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Preparing for a Storm: A guide for your business

SOUTH FLORIDA TIMES — Having experience with the impact that a major storm can have on businesses, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) provides key guidelines to help businesses prepare to weather storms and get back to business as safely and quickly as possible.

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By South Florida Times

Having experience with the impact that a major storm can have on businesses, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) provides key guidelines to help businesses prepare to weather storms and get back to business as safely and quickly as possible.

Plan ahead:
• Ensure your employees’ contact information is up to date.

• Have a plan in place to communicate after the storm passes, e.g. set up a telephone number with a recorded message that will be regularly updated to inform employees of the status of company operations.

• Consider developing a system to authorize re-entry to company facilities after a storm, e.g. I.D. cards and vehicle permits.

• Establish a safe area away from exterior glass windows and doors if you plan to take shelter at your business.

• Determine if your business is in a flood and/or evacuation zone and review evacuation routes, designating an emergency temporary site.

• Identify what you need to secure your building, important equipment and who will help; outline specific tasks and conduct a training session.

• Photograph or record your building or office – inside and out – for insurance purposes.

• DO NOT attempt to trim any vegetation growing on or near any overhead power lines. Only hire qualified professionals to trim trees and other vegetation near power lines.

• Make sure debris is cleared prior to a hurricane warning announcement – trash pickup will be suspended during this time. Trees and other vegetation are among the leading causes of power outages and can become airborne during a storm.

• Bookmark FPL.com/outage and save 1-800-4OUTAGE to your cell phone to report and check the status of your restoration.

• Download the FPL Mobile App in the App Store or Google Play, or text the word “App” to MyFPL (69375). • Save your FPL account number to the notes section of your cell phone, or keep a copy of your FPL bill – which has your account number on it.

• Update the phone number and email address on your FPL account.

• Consider installing a generator in case of power outages. Generator safety

• Read and follow all the manufacturer’s guidelines when using a generator to avoid dangerous shortcuts and ensure safe operation.

• DO NOT directly connect your generator to your business’s breaker or fuse box. Power from a generator connected to a business’s wiring will “back feed” into utility lines – which can severely injure or kill a neighbor or utility crew working to restore power.

• DO NOT run generators inside your business or garage, as they produce potentially deadly carbon monoxide fumes.

• Keep generators away from all open windows to prevent the fumes from entering your business.

• Buy a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm, which will alert you if carbon-monoxide levels become dangerous.

• Turn off all connected appliances before starting your generator.

• Turn connected appliances on one at a time, never exceeding the generator’s rated wattage.

• DO NOT touch a generator if you are wet, standing in water or on damp ground.

• NEVER refuel a hot generator or one that is running – hot engine parts or exhaust can ignite gasoline.

• Ensure you have plenty of gas safely stored in gas containers to operate your generator.

Before a storm:

• Pay attention to instructions from public officials and the media.

• Secure the exterior of your office and protect interior furniture:

• Identify outdoor equipment, materials and structures that could become airborne and move them to a safe location.

• Park vehicles in safe, protected areas such as a covered garage.
• Secure doors, windows and other openings.

• Move items away from the windows.

• Lock drawers and filing cabinets.

• Unplug all lamps, radios, computers and equipment in case of a power surge; cover important equipment with plastic bags. • Gather any important supplies and documents.

• Charge your cell phone and keep it ready by obtaining portable chargers.

• Make multiple back-ups of computer files and data and store records off premises.

• Run a special voice message informing employees and customers on the status of company operations.

• Close your offices with sufficient time to allow employees to secure their own homes, and inform clients that you’re closing early and when you plan to reopen.

After a storm:

• Make your safety and the safety of your employees a priority.

• DO NOT travel, or ask employees to travel, until it is safe to do so.

• Call 911 immediately to report dangerous or hazardous conditions. Please use the FPL Mobile APP or call FPL at 1-800-4-OUTAGE to report downed power lines or damage to FPL lines, poles or transformers. DO NOT attempt to touch any power lines. Always assume that every power line is energized.

• Read and follow all the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines if you use a portable generator. Remember to NEVER wire your generator to your breaker or fuse box – the power you generate may flow.

back into power lines causing severe injury or death.

• Turn off your circuit breakers, disconnect all electrical appliances and turn off all wall switches immediately in case of interior water damage. Remember to never stand in water while operating switches or unplugging any electrical device.

• Stay away from standing water and debris, which could conceal a live wire.

• DO NOT venture out in the dark because you might not see a downed power line that could be energized and dangerous. • Make emergency repairs only when it is safe to do so. Repairs that prevent looting or further damage should have top priority, but only if the repair can be done safely.

• Take inventory to determine and record losses – based off the photos and recordings you took for insurance purposes.

Staying in touch with FPL following a storm When outages occur, we know our customers want and need information on when their power will be restored. FPL will provide updated restoration time estimates and other progress reports via mobile if a storm strikes:

• FPL’s Mobile App • FPL’s website: FPL.com/storm • Twitter: Twitter.com/insideFPL • Facebook: Facebook.com/FPLconnect • YouTube: YouTube.com/FPL • FPL’s blog: FPLblog.com • FPL’s outage page: FPL.com/Outage • FPL’s outage number: 1-800-4OUTAGE For more storm and safety tips visit FPL.com/storm.

This article originally appeared in the South Florida Times

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Business

City Must Pay Contractors, Businesses, Non-Profits Promptly

By restoring the Prompt Payment Ordinance, local organizations working for Oaklanders will be compensated in a timely manner and can do more work for Oakland as a result.

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Sheng Thao

I have introduced legislation to restore the City of Oakland’s Prompt Payment Ordinance and it will be heard at 1:30 p.m. by the City Council on October 19 because local contractors and local businesses need to be compensated in a timely manner for work they do on behalf of the City.

It’s unacceptable that the city is using the COVID-19 pandemic to delay payment to these local non-profit organizations.  By restoring the Prompt Payment Ordinance, local organizations working for Oaklanders will be compensated in a timely manner and can do more work for Oakland as a result.

In March 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, then-Interim City Administrator, Steven Falk issued an Emergency Order suspending parts of the City’s codes to give the City the flexibility to navigate the uncertain times.  Few would have guessed then that the world would still be navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic nearly 18 months later. One of the ordinances suspended by the Emergency Order was the Prompt Payment Ordinance.

Oakland’s Prompt Payment Ordinance requires the City to compensate local businesses and contractors executing City grants or contracts within 20 days of receiving an invoice.  This allows local organizations providing services on behalf of the City of Oakland to be compensated in a timely manner and builds trust between these organizations and the city.  Local contractors and businesses provide a diverse set of services to the City, covering areas ranging from trash removal and paving to public safety.

Almost 18 months since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakland’s Prompt Payment Ordinance is still suspended.  Even as City staff have adjusted to working remotely and the City has adjusted to operating during the pandemic, there is no requirement that the City compensate its contractors or local businesses in a timely manner.

Oaklanders can comment at the meeting by joining the Zoom meeting via this link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88527652491 or calling 1-669-900-6833 and using the Meeting ID 885 2765 2491 and raising their hand during the public comment period at the beginning of the Council meeting.

 

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Business

A’s Owner John Fisher Port Proposal No Good for Oakland

Billionaire John Fisher, owner of the A’s, has things to do before he can take over Oakland’s public port property to build malls and housing for the rich. 

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Howard Terminal on Port of Oakland Map

OPINION

Billionaire John Fisher, owner of the A’s, has things to do before he can take over Oakland’s public port property to build malls and housing for the rich. 

It is such a bad idea and the costs to the public are so ridiculous that logically it shouldn’t happen.  But this right-wing, Trump-supporting Republican has a boatload of money and a few corporation-oriented politicians to help him push it through.  

So, Oaklanders need to be active, or he might get it. Here are two of the things we need to act on: 

  1. Fisher won’t spend his own money.  So, he wants Alameda County to give up spending on things like the COVID-19 pandemic, so we residents can pay for his project with taxpayer money.  The vote on this will come up to the Board of Supervisors on October 26.  If you’d prefer that the County fund health care, housing and other resident necessities, ask them to vote “No.” Call your supervisor at 510-208-4949 and/or attend the meeting.
  2. The Oakland City Council will make the ultimate decision about Fisher’s project and there are a zillion reasons they should say “No.”  Among them: a) Fisher’s project requires that thousands of people run across the tracks of a busy railroad, which killed a number of people even before there were big crowds needing to get to their condos or a stadium.   b) And  Fisher’s project would wreck Oakland’s Port.  The “Seaport Compatibility Measures” necessary to keep the Port alive would cost hundreds of millions of dollars which would not be needed if it were not for Fisher’s project.  So, Fisher, not taxpayers, should pay for them. c)  And then there are all the other ways it will hurt the waterfront, the environment, and Port workers.

You can get contact information to reach your Council member here – https://www.oaklandca.gov/officials

Personally, any public official who votes for Fisher’s project will never get my vote again.   Call me hard-headed, but the harm to  Oakland as a working-class, multi-racial city, the harm to the ILWU (the union of Port workers, perhaps the most progressive union in America)  and the opposition of the people of East Oakland are enough to make my hard head think that’s what solidarity requires.

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Business

Development Group Proposes Black Panther Film Studios at Coliseum

Elaine Brown, former Black Panther Party leader and CEO of Oakland & the World Enterprises (OAW), has teamed up with master developer McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS), to create The Coliseum Dream development project.

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Elaine Brown via Twitter

Elaine Brown, former Black Panther Party leader and CEO of Oakland & the World Enterprises (OAW), has teamed up with master developer McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS), to create The Coliseum Dream development project.

Highlights of the Dream project are: readiness to purchase the city’s 50% interest; positive discussions with the Oakland A’s; installation of Black Panther Studios as development anchor, which will be the first Black-owned film studio on the West Coast; ability to finance the entire development, estimated at $5 billion; building of hundreds of affordable housing units; development of a luxury hotel and department store; creating and supporting youth tech, arts and business training centers; construction of a supermarket in a food desert; making Oakland a tourist destination.

Vince Bennett, president and CEO of MBS, a multi-billion-dollar housing developer based in St. Louis, said: “MBS is ready to immediately enter into a purchase and sale agreement with the City of Oakland and become the master developer of the entire site.”

The Coliseum Dream Development Group (CDDG) recognizes the impossibility of developing the Coliseum site solely by purchasing the city’s 50% interest. Partnership with the other 50% interest owner, the Oakland A’s, is necessary.  

Brown says she has discussed the site with Dave Kaval, A’s president, over the last few years, and said, “Dave has stated he loves the idea of Black Panther Studios as the anchor of CDDG’s development vision.”

The problem CDDG faces is not readiness on its part but the City Council’s unwillingness to entertain proposals other than those two they hand-picked in a recent closed session.

In a closed session scheduled for Thursday, October 7, the Council considered the merits of its two preferred proposals, based on reports from the City Administrator.  This closed session meeting arose from a vote of the Council’s Rules Committee on Thursday, September 30.  

In lieu of allowing Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan’s request to push through a resolution at the Council’s October 19 meeting to enter into an agreement with the group she is promoting, the Council decided to consider the two proposals.  

It’s unclear what happens next.

Brown said, “There is no process regarding the sale of the city’s interest in the Coliseum, certainly not one that is transparent.”

In a statement to the Oakland Post, Brown submitted the following questions and answers:

Q:  Everybody talks about jobs and housing.  Will your group be able to deliver on the promise in your Coliseum Dream proposal to create jobs and build affordable housing for the community?

A (Elaine Brown): “Oakland & the World Enterprises (OAW), of which I am CEO, is presently co-developing a $72 Million, 79-unit, 100% affordable housing project in West Oakland with master housing developer McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS), headed by CEO and President Vince Bennett. 

“This reflects my ongoing commitment to the ideal of the Black Panther Party, of which I was a leading member, of Black self-determination.  The track record of MBS for building affordable housing is without parallel.  Not only has MBS built thousands of affordable housing units throughout the U.S., as well as, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, MBS is currently building a $1 billion development in Dayton, Ohio, the Dayton Arcade, which includes hundreds of affordable housing units and is bringing residents, jobs, and visitors back to downtown Dayton.  

“Our Coliseum Dream anchor project, Black Panther Studios, alone, will create thousands of new, high-tech jobs, and we will build an affiliated tech training center to create a new generation of Black, tech-savvy “digital carpenters” to make films and enter the tech economy at a high end.

Q:  Even if you are willing and able to purchase the City’s 50% interest in the Coliseum site, how can you develop the site without either purchasing the A’s 50% or partnering with the A’s?

A, (Elaine Brown): “Our team is prepared to purchase the City’s 50% interest outright, today.  We have not discussed purchasing the A’s 50% interest with the A’s, but, if that were an option, we would take it.  We have been in discussions with Dave Kaval, A’s president, over the last two years about our Coliseum Dream, and Dave has unequivocally stated that if we were to acquire the City’s 50%, he would work with us.  And, we have told Dave, we are willing to partner with the A’s.”

The Dream Proposal is available here: https://bit.ly/thecoliseumdream

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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