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School Board Approves Joseph Severance Package

THE TENNESSEE TRIBUNE — In a 5-3 vote, the Metropolitan Nashville Board of Education decided Tuesday to buy out the contract of Metro Nashville Public Schools Director, Dr. Shawn Joseph. Dr. Adrienne Battle will serve as interim director.

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By Peter White

NASHVILLE, TN — In a 5-3 vote, the Metropolitan Nashville Board of Education decided Tuesday to buy out the contract of Metro Nashville Public Schools Director, Dr. Shawn Joseph. Dr. Adrienne Battle will serve as interim director.

In a statement Joseph said it was his life’s mission to ensure equity and excellence for all children and the he would continue to do so. “I believe much has been accomplished despite the pervasive challenges I encountered when arriving, and I am so proud of the tremendous work of the thousands of teachers and staff members who have helped to move the needle for our children,” Joseph said. 

The terms were negotiated between Joseph’s lawyer and Metro Legal director Jon Cooper. Metro will pay Joseph’s attorney’s fees. The board approved the agreement Tuesday night.

The Metro School Board chamber was packed Tuesday with a pro-Joseph crowd. Some parents told the board that the turmoil and fighting has kept their children from getting a good education.

Joseph’s last day will be Friday, April 12, 2019. There were ten parts to the separation agreement, a couple dealing with potential lawsuits. Board Chair Sharon Gentry summarized the buyout agreement that required both parties to refrain from “talking bad” about each other in the future.

 “We have obviously reached an impasse,” said Amy Frogge (District 9).

The Metro School Board chamber was packed Tuesday with a pro-Joseph crowd. Some parents told the board that the turmoil and fighting has kept their children from getting a good education.

The Metro School Board chamber was packed Tuesday with a pro-Joseph crowd. Some parents told the board that the turmoil and fighting has kept their children from getting a good education.

 The board has been sharply split about Joseph’s leadership for months. Vice Chair Christiane Buggs, reflecting on the rift that has pushed Joseph out, said the board has tried to be Joseph’s boss and tell him what to do instead of helping him manage the district and the challenges facing Metro schools.

“Dr. Joseph is ready to go and leave what amounts to hostile working conditions so this a voluntary separation conversation. This is not a firing,” said Will Pinkston (District 7). Board Chair Sharon Gentry agreed.

“We are not terminating him. This is not a blight on his resume. It was, as he stated in his own statement, that it’s gotten to the point where he does not believe that the things that he values are aligning with the district, with the board specifically and it was time for us to part ways,” Gentry said.

 Amy Frogge (District 9) then read a statement attacking Joseph and criticized his handling of the school budget, sexual harassment complaints, and blamed him for low morale among teachers and staff. She also criticized the board for an “an epic failure of the board’s oversight capacity with regard to fiscal operations”.

 “I don’t personally believe that throwing out any number of allegations or accusations is holding the director accountable. We did not hold the director accountable because we did not do our part. It was our job to review the contracts. It was our job to follow up with Metro Legal if there were issues with contracts,” Buggs said.

School Board Chair Sharon Gentry, Rachel Anne Elrod, District 2, Vice Chair Christiane Buggs (District 5), Will Pinkson (District 7), and Gini Pupo-Walker (District 8) voted for the deal to give Joseph three months severance pay and $261,250 for the final year of a 4-year contract signed in July 2016.

Jill Speering (District 3), Amy Frogge (District 9, Fran Bush (District 6) voted against the deal. They wanted Joseph fired.

Anna Shepherd (District 4), who had also wanted to fire Joseph, did not attend the meeting.

This article originally appeared in The Tennessee Tribune

Activism

PRESS ROOM: Oakland Pic Hosts New Year’s Career & Resource Expo 

OPIC CEO Pastor Raymond Lankford expressed his enthusiasm for the event, stating: “This Career Fair is not merely a gathering of employers and prospective employees; it’s a platform for opportunity, growth, and community collaboration. We are thrilled to bridge the gap between Oakland’s talented residents and the employers who recognize their potential. Together, we are building a stronger Oakland.” 

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Connecting Employers and Talent in Oakland and Beyond 

OAKLAND, CA – Oakland Private Industry Council, Inc., is hosting the New Year’s Career & resource Expo on Thursday, February 8, 2024, at 12 noon at the Oakland Coliseum – Eastside Club – 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland CA 94621.

This exciting event brings together over 70 employers, all seeking to hire Oakland residents with various skill levels to fill a wide range of employment opportunities. Additionally, a collaborative of resource agencies will be in attendance, providing further assistance to job seekers.

OPIC CEO Pastor Raymond Lankford expressed his enthusiasm for the event, stating: “This Career Fair is not merely a gathering of employers and prospective employees; it’s a platform for opportunity, growth, and community collaboration. We are thrilled to bridge the gap between Oakland’s talented residents and the employers who recognize their potential. Together, we are building a stronger Oakland.”

For more information or to request media access, please contact Yawo Tekpa at yawot@oaklandpic.org.

OAKLAND PIC HOSTS NEW YEAR’S CAREER & RESOURCE EXPO 

  • Who:             All job seekers, with all ages and experiences welcome
  • What:              Connecting Employers and Talent in the Community
  • When: Thursday, February 8, 2024 at 12 noon
  • Where: Oakland Coliseum – Eastside Club – 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland CA 94621.

OPIC INVITES YOUR ORGANIZATION TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR UPCOMING NEW YEAR’S CAREER & RESOURCE EXPO!!!

Dear Esteemed Employer & Community Organization Partner,

Oakland Private Industry Council, Inc. (OPIC) is excited to wish you a warm welcome into 2024! A new year, a new HOPE!!!

We enthusiastically invite your organization to participate in our NEW YEAR CAREER & RESOURCE EXPO at the OAKLAND COLISEUM!!!

DATE: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2024

TIME: 12:00 NOON – 3:00 P.M.

LOCATION: OAKLAND COLISEUM – EAST SIDE CLUB

ADDRESS: 7000 COLISEUM WAY, OAKLAND CA 94621

Participating Employer & and Community Resource Partners will receive one six-foot table and two (2) chairs for this event. Additional information, including event details and logistics, will be forwarded after you sign-up.

Please confirm your attendance by completing the online registration link below by JANUARY 31, 2024 at the latest.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1bfv0LXBexc26AeE_cosSoQrpYrx2HXOIwn1bG47chwU/edit

Thanks to our invaluable network and partnership, we are giving HOPE to many community members through quality employment opportunities and supportive resources.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact Yawo Tekpa, Assistant One-Stop Operator/Events Coordinator, at (510) 419-0392 office/ (510) 499-6657 cell.

Sincerely,

Raymond Lankford                Yawo S. Tekpa,

CEO                           Assistant One-Stop Operator/Events Coordinator

raymondl@oaklandpic.org                   yawot@oaklandpic.org

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Business

California African American Chamber of Commerce to Host 2 Economic Summit in Los Angeles

Another discussion will be a Mayor’s Roundtable, featuring African American mayors from Northern, Central, and Southern California. Regional perspectives on African American participation in the California economy will be shared by these panelists as well as challenges and opportunities for businesses in their respective cities. Deborah Robertson, Mayor of Rialto, will be the roundtable’s moderator.

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Another discussion will be a Mayor’s Roundtable, featuring African American mayors from Northern, Central, and Southern California. Regional perspectives on African American participation in the California economy will be shared by these panelists as well as challenges and opportunities for businesses in their respective cities. Deborah Robertson, Mayor of Rialto, will be the roundtable’s moderator.
The California African American Chamber of Commerce (CAACC) and California African American Action Fund (CAAAF) will hold their 2nd Annual State of California African American Economy Summit in L.A. on Jan. 24 and Jan 25. The Summit will be held at the Westin Los Angeles Airport located at 5400 W. Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045. The Conference is designed to discuss specific economic topics as well as provide opportunities for business owners, entrepreneurs, advocates and other guests to connect, learn, and grow.

By California Black Media

The California African American Chamber of Commerce (CAACC) and California African American Action Fund (CAAAF) will hold their 2nd Annual State of California African American Economy Summit in L.A. on Jan. 24 and Jan 25.

The Summit will be held at the Westin Los Angeles Airport located at 5400 W. Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

The Conference is designed to discuss specific economic topics as well as provide opportunities for business owners, entrepreneurs, advocates and other guests to connect, learn, and grow.

Speakers at the summit will include Dr. Julianne Malveaux (Economist), Dr. Anthony Samad (Executive Director Mervyn Dymally Institute), and Tara Lynn Gray (Director of The California Office of Small Business Advocate – CalOSBA), among others. They will also participate in the State of California Economy Panel.

Another discussion will be a Mayor’s Roundtable, featuring African American mayors from Northern, Central, and Southern California. Regional perspectives on African American participation in the California economy will be shared by these panelists as well as challenges and opportunities for businesses in their respective cities. Deborah Robertson, Mayor of Rialto, will be the roundtable’s moderator.

CAACC Chairman Timothy Alan Simon Esq. will host a fireside chat with keynote speaker Janice Bryant-Howroyd. Bryant-Howroyd is the founder and chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based The ActOne Group, the largest privately held, minority-woman-owned personnel company founded in the United States.

Vaughn M. Williams III, Principal Supplier Diversity Advisor for SoCalGas Company will be the moderator for Business Matchmaking, a session that facilitates networking among business owners across sectors.

For more information on the summit, call (800) 791-7068.

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Activism

Will New City Leaders End Oakland’s Long-Time Cozy Relationship with Corporate Developers?

Geoffrey Pete’s building at 410 14th St. is a Registered National Resource Building on the State of California Register as well as a contributing building to the Historic Downtown Oakland District on the State of California Register and the National Department of Interior historic registers.

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Rendering of Tidewater Capital’s 40-story residential tower at 1431 Franklin St., next to Geoffrey’s Inner Circle. Courtesy Tidewater Capital.
Rendering of Tidewater Capital’s 40-story residential tower at 1431 Franklin St., next to Geoffrey’s Inner Circle. Courtesy Tidewater Capital.

By Ken Epstein

New research, produced by supporters of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle and the Black Arts Movement and Business District, has provided powerful evidence against giving a greenlight to Tidewater Capital’s 40-story luxury apartment building at 1431 Franklin St., inches from owner Geoffrey Pete’s historic venue.

According to the research, which has been shared with Mayor Sheng Thao, arguments in favor of Tidewater Capital’s proposal seem to be based on inaccurate facts, which some believe have their origin among past mayoral administrations and city administrators, the planning commission and city staff who for years allowed corporate development to ravage Oakland’s diverse communities while trying to convince residents that there is no alternative to gentrification.

State does not require project’s approval

Some who support allowing Tidewater’s project to be built have maintained that the state would likely revoke Oakland’s affordable housing funds if the city does not approve this high-end real estate project.

However, this interpretation does not seem to be based on an accurate reading of the law. The state’s “Prohousing Designation Program is what is believed by city officials to prevent Oakland from denying new residential development at the risk of losing their designation” and related funding, according to the research document.

The new research has found instead that “Oakland’s housing element is considered to be in ‘full compliance’ with state law, (and) the city no longer has to worry about losing important revenue, such as the Prohousing Designation Program or triggering rules that could have limited its ability to regulate development.”

The mission statement of the state pro-housing program says it is not designed to force cities to build more high-end housing but is meant to pressure cities and counties that are not building sufficient housing for very low and extremely low-income families. The goal is “creating more affordable homes in places that historically or currently exclude households earning lower incomes and households of color,” the mission statement of the state’s program said.

“This (Tidewater) proposal isn’t remotely connected” to a low-income development and, therefore, would not be impacted by state regulations protecting low-income projects, says the new research.

City failed to seek historical preservation funds

The second major point is that Oakland, unlike neighboring cities, has failed to apply for funding that would have protected its national resource buildings and districts from luxury developers like Tidewater.

Geoffrey Pete’s building at 410 14th St. is a Registered National Resource Building on the State of California Register and a contributing building to the Historic Downtown Oakland District on the State of California Register and the National Department of Interior historic registers.

If Oakland had applied for available grants from the state’s Office of Historic Preservation, it could have received millions of dollars. For example, the city and county of San Francisco applied and received millions of dollars more than six times since 2012.

“The City of Oakland has never even applied for this grant once,” the research said. “Our neighboring and surrounding cities in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Richmond have all applied and been awarded. Just not Oakland.”

“If Oakland had applied and received these funds, then Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, a National Registered Resource Building, would have been protected. There would be zero conversation with Tidewater Capital. This situation would not exist.”

Because the Black Arts Movement & Business District is a registered cultural district, Tidewater Capital’s proposal is in a geographic area with cultural affiliations, and the proposed development will, in fact, cause harm to a cultural resource, Geoffrey’s Inner Circle.

Project designed for luxury housing

The third major point in the research holds that, while the project’s backers claim that many units would be reserved for very low-income residents, the city’s staff report says that only 38 units (10%) out of a total of 381 units would be reserved for low-income residents. Further, there is evidence that none of the units would be available to those whose incomes do not put them among the affluent.

The City of Oakland considers “low-income” to be $112,150 a year for a family of four. What this means is MOST Oakland families do not earn enough to live in the Tidewater Capital’s building. Current data shows that median income for a family of four in Oakland is $85,628, well below the $112,150 that is considered low-income by the city’s unusual standard.

The research shows that the planning commission and city staff’s systematic bias toward high end development has resulted in massive overbuilding of market rate housing, while the city is way behind its goals to build affordable housing.

City statistics show that between 2015 and 2022, the city pledged to build 14,765 units at various income levels. In fact, the city created many more — 18,880 units. Of these, they had pledged to build 4,134 units for residents at the lowest income levels but failed to reach their goal by 1,776 units.

Yet at the same, time, the city built 16,522 high end units, though officials had only pledged 10,631 units for affluent tenants.

“The Oakland Planning Commission catered to developers, such as Tidewater Capital, who solely created luxury housing, so aggressively that they overshot their obligation by 5,891 extra and unnecessary (luxury) units approved,” according to Geoffrey’s supporters’ research.

“Yet low-income housing goals are nearly two thousand units in arrears with no clear remedy or solution at hand,” the research said.

“For the eighth year in a row, Oakland’s Housing Element progress report shows that while the city has permitted an abundance of market rate housing, we are not building enough affordable homes,” said Jeff Levin of East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO), quoted in Oaklandside.

“The trend in Oakland has been to build high-end units that attract new, higher-income residents,” doing little for low-income residents and Oakland natives, he said.

Project does not fit the landscape

Finally, the real facts show that Tidewater’s market-rate luxury skyscraper, doggedly supported by city staff, does not fit the landscape, dramatically overshadowing surrounding buildings in the downtown Black Arts Movement and Business District.

Tidewater’s design would become the tallest building in Oakland at 413 feet tall (40 stories), taller than the Atlas building at 400 feet, which was built several years ago directly across the street from Geoffrey’s.

The Post gave council members supporting the Tidewater project an opportunity to be interviewed for this article.

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