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Nevada Governor Calls Special Session For Las Vegas Oakland Raiders NFL Decision

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Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has announced a special session for October 10th iin Carson City and that will focus on the set of recommendations advanced by the Governor’s group called The Southern Nevada Tourism and Infrastructure Committee (SNTIC).In a statement on the Governor’s website, Sandoval’s staff reports the meeting will start at 8 am (PST) and he will release the agenda for it on Sunday, October 9th.

In the announcement, the Governor wrote “My staff and I have had extensive discussions with legislative leadership and it’s time for the full body to begin its deliberations on the recommendations of the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee. Now is the time to capitalize on the opportunity before us to invest in Nevada’s most foundational industry, tourism, by providing for the infrastructure and public safety needs of the 21st century. As I have said before, we can and must usher in a new era for tourism in the Las Vegas market, while keeping our citizens and visitors safe, and ensuring our position as the global leader in entertainment and hospitality.”The rest of the Governor’s statement focused on Nevada’s under-funded education system and his desire to “get ahead” of the needs of the education budget. It’s reported that a number of Republican Nevada lawmakers had high hopes a education funding for what are called “education savings accounts” would be part of the set of legislative actions for special session.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yclZ_Y–EK8

But the Nevada Supreme Court ruled the Legislature could not dip into money already set aside for public education. Having said that, the education discussion is arguably a political smoke screen for the real main event: the hotel tax increase and the $750 million bond issue that, if voted for, would be placed on the fiscal back of Clark County, Nevada.

The only way Clark County, Nevada could stop the decision is via a vote among its commissioners either not to do that bond issue, or to reduce the amount to something below the $750 million Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson and Oakland Raiders Owner Mark Davis say they want, and that not getting it would be, in their words, a “deal breaker.”

And if Clark County wound up approving that money, the next stop for proponents of the Oakland Raiders in Las Vegas would be the January NFL Owners Meeting.

According to observers the legislation would come down to a vote on a proposal that, if granted as one (rather than sectioned off as different bills) would lead to $750 million for the stadium, $400 million for the Las Vegas Convention Center Expansion Project, and $40 million for education, although it’s not clear where that money would come from as of this writing. What is clear, is that the stage is set for a massive battle between giving almost $1 billion to a person in Sheldon Adelson who is worth $29 billion, versus the original intent many in Nevada, which was to allow the state to provide $1 billion for the LVCC expansion project.

Does Nevada Special Session Spell End Of Tea Party Politics?

Over the past decade, the national Republican Party’s platforms have been altered by the emergence of the Tea Party. Formost among the advocates has been one Grover Norquist. His non-profit called Americans For Tax Reform opposes all tax increases, and has consistently hammered what he’s called “tax and spend” Democrats. He has also been vocal on taxpayer spending for NFL stadiums, and on Twitter tweeted “The 20 new NFL stadiums built between 1997 and 2015 got $4.76 billion in taxpayer funding. Av handout:$238 million” If the Nevada Legislature approves the $750 million, almost 16 percent of all taxpayer money spent between 1997 and 2015 would be represented in the dollars set aside for Las Vegas Sands and the Oakland Raiders.

Given that, and the Tea Party’s stance against such tax increases and expenditures, how could Nevada get to a point where it’s one vote from doing what not even Democrats are known for doing? Two words: Sheldon Adelson.

Fueled by his intense hatred for public money going to the convention center authority in Las Vegas, Adelson has been at war with the organization for the better part of 15 years. In an effort to slow down money going to LVCC expansion, Adelson and his staff saw the Raiders need for a new stadium, and Mark Davis’ willingness to not work effectively with the City of Oakland, as an opportunity not really to get a new venue for Las Vegas, but more as a new tool in his ongoing fight against the Las Vegas Convention Center Authority.

Oakland Raiders Las Vegas Nevada Special Session Monday

Oakland Raiders Las Vegas NFL Special Session Monday. Mark Davis and maybe Sheldon Adelson will be there

The true bottom line is that Adelson could pay for the football complex all by himself, if he wanted to. But he also knows that given his much talked about and current legal problems with money laundering allegations, he’s better off reducing his fiscal exposure as much as he can, and in the process steering tax money away from the LVCC.

To that end, Adelson first sought to control as much of the production of local news as possible. To do that he spent $140 million last year to buy the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Then, his management staff fired several journalists who didn’t want to play along and write only nice things about Adelson. Then, the remaining writers sought to pave a road of content favorable to the idea of an NFL stadium in Las Vegas, as well as why Nevada should agree to a hotel tax increase to give Las Vegas Sands $750 million to pay for it.

But Adelson had not stopped there: he also paid over $200,000 to help fund the campaigns of over 20 Las Vegas and Nevada lawmakers, from city council people to senators and assembly persons. The two public officials on the SNTIC, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodwin and Clark County Supervisor Steve Sisolak, both received a total of $25,000 from either Adelson or one of his business interests last year.

Even the Nevada Governor’s fed from the Adelson troff.

So, Sheldon Adeldon has done as much as he can to engineer this outcome. Many in Las Vegas and Nevada are, I’m told, afraid to piss off the billionaire. Why this is, is a mystery, but the word is out. Moreover, Adelson has the help of powerful friends, including Casino Magnate Steve Wynn, owner of such posh hotels as Wynn and Encore in Las Vegas, and who’s managed to realize significant revenues from Macao, as has Adelson. In a recent interview, Wynn said that having an NFL team in Las Vegas would be the biggest thing in 25 to 40 years and if the Raiders deal wasn’t approved, “someone should be arrested”. If that’s the case, Wynn may be calling for the jailing of The Nevada Taxpayers Association.

The Nevada Taxpayers Association has came out, full force, against the stadium financing proposal, saying that 57 percent of its board of directors is against the plan. Adding to their voice is that of the organization Nevadans for the Common Good, a religious non-profit that consists of 40 other similar companies.

Thus the stage is set. Stay tuned to this space and to Zennie62.com for more information leading up to Monday’s Nevada Special Session.

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Activism

After Wood Street Clearance, Homeless People Stay

Advocates claim about a dozen of them showed up on November 8 to support residents. One of them, Annmarie Bustamente, said their presence “definitely helped the residents block the eviction” and that the residents were “tired of displacement and said no” to a member of Oakland’s Public Works Department encouraging them to move. 

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Homeless Oakland Jessie Parker stands on Wood Street in West Oakland on November 10. The city of Oakland had planned to move Parker and dozens of others from this location between November 8 and 10, but residents refused to move and remained on site after the attempted closure operation. Photo by Zack Haber.
Homeless Oakland Jessie Parker stands on Wood Street in West Oakland on November 10. The city of Oakland had planned to move Parker and dozens of others from this location between November 8 and 10, but residents refused to move and remained on site after the attempted closure operation. Photo by Zack Haber.

By Zack Haber

On the morning of November 8, members of both Oakland’s Encampment Management Team, Public Works, and Police Department came to an area encompassing about 1/5 of a mile from Wood Street and Grand Avenue to Wood Street and 26th Street with the stated goal of clearing the location of homeless people. But after the attempted clearance, homeless people remained in the area.

“The objective was to move as many people as possible,” wrote Oakland Communications Director Karen Boyd in an e-mail. “But that could not be accomplished without the full cooperation of the community.”

“You can’t push us back any further than this,” said homeless resident Jessie Parker, a 63-year-old lifelong Oaklander who came to live on Wood Street after being shot in the leg. The injury prevented him from being able to do the physical movement required for the construction and electrical work he had done in the past. On November 4, the city put up pink notices informing him that starting in four days they would force him to vacate the area he’s lived in for about nine years, but he, like dozens of others living in vehicles, tents or makeshift homes along Wood Street, didn’t leave.

Parker’s statement references the fact that Wood Street is one of the westernmost streets in West Oakland. A little further west from where Parker lives is land owned by Caltrans under the 880 overpass where still more homeless people live, as well as a 1.5 acre plot of land belonging to a company called Gamechanger LLC. To the east are businesses and residential areas.

After about two years in delays, Gamechanger agreed to lease its land to the city for $1 a year and the city opened a Safe RV Parking site on July 7 on the company’s land through the non-profit Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency.

In the Safe RV Parking site, residents who own RVs and trailers can legally live in them and receive services. It’s unclear how long this service will last, as the lease between GameChanger and the city can expire by November of next year. That same lease laid out plans to allow 75 RVs or trailers space to park, but while walking through the site on November 10, this writer counted 29 RVs while half of the site sat vacant. The site is not available for many residents, like Parker, who don’t have an RV or a trailer.

“I never received an offer to move in,” said Parker, who lives in a truck. “It’s for RVs only.”

The site opening has put other residents at risk of displacement who can’t or don’t want to access it. Since Oakland’s City Council unanimously passed its Encampment Management Policy in October of last year, despite protests and critical public comments during five hours of a meeting, city policy now states those living within 25 feet of such sites can face clearance.

Although their policy now allows it, the city had not attempted to move nor even encouraged people who are living near the Safe RV Parking site to leave the area until the November 8 operation. But recent communications from Justin Tombolesi, who is the constituent liaison for District 3 Councilmember Carroll Fife, have led advocates and homeless people to believe the company is now pressuring the city to force people to leave the area. In a text message to a homeless resident who lives near Wood Street, Tombolesi wrote “Gamechanger is suing the city because people are too close to the RV site.”

Gamechanger denies suing or pressuring the city. When asked if the company was suing or threatening to sue the city, the company’s lawyer, Pat Smith of Smith LLP, responded in an email, writing “Not at all — no thought of suing the city. The city is solely in charge of the site and ownership has no involvement or concern over how the city is handling things.”

In an e-mail, Boyd wrote that “No filings or actions to terminate the lease have been served upon the city,” but that the city has “spoken with legal counsel representing GameChanger’s lot regarding the city’s plans to create compliance.”

In another text message to the same resident, Tombolesi also claimed the city would allow residents living on Wood Street to move to a vacant portion of land off the street and just north of the Safe RV Parking site during the November 8 closure operation. No residents have moved into that location and residents, as well advocates who were on site that day, claim no one was invited to do so. Boyd said the city offered nine spaces in the city’s Community Cabins, and five spaces in a rapid rehousing program called The Holland. One resident accepted a space in the Community Cabins, which is a program that offers small, unheated shelter in shed-like spaces made by the Tuff Shed company.

Advocates claim about a dozen of them showed up on November 8 to support residents. One of them, Annmarie Bustamente, said their presence “definitely helped the residents block the eviction” and that the residents were “tired of displacement and said no” to a member of Oakland’s Public Works Department encouraging them to move.

Although the closure operation was originally slated to occur over three days between Monday November 8 and Wednesday November 10, no one from the city came back after the first day.

“The ability to proceed Monday impacted the entire operation,” wrote Boyd in an e-mail, “and activities for the following days were cancelled.”

Although homeless residents did not leave Wood Street, Oakland’s Police Department’s Public Information Officer Kim Armstead said the department did tow six vehicles for long expired registration on November 6 and 7 in the area in preparation for the closure.

According to Armstead, the department avoided towing vehicles that served as people’s homes, as the department, following the cities’ direction, has “agreed not to tow vehicles where there is clear evidence they are being used as shelter.” Armstead also said on November 8, OPD supported the city operation with two officers, one sergeant, and six police service techs who provided traffic control and security for city workers.

One homeless resident named Evangeline said the towing of her and her husband’s vehicle has made it difficult to go grocery shopping and to visit her mother, who just had a heart attack. The couple can’t afford to pay the fees to get the car back, so it will remain in the tow yard.

“We’re really stuck,” she said.

Although residents like Parker avoided being moved from Wood Street, it’s unclear when or if the city will come back to move them. According to Parker, a member of the non-profit Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency has been working to secure some form of permanent housing for him, and he’s hopeful that the person will be successful.

“I’m a little older now so my peak interest is getting back into housing,” said Parker. “If I get into housing, I’m sure I won’t go back to this. I can’t take these harsh elements no more.”

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Activism

African American Sports & Entertainment Group (AASEG) helps support 25th annual turkey drive in East Oakland

Assembymember Mia Bonta said,”I am excited and fully in support of the City Council’s decision to prioritize an African American-led, Oakland rooted, development group to negotiate how we can reimagine the Coliseum site. This represents a promise of development without displacement, and amenities and entertainment that East Oakland once had and deserves again. This is also the kind of community-led, wealth building opportunity l will fight for at the state level, and I will continue to support initiatives like these here in the 18th Assembly District.”

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The African American Sports & Entertainment Group came out to support the 25th annual Community Giving Foundation Turkey drive at Verdese Carter Park in East Oakland.

Hosted by founder and organizer Marlon McWilson, the turkey drive that started in 1997 has now donated over 35,000 Turkey’s through McWilson’s foundation. In attendance were Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong, Oakland PAL, California Assembly Member Mia Bonta (AD-18) along with husband and Attorney General for the State of California Rob Bonta. Assembly Member Bonta also congratulated the AASEG on their recent unanimous 8-0 approval to enter negotiations with the City of Oakland on an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) to purchase the city’s half interest of the coliseum land, and looks forward to working with the team.

Assembymember Mia Bonta said,”I am excited and fully in support of the City Council’s decision to prioritize an African American-led, Oakland rooted, development group to negotiate how we can reimagine the Coliseum site. This represents a promise of development without displacement, and amenities and entertainment that East Oakland once had and deserves again. This is also the kind of community-led, wealth building opportunity l will fight for at the state level, and I will continue to support initiatives like these here in the 18th Assembly District.”

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Bay Area

Get Booster Shot, Celebrate Thanksgiving Holiday Safely, State Officials Say

Officials are encouraging people who took both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago to get their boosters now. People who took the one-shot Johnson & Johnson primary dose at least two months ago, should also schedule their booster shot.

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According to Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, the booster shots are being administered under an “emergency use authorization.”
According to Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, the booster shots are being administered under an “emergency use authorization.”

By Aldon Thomas Stiles, California Black Media

Golden State public health officials are recommending that Californians take COVID-19 booster shots to prevent a resurgence of the disease and to celebrate the holidays safely with their loved ones.

“It’s not too late to get it,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Department, referring to the COVID-19 booster shot. He was speaking at a vaccine clinic in Los Angeles County last week.

“Get that added protection for the Thanksgiving gatherings you may attend,” he said.

Last week, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine boosters for all adults in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) followed with an endorsement of the booster vaccine, recommending it for people over age 50, and anyone 18 and older who is at higher risk.

The CDC loosened the language for all other adults, saying anyone over age 18 “may” take the shot.

California officials say the booster shots are plenty and available throughout the state.

“If you think you will benefit from getting a booster shot, I encourage you,” said Ghaly. “Supplies are available. There are many sites across the state – thousands in fact.”

On Saturday, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup completed a separate review of the federal government’s approval process for the booster shots and also recommended that “individuals 18 or older who have completed their primary vaccination series,” take the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna boosters.

California, Oregon, Nevada and Washington state came together last year and created the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup. The group, made up of scientists, medical professionals and public health experts, is charged with reviewing COVID-19 vaccine safety.

Over the last two weeks, COVID-19 infections across the United States have increased at a rate of nearly 33%, according to the CDC.

Officials are encouraging people who took both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago to get their boosters now. People who took the one-shot Johnson & Johnson primary dose at least two months ago, should also schedule their booster shot.

“COVID-19 boosters are available to all Californians 18 [and over]! Walk-in clinics are open statewide with no appointment necessary – like this mobile clinic in Avenal. Find a clinic or pharmacy near you and get yours today,” Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office chimed in on Twitter.

Newsom has pushed hard for the vaccine booster since he received his last month.

“Great news for the rest of the country. The holidays are here — make sure to keep your immunity up and protect yourself and your loved ones. Get your booster,” Newsom tweeted on November 18.

According to Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, the booster shots are being administered under an “emergency use authorization.”

California Black Media’s coverage of COVID-19 is supported by the California Health Care Foundation.

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