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OP-ED: Ras Baraka Takes Oath of Office as Newark’s Mayor

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I was never moved by the singing of the national anthem until July 1 when Alana Smith, a very young woman, blasted into the mike outside Newark’s Performing Arts Center during the inauguration of Ras J. Baraka as the city’s new mayor.

Yes, I was moved to tears but tears of joy at the child and the swearing in of a young man I’ve known since he was a child, Ras J. Baraka, son of my recently departed friend of 47 years, poet Amiri Baraka and his beautiful wife, Amina.

After Ras was administered the oath of office, he proceeded with the inaugural address.

After giving the eulogy at his father’s funeral in January, we knew his speech would be powerful, for he is a poet in his own right, although he revealed he is as much a preacher as poet with his call and response cadences.

He began with the mantra of his campaign, “WE ARE MAYOR,” and went on to delineate the social economic issues facing the city of his birth.

Hetalked about economic disparity, educational inequities, violence and incarceration as issues he must address. Mayor Baraka repeatedly called upon God to help him and the people of Newark, but declared he was a fearless radical who will call a spade a spade.

He told how he was in his mother’s womb when Martin Luther King Jr. dropped by their house. He was three years old when the Newark rebellion took place. His father was beaten bloody and mother terrorized.

This was his socialization, his rites of passage into the political world of Newark – and America. His mother, poet Amina Baraka, grandmother and three daughters sat behind him on stage, along with former elected officials, including Gov. Richard J. Codey, New York Mayor David Dinkins and Newark Mayor Sharp James.

Radicals present included poets Sonia Sanchez, Haki Madhubuti, Marvin X, Dr. Tony Montiero of Temple University, Philadelphia, Pam Africa of the Committee to Save Mumia Abu Jamal, New York senior Black producer Woody King and Baba Zayid of the New Black Panther Party.

The following notes from the mayor were printed in the official inaugural program:

“Today, we take our oaths of office and our greatest duty will be to serve each and every one of you with professionalism, efficiency and effectiveness. We are committed to listening and leading, to answering and acting and to be compassionate and caring.

“We seek a Newark of safe streets, strong schools, a clean environment and abundant prosperity. We are proud of how our city stands at the center of our regional economy, a focus for development and increasingly, a destination for entertainment and the arts.

“We have families to support, children to teach, homes to build, neighborhoods to strengthen and jobs to create. Together we will do so.”

So, on a hot day in Newark, the child of radical parents took the reins of power. In an act of political self-diminishment and people’s empowerment, he said repeatedly, “We are the Mayor!”

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Bay Area

De La Fuente Runs for Mayor

De La Fuente said he “will not tolerate homeless encampments where violence and drug abuse are rampant.” These encroachers are disrespecting our neighborhoods, our schools, our businesses, our residents, taking over our parks and defacing our city. He said the residents and businesses in our low-income flatland neighborhoods have been disproportionately affected by these encampments, and they deserve better. In collaboration with the county, we will serve our homeless residents who need it most, but not at the expense of other residents and businesses in our city.”

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Photo Caption: Ignacio De La Fuente

By Paul Cobb and news services

Ignacio De La Fuente, the former President of the Oakland City Council for 11 years, says he will run for mayor to rescue the city from its deep troubles.

He said he is returning to political leadership after a 10-year absence. Claiming that he is “sick and tired of what’s happening to our city,” and he can’t just stand by and witness “the city that I love become a place where people are afraid to walk the streets, to take their children to parks, to go out to dinner with their families or to park their cars on the street. I cannot let our city continue [to] be a place where seniors are assaulted and robbed in broad daylight, a place where illegal side-shows are constant throughout the city and a place where children are being shot and killed! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Oakland is not a dumping ground, and it is time to take action!”

He, along with the support of his former council colleague Nate Miley, who is now serving as an Alameda County Supervisor, and who is sponsoring a fundraiser for De La Fuente, has boldly declared that he will “do whatever it takes to increase the number of police officers, but I will give them the resources that they need to help them do their job, but above all, I will provide them the back up and political support that they need and deserve to perform their job for our residents and for our businesses.”

He said he “will not tolerate homeless encampments where violence and drug abuse are rampant.” These encroachers are disrespecting our neighborhoods, our schools, our businesses, our residents, taking over our parks and defacing our city. De La Fuente said the residents and businesses in our low-income flatland neighborhoods have been disproportionately affected by these encampments, and they deserve better. In collaboration with the county, we will serve our homeless residents who need it most, but not at the expense of other residents and businesses in our city.”

He wants to change the focus and emphasis of how the city spends its infrastructure money on what is truly needed by “repairing potholes, taking back and beautifying our parks, fixing our sewers and providing robust programming for our recreation centers and libraries to enrich the lives of our kids and seniors.”

In a characteristic fearless, colorful style that he achieved a no-nonsense reputation De La Fuente announced “The job of mayor is not for the faint of heart! Oakland is a great city that needs a mayor with the political backbone and experience to make the tough decisions to get this city back on track!

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Digital Issues

Oakland Post: Week of June 22 – 28, 2022

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post for the week of June 22 – 28, 2022

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The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post for the week of June 22 - 28, 2022

To enlarge your view of this issue, use the slider, magnifying glass icon or full page icon in the lower right corner of the browser window.

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Activism

Sheriff’s Deputies Skate with Marin City Youth

Sgt. Scotto and Deputy Gasparini, two officers from the Marin County Probation Department, came to interact with the youths and help them learn to skate and play basketball. Sharika Gregory, who hosted the event, really appreciates how Scotto and Gasparini interacted with the kids and said that it made a great difference.

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Top: Scotto lifting Aria, 7, so she can make her basketball shot. Middle: Sgt. Scotto and Dep. Gasparini of the Marin County Probation Department. Bottom: Scotto playing limbo. (Photos by Godfrey Lee)
Top: Scotto lifting Aria, 7, so she can make her basketball shot. Middle: Sgt. Scotto and Dep. Gasparini of the Marin County Probation Department. Bottom: Scotto playing limbo. (Photos by Godfrey Lee)

By Godfrey Lee

The Father’s Day Skating event on Sunday, June 12, at the Golden Gate Village’s Basketball Court in Marin City was a successful event that contributed positively to the relationship between the Marin County Sheriff’s Department and the Marin City community and helped some of the children get to know the officers.

Sgt. Scotto and Deputy Gasparini, two officers from the Marin County Probation Department, came to interact with the youths and help them learn to skate and play basketball. Sharika Gregory, who hosted the event, really appreciates how Scotto and Gasparini interacted with the kids and said that it made a great difference.

During the event, Scotto helped lift Aria, a 7-year-old girl, so she could make a basketball shot into the basket. Later Scotto played limbo with the children and tried his best to go under the rope.

The community generously contributed to the skating event. The Corte Madera Safeway and Costco donated the food. The Costco in Novato gave the skates. The Target in Marin City and the Marin County Probation Department also gave skates and gift cards.

Rev. Stephanie Ryder and the Redwood Presbyterian Church in Larkspur, also donated money to help to buy more skates for the events.

Gregory said that this was a very wholesome event for the community and will continue to host similar events in the future.

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