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OPINION: Review by Planning Commission on Jan. 19 does not give citizens enough time to review

Oaklanders said they did not want this development to be built at the Port because the Port is Oakland’s biggest economic asset, and Port businesses will be harmed by having luxury residences adjacent to a 24/7 working seaport. The city staff report essentially says this will not be figured out in environmental impact. Both Port businesses and the most affected union workers say they will be harmed. And, while there have been some conversations between Port representatives and Port businesses, the issues raised have not been resolved.

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Port of Oakland area that would be turned into a stadium and luxury housing. Public domain image.
Port of Oakland area that would be turned into a stadium and luxury housing. Public domain image.

In Pre-Christmas Surprise, Oakland Mayor, City Staff Quietly Release 3,500 Page Report on Port Stadium Project

By Kitty Kelly Epstein

Six days before Christmas, Oakland City staff issued a 3,500-page document on billionaire John Fisher’s luxury housing project at Howard Terminal and scheduled a vote on it by the Planning Commission three weeks after Christmas.

Obviously, few of us can read 3,500 pages in that amount of time. So, the mayor and city staff who work for her have made it pretty clear that they don’t care whether the public has meaningful input.

I’m one of the people who can’t read 3,500 pages in a couple of days. So, in this column I simply point out a very few of the issues raised by 400 Oakland residents who critiqued Fisher’s real estate development on Port land and that are still not solved. Read the report here: www.oaklandca.gov/documents/response-to-comments-final-eir-for-the-oakland-as-waterfront-ballpark-district-project-chapters-and-appendices. Oaklanders said they did not want to have thousands of people running across busy Southern Pacific railroad tracks every time a ball game is played at the proposed stadium, because people already die crossing those tracks, and the numbers would likely increase. There are no realistic new solutions to this problem proposed. One overcrossing is proposed, which is completely insufficient (p. 4-8 and 7-3).

Oaklanders said they did not want this development to be built at the Port because the Port is Oakland’s biggest economic asset, and Port businesses will be harmed by having luxury residences adjacent to a 24/7 working seaport. The city staff report essentially says this will not be figured out in environmental impact. Both Port businesses and the most affected union workers say they will be harmed. And, while there have been some conversations between Port representatives and Port businesses, the issues raised have not been resolved (p. 4-9 and 4-13).

Oaklanders said the project would create massive traffic and parking problems, particularly for the residents of West Oakland. The document essentially agrees that these problems are real but says that the city has fulfilled its responsibility under the law by acknowledging the problems (4-184). And I can find nowhere else in the report that the tiny number of parking spaces provided by the project has in any way been realistically mitigated in its effect on West Oakland parking and traffic given the thousands of new residents, workers, and game attendees involved.

Most important of all, perhaps, is the fact that Oaklanders do not want to pay for the project with public funds. The city says it is paying $350 million of infrastructure with state, federal, and regional transportation dollars.

Those are tax dollars, and nobody in Oakland decided that’s how we would want $350 million in transportation funds to be spent. Most of our residents (and the planet) need for us to have expanded, excellent, cheap, fast public transportation more than we need to help a billionaire with infrastructure funding for his private project.

There is an additional proposed financing plan for this project that also involves public funding. While not addressed in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), it certainly has an ‘environmental’ impact on those of us who are not rich and whose quality of life is impacted by the ways that our public property and funding is used.

And there is a lot of research on the impact of stadiums on the local economy. One, by Stanford economist Roger Null, for example, says that “sports stadiums do not generate significant economic growth” (https://news.stanford.edu/2015/07/30/stadium-economics-noll-073015/). And he isn’t even discussing a project like Oakland’s which will actually harm the local economy by hurting Port business.

So why is this project still being discussed at all? It will harm current residents in a dozen different ways. Essentially, this deal creates an exclusive enclave, a new Piedmont, in the center of Oakland on our publicly owned Port property that we will pay for decades. Although no one has asked Oakland residents directly what we think, my impression is that a majority of residents would not support it, given the public costs, the damage to the Port, and the displacement caused to current residents.

Activism

Lend A Hand Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Lend A Hand Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland. On stage: KTVU Fox 2 Broadcasters Roberta Gonzales and Dave ClarkDance-A-Vision Founder, Carla Service, Vice Mayor Kimberly Mayfield-Lynch, California State Assemblymember Mia Bonta and Lend A Hand Foundation Executive Director Dee Johnson with the Dance-A-Vision Dancers. Photo By Carla Thomas

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Lend A Hand Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland. On stage: KTVU Fox 2 Broadcasters Roberta Gonzales and Dave ClarkDance-A-Vision Founder, Carla Service, Vice Mayor Kimberly Mayfield-Lynch, California State Assemblymember Mia Bonta and Lend A Hand Foundation Executive Director Dee Johnson with the Dance-A-Vision Dancers. Photo By Carla Thomas
Lend A Hand Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland. On stage: KTVU Fox 2 Broadcasters Roberta Gonzales and Dave ClarkDance-A-Vision Founder, Carla Service, Vice Mayor Kimberly Mayfield-Lynch, California State Assemlbymember Mia Bonta and Lend A Hand Foundation Executive Director Dee Johnson with the Dance-A-Vision Dancers. Photo By Carla Thomas

By Carla Thomas

The Lend A Hand Foundation (LAHF) celebrated the 25th anniversary of the organization’s Stay In School Program on May 9 at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland.

Themed “Together We Can Empower Our Youth to Stay in School,” the event featured a pre-event reception featuring Oakland’s Kev Choice Ensemble.

The ensemble featured Oakland School for the Arts student, Ayo Brame, a 16-year-old, up-and-coming tenor saxophone jazz musician. The master and mistress of ceremonies were local broadcasters Dave Clark and Roberta Gonzales of KTVU Fox 2. Clark’s wife, Lucretia also supported the program.

A special appearance featured Dwayne Wiggins of Tony! Toni! Toné! on guitar, performing the group’s hit song “Anniversary” as guests dined on salmon, chicken, beef and vegetarian entrees prepared by the Food Network “Chopped” Champion, Chef Rashad Armstead of Oakland. California State Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) provided the keynote address and the Carla Service Dance-A-Vision youth dancers energetically performed a hip hop routine throughout the audience in white leotards as attendees clapped along. An auction led by Auctioneer Franco Finn assisted in raising funds for the organization with prizes that included a luxury resort vacation and other items.

LAHF presented District 5 Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and District 4 Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley with Lifetime Supporter Awards. LAHF presented the Trailblazer Award to Guy Richardson of Ernst and Young; Dante Green of Kaiser Permanente; Antioch Attorney Gordon Greenwood of the Kazan McClain Partner’s Foundation; and Sarah Yoell of PG&E.

Oakland Unified School District Superintendent, Dr. Kyla Trammel Johnson acknowledged LAHF’s impact.

“Each year, LAHF gives backpacks and school supplies to thousands of students across Oakland,” said Johnson. “In 2022 the effort topped 25,000 students. No matter the need, big or small, involving lots of students or just one, Lend A Hand is always there ready to make a difference in the lives of our young people.”

Founder and executive director of LAHF Dee Johnson took the stage as the DJ played the Sledge Sisters’ “We Are Family.”

Guests gave Johnson a standing ovation as she thanked supporters and presented many of them with gifts.

“It’s heartbreaking to know some children don’t have clothes or supplies for school,” said Johnson. “The babies really need our support and when we deliver supplies to them, it makes them really happy.”

Since the LAHF Annual Stay in School Program began in 1999, it has provided over 150,000 educational school supply kits to students throughout Alameda County, including Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, and San Leandro, among other cities.

“This past August, we provided for over 12,000 students with supplies, with the help and support of our very generous donors,” said Johnson. “This year, we aim to do all we can to match that amount or provide even more.”

For more information visit: www.LendaHandFoundation.org

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Chef Cleaz and Mistah F.A.B. Host “You Still Have A Son” Mother’s Day Dinner

Oakland Chef Cleaz and Bay Area rapper, author Stanley Cox, aka Mistah F.A.B., hosted a Mother’s Day dinner on Monday, May 13, at Pierre Pierre, a restaurant in the Tribune building in downtown Oakland. The restaurant was decorated with balloons and flowers for the event, and each mother received a bouquet of red roses.

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Chef Cleaz, owner of Pierre Pierre Restaurant, and rapper and author Mistah F.A.B. announce special event "You Still Have Son" Mother's Day dinner. Photo Courtesy KTVU Channel 2.
Chef Cleaz, owner of Pierre Pierre Restaurant, and rapper and author Mistah F.A.B. announce special event "You Still Have Son" Mother's Day dinner. Photo Courtesy KTVU Channel 2.

By Carla Thomas

Oakland Chef Cleaz and Bay Area rapper, author Stanley Cox, aka Mistah F.A.B., hosted a Mother’s Day dinner on Monday, May 13, at Pierre Pierre, a restaurant in the Tribune building in downtown Oakland.

The restaurant was decorated with balloons and flowers for the event, and each mother received a bouquet of red roses.

Organized for mothers who have lost their children, for mothers in need of extra love on Mother’s Day, the event gave the hosts an opportunity to remember their own mothers while doing something special for over 100 mothers in the community.

Both men recounted the deep sense of grief they faced in the loss of their mothers and recognized the many mothers who have outlived their children.

“We were in my restaurant, and F.A.B. was having dinner and said he wanted to do something special but wasn’t sure what it would look like,” said Chef Cleaz. “We continued to brainstorm, and at first F.A.B. wanted to come up with ways to bring more business to my new restaurant and serve the community. But days later, F.A.B. came up with the idea for mothers.”

“In these tough times. we know life can get you down'” explained F.A.B. “And expect to lose a parent, but a parent should not lose their child, and with Mother’s Day around the corner, we decided to show moms in need of something special and extra love.”

F.A.B. also knew that Chef Cleaz had recently lost his mother, which made the idea even more appropriate to them.

So, the day after Mother’s Day, F.A.B. and Cleaz hosted “You Still Have A Son, Momma” at Pierre Pierre.

“We wanted moms to still feel appreciated under the covenant of family and love,” said F.A.B.

“I remember my mother being my rock,” said Cleaz. “My mom played a very important part in my life, and not having her anymore gave me the impetus to do something in her honor. She gave me a lot in her lifetime. F.A.B. offered to pay for the entire event, but I said, let’s collaborate.”

“My mom was my best friend, and on Mother’s Day I cry and listen to music so I can get the tears out. But I’m happy because I’m living my purpose, continuing to evolve as a man and father to Liberty and Legacy and continue making my mom proud.”

Initially, Cleaz and F.A.B. planned for 50 to 75 guests, but after they advertised the event via social media posts, the RSVP’s kept rolling in. At last count,120 mothers responded.

F.A.B. said he did not plan on turning anybody away if there were more guests. “If they’re coming, there is a void of love that they are coming for,” he said. Chef Cleaz’s staff donated their time, and entertainer Dyson the Voice brought his band and sang all night.

“We wanted to see all the beautiful women out there,” said F.A.B. “We wanted to see lots of beautiful smiles, faces, and we want the mothers to feel appreciated.”

F.A.B. said his sister Theresa lost her son and that he knows at a very personal level how deep the loss of a child is through her. “You never really get over the loss, you deal with it. You try to make life better for those around you.”

Pierre Pierre is located at 401 13th St. Owner Chef Cleaz is a renowned celebrity chef from the vibrant culinary scene of San Francisco. Born from humble beginnings, he has forged an extraordinary path to culinary stardom, exemplifying Black excellence with each delectable dish he creates.

A dedicated father and loving husband, his commitment to family values extends far beyond his home, as he tirelessly helps anyone he sees in need.

Chef Cleaz has built an empire rooted in his passion for food and a deep respect for cultural heritage. His vision is to establish a sanctuary of culinary artistry, where creole and soul food recipes take center stage. He aims to create a space that the community can proudly call its own, a place where shared meals become moments of togetherness and cultural celebration.

Through his culinary creations, he invites visitors to savor not just his delectable dishes but also the history, traditions, and stories that infuse every plate.

F.A.B. is an American songwriter, entrepreneur, community organizer, and activist whose music career began in the late 1990s when he was discovered by Jazzy Jim and Gary Archer. He was featured on a number of Mac Dre’s Thizz Nation mixtape compilations and quickly gained prominence in the San Francisco Bay Area Hyphy Movement.

F.A.B. is the owner of D.O.P.E. clothing store and other businesses. He is known for hosting community block parties, school supply giveaways, and holiday parties for the underserved. He also created Thug Therapy, a movement for men to receive mental health support, which inspired the work of another community organizer, the late Shantell Herndon, creator of FLY Girl Therapy and Healing Circles.

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Oakland Post: Week of May 15 – 21, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of May May 15 – 21, 2024

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