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Faith Leaders Ask City Council to Say No to Coal

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Community members and faith leaders are continuing to raise awareness about what they consider to be the dangers of coal to the health of residents of West Oakland and other nearby communities.

 

Pastor Ken Chambers of West Side Missionary Baptist Church, who is a cancer survivor himself, is hosting a series of community meetings at his church.

 

“The community of West Oakland has high health risks for asthma, cancer and other health challenges that continue to plague our community,” said Pastor Chambers. “It is time to take a stand against the transport of coal through our community for the sake of our health and the health of our children.”

 

Chambers says he is inspired by the leadership that Mayor Libby Schaaf is taking to promote climate justice.

 

“I am proud she represented our city at the global climate agreement talks in Paris,” he said. “I urge the City Council to take part in this global effort by saying no to coal coming through Oakland.”

 

The council is scheduled to decide early next year whether to challenge the plan to ship coal by rail from Utah through the city’s transport terminal for markets in Asia.

 

Joining Pastor Chambers, Pastor C. L. Mathews of Corinthian Baptist Church is taking a strong stand against the coal shipments.

 

 

“It is imperative Oakland residents continue to reject the transportation of hazardous fossil fuel materials,” he said. “During the 1960s and 1970s many of our children dealt with diesel soot on windowsills. Now adults, we suffer with health issues.”

 

 

“Oakland has an asthma hospitalization rate that is higher than other communities,” he continued. “Oaklanders will not be hoodwinked into believing a pipe dream of more jobs – at the cost of our health and generations of our children’s health.”

 

 

“All money isn’t good money.”

 

 

Said Rev. Thomas Harrison of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, “Coal is unhealthy for the community, and I support the opportunity to produce green organizations and jobs.”

 

 

Rev. Curtis Robinson of Faith Baptist Church said he hopes Oaklanders will see that coal has no future.

 

 

“The adoption of renewable energy is inevitable, just like the adoption of seatbelts by the U.S. government,” he said. “It is clear that we need to adopt newer energy to save the lives of our people.”

 

 

Others calling on the city to say no to coal include: Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Episcopal Bishop of California; Rabbi Marvin Goodman, Northern California Board of Rabbis; Rev. Will Scott, program director California Interfaith Power & Light; Susan Stephenson, executive director Interfaith Power & Light;

Rev. Dr. Kwasi Thornell, St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, Oakland; Pastor Jim Hopkins, Lakeshore Ave. Baptist Church, Oakland; Archdeacon Carolyn Bolton
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Oakland; Rev. Ben Daniel, Montclair Presbyterian Church, Oakland; Rev. Ambrose Carroll, Green the Church; Rev. Earl Koteen,
Universalist Ministry for Earth; Rev. Debra Avery, First Presbyterian Church of Oakland;

 

The Rev. Laurie Manning, Skyline United Church of Christ, Oakland; Rev. Cheryl Denise Ward, Oakland, Charles O’Neil, member, Evergreen Missionary Baptist Church, Oakland, Rabbi Oren Postrel, Emeryville; Rev. MaAn Barcelo, Retired Minister United Methodist Church, Pastor Linda Loessberg-Zahl, Epworth United Methodist Church, Berkeley.

 

The next community meeting to oppose the coal shipments will take place Monday, Jan. 25, 6 p.m. to 7:30 pm. at Westside Baptist Church, 732 Willow St. in West Oakland.

 

 

For more information, call Rev. Ken Chambers at (510) 239-6969.

City Government

California Black Caucus Weighs in on Elections for L.A. Sheriff, Sacramento D.A.

In the Sacramento County race, the CLBC threw its support behind former prosecutor Alana Mathews for district attorney. That election is scheduled for June 7, 2022.

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Patrol Car

The California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) recently endorsed two African American candidates, Alana Mathews and Cecil Rhambo, who are running in high-profile county races in Sacramento and Los Angeles counties next year.

In the Sacramento County race, the CLBC threw its support behind former prosecutor Alana Mathews for district attorney. That election is scheduled for June 7, 2022.

“The California Legislative Black Caucus proudly endorses Alana Mathews” said Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus. “We are excited about the potential opportunity for her to bring equity, fairness, inclusion and reform to the prosecutor’s seat.”

If Mathews wins, she would be the first Black person and the first Black woman elected D.A. in Sacramento County.

The CLBC’s endorsement was “welcome news” for Mathews, a graduate of the McGeorge School of Law (Sacramento) and Spelman College (Atlanta).

“I’m honored to receive the endorsements from the Black leaders in California. I admire the work that they all do,” Mathews told California Black Media (CBM) on September 18 as she headed to a campaign event. “This is a significant endorsement as we seek more on the local and state levels.”

In Los Angeles County, the CLBC announced its support for Cecil Rhambo, who is running for County Sheriff. That contest will also be held in June 2022.

Rhambo is currently Chief of Airport Police at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Chief Cecil Rhambo

Citing Rhambo’s 33-year record as a “respected” public servant, broad law enforcement experience and active involvement in Los Angeles-area communities, the CLBC says it believes Rhambo can help reduce crime in South LA and Compton.

“I’ve known Cecil for many years and as chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee, I am confident he would be the Sheriff all of LA could be proud of,” said Bradford. “I know he is the right person to lead the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department during this state and national demand for police reform and accountability, and I trust his commitment to bringing desperately-needed transparency, equity, and integrity to the Department.”

Rhambo helped to develop the Community Oriented Policing Bureau, which focuses on suppressing violent crime, combatting homelessness, parking enforcement, quality of life programs, youth programs, and the mental health response teams that partnered with psych clinicians county-wide, according to the CLBC.

Rhambo has worked in a number of law enforcement assignments across LA County, including working as an undercover narcotics officer and a deputized federal agent.

He was a lieutenant at Internal Affairs following the Rodney King beating in March 1991. In that role, he helped to create a digital tracking system that could monitor reports of police officer misconduct and use of excessive force.

District attorney candidate Mathews plans to “roll out” more endorsements from other individuals and groups in the upcoming weeks, she told CBM.

Anne Marie Schubert, a former member of the Republican Party, is currently Sacramento’s D.A. Schubert already announced that she has her sights on the Attorney General’s seat in the 2022 election and that she would be running against Rob Bonta who Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed to that role in March.

Mathews spent eight years as a deputy district attorney in Sacramento County, working her way up from misdemeanor jury trials to prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, general felony, and prison crime cases.

She currently works with the Prosecutors Alliance of California, a group of prosecutors committed to reforming California’s criminal justice system through smart, safe, modern solutions that advance public safety, human dignity, and community well-being.

Other races to watch involving challengers of color during the 2022 election cycle include contests for Alameda County district attorney and San Francisco sheriff. Civil rights attorney Pamela Price will run in an open field as current District Attorney Nancy O’Malley is stepping down. And a 25-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department, officer JoAnn Walker, will vie for incumbent Sheriff Gregory Ahern’s seat.

On the campaign trail in Sacramento County, Mathews says she believes working with police is “central” to the D.A. office’s work “but there has been little to no accountability in that office when it comes to police misconduct.”

She wants to change that.

“If you violate the law, you should be held accountable. Without that it undermines trust in the system,” she said.

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Business

Mayor Breed, Supervisor Mar Launch Grant to Support Storefronts Impacted by Vandalism

Up to $2,000 in financial relief available to repair storefront vandalism at neighborhood businesses

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SF Storefront Vandalism Grant Program Banner/Photo Courtesy of City of San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development

Mayor London N. Breed and Supervisor Gordon Mar announced Wednesday the launch of the Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant program, which provides up to $2,000 in financial relief to restore and repair damages from vandalism at neighborhood storefronts. The program launches during a time when many small businesses are recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Opening and operating a successful small business in San Francisco was becoming increasingly difficult, and the pandemic has made it that much harder,” said Breed. “It has never been more critical for us to provide support to our small businesses in every way that we can, which not only means making it easier to open and operate a small business, but also providing relief when they face challenges. With the launch of the Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant, we are letting our small business community know that we have their back and will fight to ensure that they can continue operating for years to come.”

The Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant provides financial relief to restore small businesses impacted by deliberate actions that result in the destruction or damages of storefronts. This program will offer either $1,000 or $2,000, depending on the total cost incurred to repair physical damages. The $1 million program is designed to serve more than 500 small businesses with gross revenue of less than $8 million that can provide proof of damages from vandalism incurred since July 1, 2020.

The fund will directly support small businesses with financial relief in the aftermath of a crime to restore the harm done. The fund will also allow small businesses to make improvements that enhance security and prevent crime. This includes replacement locks, a new security gate, fixing an alarm system, adding new lighting, replacing windows, etchings on windows, and many others. Improvements are available on a first-come-first-serve basis, based on fund availability.

The Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant is one tool in preventing crime and improving safety in neighborhood commercial corridors. The Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) also funds programs to help small businesses and neighborhood organizations improve safety through ambassadors and activations to increase foot traffic and community patrols. The fund is not meant to replace the loss of stolen goods and does not include damage to shared spaces.

“During the pandemic, we’ve seen a surge in burglaries and vandalism in every neighborhood targeting small businesses already struggling with unprecedented economic challenges. As we work to prevent these crimes and strengthen safety on our commercial corridors, we must also respond immediately to provide relief to mom-and-pop businesses with direct and tangible support as they recover from these incidents,” said Mar. 

“Following requests from businesses in the Sunset, I worked with Mayor Breed and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development to create the Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant and secured an initial $1 million funding allocation,” said Mar. “The fund will provide financial relief to small businesses in the aftermath of a crime to restore the harm done, including direct costs of property damage or getting a replacement lock or new security measures.”

To apply, eligible businesses are asked to provide receipts, photos of damages and furnish a report from the San Francisco Police Department or from 311 in the case of graffiti. Applications can be found by visiting oewd.org/VandalismRelief.

“On February 26 at 4:00 a.m., a burglar managed to break into my small business without activating the alarm. An hour later an opportunistic looter came into my store and stole additional merchandise. Small businesses are already hurting hard from the pandemic and these crimes are a gut punch to small businesses,” said Michael Hsu, owner of Footprint on Taraval.  

“Since hearing about the Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant, I’ve put in my application to get up to $2,000 to help provide some relief to my business. We need more programs like this to support small businesses in our neighborhood that are struggling from being victims of burglary and vandalism. I’m thankful for our city leaders for initiating this program. Together with the community and leaders, we will get through these tough times.”

“Since the pandemic, I have heard so many stories from small businesses that have been burglarized or vandalized. As a small business owner, myself, I feel and understand their pain and loss,” said Albert Chow, president of People of the Parkside Sunset, a Taraval merchants and residents association. “The Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant is a safety net that is critical to ensuring that our small business owners are able to recover.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, San Francisco has provided immediate and ongoing support for small businesses, including making available more than $52.8 million in grants and loans to support more than 3,000 small businesses, in addition to tens of millions of dollars in fee and tax deferrals, and assistance applying for state and federal funding. This includes legislation introduced and signed by Mayor Breed to waive $5 million in fees and taxes for entertainment and nightlife venues and small restaurants.

“As we reopen and rebuild, many of our small businesses continue to struggle to make ends meet. These challenges can feel almost insurmountable when small businesses also become victims of vandalism” said Kate Sofis, director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.  “San Francisco’s Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant will help alleviate the financial hardship caused by deliberate acts of damage to property. It is one of many tools the City has to support our business community and the vibrancy of our neighborhoods as we work together towards economic recovery.”

“The San Francisco Post’s coverage of local news in San Francisco County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.”

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Activism

East Oakland Community Clean-up

The office of Councilmember Treva Reid invites you to…

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Oakland Clean Up Flyer

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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