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Town Hall Says Don’t Let Fisher’s Stadium Project Choke the Port of Oakland

Post publisher Paul Cobb said the newspaper has been discussing the different sides of this issue and hopes to help clear up the confusing messages the public is receiving about whether this project will help or damage the prospects of good jobs for Oaklanders.

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Howard Terminal Courtesy Port of Oakland website

A town hall meeting this week examined the negative consequences of placing John Fisher’s privatized, multibillion dollar real estate development on publicly owned land at the Port of Oakland, the region’s thriving and growing economic engine.

More than 100 people attended the town hall on Wednesday, which was live on Zoom and Facebook.  Councilmembers Carroll Fife and Noel Gallo were among those who attended.

Speakers included voices of those who are directly impacted by the project: members of the longshore union, the ILWU, who said the project was a dangerous threat to the livelihood of port workers, over 70% of whom are Black; representatives of the Pacific Merchants Shipping Association and several of the largest businesses based at the port; and Paul Cobb, publisher of the Oakland Post.

ILWU Local 10 President Trent Willis, with other union members, speaks on June 19, 2020 about shutting down West Coast ports for Juneteenth. Photo by Workers World, Judy Greenspan.

Though called a baseball stadium project, the massive, luxury real estate development is what backers have called a “city within a city.” Besides a stadium, the plan calls for 3,000 luxury condominiums, with no guaranteed affordable housing; 1.5 million square feet of high-rise office space; a 400-room hotel; retail shopping; and a performance venue with seating for 3,500.

Linda Adams, a member of the ILWU who is who is one of the workers “responsible for moving the cargo on a daily basis,” said, they are “compromising our jobs.”

“They say they can build these high rise luxury condos, and (we) can work around them. But we’re moving cargo around the clock, (with) thousands of (workers), trucks and cargo coming into the port.” She pointed out that luxury tenants will go to court to stop the noise, pollution, bright lights and thousands of daily trucks and railroads that are wrecking their days and nights, pushing companies to leave Oakland for other West Coast ports.

Susan Ransom, representing SSA Marine, the Port’s largest tenant, said the Port has over 84,000 total employees and moves the products on which everyone depends – food, household goods and medical supplies

“We have grave concerns about the A’s (stadium) project,” she said.   ”We operate 24/7, (our work) would not be stopped during a game” or for a fireworks display.

Mike Jacob of the Pacific Merchants Shipping Association which represents employers, said, “We have real issue here. Do we want to preserve our industrial base? Do we want to make Oakland a smaller kid’s version of San Francisco? Should Oakland continue to be a blue-collar city with good blue-collar jobs.”

Jacob said he was talking with the A’s, but they stopped meeting with him in 2019 when he raised concerns that would be expensive to mitigate. “You don’t have to be either pro- or anti-baseball to be pro-port,” he said.

ILWU business agent Aaron Wright, broadcasting live from on top of a port crane, showed the basin where ships have to turn around, which would be impacted by the project, and the Howard Terminal property, where thousands of trucks park daily instead of where they parked in the past on West Oakland and other neighborhoods’ residential streets.  “One day at the port can do more for the economy than all of the team’s home games,” he said. “You can’t bring in thousands of sports fans to block all of this.”

Andrea Luna Bocanegra, who works for a manufacturing company that does business with the port, said that disrupting shipping at the port would cause a ripple effect, damaging manufacturing businesses throughout Northern California that utilize the port as a dependable way to ship their products and the receive goods they need to run their operations.

Post publisher Paul Cobb said the newspaper has been discussing the different sides of this issue and hopes to help clear up the confusing messages the public is receiving about whether this project will help or damage the prospects of good jobs for Oaklanders.

Cobb displayed an Alameda Labor Council flyer promoting jobs for Blacks. He said “it’s encouraging to see Labor unions join the fight to hire and protect Black workers. By working together with civil rights groups we can finally expand the narrow definitions of PLA’s (project labor agreements) and redefine them as CLA’s (community labor agreements) that will hire Blacks and formerly incarcerated across all trades.”

“We are being lobbied on both sides of this issue,” he said. “Some say Howard Terminal is no longer vital to port operations, but others it very important to the economy” and to keep the port running daily.

A number of people submitted written comments during the Zoom meeting.

Housing rights activists James Vann wrote, “There are innumerable negatives from placing an A’s stadium at Howard Terminal. Can anyone name just one benefit from placing the stadium at this location within the Port?”

BART Director Robert Raburn, wrote, “A significant and unmitigated impact is public safety at the unprotected railroad grade crossings.”

“In addition to BART, I also serve on the governing board for the Capitol Corridor, which operates 30 passenger trains. a day on West Embarcadero (and) another 20 trains deadhead to the Amtrak yard each day,” he said.

“No stadium in the US permits postgame crowds of up to 35,000 to risk crossing mainline railroad tracks at-grade! The costs to mitigate these hazards are not included in the (A’s) ‘term sheet.’”

Organizers of the townhall are asking community members to attend the City Council meeting Tuesday, July 20. The council will consider voting on a non-binding resolution regarding the term sheet for the development. Public comment begins at 9 a.m.

People are encouraged to email council members at https://form.123formbuilder.com/4755450/

The video of Wednesday’s town hall can be watched on Facebook at  https://fb.watch/6M9NiSMAxc/

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Activism

Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

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Art

Mayor Breed, Actor Morris Chestnut Attend S.F.’s Indie Night Film Festival

On June 1, the acclaimed Los Angeles-based Indie Night Film Festival arrived at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco. San Francisco native Dave Brown, Founder and CEO of the Indie Night Film Festival, has a vision for the film industry that is squarely focused on promoting the many talented producers, actors, and designers contributing to this billion-dollar industry. The festival has been running for 12 years and it’s only up from here, he says.

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(Left to Right) Dave Brown, CEO, Indie Night Festival, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and actor Morris Chestnut. Photo by Y’Anad Burrell
(Left to Right) Dave Brown, CEO, Indie Night Festival, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and actor Morris Chestnut. Photo by Y’Anad Burrell

By Y’Anad Burrell

On June 1, the acclaimed Los Angeles-based Indie Night Film Festival arrived at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco.

San Francisco native Dave Brown, Founder and CEO of the Indie Night Film Festival, has a vision for the film industry that is squarely focused on promoting the many talented producers, actors, and designers contributing to this billion-dollar industry.  The festival has been running for 12 years and it’s only up from here, he says.

A weekly celebration of cinematic artistry designed to elevate emerging talent while providing a platform for networking and collaboration, entrepreneur Dave Brown created Indie Night to bridge gaps within the filmmaking community by fostering connections between like-minded individuals worldwide. The Indie Film Festival currently has over 450 film submissions worldwide, and its cinematic vault only continues to grow.

The festival showcased over 10 short films and trailers, and featured Faces of the “City: Fighting for the Soul of America,” produced by veteran actor Tisha Campbell.  This film is about the vibrancy and legacy of San Francisco. The festival also previewed “When It Reigns,” a trailer by Oakland’s burgeoning filmmaker Jamaica René.

Indie films have not just challenged traditional cinematic norms; they’ve shattered them. These films offer unique storytelling perspectives and push creative boundaries in truly inspiring ways. With their smaller budgets and independent spirit, they often tackle unconventional subjects and portray diverse characters, providing a refreshing alternative to mainstream cinema. As a result, indie films have resonated with audiences seeking an escape from formulaic blockbusters and are increasingly celebrated for their authenticity and originality.

Organizers say the mission of Indie Night is to elevate the craft of independent artists and creators. It also provides a venue for them to showcase their work, network, and exchange information with new and established creatives. It creates a community that values and supports independent art.

For more about the Indie Night Film Festival, visit www.indienightfilmfestival.com.

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Bay Area

Sen. Wiener, Mayor Breed Announce Bill to Shut Down Fencing of Stolen Goods

On June 3, San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed joined State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) to announce a bill aiming to combat fencing, the sale of stolen goods. Authored by Wiener and sponsored by Breed, Senate Bill (SB) 925 would allow San Francisco to create permitting requirements to regulate the sale of items commonly obtained through retail theft and impose criminal penalties for those who engage in this practice.

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By Oakland Post Staff

On June 3, San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed joined State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) to announce a bill aiming to combat fencing, the sale of stolen goods.

Authored by Wiener and sponsored by Breed, Senate Bill (SB) 925 would allow San Francisco to create permitting requirements to regulate the sale of items commonly obtained through retail theft and impose criminal penalties for those who engage in this practice.

“The sale of stolen items in San Francisco has created unsafe street conditions and health and safety hazards that have negatively impacted residents, businesses, City workers, and legitimate street vendors,” states a statement released by the mayor’s office.

San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Chief Bill Scott praised the effort.

“I want to thank Mayor Breed and Senator Wiener for identifying new ways to combat the illegal fencing of stolen goods. This will help our hard-working officers continue to make progress in cracking down on retail theft,” said Scott.

Under the legislation, San Francisco can require vendors to obtain a permit to be able to sell items deemed as frequently stolen by asking for documentation that the merchandise was obtained legitimately, such as showing proof of purchase.

The legislation also establishes that those in violation would receive an infraction for the first two offenses and an infraction or a misdemeanor and up to six months in county jail for the third offense.

Under this bill, people can still:

  • Sell goods with a permit
  • Sell prepared food with a permit
  • Sell goods on the list of frequently stolen items with a permit and proof of purchase.

“In San Francisco we are working hard to make our streets safer and more welcoming for all. SB 925 would greatly help us get a handle on the sale of stolen goods, all while taking a narrow approach that specifically targets bad actors,” said Breed.

Wiener says the cultural richness of San Francisco and the livelihoods of legitimate street vendors are threatened when bad actors are allowed to openly sell stolen goods on the city’s streets.

“With this bill we’re taking a balanced approach that respects the critical role street vending plays in our community while holding fencing operations accountable for the disruption they cause. It’s critical that everyone feel safe on our streets, including street vendors and neighborhood residents,” said Wiener.

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