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Trustees of Mills College Approve Merger with Northeastern University    

Mills College in Oakland is merging with Northeastern University following approval Tuesday by the Mills College board of trustees.

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Mills College in Oakland is merging with Northeastern University following approval Tuesday by the Mills College board of trustees.

The merger is subject to regulatory and other approvals but is expected to be effective July 1 of next year. Mills College, once an all-women’s college, will then be gender-inclusive and known as Mills College at Northeastern University. 

The merger was prompted by financial troubles brought on by declining student enrollment, Mills College President Beth Hillman said. She said the merger provides excitement, relief, and a sense of hope for what’s going to come next. 

“This gives us short-term solutions, medium-term solutions and long-term solutions,” Hillman said of the merger. 

Faculty and staff will as a next step work together to develop the curriculum for undergraduate and graduate studies at Mills. Mills officials said the graduate and undergraduate programs will be relevant to employers and students.

Faculty and staff will also be collaborating on the development of a Mills Institute, which will promote women’s leadership and empower first-generation students, among others. 

College officials said until the merger is complete, Mills will continue to be an accredited degree-granting college led by the current administrators. They said Mills in the coming weeks will answer questions and provide more information about the merger. 

Northeastern and Mills will be working to tend to the financial needs of Mills, which may now be able to pay more competitive wages to faculty and staff.  

Students who finish at Mills before June 30, 2022, will be granted a degree from Mills College. Students who finish after that date will receive a degree from Mills College at Northeastern University. 

Faculty members who have tenure at Mills College will have tenure with Mills College at Northeastern University and the merged institution will be offering tenure-track and adjunct faculty positions. 

Staff who are employed at Mills College on June 30, 2022, will become employees of Northeastern University following that date.  

A judge last month blocked the merger between the two institutions and granted a Mills College alum and voting member of the board of trustees Viji Nakka-Cammauf access to information on the college’s financial condition. 

At a hearing Monday, the judge ruled Mills College complied with the court’s ruling and allowed the board of trustees to vote on the proposed merger. 

“Northeastern has consistently demonstrated that it respects and values the vital contributions that Mills offers, voicing strong support for integrating the powerful mission of Mills through the Northeastern network,” Board of Trustees Chair Katie Sanborn said in a statement. “The Board sees the merger as a positive step forward that will enable the legacy of Mills to endure.”

But Alexa Pagonas, vice president of the Board of Governors for the Alumnae Association of Mills College, said not everybody is happy with the decision. 

“Many Alumnae and those in the Mills community are disheartened that the trustees decided to forego their fiduciary duties by blindly voting to approve this merger without a full and clear picture of Mills’ financial situation or a finalized term sheet as it relates to the deal,” Pagonas said. 

“Dr. Viji Nakka-Cammauf will continue to do everything in her power to uphold her fiduciary duties to the entire Mills community and protect the legacy of the College,” Pagonas said.

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Alameda County

Alameda DA Pamela Price is Ready to ‘Protect the Win’ in Upcoming Recall Election

Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price and her “Protect the Win” campaign held a press conference Wednesday morning to discuss the consolidation of the recall election with the November general election and her steps moving forward. “We are here today to appreciate that the Board of Supervisors yesterday did the right thing and decided not to invest $20 million of our hard-earned tax dollars for a failed effort to overturn the November 2022 election,” Price said.

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Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price held a press conference Wednesday morning at Everett & Jones to discuss the recall election and her path forward now that a date is scheduled for November. Photo by Magaly Muñoz.
Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price held a press conference Wednesday morning at Everett & Jones to discuss the recall election and her path forward now that a date is scheduled for November. Photo by Magaly Muñoz.

By Magaly Muñoz

Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price and her “Protect the Win” campaign held a press conference Wednesday morning to discuss the consolidation of the recall election with the November general election and her steps moving forward.

“We are here today to appreciate that the Board of Supervisors yesterday did the right thing and decided not to invest $20 million of our hard-earned tax dollars for a failed effort to overturn the November 2022 election,” Price said.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday evening to consolidate the recall election so as to not put themselves in an even larger deficit than they are soon headed into. The board reported that they are almost $68 million in deficit for the county budget, but now with the consolidation, the election will only cost taxpayers about $4 million.

Proponents of the recall had continuously asked the Board to schedule a special election in August, regardless if it would cost upwards of $20 million to fund.

At her press conference, Price emphasized that she is the first non-appointed district attorney in decades and the first Black woman elected for the position.

She characterized the recall efforts against her to be a “platinum roots movement” bankrolled by a handful of super-rich real estate investors and tech executives.

The recall group Save Alameda For Everyone (SAFE) raised over $3 million for their campaign against Price, spending a large amount of their funds on paying signature gatherers to collect names to put the election on the ballot. This has created a point of contention with many who are opposing the recall efforts.

Although her campaign has not been able to raise nearly as much money, she assures the community that their efforts are best used for “defending the democracy” and serving the residents of Alameda County.

Price challenged the big donors behind the recall efforts, stating that if they have thousands of dollars to spend on overturning an election, then they can better use their funds to invest in the community, such as donating to Oakland Unified School District, Highland Hospital, homeless and housing services and anti-trafficking efforts.

A few key donors mentioned were Philip Dreyfuss, who donated $600,000; Isaac Abid donated $225,000; Kenneth Lin donated $100,000; and John Wayland donated $135,000.

The DA said she will continue to do her job including advocating for victims, prosecuting people who have committed crimes in the community, combatting retail theft efforts, implementing new technology to protect youth, amongst many other priorities.

The recall proponents have long accused Price of being “soft on crime” and that crime rates have gone up since she’s been in office, but according to Oakland Police data, crime is down 33% since 2023.

When asked about the drop in crime rates on Tuesday, SAFE leaders said they do not follow OPD data because they claim it is not accurate. They only listen to what they hear from the community.

Price refuted the accusations stating that her office does not track or count the type of data that the opposition claims to be following. She says that the recall supporters are spreading misinformation and the data they are referencing only “exists in the figment of their imagination.”

In an annual report that the DA Office released last week, it revealed that Price is prosecuting cases at a similar rate to her predecessor. Former DA Nancy O’Malley was prosecuting anywhere from 60% to 66% of cases in 2019 to 2022, while Price prosecuted 62% of cases in 2023.

Price stated that being district attorney is her priority and this recall election would not stop her from doing her job. She trusts the efforts of the Protect the Win campaign to ensure that the message of keeping her in office is heard loud and clear.

“We believe in democracy, the people of this county have the right to elect a district attorney. They did that. We should not have to do it again, but we will do it again,” Price said.

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Arts and Culture

Third Annual Town Up Tuesday Lifts Oakland’s Community, Culture and Joy

Urban Peace Movement announced Town Up Tuesday, a free community music and social awareness festival dedicated to the people of Oakland to celebrate Bay Area culture and create safety by fostering connection and belonging. It will be on Tuesday, May 21, at Edoff Memorial Bandstand at Lake Merritt from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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The event will feature local Bay Area legends and rising stars home-grown talent that will include 10 performers: 1100 Himself, The Conscious Daughters, Michael Sneed, Trunk Boiz, 3LISE, The Animaniakz and Ms. Bria. Too $hort is a special guest and there will also be a surprise legendary Oakland artist. The two DJs are Emelle & Dahge, and the two hosts are Dnas and Mystic.
The event will feature local Bay Area legends and rising stars home-grown talent that will include 10 performers: 1100 Himself, The Conscious Daughters, Michael Sneed, Trunk Boiz, 3LISE, The Animaniakz and Ms. Bria. Too $hort is a special guest and there will also be a surprise legendary Oakland artist. The two DJs are Emelle & Dahge, and the two hosts are Dnas and Mystic.

By Kyung Jin Lee

Urban Peace Movement announced Town Up Tuesday, a free community music and social awareness festival dedicated to the people of Oakland to celebrate Bay Area culture and create safety by fostering connection and belonging.

It will be on Tuesday, May 21, at Edoff Memorial Bandstand at Lake Merritt from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The event will feature local Bay Area legends and rising stars home-grown talent that will include 10 performers: 1100 Himself, The Conscious Daughters, Michael Sneed, Trunk Boiz, 3LISE, The Animaniakz and Ms. Bria.

Too $hort is a special guest and there will also be a surprise legendary Oakland artist. The two DJs are Emelle & Dahge, and the two hosts are Dnas and Mystic.

Past performers have included: Kamaiyah, Yukmouth, Stunnaman02, Symba, Lil Kayla, Grand Nationxl, Jane Handcock, and D Smoke, among others.

“Oakland is a historically Black city and one of the most diverse and progressive in the country — a city rich with culture,” said Nicole Lee, executive director of the Urban Peace Movement.

“At a time when we are being scapegoated for political gain and negative narratives of Oakland permeate the press, we’re uplifting who we truly are and all the things that make this region so special.”

About Urban Peace Movement: Urban Peace Movement (UPM) is a racial justice organization working to end mass incarceration and the criminalization of Black and Brown communities in Oakland. https://urbanpeacemovement.org/ @urbanpeace510

Kyung Jin Lee is the media representative for the Urban Peace Movement.

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California Black Media

Expect to See a New Flat Rate Fee of $24 on Your Electricity Bill

Last week, members of the California Public Utilities Commission voted to approve adding a $24.15 flat fee to monthly utility bills starting next year. On May 9, the California regulators took the unanimous vote in favor of the proposal which also reduced the cost of utilities per kilowatt hour but added the fixed charge to mitigate the loss. The new charge will be based on income with lower-income households paying between $6 to $12. Middle-class to high-income households will be expected to pay the full amount.

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Shutterstock

By California Black Media

Last week, members of the California Public Utilities Commission voted to approve adding a $24.15 flat fee to monthly utility bills starting next year.

On May 9, the California regulators took the unanimous vote in favor of the proposal which also reduced the cost of utilities per kilowatt hour but added the fixed charge to mitigate the loss. The new charge will be based on income with lower-income households paying between $6 to $12. Middle-class to high-income households will be expected to pay the full amount.

CPUC President Alice Reynolds and environmental groups argue that the new rate encourages people to use more clean energy and assist in modernizing the grid.

“We’re marching towards the future we want to see; we want this load growth,” Reynolds said.

“One where we can replace gas-guzzling cars on our roads with EVs that run on clean electricity and emit less pollutants,” she added.

Although the fixed charge is supposed to lower the utility bill for residents, opponents of the charge argue that a flat rate increases the monthly bill for middle and high-income households.

California currently operates under a prepaid model and maintenance of the power grid is included in the overall usage rate. But with this new proposal, residents will pay more than double the national average of $11 for electricity.

Cynthia Martinez, a spokesperson for the Predictable Power Coalition, an advocacy group, argued that a flat rate is more equitable and will reduce the cost of utilities for struggling families.

“For people who live in hotter climates, who really have no choice but to run their air conditioning more often, they’re paying higher costs that go toward grid upkeep,” Martinez said.

In the past, Democrats stalled plans at the state Capitol to approve the flat fee. All 14 Democrats in the Senate Energy, Utilities, and Communications Committee abstained from voting during a hearing on the proposal to roll back the flat rate.

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