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New Councilmembers Reid and Fife Pledge Action in 2021 on Housing, Homelessness

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Trevia Reid, Councilmember Elect

Treva Reid, District 7, and Carroll Fife, District 3, are the two new City Councilmembers elected in November pledging to use the power and resources of local government to help Oaklanders turn a corner on the multiple, intertwined poverty-fueled crises that impact the city.

Among the issues their top priorities for 2021 are rampant homelessness and housing insecurity for many thousands more.

Reid, who is new to public office, formerly worked as a staff member for Assemblymember (now State Senator) Nancy Skinner. She notes that official homeless rates have increased by almost 50% from 2017-2019 and that 70% of those unhoused and unsheltered in Oakland are Black and primarily Black men.

“My goals are strategic community-driven approaches to addressing some of the challenges before us,” she said.

Many families can’t pay the rent, have been forced out of the market, and many homeowners are worried about losing their homes to predatory actors much like in the past recession….We must actually implement and fund policies that reflect that Black lives really matter,” Reid said.

Below are some of her proposed solutions:

 

  • Examine the budget to reallocate funding to produce, protect, and preserve affordable housing; prioritize the use of public land and increase the Housing Trust Fund.
  • Fully utilize the three hotels leased in partnership with Alameda County and the state. Also, secure funding to purchase underutilized hotels and convert vacant property to provide housing.
  • Remove barriers and enforce policies to ensure residents with criminal records can access secure permanent housing.
  • Change restrictive zoning to allow churches and places of worship to build low-income homes and affordable units on their property.
  • Expedite completion of 25 tiny homes being prepared to house young adults in District 7.
  • More city-owned land for RV parking/shelter locations
  • Pass and enforce laws to protect tenants from illegal evictions and advocate for programs to prevent homeowners from foreclosures.
  • Launch the City of Oakland’s NOFA (Notice of Available Funding) to help fund a pipeline of new multifamily affordable housing.
  • Advocate for tax abatements, increased federal and state funding for permanent subsidized low-income housing and affordable homeownership programs.

While new to the City Council, Fife has spent years at council meetings and organizing in neighborhoods, demanding affordable housing, fighting against displacement and pressuring banks and corporations to block housing foreclosures.

She is the director of the Oakland office for the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE).

She recently won national attention as a leader with Moms 4 Housing, a group of women who occupied a vacant home in West Oakland last year that was owned by a real estate investment firm.

“In order to halt the tsunami of homelessness that is sweeping Oakland and other areas, we need to keep people from becoming homeless in the first place,” she said.

“Once they become homeless, it’s a lot harder to get them into adequate housing. This means stronger local and state laws protecting renters, “pushing back against companies that are trying to get as much money as they can” from their properties.

The community has to demand to protect renters after the moratorium on rents expire, she said.

People are going to need protections to keep from losing their homes. “In the 2008 crisis, we saw what happened. We can’t let that happen again,” Fife said. “Homeowners became renters, and many renters became homeless. The banks were bailed out. People need a bailout to prevent homelessness,” she said.

Recently, West Coast political leaders signed a letter calling for a federal bailout. ACCE was part of that.

The city needs a tough public land policy, Fife believes. “There should not be any sale of public land to private developers, unless it is to house the homeless,” she said.

“There should also be an audit of every empty space of and every empty parcel of public land so everyone can shelter in place,” she said. “That’s what is right for our overall health and safety during this public health crisis.

Fife pointed out that Oakland is the largest city in the county but does not receive from the county the investment that it needs in terms of resources, programs and funding.

If we understand that “housing is a human right,” said Fife, “we must understand” that housing can no longer be sold as an unregulated commodity or traded by speculators.

“Speculations hurt residents,” Fife said in an interview on KQED FM “Speculation harms entire communities and entire neighborhoods. When people are engaged in buying up residential property for the sole purpose of flipping it and making as much money as they can, then that leaves out an entire group of individuals who cannot compete in that type of market.”

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Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌

Sen. Steve Glazer Vows Redo After Journalism Tax Bill Placed on Hold

Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa County) shared his thoughts expressed his views about Senate Bill (SB) 1327 at Capitol Weekly’s “Covering California: The Future of Journalism in the Golden State” conference, which was held in Sacramento on May 30.

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Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa) was the keynote speaker at Capitol Weekly's Covering California: The Future of Journalism In the Golden State event held in Sacramento on May 30. CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.
Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa) was the keynote speaker at Capitol Weekly's Covering California: The Future of Journalism In the Golden State event held in Sacramento on May 30. CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.

By Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌, California‌ ‌Black‌ ‌Media

Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa County) shared his thoughts expressed his views about Senate Bill (SB) 1327 at Capitol Weekly’s “Covering California: The Future of Journalism in the Golden State” conference, which was held in Sacramento on May 30.

During his keynote speech message at the one-day event, Glazer said admitted he couldn’t get the votes he needed to pass the bill SB 1327 that proposes imposing a “mitigation fee” on major digital technology companies to fund journalism jobs.

Despite the challenges, the Senator vows to keep the Legislation alive.

“We have had setbacks, and we have a lot of work to do to fix this, but I certainly am not giving up,” Glazer said at the event near the State Capitol. Glazer is chairperson of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee.

In addition to Glazer’s address, Capitol Weekly organized a probing conference that examined three of the most pressing issues facing California reporters.

Media experts, publishers, communications specialists, and political reporters assembled to discuss the preservation of fair, balanced, and accurate journalism. The need for media outlets to deliver high-quality news coverage that bolsters government, the assessment of new business models; and coverage of the State Capitol dominated the 5-hour event.

“It is nothing short of tragic I would say to see what is happening to the journalism industry,” said Tim Foster, Capitol Weekly’s Executive Director. “I’ve been in and around journalism since 1995 and what we are seeing today with the closing of the journalism industry is unprecedented in my lifetime.”

Glazer spoke for 45 minutes about the future of democracy and the role journalism plays in it. However, the Legislature’s failure to advance SB 1327 and why he pulled the bill was the main subject.

If SB 1327 should reemerge and be passed as law, fees collected would provide $500 million in employment tax credits to news organizations across California. The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to pass the bill with a 4-2 vote on May 16, but Glazer still needed a pathway for two-thirds of the votes required to make it off the Senate floor.

Glazer cited several reasons for why SB 1327 is facing opposition from digital tech giants like Google, Meta, Amazon, and publishers. These include concerns about increased advertising, the perceived threat of government influence, discrimination against larger publishers, a fear that the mitigation fee could trickle down to smaller news outlets as they expand, and nonprofit newsrooms that don’t pay taxes getting a share.

“Opponents will always sell the ghost in the closet,” Glazers said of entities that oppose the bill. “The news business is facing an existential threat, and they are fighting with each other over who will be the last passenger on the Death Star.”

California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) vice chair Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood) said on May 16 at the State Capitol that his biggest concern about SB 1327 was whether it would benefit Ethnic Media, including Black media platforms. “They’re usually left and still need more assistance,” Bradford said.

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Community

Public Policy Inst. of California Releases Data on Hate Crimes

Hate crimes against minorities have increased statewide over the last decade with a spike in violent crimes between 2020 and 2022, states a Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) report. The recent increase in violent hate crimes is backed by data revealing that victims were targeted based on personal characteristics, including race, ethnicity, and gender. Those violent hate crimes disproportionately affected Black, Latino, and Asian individuals.

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By California Black Media

Hate crimes against minorities have increased statewide over the last decade with a spike in violent crimes between 2020 and 2022, states a Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) report.

The recent increase in violent hate crimes is backed by data revealing that victims were targeted based on personal characteristics, including race, ethnicity, and gender. Those violent hate crimes disproportionately affected Black, Latino, and Asian individuals. Incidents of violent hate crimes including assault grew by 791. The number of property-related hate crimes, including vandalism, increased by 314 incidents. In all the incidents reported, 25% of the hate crimes included the use of weapons including knives, handguns, and clubs.

The report stated that violent hate crimes remain underreported. The California Department of Justice is working on plans to invest more money in facilitating the reporting of hate crimes and supporting communities affected most by these incidents.

According to the report between 2019 and 2022, hate crimes targeting Black people tripled, while incidents against Latinos doubled, and attacks against Asians more than tripled in recent years.

“These increases are overwhelmingly driven by violent rather than property crimes,” the report stated.

In 2022, approximately 75% of all reported hate crimes included violent attacks against Black, Latino, or Asian people.

The state has since passed bills to address current and emerging issues related to hate crimes. The Legislature passed AB 485 in 2020, requiring local law enforcement agencies to post monthly updates of hate crimes online. Legislators passed AB 449 in 2023, a law that requires local law enforcement agencies to report suspected hate crimes and provide information that helps report hate crimes to the state attorney general.

Gov. Gavin Newsom launched the “CA vs Hate” campaign, an educational awareness campaign that includes a hotline and online resources for reporting hate crimes. The campaign also provided funds to community-based organizations supporting victims of hate crimes.

“This potential change in reporting behavior, along with increased media attention to the problem, may be partially responsible for the recent uptick in the number of incidents we report on here,” the report stated.

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Opinion: Will Verdicts Help Black Voters See the Truth?

The news of Trump’s historic 34 guilty verdicts are about a week old. Has it sunk in that the man who insists on being the Republican nominee for president is the former president known officially as CFDT34? If the name sounds like a dangerous radioactive isotope, it is — to our democracy.

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CFDT34 is my coinage of a new acronym that we all should adopt. It’s shorthand for “Convicted Felon Donald Trump,” with 34 being the number of criminal counts of guilt.
CFDT34 is my coinage of a new acronym that we all should adopt. It’s shorthand for “Convicted Felon Donald Trump,” with 34 being the number of criminal counts of guilt.

By Emil Guillermo

The news of Trump’s historic 34 guilty verdicts are about a week old.

Has it sunk in that the man who insists on being the Republican nominee for president is the former president known officially as CFDT34?  If the name sounds like a dangerous radioactive isotope, it is — to our democracy.

CFDT34 is my coinage of a new acronym that we all should adopt. It’s shorthand for “Convicted Felon Donald Trump,” with 34 being the number of criminal counts of guilt.

We need to say CFDT34 aloud as a constant reminder. Too many Americans are in denial. Or just lying.

Especially, CFDT34 himself.

Trump insists it’s all a “fascist” witch hunt, but the verdicts were based on an avalanche of evidence. The defense failed to refute the statements of the National Enquirer’s David Pecker who admitted his role in the Trump campaign to catch, then kill, stories that threatened Trump’s candidacy.

The defense didn’t even attempt to explain Hope Hicks, an ally who delivered the damning testimony that Trump knew about the arrangement to pay off Daniels. Hicks was in tears telling the truth. The defense never countered.

And then there were the checks and invoices and ledger entries, that spelled out the whole scheme. The payments were lies, called “lawyer fees” but they really were reimbursements to attorney Michael Cohen who had used his own money to pay off Daniels.

Minor stuff? Not when done with the intent to violate election law. The payoff was intended to influence the election and it became an illegal campaign contribution as well.

And the hero is New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg, the African American man who led the prosecution. Bragg got justice for all voters denied the truth in 2016.

Contrast Bragg with Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla). the key African Americans lying for CFDT34.

Scott and Donalds lack the courage to honor the rule of law. Rigged case, they say.  Never should have been prosecuted. Where was the crime?

All of it baloney.

Prior to the historic verdicts, there was some historic polling.

Black voters were seen as abandoning Democrats, with Biden scoring just 70% of the vote. Four years ago, Biden was at 81%.

CNN called the pre-verdict polling the best results for the GOP among Black voters since Nixon.

The age breakdown is more telling. Black voters aged 50 and up were about 85% for Biden. Those who recalled civil rights battles were holding steady for Democrats.

Among Black voters under age 50, a new divide was revealed.  A reported average of polls showed young Blacks were 27% for Trump, with Biden at 64%.

Nearly a third of young Blacks were for Trump prior to the verdicts. But what would young Blacks think now? Would they back a person like Trump, a man who comes with racist baggage like the Central Park 5 saga, and is now a convicted felon?

I haven’t seen new data yet. But with Biden and Harris stepping up their attention on the Black community, talking about economics and pocketbook issues, I’d expect a turnaround when young Blacks hear the lies and the overall hypocrisy among the GOP.

About the Author

Emil Guillermo, an award-winning journalist, and commentator has covered race and politics in Hawaii, California, and Washington, DC. He has worked in newspapers, TV and on radio was host of NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

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