. 200, San Francisco CA 94188-0200

19th Annual Bike to Work Day Set for May 9

Hundreds of thousands of residents are hitting the saddle as the region gears up for the San Francisco Bay Area’s 19th Annual Bike to Work Day on Thursday, May 9.
Bike to Work Day encourages residents to opt for a healthier commute and experience the benefits of cycling firsthand. In addition to burning calories, bicycle commuting saves on fuel and parking costs, decreases stress and helps reduce traffic congestion, air pollution and greenhouse gases.
Bike to Work Day 2013 is presented by 511, the Bay Area’s premier traveler information service, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and Kaiser Permanente. Over the past 19 years, Bike to Work Day has put more people on the road to bicycle commuting than any other event in the Bay Area. Participants who register and pledge to ride on Bike to Work Day are eligible to win prizes.
This year’s grand prize is a commuter bike from Public Bikes. To register, visit youcanbikethere.org.
Bike to Work Day 2013 is the largest of many Bay Area events happening during National Bike Month in May. Energizer stations will be set up along popular bike routes throughout the region, rewarding veteran and novice cyclists alike with refreshments, giveaways and encouragement. Energizer stations will be open during morning commute hours and some will re-open during the evening commute.
A full list of energizer stations is available at youcanbikethere.com/energizer. To plan your bike route, call 511 or visit bicycling.511.org.
Bicyclists can also team up with coworkers, friends and neighbors for the month-long Team Bike Challenge competition. Bicycle teams of two to five riders compete by traveling via two wheels throughout the month of May, with each bicycle trip earning points for the team.
Teams with the most points win prizes in various categories. Registration for Team Bike Challenge is now open online at teambikechallenge.com. The competition kicks off May 1.
The Company Bike Challenge is an extension of the Team Bike Challenge competition. Companies compete in three different size categories based on the total number of employees — small business, medium company or large corporation. Companies that promote bicycling among employees receive the benefits of healthier, more productive employees while also saving money by reducing demand for vehicle parking.
To compete, participants must create a company account at teambikechallenge.com and invite employees to participate through the Team Bike Challenge e-mail invite system. Employees’ points are then counted towards the company’s total and the company with the highest point total in each category wins.

Gary Yee to Serve as Acting Schools’ Superintendent

Dr. Gary Yee

The Oakland Board of Education this week appointed Dr. Gary Yee as Acting Superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD).
The board made the decision at its meeting Wednesday to replace current Superintendent Tony Smith, who is moving to Chicago.
Smith, who said he was leaving for family reasons, announced his resignation on April 4 but will continue to serve in the position until June 30.
Yee is expected to be acting superintendent through June 30, 2014. He is presently a board member for District 4, which includes hills and flatland communities: Allendale, Brookdale, Crestmont, Dimond, Estates Drive, High Street, Laurel, Maxwell Park, Melrose, Montclair, Oakmore, Piedmont Pines, Redwood Heights, Shepherd Canyon and Thornhill.
He has served on the school board since 2003. The board will have 60 calendar days to determine how to fill the vacant District 4 board seat.
Yee is an Oakland native who has served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal in the Oakland school district.
“During this time of transition from the leadership of Tony Smith, we felt it important to maintain a sense of stability and continuity, while identifying a candidate who has a deep relationship to this city and an understanding of both the challenges facing Oakland and its unique assets,” said Oakland Board of Education President and District 2 Director David Kakishiba. “Dr. Yee possesses these attributes, as well as a commitment to Oakland schools which is practically unparalleled.”

L.A. Mayor Holds Contractors Accountable for Hiring Blacks

Antonio Villraigosa

By Kenneth Miller,
L.A. Sentinel

The Metro Transportation Authority (MTA) in Los Angeles pledged significant African American participation during the construction phase of the Metro Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor and also signed a project labor agreement to ensure that Blacks received adequate employment representation.
But contractors have drastically underperformed in the hiring of African Americans in the first phase of the Crenshaw Advanced Utilities Relocation PLA for Targeted Worker Attainment.
According to MTA internal documents obtained by the Los Angeles Sentinel, which revealed the number of individual hires, Blacks ranked lower than any other demographic group.
After Mayor Antonio Villraigosa required the promoting of African American hiring during the construction phase, the number of Blacks hired in the month of February nearly doubled the percentage of the previous two months to 5.81 percent  for February and escalated again in March to report its greatest gains yet reaching almost 8 percent.
“Finally, I think we are moving in the right direction because more African Americans are now included in the work force,” said Mayor Villraigosa. “However, I am not satisfied and will not be until I see that African Americans who live in this community are employed and reflected in the bottom line.
“I believe that it is only appropriate that residents of this community be active participants and work on this rail system being built. I want to see the number of people hired that represents the population of the community. They deserve it and I demand it. My legacy as mayor of the City of Los Angeles rides on it.”

Anthony Reese Graduates with MBA from DeVry

By Ashley
Chambers

Business professional Anthony J. Reese recently graduated from the Keller School of Management of DeVry University receiving his Master of Business Administration (MBA) in accounting.
For Reese, a real estate agent for the City of Oakland, striving for academic success holds a deeper meaning.
Though he battled with dyslexia throughout high school and college, he was determined to not let that challenge stand in his way.
He earned his bachelor degree in mass communications and was motivated to work his way up in the real estate industry.
For almost 20 years, Reese has helped clients through his business Apex Real Estate Consulting Service.
Delivering a commencement speech to fellow graduates and faculty at his graduation in February, he was compelled to share his story of struggling with a learning disability, proving that anything is possible with hard work, commitment, and a desire to be successful.
“I set a goal,” he said. “I went back to school and 28 years after graduating from high school. I’m graduating with a [MBA], and I’m still that same special education student”
“As graduation drew near, my friends starting asking me: ‘What are you going to do now?’ As I meditated on this question, I thought it would be a great theme for [this occasion.] – Now what?
“Now that we’ve graduated, now that we’re prepared, now that we are masters of our given trade, I ask you, now what? Are we simply looking forward to our next promotion, or was our goal just to elevate ourselves, above others, as evidenced by the acronyms that will now follow our last names?” he asked his fellow graduates.
Reese  is proud  he has earned his MBA and wants to set an example for young people.
“I have to show the kids that there is more than one road that leads to what some perceive as success,” he said.

Find Jobs, Careers at East Bay HIREvent

Filing tax forms was a fresh reminder to many that both their income and employment status are in need of a boost. Whether that means rejoining the workforce, finding a better job or going in a different career direction, the East Bay’s HIREvent in Emeryville offers an ideal venue to explore a broad array of exciting new opportunities and lucrative careers.
This popular job fair brings applicants together with representatives from both public and private-sector organizations eager to fill rewarding positions in a variety of fields. Jobseekers will meet face-to-face with recruiters, so they should dress professionally and be prepared to impress prospective employers.
For those who would like to improve their resume, employment experts will be on hand for free consultations.
The East Bay HIREvent will be held Tuesday, May 7 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1800 Powell St, on the waterfront in Emeryville. Admission is free to this event, sponsored by ABC7 KGO, Salem Communications and Job Journal.
For information, visit JobJournal.com or call 888-THE-JOBS (843-5627).

Authentic African, Caribbean Drummers, Musicians Celebrate Olatunji’s Birthday

If he had lived, master drummer Babatunde Olatunji would have been 85 years old. To commemorate his memory, his fans and admirers hosted a monumental musical feast at the Ashkenaz nightclub last Saturday in Berkeley. Pictured in this Afro-Caribbean salute to Olatunji are (L to R):  Sikiru Adepoju, Val Serrant, Mohamed Kouyate, Karamba Diabate and singer Mandjou Kone. Photo by Babatunde Harrison.

Emergency Food Program in Jeopardy?

EFPAC Chair Barbara Gibson

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor

The chairperson of the City of Oakland’s Emergency Food Providers Advisory Committee is concerned that her program is being eliminated in Mayor Jean Quan’s proposed budget cutbacks, but a spokesperson for the mayor says that this is not so, and the program money is still in the budget.
EFPAC Chair Barbara Gibson said in an interview this week she first heard earlier this month that the City of Oakland is considering eliminating the $100,000 line item from the food distribution budget to help meet the city’s looming financial shortfall.
The money is used to purchase food that volunteers distribute at 13 sites around the city on the third Friday of the month for nine months of the year. An average of 200 people are served at each site distribution.
The distribution program is coordinated through the Alameda County Food Bank and is run by the Human Services Department of the City of Oakland.
“If they take the funds away, it’s going to have a devastating effect on people,” Gibson said. “People have come to depend on it, especially when we include things like chicken. They’ll come up and ask ‘do you have chicken today?’”
Gibson said she learned about the possible loss of the food distribution funding from the city’s Human Services Department.
But Quan Communications Director Sean Maher says that no cuts to the program have been made in the budget recently submitted by the mayor to City Council.
“There is $100,000 in the budget for emergency food,” Maher said “and that is not proposed the mayor’s budget to be cut.” Maher said he reviewed both the budget documents and confirmed it with department staff.
Maher said confusion may have come because the program providers applied for a different amount of Community Development Block Grant money but were turned down.
As of now, the Oakland free food distribution is still scheduled to take place next month at the following locations: Wings of Love Church, 7007 Mac Arthur Boulevard; The Oakland Food Pantry, 1624 Peralta Street; Ephesian Missionary Baptist Church 1423 34th Street; Friendship Christian Center, 1904 Adeline Street; Unity Outreach Church, 9941 “D” Street; Elmhurst Presbyterian Church, 1332 – 98th Avenue; Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church, 3535 38th Avenue; Downs Memorial Church, 6026 Idaho Street; Telegraph Ministry Center, 5316 Telegraph Avenue; Agnes Memorial Church, 2372 International Boulevard; St. Elizabeth’s School, 1500 34th Avenue; and St. Anthony’s Church, 1535 16th Avenue.
Only proof of Oakland residency is required to receive the bags of food, and food is distributed on a first come, first served basis.
More information on the food distribution program can be obtained from the City of Oakland Department of Human Services, Hunger and Homeless Program at 510 238-7754.

“The State of Health in America”

Left to right: Roy Wilson, Dr. Muntu Davis, Dr. Helene D. Gayle, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Dr. Roland L. Copeland. Photo by Laura Wong.

Dr. Helene Gayle and Congresswoman Barbara Lee spoke on the State of Health in America, the third lecture in this season’s Barbara Lee and Elihu Harris Lecture Series, held April 20 at Parks Chapel AME in Oakland.
Dr. Gayle is president and CEO of CARE International and has traveled around the world addressing the connections between health and poverty, with special emphasis on the role of women and girls taking leadership in the fight for the human right to health.
Both Dr. Gayle and Congresswoman Lee talked about the U.S.’s misplaced priorities on military spending, stating that as a nation, the country would do well to study health care systems and policies in nations where poverty and lack of access to healthcare have resulted in collective community-based solutions to pressing medical needs.
The lecture series is produced by the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center in collaboration with Merritt College, and features civil rights and humanitarian leadership, with major sponsor Kaiser Permanente. For more information, contact the Freedom Center at (510) 434-3988.

City Rescues $200,000 For Laid-off Workers

Bill Patterson

City Rescues $200,000

Mayor Jean Quan

By Ken A. Epstein

The City of Oakland is almost two years behind in spending its federal jobs money for unemployed workers and is rushing to spend  $200,000 and maybe more before June 30, when it will have to send unused funds back to the state, which oversees the jobs program, according to a city official.
“We’re reaching a time when we not only have to just obligate those funds but spend them by June 30, or they state will take them away, and we don’t want to go there again,” said Al Auletta, a workforce development manager under City Administrator Deanna Santana.
Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting of the council’s Community and Economic Development (CED) Committee, Auletta asked council members to pass a resolution to allow the Oakland Private Industry Council (PIC) to help additional laid-off (displaced) workers and spend the money by the deadline, he said.
“The purpose of this action is to make sure that we are thoughtful, effective and timely in the use of these funds. We have a real need in the One-Stop Career center for dislocated worker training,” Auletta said.
“We appreciate the PIC for coming forward. We gave the opportunity to other adult service providers, and they declined, because they had funding they hadn’t spent yet.
“We still think there may be other funds at risk,” he said. “We still need some more time to figure out if that is the case. We’re hoping that it is not.”
The failure to spend the 2010-11 federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) jobs money can be tracked back to 2009-2010 when the city received federal stimulus funds.
The city had to spend the stimulus money by a federal deadline, which resulted in the city’s decision not to expend regular WIA funds within the usual timeframe. The city has sole authority to decide which funds to use and when to use them.
Because of the timetable for using stimulus money, the regular WIA funds “were pushed into the next fiscal year, and they have a two-year life cycle,” Auletta said.
The city’s review of unspent funds are  “indicative of our due diligence,“ according Karen Boyd, spokesperson for the City Administrator’s Office,
“We began the process of reconciling unexpended funds in February to ensure that we are able to disperse funds and thereby provide services to the community by the June 30 deadline,” she said.
Bill Patterson, a longtime WIB member and leader of the Oakland NAACP, says he is happy that the city has been forthright about the urgent need to spend the money and has sought the help of agencies to get itself out of the jam.
At the same time, however, he sees this latest crisis as the result of continuing problems in the city’s administration of job funds.
“The PIC is bailing the city out again. They have done it in the past, and they did it again,” said Patterson.  The whole program has not worked well since the administration of it was taken over by the city in 2011.
“It’s been more of the same, ever since the Dellums people were doing it.”
“We’re behind in contracting for services and in spending. Jobs programs, especially small nonprofits that serve youth, have suffered because they have not been paid,” Patterson said.
As part of the fallout, programs for young people in West Oakland and Spanish-speaking youth in central East Oakland have fallen by the wayside, Patterson added.

Brooks Wins Council Support to Bring Army Base Contracts to Local Businesses

Desley Brooks

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor

Oakland City Council’s Community and Economic Development Committee modified a proposal this week to help local and minority contractors win construction contract bids with the city after learning the program as staff was implementing it may have been guilty of the same problem it was supposed to solve.
District 6 Councilmember Desley Brooks’ proposed Revolving Owner Controlled Insurance Program (OCIP) would allow the city set up a multiple-contractor insurance program specifically designed to be affordable for small local contractors and subcontractors bidding on large City of Oakland projects such as the Army Base Development.
Small contractors can normally be shut out of such large projects because they aren’t able to afford the insurance needed to bid on single jobs in a large project.
Council is looking to create the OCIP program in time for small local firms to utilizing it in bidding for Oakland Army Base Development contracts this summer.
But Brooks came to the meeting of the CED Committee this week to complain that contrary to her original proposal, which called for an open bid to select the administrator of Oakland’s proposed OCIP, city staff had already moved forward with modifications to the proposal that favored the selection of insurance giant Alliant Insurance Services of Newport Beach as the project administrator, potentially freezing out small local firms from competing for the job.
Brooks complained that city staff members were working with Alliant under an existing city insurance contract through a consortium of California counties to develop the OCIP while allowing Alliant to turn around and bid for the contract to administer the very program it was designing, a point that was taken up by District 3 Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney.
“I would somehow want to place firewalls between their role in some kind of [program development] capacity versus their ability to compete for the work,” McElhaney said.
“In some ways, if somebody is scoping the work, they can write it so that it benefits them, and not really be truly open to the qualifications of competing firms.”
But Brooks’ main point was to ensure the program did not end up being exclusionary in its administration.
“The whole purpose of an OCIP program is to be inclusionary,” Brooks said. “But the very firm that we are working with to develop this inclusionary program—from its board of directors down through its top management—doesn’t look like it has a lot of inclusion.
“When you look at their management team, it is all white males with the exception of one female. When you look at their Board of Directors it is all white males. And so here we’re talking about an inclusionary program and we’re not even looking at the organization we’re using to design this program to ensure that they have the cultural competency to deal in our community.”
With District 4 Councilmember Libby Schaaf abstaining, committee members voted to direct staff to put the development of the OCIP program up to bid rather than leaving it in Alliant’s hands to create.
The matter goes to the full City Council next Tuesday for consideration

Diamondbacks defeat Giants in extra innings

By: Malaika Bobino

San Francisco, CA – A tying home run in the ninth inning was the beginning of the end.  After rallying back from a four-run deficit, the Giants broke down in extra innings to lose 6-4 to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The D-backs scored two runs in the eleventh for the victory.  Didi Gregorious doubled to left field on a fly ball with one out.  Gregorius advanced to third when Pablo Sandoval fielded pinch-hitter Alfred Marte’s ground ball and over threw Brandon Belt at first who couldn’t hold onto the ball.

Santiago Casilla’s wild pitch scored Didi and Gerardo Para’s brought in Marte.  The defense fell apart and Belt who normally catches everything thrown to him, made a error that was costly.  He blamed himself for dropping Sandoval’s ball.

“It’s one of those things that I might have taken for granted,” he explained.  “It’s definitely my fault.  It stayed up on me and I didn’t watch it in the glove.”

Plenty of opportunities for San Francisco to win this ball game but Arizona capitalized off their mistakes.  In the tenth frame, Hunter Pence hit a two-out single and Pablo was thrown out at home plate trying got score from second base.

“You get a two-hit, you’re trying to score,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.  “[Cody] Ross charged it well, threw a bullet home and Sandoval was out.  That’s part of the game.  They’re going to have to make a good play.  We got the hit we were looking for, they made a great throw.”

“I knew if we gave up a single right there, it would have been a play at the plate and a good chance to get him out,” said D-backs catcher Miguel Montero.  “I know if they get hit, it would have to be in the gap for him to score, because all three of those guys can throw the ball good.”

Two errors early in the game helped Arizona score early.  Brandon Crawford dropped an easy out at first on Parra’s base hit.  And Pence tripped while diving to catch Paul Goldschmidt’s double RBI.  The D-backs took a 2-0 lead.  Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer in the third and drove in three runs.

It was a tough start for Matt Cain who is winless in five starts in April.  He lasted six innings, surrendering four runs (three earned) and five hits while walking one and striking out six.  Cain has allowed 6 HR’s in the last 16 innings pitched.

“I’m putting the guys in a hole,” he explained.  “This is what we’ve done in the last couple of years.  We might not come back but we felt like we had a chance.”

In the eighth San Francisco cut the lead in half, Crawford tripled on a line drive to center field scoring Andre Torres.  Hector Sanchez grounded out to first base and brought in Brandon making it a 4-2 game.  And Belt’s two-run homer tied the game in the ninth.

Closer Sergio Romo gave up his first walk of the season.  Which was the beginning of problems for the Giants.  Pablo hit a double, Brad Ziegler internally walked Buster Posey.  And Hunter singled on a ground ball to right filed, Cody Ross to catcher Miguel Montero for the out at home plate.

Immigration: Black Caucus to Fight for Diversity Visas and African, Caribbean Immigrants.

diversity-visa

“The gloves are coming off — the point system is not enough,” said a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus yesterday on the issue of the diversity visa lottery being axed in the “gang of eight” immigration legislation.

“We’re having a press conference next week on diversity visas,” confirmed CBC Chair Marcia Fudge (D-OH) after the House completed their last votes Thursday. One member of the CBC stated this week that he will not vote for an immigration bill that does not include the diversity visa program.

According to the State Department, the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, “makes 50,000 diversity visas available annually, drawn from random selection among entries of individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.” Read More

MLB TO HOST SCREENINGS OF “42” – ALL 30 CLUBS

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL AND ALL 30 CLUBS TO HOST SCREENINGS OF “42”
FOR THOUSANDS OF TEENS ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND IN CANADA

Clubs to Select Local Group of Students in Grades 8-12 for Private Theater Screenings
Commissioner Selig to Host the First Screening of The Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures Film in Milwaukee

Major League Baseball, in cooperation with all 30 MLB Clubs, will host private screenings of the film “42” for thousands of teenagers across the country and in Canada. Clubs will select students in grades 8-12 from their respective communities to fill local theaters for the screenings. Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig will
personally host the first screening in Milwaukee on Tuesday, April 23rd with Sharon Robinson, daughter of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson and MLB Educational Programming Consultant.

All students participating in the screenings will have access to the movie free of charge and can share their experience online via Iam42.com.

“42 brilliantly depicts not only the proudest and most powerful event in baseball history, but also a watershed moment in American history and the Civil Rights Movement,” said Commissioner Selig. “This film is a profound way for all of us throughout Major League Baseball to educate our next generation about Jackie Robinson’s vital impact on our nation. I thank Thomas Tull and his colleagues for working with the Robinson family and allowing this enduring American story to be told to a worldwide audience. With our annual April 15th celebration, the wideranging efforts of all 30 Clubs and now this inspirational film, it is an honor for our industry to continue to shine a light on the vibrant legacy of Jackie Robinson.”

The film is currently in theaters and stars Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson and Academy Award®
nominee Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers executive who signed Jackie to the team.

Presented by Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, “42” is written and directed by Academy Award®
winner Brian Helgeland and is a Legendary Pictures Production. In its opening weekend, “42,” which is
available in more than 3,000 theaters nationwide, took in $27.5 million, marking the best opening weekend ever for a baseball movie according to multiple industry references.

During Spring Training and the opening weeks of the Regular Season, MLB Clubs and players were given the
opportunity to see advanced screenings of “42,” and during Jackie Robinson Day weekend in the Greater Los Angeles area, Major League Baseball presented two private screenings of “42” for participants of several Los Angeles-area Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) and Angels RBI programs.

Rev. Jesse Jackson is leading a group of community leaders in calling for an infusion of $7 million.

Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.

Rev. Jesse Jackson is leading a group of community leaders in calling for an infusion of $7 million from the Quinn administration to keep Roseland Community Hospital running without dramatic cuts to patient care.

The Far South Side safety net hospital has a backlog of about $8 million in outstanding bills older than 90 days that it must pay, or else it will have to significantly reduce services. The hospital hasn’t been able to generate enough cash flow to pay its expenses because it serves a primarily poor population that often doesn’t have any health coverage, including Medicaid, hospital executives say.

But cutting health care services will only exacerbate a desperate situation for a community devastated by unemployment, housing foreclosures and street violence, said Rev. Jackson, president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, scheduled a press conference at the 110-bed hospital.

“There is a health care desert in the Roseland, Englewood and South Chicago area,” he said in an interview. By cutting already-scarce services, “you’re compounding the effects of poverty.”

Rev. Jackson will be joined members of the Service Employees International Union, which represents workers at the hospitals, and by members of the facility’s medical staff and administration, according to Rainbow PUSH, a Chicago-based advocacy group.

The governor’s office “is where it starts,” Rev. Jackson said, calling health care a “vital service” to a struggling community.

“The state has an obligation to bail them out, to bail the people out,” he said. Read More.

Miki Turner, Photojournalist, Explores Self-Acceptance In 'Journey To The Woman I've Come To Love'

The question for the book is “At what point did you fall in love with yourself?” and the genesis of that question really started with some high school friends of mine who were in their mid-40s and starting to see wrinkles and talking about botox and plastic surgery. They would look at me and say “You’re not changing at all!” I saw them as beautiful creatures … I was really looking past the exterior, so I didn’t even notice it. I began to wonder at what point were they going to fall in love with themselves just as they are. Read more

April 23-28 – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater | Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley

The incomparable Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, perhaps the most acclaimed international ambassador of American culture performing today,

returns to the Bay Area. Under the inspired leadership of artistic director
Robert Battle, and building upon the “big, big wow” (San Jose Mercury
News) of its 2012 appearances, the company’s 2013 Berkeley residency
promises wide-ranging programs packed with Ailey classics-including the
“divinely timeless, rousing, and radiant” Revelations (Atlanta Journal-
Constitution)-and works by today’s most exciting choreographers.

Pagan's walk-off double, Giants win

By: Malaika Bobino

San Francisco, CA – Two years ago Giants baseball was considered “torture” before they won the World Series in 2010.  This season the team has mastered a different scheme in their comeback wins.  The 3-2 victory over the San Diego Padres was another game one of those games.

Heading into the ninth frame tied at 2-2, Gregor Blanco leadoff the inning with a unexpected bloop single when the ball fell between shortstop Everth Cabrera and left fielder Kyle Blanks.  Andres Torres pinched hitting for Santiago Casilla, bunted into a force out at second.

“You want to try to get your job done,” Torres said.  “But I forgot about that.  [Roberto] Kelly (first-base coach) told me to get a good jump and go.”

He did just that and stole second base to set up the game winning play.  Angel Pagan lined a double to right field for the walk-off win.  Andres scored easily, giving Pagan his sixth go-ahead RBI of the season.  No better way than to start off the series after coming off a tough road trip.

“No excuses given but that was a tough road trip,” said Angel.  “The weather was bad and we’re just glad to be back home.  [On the winning play], I wasn’t going to swing but I could see him (Torres) in the corner of my right eye.  He got an incredible jump.  In those type of situations, you want to be that guy.”

No doubt, Pagan was the hero of the night.  However, Madison Bumgarner was on fire as well.  He won his fourth consecutive victory striking out 10 batters in six innings, the ninth double-figure strikeout game of his career.  Bumgarner left the game shortly after Chase Headley tied it with a solo home run in the sixth.  An impressive no-decision to say the least.

“Looking back, it probably wasn’t the best pitch to throw to him, and I shook to it, too,” said Madison.  “Buster Posey didn’t want to call it, so that’s on me there.”

“We had some good swings early but in the middle part of the game, he locked in,” Padres manager Bud Black said.  “He got it together.  We couldn’t get anything going.  It was good to get on the board early against him.”

With a stellar bullpen to back him, Bumgarner felt no disappoint with the outcome.  Jose Mijares ,George Kontos and Santiago Casilla all combined to give up just one hit over three innings.

“We had a rough road trip so it was nice to come home and battle and get a win,” said Bumgarner.

Notes – The long lines outside the ballpark were due to heightened security measures after the Boston marathon bombing.  The Giants held a moment of silence for the victims and families who lives were affected by such the tragedy before the game.  And instead of the playing the annual Journey “When the lights go down in the city” song.  San Francisco replaced it with the Boston Red Sox anthem, Neil Diamonds “Sweet Caroline.”

“That was touching,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.  “It was nice to honor Boston.”

Thomas Bradshaw's "The Bereaved" in San Francisco through April 27th

Recently introduced to the works of Thomas Bradshaw, my jaw dropped. As I looked further into his celebrated portfolio, I discovered that he is poised to be Oprah’s next best thing, negotiating a deal with the Harpo TV maven. Winfrey has designs to bring Bradshaw’s plays from the theater to HBO.

I’ve read several of his scripts and find the 33-year-old Guggenheim Fellow (2009) to be one of the most courageous and daring playwrights of the last decade. His staged works have earned repeated praise from New York critic circles to theatre lovers across the spectrum. Further, The Whitney Museum in New York has commissioned a new work by Bradshaw for the Blues for Smoke Exhibition live performances at the end of April.

“The Bereaved” is Bradshaw’s shockingly direct, fast-paced, provocative comedy that was named best play of 2009 by TIME OUT New York, making its’ west coast premiere at the cozy and contemporary Thick House on Potrero Hill, home to the Crowded Fire Theater (CFT).

This marks the first fully staged production of a Bradshaw play in San Francisco. It has been said his aggressive voice undermines our cultural comfort and refuge inside of naturalism, taking well-worn tropes of the white middle class drama, and reframing them to reveal jarring truths.

In THE BEREAVED the wife and breadwinner Carol realizes she is on borrowed time. Before she goes, the determined attorney and mother of a teenage son is determined to put her affairs in order. After all, what is more important than being certain her family maintain their upper-class-private-school Manhattan lifestyle?

I sat with Bradshaw in San Francisco to discuss “The Bereaved”

Talk2SV: When did you become so daring in the way you tell stories?

Thomas Bradshaw: Well, it’s something that comes naturally to me, I guess. I didn’t realize that my story telling was so daring when I first started. I started writing plays when I was a senior in high school. I wrote a play and they banned it from being produced.

Talk2SV: Somehow I’m not surprised.

Bradshaw: I acted in all the high school plays until they banned me from being in the spring musical that year. I can’t remember what it was…they sat me down and said, ‘you cannot write things like this, no one wants to see them, this is not the way forward.’

Talk2SV: Fast forward to today, you’ve been complimented and rewarded many times over for your creative voice and growing body of work. In your own words, how do you describe this voice that you’ve honed to receive prestigious critical acclaim?

Bradshaw: Well, that’s a difficult question to answer because as a writer, I don’t really have control over how my work is interpreted. People are going to say whatever they’re going to say– positive or negative– and I have to stay out of the business of believing the things that are written, whatever they may be.

Only two weekends left: “The Bereaved” is playing at the Thick House, 1695 – 18th Street, home to San Francisco’s Crowded Fire Theater (CFT). For tix and more information, go to www.crowdedfire.org or call 415-746-9238. The show ends April 27th.

Note: Read more of this Thomas Bradshaw interview at http://talk2sv.com/celebrities/the-bereaved-is-anything-but-grief/