Oakland’s Top 10 Exciting New Candidates!

“something is wrong. Since everyone knows we are in a polarizing period of intense political change, it’s not a good thing to have the local party “settle” for status quo seeking candidates that rank and file activists do not support. Some of the candidates below did receive the party’s blessing, most did not.”

Many of us check our twitter in the morning only to find out that the Whitest of White Houses has nominated another racist, misogynist liar to a post he’s the least qualified to hold. On top of that you can sometimes despair that even your local branch of the download (6)Democratic Party can do the right thing but hey, there’s good news all around us if we only look. With the campaigns of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, not to mention Stacey Abrams and Beto O’Rourke’s-a new energized Democratic Party could arise-one that not only rejects Trump’s GOP but also asserts real progressive values.

Well, whadya know we’ve got some dynamic challengers right here in Estuary City and they’re mostly women of color who either have deep community track records or are busy building them now.  20180919_133549

But first, in reference to the crack I made about our local Dems who have no excuse not to be as progressive as the cities and county they rep, last week that party endorsed many moderate, middle-of-the-road incumbents who wouldn’t recognize an emergency situation…..unless it was a threat to their re-election–so I went on a facebook rant about the party’s elected membership, of which I am one, and demanded that folks join me in the good fight for accountable leadership (you know the kind that doesn’t jam people into garden sheds?)

Well, my rant resulted in some cool people beginning to consider a run for that labyrinthine bureaucracy packed in a bunch of nesting boxes we comically refer to as the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee (ACDCC). Here’s a partial list, John Jones III, Debra Grabelle, Wendy Bloom, Tonya Love, Kim Carter Martinez, Jessamyn Sabbag, Alvina Wong, Jenn Tran, Lailan Sandra Huen, Gary Jimenez, Carroll Fife, and more, [please be sure to bug them for me.]

Here’s how it works–each slate runs only in their assembly district. Mine is the 18th, Wendy’s for instance is the 15th. You would run a mini campaign since you will appear on the regular primary ballot of a presidential year and begin to attend the Committee meetings the following January. Your slate has to raise money for campaign lit and mailings and you are expected to appear before various organizations, mostly Dem clubs for endorsements. You will also want to appeal to your assembly member to endorse your slate. The slate for the 18th AD also requires members from Alameda and San Leandro besides Oakland and the 15th AD slate should have Oakland, Berkeley, and El Cerrito/Richmond all the way to Hercules, residents included. But what does the ACDCC do?

What is the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee (ACDCC) and What the Heck Does It do?

In a nutshell, this Committee is the local arm of the California Democratic Party. It supports its local clubs (sometimes), it passes resolutions to alert our state and federal reps on issues of importance. In addition the Committee also offers training sessions to candidates and registers voters. But, the most obvious task we have is endorsing local candidates and measures. When the Committee votes, it’s the final word on who gets to wear the party’s official label in the next election.

The Committee tends to reward incumbents and discourage challengers which is not always a bad thing, but when committee members are pressured to stick with party regulars and back room dealing becomes the only way to accomplish that, it means something is wrong. Since everyone knows we are in a polarizing period of intense political change, it’s not a good thing to have the local party “settle” for status quo seeking candidates that rank and file activists do not support. Some of the candidates below did receive the party’s blessing, most did not.

New Candidates for Oakland in November:

1. Clarissa Doutherd-Candidate for school board in district 4–I don’t even know how to pronounce her last name but the first time I heard her speak and respond to  cropped-clarissa-doutherd-new-headshot-color-512-pxwquestions, the room broke out in spontaneous applause after her presentation. It’s not that her rhetoric soars, it’s that it is so grounded in experience, in compassion and in solutions for Oakland parents who have despaired of anyone listening to their concerns. After years of OUSD officials disrespecting its parents, teachers, and students, this is a candidate ready to hear them, then translate them into action.  https://clarissaforoaklandschools.com/

2. Nikki Bas-Candidate for district 2, Oakland City Council–I haven’t known Nikki as long as others who have worked side-by-side with her on issues like reducing diesel  Resized_20180912_122438_4211fumes at the Port of Oakland, increasing the minimum wage for our low income workers and demanding good jobs for all our folks, but her courage and toughness (not phony tough/cute as the current mayor depicts herself) means that our council would add  a fighter who is honest about the stands she has taken and the decisions she’ll make.  I have to add, most of the parents in our neighborhood came out early for her because they were already familiar with her collaborative style and concern for working families throughout Oakland.   http://www.nikki4oakland.com/

3. & 4. Sheng Thao and Nayeli Maxson-Sorry I keep lumping these two together since they are quite different women but I am stunned by City Council District 4′s good luck in having these options for their 1st and 2nd rank votes. Sheng has navigated the shores of surviving as an immigrant and a domestic abuse victim in a society not known for compassion for either and secured a place where her son can thrive and she can represent this community.   https://www.shengforoakland.com/  https://nayeliforoakland.com/

And Nayeli is an innovative leader with a even tempered style that belies its strength. Unlike her former boss she will be able to accept criticism as an opportunity to develop new solutions. Both of these candidates are grounded in real life experiences.

Pamela Harris and Sheng Thao and Nayeli

5. Pamela Harris-City Council District 4-This area of Oakland has been blessed with a surfeit of smart, well-rounded women candidates. As an entrepreneur and a member of the LGBTQ community in Oakland, Pamela is just starting out in local politics but she has places to go and people to meet. She’s a comer for the Dem Party with one caveat that she keep a respectful distance from the moderates who seek to maintain control over the system.  https://www.pamharris4oakland.com/

7. Cindi Reiss-Candidate for Peralta College Trustee– Every time Cindi opens her mouth to talk about what our local community colleges need, she blows away the competition beyond that even of the incumbent. As faculty at another district, she has been a member of the local and state academic senate so understands the issues and will be a quick study for the solutions. I predict that other trustees will soon be looking to her for leadership.  https://www.cindireiss2018.com/    39105861_420420581698080_5483025507148627968_o

8. Mya Whitaker for Council District 6 and Corean Todd-Candidate for Peralta  IMG_2018-09-19_12-52-26College Trustee- share the 8th place. Mya is a newcomer who can convey the conditions in her central Oakland district like no one else while Corean is very new to politics but not to leadership and struggle. Corean has worked with Clarissa at Parent Voices and is a union steward. Mya was a member of the Citizen Police Review Board before it was disbanded in favor an independent commission and has specific solutions for better community/police relations.  [Honorable Mentions for D6 Candidates-Loren Taylor, Natasha Middleton, and Marlo Rodriguez.]   https://whitakerforoakland.nationbuilder.com/  https://coreantoddforperalta2018.com/

9. & 10. Last but not least or technically new to local politics- The top challengers to the incumbent mayor – Cat Brooks and Pamela Price-are nevertheless exciting candidates in their approaches to the mayor’s race and their visions for the city. We hope they will work out a tag team approach that can take the Jerry Brown machine out and put in as Cat says “the people’s program.” https://www.catbrooksforoakland.com/  /www.pamelaprice4mayor.com

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The California Sanctuary Campaign, Cat Brooks, Pamela Price, & Saied Karamooz, Welcome the TPS Alliance, Journey for Justice, to Oakland this Monday

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Press Advisory

Oakland, CA.- Oakland’s progressive mayoral candidates, Cat Brooks, Pamela Price, and Saied Karamooz, will come together Monday August 27th at 9:30 am in front of Oakland’s City Hall to welcome the National TPS Alliance, a coalition of groups representing Temporary Protected Status holders now threatened with deportation. They will rally and reconfirm Oakland’s position as a sanctuary city for all those targeted by the Trump regime.

The TPS Alliance working in collaboration with Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), CISPES (Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador) and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) is traveling across the country visiting over 50 cities in a specially outfitted bus to highlight the contributions of TPS holders and the need to prevent the next wave of family separations.

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TPS Holders at OUSD’s Sanctuary Event

According to the American Friends Service Committee, “The largest group of TPS recipients is from El Salvador (195,000 people) followed by Honduras (57,000 people) and Haiti (50,000 people).” https://www.afsc.org/blogs/news-and-commentary/trump-has-ended-temporary-protected-status-hundreds-thousands-immigrants

The movement to #SaveTPS has grown in number and force. In response to the Trump Administration’s decision to terminate Temporary Protected Status for nearly 450,000 beneficiaries, TSP holders are organizing among themselves to demand dignity and respect. As TPS holders, the recipients have been able to establish businesses, hold jobs, buy homes and raise their families–but all that is now in jeopardy.

As José Mejia, of the Save TPS Northern California committee, “Ending TPS goes against our values as Americans. The riders in the TPS Journey for Justice are men, women and children who strengthen our economy and society — we must allow them to stay in their families, homes and jobs.”

The Journey for Justice will arrive in the Bay Area Friday evening, August 24th, riders and local TPS holders will briefly tell their stories and how the threat of loss of status is affecting their lives. They will visit Daly City Friday evening where officials will host them for dinner, then stop by OUSD’s Sanctuary Training Kick-off on Saturday morning August 25th about 10:45 am near Metwest High School https://www.ousd.org/sanctuarydistrict , next stop is a 2 pm TPS Forum at the Corpus Christi Church, 62 Santa Rosa Avenue, San Francisco, CA. This workshop will educate area TPS holders and interested parties about their rights and options. All TPS holders and people interested are invited to attend. After rallying in Oakland, they’ll be back on the bus to more events in the Bay Area before heading to Oregon. Please contact Jose Mejia, 415 963 1557, mejiaj979@gmail.com for more info on the Journey for Justice.

 

Contact: Pamela Drake, pamelaadrake@gmail.com, 510-593-3721 for the Sanctuary Campaign.

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Towards a New City Council in Turbulent Times

As I wrote in The Oakland We Knew and the Mayor’s Race, if your vision of Oakland is not one that mimics the hollowing out of our city a la San Francisco…if your vision is one of a thriving town that includes working families, immigrants and the sons and daughters of those Black and Brown folks who have been marginalized while struggling to live and work in the city they were raised in, then you may have to delve deep into city politics before you vote in the fall city council races. I have done some of that work for you so here goes:

City Council District 2-Nikki Fortunato Bas

I will admit that I’m one of a small group that urged our current council member to run last time around. So I consider Abel a friend albeit not as close a one as then. He is a nice moderate man who likes being able to obtain improvements like better lighting for a park. I think he would be a good assistant city manager but he is not a leader and certainly not one we can look to to bring us through turbulent times. His approach is to bolster the mayor whoever he or she may be and follow their lead.

Here are some of the areas in which he let us down:

  • During negotiations with the council to put Measure JJ on the ballot, which offers better and clearer protections for renters, at a time when more and more are living in the streets or leaving, Abel would not consider supporting it until the mayor had agreed and after it was watered down. He was brought along, seemingly kicking and screaming.
  • During the budget struggle of 2016 a number of community groups built a coalition to propose  a people’s budget. They had hoped to use more of the general fund for the needs of undeserved neighborhoods beyond policing (which is of course necessary but claims the lion’s share of the budget at this time, largely because of  unrestrained overtime, settlements for police abuse cases and the continuing expense of the monitor, because OPD has not adequately dealt with the racial profiling issue-just watch the dog chase its tail, sigh.)
  • Ultimately, Abel joined with the group supporting the mayor’s budget and as chair of that meeting, using a parliamentary slight-of-hand, passed the budget by dropping a firefighter academy, an illegal dumping pick-up crew, and a street paving crew.
  • After the minimum wage law was passed, labor groups [the same labor and community groups who worked to get Abel elected] asked for a small fund to help spread the word about the law so that local businesses would fairly follow it and the city could enforce it but our council member was loathe to vote for it until, once again, the mayor agreed to support it.
  • There are other instances where CM Guillen let down the working people who got him on the council-not supporting settling with the unions until after an unnecessary strike was held, not supporting the Chinatown Coalition when it negotiated with developers for community benefits and initially trying to block placing Measure LL, the police commission on the ballot, instead proposing a toothless alternative along with Annie Campbell Washington.
  • Finally, I would be expected to bring up the sad community process over the 12th Street parcel but I don’t think it is fair to put all the blame on Abel in this instance.

Nikki’s Track Record

Nikki headed up the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy before taking the job as Executive Director of the partnership for Working Families. As EBASE’s CEO she successfully fought for Oakland’s Minimum Wage campaign, to reduce diesel emissions at the Port of Oakland while working up a plan to provide more of the jobs from the Port for Oaklanders all while she was active in her daughter’s girl scout troop.  download (5)

When she was just starting out, she received the Mario Savio Young Activist Award for her work organizing garment workers and in 2012, the San Francisco Chronicle recognized her as a social justice Changemaker. More recently she was honored by Oakland Rising, a local umbrella organization that pulls together many non-profits to fight for our working families. She has the track record to stand up to powerful interests and to lead in changing times.

As Jessamyn Sabbag of Oakland Rising and a former Guillen supporter says, “Nikki has a proven track record – in fact, she’s accomplished more as a civilian in the last four years than Guillen has as an elected official.  We hope you’ll seriously consider supporting Nikki Fortunato Bas for D2 city council.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=7K2rxlGjFPk

http://www.nikki4oakland.com/

City Council District 4 Ranking-Nayeli Maxson, Sheng Thao, Pamela Harris

Pamela-Harris-Shang-Thao-Nayelli-Maxon

For those of us concerned about the direction Oakland has taken to force its historic residents out of the city and to usher in all the new wonderful businesses without protecting those who strove without the means to establish them, Annie Campbell Washington was a disappointment.

Ms. Washington seemed to routinely vote for developers’ demands and the police union’s positions but could not support the other unions who get the city’s work done when they asked to be made right after givebacks during the Recession. So when she announced her retirement from politics, we saw this as an opportunity to support a council member who would fight for working families, defying special interests and even sometimes opposing the mayor.

Many interesting candidates have signed up to take on the challenge and three smart powerful women have emerged in the lead. Here’s my ranking: Nayeli Maxson, Sheng Thao, Pamela Harris

Nayeli is known to D4 residents as a former staffer for Annie Campbell Washington. I got to know her when she led the effort to find someone to run against Sheriff Ahern, this guy, https://www.sfchronicle.com/crime/article/Video-reveals-Alameda-County-sheriff-s-office-13170239.php. Unfortunately we were unable to get someone who met the requirements to take a chance on challenging this well-heeled and powerful elected official, but Nayeli proved her progressive bona fides to me then and since. You may have noticed that the mayor and CM Washington are supporting a businessman from Montclair, someone who admits it will take a while for him to get up to speed on the issues confronting the town. I can only glean from that that the mayor does not share the vision of Oakland that Nayeli wants for her young family.

Nayeli has the policy chops to put together legislation that can offer relief to working families and is strongly in favor of affordable housing having suffered through eviction  as a child in SF. And, at the Block by Block Organizing Network, BBBON, she was the only candidate who vowed not to take contributions from the police union. As the current director of the Alliance for Community Development, she knows how to encourage entrepreneurship in our undeserved communities. Jobs are important but the days of the gold watch after decades of employment are over and many of us will at some point, try entrepreneurship. Her organization helps provide the tools and she can show Oakland how to make it work.   https://nayeliforoakland.com/

Sheng Thao runs a very close second for me. As Rebecca Kaplan’s chief-of-staff, she has strengthened the focus of the sometimes mercurial council member’s office and assisted her in passing progressive legislation. Sheng has worked with electeds and constituents from around the city and other government agencies. She has developed budget expertise, no small thing when this administration pleads poverty whenever community members demand services.   https://www.shengforoakland.com/

As a daughter of Vietnam War refugees, a single mom who put herself through college after fleeing an abusive partner, she is one tough cookie. Sheng has the sole endorsement of the Alameda Labor Council and Assembly Member Bonta. So long as these two women are in your top two, you can’t go wrong.

Pamela Harris is a Democratic Party activist who has been a documentary filmmaker, a non-profit director, and earned a Mildred Parish Massey Legacy Award from Congresswoman Barbara Lee. In addition to being a delegate to the local Democratic Party, she was a board member of the Stonewall Democratic Club. Her platform is as progressive as Nayeli”s and Sheng’s but in a recent forum, she also spoke of statewide issues, over which she has more experience. Although she has less knowledge of city issues and the machinations of the city council, she would also be a tough force for progressive change if elected.  https://www.pamharris4oakland.com/

District 6-No Endorsement

First, please read this blog from an observer and regular speaker to the Oakland City Council. Not only does he make a point about CM Guillen’s original inclination to vote against the proposal for the E. 12th parcel, but he does a good job documenting the bias against Ms. Brooks in the press.

https://hyphenatedrepublic.wordpress.com/2018/05/17/the-united-front-against-desley-brooks/

Here’s the thing with our Miss Brooks, as one wag told me, “she’s been a thorn in the side of every mayor.” If you haven’t spent time in East Oakland, you might not know the depth of distrust that folks there have with government. No, it’s not of the my-street-didn’t-get-adequately-cleaned-last-week type. It’s of the we have no grocery stores, we have crime but the police treat us all like criminals and our streets never get cleaned, in fact our streets are full of everyone else’s trash and our kids aren’t safe in the park–kind of distrust. Most folks in East Oakland don’t complain (until the East Oakland Congress of Neighborhoods, the East Oakland Collective, etc, came along) because they don’t believe it will get them what they need since no one in city hall seems to care.

So along comes a council member who says, I’ll get you a new teen center and I won’t care whose toes I step on, I’ll make sure you can use your parks by offering free concerts there every summer, and I’ll fight for your share of the city’s funds, that’s what Desley means to some residents of District 6 and she has delivered.

No, it’s still not paradise but that is not for want of her passion and hard work. And more from CM BRooks-I’ll fight to fund jobs programs with the public funds from projects in which the jobless were left out. This fight, which did not get the necessary votes to go forward, was billed by the media as some sort of misuse of funds. Really, using public funding of city projects to prepare city workers to get some of the jobs provided by those funds, is misuse? Depends on the level of unemployment in your neighborhood, I guess.

But to others, she’s the Council Member who snaps at them if they disagree with her or can’t get their call returned (BTW, some of our “best” CMs have difficulty returning those calls) or she’s the council member whose attitude and actions embarrass them.

But please do not talk to me about her corruption since you haven’t proved your case. I have never seen Desley do something for her own enrichment rather for the benefit of her community. I know she lost a lawsuit and I may be wrong but I believe it was an ugly argument that got out of hand. I will never see the smart and tough Elaine Brown as a frail elder and probably neither does she, which might have been part of the problem.

Ms. Brooks does not always take the progressive position (which rankles even more when she condescends to others) but when she does she wields a powerful argument, not just in its vehemence but in its logic and knowledge of city processes. CM Brooks, CM Kaplan and CM Gallo often form a united front on tough issues. Maybe some folks want to see that front crumble, because given the array of candidates running against her, I believe it would; and we would be left to the good graces of a mayor who doesn’t know much about East Oakland.

I think Loren Taylor is a fine man from a good family, rooted in Oakland. His office would be welcoming to all. Natasha Middleton is a policy wonk with some interesting ideas who has put in the work, and Marlo Rodriguez also seems to be a good person, willing to learn. (Loren is heavily supported by the mayor and Natasha seems to have garnered some level of endorsement also as she once worked for her.) But, sorry, folks, it won’t do to replace the tough and often obnoxious Ms. Brooks with any of them. An acquiescent council under any mayor is not a pretty sight.

So why don’t I just endorse her? I’d like to, but I can’t condone the way she treats others or her forays into demagoguery. But those who endorse her purely for her policy positions or because East Oakland needs a strong defender, have to admit that her need to go for the jugular when she’s crossed just the slightest bit, is a painful thing to watch and often renders her ineffective. It’s a shame too, because she’s smart as a whip, brave as a charging bull, and in possession of the institutional memory we need at a time when we seem to be losing our way. So the good voters of Central East Oakland will have to sort it out but I hope they will evaluate the choices thoroughly before they decide.

School Board

I have been less involved with the politics of OUSD than I once was, I think I just found it too sad. But I do endorse Shanthi Gonzales who I believe has the chops and the trust of her community to propose a plan to help us get out of the latest budget disaster that once again threatens our schools.

Aimee Eng is running unopposed in D2 and was a disappointment initially but she seems to have stepped up so here’s to more of that.

Clarissa Doutherd

The incumbent Nina Senn is not running for reelection. Gary Yee, former board member and former superintendent, was on the board during the state takeover and did not prove to be a dynamic force for local control. He is seen as the charter school supporter in this race but that may not be completely fair However, I could not recommend him as a returning board member at this critical time.

But Clarissa Doutherd for District 4 is a revelation. The first time I heard her was at the BBBON endorsement meeting and she got a huge round of applause after she finished speaking  http://www.oaklandpost.org/2018/06/15/parent-leader-clarissa-doutherd-campaigns-school-board-district-4/  . I hope that after she’s done cleaning up OUSD, she runs for higher office. As Executive Director of Parent Voices Oakland, she’s got the smarts, the compassion and the vision to bring everyone together to fight for our kids.  I’m glad to end this blog of tough choices with a hearty endorsement and a video or two.

 

 

 

The Oakland We Knew and the Mayor’s Race

 

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Libby Schaaf’s Record

It’s hard to know how seriously Oakland folks will take this contest at a time when we are glued to twitter trying to understand the circus in Washington, but local politics are also a reflection of broader issues coming home to roost.

Libby Schaaf was a local apparatchik for a number of party politicians before she was elected to a single term on the council. She then ran what a pundit described as a “stealth campaign” for mayor. While everyone was busy blaming Jean Quan for all our ills and taking pot shots at Rebecca Kaplan, Libby Schaaf was tooling around town making goo goo eyes at reporters about her Oaklandish cred. [That was some ish alright.] After she released her secret weapon, an endorsement by Governor Jerry Brown, she turned out to be the top vote getter in that Ranked Choice Voting surprise.

Now almost 4 years later, we areexperiencing a human disaster like none we’ve seen in our 152 history. Thousands of Oaklanders are living in squalor on the streets and whole neighborhoods have been destabilized by gentrification. Of course, Ms. Schaaf cannot be blamed for the sudden rise in homelessness but the level of indifference she’s shown to these conditions, has been, until very recently, stunning.  920x1240

https://draketalkoakland.com/2017/07/10/oakland-city-council-must-heed-the-homeless-advocacy-working-group/

To add incompetence to neglect this administration managed to misplace $2.2 million  desperately needed  anti-displacement funds granted by the state. Eventually, they found them but still had trouble distributing them in a timely manner. Meanwhile tent cities continued to proliferate.  http://www.oaklandpost.org/2018/05/31/oakland-allocated-2-2-million-prevent-evictions-mayors-staff-failed-spend-money/  https://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2018/05/22/oakland-failed-to-spend-22-million-on-anti-displacement-and-homeless-assistance

Yes, she’s raised private funds for tough sheds, probably an improvement on tents, and that’s nice. But when activists of the Homeless Advocacy Working Group, HAWG, offered a list of solutions, I wouldn’t say they were shown the door but just left to sit in the waiting room.  Meanwhile, the mayor created another highly paid position in her office to deal with the problems hiring Darin Ranelletti, Policy Director for Housing Security, phew, I feel better already.

https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2018/03/15/oakland-creates-new-policy-director-position-to-deal-with-housing-crisis/

She spent her first day as mayor hanging out with police officers, because she felt their morale needed boosting and then was blindsided when it came out that they had been engaging in a sex trafficking operation. When it was also discovered that the department had been involved in cover-up after shameless cover-up, her administration did issue a loud slap on the wrist. Her next response to this crisis in confidence was to attempt to limit the independence of the proposed charter amendment that set up a Police Commission.

It turns out that her negotiation style is classic my-way-or-the-highway. When she demanded the power to appoint almost half of the commissioners, no compromise was brooked . I have to add that neither she nor her city administrator nor the city attorney have stopped trying to put obstacles in the path of a truly independent police commission even after the voters overwhelmingly supported it.

There have been a number of disasters and scandals during this administration’s first three years but little has stuck to Schaaf given the mostly positive press she garners locally and nationally–the Ghostship Fire, the cover-up of the new police chief’s images (7)complicity in an ICE raid in West Oakland, at least 4 police shootings in one summer, not to mention the accelerated exodus of native Oaklanders, especially Black Oaklanders from the Town. Additionally, this mayor has managed to look like a hero against the Jeff Sessions anti-immigrant onslaught while doing nothing to ensure our city’s sanctuary policy is upheld. She even told a group of immigrants fighting to maintain their Temporary Protected Status in the US who have started a nationwide bus tour to call attention to their plight that she was too busy to meet with them.  https://consortiumnews.com/2018/08/15/journey-for-justice-caravan-launches-cross-country-trek/

My Ranked Recommendations- 1) Cat Brooks, 2) Pamela Price, 3) Saied Karamooz.

Many people know Cat Brooks as a firebrand speaking at the city council and leading a march to the police department but she has a warm side that shows itself to friends and family and that includes all of the marginalized folks who are being ignored or actively pushed out of Oakland. She is an artist/performer besides being an activist on almost every issue and she has amassed a volunteer army who share her inclusive vision of Oakland. Her campaign is a positive force in Oakland politics. crowd+shothttps://www.catbrooksforoakland.com/  “That’s what this campaign is about. It’s about putting the people into the halls of power and collectively creating a new way of governance that is people driven and people-centered.”

Pamela Price, as many of you know, ran a tough campaign for district attorney. She did well in Oakland, although this race is a completely different one. I championed her  against Nancy O’Malley and think it’s a good thing that she has jumped into this race too. “We must fight injustice and income inequality in Oakland. We must house the homeless and ensure that we protect and enhance the safety and quality of life in our  Pamela_attorney-e1485730265186neighborhoods. We must reach deep inside ourselves and unite behind bold solutions while moving everyone in this City forward. We must “lift as we climb.”

https://www.pamelaprice4mayor.com/meetpamela

Saied Karamooz is a businessman who became active in Oakland politics a few years ago. At the time he seemed to me to be someone who took potshots at what others were doing but I see him differently now. He helped us get the Police Commission, Measure LL, on the ballot, helped pass it and has worked doggedly with the Coalition for Police Accountability [which cannot endorse in any campaign] to fight to maintain its independence. He is a member of  the otherwise ineffective Green Party but has worked with the Oakland Justice Coalition as well as other local advocates.  “I have been active in various progressive causes, such as Police Accountability, Fight for 15, Stop Urban Shield, Renter Protection, Public Bank, and No Coal in Oakland.” Saied-Headshot-e1517086595811

https://everyonesmayor.org/bio/

 

RCV–the Anti-gentrification Tool:

If the campaigns above work together in the Ranked Choice Voting system, there’s a chance we can beat the incumbent (that means ranking everyone but the incumbent in almost any order.) Why is that so important? No, I don’t think that Libby Schaaf is a terrible mayor. No, the potholes are not her fault or even the fault of her predecessor–but if you’re concerned about them–please don’t vote to repeal the gas tax since it’s our best chance to fund road repair and replacement.

Oakland is teetering on a precipice. It may even be too late to pull it back and while I don’t think Ms. Schaaf has done it on purpose, we could easily go the way of San Francisco. That city where I once lived, is no longer home to artists, working families or indeed families in general. In fact SF is a city with the fewest children of any metropolitan area in the US. It’s Black population which once mirrored that of the country and was significant in its cultural life-is now half of that and rapidly shrinking. San Francisco’s rep as a cauldron for activism, creativity and movements for progressive change exists only in nostalgia for the old city that once welcomed everyone in.

We all see where Oakland is going and we’re happy about new businesses opening up, an uptick in nightlife we haven’t seen since WWII, with cranes towering over the downtown and uptown. But it shouldn’t be necessary to harass and evict the people who have lived, worked and raised their families in this city and did so without grocery stores, restaurants or the availability of the capital to fund them.

Admittedly it’s a difficult task to find ways to provide it in a time of deregulation and soaring greed when the federal government long ago ceased funding any significant levels of housing affordable to the middle class much less the poor. It takes an administration that allocates available tax dollars wisely, monitors the funds carefully and actively seeks out creative urban planning ideas.

Contrast this with a city government in which neighborhood groups like the Chinatown Coalition must raise thousands of dollars to appeal planning decisions that give developers valuable height, density, and parking variances in exchange for next to no community benefits. The Chinatown Coalition fought for affordable housing within these giant projects in addition to space for small local businesses and indigenous art communities. But the Planning Department under this administration has still not recognized or utilized community benefits mandates in their process.

https://draketalkoakland.com/2016/12/14/help-wanted-an-oakland-planning-director-for-equitable-development/

With the leadership of this mayor and the current council members in Districts 2, 4, and 3, developers are actively discouraged from listening to community needs, the planning department ignores community demands and the budget is earmarked to fund everything but housing, services for the homeless, clean-up crews, recreation centers, and libraries especially in our economically struggling districts. They have been left to fend for themselves while public land is sold away to charter school corporations and elite programs.   http://www.oaklandpost.org/2018/07/13/council-delays-decision-selling-public-land-build-charter-school/

Oakland scored 33.5% on a study called the Equity Indicator Report. For all this mayor’s focus on police, Oakland’s poorer communities rate the lowest in the city for public safety according to this report.  https://www.kqed.org/news/11680162/new-report-shows-oakland-scores-low-for-racial-equity

The question now is what is your vision of Oakland? Is it the watered down Jerry Brown version where tech bros rule downtown, the uptown all the way to Temescal-whatever that means-“Construction cranes dot the downtown skyline, and scaffolding-shrouded towers march down Broadway into Temescal”-not to mention the Lake, Fruitvale and beyond?  [https://extras.mercurynews.com/oaklandboom/ ]

Should Fruitvale and West Oakland be rebuilt as bedroom communities for one demographic, whose folks will definitely buy artisanal coffee and drink green smoothies a la Blindspotting, but where will the rest of us go who struggled through the days images (1)where the easternmost coffee shop was the Coffee Mill on Grand Avenue, crime was high and storefront churches kept kids fed in the summertime. Should we have to leave because the goodies of the “sharing culture” don’t accrue to us? Should our kids have to move to Sacramento, Oregon, or, I dunno, Ohio because we just don’t fit the new vision? This is our chance, maybe our last one, to select a more inclusive mayor, one who knows and even cares where Willie Wilkins Park in East Oakland is and how it serves our families. We can do this.   http://oaklandschaafted.com/#how%20long

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AB 931, the Wellstone Club Recommends New Use of Force Policy

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Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Assembly Bill 931, which may be going to the full assembly soon, is a progressive bill that will raise the legal standard under which police may use lethal force. At the current time all an officer needs to say after a killing is that it was reasonable in his/her eyes. The new standard requires that lethal force be deemed necessary in the context of the situation and that deescalation protocols or non-lethal methods must be considered first.

The state of California in its intermittent push toward criminal justice reform-1 and half steps forward followed by 1 back–such as moves to end money bail, to monitor police brutality after being the least transparent state in the country, and to restore some programs for the formerly incarcerated, is now working toward a fundamental reform on the use of deadly force when police officers encounter suspects, otherwise known as the public, in AB 931. It is sponsored by Assemblymembers Shirley Weber and Kevin McCarty of San Diego and Sacramento respectively.

The Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, a progressive Democratic Club with members in the cities of Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda and parts of Contra Costa County, has long advocated for police reform and against the mass incarceration state. As such, we sent this letter to our Assemblymembers Rob Bonta and Tony Thurmond. We urge our readers to contact their Assemblymembers and demand they vote for this important reform.

Here is a copy of the letter that was sent to both Assembly Members:

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August 8, 2018

To: Assembly Member Rob Bonta

 

Dear Assembly Member Bonta,

The Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club strongly supports AB 931 which should come before you shortly. Our club has been on the forefront of advocating for police reform as we did with Oakland’s Measure LL which authorized an independent police commission in Oakland, a city that has paid out millions in settlements over police brutality and wrongful deaths.

But the issue of wrongful death at the hands of local police forces is not just an Oakland problem. According to an ACLU report, “California departments have some of the highest rates of killings in the nation.” https://www.aclusocal.org/en/news/california-can-reduce-number-police-shootings-heres-how

Additionally, the report states that, “AB 931 authored by Assembly Member Shirley Weber, would enshrine that rule in state law and help ensure that police use deadly force only as a last resort……These requirements are becoming more and more common across the country. A number of individual police departments have already implemented variations of AB 931’s provisions, including the FBI, and some have adopted all of them. The San Francisco Police Commission recently approved a use of force policy with a necessity standard. The policy requires that officers use de-escalation techniques and alternatives to deadly force.”

Seattle and Chicago have adopted similar use of force policies but this bill would make California the first state in the country to pass a law that covers all its law enforcement agencies.

As you have led the nation on so many important social justice issues, please consider putting the full force of your office behind enshrining this best practice into law.

Sincerely,

Pamela A Drake

State & Local Politics Coordinator for the Wellstone Club

 

Bay Area Moms Launch Hunger Strike for Family Reunification–Update–Hunger Strike Spreads to Other Cities

Photo by Jerry Lara, San Antonio Express-News

Photo by Jerry Lara, San Antonio Express-News

MEDIA ADVISORY

The National Rolling Hunger Strike Spreads to Other Cities

August 1, 2018

The hunger strike at the Oakland Federal Building (1301 Clay St.), begun on Monday, July 30th, will close beginning at 5 pm Wednesday, August 1st with a Break the Fast dinner. The following day, a three-day fast will begin in Sacramento.

Organizers plan to continue rolling hunger strikes across the country until their demands are met, with fasts already planned in eight cities as more than 700 children remain separated, and hundreds of parents appear to have been deported without their children. 

For more information: https://www.solidarityhungerstrike.com/
Upcoming hunger strike dates and cities:
August 2-4: Sacramento, CA
August 5-7: Santa Cruz, CA
August 8-10: Portland, OR
August 11-13: Staten Island, NY
August 16-18: Chicago, IL
August 19-21: New York, NY
August 22-24: Ashland, OR
August 27-29: Seattle, WA

Bay Area Moms Launch Hunger Strike for Family Reunification

 As Trump Administration Fails to Meet Deadline, Oakland Kicks Off National Wave of Fasts Demanding Justice for Migrant Families

July 27, 2018

Oakland — As the government failed to meet a court-ordered deadline to reunite immigrant families Thursday, Bay Area parents and grandparents announced a three-day hunger strike—the first in a series of fasts across the country calling for separated parents and children to be released together.

“As a mom, I’m supporting the hunger strike because children deserve to be protected no matter where they are born,” said Xochitl Oseguera of Moms Rising.

The hunger strike will take place outside Oakland’s Federal Building, beginning the morning of Monday, July 30th, and closing on the evening of Wednesday, August 1st. Public mobilizations will take place each day of the strike at 8 am, 12 noon, and 6 pm.

The following day, a three-day fast will begin in Sacramento. Organizers plan to continue rolling hunger strikes across the country until their demands are met, with fasts already planned in Santa Cruz, Portland, and Charlottesville, VA.

Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw gave the Trump Administration a July 26th deadline to reunite all separated families. But only 1,012 of more than three thousand had been reunited by Tuesday, and hundreds of parents appear to have been deported without their children.

Parents and grandparents in the Bay Area and across the country launched the hunger strikes in order to keep pressure on the government to reunite the remaining families—inspired by mothers inside Port Isabel Detention Center in Texas, who went on a rolling hunger strike after being denied the right to speak to their children.

Strikers released the following statement of demands:

We demand that every migrant family separated by this administration be reunited and released from incarceration. We demand that the families receive support and justice for the trauma inflicted by our government.

We are parents, we are elders, we are clergy members, we are volunteers, we are teachers. We are ordinary people who have decided that enough is enough. We will not silently watch government-sanctioned kidnapping and the torture of migrant families. We will not sit back and watch families torn apart, babies and toddlers deemed ‘ineligible’ for reunification, children returned to their parents so traumatized they can’t speak, parents denied food, water, and medical care, children and women subjected to abuse and mockery. We stand against the criminalization and dehumanization of immigrant families.

We will continue our hunger strike and other solidarity actions until our demand is met.”

Participants also linked their fast to the broader surge of violence and racism facing immigrants, communities of color, and children under the Trump Administration. “My fast is my public demonstration of my brokenheartedness,” said Rabi’a Keeble. “We have the Muslim ban, we have young black women being murdered on public transit, we have a government that is out of control, and trying to turn back the clock on progress sixty years. My fast is dedicated to change, to hope, and to futures that are better than what we have now.”

Contacts:

Carolyn Norr, Families Belong Together: carolynclara@gmail.com, 510-220-5707Rabia Keeble: keeblerabia@gmail.com, 510-672-8095

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So Much for the Rule of Law

'Something about this court makes me uneasy.'

I’m worrying about the powerful abusing the weak and the need to expand rights and opportunities. Them’s my rules.

The Trump regime’s goal of returning us to the days before even the Progressive Era, 1890 to 1918 or 1920, when women finally got the vote, has now given us a truly horrendous Supreme Court pick. [By the way, I’m not one of the sad sack progressives who believes this guy will automatically make it onto the court although I am very close to a state of sad sackism…]  In case you’re not familiar, watch this video for a history of the Progressive era, the good and bad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0Q4zPR4G7M

Let’s circle back to the hue and cry of late from Democrats and some progressives among them that the Republicans are not obeying the “rule of law” by which I think they mostly mean, the norms of civic life more than actual laws. Okay, there are also things like the “emoluments clause” which none of us had likely heard of til now and few yet know what exactly it entails. It seems it was written for folks like Benjamin Franklin who, “for instance, had accepted a snuffbox festooned with 408 diamonds from the King of France.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/what-is-the-emoluments-clause-does-it-apply-to-president-trump/2017/01/23/12aa7808-e185-11e6-a547-5fb9411d332c_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ca92c7adcdf6

Here’s a tweet which typically references “the rule of law” without stipulating what that means, “In the end of this debacle, there will either be a Republican Party that has joined with Putin to reform our gov.into an authoritarian state, or there will be the rule of law. There can’t be both. The Republicans have committed treason and need to be prosecuted for the crime.”

If it’s referencing colluding with a foreign state, then the law would seem to work as many already have been indicted and given prison terms but if it references the president, it’s vague. Because, by law, the Republican run congress can set aside the findings of the investigation and it’s a toss-up as to whether a sitting president may be indicted. In fact, it’s a political question, not a legal one.

But, if you’re asking whether a politician is above the law, yeah, that’s another issue and we all know the answer to that. Our system was set up to favor a certain group, a group I don’t have to describe. There have been years, even a decade here and there where laws were made to equalize the playing field, although equalize is not really fair if you were placed at a different starting block than others.

So now the Supreme Court and to a greater extent, the lower courts, which we had come to rely on, will be stacked against, hmmm, take a long lunch break while I type these-(Warning-I’m dropping the useless apostrophe here) workers rights, consumers rights, womens rights, Black folks rights, Brown folks rights, disabled folks rights, LGBTQ folks rights, immigrants rights, childrens rights, people who need healthcare rights, people who need to breathe clean air rights, endangered species rights (we should be added to that list). Hey, even most straight white males who own property actually need to preserve some of those rights.

Well, we kept saying, the system worked. The courts have stopped him/them. Yeah, good luck with that now. They will just ignore any judge who disagrees with them after ignoring any existing laws, statutes or NORMS until they get to SCOTUS where their perfidy will be upheld.

Why is any of this a surprise? For most of our history the courts have protected the Wealthy, the White and the American Aristocracy, whether it’s landed dudes who own their workers or tech dudes who, almost own their workers, and so-called Christian dudes who don’t wanna bake cakes in case they call for lavender icing.

We learned to love the Warren Court and hold it as our image of the goodness of lifetime appointments and the belief that if the same guy who proposed the internment/imprisonment of Americans of Japanese descent could turn out to oppose segregation and uphold the 4th Amendment, could evolve so could they all.

Well, good luck with that. But if it’s cause you now wanna defend the FBI, I got some movies that show even Hollywood can set the lie to that. Now I don’t mean to say that the folks who run that Republican organization are all like J Edgar, no, they are more polished than that. And should we defend them, those agents, against the GOP’s obvious partisan and personal attacks, yes, of course. We can read and chew at the same time, right?

BUT, let’s stop getting our panties or our boxers-tired of the feminine reference being used to show weakness and Warning don’t read this if you are offended by gross language-everybody knows a pussy is way more resilient and powerful than a dick-whenever a norm is broken or a law misused. It’s the American way.

I’ve gone to jail twice because I ignored the rule of law, minor laws, laws imposed for expediency sake, for sure. But I’ll do it again and I’d even prefer doing it for “greater” laws as we shall soon see the return of laws against free speech like we did under Woodrow Wilson, yeah, that guy. Check out the Sedition Act of 1918, https://www.thirteen.org/wnet/supremecourt/capitalism/sources_document1.html

Or the ones that go back to John Adams, sigh.

Relying on such a concept of the Rule of Law is a recipe for acquiescing to more racially punishing laws, more denigration of individual and group liberties and the complete collapse of our environment.

No, we need to coalesce around a group of principles against which we will give not an inch. It starts with preventing any of Trump’s SCOTUS picks from getting a fair hearing, Yep, I said fair. All those judges were picked by folks who oppose equal rights for the rest of us so the list is biased against us and we must act accordingly.

Anyway, please discuss, especially the legal minds, tear into this if you will but please define the rule of law before you do, cause really, I don’t know what you folks are worrying about. I’m worrying about the powerful abusing the weak and the need to expand rights and opportunities. Them’s my rules.

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Solo Travel, Part 1: the Airlines & Lisbon

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Traveling and vacationing are two different things. At least it seems vacationing should be relaxing and as stress free as possible. Of course that’s rarely true as getting yourself and your necessary belongings to an, often, unfamiliar place in order to sleep in an unfamiliar bed and eat unfamiliar food is not always as fun as you thought it might be. Surprise.

That’s why many people regularly vacation at the same spot where everything is familiar. But, travel is designed to bring you into new experiences. I imagine that’s why many people go on group tours or even cruises where the unfamiliar is reduced by proportional percentages. On a cruise, you get your own room which moves with you and meal choices based on what you already stipulated was familiar to you.

So here is an account of my latest Travel “Adventure.”

When I pulled my bag from the carousel in the Lisbon airport, I noticed it was soaking wet, my first observation of sunny Portugal was that it was not. On my brief guided tour segment of this trip, the guide kept repeating that this was unusual weather. I had looked it up and found that the mid 70’s was the norm for most of Portugal for the first half of June, but it was decidedly chilly and damp. [welcome to climate change=unpredictability]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VJY97l0jVA 

Dire warnings of overly hot weather never came true. By the time I actually caught up to summer weather, which, admittedly only arrived days before me, I was in the Algarve, the little tourist city of Tavira, to be exact and it had become deliciously warm, even a ittle hot.

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Tavira in the Algarve

Airlines & the Inquisition

But let’s go back a bit because I always marvel at airlines’ ability to make air travel as uncomfortable as possible. First, they warn you to arrive a day or two before your plane is due to taxi the runway endlessly. A slight exaggeration but is there a reason that all planes have to attempt to take to the air at the same time and then airline personnel expect you to arrive hours preflight so that airports can make you wait in labyrinthine lines which snake slowly on the linoleum while denying you even a cup of water?

IMG_2018-06-09_21-11-11And then because the flights are scheduled on top of each other (a scary visual to be sure,) you gotta sit on the tarmac and wait out the actual take off in a line with the other air tubes, then taxi around, then rev up, then taxi some more. Ah…by the time of actual takeoff, you are already in a paroxysm of muscle spasms due to the Inquisition-style seats and the fact that you have only a centimeter between you and your seat mates meaty arm.

The seats were designed to cause maximum pain and then reduced by 30%, all the while we have expanded by 40%.  Your lower back is sunk into your tailbone while your head is forced to jut forward and down. You then have to force it back up at much cost to your spinal health in order to view the little TV on which reside memories of earth as you knew it or knew it if you lived in Glendale in the early 60’s or the Village in the late 60’s in an enormous loft. But I digress.

I carry multiple pillows, some plush and some designed for inflation at the point when my oxygen supply has been reduced to barely breathing. I scour the internet looking for travel pillows and other accessories most of which I send back almost as soon as they arrive, some make it onto the plane with me but rarely make it off. If I were allowed scissors on the air tubes, I would have angrily slashed them to pieces before abandoning them in the seatback. But by some miracle the airline folks always seem to discover them in time to remind me of my loss. Let me not mention all the things that have actually been unwittingly left behind. I’ve already forgotten them.

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multiple pillows can fit in or around my backpack

Anyway, lines, surprise staircases, powdered creamer, multiple seized water bottles (yes in one airport after you have purchased yet another water bottle, they take it at the next gate,) kindles that inexplicably refuse to work and, why oh why don’t airline seats come with foot rests? It became far easier to focus on the brief interlude I had between planes always reduced by extravagant taxiing, I found myself racing then riding to my next air tube so that I could wait for my group which is always Group 3 or 4. Ok, one other airline query (yeah, like they’re going to read this,) why is my gate always the last or next to last one? Don’t they use the others?

Enough about flying or too much already, eh, like childbirth, it’s best forgotten or, you know, the species dies out. Arrival-I run around the airport looking for the Rick Steves designated departure area so I can get the good cabbies, ha, never found that so just got in line and it was fine. The way that driver scooted around traffic woke my bleary eyes right up and gave me someone new to respect…or fear. 20180606_212447 (1)

I arrive at my little hotel and it even had an elevator, after you climbed one short staircase, which is why I use only a carry-on which I check and a backpack which I store under my aching feet. No matter how many weeks I’m away, I still come back with at least one shirt I didn’t wear and I always chuck something I didn’t have the heart to at home on my laundry chair (don’t pretend you don’t know what that is.)

My hotelier offers me breakfast even though I’m officially not yet his guest and a map full of suggestions I’m almost too exhausted to contemplate. I inevitably go off in the wrong direction or take the wrong tram but since I didn’t get pickpocketed and eventually found my way home, I considered it all a rousing success. 20180607_200537 (1)

The next day I stumbled around in the rain, not realizing you have to open the train door yourself, doesn’t open automatically, and I began to wonder what the heck I was up to and why the heck I was traveling alone.

But by the next day, I had become the tour guide to some friends from the Bay Area whom I never see there but who had just arrived in Lisbon the day after me-thanks to a facebook tag. By then I was considered an old hand and we wandered the Alfama (medieval Moorish district) and had a wonderful lunch together after which we both had to join our respective tour companies and go our separate ways. 20180608_112121 (1)

That’s enough about this little trip for one post but I just want to state for those who think San Francisco is hilly, you haven’t seen Lisbon much less Porto or Coimbra (look them up.)

More soon…I think. Meanwhile remember, travel, like life, is not for sissies but if you have cab fare and a paid bedded room somewhere, you are waaay ahead of the majority of the world today which is moving relentlessly and in ever larger groups around the globe in search of any semblance of home. Please donate accordingly.

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Guest Column: James Vann on City Funding for Landlord Evictions

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This guest blog by noted Tenants’ Rights activist, James Vann, is in reference to a proposed program loosely defined in Council Member Lynette McElhaney’s press release, the body of which is posted below the column. I have edited his piece for brevity and clarity.

Here’s some background on the origin of this funding [estimated at $300k] which will provide loans to landlords who evict long-term tenants. These are tenants who now have the right to relocation fees due to the hardship of displacement. I’ll leave it up to the reader as to what extent this funding redefines spin, irony and general what-the-heckism?!

http://www.oaklandpost.org/2018/05/31/oakland-allocated-2-2-million-prevent-evictions-mayors-staff-failed-spend-money/

City Council Member McElhaney Advances a Landlord-Written Tenant-Eviction Plan Funded by State Anti-displacement Grants

At the end of a 4-1/2 hour Community and Economic Development Committee meeting Tuesday afternoon, Council Member McElhaney rushed a plan to provide “no-interest” city loans (and/or grants) to small property owners by an exhausted 3-person committee.  The objectionable plan would enable and assist owners of duplexes and triplexes to evict longtime tenants from their homes of up to 20 or 30 years.  The hastily developed proposal — for which McElhaney somehow recruited Council Member Rebecca Kaplan as a co-sponsor — was framed by landlord advisers to McElhaney –with no opportunity for tenant advocates to review or comment on the proposal prior to its introduction at the Community and Economic Development Committee at its Tuesday meeting.
Oakland has a “Just Cause” ordinance that prohibits the eviction of tenants without cause except in the case of owner move-ins to include family members who displace existing tenants in duplexes and tri-plexes up to five units. In response to that loophole, the City also recently adopted an ordinance that requires these owners to pay significant relocation fees to tenants who may be evicted, due to no fault of their own. These evictions also result in removing these units from the Just Cause prohibition against no-fault eviction.  While the right of such owners and certain relatives to occupy their property is acknowledged, tenants, who have done nothing wrong but are inconvenienced and evicted by their owners and must search for a replacement home, must still be compensated by the occupying owners.
What CM McElhaney has proposed is actually “an incentive” for small property owners to get long-standing tenants out of their homes, and, in the process, have the city pay for the eviction.  Meanwhile, there is no monitoring by the city, so many of these evicting owners will only pretend to occupy, but may never actually live in the unit.  The owner is then able to re-rent the unit at exorbitant prices — a deception that the city will likely never discover.  Many of these no-interest “so-called loans” will actually become grants of public money because the owners will plead low-income, refuse to pay, resell their property, or even put their homes into reverse mortgages.  These evicting owners will not be required to make a down payment nor matching payments, they simply apply to the city and the full cost of the tenants’ eviction and relocation cost is paid for them — making the city the “Evictor-In-Chief.”
This flawed, ill-thought-out ordinance was advanced to City Council by the unanimous vote of Councilmembers Noel Gallo and Anne Campbell-Washington who joined with Lynette McElhaney.  As so often happens in committees and even at city council, despite the fact that obvious weaknesses in the proposed legislation were pointed out in detail,  not one of the council members bothered to even ask any questions.
James E Vann, Co-Founder
Oakland Tenants Union 
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Press Release: “Committee Strengthens Anti-Displacement Efforts”

“McElhaney and Kaplan Advance Amendment to Help Low-Income Owners Support Tenant Relocation

On Tuesday, June 26, 2018, Oakland’s Community and Economic Development Committee unanimously  approved the establishment of a city loan program to help distressed low-income homeowners advance required tenant relocation funds. Under the amendment advanced by Councilmembers Lynette Gibson McElhaney and Rebecca Kaplan, the City will make available no interest loans to fund required tenant relocation payments for cash-strapped  homeowners seeking to return to their homes. To qualify, owners must meet a strict set of criteria including:

  • Own 5 or fewer units
  • Be low-income or have less than 6 months of financial reserves
  • Be denied a cash-out refinance loan on their property, and
  • Certify that the relative moving in is also low or moderate income and does not own any other real estate

“This is common sense anti-displacement legislation that helps preserve the social and economic diversity of home ownership in our City, especially of African American and other low income legacy owners,” said Councilmember McElhaney. “This is about addressing all sides of the displacement issue and not creating pressure on legacy owners to sell the homes they want to return to.”

This past January, the City Council amended the Uniform Residential Tenant Ordinance requiring that tenants who are evicted for an owner or relative move in receive relocation  payments. Payments range from $6,500 for a studio or one-bedroom unit to $9,875 for a three or more bedrooms. These payments may pose a hardship for low income and low asset owners, especially those who need to recover possession of their homes to support themselves or relatives.

The Ordinance will be heard by the full City Council at its next meeting on July 10. ”

Your Resistance To Do List for the week of June 25th

Families_2

Just added a couple more activities this week due to the horrors coming at us, I’m sure there will be more. Please sign up to twitter.com and keep track. You’ll find me @bethpikegirl

New-Today, Wednesday, June 27th, Bay Resistance is asking you to rally 4 pm at Unon Square or 5 pm at 767 Market St, SF over the Janus SCOTUS decision, bit.ly/januswhy

Since I was out of the country for a bit, the pace of resistance has necessarily picked up in reaction to the pace of government cruelty and incompetence. Not to worry-just kidding, worrying is absolutely required- just pick as many of these actions as you can handle and then add one…or two. Here goes:

Tomorrow, June 25th, Martinez

Organize against the possible use of the old Concord Naval Base for Detention/Internment Centers:

https://www.facebook.com/events/635555746779348/

Tuesday, June 26th, Oakland City Hall–     2016-03-25 22.08.15 (640x360)

Demand a 180-Day Moratorium of the Sale of Public Land Until the Council Adopts a Public Land Policy, 1 PM, Oakland City Council. More info here-

http://www.oaklandpost.org/2018/06/08/moratorium-public-land-sales-goes-ced-committee-tuesday-june-12/

Also at the City Council Finance Committee- Dan Kalb’s proposing a progressive change to the real estate transfer tax that could raise money for housing services, etc. Let’s get it on the ballot.

https://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/will-oakland-adopt-a-mansion-tax/Content?oid=9612287

And Tuesday at the West County Detention Center in Richmond from 7 am to 7 pm. Protest immigration policy and mass incarceration. More info here-

Flyer-June 26 Outreach Families Belong Together

New-Wednesday, June 27th, Oakland Marriott Picket Line, 4 to 7 pm.

https://onejob.org/take-action/

Thursday, June 28th, Humanist Hall in Oakland, the Wellstone Club presents Conn Hallinan on current economic and political conditions in Europe plus election round-up, Potluck at 6, meeting, 7 to 9 pm.

Wellstoneclub.org

New-Friday, at the Alameda County Board of Supes, Audit the Sheriff, 10 am to noon

All Eyes on the Sheriff Campaign, https://www.facebook.com/events/146300372910102/?active_tab=about

The biggie for this week on Saturday, happening all over including Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda and even Piedmont. Check in here-

https://act.moveon.org/event/families-belong-together/search/?source=dk&link_id=1&can_id=bcd62df92c25e6923fe975c71662e4c5&email_referrer=email_375009&email_subject=statefull-default-attn-were-taking-to-the-streets-will-you-join-us

 

For general info on how to keep families together WITHOUT incarcerating them, use thisunnamed

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vSlGbJ_hCLNs3qF0h4br7rBfvASsAMQlGqMx12xnMiSdR9jyHHu5Hvi_QgR3kD59TYqCaiFAILEyQNA/pub

    

And just for fun, on Wednesday between 5:30 and 7:30 pm, some of us will gather for a margarita and goodies at Mexicali Rose which will be closing this coming Friday, as Oakland, continues to change. Hope to see you at any or all of these places!

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Pamela