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When the A’s Moved to Oakland, They Ripened into World Champions, Now Some Wonder if They Are Rotten to This City

Oakland has been lucky for the A’s.  Fans cheered them to victory in three consecutive World Series in the 1970s and stood by their side through many less than stellar years more recently.

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Left to right: Joun "Blue Moon" Odom, Vida Blue, Rickey Henderson and Dave Stewart celebrated Jackie Robinson by wearing number 42.

The Oakland Coliseum is imperiled.

The last of the three Oakland-based professional sports teams to play at the Coliseum, the Oakland A’s, is heading for the exit. The A’s have demanded that Oakland pave the way to build a new waterfront stadium at Howard Terminal, or they will follow the Raiders and the Warriors out of town.

Construction was completed on the state-of-the-art Oakland Coliseum in 1966.  The Raiders were the first team to play at the Coliseum in 1966.  The A’s relocated from Kansas City to Oakland in 1968.  Despite numerous attempts to leave the city throughout the years, the A’s have remained in Oakland until now.

Oakland has been lucky for the A’s.  Fans cheered them to victory in three consecutive World Series in the 1970s and stood by their side through many less than stellar years more recently.

The Oakland Coliseum and its companion Oakland Arena have been the site of many jubilant celebrations throughout the years.  But now, many Oakland residents question whether corporate greed will drive the team away from the loyal fans who have supported them in good and bad times.

The A’s threaten that they will leave unless they are given public funds that are desperately needed to fill potholes, fix playgrounds and help with a variety of services needed in East Oakland and other low-income areas of the city.

The monolithic gray structure – albeit not the most attractive piece of architecture today – has brought feelings of pride and victory to many an Oakland resident.  But now the A’s say the Coliseum area is not fit for development.

Rickey Henderson, who lived in my neighborhood and attended school with my brother, stole our hearts and made us love going to the games with my family and friends. Not anymore. They told us that the Coliseum was unfit for the A’s and then they doubled the price of tickets.

Despite its perfect location, with a BART station, proximity to the airport, easy freeway access,  ample parking and space for epic tailgate parties, the A’s have publicly stated time and time again that the Coliseum is not a suitable location for the team.

By stark contrast, Howard Terminal is located on prime industrial land in the heart of the Port of Oakland. There will be no access to public transportation and no space for parking.  The list of hurdles that the A’s will have to jump to make this site work is long, including an extensive toxic clean-up, necessary after decades of industrial use.

When I hear that the A’s refuse to rebuild at the Coliseum and want to move across town to the port so they can build luxury condos, I think they just don’t want to be near an African American neighborhood anymore. They say they are rooted in Oakland but what they are doing sounds like they are rotten for Oakland.

The coliseum is an Oakland jewel and as singer Joe Tex’s song “Hold What You’ve Got” goes “you’d better hold on to what you got ’cause if you think nobody wants it, just throw it away and you will see someone will have it before you can count one, two, three”

Major League Baseball has a race problem.  The number of Black baseball players has declined by more than 50% and in Oakland, many of the local parks and schools that helped serve as feeder networks of ball fields to fulfill the dreams of many kids and helped produce A’s Hall of Famers like Reggie Jackson, Rickey Henderson, Vida Blue, and Dave Stewart have long dried up like raisins in the sun. It was Oaklander Curt Flood who changed sports salaries forever when he sued for athletic freedom. Now, as Blacks are displaced from baseball and neighborhoods, salaries and prices of homes have increased dramatically.

Major League Baseball is aware of the problem and has pledged $150 million to a non-profit organization, Player Alliance, dedicated to attracting African American players back to baseball. The perception that the A’s don’t want to continue to play baseball in a Black neighborhood will not help that effort.

Building a new ballpark at the Coliseum would be the ultimate community benefit, say many speakers who have attended public hearings, and would provide a much-needed economic boost to East Oakland. Everything they say they want to build at Howard Terminal can be built at the Coliseum.

So why don’t they? It would be the ultimate Centrification move to stem the tide of economic gentrification of Oakland.

This summer, the A’s leadership doubled down and gave Oakland an ultimatum: approve a  new stadium at Howard Terminal and give the A’s public funds to help with related construction cost or they will leave.  Ironically, the costs of their demands and the proposed usage of taxpayers’ dollars could’ve been deployed to rebuild Oakland’s rich parks and recreation history. When it comes to Oakland’s budget, the A’s want to be raiders.

While many are debating the merits of teaching Critical Race Theory, I recommend Langston Hughes’s poem entitled “Harlem” — What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore—And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over—like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.  Or does it explode?

A team that makes these kinds of threats is not rooted in Oakland. They could be considered rotten for Oakland.

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Activism

Ask County Supervisors Not to Spend Millions in Tax Dollars on Oakland A’s Real Estate Deal

Please attend the meeting Tuesday, October 26 and express your opinion; call or e-mail your supervisor and Keith Carson, president of the Board of Supervisors, through his chief of staff Amy Shrago at (510) 272-6685 or Amy.Shrago@acgov.org

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A rendering of the proposed new A’s ballpark at the Howard Terminal site, surrounded by port cranes and warehouses. Image courtesy of MANICA Architecture.

The East Oakland Stadium Alliance (EOSA) and other groups are asking local residents to attend and speak at next week’s Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting to oppose a proposal to spend county residents’ tax dollars to pay for the Oakland A’s massive multi-billion-dollar real estate deal at Howard Terminal at the Port of Oakland. 

Please attend the meeting Tuesday, October 26 and express your opinion; call or e-mail your supervisor and Keith Carson, president of the Board of Supervisors, through his chief of staff Amy Shrago at (510) 272-6685 or Amy.Shrago@acgov.org

The Stadium Alliance urges community members to “let (the supervisors) know that Alameda County residents don’t want our tax dollars to pay for a private luxury development. This proposal does not include privately funded community benefits and would harm our region’s economic engine – the port- putting tens of thousands of good-paying jobs at risk.”

 

“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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Community

Marin County Sheriff Sued for Illegally Sharing Drivers’ License Plate Data

This practice has violated two California laws, endangers the safety and privacy of local immigrant communities, and facilitates location tracking by police.

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An example of ALPRs (www.pasadenanow.org)

Marin County Sheriff Robert Doyle has been sued for illegally sharing millions of local drivers’ license plates and location data, captured by a network of cameras his office uses, with hundreds of federal and out-of-state agencies, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), over a dozen other federal law enforcement agencies, and more than 400 out-of-state law enforcement agencies.

This practice has violated two California laws, endangers the safety and privacy of local immigrant communities, and facilitates location tracking by police.

The suit seeks to end the sheriff’s illegal practice of giving hundreds of agencies outside California access to a database of license plate scans used to identify and track people, revealing where they live and work, when they visit friends or drop their kids at school, and when they attend religious services or protests.

The lawsuit was filed in Marin County Superior Court by the ACLU Foundations of Northern California, Southern California, and San Diego and Imperial Counties, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and attorney Michael T. Risher representing community activists Lisa Bennett, Cesar S. Lagleva, and Tara Evans, who are longtime Marin community members.

License plate scans occur through Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs): high-speed cameras mounted in a fixed location or atop police cars moving through the community that automatically capture all license plates that come into view, recording the exact location, date, and time that the vehicle passes by.

The Marin County Sheriff’s Office scans tens of thousands of license plates each month with its ALPR system. That sensitive personal information, which includes photographs of the vehicle and sometimes its driver and passengers, is stored in a database.

The sheriff permits hundreds of out-of-state agencies and several federal entities, including the Department of Homeland Security, to run queries of a license plate against information the sheriff has collected. The agencies are also able to compare their own bulk lists of vehicle license plates of interest, known as “hot lists,” against the ALPR information collected by the sheriff’s office. 

“In the hands of police, the use of ALPR technology is a threat to privacy and civil liberties, especially for immigrants. Federal immigration agencies routinely access and use ALPR information to locate, detain, and deport immigrants. The sheriff’s own records show that Sheriff Doyle is sharing ALPR information with two of the most rogue agencies in the federal government: ICE and CBP,” said Vasudha Talla, immigrants’ rights program director at the ACLU Foundation of Northern California. “Police should not be purchasing surveillance technology, let alone facilitating the deportation and incarceration of our immigrant communities.”

California’s S.B. 34, enacted in 2015, bars this practice. The law requires agencies that use ALPR technology to implement policies to protect privacy and civil liberties, and specifically prohibits police from sharing ALPR data with entities outside of California. 

The sheriff also violates the California Values Act (S.B. 54), also known as California’s “sanctuary” law. Enacted in 2018, the law limits the use of local resources to assist federal immigration enforcement.

“The information unveiled through this lawsuit shows that the freedoms that people think they possess in Marin County are a mirage: people cannot move about freely without being surveilled,” said Bennett. “Our county sheriff, who has sworn to uphold the law, is in fact violating it by sharing peoples’ private information with outside agencies. This has especially alarming implications for immigrants and people of color: two communities that are traditionally the targets of excessive policing, surveillance, and separation from loved ones and community through incarceration or deportation.”

The Marin County Post’s coverage of local news in Marin 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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Community

The 157th Session of the AME Church’s California Annual Conference: Not Just Business as Usual

For the 157th time in history, the African Methodist Episcopal Church in California met to report at the call of their bishop, the Right Reverend Clement W. Fugh, which, for the first time was held both on-line and in person from Bethel AME Church at 916 Laguna St. in San Francisco. 

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Bishop Clement W. Fugh, Presiding Prelate of the 5th Episcopal District, ready for the 157th Session of the California Annual Conference

For the 157th time in history, the African Methodist Episcopal Church in California met to report at the call of their bishop, the Right Reverend Clement W. Fugh, which, for the first time was held both on-line and in person from Bethel AME Church at 916 Laguna St. in San Francisco. 

The renowned presiding elders, Rev. Dr. Harold R. Mayberry and Rev. Dr. Vernon S. Burroughs, middle managers of this portion of Bishop Fugh’s charge, shared the accounts of their respective territories at the AME Church’s California Annual Conference via prerecorded videos at the meeting hosted by Churches of the Sacramento Valley. 

The lead congregation from the valley was Murph-Emmanuel A.M.E. Church in North Highlands, CA, which is pastored by Rev. Dr. Carieta Cain Grizzell, whose spouse Rev. Martin Grizzell is also known for his past ministry in the Bay Area. The venue church is served by the pastoral team of Rev. Robert R. Shaw and his partner, Assistant Pastor, Rev. Ann Champion Shaw. Murph-Emmanuel and Bethel A.M.E. Church were acclaimed by Bishop Fugh for their cooperation in this session of the California Annual Conference.  

Bethel A.M.E San Francisco looked like a television set had grown into the sanctuary, complete with multiple lights and cameras. There was a technical team (in person and on-line) primarily made up of young adult members of AME churches under the purview of the bishop. The meeting was a clear, joint effort of both clergy and lay people, more than in past years. Though the California Annual Conference has long made a point of including non-cleric church members, young and old, the COVID-19 pandemic circumstances have clearly advanced the Conference’s inclusivity.  

“The Word of God is Colorblind,” said Bishop Fugh during the retirement portion of the Annual Conference which honored the retirement of the host pastor. The diversity within churches of the California Annual Conference was on display at this 157th session of this historic meeting and it was clear that the leadership encourages the welcoming of all who would like to join with the church. 

There was an apparent focus on meeting safely, with limitations on those allowed to join in person. Attestations related to COVID-19 were required of registrants and a screening process was administered at the venue. The bishop commended the venue leadership and church for the dignity that was maintained during the process. 

Registration for Zoom attendance was also a painless process and open to whomever desired to attend the Webinar. The conference was accessible on Facebook as well as YouTube. The bishop also encouraged churches to make attendance as safe as possible while keeping the process simple and focusing on a quality worship experience. Bishop Fugh set a goal for represented churches to reopen their sanctuaries by the first Sunday of November. 

This session of the California Annual Conference carried with it the long-standing traditions of the first Christian denomination founded in response to social injustice over 200 years ago. The ministries reported primarily using pre-recorded videos this year as it all followed through decently and in order. Indeed, there was a genuine spirit of love during the conference.

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