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Community Unites to Oppose Hostile Takeover of Oakland Schools

In a statement read by her staffer, Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan responded to the demand for $90 million in cuts. “We see this for what it is,” she said. “It’s an obvious move to counter the district’s resistance to closing schools in Oakland. We need all of our schools open. Oakland has seen enough school closings.”

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Speakers at a press conference Thursday, Dec. 16, at the school district headquarters in Oakland opposed the hostile takeover of Oakland public schools by L. Karen Monroe of Alameda County and the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team (FCMAT).Shown (front row, L to R) are Post publisher Paul Cobb, former school board member and civil rights attorney Dan Siegel, civil rights attorney Walter Riley, candidate for Alameda County Supt. of Schools Alysse Castro, Assemblymember Mia Bonta, Holy Names University Vice President Kimberly Mayfield and Oakland Education Association (OEA) President Keith Brown. (Back row, L to R) are the representative of Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, School Boardmember Mike Hutchinson, former school board member and mayoral candidate Greg Hodge, parent and community activist John Jones III and SEIU VP for classified workers Donneva Reid.
Speakers at a press conference Thursday, Dec. 16, at the school district headquarters in Oakland opposed the hostile takeover of Oakland public schools by L. Karen Monroe of Alameda County and the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team (FCMAT).Shown (front row, L to R) are Post publisher Paul Cobb, former school board member and civil rights attorney Dan Siegel, civil rights attorney Walter Riley, candidate for Alameda County Supt. of Schools Alysse Castro, Assemblymember Mia Bonta, Holy Names University Vice President Kimberly Mayfield and Oakland Education Association (OEA) President Keith Brown. (Back row, L to R) are the representative of Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, School Boardmember Mike Hutchinson, former school board member and mayoral candidate Greg Hodge, parent and community activist John Jones III and SEIU VP for classified workers Donneva Reid.

By Post Staff

Speakers at press conference Thursday, in front of the school district headquarters in downtown Oakland demonstrated the determination of a broad coalition of community leaders to oppose the hostile takeover of the school district by L. Karen Monroe of the Alameda County Office of Education and the state-financed nonprofit, the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team (FCMAT).

The press conference was organized on short notice by the teachers’ union, the Oakland Education Association, and the Oakland Post Salon in response to a recent letter to the district from Supt. Monroe saying the school district must cut $90 million from its budget.

Monroe’s letter also threatened that the salaries of Oakland Supt. Kyla Johnson-Trammell and the school board might be withheld, and the elected school board required to follow the decisions of the unelected staff of FCMAT, which has long pushed for closing neighborhood schools.

OEA President Keith Brown called for solidarity in the face of the current threat. “We stand together today to say we will not let the schools be taken over by FCMAT and the county. We will not go backward to 2003, when we were forced into a $100 million loan and school closures.”

Assemblymember Mia Bonta said, “I stand in solidarity with the district and the children of Oakland. I want to stand with Oakland, our teachers, and our families.”

Boardmember Mike Hutchinson, who has long fought against forced school closures, said Monroe’s letter arrived two weeks after the school board voted that “We are done with school closures.”

“This is retaliation,” he said.

Kimberly Mayfield, dean of the School of Education and vice president of external relations and strategic partnerships at Holy Names University in Oakland, said “We stand in solidarity with Supt. Kyla Johnson-Trammell and the elected school board members who are against the recommendation to cut $90 million from the OUSD’s budget and the takeover of the district.”

John Jones III, parent and community activist, said, “This is an affront, an assault and an attack on our students and our democratic process here. Our students need hope, not a rope that will hold them down.”

Alysse Castro, candidate for Alameda County Supt. of Schools, said, “We cannot cut our way to social justice,” adding that the state and county must not be an obstacle but actively help fix Oakland’s problems.

In a statement read by her staffer, Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan responded to the demand for $90 million in cuts. “We see this for what it is,” she said. “It’s an obvious move to counter the district’s resistance to closing schools in Oakland. We need all of our schools open. Oakland has seen enough school closings.”

In a prepared statement, Councilmember Carroll Fife said, this threat to Oakland schools is part of a pattern.

“Private interests want to own our schools, and there is no shortage of high-paid, bureaucratic leaders who would hand the schools to them. They salivate over the money to be taken from OUSD, and people in administrative positions have helped manufacture the problems that would allow takeover. We have to tell them, “HELL NO!”

Emily Filloy, speaking for Educators for Democratic Schools (EDS) said, “EDS opposes the Alameda County Office of Education’s designation of Oakland Unified School District as a Lack of Going Concern. This designation is sudden, hasty and punitive. While there may be concerns regarding the district’s budgetary processes, resorting to FCMAT is not a solution, but a punitive action.”

Activism

Friendship Christian Center Provides Tests, Vaccines to Thousands

FCCC has served thousands with lines forming an hour-and-a-half before opening to get tested and vaccinated with one of the three vaccines, boosters, and vaccines for children. Agee said it has been going at this pace for over a month, with the new Omicron variant surging.

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A lone forms outside the Friendship Christian Center on a recent, rainy cold day in Oakland. Photo courtesy of FCCC.
A lone forms outside the Friendship Christian Center on a recent, rainy cold day in Oakland. Photo courtesy of FCCC.

Friendship Christian Center Church (FCCC), pastored by Dr. Gerald Agee, is located at 1904 Adeline St. and is one of the dozens of Black churches across the state of California, who, in conjunction with the California Health Agencies and California Black Media, has stood on the front line, with the Black Press for over a year providing COVID-19 testing and vaccinations to minority communities.

FCCC has served thousands with lines forming an hour-and-a-half before opening to get tested and vaccinated with one of the three vaccines, boosters, and vaccines for children. Agee said it has been going at this pace for over a month, with the new Omicron variant surging.

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Activism

COMMENTARY: After Jan. 6, An MLK Day Deadline for Voting Rights and Democracy

This is a dangerous thing that goes beyond mere policy matters. First the Cruzes fall in line. Then the people. Republicans are not shy about what’s next. They want to own our democracy. And they’re willing to get it by going state by state to limit our voting rights and take away our votes.

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Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. Listen to his show on YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter @emilamok at 2pm Pacific M-F. Or on www.amok.com
Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. Listen to his show on YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter @emilamok at 2pm Pacific M-F. Or on www.amok.com

By Emil Guillermo

We all know the images of Jan. 6, 2021. Lawless rioters ransacking the Capitol. Police being tortured and beaten. Members of Congress hiding in fear in the House gallery. The gallows and a noose meant for former Vice President Mike Pence.

We all saw the video images one year after and astonishingly they did nothing to pull our nation together.

Nothing.

They simply confirmed the only thing everyone can agree on.

Our democracy’s in trouble. Real trouble.

We already sensed that after the Civil Rights battles of the 1960s such things as race, policing, and income inequality are still major issues in 2022.

But we’ve got trouble in a different key.

C Major. No sharps or flats. This trouble goes right to the core of our democracy. They’re coming after your vote.

That is, after all, what the Jan. 6 rioters were attempting when they tried to stop the certification of the election.

But now the GOP politicians who may have been behind the Jan. 6 rioters all along, are going legit.

The majority of Republicans, notably California’s Kevin McCarthy, continue to sing the fictional tune “The 2016 Election Was Stolen.”

As if in a song battle, the Democrats counter with the loud truth, “The Election Was Fair. Trump Lost.”

But enough people keep singing the lie as if it’s their battle hymn.

And now they are looking for the ultimate control of any election. Legally. In plain view.

Republicans are taking over or running for top election official posts in key states. State legislatures are proposing laws to limit absentee ballots, mail-in voting and other conveniences. They are putting up obstacles to make voting harder with the hopes of suppressing your vote.

This is why Biden spoke in Georgia this week, saying “I will not yield, I will not flinch in protecting voting rights.”

Let’s hope he’s serious, starting with new voting rights legislation to make election days federal holidays and require federal approval of any state and local election changes.

It may take changing the filibuster law to make sure Republicans can’t block any Democratic reforms, but it must be done. And done now.

That’s why even the family of Martin Luther King Jr. is calling for “no celebration” of MLK Day without the passage of voting rights legislation.

This is how Democrats are talking to Biden.

The Republicans’ post-Jan.6 strategy is simply Orwellian. Where truth and lies are indistinguishable. And Republicans loyal to Trump are dead set on forcing their lies on everyone.

Witness Sen. Ted Cruz last week caught in a moment of truth calling the Jan. 6 rioters “domestic terrorists.” But how quickly he recanted when called on the carpet by Fox’s Tucker Carlson, the Trump Confessor, for all the Republican congregants to see.

Like a loyal Trumper, Cruz knelt, confessed, and did his penance.

It used to be called hypocrisy. Now it’s just called Modern Day Republicanism.

This is a dangerous thing that goes beyond mere policy matters. First the Cruzes fall in line. Then the people. Republicans are not shy about what’s next. They want to own our democracy. And they’re willing to get it by going state by state to limit our voting rights and take away our votes.

That’s even worse than the Jan. 6 rioters’ wildest dreams.

Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. Listen to his show on YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter @emilamok at 2pm Pacific M-F. Or on www.amok.com

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El Cerrito Hosts 33rd Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade and Rally

The celebration is sponsored by its founders, St. Peter CME Church and the El Cerrito Branch of the NAACP, as well as the Human Relations Commission, and the West Contra Costa County Unified School District.

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“Keeping the Dream Alive - Embracing Our New Normals with Faith, Family, and Community,” is the theme for this year’s celebration.
“Keeping the Dream Alive - Embracing Our New Normals with Faith, Family, and Community,” is the theme for this year’s celebration.

By Clifford L. Williams

The City of El Cerrito invites all of its residents and surrounding cities in the Bay Area to join in its 33rd Annual Community Celebration honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.

“Keeping the Dream Alive – Embracing Our New Normals with Faith, Family, and Community,” is the theme for this year’s celebration.

The celebration is sponsored by its founders, St. Peter CME Church and the El Cerrito Branch of the NAACP, as well as the Human Relations Commission, and the West Contra Costa County Unified School District.

Event chairperson, Patricia Durham said “this peaceful protest began in 1989 on the back streets of El Cerrito because of the City’s refusal to acknowledge King’s birthday as a federal holiday.

“Members of St. Peter Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME), the City’s only African-American church, and the El Cerrito Branch of the NAACP, in true Dr. King style, took to the streets. The City eventually came around and acknowledged the peaceful and powerful works of Dr. King.”

Durham added, “El Cerrito’s birthday celebration of MLK is one of the longest-standing parades and rallies in the Bay Area.”

Because of the global pandemic, this is the second year the city will have a car parade because of COVID-19 protocols. Participants will meet at 9 a.m. at the El Cerrito Del Norte BART station (in the parking lot of Key Boulevard & Knott Avenue). At 10 a.m., the parade will caravan down San Pablo Avenue to the El Cerrito Plaza BART station and at 11 a.m., the rally will begin. To ensure everyone enjoys the parade safely, all CDC guidelines will be enforced. Masks and social distancing are required.

“Keeping the dream alive even during a pandemic is a necessity,” said Durham. “We are fighting for our democracy and if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s taught us that we need each other to embrace our new normals of survival.”

“The City is expecting more than 100 cars, so we encourage everyone to decorate your vehicles so that yours stands out the best,” noted Durham. “Entertainment will be provided by the Japanese American Citizen League, The Black Cowboy Association, Ujima Lodge #35, the Mardi Gras Gumbo Band, Mighty High Drill Team, Smooth Illusions Band, and El Cerrito’s Poet Laureate, Ms. Eevelyn Janean Mitchell, among other talents.”

The MC of this illustrious event will be Jeffery Wright, president of the El Cerrito Chamber of Commerce. The event’s keynote speaker is Diana Becton, the first female African American to be elected District Attorney in the history of Contra Costa County.

For more information, contact Patricia Durham at (510) 234-2518.

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