By Post Staff

Peggy Hunt 2

Same-Sex Marriage Scores Victory

Peggy Hunt 2Brendalynn Goodall (center), who is president of the Eastbay StoneWall Democratic Club with partner Nancy Hinds (right). will celebrate 21 years of togetherness. They were was married by Mayor Ron Dellums in 2008. The couple is seen here with  Peggy Moore (left), who was Obama’s Northern California campaign manager  and is now running for State Assembly. Moore, who is also an organizational consultant, photograpgher and lesbian activist, said she  and her partner Hope Wood will soon marry. Photo by Jesse Brooks.

picture 2: Brendalynn Goodall and prtner of 21 years Nancy Hinds with Mayor Quan, Peggy Moore, Floyd Huen (Quan’s husband) and Michael Colburn celebrate the landmark decision

Deanna Santana

PUEBLO: Santana Hinders Reform of Police Complaint Intake

“The mayor is (also) culpable,” said Grinage.
By Ken A. Epstein


Deanna Santana

Deanna Santana

There is growing frustration between local advocates of police accountability and City Administrator Deanna Santana, who they say is foot-dragging and purposely confusing the issues involved in implementing a City Council decision to turn over intake of complaints against police to civilians.
Approved by the City Council, the handover of the intake of complaints from police to civilians was supposed to begin in January.  But Santana said she could not make the transfer until October, citing insufficient staff, need to confer with the Oakland Police Officers Association (OPOA) and other issues.
Santana further angered community activists this week at a City Council committee meeting when she raised new complications and modifications of the civilian intake plan, which they say are contrary to what the council has told her to do.
“Ms. Santana uses as many words as possible as to be confusing as humanly possible. This is a deliberate strategy, but it isn’t going over well, and it won’t work,” said Rashidah Grinage, executive director of PUEBLO, which has been working for years to increase police accountability to the community.

Rashidah Grinage

Rashidah Grinage

Santana said at Tuesday’s Community and Economic Development (CED) committee that one of the issues was the need to develop a form for civilian intake workers to use that was in line with the form currently used by OPD’s Internal Affairs.
“The Civilian Police Review Board (CPRB) and Internal Affairs have used the same form for 10 years,” said Grinage. “She says she needs time to develop the same form, but the form already exists and is on the city’s website to download.
“The fact that she can make such startlingly inaccurate statements is shocking.”
Defending herself Tuesday a Special Public Safety committee meeting Santana said, “I feel compelled to represent myself professionally and to ensure the accuracy of the record.”
She said the process of implementing the civilianization of complaint intake was slowed down because the federal compliance director who oversees the police department was supposed to begin in January but was not appointed until March.
“We did receive his approval of no objections as of April 30,” she said.
Further, Santana said at the Public Safety Committee meeting that, based on her talks with the compliance director, it would take about 18 months to hire and train civilian intake workers, who would be trained in-house by Internal Affairs staff.
In addition, she said, after training they might be housed at Internal Affairs. The positions will be “based initially in OPD,” and eventually it will be decided “where these positions will transfer or whether they will stay in the (police department),” Santana said.
“We strongly object to the training of intake workers by Internal Affairs,” said Grinage in an interview with the Post. “Why would the city hire people to be trained by people who have been proven deficient? The whole idea is to improve the intake process.”
“And why would you house civilian intake workers at Internal Affairs? That’s not what the council voted for.
There are a numbers of reports that when residents tried to file complaints with Internal Affairs in the past, they were actively discouraged – contacted and pressured to withdraw their complaints.
The problem, said Grinage, is that Santana is protecting the OPOA. “They are fearful of losing control of the complaint process.”
“They’re trying to avoid losing the ability to discourage people who file complaints,” she said.  “God knows how many complaints will be filed if they lose control of the process – all this is designed to keep control of the process.”
Grinage added that Mayor Jean Quan has to accept responsibility for Santana’s actions.
“The mayor is culpable here,” she said. “The mayor knows full well what’s going on and has refused to do anything about it. She is the supervisor of the city administrator, and she’s complicit, either intentionally or otherwise.”


Organizing for Voting Rights

By Louis King



The San Francisco Bay Area Voting Rights Restoration Movement is being organized at  6 p.m., Tuesday, July 2, at the West Bay Community Center located at 1290 Fillmore St. in San Francisco to protest the U. S. Supreme Court’s decision to drastically modify Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Organizers are seeking the support of African American, Hispanic, Asian American, LGBT, and labor, student and senior communities to plan a major “in-the-streets” protest in San Francisco on Saturday, Aug. 3, to inspire other cities throughout the country to replicate their action.
Among those who are co-sponsoring this meeting is Wilfred T. Ussery, former national chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and chair of the Direct Action Committee of the San Francisco United Freedom Movement, which in the late 1960s planned and conducted the historic Auto-Row demonstrations in San Francisco in which more than 1,000 persons were arrested.
Other co-sponsors include  Carl L. Williams, Esq., president of the San Francisco African American Democratic Club; Frederick E. Jordan, president and chairman of the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce; Perry L. Lang, executive director, BCA Rafiki Wellness;  Cedric Jackson, president, San Francisco Black Leadership Forum; Jesse Brooks, co-chair Bay Area Regional African American HIV/AIDS State of Emergency Coalition; Zoraina James, a faith-based community organizer.
For more information, call (415) 931-9465 or email

Matthew Graves

Youth Touch the Future at Scotlan Center’s Sky High Program

By Jaron K.

Matthew GravesThe George P. Scotlan Youth and Family Center, founded in 1966 and based at the historic DeFremery Park, is heading up an innovative flight simulation training program for young people in West Oakland.
Operated in alliance with the Tuskegee Airmen Association and the Bay Area Black Pilots Association, the aviation program gives students real flight hours in a flight simulator, which they can use to prepare for careers as an independent pilot or if they choose, they can pursue a career working for a major airline.
This experience can also lead to opportunities to be trained as an air traffic controller.  Generally quite expensive, such a program often costs as much as $200 an hour for flight time.
“We built this flight simulator lab so we can put 23 kids in a room and have them look forward to new expectations,” said Matthew Graves Jr., executive director of Scotlan, which is a full service center for young people and their families.
The program also offers a career exploration workshop, which focuses on digital arts and media and renewable energy, in addition to aviation.
“We have partnered with College of Alameda, and we have FAA certified Tuskegee Airmen instructors, who are signing log books so (young people) have official ground hours that will last forever,” said Graves.
“We call it our Sky High program so they can look forward in the future to things that they hadn’t looked at before.”
The center not only has services to help youth improve education and job opportunities but also addresses family needs. Scotlan offers onsite counseling, mediation and real career training that provides the support Oakland youth need to make healthy life choices.
“We have a lot of youth who come to us saying they don’t expect to be here after they’re 18 or 19 years old because of the gun violence and the other things they experience,” Graves said. “We have to find innovative ways to address these problems.”


BART, AC-Transit, Oakland City Workers Prepare to Strike

BARTMembers of BART’s two largest unions overwhelming voted this week to give their leaders the authority to call a strike , while AC Transit workers are saying they might not go along with with plans to help stranded commuters get between the East Bay and San Francisco.
According to union officials, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and Service Employees International Union Local 1021 voted nearly unanimous in favor of  the strike authorization.
Oakland city workers have also authorized a strike, which can take place after their contracts expire on Sunday.
However, the BART unions are not likely to walk out on Monday, immediately after their contacts expire. Union officials have said they will give commuters 72 hours’ notice of a potential strike.
AC Transit workers,  represented  Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192, also has a contract that expires after Sunday, and has taken its own strike authorization vote.
Adding to the impact on residents of Oakland, city workers in Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21  announced June 13 that their members voted to authorize a strike.
A strike could potentially take place after Sunday when the contracts expire.

YMCA Richmond Honorees

West Contra Costa YMCA Celebrates 95th Anniversary

By Don Lau

YMCA Richmond HonoreesThe YMCA of the East Bay’s West Contra Costa County held its 95th annual meeting and dinner on June 5 at the Richmond Country Club.
The meeting was called to order by Board of Manager’s Chair Steve Barlow, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Mechanics Bank. The Inspiration for the evening was given by Board Member Alex Sample, professor at Los Medanos College and former Hercules city councilman.
Dr. John Tysell,retired from Kaiser Permanente, who serves as the board chair, introduced four new board members: Aaron Winer, Charlotte Dickert, Zach Zeitz, and Darrin Zaragoza.
Darrel “J” Tucker gave the report on the Annual Partners Campaign, which involved 90 volunteers and raised over $250,000 to support programs for youth, adults and families provided by the Y in West County.
Carlos Castro, after school coordinator for Kennedy High Health and Enrichment Center, presented the Youth of the Year Award to Gabriela “Gabby” Avilez, a junior at Kennedy High who next year will be organizing a freshmen girls’ group at the school to help support their transition to high school.
Carol Frank and Judy Christiansen presented the Rita Davis Volunteer Award to Harvey Wittenberg, a retired lawyer who lives in El Cerrito, for his work as a volunteer mentor in the Y’s Building Futures Program.
Don Melin presented the Fred Breen Humanitarian Award, the highest honor presented by the Y, to retiring Richmond Police Captain Darrol D. Davis. Captain Davis was serving as board chair when the Y in 1982 moved out of the Memorial Youth Center and started decentralizing programs in West County.
The West Contra Costa Y provides programs at over 40 locations including the recently renamed E.M. Downer Family Y in south Richmond.

Rev. Cassandra Keys

Davis Chapel CME Pastor Appreciation

By Kia

Rev. Cassandra KeysDavis Chapel CME will celebrate Pastor Cassandry R. Keys at a Pastor Appreciation Ceremony on Sunday, June 30 at Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, 684 Juliga Woods St. in Richmond at 3:30 p.m.
The event’s theme is  “Looking Back and Moving Forward,” Timothy 2:15, and will honor Keys’ first year at Davis Chapel and her 20 years in ministry.
Ordained in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, she has pastored a number of congregations, primarily in the Southeast. In Georgia she pastored Tabernacle of Praise before transferring to Israel Temple in Jackson, Mississippi.
In Alabama, she served at Welcome Chapel in Hobson City and as associate minister of Taylor’s Chapel in Pritchard.
Pastor Keys holds an Associate of Arts in Information Technology from Phillips Junior College in Jackson, Mississippi; a Bachelor of Science in Business Accounting from Belhaven College in Jackson and a Master of Divinity and Christian Education in Biblical Languages and New Testament Studies from Phillips School of Theology in Atlanta.
Keys has two daughters, Darsandry and D’Atra.

Jose Cortes (right) helps Leadership High School student Jennifer Martinez with her geometry homework.

Middle Schoolers Learn Science and Math at Contra Costa College

By Spencer

Jose Cortes (right) helps Leadership High School student Jennifer Martinez with her geometry homework.

Jose Cortes (right) helps Leadership High School student Jennifer Martinez with her geometry homework.

During the summertime at Contra Costa College, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., classrooms are filled with teenagers solving equations, developing career goals, and free lunch provided by the STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) program.
In the Physical Sciences building tutor Jorge Cortes sits down with a small group of students and helps go over their geometry homework. The students have a test coming up, and he wants to make sure they are all prepared.
The STEM program at Contra Costa College supports Middle College High School in San Pablo, which allows the students to take both high school and college level classes on campus including chemistry, physics and calculus.
To be eligible, students must be considering a major in math, technology or science fields and plan to earn associate degree or transfer.
The students also receive a $500 semester stipend, academic counseling, mentoring opportunities, and personal development workshops. Graduates of the STEM program often assist with outreach to local middle/high school students.
Cortes recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and helps tutor students with math four times a week.
“When I was in the program, they gave us a sense of community and played a pivotal role in helping us get scholarships and into colleges,” said Cortes. “Now, I feel like I have enough academic experience to make it easier for other students in the program, so I came back.”
Many school districts in California have begun to see the benefit of STEM programs and have increased assistance to low-income minority students from pre-kindergarten through high school and offer tutoring sessions, free lunch, and classes on academic readiness.
“Overall, around 66 percent of students pass science and math courses during the school year, and in the summertime, that number rises to more than 80 percent,” said Dr. Mayra Padilla, director of the STEM program at CCC.
“With the STEM program, we create a pipeline from kids in our METAS program all the way up to the college students to offer resources and support so that the students will be successful as they pursue careers,” said Padilla.
METAS (meaning ‘goals’ in Spanish) is a program in the West Contra Costa County School District that helps Latino and other minority children achieve their academic goals.
Padilla herself was a student in METAS and a graduate from the STEM program and said the teachers in the program helped her pursue college and later earn a doctorate in psychology and behavioral neuroscience from UC Berkeley.
“The STEM program really helps us close the achievement gap and to give a more personal touch to the community,” said Terence Elliott, Dean of Contra Costa College.
During the daily two-hour tutoring sessions, students rotate between studying and career building activities. Steve Hoffman, a social sciences teacher at Middle College High School, says one of the biggest challenges is helping students who don’t have good study habits and showing them ways to improve those study skills through note taking, keeping homework organized, and dealing with stress and anxiety for test taking.
“In the summertime, we have three students per tutor which puts responsibility on the students to complete their work,” said Hoffman. “We want to make sure none of the 150 students fall through the cracks.”

Kyra Worthy

Celebrating Student Achievement

By Kyra Worthy

KyraThe success of Richmond starts with our youth, and part of investing in our city’s future means ensuring that Richmond’s young people are able to access the resources and support they need to thrive.
At For Richmond, we strive to offer opportunities and programs for students to take advantage of – while also simply recognizing those students who are on the right track.
This year, For Richmond was proud to join the West Contra Costa Unified School District to celebrate the annual African American honor roll parade. Held each year during the Juneteenth celebration, the parade spotlights the district’s African American students, 6th to 12th grade, who made the honor roll by earning a 3.0 GPA or higher, and gives them a chance to march in the Juneteenth parade.
Juneteenth is the day in which we celebrate African American freedom from slavery in the past and the hope and promise of African American achievement for the future.
On Juneteenth, they were celebrated in front of their families and community for doing the right thing. I want to congratulate WCCUSD Superintendent Dr. Bruce Harter for his leadership in promoting this parade, in which more than 300 students marched on Saturday with pride.
This event was these students’ moment to shine.
I’m proud to celebrate the success of our African American scholars here in Richmond and to recognize just how far we’ve come. These students represent our future.
Kyra Worthy is interim executive director of 4Richmond.


Richmond Juneteenth Festival a Big Success

JuneteenthOver 10,000 people joined in the celebration of Richmond’s  10th Annual Juneteenth Family Day Parade and Festival, Saturday, June 22, presented by the Neighborhood Block Association, Chevron Richmond Refinery and the City of Richmond.
This year’s grand marshal was former Richmond Mayor Irma Anderson, the first African-American female mayor in the state.
The parade will featured a West Contra Costa County Unified School District parade of scholars.
This year’s event included two stages of entertainment featuring event headliner Lakeside; host and comedian J-Red; Gospel headliner Consonance; the Stars of Judah; The Priesthood; Michael Butler and friends; the Bay Area Blues Society Caravan of Allstars ;and a musical tribute to the late Blues legend Jimmy McCracklin by Sue McCracklin and Sweet Nectar.
Other performances included the Bay Area Steppers, Easter Hill United Methodist Church Praise Dancers and Gospel Hip Hop artist Transparent.
Among the activities was a Juneteenth Poetry Contest hosted by Richmond youth volunteers. Youth between the ages of 10 and 23 were encouraged to participate. A portion of the festivities commemorated the lives of children who died from violence.

Nurse takes patient’s blood pressure.

UCSF Project to Reduce High Blood Pressure Among Blacks

By Jeffrey Norris, UC SF

Nurse takes patient’s blood pressure.

Nurse takes patient’s blood pressure.

A new $11 million grant to Kaiser Permanente Northern California and UC San Francisco will support a research program aimed at lowering stroke risk among Black populations and younger stroke victims by targeting high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.
“Hypertension is much more common in Blacks than in whites and is less likely to be controlled. Despite dramatic improvements in blood pressure control among Kaiser Permanente members in Northern California over the past decade, there is currently a 5 percent disparity between our black and white members,” said Stephen Sidney, MD, MPH, director of research clinics with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research.
Sidney is director of the new Stroke Prevention / Intervention Research Program, awarded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and principal investigator for Kaiser Permanente Northern California. “The goal of the first study in this research program is to decrease the disparity by 4 percent over one year,” Sidney said.
“Hypertension is on the rise in the United States, despite the fact that we know what causes it, and we know how to treat it,” said UCSF’s Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, PhD, director of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. Bibbins-Domingo is principal investigator of the research program for UCSF and lead investigator for two of the program’s four main components.

Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, PhD

Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, PhD

In the United States, Blacks are twice as likely as whites to experience a first stroke; blacks are also more likely to die as a result of a stroke.
Younger adults are also a major focus of the new grant. Recent studies suggest that strokes among younger adults are becoming more common, due to an increase in risk factors such as high blood pressure.
Adolescents increasingly are affected by high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. “We want to discover how these risk factors increase future stroke risk in different populations,” Bibbins-Domingo said.
The new stroke research program includes the following components:
Clinical study to close hypertension disparity: “Shake, Rattle & Roll” is a pragmatic, clustered, randomized clinical trial led by Mai N. Nguyen-Huynh, MD, MAS, of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research. The goal is to collaborate with Black patients at Kaiser Permanente’s Oakland Medical Center to close the disparity in blood pressure control rates between black and white members.
Each primary-care physician is randomly assigned to provide all black patients with either: 1) usual care; 2) enhanced monitoring of blood pressure management; or 3) a culturally tailored healthy lifestyle and diet coaching intervention.
Research to understand stroke risk factors: Heather Fullerton, MD, pediatric stroke neurologist at UCSF, will lead a study among patients to better quantify disparities in stroke risk factors in young adulthood over time. Fullerton aims to identify unrecognized factors that may contribute to stroke risk and disparities in young adults.
Modeling of stroke-risk trends: Bibbins-Domingo will lead studies using a computer simulation of stroke and heart disease in U.S. populations – the Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Policy Model – to predict the national impact of stroke risk trends on stroke incidence and health disparities.
Training future researchers: Bibbins-Domingo will lead efforts to expand training in the study of health disparities at UCSF. She will coordinate efforts to identify trainees interested in stroke and cardiovascular disease prevention and health disparities and foster collaborations between these trainees and other investigators in the research program.
The grant to Kaiser Permanente and UCSF to reduce hypertension is one of four awarded nationwide to target stroke, to be funded with up to $40 million over five years.
“These research efforts will give us the traction we need to control the greatest modifiable stroke risk factor,” said Walter J. Koroshetz, MD, deputy director of NINDS, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.


AC Transit, BART and City Prepare to Strike

BartMembers of BART’s two largest unions overwhelming voted this week to give their leaders the authority to call a strike , while AC Transit workers are saying they might not go along with with plans to help stranded commuters get between the East Bay and San Francisco.
According to union officials, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and Service Employees International Union Local 1021 voted nearly unanimous in favor of  the strike authorization.
Oakland city workers have also authorized a strike, which can take place after their contracts expire on Sunday.
However, the BART unions are not likely to walk out on Monday, immediately after their contacts expire. Union officials have said they will give commuters 72 hours’ notice of a potential strike.
AC Transit workers,  represented  Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192, also has a contract that expires after Sunday, and has taken its own strike authorization vote.
Adding to the impact on residents of Oakland, city workers in Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21  announced June 13 that their members voted to authorize a strike.
A strike could potentially take place after Sunday when the contracts expire.

Stephen Cassidy

Free Summer Lunches at San Leandro Camp And Parks

Stephen CassidyThe City of San Leandro Recreation and Human Services Department are partnering with the San Leandro Unified School District to offer a “Free Summer Lunch” program this year.
Meals will be provided at Chabot Day Camp and Cherry Grove and Washington Manor Parks.
Washington Manor Park serves the Youth Sports Camps and Summer Adventure Camps and is home of the San Leandro Family Aquatic Center. The park is visited by hundreds of youth and families each day.
“Ensuring the welfare of our children is a responsibility shared by the entire community,” said Mayor Stephen Cassidy. “This program ensures that children have access to nutritious meals during the months when school is not in session.”
The Free Summer Lunch program is federally funded, organized by the Alameda County Community Food Bank and serves free lunches (and breakfast at some locations), June through August, throughout Alameda County to youth 18 and under regardless of their family income.  No paperwork or registration is required; children who show up will be served a nutritious and delicious meal.
San Leandro Free Lunch Program sites are listed below:
*All Saints Episcopal Church, 911 Dowling Blvd., San Leandro CA.
Mon & Wed June 17-Aug16, Lunch: 12:00 p.m.-12:30 p.m.
*Chabot Park Day Camp, 1698 Estudillo Ave., San Leandro CA.
Mon-Fri July 8-August 2, Lunch: 12:15 p.m.-12:45 p.m.
*Cherry Grove Park, 1600 Williams St., San Leandro CA.
Mon-Fri June 17-August 16, Lunch 11:15 a.m.-11:45 a.m.
Church of Christ, 601 MacArthur Blvd., San Leandro CA.
Mon-Fri June 24-August 16, Lunch: 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.
*FTK 9th Grade Campus, 1307 Bancroft Ave., San Leandro CA.
Mon-Fri June 24-August 1 Breakfast: 7:30 a.m.-8:00 a.m.
June 14-August 16 Lunch: 12:00 p.m.-12:30 p.m.
*Garfield Elementary Cafeteria, 1305 Aurora Dr., San Leandro CA.
Mon-Fri June 17-August 16 Lunch 12:15p.m.-12:45p.m.
*San Leandro Boys and Girls Club, 401 Marina Blvd., San Leandro CA.
Mon-Fri June17-August 16 Breakfast 8:30a.m.-9:00a.m.
June 17-August 16 Lunch 11:45a.m.-12:30p.m.
Ashland Community Center, 1530 167th Ave., San Leandro CA.
Mon-Fri June 17th – August 9th AM Snack 8:00a.m.-8:30a.m.
June17-August 9 Lunch 12:30p.m-1:00p.m.
Hillside Elementary School,15980 Marcella St., San Leandro CA.
Mon-Fri June 24-July 25 Lunch 10:00a.m-10:15a.m.
*Jefferson Elementary Cafeteria, 14300 Bancroft Ave. (cafeteria on Lark St.), San Leandro CA.
Mon-Fri Breakfast June 24th-July25th 7:30am-8:30a.m.
June24-July 25 Lunch 11:30a.m-12:00pm
Faith Fellowship Church,577 Manor Blvd., San Leandro, CA.
Mon-Thur June 17-August 9 AM Snack 9:00am-11:00a.m.
June 17-August 9 Lunch 11:00a.m.-1:00p.m.
Washington Manor Park, 14900 Zelma St., San Leandro CA.
Mon-Fri June 17- August 16 Breakfast 8:30a.m.-9:00a.m.
June 17-August 16 12:30p.m.-1:00p.m.
*All sites are closed July 4. Sites with asterisks are also closed July 5.
There are over 150 sites throughout Alameda County.  For a list of sites and detailed information such as meals served, times, days and address, please go to the Alameda County Community Food Bank (ACCFB) website at
For more information about the Alameda County Community Food Bank Free Summer Lunch program please go to the website listed above or contact ACCFB at 800-870-3663.

Family Movie Night Hotel_Trans 2013_flyer.docx

Free Family Movie Night At Halcyon Park

Family Movie Night Hotel_Trans 2013_flyer.docxThe City of San Leandro Recreation & Human Services Department is holding a Family Movie Night at Halcyon Park, 1245 147th Ave. on Wednesday, July 10.
The movie will be “Hotel Transylvania: Where Monsters Go to Get Away From It All.” Showtime is at 8:30 p.m. Bring lawn chairs, blankets and snacks, and enjoy this free summertime family event.
For more information, contact Recreation & Human Services Customer Service at (510) 577-3462.

Senior Travel Troupe to Meet at Senior Community Center

The San Leandro Travel Troupe will hold a meeting to discuss group excursions for adults 50+.
Discussions will include upcoming Bay Area day trips as well as worldwide travel destinations. There will be a slideshow presentation and information on upcoming trips to Eastern Canada and New Mexico.
This meeting is the last chance to make reservations for the Discover Panama and London and Paris trips. Preregistration is required to attend this free meeting.
Priority registration for trips presented will be given to attendees of this meeting based on the order that they pre-registered.
This special travel meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 1, 10 a.m. – noon at the Senior Community Center, 13909 East 14th St. San Leandro. To register, visit the Senior Community Center or Marina Community Center, go online at or call customer service at (510) 577-3462.

Senator Bob Huff (right) and Mrs. Huff meet with Governor Yeuyong Li of the Jiangsu Province in China.

Huff Celebrates “Growing Ties” with Jiangsu Province, China

Rep. HuffSenate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) visited San Francisco Monday to meet with the Governor of the Jiangsu Province, China, for the kickoff of a business and cultural event called “Jiangsu Week.”
Huff took part in a historic signing ceremony two years ago that created the sister relationship agreement between the State of California and the Jiangsu Province. The agreement was designed to enhance and develop friendship and cooperation between the citizens of California and China.
“The meeting with Governor Yeuyong Li of the Jiangsu Province strengthens the growing ties between sister states, as well as the United States and the People’s Republic of China,” said Senator Huff. “Like California, the Jiangsu Province is an economic powerhouse and is one of the wealthiest and most developed areas of China.

Felecia Gaston

A Great Summer for Our Kids

By Felecia Gaston

MCP 06-26 Felecia GastonOn behalf of the youth and families of Performing Stars/Phoenix Project Summer Initiative, I would like to thank the Marin County organizations and agencies that have offered approximately $50,000 in summer scholarships to 100 low-income children in Marin County.
The average weekly camp ranges from $100 to $500 per week. The families of low-income youth desire the best enriching experience for their kids. However, these dollar amounts are not in their financial budget, and being able to access these opportunities is a challenge.
Summer is a time of recreation and enrichment, a time to explore new capabilities, see new things and make new friends. Our children need to be able to take a break from the hot, concrete buildings of their community and spend time with other children of different cultures and backgrounds.
Attending summer camps – with fresh outside air, no video games, no cell phones – is an opportunity to disconnect and refresh their minds and lives.
Our summer enrichment camps allow these boys and girls to participate in experiences they ordinarily would never have been able to afford and enjoy: learning to sail on the ocean; hiking on magnificent trails; attending sports camps; playing the role of Othello or Hamlet; rowing on the bay; riding mountain bikes at the beach; discovering the woods at weeklong camps; performing in a rock band, and surfing lessons on our beautiful local beaches.
While Performing Stars has connected youth to summer enrichment for many years, this year we expanded these activities for the children, siblings and relatives of the families involved in Performing Stars/Phoenix Project Initiative, a partnership among Marin Housing Authority, Marin City Community Services District and the Marin County Probation Department.
Since 2004, Marin organizations have generously offered these enriching scholarships. The 10-week summer program include the arts provided by the Marin Theater Company, 142 Throckmorton Theater, Marin Shakespeare Company, Stapleton Ballet, California Film Institute, Blue Bear Music, and Non-Arts Camps – such as Marin Catholic High School Sports Camps (basketball, football, baseball and lacrosse), SF 49er Gatorade Football, Surfworks, Marin Rowing Association, American True Sailing/Sailing Education Adventures, YMCA Camp Jones Gulch, Bay Area Discovery Museum, Complimentary tickets to live performances have been provided by the Marin Jewish Community Center and the Mountain Play.
Local volunteers groups such as the Marin City Rod & Gun Club will provide fishing and camping experiences, field trips to Marin County Fire Department Throckmorton Station, and free live performances hosted by Circus Bella and Kaiser Permanente Educational Theater.
In addition, we are working with the Marin County Office of Education School to Career Internship Program where some of our teenagers will be interning at the police departments – Sausalito, Twin Cities and San Rafael.
Performing Stars has ample experience in establishing relationships with these partners and securing scholarships, and we recognize that the young people will require more than “just” scholarships.
In order to take advantage of these opportunities, we provide wraparound services in order for them to participate wholeheartedly. This means providing transportation, drivers, gas, coordination/supervision, insurance, nutritional breakfast and lunches.
I would like to thank Supervisor Kate Sears and the Marin City Community Development Corporation for donations for support services and donations are graciously still accepted.
The phrase “Only in Marin” is a true testament of the generous support from these organizations, which reflects that, every child, no matter social status or economic income should have the opportunity to experience the best Marin has to offer.
For more information, go to
Felecia Gaston is executive director Performing Stars of Marin/Phoenix Project.

Top row: Young people practicing their football skills in running, passing and throwing the ball. John Harris (on far-right corner), from Marin City, also helped with the coaching. Second row from left: Xavier Williams, Diana Hernandez, Cassandra Ruark, Nancy Hoang, Jamila Gippson, Jonnesha Luckett. Standing on the back of the Youth Football truck are Tucker Baksa, Tyrell Atkinson, Ashton Williams, Megan Wirth, Xavier Williams, Taylor Raines. Bottom row: group shot of the youths and Youth Football coaches. (Photos by Godfrey Lee)

Football Camp in Marin City

By Godfrey Lee

Top row: Young people practicing their football skills in running, passing and throwing the ball. John Harris (on far-right corner), from Marin City, also helped with the coaching. Second row from left: Xavier Williams, Diana Hernandez, Cassandra Ruark, Nancy Hoang, Jamila Gippson, Jonnesha Luckett. Standing on the back of the Youth Football truck are Tucker Baksa, Tyrell Atkinson, Ashton Williams, Megan Wirth, Xavier Williams, Taylor Raines. Bottom row: group shot of the youths and Youth Football coaches. (Photos by Godfrey Lee)

Top row: Young people practicing their football skills in running, passing and throwing the ball. John Harris (on far-right corner), from Marin City, also helped with the coaching. Second row from left: Xavier Williams, Diana Hernandez, Cassandra Ruark, Nancy Hoang, Jamila Gippson, Jonnesha Luckett. Standing on the back of the Youth Football truck are Tucker Baksa, Tyrell Atkinson, Ashton Williams, Megan Wirth, Xavier Williams, Taylor Raines. Bottom row: group shot of the youths and Youth Football coaches. (Photos by Godfrey Lee)

The 49er Gatorade Junior Training Camp-Youth Football was held last Thursday, June 20, at the baseball field in Marin City.
The 70 participants were divided into three groups where they learned how to pass, catch and run with the ball. Adult coaches from Youth Football helped the young people improve their skills.
“It is not our hope here to turn them into professional football players” says Tucker Baksa from the football training camp. “We are just trying to instill the basics in them, running back, quarterback, wide receiver, tackling.
“That is the hope, but you never know. Maybe there is a chance that something new will spark in these kids, and they play for the 49ers one day.”
Baksa said the coaches preach hard work, responsibility and respect. “I think that covers all aspects of life whether it deals with family and friends and whatever your specific sport is,” he said.
Youth football is a part of the 49er organization, which holds about 75 of these camps throughout the Bay Area. The camps are free of charge for any non-profit organization or elementary school program that works with youth from ages 7-14.
Youth Football also advocates “Play 60,”where children play for 60 minutes a day. The 49er program views this as a one way to tackle childhood obesity.
The Football Camp was also a kickoff event for the Marin Summer Scholarships Enrichment Program, organized by Felecia Gaston of Performing Stars of Marin and the Phoenix Project of Marin.
The enrichment program will provide camp activities for 100 children, ages 5 to 18, from low-income families in Marin. About $50,000 was raised from local donor organizations to support these camps, designed to help the youth explore life and learn about themselves.
“This is the program that gets them out and exposes them to different experiences,” Gaston said.

Brandon Reeves

Brandon Reeves Turns Tragedy into Triumph

By Tasion

Twenty-three-year-old Brandon Reeves is a go-getter, an achiever, and an all around good guy. He graduated from Berkeley High in 2008, and although he was a member of the Varsity Cross Country, Track and Field, and Basketball teams, he was offered a full academic scholarship to Santa Clara University.
While at Santa Clara, he excelled and completed his studies in 2012, unknowingly about to take on a fight for his life.
Brandon fell from the roof of a house in February causing severe swelling to his brain. He was on a breathing machine, fed intravenously and in a coma.
In critical condition, doctors weren’t sure that Brandon would survive the fall.
He was rushed to Highland Hospital where he immediately underwent emergency brain surgery to observe the swelling on the brain.  Under close monitoring, doctors realized the swelling wasn’t going down so he underwent another brain surgery to remove a portion of his skull to give room to his traumatized brain.
The portion of Brandon’s skull removed was placed in his stomach, a process allowing it to be nurtured for up to nine months, if needed, while his brain healed.
But nine months wasn’t needed.  Just four months since the fall, Brandon reflects on the incident. He says he always had faith that he was going to be all right.
“My brain was working, I knew I was in a coma…I just couldn’t wake up,” Brandon said. While he couldn’t respond, he remembers being in the comatose state.
So when he finally woke up, he was determined to turn the tragedy of his fall into triumph. Doctors told Brandon of the paralysis on his right side, something they believed was going to be permanent. Brandon refused to accept it.
“I’d sit in the bed and use my left side to exercise my right side,” said Brandon. “After my hand came, then it was my right ankle, and I would just move my foot up and down…I never felt it was going to be permanent.”
After one month, he was released from Highland and admitted to Oakland’s Kaiser Hospital for rehabilitation. He had to relearn his alphabet, how to brush his teeth and other basic communication skills. He worked his body physically and mentally to continue his rapid improvement.
Brandon’s father, Gary Reeves, describes Brandon’s condition as “being a man working with an infant mentality.” However, he says he made sure the energy around Brandon was always positive, never willing to accept that his son would not pull through, let alone walk again.
Gary Reeves says, “The first month the doctors had a hard time balancing his blood pressure and breathing,” and he had to regulate visitation because the impact visitors would have on Brandon’s emotion.  Today, he credits God, the doctors, therapists, nurses, and the love from family and friends as the motivation that contributed to his quick recovery.
“You’re only stuck if you allow your mind to become stuck,” Gary Reeves said.
Brandon regained his speaking and walking ability, and though still needing to complete the rehabilitation program, he was able to go home.
Today, he says he is about 90 percent back to his original self.  While he still works on strengthening his cognitive and speech skills, he has regained all physical movement.
Currently, he is a mentor at Berkeley Youth Authority, helping teach young kids about government funding for medical costs.
He also works with Community Partners for Bright Futures International, a charity that supports underprivileged children around the world by providing programs that help them achieve academic and professional success, and “B.U.” academy, which is sponsored by Blair Underwood.
He has volunteered teaching English as a second language to Spanish speaking mothers in San Jose at Sacred Heart Community Center and has even taught a beginning youth ski board class for the Bay Area’s Black Avalanche Ski Club.
But now Brandon’s life is the lesson. Three brain surgeries later, and overcoming every obstacle most would have counted him out on, he knows his life has purpose and new meaning.
“You do what you have to do to get better,” Brandon said. “Don’t just become a victim of your circumstances.

Nelson Mandela  and President Barack Obama.

Ailing Mandela Opens Eyes, Smiles on Hearing of Obama’s South Africa Trip

By Keir Simmons and
Charlayne Hunter-Gault,
NBC News

Nelson Mandela  and President Barack Obama.

Nelson Mandela and President Barack Obama.

Nelson Mandela “opened his eyes” and smiled after being told of President Barack Obama’s imminent visit to South Africa, his daughter said Tuesday, adding to speculation that the two men might meet.
The 94-year-old remains in a critical condition, South Africa’s government said Tuesday as relatives gathered at his home for a family meeting that local media reports described as “urgent.”
The anti-apartheid campaigner and democracy icon has been in hospital with a lung infection since June 8. His condition was downgraded over the weekend from “serious but stable” to “critical.”
Obama was due to leave Wednesday for Senegal, his first stop in a tour of Africa, before heading to South Africa on Friday.
Officials have said it is up to Mandela’s family to decide if the former leader is well enough to meet the president, and no meeting is scheduled.
Zindzi Mandela said Tuesday that she had said to her father: “Obama is coming.”
“He opened his eyes and gave me a smile,” she said.
She was speaking after relatives and chief members of Mandela’s clan gathered for a meeting at his rural home in Qunu, Eastern Cape province, on Tuesday morning.
Among those who arrived at the homestead were his grandson Mandla Mandela and other family members, Thanduxolo Mandela, Ndaba Mandela, and Ndileka Mandela.
A South Africa Press Association correspondent said the meeting followed an “urgent call” reportedly made by the former president’s children and quoted Napilisi Mandela, an elder in the Mandela family, as saying the meeting was being called “to discuss delicate matters.”

Rumor Central

“Rumor Central”

By Terri Schlichenmeyer,
The Bookworm Sez

Have you heard about…?
Those are four words that are music to your ears. You hear them, and you lean in close because you know you’re about to hear something too juicy to ignore, something too cool to avoid, something you absolutely must know.
Gossip is fun and you love hearing it – until you’re on the receiving end. And in the new book “Rumor Central” by Reshonda Tate Billingsley, one tattletale finds her tail in a bunch of trouble.
Nobody in South Florida under the age of 21 missed an episode of Miami Divas.
Starring Maya Morgan, the show also featured her friends and classmates as they partied, shopped, and dished on must-haves for everyone who was anyone. They had the best of everything; they were style-makers. Every week, the ratings were off the chain – so it was a surprise to Maya that the show got cancelled.
But the producers had another little surprise for her: they wanted Maya to star in a new TV program that would be filled with gossip.
They wanted Maya – but not her friends.
This, of course, made Bali, Shay, and Sheridan jealous. Weren’t they all for one, and one for all?  Maya didn’t think so. Why couldn’t they understand that this was the opportunity her fabulous self deserved?  It was what she’d been waiting for, for ages.
Yes, her friends were jealous – green with envy, in fact, because Maya was meeting and hanging with all kinds of stars and making all kinds of money.
They were jealous enough to try and ruin what Maya was doing. One of them even stole Maya’s boyfriend, so imagine how happy they were when the new show, Rumor Central, flopped.
To boost ratings and save the show, Maya had to come up with some real gossip. It had to be sensational – something that would make Miami stand up and notice.
Fortunately, Maya’s former-friends had been pretty loose with their lips and she knew a lot of secrets. So, while a totally nerdy classmate did her schoolwork for her, Maya Morgan went on-camera and spilled Miami ’s hottest gossip.
But someone wanted her to keep her mouth shut. Someone wanted to nix the news. And for Maya Morgan, payback would be a…
Okay, I hated Maya Morgan. She’s nasty, self-centered, spoiled, obnoxious, and not very nice. I’ve never wanted a come-uppance for a character more than I wanted it for her.
Yep, Maya’s a total brat who only kind-of-almost learns a lesson in this book (the first in a new series) – and that “almost” wasn’t near enough to endear her to me one bit.
Author Reshonda Tate Billingsley has made Maya just too selfishly incorrigible, and it’s hard to feel anything for the girl but a lingering distaste.
I can handle a dastardly character – most good fiction has at least one – but the villain in this book is insufferably awful.
Try this book if you must. Give it a whirl if you have to – but to me, “Rumor Central” is nothing to whisper about.
“Rumor Central” by Reshonda Tate Billingsley, c.2013, Dafina Teen, $9.95, 263 pages.


Berkeley Singer Gives Back in the Bay Area

By Spencer

SydneySydney Nycole Reeves, a 21 year old singer and songwriter from Berkeley has been working behind the scenes to build her brand in the Bay Area. Blending R&B, soul, and pop music has led the young artist to perform and open up shows for industry heavyweights like Faith Evans, Robin Thicke, El DeBarge and Trey Songz. Her talent and work ethic has even been endorsed by celebrities such as Sydney Poitier.
Sydney discovered her love for music while she was still attending Berkeley High School and says what started out as a hobby for her ended up becoming her passion and career.
“I was an athlete playing volleyball and softball in high school and had to balance that with singing,” said Sydney. “Finding time for singing was definitely a challenge. But on my 16th birthday, I had a chance to visit a studio and work with producers who helped me find my voice.”
Three of the songs she recorded when she was 16 helped secure her an artist development/songwriting deal with actor and singer Jamie Foxx. After taking a few years to polish her skills, Sydney Nycole is finishing up her demo tape to send to record labels.
“It’s been a work in progress, but I’m looking to spend more time in the studio and make sure the music sounds natural,” said Sydney Nycole. “At the end of the day, It’s about doing what you love and want to convey that in my songs.”
Since then, she has penned over 60 songs including “Freedom” for the 2009 documentary “President Barack Obama: The Man and His Journey” and has gone on to secure a television commercial with actor and entrepreneur Blair Underwood. She also partnered with television producer/writer Eric Von Lowe (Cosby Show, Even Stevens, Walt Disney) on his teen book release, providing music for the book’s website and the upcoming movie version of the book starring Nickelodeon star Keke Barber.
Outside of making music, Sydney Nycole works with children in community outreach programs and charities such as an advocate for Alameda Foster Youth Alliance and Stop the Violence in Berkeley. As part of her philanthropy platform, Sydney will be working with EO Products, a local business that creates sustainable personal care products such as hand soap, shower gel, and shampoo. After meeting with EO Products CEO Susan Griffin-Black, they created an educational program that helps teach urban youth and foster care about the importance of hygiene and utilizing healthier alternatives on their body.
She is also the Ambassador of Arts for Bright Future International, a charity that works with underprivileged children around the world by providing them with valuable programs to help them achieve academic and professional success.
“It’s been a great experience just being able to watch her grow as a well-rounded artist and build her brand,” said Gary Reeves, Sydney’s father and manager. “She understands the importance of giving forward to her community.”
Currently, Sydney Nycole is working with her band, “ASAP” and will be the performing at the California State Fair on the promenade stage on July 28th.

Lang and Monteiro

African-American Male Couple Are Pride’s Grand Marshals

By Lee

Lang and MonteiroThe grand marshals at this year’s Pride parade will be a couple, Perry Lang and Ken Monteiro, the first African Americans to be honored in this way.
Lang and Monteiro are well known activists in the African American community on a wide range of issues.
Lang is a former journalist who worked for 10 years at the San Francisco Chronicle.  He also co-founded the Bay Area Black Journalists Association and was vice president of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.
He currently serves as executive director of the Black Coalition on Aids and its Rafiki Wellness Services.
Monteiro has worked in higher education for the past 30 years.  He has held faculty positions at Rutgers University and the University of Illinois, before taking a position at San Francisco State University.
At San Francisco State, he has been a professor and chair of the Psychology Department, dean of Human Relations and is currently dean of the College of Ethnic Studies.
The couple’s history of activism is what motivated the Pride organization to acknowledge them, according to Lisa Williams, board president of SF Pride.
“As long-time advocates for justice and equality, Perry and Ken not only champion LGBT issues but other issues that affect our communities such as HIV/AIDS, education and economic development,” said Williams.
As grand marshals, they will be sharing a float with Attorney General Kamala Harris, philanthropist Alvin Baum and celebrities Tabatha Coffey, Alex Newell and Cheyenne Jackson.
Lang says he is honored to be in this year’s parade. “What we want to do is to build bridges across communities. This is a opportunity for that,” he said.
“Barack Obama got elected, because he built an amazing coalition of Black people, Latinos, Asians and mainstream gays,” said Lang. “We must do the same thing amongst various communities in the name of social justice issues.”
Monteiro is also proud to be honored. “Pride and its leadership have become more diverse,” he said.  “But it’s more than a party.  It’s about promoting justice (that is) built by a new coalition across the various intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class and religion.”
Lang and Monteiro have been in a committed relationship since 1990.  They have three children, three grandchildren and an extended biological and spiritual family network.
They are active in the African American Action Network, the NAACP, Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition and the Interfaith Circle.
The SF Pride Parade, with more than 250 parade contingents, kicks off at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 30 at Market & Beale and ends at Market & 8th Street.