Tagged Lee Hubbard

Black Builder Loses Third Street Library Project

By Lee Hubbard

Willie Ratcliff

In a strange turn of events, a San Francisco Black contractor, who had been awarded the right build the Bay View Hunters Point library at Third and Revere Streets, lost the Department of Public works contract over a minor infraction.
Willie Ratcliff, owner of Liberty Builders, had been awarded the $5.1 million dollar bid to build the library, the first contract awarded to a Black general contractor in over a decade.
But two months after the contract was awarded, it was rescinded  and awarded to KCK builders, when Ratcliff submitted his commercial auto policy a day late after the city notified him that it was missing.
“They had no reason to rescind the offer,” said Ratcliff.  “We had a good bond offer, and everything was in order except the insurance certificate.  When I found out it was missing, I had the insurance company send the certificate to the city, but they sent it in a day late.” Read more

San Francisco Celebrates Kwanzaa

By Lee Hubbard

Sitting, left to right: Brotha Clint, Jackie Wright, Malik Senefu; Group, standing at left: Saula Gonzales, Steven Loyd, Deshawna Whitfield; back row: Marlena Younger, Jazmine Thorne, Daizanae Woods; Group, standing at right: Deshun Luckett, Jose Gonzales, Adrian Williams, Exec. Dir of Village Project, Elizabeth Jackson of the Western Addition Family Resource Center; Back row: Johnnae Sanders, Camile Dawkins-Mayor’s office of Neighborhood Services, and Marchel Earden-Smith.

The fifth annual Kwanzaa celebration sponsored by the Village Projec will be taking place Dec. 26 through Jan. 1 throughout San Francisco.
In years past, the Village Project’s events took place in the Western Addition area, but according to Adrian Williams, the project’s executive director, Black people throughout the city are feeling a part of the Kwanzaa experience.
“Kwanzaa is about family, heritage and culture,” said Williams.  “These things are essential to the survival of the Black community in San Francisco.”
This year’s theme, “Uniting to Strengthen Families and Communities,” emphases the importance of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, she said.
Created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966, Kwanzaa is celebrated by more than 30 million people of African descent worldwide, over seven days, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. Each of the days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of seven basic principles. Read more

“Defender” Ishmael Reed Goes “On Offense” for Obama

By Lee Hubbard

Ishmael Reed

Ishmael Reed has been called many things in a writing career that has spanned over 40 years.  Now the Oakland resident and UC Berkeley professor, author and social commentator of over 20 books, has become  “the defender” and gone on the political offensive in his support of President Barack Obama.
Reed, author of the recently published book, Barack Obama and the Jim Crow media: The Return of the Nigger Breakers,” feels the Obama presidency is being sabotaged by both the republican party and right wing critics, but also from the left wing progressives. In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, he wrote that progressives calling for Obama to “Man up” against the republicans are out of step with reality.
‘There has been a massive resistance to President Obama and his policies, just like it was a resistance to desegregation,” said Reed in an interview. Read more

Urban Solutions celebrates Rebirth of Fillmore

The Western Addition area, including Fillmore Street, has long been the historical home and heart of San Francisco’s African American community.  Blacks flocked to the area just before World War II, as part of the great migration from the South- Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, coming west to California and San Francisco.

Soon Black-owned nightclubs and businesses sprouted up on Fillmore Street.  Clubs such as the Texas Play House, Blue Mirror and the Bird Cage, ushered in a golden area of jazz and Black business in San Francisco. But this ended in the 1960s, as the Fillmore became he target of Redevelopment, which destroyed thousands of African American owned homes, businesses and much of San Francisco’s Black community.

Today, the Fillmore is a shell of its former self, but the area is making a comeback.  The past few years have seen the opening of new restaurants, such as 1300 on Fillmore, the Sheba Lounge, Bruno’s Pizzeria and Bumzy’s cookies.  New entertainment venues such Yoshi’s Jazz supper club, have renewed interest in older venues such as the Fillmore Auditorium, the Boom Boom Room and Rasellas Jazz Club. Read more

Malia Cohen Reaches Out to Former District 10 Candidates

By Lee Hubbard

Malia Cohen

With the election of Malia Cohen to the Supervisors seat in District 10, she also becomes the de-facto Black political leader in San Francisco, as she will be the highest-ranking Black elected official in the city when she is sworn into office on Jan. 3.
“It feels good and humbling to know I will be the Supervisor for District 10,” said Cohen. “I am elected to represent District 10, but I will be caring for all people of San Franciscans. That is one of the lessons that I have learned.”
Elected as supervisor under the ranked choice voting system, she won 52 percent of the vote, beating Tony Kelly who had 47 percent.
One of her main issues will be on jobs and economic development in the area, promoting development of small businesses and the revitalization of Third Street, she said.
“We need … jobs that provide careers to the residents in the southeast sector,” she said. “I want the area to see sustainable jobs that are pathways to careers. Oftentimes, when we see construction, Black laborers are holding up signs.”
Since the campaign, she has been spending much of her time meeting with the other candidates in the race, already talking to former candidates Dewitt Lacy, Geoffrea Morris and Marlene Tran to get a sense of their issues and concerns.
This is important, according to Ed Donaldson, a housing advocate and one of the candidates in the race, who feels that Cohen needs to reach out to everyone who ran to form a broad perspective on what needs to be done.
“I think the lesson learned is that Malia needs to do more coalition building, like maybe running a coalition-style government,” said Donaldson.
“Malia Cohen won because the bulk of Lynnette Sweet’s second place votes went to her over Tony Kelly,” Donaldson said. “This suggests that by having so many African American candidates in the race, the second and third choice votes were going to African Americans.”
Cohen has to address a list of important issues that will come to shape the future of District 10, an area that includes Potrero Hill, Bay View Hunters Point, Portola Valley, Visitation Valley and Sunnydale.
“ There are lot of critical issues going on including mandatory local work force hiring, housing foreclosures, public housing displacement, stopping the Black migration out of the city, the development of the Hunters Point shipyard and Third Street, re-entry programs for ex-offenders in San Francisco and District 10, ” continued Donaldson. “The groundwork is engaged for her to work with people and make things happen for everyone in the community
“Frankly we need some political respect for our community,” said Willie Ratcliff, the publisher of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. “It will be up to her to stand up for this community.”

Malia Cohen Is New Supervisor in District 10

By Lee Hubbard

Malia Cohen

Malia Cohen will be the new Supervisor in District 10, replacing Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, who is termed out.

As of press time Cohen had 52.60 percent of the vote compared to Tony Kelly’s 47.40 percent. Kelly conceded to Cohen Tuesday afternoon, although the race has not been officially called.

“I don’t think we have enough cards left to make any changes in the results at this time, but until (we) certify, I don’t call a race,” said John Artz, head of the San Francisco Department of Elections.

Cohen was able to pick up ground on Kelly in the ranked choice voting system after Lynnette Sweet dropped in ranking. After the first round, Sweet had the most first place votes, 2,072 or 12 percent, compared to Kelly who had 2,042 or 11.59 percent and Cohen, who had 2015 or 11.73 percent.

But both Cohen and Kelly had more second and third place votes, which allowed them to overtake Sweet’s original lead.  This caused some harsh feelings among some Blacks activists and Sweet, who felt that an underrepresented community would be without an African American supervisor. Read more

Long Wait for Results in District 10 Race

By Lee Hubbard

Lynette Sweet

While the election took place over a week ago, the race for San Francisco Supervisor in District 10 is not decided.
As the Post goes to press, votes are still being counted by the San Francisco Department of Elections to determine the winner of District 10, which includes Portrero Hill, Bay View Hunters Point, Portola and Visitation Valley.
The top three vote getters are Tony Kelly, Lynette Sweet and Malia Cohen, with absentee votes left to count and 1,270 provisional ballots that also need to be counted.
San Francisco, along with several other Bay Area cities, has instituted Instant Runoff Voting, which allows voters for losing candidates to pick their second and third choices for the office.
District 10 saw 21 people run for Supervisor.  When the votes were first tallied, Tony Kelly had the most first place votes, but his lead has dwindled.  Some analyst have predicated that either Lynnette Sweet or Malia Cohen would be the eventual winner, based on the high number of provisional ballots, 570 in Bay View Hunters Point.
However, nothing is for certain at this point. Read more

California Offers Telephones for the Hearing Impaired

By Lee Hubbard

When California passed a law in 1979 requiring the California Public Utilities Commission to implement a program to distribute telephone devices to the hearing impaired, the telephone became a form of communication that could be embraced by all.

Now 31 years later, the California Telephone Access Program (CTAP) still helps many people communicate. But the program is not as widely used as it could be.   

“There are still people who don’t know that there is access to phones that will help them communicate,” said Sharif Frink, an outreach specialist with CTAP.  

To receive one of the special telephones, a applicant must live in the state, have telephone service and have a form signed by an authorized medical professional,  which certifies that the person has a disability or difficulty using a traditional telephone.

“We provide these phones at no cost to anyone with hearing difficulty,” continued Frink.

The phones can be kept until they are no longer needed. If there are problems with the phone, they will either be fixed or replaced.

“Even if you don’t think that the phone is needed for you, there may be someone else in your family or community who could use the phone,” he said. 

To find out more about program, the location of the nearest service center or obtain an application, go to  www.ddtp.org.

SF NAACP Freedom Fund

By Lee Hubbard

Shirley Sherrod

Shirley Sherrod was an unassuming government official, as the Georgia Director of Rural Development when she was thrust into the national spotlight.  Her  comments addressing a NAACP branch event, edited and distorted, were posted on the Internet by conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, unleashing a media storm that resulted in her losing her job.

 Sherrod will describe her life as a Black activist at this year’s San Francisco NAACP Freedom Fund dinner, “One Nation-One Dream.” The event will be held Saturday Nov. 6, 6 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in San Francisco.  The evening will be hosted by former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown..  

 The distorted video caused Sherrod to be vilified as a Black racist in the press.  She was denounced by some civil rights leaders, and she resigned from her job at the USDA. Soon after, however, the full unedited version came out in the news, vindicating Sherrod. 

“The San Francisco branch of the NAACP chose Sherrod because of her consistent dedication to the agricultural industry in America and making sure that Black farmers are an integral part  of that industry,” said Jacquie Taliaferro, the communications chair for the San Francisco NAACP.  

“We took a keen interest in the way the media treated Mrs. Sherrod and basically convicted her without a proper investigation. Her words were taking out of context, and it was orchestrated to make her, the NAACP and the Obama administration look bad.” Read more

Maxwell Joins Sweet on Campaign Trail

By Lee Hubbard

Lynette Sweet

Supervisor Sophie Maxwell joined Lynette Sweet on the campaign trail, appearing at a recent Community Empowerment Commitment rally at Jackson Park in Potrero Hill.  

The rally, open to all of the political candidates, helped to show a sense of solidarity for the issues people face in District 10. 

District 10 encompasses Potrero Hill, Bay View Hunters Point, Portola and Visitation Valley. Key issues the district’s next representative will have to address include housing, economic development, jobs, education and the environment.

“We have an enormous amount of development planned for District 10, including Jackson Park,” said Sweet.  “Residents deserve a supervisor who will make sure that development benefits local residents and really listens to their input.”

 An estimated 80 percent of the development scheduled in San Francisco will take place in District 10. Projects range from development of the Hunters Point Ship Yard, new housing along Third Street and other development in the area.   

“Residents need a listener, and that is Lynette Sweet,” said current District 10 Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, whose term limit is up.  “She will listen to the needs of the community and advocate for the resources that we need.” Read more

California Offers Telephones for the Hearing Impaired

By Lee Hubbard

When California passed a law in 1979 requiring the California Public Utilities Commission to implement a program to distribute telephone devices to the hearing impaired, the telephone became a form of communication that could be embraced by all.
Now 31 years later, the California Telephone Access Program (CTAP) still helps many people communicate. But the program is not as widely used as it could be.
“There are still people who don’t know that there is access to phones that will help them communicate,” said Sharif Frink, an outreach specialist with CTAP.   Read more

Local Hire Law Introduced

By Lee Hubbard

John Avalos

Lynette Sweet

San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos of District 11 has introduced a city ordinance that would require local hiring on publicly funded construction projects.
“Local hiring is a long-term solution to a long-term problem; too many San Francisco tax dollars are leaving the city when they are needed to support the local economy and help address multiple challenges such as high unemployment, poverty and crime,” said Avalos, who took the proposed law to the city’s Budget and Finance Committee, where it passed.
“My legislation will ensure that San Franciscans have a guaranteed shot to work on the City’s public works projects and that the local dollars invested in public infrastructure be recycled back into San Francisco’s economy and local communities.” Read more

Meg Whitman Talks Education in Oakland

By Lee Hubbard

Top: Meg Whitman shows volunteers Verdell Chriss (left) and Genetta Williams the tally of responses from her phone bank. Damon Dunn, (right) Secretary of State candidate, campaigned with Whitman. Photos by Gene Hazzard and Eric Draper.

Republican candidate for governor Meg Whitman visited Jefferson Elementary School in East Oakland this week to talk about what it will take to get education back on track in California.
Whitman, who is locked into a tight race against Democrat Jerry Brown, stressed that education is one of her top issues.
“In low-income neighborhoods, 4-year-olds need to have a good start, and in these schools great teachers make the difference,” she said.  “This has been my priority, and we (as a state) have to do better in K through 8 education.”
One of the elementary schools doing well is Learning Without Limits, a small school that is on the same campus as Jefferson Elementary.  Leo Fuchs, principal of Learning Without Limits, said he was glad Whitman chose to visit his campus.
“The candidates are taking an interest in education and coming to see what’s happening in a school that’s trying to make a difference in the community,” said Fuchs. Read more

Bethel AME Hosts Old Time Revival

By Lee Hubbard

Pastor J. Edgar Boyd

Bethel AME Church in San Francisco will be the site of an “Old Time Religion” religious revival, October 20 – 22, 7 p.m., at Bethel AME Church 916 Laguna St. in San Francisco.
“The revival is geared to saving souls, and it is focused on the younger audience at the church and the surrounding communities,” said Bethel AME senior Pastor J. Edgar Boyd.
The fall revival keeps up with the churches theme of “Excellence for the Kingdom in our Faith, in our Works and in our Praise,” and will be headed by Rev. Charles Dorsey, Youth and Young Adult Minister of Christ Our Redeemer AME Church in Irvine, CA.
“I will probably deal with some of the keys for excellence in the scripture,” said Dorsey. “We need to strive to have a commitment to excellence and having God as the motive for our behavior.” Read more

Hotly Contested District 10 Supervisors’ Race

By Lee Hubbard

Lynette Sweet

Ed Donaldson

Ed Donaldson

With the San Francisco Board of Supervisors election just a few weeks away, the contest for the District 10 seat held by Supervisor Sophie Maxwell has narrowed to a handful of frontrunners among the 20 contenders in the field.
The district stretches from Potrero Hill to Bay View Hunters Point, to the Visitation Valley. It is an area where Blacks make up a plurality of the residents.
The district contains the most available land to develop city and the most school-aged children. So, people from around the city are looking at this race as one of the most important to the future of San Francisco.
“This election is much more important than who is in the seat; there are a lot of issues in the district,” said Lynette Sweet, one of the frontrunners in the race. Read more

Black Contractor Wins Bid to Build New Bay View Library

By Lee Hubbard

Architect’s rendition of the new Bay View library

For the first time in recent memory, a Black contracting firm – Liberty Builders – has won a general construction bid with the city of San Francisco and its public works department. The project is to rebuild the Bay View Hunters Point Library at Third and Revere streets.
The library rebuilding project will start by early next year and is scheduled to be completed in 2012. The new building will have more space for books, expanded community rooms, new bathrooms, public art, new computers and a wider selection of books than the current library.
Once construction begins, library facilities will be moved temporarily to the nearby Bay View YMCA. Read more

Mission High Dedicates Gym to Coach Mac

By Lee Hubbard

He was a beloved coach, mentor, father and friend to thousands of students, colleagues and people who interacted with Ernest “Mac” McNealy Sr., a teacher, basketball and track coach at Mission High School in San Francisco.
McNealy came to Mission in 1957 and worked at the school for over 40 years until 1997. Though he passed in 1999, his legacy remains at Mission High. The student alumni association will honor his memory, Oct. 2 at 11 a.m.,  presenting his wife Analosa McNealy and his family with a framed San Francisco school board resolution, officially dedicating the gym in his name.
The boy’s gymnasium will be called the Ernest “Coach Mac” McNealy, Sr., Memorial Gymnasium.  A bronze plaque will be placed at the entrance to the gym, and many of his former players and students will be present to honor his memory. Read more

New Bethel AME Minister Seeks to Corral Youth

Young People to Join in “Stomping Out the Darkness”

By Lee Hubbard

LeSean Tarkington

The Black church and its community has always been central to the upbringing of LeSean Tarkington, the newly installed  Minister of Youth and Director of Special Projects at Bethel AME Church in San Francisco.
“We have to do something in the community,” said Tarkington.  “Because if not, what is the use of coming to church.”
A native of Los Angeles, Tarkington grew up as a member of First AME Church in Los Angeles, led by Reverend Cecil Murray, whose  “church was a center of community change.” Read more

Frankie Gillette, Bethel AME Woman of the Year

By Lee Hubbard

Frankie Gillette

Frank Gillette was recently named 2010 Christian Woman of the Year at Bethel AME Church in San Francisco, where she helped spearhead a fundraising drive to install an elevator and lift at the church
The elevator project took over a year to build and cost over $ 1 million. Now completed and paid off by church members, the elevator connects the church parking lot to the offices, helping many of the older members of the congregation enter and leave the building.
Gillette, a retired government administrator, social worker and educator, is  president and owner of G+G Enterprises, which specializes in event planning, diversity training and advertising.
A graduate of both Hampton and Howard Universities, Gillette moved to Northern California in 1964 to start the Concerted Service Project in Pittsburgh, CA, which was a federal government program that helped to resolve social inequities.  From there, she was Western Region Division Chief of the US Office of Economic Opportunities, a well as part-time coordinator for the Peace Corps and associate professor at the school of social work at Cal State Sacramento.
She became a member of Bethel AME in 1976 along with her husband Maxwell, who serves as a  church trustee.  She is also a very influential activist and organizer in the San Francisco’s Black community.
In addition to her other accomplishments, Gillette  was a trustee of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, served on a panel to help create the Museum of the African Diaspora and was a member of the Board of Directors at the museum, helped organize the San Francisco Business and Professional Women.  She also has been a volunteer or board member at several public, private and non-profit organizations at the local, state and national levels.

Richmond Port Expansion Boosts Jobs

By Lee Hubbard

A Honda CR-Z sport hybrid attempting an incognito entrance at the Port of Richmond

The Port of Richmond has long been seen as one of the number one ports on the West Coast when it comes to handling petroleum and liquid bulk cargos.  But the port is becoming a major entryway for automobiles, with the emergence of the Honda Port of Entry project.
The Honda project has come to the Port of Richmond 7 and 8 terminals. Since April, when the first shipment of 2,800 car arrived, the Port has been bristling with activity.
The project is based on a 15-year lease between Honda and the Port of Richmond, which will create about 200 jobs and an estimated $85 million to $100 million to the Port and city of Richmond over the life of the lease.
“It has taken us a while to get this off the ground, including a year delay, but we are glad this is finally happening,” said Janie Singleton, a spokesperson with the Port of Richmond. ‘This will help to bring more economic vitality to Richmond.” Read more

California Annual AME Conference Comes to Oakland

By Lee Hubbard and
Wilfred T. Ussery

Rev. Harold Mayberry (top right), Pastor of Oakland’s First AME Church, which hosted The Annual California Conference of African Methodist Episcopal Churches in Oakland. Thousands attended sessions at the Airport Hilton Hotel, Parks Chapel and Beebe memorial Churches this week. Top left to right , Rev. Pamela Mason, Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Presiding Elder W. Bartalette Finney, Presiding Elder Rev. Dr. Booker T. Guyton, Sr. Rev. Dr. Harold R. Mayberry, Rev. Ayisha Benham, Rev. Teresa Nelson, Mrs. Dezie Woods-Jones,President California Clergy Family Association, Mrs. Peggie Peters, Council Member Desley Brooks, Rev. J. Edgar Boyd, Mrs. Mary Guyton, Mrs. Jean Finney and Mrs. Florence Boyd. Photos by Gene Hazzard and graphics by Adam Turner.

The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church this week held its146th session of the California Annual Conference in Oakland.
The statewide conference, held at the Oakland Hilton Hotel, was led by the Rt. Rev. Theodore L. Kirkland, presiding Bishop of the Fifth Episcopal District (Western Region) of the AME Church and hosted by the First AME Church of Oakland, led by Rev. Dr. Harold Mayberry.
The California Annual Conference, convocation of Northern and Central California AME pastors and members, is regularly one of the largest gatherings of African American ministers in the country. Under Bishop Kirkland’s leadership, the Southern California Conference will be held Sept. 27 – Oct. 3 at Brookins Community AME Church in Los Angeles. He will also convene the 156th Session of the Missouri Annual Conference from Oct. 25 to Oct. 31 in St. Louis, Missouri. Read more

San Francisco District 10 Race Heats Up 

By Lee Hubbard

The San Francisco Supervisors race for District 10 is heating up, as a large field of candidates seeks to fill the seat currently held by Sophie Maxwell who after 10 years will be termed out in November.

District 10 covers a large area, including Potrero Hill, the entire Bay View Hunters Point, Portola Valley and Visitation Valley.

Candidates are raising the issues that face the communities in District 10: unemployment, business development, crime, affordable housing and the development of the Hunters Point Naval shipyard.

“We need a fighter like District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly, someone who will fight for the little people in the district,”” said Mel Washington, owner of Bay Copy, a photocopy business on Third Street. Read more

“The Wing Town Café” Restaurant Offers Gourmet Chicken Menu

By Lee Hubbard

Jose Ibarra, Alexandra Dominguez, Casey Andrews (co-owner), David Avila (general manager), Araceli Naya. Photo by Adam Turner.

In the Bay Area, Oakland is often referred to as the “town.”  Restaurant owner Calvin Andrews hopes his café will make Oakland known as “Wing Town.”
“The Wing Town Café,” a new restaurant at 1462 High St. in Oakland, offers a gourmet chicken menu that features wings and strips in various flavors from traditional hot, medium, mild, to lemon pepper, honey barbecue, teriyaki, Asian glaze and even a secret ooh wee sauce. Read more

Poetry Night Brings Out the Crowd

By Lee Hubbard

Erick “Stretch” Wright

When Erick “Stretch” Wright began watching Def Poetry Jam on television he was enthralled with the rhythmic artistry of the featured poets.
But it took a visit to Harlem for Wright to truly conjure up the idea of bringing that same “vibe” in a weekly poetry venue to Oakland.
“The expression of people giving their opinions and thoughts in spoken word, appealed to me,” said Wright.  “Poetry gives a voice to the voiceless and I thought Oakland needed something like that.”
While Oakland has many spoken word venues, Wright added a twist to the bay area poetry scene by naming his the “Sexy Sunday” as a means to attract an older crowd. Every Sunday, from 6 to 10pm, at Kimball’s in Oakland’s Jack London Square, 10pm, poets, singers, and musicians are able to showcase their talent.