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COMMENTARY: Herschel Walker, Draymond Green — When Star Athletes Act Like Losers

If Hershel Walker wins, we will feel the impact in California. Democrats can rely on Kamala Harris to break a tie on upcoming legislation on key issues like gun control, immigration, voting rights, LGBTQ rights. Oh, and there’s abortion. But there will be no heroics from Harris if Republicans gain the majority and have Herschel Walker in their pocket.

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Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. He does a talk show on www.amok.com
Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. He does a talk show on www.amok.com

By Emil Guillermo

In communities of color, athletes in the U.S. are practically royalty. They don’t call Lebron “King James” for nothing. Star athletes can do no wrong. Until they do.

Just ask O.J.

But when athletes steer clear of any of that, generally they are treated like gods who live above the rim. After all, they are our heroes because they’re winners. They may have started out regular, like the rest of us, but their god-given talents have made them rise above it all.

And that makes it difficult when they start to behave like mere mortals who do some pretty regrettable things.

Just look at Herschel Walker or Draymond Green.

Let’s take Walker first. If you’re a Bay Area guy like me, Georgia’s Walker is not the greatest running back ever. Give me Marcus Allen. Or even Texas’ Earl Campbell. Both of them would rather run over linebackers, not Democrats.

Walker is different. We know that Walker denies giving money to pay for a former partner’s abortion. But now the same female partner claims Walker wanted her to have a second abortion, though she declined and had the child.

Mind you, I’m choosing to skip all the accusations about Walker’s general hypocrisy from his son, Christian. It’s important, but I’ll give Walker the benefit of the doubt considering his grandstanding son.

But the woman who claims Walker has consulted her on abortion isn’t grandstanding. She’s provided proof to the news site, the Daily Beast, and appears credible.

All this shouldn’t even be political talk, but Walker is running as an anti-abortion, pro-life fundamentalist.

The truth is relevant if it makes Walker out to be a liar.

But maybe that’s good for a politician?

Coming to Walker’s defense is no less than Donald Trump, who told the NY Times’ Maggie Haberman about Walker’s abundant qualities.

“He was the best football player in the nation by far,” Trump said of Walker.

When asked about his “complicated personal history,” Trump was quick to dismiss any criticism.

“Ten years ago would be a problem, twenty years ago a bigger problem. I don’t think it’s a problem today,” Trump said.

Haberman asked “why?” Because the world is changing.

In other words, outright liars are rewarded in today’s corrupt Republican politics led by Godfather Trump. Anything goes, as long as you win.

Trump’s blessing has opened the way for millions in political contributions and support from conservatives who shamelessly back the unqualified and truth-compromised Walker.

But this is the kind of Black man Republicans want. Controllable. Who will do what they want. Run over Democrats with political athleticism!

Doesn’t seem to stack up against the incumbent Senator, Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat and the current preacher of MLK’s Ebenezer Baptist church.

If Walker wins, we will feel the impact in California. Democrats can rely on Kamala Harris to break a tie on upcoming legislation on key issues like gun control, immigration, voting rights, LGBTQ rights. Oh, and there’s abortion.

But there will be no heroics from Harris if Republicans gain the majority and have Herschel Walker in their pocket.

He will do anything they say. He’s their star athlete. He can do no wrong.

At Least Draymond Green Doesn’t Want to Be Senator

Draymond Green says he’s going to take some time away from the Golden State Warriors. He’s already taken some of their credibility.

Of course, you’ve seen the video of Green punching his teammate Jordan Poole at a recent Warriors practice. The Warriors are mostly upset that video of the punch found its way to the public.

But at least we got the truth. The punch was a clear battery, and chargeable. The Warriors preferred to keep it in house.

Keep it in house? That sounds like Jeffrey Dahmer.

The video shows undeniable workplace violence. Green, who is 6-ft-6-inches, 230 pounds, is punching the smaller Poole, who is two inches shorter and almost 40 pounds lighter.

Sports commentators downplay the punch, saying these are men playing an aggressive game, and it’s to be expected.

Not when the gym is your workplace. Punch your boss and you’ll get fired. Or sued. Is this the NBA’s message, that physical bullying is OK?

Two weeks ago, the NBA fined Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver $10 million and banned him from the game for one year for “workplace misconduct,” involving anti-Black racism, as well as misogynistic and sexual comments.

Is that worse than punching a teammate in practice?

Green has apologized and said he’s going to take time to “work on himself.”

But it’s going to take a lot more than using that meditation app LeBron James pushes.

For the NBA and the Golden State Warriors, the action that must be taken is clear. They must condemn workplace violence by athletes unequivocally.

Athletes shouldn’t be treated as winners when they act like losers.

Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. He does a talk show on www.amok.com

Activism

Community Celebrates Historic Oakland Billboard Agreements

We, the Oakland Billboard Economic Development Coalition, which includes Oakland’s six leading community health clinics, all ethnic chambers of commerce, and top community-based economic development organizations – celebrate the historic billboard agreements approved last year by the Oakland City Council. We have fought for this opportunity against the billboard monopoly, against Clear Channel, for five years. The agreements approved by Council set the bar for community benefits – nearly $70 Million over their lifetime, more than 23 times the total paid by all previous Clear Channel relocation agreements in Oakland combined.

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The Oakland Billboard Economic Development Coalition.
The Oakland Billboard Economic Development Coalition.

Grand Jury Report Incorrect – Council & Community Benefit

We, the Oakland Billboard Economic Development Coalition, which includes Oakland’s six leading community health clinics, all ethnic chambers of commerce, and top community-based economic development organizations – celebrate the historic billboard agreements approved last year by the Oakland City Council. We have fought for this opportunity against the billboard monopoly, against Clear Channel, for five years. The agreements approved by Council set the bar for community benefits – nearly $70 Million over their lifetime, more than 23 times the total paid by all previous Clear Channel relocation agreements in Oakland combined.

Unfortunately, a recent flawed Grand Jury report got it wrong, so we feel compelled to correct the record:

  1. Regarding the claim that the decision was made hastily, the report itself belies that claim. The process was five years in the making, with two and a half years from the first City Council hearing to the final vote. Along the way, as the report describes, there were multiple Planning Commission hearings, public stakeholder outreach meetings, a Council Committee meeting, and then a vote by the full Council. Not only was this not hasty, it had far more scrutiny than any of the previous relocation agreements approved by the City with Clear Channel, all of which provide 1/23 of the benefits of the Becker/OFI agreements approved by the Council.
  2. More importantly, the agreements will actually bring millions to the City and community, nearly $70M to be exact, 23 times the previous Clear Channel relocation agreements combined. They certainly will not cost the city money, especially since nothing would have been on the table at all if our Coalition had not been fighting for it. Right before the decisive City Council Committee hearing, in the final weeks before the full Council vote, there was a hastily submitted last-minute “proposal” by Clear Channel that was debunked as based on non-legal and non-economically viable sites, and relying entirely on the endorsement of a consultant that boasts Clear Channel as their biggest client and whose decisions map to Clear Channel’s monopolistic interests all over the country. Some City staff believed these unrealistic numbers based on false premises, and, since they only interviewed City staff, the Grand Jury report reiterated this misinformation, but it was just part of Clear Channel’s tried and true monopolistic practices of seeking to derail agreements that actually set the new standard for billboard community benefits. Furthermore, our proposals are not mutually exclusive – if Clear Channel’s proposal was real, why had they not brought it forward previously? Why have they not brought it forward since? Because it was not a real proposal – it was nothing but smoke and mirrors, as the Clear Channel’s former Vice President stated publicly at Council.

Speaking on behalf of the community health clinics that are the primary beneficiaries of the billboard funding, La Clinica de la Raza CEO Jane Garcia, states: “In this case, the City Council did the right thing – listening to the community that fought for five years to create this opportunity that is offering the City and community more than twenty times what previous billboard relocation agreements have offered.”

 

Oakland Billboard Economic Development Coalition

Native American Health Center La Clínica de la Raza West Oakland Health Center
Asian Health Services Oakland LGBTQ Center Roots Community Health Center
The Unity Council Black Cultural Zone Visit Oakland
Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce Oakland Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce
Oakland Latino Chamber of Commerce Building Trades of Alameda County (partial list)
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Activism

Grocery Inflation Causes Food Banks to be the Default for Families in Oakland

Steve Morris, Director of Natural Resources and Environment at GAO, explained that while the pandemic certainly had an effect on food increases, there is not one single factor for a rise in food prices. He said events like the Ukraine-Russian war, the avian influenza epidemic that raised the price of eggs, and climate change are also key factors.

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Photo: iStock image.
Photo: iStock image.

By Magaly Muñoz

During the past three years, the US has seen the largest increase in food prices since the 1980s. In response to this crisis, community food banks have emerged to provide much-needed assistance to families in need.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that national food prices have increased 11% from 2021 to 2022, when the average yearly increase was previously 2%. The San Francisco Bay Area saw a 12% increase from 2021 to 2022.

Steve Morris, Director of Natural Resources and Environment at GAO, explained that while the pandemic certainly had an effect on food increases, there is not one single factor for a rise in food prices. He said events like the Ukraine-Russian war, the avian influenza epidemic that raised the price of eggs, and climate change are also key factors.

While still maintaining that elevated prices will persist for the foreseeable future, Morris anticipates a decrease of 8% in food price increases.

He also stated that while the average person may spend 10% of their income on groceries, a low-income family may spend 30%, making the inflation in food prices that much harsher.

“Higher food prices can put people in a position where they have to make some tough choices between ‘can they go to the grocery store and buy food’ or ‘do they have to spend it on other necessities like home or health care or other things,’” Morris said.

Michael Altfest is the Director of Community Engagement and Marketing for Alameda County (AC) Food Bank, the primary food distributor in the county with over 400 community partners that receive frequent donations.

Altfest shared that from 2019 to 2023, the number of pounds of food distributed to their community partners has doubled. In 2019, the food bank distributed 32.5 million pounds of food, while in 2021 during the height of the pandemic, they distributed 58.1 million pounds. This year they are on pace to distribute almost 60 million pounds of food.

“If we’re on pace this year to provide more than we did in the pandemic, I think that says a lot about what the state of hunger is right now,” Altfest said.

During the height of the pandemic, state and federal government relief programs helped families offset significant expenses like groceries. These programs included the child tax credit increase that put anywhere from $2,000 up to $3,600 back into qualifying families pockets when filing their yearly taxes.

Another program that directly targeted food insecurity, was the increase in funds for SNAP or CalFresh. These government programs provide food-purchasing assistance for low- and no-income people to help them maintain adequate nutrition and health. But earlier this spring, funding was cut from the state program CalFresh and families saw at least a $95 decrease in their assistance.

“Every single person talks about the cost of living in Alameda County, every single person. The cost of rent, the cost of food, those are things that come up every single time without fail,” Altfest shared.

One of AC Food Bank’s community partners is Homies Empowerment, a non-profit in Oakland that was established as a means to support youth and the community through a positive lens.

Selena Duarte, the FREEdom Store Coordinator, said the organization’s initiative to help families with food provision began in May of 2020 when their original store was filled only with books and students told them that while it was nice to have things to read, “they can’t eat books,” showing the team at Homies Empowerment that there were bigger needs in the community that they had to address.

Since then, the organization has expanded its services. They now provide groceries every Tuesday, have established the FREEdom Farm where they grow produce that gets distributed in their make-shift store, offer hot breakfast to 40 students and their families five days a week, and much more.

Duarte said that they serve almost 400 families a week and they are continuing to expand their food services due to the increasing number of people coming to them seeking help to reduce their spending on groceries. She recognized that although people say that the “pandemic is over”, she knows that the stress that families are experiencing is still very real.

“The next phase is really becoming a sustainable community food hub, where literally we can grow, share, cook, and store our food here in the community and for the community,” Duarte said.

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Oakland Post: Week of July 10 – 16, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of July 10 – 16, 2024

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