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Updated: Opposition Emerges Right Off the Bat to A’s Laney Ballpark Plans

It’s been an open secret for months that the A’s want to build their new stadium on a site next to Laney College, but on Tuesday night, Athletics President Dave Kaval made it official. In a letter to Peralta Community College District Chancellor Jowel Laguerre, Kaval wrote that the Laney site is a “clear priority” for the team.

But at the Peralta district’s board meeting, students, faculty, staff, and other members of the public voiced nearly unanimous opposition to the A’s plan.

“It would be devastating for the low-income communities we serve,” said Kimberly King, a Laney faculty member. “We are hoping to prevent the A’s stadium.”

“I’m a deep, deep — it’s almost problematic what an A’s fan I am,” said Chris Weidenbach, an English teacher at Laney, before he explained why he’s opposed to a ballpark on or near the campus. He said it would massively disrupt the campus’ educational mission while gentrifying the neighborhood. “I can predict massive opposition,” he told the school’s board.

Laney student Jabari Shaw said a ballpark would change the tenor of the neighborhood, bringing party-goers, public intoxication, and numerous other problems to the campus.  Click here to read the full story by Darwin Bondgram.



Rev. Edward Pinkney: Back and in Rare Form

The Rev. Edward Pinkney wasted no time getting back to his first love, organizing for social and economic justice on behalf of the dispossessed. He was paroled in June after serving the minimum 2-1/2 year sentence on trumped-up phony charges of voter fraud. Even though 30 months of his life had been stolen, by mid-July he was leading a demonstration at Michigan’s Berrien County Courthouse.

“We had a tremendous protest this morning!,” he wrote in his regular column in the People’s Tribune. “We talked about the corruption within the courthouse and the growing number of young community members who are in jail. The most important thing is that the lady with the scales of justice no longer exists in Berrien County. We had to do something.

“I also wanted a welcome back home party right in front of the courthouse so they would know I was home,” he wrote. “And we wanted to send a message that the reason we fight is for the people who don’t have the courage to fight for themselves or their children. It’s crucial that we start standing up for what’s right. It doesn’t make a difference what color you are— black, white, brown, red, yellow, green, pink, blue and all others. It doesn’t make a difference. It’s time that we come together and take a stand.”

Pinkney announced he will join a new Poor People’s Campaign being organized in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1967 call for a “radical redistribution of economic and political power.” King was assassinated before he could lead the march on the nation’s capital by poor people from all over the nation, which was carried out by his staff later in 1968.

“Yes, we are going to bring the tired, poor, the huddled masses,” Pinkney said in a statement on his organization’s website. “We are coming to demand our government address itself to the problem of poverty. We read in the Declaration of Independence,’we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,’ but if a man doesn’t have a job or, an income, he has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness. He merely exists.”

Pinkney also issued a statement on the recent White Supremacist violence in Charlottesville: “We must take advantage of this shameful display of White Supremacism at its best in Charlottesville, Virginia. We must start to organize and mobilize the country, city-by-city, county-by-county, state-by-state . . . But if we are going to protest the confederate symbols and flag, we should also protest the American flag, the red, white and blue, because Black people have caught just as much Hell under the red, white and blue as the confederate flag and symbols.”

The long-time activist on behalf of the residents of Benton Harbor, MI, 90 percent of whom are low-income, was convicted of altering dates on voter signature recall petitions despite no direct or circumstantial evidence. The petitions urged the recall of Benton Harbor’s then-Mayor James Hightower because of the mayor’s support of gentrification tactics by the Whirlpool Corporation, headquartered in Benton Harbor. Supporters are convinced he was framed to stop his organizing activity. Writer Jackie Miller says it was because he had been a thorn in the side of the establishment for years, and Michigan’s power elite tried to buy him off to shut him up – and it didn’t work. Click HERE for the real story.The Michigan Supreme Court recently requested oral arguments in his appeal.

Rev. Pinkney writes a column every month in the People’s Tribune. Click HERE  to read more about the work he is doing.


Crafting a Charter for the “Precariat”: How to Build an Economy That Works for Everyone

Development economist Guy Standing, of the University of London, has popularized the term “precariat” to describe a global social class whose most salient characteristic is precariousness. Standing blames neoliberal economic policies, globalization, automation, and outsourcing for the rising number of precariats, who, if not completely locked out of the economy, must increasingly compete for temporary employment at low wages — to the point that they can’t pay off student loans or consumer debt, qualify for mortgages, save for retirement, or make plans for the future. Many are essentially one paycheck away from destitution.

Standing’s solution is a 29-plank platform of policy changes he calls “the Precariat Charter.” Some are as basic as redefining work to include all productive labor, paid or unpaid, while others are as “revolutionary” as unconditional basic income (UBI), which would pay a basic, livable stipend to every man, woman, and child who is a legal resident of a country. Although to capitalist ears this sounds like a recipe for apathy and a reward for laziness, in the places it has been implemented it has, instead, unleashed creativity. Freed from concerns about basic survival, people have used their unconditional basic income to care for children or aging parents, volunteer for favorite causes, pursue creative work or other passions, and start their own businesses. Recipients have also been able to take low-paying temporary jobs offered by employers — knowing that the wages, added to their basic income, will be adequate to make ends meet. Guaranteed income has boosted productivity and happiness, not dampened it.  Click here to learn more.



How Trump Signed a Global Death Warrant for Women


Oakland’s ‘mega-evictor’, the landlord who filed over 3,000 eviction notices

Leketha Williams was out of options. When the Oakland, California, mother was evicted and became homeless in May of 2010, she had just enough money to book a hotel for her and her two sons, then aged seven and 12.

In the following weeks, she worked to get her children to school on time each morning before carrying all of their belongings from one temporary home to the next, often forced to make dinners for the family out of hotel microwaves.

Williams had fallen behind on rent during a difficult financial period and had begged her landlords for mercy, writing in one handwritten letter: “Please let us stay for at least a week because my boys do not have anywhere to go … Do it for the sake of my boys.”

But records show the sheriff ultimately forced her to surrender her apartment.

Click here to read more.


Episcopal Church formally asserts its support of pipeline protestors

At its most recent meeting last week, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church adopted a resolution calling on government leaders at the national, state and local levels to “de-escalate military and police provocation” at the site of the protests, staged by groups naming themselves Water Protectors, against the Dakota Access Pipeline the territory of the Standing Rock Sioux nation.

Click HERE to read more.


Langston Hughes- “Let America be America Again”

With the presidential election just days away, it’s important to know that more than 80 years ago, in 1935, the great African American poet Langston Hughes answered those who were proclaiming “Make America Great Again” in the midst of the Great Depression. His powerful “Let America be America Again” includes these verses:
It never was America to me . . .
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Separate and Unequal Justice

America’s wealth gap has corrupted its justice. That’s the conclusion in investigative reporter Matt Taibbi’s best-selling book, “The Divide, American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap,” Why has America’s prison population more than doubled over the past 20 years, skewing heavily dark skinned and poor, while Wall Street’s epidemic of white-collar crime over the same period goes almost entirely unpunished? Blame the wealth gap. Taibbi says it has produced a hypocritical double standard of justice that harshly prosecutes the poor but lets the wealthy walk away untouched. His book, “The Divide,” is a gripping explanation of why that is. Click HERE  to see Taibbi interviewed by Bill Maher. Read a Washington Post review of his book HERE.



“We Are All Greeks Now”

Greece may be the clearest example yet of where the U.S. working class is headed. Greek workers voted NO on austerity and their will – like the will of U.S. workers – is being completely ignored. The Greek working class is being screwed because it does not have the political power to fight the big European banks and financial institutions that are using their governments to insist repayment of their loans is more important than the welfare of the Greek people. It doesn’t matter that they made predatory and usurious loans which Greece could not repay. It doesn’t matter whether there are food shortages, shortages of oil and gas, shortages of medicine and medical care. It doesn’t matter if unemployment rises until Greek workers scream for mercy. The global money managers make sure they get theirs first.

In the U.S., with the 2008 recession that was engineered by big banks and financial interests still strangling working families, workers face the same enemies the Greek people face. As we saw in the Big Bank Bailouts of 2008, we have laws that protect the ability of corporations to make profits. Huge corporations like Apple and Google are allowed to evade taxes, offshore profits and enrich themselves rather than enriching the society. No such luck for workers, who get only a broken social contract and a tattered safety net. For a stinging look at how “capitalism  . . turns everything, including human beings and the natural world, into commodities to be exploited until exhaustion or collapse,” CLICK HERE to read Chris Hedges on how “We Are All Greeks Now.”


Corporate Dictatorship In Oakland?

Corporate dictatorship may look like business as usual. But at its heart, it’s pressuring government officials to do what benefits business, not what benefits “we the people.”

Take Oakland CA, for example, where the city’s corporate voice, the Chamber of Commerce, has long been wary of public protests by environmentalists, Black Lives Matter demonstrators, labor union members, OurWalmart protestors, advocates for a higher minimum wage and other activists for social justice. Demonstrators have been active in Oakland’s streets and government buildings since long before Oscar Grant was shot in the back and killed by a transit policeman as he lay face down on the Fruitvale station BART platform on New Year’s Day, 2009.

CLICK HERE to see a powerful protest video, “Don’t Let Them Get Away With Murder.”

Earlier this year, after violent individuals took advantage of peaceful protest demonstrations to smash store and car windows along Broadway Auto Row, Oakland’s new mayor, Libby Schaaf, issued an order banning demonstrations after 10 p.m.

There is a federal 9th Circuit Court decision saying when unlawful conduct mixes with First Amendment activity, the proper thing is to punish the unlawful conduct, not prevent the First Amendment activity from occurring. The ACLU sued. Mayor Schaaf has not publicly rescinded her order, but has since allowed a few nighttime demonstrations. As Dr. Martin Luther King said in his last speech, made on April 3, 1968, to striking garbage workers in Memphis TN, “The greatness of America lies in the right to protest for right.”

Before the mayor’s ban on nighttime protests, Oakland closed a City Council chamber balcony after affordable housing activists shut down a Council meeting to protest the planned sale of public land to a luxury housing developer, despite city and state policies favoring affordable housing on public land.

The closed balcony meant the Council was turning away people who wanted to attend its public meetings. A union representing some city workers sued, charging that it violated city and state open meeting laws. It took an order from an Alameda Superior Court Judge for the public to regain access to what by law is a public proceeding.

In Alameda County, where Oakland is located, the district attorney’s office is keeping mum about its plans to acquire a half-million-dollar device capable of locating and tracking your cellphone. The East Bay Express reports that the DA has signed a non-disclosure agreement with the manufacturer, and there is no guarantee that the tracking device works as claimed. CLICK HERE to read the East Bay Express article, “Alameda County DA Seeks Controversial Surveillance Device.”

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