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In New White House Bid, Clinton Embraces Race as a Top Issue

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In this July 23, 2015, photo, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at a campaign event in Columbia, S.C. In her second pass at the presidency, Clinton has made discussing “systemic racism” a hallmark of her campaign as she looks to connect with the black voters who helped propel President Barack Obama to the White House. At multiple campaign stops, she bemoaned "mass incarceration," an uneven economy, increasingly segregated public schools, and poisoned relationships between police and the black community. She praised South Carolina leaders, including Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, for removing the Confederate battle from statehouse grounds after a white gunman’s June massacre of nine churchgoers at a historic black congregation in Charleston. But she warned that the act is symbolic. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

In this July 23, 2015, photo, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at a campaign event in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

BILL BARROW, Associated Press

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — In her second bid for the presidency, Hillary Rodham Clinton is discussing “systemic racism” and making the issue a hallmark of her campaign as she looks to connect with the black voters who supported rival Barack Obama in 2008.

At multiple stops in South Carolina, Clinton on Thursday bemoaned “mass incarceration,” an uneven economy, increasingly segregated public schools and poisoned relations between law enforcement and the black community. She praised South Carolina leaders, including Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, for removing the Confederate battle flag from statehouse grounds after a white gunman’s massacre of nine people at a historic black church in Charleston, but she warned that the act is only symbolic.

“America’s long struggle with racism is far from finished,” the former secretary of state said before a mostly white audience at a Greenville technical college. Hours earlier, with a majority black audience at a West Columbia church, she declared, “Anybody who says we don’t have more progress to make is blind.”

At both stops, she added some symbolism of her own, trumpeting the mantra “Black Lives Matter,” which has become a rallying cry of and name for the activists who have organized protests in several cities amid several high-profile cases of black citizens being killed during encounters with police.

“This is not just a slogan,” Clinton said. “This should be a guiding principle.”

The bold approach is a contrast to her 2008 campaign. That year, she didn’t talk so directly about race as she faced off against Obama, who would go on to become the nation’s first black president. Instead, she ran as the battle-tested, experienced counter to the first-term U.S. senator from Illinois.

Clinton doesn’t frame her unabashed commentary on race in a political context; aides repeatedly explain her strategy as “working to win every vote” and nothing more. Yet it’s clear that Clinton feels no constraints going into 2016, as perhaps she did eight years ago. It’s also no surprise that her newfound freedom is on display in South Carolina. African-Americans make up about 28 percent of the population and a majority of the Democratic primary electorate, the first of the early-voting states to feature a significant bloc of black voters.

Obama trounced Clinton here in 2008, 56 percent to 27 percent, as many black voters flocked to his candidacy once he demonstrated white support in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. That leaves Clinton both to reverse a bitter primary defeat, while using South Carolina as a test run for a potential general election in which she would need strong black support to reassemble Obama’s winning coalition in swing states like Virginia, Florida and Ohio.

If Clinton’s approach is born of necessity, it also comes with potential pitfalls.

Last month, she angered some activists by using the phrase “all lives matter” during a speech a few miles from Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown died at the hands of a white police officer. Clinton used those words as part of an anecdote about her mother, whom she said taught her that “all lives matter,” but some activists thought it demeaned the significance of the “Black Lives Matter” effort.

Her Democratic rivals Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders drew similar outrage last week at the liberal Netroots Nation convention. O’Malley, the former Maryland governor, ended up apologizing after snapping at hecklers: “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.”

Clinton said Thursday that she won’t “comment on what anybody else said.”

She also faces questions about her advocacy for tougher sentencing laws that her husband signed as president. Bill Clinton recently expressed regret over the laws, but his wife stopped short of calling the laws a mistake.

“We were facing different problems in the ’80s and ’90s,” she told reporters, saying crime in cities “was causing an outcry across the nation,” including in poor and minority neighborhoods. “I think now, 20 years on, we can say some things worked and some things didn’t work,” she continued. “One of the big problems that didn’t work is that we had too many people, particularly African-American men, who were being incarcerated for minor offenses.”

Clinton also must avoid any residue from Bill Clinton’s remarks during and after the South Carolina primary in 2008. Clinton, who was extremely popular among black voters when he was president, expressed open frustration at Obama’s rise. After Obama won South Carolina, the former president dismissed the victory as akin to Rev. Jesse Jackson’s victory in 1988. A black South Carolina native, Jackson won the state’s caucus that year, but he was never a serious contender for the nomination.

Meanwhile, Clinton says she will continue declaring that “black lives matter.”

“I think this has become an important statement of a movement,” she said, “to try to raise difficult issues about race and justice that the country needs to address.”

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Follow Bill Barrow on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/BillBarrowAP

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Bay Area

GETTING TO YES 

BAYSIDE BALL PARK OR WATERFRONT DEVELOPMENT

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Howard Terminal Courtesy Port of Oakland website

Arguably, development of Howard’s Terminal has been in the making for long time.  According to Councilmember Gallo, Oakland’s previous city officials Robert Bobb and Jerry Brown entertained development of Howard’s Terminal, for the Fishers and A’s, during their tenure as city manager and mayor respectively. 

Let’s be clear, the A’s initially pitched its development project at Howard’s Terminal as a Bayside Baseball Stadium, when in essence its project goal has always been a major condominium-housing and business development, along Oakland’s waterfront … the stadium was then and is now just the shinny thing.  Many argue the Coliseum site is more suited for a new stadium development, if that’s really what the A’s want. 

On Tuesday, July 20, 2021, Oakland City Council held a special meeting to consider the Oakland A’s proposal submitted in April 2021; the A’s pressed Council for this special meeting so as to give the A’s an up or down vote on their proposal.  Council voted 6-1, with one abstention, not to support the A’s proposal as submitted.  Council did agree, however, to support the A’s project proposal with certain City amendments.   

Oakland City Council considered their vote to be a big win for Oakland.  On the other hand, A’s President, Dave Kaval, called the City Council’s vote “a swing and a miss.” Based upon the complexity of the pending issues, it appears more time – extended ending – will be necessary for both sides to get to a mutually beneficial yes. 

According to the A’s Kaval, progress has been made in negotiations but, the plan Council voted for on Tuesday “is not a business partnership that works for [A’s] us.”   Moreover, Kaval claims the A’s had not seen some of the amendments Oakland city staff presented to the City Council Tuesday morning before the council’s vote. 

Council-member Rebecca Kaplan said the City Council’s amendments addressed the A’s biggest concern, having to pay for offsite transportation, and infrastructure improvements. However, the A’s still could not agree with the city’s overall offer.   

 Also, the A’s waterfront development project proposal includes some 3000 units of condominium-housing, but the A’s proposal ignored adequate provisions for affordable housing.  The A’s wants the City to waive the A’s legal requirement to provide for affordable housing.  Oakland’s City Council determined that fact to a major sticking point. 

Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas, who worked on the amendments with Vice Mayor Kaplan, said, “It’s (now) at the beginning of the eighth inning.”  As a matter of fact, Council advised the A’s to use Council’s just approved amended Term-Sheet as a road map for further negotiations. 

Following the City Council meeting, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said the City and A’s are very close to an agreement, but Kaval said “in some ways it’s too early to say how close the two sides are.”  

Kaval expressed hope that the A’s can get the City Council vote on some terms his team could agree on before Council’s summer recess.  Council President Bas’, office said no council meetings are scheduled before the recess to further negotiate the A’s new waterfront proposal.  

 Negotiation between Oakland’s City Council and the Oakland A’s appears to be headed for extra innings.  The complexity of the issues and public reactions, after Tuesday’s Council vote, gives many citizens cause to pause and wonder if we are at the end of the seventh inning stretch or the bottom of the ninth; either way, getting to a mutually beneficial yes will require a walk-off hit. 

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Community

Walgreens Exiting East Oakland Because Medicare and Medicaid Customers Don’t Generate Enough ‘Green’ for $140 Billion Corporation

The councilmembers of District 7 and District 6 joined with more than 2,500 neighborhood petitioners to condemn the less than one month notice.

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Walgreens 8102 International Blvd, Oakland, Calif./Yellow Pages

Oakland City Councilmembers Treva Reid and Loren Taylor announced that they will press Walgreen’s to abandon their plans to close their pharmacy by July 29 at 8102 International Boulevard.

The councilmembers of District 7 and District 6 joined with more than 2,500 neighborhood petitioners to condemn the less than one month notice.

Taylor and Reid pointed out that Walgreens’ lease still has six month remaining before its expiration in January 2022.

They denounced the abandonment of seniors, especially those who reside at Allen Temple Arms across the street from the pharmacy.

“We are disheartened that in the midst of the pandemic, with many health disparities in diagnoses and with the next available pharmacy located miles away, they are furthering the health crisis,” said Reid. “With all the nurses and medical personnel that patronize this pharmacy they were disrespected to hear of the closing by way of second-hand social media postings. We will continue to pursue this issue at the local, regional and national levels to find other ways to solve this problem.”

Taylor said Walgreens exacerbated the pain of the closing by giving the reason that the high percentage of low-income Medicare and Medicaid patients who get their prescriptions filled results in a lower profit margin for the corporation worth $140 billion. He also pointed out how they were making a mockery of their mission statement which is to “Champion the health and well-being of every community in America.”

Taylor and Reid presented the following fact sheet that answers the questions asked of Walgreens:

So why is Walgreens closing?…

  • The first reason they gave was the rent… After speaking with the property owner I learned that Walgreens asked for close to a 50% reduction of rent and to lock that in for double-digit years, something that the property owner couldn’t afford. In addition, I learned that Walgreens still has six months left on their lease during which they will continue paying their rent.  If Walgreens is obligated to pay its lease through January (even if it chooses not to renew that lease) why close six months early?
  • The second reason they gave was the ‘shrinkage’ – a portion of which is due to theft.  We know this is a problem across the state. The representatives from Walgreens that we talked to this morning admitted that the shrinkage rates due to theft are not as high as in San Francisco where they are closing stores.  This is a problem across the state – even to the point that Gov. (Gavin) Newsom just yesterday (July 22) signed into law a bill extending a program that allows the California Highway Patrol to operate regional task forces to fight organized retail theft with other law enforcement agencies.
  • The third reason that they gave is that the high percentage of Medicaid/ Medicare patients leads to lower profit margins because the state reimbursement is not as high as private insurance.  This reason squarely places low-income residents of California in the crosshairs of any corporate decision to close stores and reduce services.  I reject this rationale for a store closure – especially from a healthcare company where we know in a managed care environment, we must balance the higher profit services with the lower-profit services so that in aggregate we support all residents/ patients.
  • Taylor said, “I stand here today with my fellow Councilmember, Treva Reid, in whose district we stand and she and I represent districts and a population of residents who are often cast aside and marginalized. Districts that still suffer from the effects of institutionalized racism, redlining, white flight and the war on drugs. A true partnership to champion the health and well-being of every community does not occur when a unilateral decision is made to close a store without more than a few weeks’ notice through a sign being posted on a window alerting customers to the closure.

My office was not proactively engaged by Walgreens, and in fact I found out about this based on a Facebook post by a resident who took a picture of the sign.  The communication that came to me through a Walgreens District Manager was that the property owner was being unreasonable.”

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Business

City of Oakland’s Historic Sports Doubleheader: Black Group to Buy Coliseum Complex While Also Urging the A’s to Negotiate to Bring Community Benefits to City Through Howard Terminal

Hours of engaging discourse, bolstered by a throng of community supporters who packed the virtual council meeting with back-to-back appeals, got their wish in a 6-0-2 vote, on Monday, July 20. 

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Oakland Coliseum and Arena/Wikimedia Commons

The African American Sports & Entertainment Group (AASEG, www.aasegoakland.com), received a resounding vote from Oakland City Council members to pursue terms of ownership of the fabled, multiplex sporting venue, the Coliseum Complex.

Hours of engaging discourse, bolstered by a throng of community supporters who packed the virtual council meeting with back-to-back appeals, got their wish in a 6-0-2 vote, on Monday, July 20.  Oakland City Councilmembers approved the resolution brought forward by Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan to begin negotiations with the AASEG to acquire the City’s 50% interest of the Coliseum Complex.

The Oakland A’s bought Alameda County’s half of the Coliseum for $85 million in 2020.

This critical vote came just three days after the Alameda County Joint Powers Authority unanimously approved a resolution to begin negotiating with the AASEG to bring a WNBA team to Oakland.  With these successive actions, the AASEG can formalize negotiations with City staff toward a Purchase and Sell Agreement for the Coliseum Complex.

“This is very important,” said 96-year-old Gladys Green, chair of the Elmhurst Board in Oakland’s 7th District, where the Coliseum sits. “These Black men and women are coming back into this community at a time when we’ve lost so much. It is critical that you move forward with the AASEG proposal.”

Desmond Gumbs is the athletic director of Oakland’s century-old Lincoln University. “This is a strong group,” he said. “We are really excited about their community engagement. Let’s do this. It’s great for our community.”

Councilmembers complimented the AASEG’s impactful community outreach, citing receipt of scores of support letters, in addition to the group’s top priority to maintain a “community first” development approach.

“The historic footprint of this effort is unprecedented,” said AASEG founder Ray Bobbitt.  “It would be the largest award of public land to an African American group in the City’s 169-year history.”

The AASEG proposal includes commitments to revitalize the local community through affordable housing, job creation, public services, hospitality, life sciences, education, retail, public space, sports and entertainment activities.  Voices from the community expressed their hope for much needed infrastructure and quality of life improvements within the East Oakland community.

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