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Mayor Jean Quan Leaves Rich Legacy for Oakland

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Jean Quan’s legacy as mayor of Oakland is marked by major improvements in public safety, economic advancement and environmental initiatives in the city.

Mayor Quan was the first mayor to work directly with the federal monitor who has been overseeing city’s police department.

Before her tenure, the city’s compliance with court-mandated police reforms languished. But under her leadership, the city and the police department have completed all but a handful of the 51 tasks ordered by Judge Thelton Henderson.

Mayor Quan went beyond these tasks to hire the most diverse police force in the city’s history – with over 55 percent people of color participating in the last six police academies, including 49 percent bilingual and a record number of women recruits.

Over the last four years, she has overseen efforts to require and implement the use of police body cameras – before Ferguson, MO made these cameras into a national priority.

For the first time in decades the city have gone over a year – almost 19 months – without an officer involved shooting.

She enlisted federal help to tackle gangs and implemented police department reorganization – holding officers responsible for specific geographic areas – and launched Ceasefire, credited with helping to bring down crime and violence.

“The police reforms are my greatest legacy,” said Mayor Quan.

More broadly, Mayor Quan raised a record amount funding to support the hiring of 2,000 youth in the Mayor’s Summer Jobs program and was involved in the partnership with the White House and League of Cities to launch My Brother’s Keeper and other programs to address the needs of young men of color.

After the project had been stalled for nearly a decade, she helped to kick-start the Oakland Army Base and Port of Oakland development, bringing in a quarter of a billion dollars in state funds.

She and the governor found a developer in China, who made the individual Chinese investment in the U.S. to build 3,100 units at Brooklyn Basin, which will start construction next year.

She has pushed for the city to build Coliseum City project, now in negotiations for sports complexes, hotels and housing.

Under her leadership, Oakland built or saved a record number of 1,700 affordable homes and set a goal of 25 percent of future housing as affordable.

Since 2010, Oakland has added 18,000 jobs. Sales tax revenues rose 9 percent last year.

Oakland is a model city that leads nationally in green, sustainable practices. The city’s Zero Waste contract with trash management companies will reduce landfill waste dramatically.

The garbage diversion from the landfill will be more than 80 percent. The new bike lanes and increased focus on new housing along major arteries are making Oakland a greener community.

The results that Mayor Quan has achieved in her four years as mayor provide a solid foundation on which the city and its residents can prosper and grow.

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Conway Jones

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Bay Area

Vice Mayor: Business Group Wants to Buy Coliseum, Attract WNBA Team

The group will provide additional details of its effort at a news conference at 11:00 a.m. Friday at a site to be determined.

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Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan.

Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan said a local business group has made serious inroads to buy the city’s 50% stake in the Oakland Coliseum complex and to bring a WNBA team to the city.
Kaplan’s office shared a news release Monday about the effort by the African American Sports and Entertainment Group.

Kaplan said the group is in negotiations with the Oakland-Alameda Joint Powers Authority, has submitted a formal proposal to WNBA officials, and has submitted a term sheet to the city, which the City Council’s rules committee recently voted to advance to the full council for a vote.

The group will provide additional details of its effort at a news conference at 11:00 a.m. Friday at a site to be determined.

“I am pleased that there is such great interest in doing an important development at the Oakland Coliseum that will provide jobs, revenue and community positivity,” Kaplan said. “My goal is to help this process move forward before the summer recess.”

Kaplan said the group has the backing of more than 30 community groups of faith-based institutions, labor organizations, civic leaders, and job development organizations. She did not name the groups

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Art

City Selects Ayodele Nzinga as Inaugural Poet Laureate

As poet laureate, Nzinga will make an inaugural address, partner with the city’s youth poet laureate Myra Estrada on a reading series, deliver four readings in Oakland, and write a poem that commemorates the city.

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Oakland first poet laureate Ayodele Nzinga, author of “SorrowLand Oracle” and “The Horse Eaters,” in an undated photo. (Photo courtesy City of Oakland).

Poet, playwright, and community activist Ayodele Nzinga was selected as Oakland’s inaugural poet laureate, city officials announced on June 11.

Nzinga is the founding producer and director of the West Oakland theater company Lower Bottom Playaz, established in 1999. She’s also the founding director of Black Arts Movement Business District Community Development Corporation, which produces BAMBDFEST, an international arts and cultural festival celebrating the arts in the Black community.

“Her decades-long commitment to Oakland’s art scene will feed the richness of her storytelling as she nurtures creativity in others,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement.

Nzinga is the author of at least two books of poetry: “SorrowLand Oracle,” a collection of spells, incantations, prayers, and “The Horse Eaters,” which is described as an origin tale, a reclamation of memory and a movement toward wholeness in thought.

Nzinga said she is “overjoyed” with her selection as Oakland’s first poet laureate.

“I look forward to representing ‘The Town’ and the honor of bringing poetry to the people!” she said in a statement.

As poet laureate, Nzinga will make an inaugural address, partner with the city’s youth poet laureate Myra Estrada on a reading series, deliver four readings in Oakland, and write a poem that commemorates the city.

“Whether in the visual performing arts, music or literature, the talents of the Town’s artists are world-renowned and deserve recognition and financial support,” J. K. Fowler, cultural affairs commissioner and chair of the poet laureate selection team, said in a statement.

City officials closed nominations on May 19 for Oakland’s inaugural poet laureate and five members of the city’s literary community selected Nzinga from other nominees based on five criteria.

That included their poetic work, and among other things, their understanding of civic stories around belonging, culture, and equity.

Nzinga will serve a two-year term until May 2023. Her selection comes with a $5,000 honorarium.

The date for the inaugural address by Nzinga has not been set.

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Business

Go Fund Geoffrey’s

Whether it was Paul Mooney, Faye Carroll, Sugar Pie or Jay-Z performing or whether it was Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Mayor Elihu Harris, or Kamala Harris along with many of the Bay area’s elected officials they too have come to bask in the limelight of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle.

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Geoffrey's Inner Circle

For more than 30 years Geoffrey Pete ‘s business, Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, has been a cultural hub because of its full-service restaurant, live entertainment, nightclub parties, jazz music and community special occasion events. Faith-based organizations have also rented the spacious facilities for services and concerts. Their full-service restaurant, bar and live entertainment business along with their tenants and multilevel event rental spaces have been severely interrupted and devastated by the COVID 19 lockdowns and restrictions.

Whether it was Paul Mooney, Faye Carroll, Sugar Pie or Jay-Z performing or whether it was Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Mayor Elihu Harris, or Kamala Harris along with many of the Bay area’s elected officials they too have come to bask in the limelight of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle. Now those lights are dimmed due to the economic conditions that have descended on high intensity people-contact businesses.

Thanks to a group of customers and supporters a Go Fund Me page has been opened for the public to contribute to support Geoffrey’s Inner Circle https://gofund.me/b2541419.

The Post newspaper has notified the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce that regular articles concerning the needs of Geoffrey’s and other Black-owned Businesses will be published weekly.

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