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San Francisco Named Host City for 2023 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit

Asian Americans account for about a third of San Francisco’s total population, and San Francisco has Sister City relationships with cities throughout the region, including Osaka, Seoul, Ho Chi Minh, Manila, Sydney, and Shanghai. San Francisco’s Chinatown is the first in North America and one of the largest Chinese communities outside of Asia. Additionally, the city currently hosts over 75 consulates, representing the government interests of virtually all major countries around the world. Additionally, many trade commissions have established offices in and around the city.

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San Francisco is a major destination for business and tourism and leads the world in technology innovation. The city has a long history as a top destination for travel, conferences and seminars.
San Francisco is a major destination for business and tourism and leads the world in technology innovation. The city has a long history as a top destination for travel, conferences and seminars.

The summit will be held at Moscone Center and is expected to draw thousands of attendees from around the world with an estimated $36.5 million in total economic impact

By S.F. Mayor’s Office

Mayor London N. Breed celebrated news that San Francisco has been named the host city for the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit, or APEC, in November of next year.

The announcement was made on Nov. 18 at APEC where Vice President Kamala Harris is attending the Summit in Bangkok, Thailand. San Francisco will welcome President Biden, various chiefs of states, heads of government, and other officials from around the world.

In a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in August, Breed made the request for the City and County of San Francisco to host the 2023 APEC Leaders’ Summit. U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla also submitted letters in support of the City winning the bid to host the five-day event.

Breed highlighted San Francisco’s extensive economic, cultural and academic connections to the Asia-Pacific Region, including the City’s recognition as the gateway to the Asia Pacific, which has positioned San Francisco as the primary destination for foreign direct investment from Asia.

Established in 1989, APEC is an intergovernmental forum for 21-member economies in the Pacific Rim that promotes free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The countries that will be represented in next year’s APEC Leaders’ Summit include the United States, Canada, China, the Philippines, Japan, Singapore and Thailand.

“We are honored to be named as next year’s host and ready to welcome leaders from around the world to our beautiful city,” said Breed. “I want to thank President Biden and Vice President Harris for selecting San Francisco to host next year, as well as Speaker Pelosi and Senators Feinstein and Padilla for their unwavering support in this process.”

“San Francisco has the infrastructure already in place to accommodate an event on the scale and scope of the APEC Leaders’ Summit,” said Breed. “Our economic recovery is ongoing, but our footprint is strong with over 34,000 hotel rooms, a newly renovated Moscone Center, iconic sites and cultural experiences, and a world-class culinary scene. This is an exciting opportunity for our City, its residents, workers, and visitors.”

“San Francisco has long been recognized as a gateway to the Asia-Pacific — and thanks to President Biden and Vice President Harris, we are proud to host the Leaders’ Meeting of the 2023 APEC Summit,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “With San Francisco’s deep economic, cultural and academic connections to the region, I was proud to join the chorus in advocating for our city as the perfect host for this critical gathering of Asia-Pacific leaders.”

Each year, the San Francisco Customs District logs $100 billion from two-way shipping with APEC members. Northern California firms sell an estimated $60 billion of goods and services to APEC buyers. The region continues to be a source and destination for massive investment flows.

“I’m thrilled that San Francisco was selected to host APEC next November. As one of the most significant cultural, commercial, and financial hubs in the United States, San Francisco is a great choice for a gathering of economic leaders from throughout the Asia-Pacific region,” stated Dominic Ng, chairman and CEO of East West Bank and President Biden’s appointee as 2023 Chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) stated. “As ABAC Chair, I look forward to working closely with the Biden Administration, the State of California, and the City of San Francisco on a successful APEC in 2023.”

“As the nation’s shining gateway to the Asia-Pacific region, San Francisco and the Bay Area are the ideal choice to host this important leadership summit,” said Jim Wunderman, Bay Area Council President and CEO. “This selection represents a ringing endorsement of San Francisco as a place of unmatched global connections, dynamic economic activity and rich cultural vibrancy. I want to applaud San Francisco Mayor London Breed and her entire Administration for their great work in securing the APEC Summit.”

Asian Americans account for about a third of San Francisco’s total population, and San Francisco has Sister City relationships with cities throughout the region, including Osaka, Seoul, Ho Chi Minh, Manila, Sydney, and Shanghai. San Francisco’s Chinatown is the first in North America and one of the largest Chinese communities outside of Asia. Additionally, the city currently hosts over 75 consulates, representing the government interests of virtually all major countries around the world. Additionally, many trade commissions have established offices in and around the city.

San Francisco is a major destination for business and tourism and leads the world in technology innovation. The city has a long history as a top destination for travel, conferences and seminars. In October, Salesforce brought Dreamforce back to San Francisco in person, attracting more than 40,000 people. The APEC Leaders’ Summit is estimated to generate nearly $37 million in economic benefit to San Francisco.

“This is a big win for San Francisco,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president & CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association. “APEC will bring global attention to the city, as well as thousands of international visitors that will help support our economic recovery and the hundreds of small businesses that depend on visitor dollars.”

This month Travel and Leisure magazine featured San Francisco as one of the 50 best places to travel in 2023 and the Wall Street Journal named San Francisco International Airport (SFO) the best large airport of 2022 thanks in part to the upgrade of its Harvey Milk Terminal 1, reliable flights and top-notch amenities. Virtually every major APEC city has direct or one-stop flights to SFO.

The San Francisco Bay Area has hosted major events in the past including the United Conference of Mayors in 2015, Superbowl 50 in 2016, and the Global Climate Action Summit in 2019. The last time the U.S. hosted APEC was in 2011. Additional details about the 2023 APEC Leaders’ Summit are forthcoming and will be released at a later date.

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Activism

Call to Protect Geoffrey’s Inner Circle from Threatened High-Rise Development

Geoffrey’s, located at 410 14th St., is part of the city’s Black Arts Movement and Business District which was formed in 2016 by reso-lution of the Oakland City Council to protect Black-owned businesses and enhance a downtown district that would encourage the historic African American legacy and cul-ture of Oakland.

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By Ken Epstein

Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, a downtown Oakland Cultural Center that has featured live jazz and served music lovers and the Black community for decades, is now under threat from a proposed real estate development that could undermine the stability and future of the facility.

Geoffrey’s, located at 410 14th St., is part of the city’s Black Arts Movement and Business District which was formed in 2016 by resolution of the Oakland City Council to protect Black-owned businesses and enhance a downtown district that would encourage the historic African American legacy and culture of Oakland.

Now, the Oakland Planning Commission is considering a high-rise building proposed by out-of-town developers next to Geoffrey’s, which would jeopardize both the survival of the venue and the Black business district as a whole.

In addition to running a business that has been a crucial institution in the local community and the regional arts scene, Geoffrey Pete, founder, has utilized his business to offer meals for thousands of unsheltered individuals and hosted countless community events.

The following petition is being circulated in defense of Geoffrey’s and the Black Arts district (To add your name to the petition, email info@geoffreyslive.com):

“The African-American community in Oakland has been seriously damaged by developers and public offcials who are willing and sometimes eager to see African Americans disappear from the city. Black people comprised 47% of the population in 1980; now they make up only 20% of said population. In response to this crisis the 14th Street Corridor from Oak to the 880 Frontage Road was established as the Black Arts Movement and Business District by the City Council on Jan. 7, 2016, in Resolution 85958.

Tidewater, an out-of-town developer, is proposing to build a high-rise building at 1431 Franklin, which will damage the Black business district and the businesses in the area including the iconic business of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle at 410 – 14th St.

We demand that the Planning Commission and the City Council reject this predatory building proposal and proceed with plans to fund and enhance the Black Business District.”

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Bay Area

Popular Chief LeRonne Armstrong Placed on Administrative Leave During Investigation of Police Misconduct

In a press statement, Mayor Sheng Thao said that placing Armstrong on paid administrative leave was not punitive but was a standard procedure when investigating possible officer wrongdoing. “We must do what we need to do to get out of that oversight,” she said, explaining that she wants to show the public and the court monitor that there will be no favoritism. A rookie officer or the top officer will face the same investigative process.

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In his remarks, Armstrong defended OPD’s internal affairs department and fellow officers who were criticized in an independent report that found “systemic deficiencies” in the police department.

“I did nothing wrong. I violated no policies,” said Armstrong, speaking at a press conference

By Ken Epstein

Refusing to accept administrative leave during a police misconduct investigation, OPD Chief LeRonne Armstrong fired back with a press conference of his own this week, organized by a high-profile corporate public relations and communications firm.

“I should be the chief of police and remain in my position,” he said. “I did nothing wrong. I violated no policies.”

Mayor Sheng Thao placed Armstrong on administrative leave with pay while his role in an officer misconduct cover-up scandal is investigated by internal affairs. The case involves a highly paid police sergeant who was involved in a hit-and-run automobile accident in San Francisco and is accused of later discharging a gun in an OPD freight elevator and disposing of the shell casings by throwing them off the Bay Bridge.

At a press conference Monday at the office of PR consultant Sam Singer’s office in Emeryville, Armstrong did not blame Mayor Sheng Thao for placing him on leave but instead denounced federal monitor, Robert Warshaw, who oversees the police department and evaluates its reform efforts as a representative for the federal court that has overseen OPD for two decades.

In his remarks, Armstrong defended OPD’s internal affairs department and fellow officers who were criticized in an independent report that found “systemic deficiencies” in the police department.

“This to me, clearly, is a last-ditch effort to destroy the credibility of me…and to make the community believe that Oakland police is involved in some shady business,” he said.

He blasted Warshaw’s “ulterior motives,” accusing him and his team of seeking a reason to continue to be paid over $1 million a year to oversee the department, which was potentially set to exit from federal oversight at the end of May.

“It’s hard to say a mayor who’s been in the seat for just a couple of weeks would be able to push back against a monitor at this point,” Armstrong said, adding that some city officials might be “intimidated” by Warshaw’s team.

City Attorney Barbara Parker said in a statement that her office agreed that the recent report on OPD deficiencies “revealed failures that call into question the integrity of (OPD’s) internal investigation processes.”

Many observers and police accountability activists are saying that the present scandal and subsequent community uproar over Chief Armstrong is best resolved by removing police misconduct investigations from OPD and instead turning the cases over to an independent civilian body.

Defending the department’s internal investigation, Armstrong said the investigation that was conducted was “consistent with the findings that were presented to me.”

“To work and get to this point and have it taken away from you hurts. It doesn’t just hurt me, it hurts my community because every day I come into this job to try to make Oakland better,” he said. Prior to this incident, Armstrong has been widely praised for helping make significant reforms at OPD and paving the way for an end to federal court intervention.

Armstrong said the sergeant involved in the case, who was identified in the media as Michael Chung, was placed on leave following the shooting incident, but that the chief was unable to review the case because Warshaw had taken over the investigation.

Sergeant Chung, one of Oakland’s most highly paid employees, received total pay and benefits of $492,779.77 in 2021, including regular pay of $160,828.84 and overtime pay of $276,959.38.

Armstrong, who has deep ties in the Oakland community, was born and raised in West Oakland, California, and was a graduate of McClymond’s High School. He joined the OPD as a police officer in 1999, after spending four years with the Alameda County Probation Department. He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree.

In a press statement, Mayor Sheng Thao said that placing Armstrong on paid administrative leave was not punitive but was a standard procedure when investigating possible officer wrongdoing.

“We must do what we need to do to get out of that oversight,” she said, explaining that she wants to show the public and the court monitor that there will be no favoritism. A rookie officer or the top officer will face the same investigative process.

“I want to make sure that everyone understands that, under our administration, that we take these findings seriously and it’s important that we look at taking the corrective action that is needed to make sure that we stay on track to make sure that we get out of the federal oversight,” she said.

“My belief is that, by holding ourselves accountable, we can be safer and a more just city,” Mayor Thao said.

At a federal court hearing Tuesday, Judge William Orrick, not addressing the criticisms of Warshaw’s role, said he was “profoundly disappointed” by the findings of the outside report conducted by attorneys hired by the City of Oakland, which revealed “significant cultural problems” that still exist after 20 years of court oversight.

The oversight began as a result of the negotiated resolution to a civil rights lawsuit in the Riders scandal in which plaintiffs alleged that four veteran officers, known as the ‘Riders,’ planted evidence and beat residents, while OPD turned a blind eye to the police misconduct.

“This is the third time since I’ve been overseeing the implementation of the (settlement) that the city has seemed to come close to full compliance,” Judge Orrick said, “only to have a serious episode arise that exposes rot within the department.”

Mayor Sheng Thao said she takes this case seriously, not a minor fender bender as some have dismissed it, and that said those involved will be “disciplined appropriately.”

“This particular misconduct is serious because it provides fertile ground for other misconduct to thrive,” she said at the hearing. “I will not tolerate toxic subcultures that try to demonize or deter officers who do the right thing.”

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Arts and Culture

IN MEMORIAM: Autris Paige

Paige performed regularly at Four Seasons’ Yachats Music Festival in Oregon from 1983-2017, with artists from around the world. Puerto Ricans Ilya and Raphael LeBron, soprano and baritone, remember him: “He leaves us with a warm memory of the simplicity that made him great: as a human being, as a friend and as a masterful artist!” Baritone Anthony Turner of New York says: “Autris was the embodiment of class and elegance. He delivered every song with a warm silken tone and economy of gestures. Autris gave of himself, his truth, his joy and love.”  Pianists Dennis Helmrich and Gerald Hecht often collaborated with Mr. Paige said: “Autris Paige was among the most intuitively refined musicians we have encountered: a pure pleasure and a cherished memory.” Pianist Jeongeun Yom, pianist, responds,”Autris will be remembered for his kindness, cheerfulness, and above all for his voice, with which he touched  the listeners’ heart.”

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AUTRIS T. PAIGE grew up in Oakland, California where he attended Star Bethel Church and graduated from McClymonds High School. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State before pursuing advanced studies in musical theatre at the University of Southern California.
AUTRIS T. PAIGE grew up in Oakland, California where he attended Star Bethel Church and graduated from McClymonds High School. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State before pursuing advanced studies in musical theatre at the University of Southern California.

August 17, 1938 – January 12, 2023

AUTRIS T. PAIGE was the youngest child born to Estella and Overton Paige in Sugar Land, Texas on Aug. 17, 1938.  He passed away on Jan. 12, 2023 in Oakland after a brief illness.  He was supported and comforted by his longtime companion Donna Vaughan.

Mr. Paige grew up in Oakland, California where he attended Star Bethel Church and graduated from McClymonds High School. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State before pursuing advanced studies in musical theatre at the University of Southern California.

He served in the U.S. Air Force.

In 1971, he made his debut with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, appearing in Candide at the Los Angeles Music Center and at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco. He appeared with Ray Charles and the American Ballet Theatre and performed in several musical theatre productions on Broadway including Lost in the Stars; Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope; as Walter Lee in Raisin; and in Timbuktu with Eartha Kitt.

Mr. Paige has also sung with the New York City Opera, the Houston Grand Opera, the Metropolitan Opera and with the San Francisco Opera. Other opera companies in which he performed include the Seattle Opera and the Glyndebourne Opera in England. He was featured in the PBS film and award-winning EMI recording of Porgy and Bess as well as the recording of the opera X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X.

When he returned to Oakland to “retire” he met Dr. W. Hazaiah Williams, Founder and Director of Today’s Artists Concerts (now Four Seasons Arts), who auditioned Paige and invited him to perform on his series. Mr. Paige began a new phase of his musical career.

He appeared many times under the auspices of Today’s Artists Concerts/Four Seasons Arts in New York’s Alice Tully Hall and in venues around the Bay Area in their Art of the Spiritual programs. He was featured in his own Spiritual Journey in 2009. His recently released solo CD, Spiritual Journey, based on this program, has received critical acclaim.

Paige performed regularly at Four Seasons’ Yachats Music Festival in Oregon from 1983-2017, with artists from around the world. Puerto Ricans Ilya and Raphael LeBron, soprano and baritone, remember him: “He leaves us with a warm memory of the simplicity that made him great: as a human being, as a friend and as a masterful artist!” Baritone Anthony Turner of New York says: “Autris was the embodiment of class and elegance. He delivered every song with a warm silken tone and economy of gestures. Autris gave of himself, his truth, his joy and love.”  Pianists Dennis Helmrich and Gerald Hecht often collaborated with Mr. Paige said: “Autris Paige was among the most intuitively refined musicians we have encountered: a pure pleasure and a cherished memory.” Pianist Jeongeun Yom, pianist, responds,”Autris will be remembered for his kindness, cheerfulness, and above all for his voice, with which he touched  the listeners’ heart.”

In 2011, Mr. Paige was featured in Four Seasons Arts’ annual W. Hazaiah Williams Memorial Concert with the Lucy Kinchen Chorale and later with soprano Alison Buchanan. In 2013, he performed his Spiritual Journey II in Berkeley with pianist Othello Jefferson. A second CD entitled Classics and Spirituals was released in September 2013. Pianist Jerry Donaldson of Oakland was a frequent collaborator with Mr. Paige, performing throughout the Bay Area.

A Celebration of Life for Autris Paige will take place Friday, Feb. 3 at 11:00 a.m. at Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, 1399 McAllister Street, San Francisco.

A repast will follow the service.

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