Category Archives: Politics

Are you ready for the November 2012 Election?

By now, you have probably heard enough information about the November 2012 election to turn you blue in the face. I’ve heard some say they wish this election season was over and it’s only August!

However, this election season is crucial. Not only are we (re) electing the President of the United States, but there are important issues to decide upon locally as well.

What’s at stake?

In California, we have 10 new propositions including a re-evaluation of the 3 – strikes Law, getting rid of the Death Penalty, and deciding if we want to tax the wealthiest in order to help support education. We also need to elect new state legislators.. and decide whether or not a governing body can re-draw county boarders. This is not only important to Californian’s but the rest of the country, because what we do here is often modeled in other states.

In Alameda County, we need to vote for 2 Council members, an auditor and a treasurer.

In Oakland, we get to elect practically a whole new City Council – something that local policy nerds and a large portion of residents are really looking forward to. Districts 1 (North Oakland, Temescal, Rockridge), District 3 (West Oakland, Downtown Oakland and Adam’s Point), District 5 ( East Oakland like Fruitvale), District 7 ( Deeper East Oakland near San Leandro) and Oakland At-Large are up for grabs.  We also need to vote for a new City Attorney and School Board Directors for Districts 1, 3, 5, 7.

Phew!  A lot to decide about.

However you can’t decide on any of it unless you are registered to vote.

Why is it important to vote?

Some people feel that voting isn’t important and in the end your votes don’t count. It’s easy to feel that way, because often when you do take the time to vote, you may or may not get what you wish, causing you to walk away feeling that it was pointless. I would like to propose some reasons why voting is really important.

1. If you care about history and have any kind of reverence for your ancestors at all: you should vote. I’m not going to give you a history lesson behind voting and the trials and tribulations that people who have came before us (that includes males, females, races and ethnic groups of all kinds) to secure you the right to have a voice in how our society is run. Just know that people fought and died for your rights. Respect that.

2. If you care about social issues in your present life.. You should vote.  Do you care if your child gets an adequate education? Do you care if people can be sent to prison for life for being caught with marijuana 3 times? Do you care if your district is mainly Democratic or Republican? Are you concerned with the level of crime in the city of Oakland and whether or not you should be taxed yet again in order to supply the city with police protection? Want to make sure your vegetables are truly organic and come from local farms? If so, you should vote.

3. If you like to complain about things and want people to listen and take you seriously instead of rolling their eyes and telling you to be quiet, you should vote. Voting is the most official, and productive way to complain there is. REAL complainers vote..and if you have any pride in your complain game you should vote in every election there is.

Being a voter is great and the responsible thing to do. However, sometimes voting isn’t enough to create real change. Some cynical Sues and Sams out there already know this and remind folks about it every election season, so here is something else you might want to think about.

Why it is important to be an informed and informing voter, despite sketchy results..

Here is the thing. We live in a society where quite frankly, the majority rules. You might think that it’s money that rules and  money does have great potential to shape things, but imagine what a little bit of research and responsible decision making by the majority can accomplish? A lot.

Wealthy position holders can plaster tv and radio with ads sharing their opinions all day, but word of mouth can be just as powerful. A broad game of “Telephone” can sway an election like no other.

Some folks aren’t willing or have the time to do analysis of issues. That’s fine. But maybe you are. Maybe you will read your registrar packet. Maybe you will Google a measure that is confusing. Maybe you will do more than just listen to commercials you see or hear, but pay attention to who is paying for those commercials and what their agenda is. When you do so, tell a friend who can’t do that kind of research. Talk about it over coffee, while playing on your Wii, or jogging around the Lake.  Share what you have learned, be informed and be an informer. The more you talk about it, the more likely the listener is going to vote. Whether they agree with you or not! If everyone talks with just one other person about the issues..can you imagine how powerful that would be?

The more knowledgeable about your vote you are..the more democratic and fair the process is. Even if your vote doesn’t produce the results you are looking for, you will feel good about your decisions and you won’t be as frustrated about the process.  Also, if you do your part to educate your neighbor, you will know that decisions were made responsibly and not because an individual voter didn’t know which option to pick. People actually vote that way, and that’s a little scary if you think about it.

Plus, when you complain, folks will listen!

Who can vote?

The simplest answer is registered citizens. Things are rarely as simple as that, and there are currently real efforts to make sure some voters don’t make it to the polls. #sigh

In California, we don’t have such concentrated efforts,  YET, there are people who can register to vote but haven’t done so for some reason or another. Who are those people?

  • High School Seniors (aged 18)
  • College Freshman (aged 18)
  • People who have moved recently.
  • Recently married and changed your name? Re-register please!
  • Newly recognized citizens.
  • Released felons and parolees.. (say what? Served your time and parole is done? Peep this!)
  • Complainers who haven’t made it official. (shaking my head)

If you know someone who is in this situation, tap them on the shoulder and say “Hey? Have you registered to vote yet?” Get to it!

Send them to these websites. They don’t have computer access? You do..you are reading this blog right? Share it with them!

State Registrar: You can find information about state propositions, who is running for office and local rules and regulations about voting.

Voter Registration – Elections & Voter Information – California Secretary of State.

Alameda County Registrar: You can learn qualifications of voting, where your poling place is..and actually register online!

http://www.acgov.org/rov/registration.htm

Rock the Vote: help register young people and educate them about the importance of being heard this election cycle!

http://www.rockthevote.com/

GottaVote.org: Register to vote, get information on what you need to bring and sign up for important reminders.. (this is paid for by the Obama/Biden campaign btw).

http://gottavote.org/en/CA/

REGISTER TODAY: You have to have your registration post-marked by Oct. 22, 2012 to be eligible to vote in November!!

Check back here!

I am going to try to attend local candidate forums and write about the 10 CA propositions. So check back here for more details and share them with a friend! Let’s all do our part to make sure everyone is an informed voter this election season!

What’s your opinion? Why do you feel it’s important to vote? Any issues you are excited about? Got a crazy story? Share!

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Filed under Advocacy, City Council, Election 2012, Oakland, Politics

East Bay Democracy for America chooses an AD18 candidate!

Remember Howard Dean?

YEAH!!

Well he may not have been able to become President, but his progressive energy lives on in Democracy for America, a “grassroots powerhouse working to change our country!”

The East Bay DFA Meet-Up Group, had a gathering this past Tuesday in order to discuss current events (WHY are Republicans attacking contraception?) learn about progressive initiatives ( Move to Amend: corporations are NOT people!) and to hold a forum in order to choose a candidate for the hotly contested California Assembly District 18 seat!

The candidates for #AD18 (Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro) are Rob Bonta, Vice Mayor of Alameda City Council; Abel Guillien, Peralta Community College Trustee and Joel Young, AC Transit Director-At-Large.

Your friendly neighborhood blogger was able to crash this event in order to obtain some free $5 donation pizza, witness a contentious and heated debate and to participate in a straw poll! (I’ve never done one .. and it’s on my bucket list. I mean who really wants to go sky diving? Pfft!!)

To my utter disappointment, a contentious and heated debate was not to be had. None of the candidates showed up! Bonta had to attend an Alameda City Council Meeting, Guillen was sick with the flu ..and Young, unfortunately, just wasn’t present.

Rob Bonta and Abel Guillen did send some representatives on their behalf. So instead being on hand to witness a fist cat fight, I was able to obtain some information to share with you all.

Jim Oddie and Jessica Reynolds for Rob Bonta.

Rob Bonta sent Jessica Reynolds and Jim Oddie. I don’t really know either of them and I wasn’t able to catch what role they play in Bonta’s campaign. However they seemed very knowledgeable about their candidate and what’s happening in Sacramento. …. and I give Jessica points for the awesome red hair that matched her outfit.

Winnie Anderson, for Abel Guillen

Abel Guillen sent his campaign manager Winnie Anderson from Inkwell World Tattoo, my best friend er..the lady I met while visiting the studio a couple of blog posts ago. Not only is she associated with an awesome local business, but she is a very dynamic and engaging speaker!

Each representative gave general introductions on their candidate, of which you can read more details on their website. Essentially..

  • Rob Bonta is all about education, economic development and public safety (http://www.robbonta.com)
  • Abel Guillen wants to increase revenue by taxing big corporations and improving education (http://abelforassembly.com)
  • From submitted summary.. Joel Young is about bringing in new jobs into the community, in particular those involving green (clean energy) and informational technology. (http://youngforassembly.com)

Afterwards, the audience asked some probing questions, the answers of which I will summarize for you below.

What can you do about the foreclosures happening in our community?

Team Bonta: One of the most horrible aspects of the foreclosure crisis is the dissolution of the social service network. Due to our state budget crisis, may social service programs have been cut. If someone is in jeopardy of losing their home, where can they go for advice or services? Who can they run to? He may not be able to affect what is going on nationally, but Bonta wants to create a better social services network in California by bringing in more revenue and reduce cuts to important programs.

Guillen Manager: Banks are not dedicated towards re-investing into our community. Re-investing means caring about it’s customers enough to work with them and help them keep their homes. Winnie Anderson spoke to the audience about a family member who was in danger of losing their home, so she knows what it is like. Guillen is determined to get banks to reinvest to the community. He has experience in working with banks for the benefit of the community. Did you know that he was instrumental in the Peralta College divesting a large amount of money (140 million) from big banks and reinvesting into community banks and credit unions? He is interested in getting banks to work with us, and not against us.

Jessica Reynolds also let us know that there is legislation in California to fight dual tracking. Dual tracking is when the banks starts working with you to renegotiate your loan, but at the same they start the foreclosure process. (SHADY!!) There is also some federal legislation in the works.

Can you share with us 2 or 3 of your most important endorsements?

Team Bonta: Rob Bonta has more labor support than any other candidate. Professional Firefighters, Bay Area Police officers, and the United Farm Workers. He is most proud of this endorsement because his parents were active members of the United Farm Workers. That is where he got his life mission to fight for social economic justice. (Check out more endorsements here)

Guillen Manager: Guillen has the endorsement of the National Democracy for America. The most important endorsement is the support of the community. Guillen’s camp is proud to say that the majority of their donations comes from residents who have given $100 or less. California Nurses Association, California Teachers Association and the American Federation of Teachers. (Check out more endorsements here)

Incidentally, Joel Young has the endorsement of the Bay Area Business Roundtable, the American Nurses Association and the California Black Congressional Caucus. (Check out more endorsements here)

What are the candidates positions on Single Payer?

[ What? According to our friend WIKI, single payer health care is medicare funded by a single insurance pool run by the state. Apparently California legislature has passed a single payer bill twice. Governor Schwarzenegger then vetoed both bills. (swell!..not really) There is currently another bill being introduced.]

Team Bonta: in favor.. Served on the Alameda Health Care District Board as Director and helped keep the hospital open. The hospital serves a lot of senior and Medicare patients. It’s a critical resource for health care in the East Bay. He helped put together a Wound Care Center that is going to open this summer.

Guillen Manager: in favor..and of universal health care for all. He established a Peralta Wellness Center at the college. For those that don’t have insurance or qualify for Medicare can have access to health care.

It’s hard to get things done in Sacramento. Share a story that will demonstrate your ability to be successful?

Team Bonta: Rob Bonta has the ability to get people to work together in order to get things done. When he was in private practice he worked on a class action suit against Cal Highway Patrol to end racial profiling. Donated a lot of pro-bono time to get that accomplished. Just another example of his work in social justice… [this is one story of many..but I’m already typing too much]

Guillen Manager: Abel Guillen has a reputation of being respected. He established himself as someone they can go to. He did his research and proved his credibility. When he became a trustee he was able to build consensus through communication. He’s not afraid to have difficult conversations. Communication is very important in order to get things done. He has a relationship and the respect of a lot of legislature (including Republicans) already through his work as a trustee.

Straw Poll with no straws?? That’s just crazy.

After the debate portion ended a straw poll was cast and who won?

ABEL GUILLEN.

Good job, guy.. or rather good job Winnie Anderson!

However, I would like to hear from the candidates themselves before I make my final decision. How about you?

Would you like to see a debate with all three candidates? Do you know of when they are going to get together? What are YOUR opinions on the AD18 candidates?

Share! Inquiring minds wanna know.. (okay..I just wanna know.)

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Filed under Election 2012, Oakland, Politics

Similarities between Occupy Oakland and Stand for Oakland

Zenophan Abraham‘s Zenni62.com youtube channel posted a video of Boots Riley confronting  supporters of Stand for Oakland.

Boots Riley has a point. I think Stand for Oakland needs to come to a General Assembly and bring a proposal in support of non-violent action at future protests/demonstrations.

Like all other government institutions Occupy Oakland is organized democratically..

There are some in #OO who believe in non-violent protest but they are out voted. If there is enough people to support a non-violent proposal, enough people to speak up in support and refute those against, a proposal would pass and the organization would have to follow. Right?

There are other ironic similarities between both movements.

Can’t escape violence

The man in the video can’t seem to separate the violence that occurs at Occupy protests from Occupy Oakland movement in general. However, the anti #OO movement isn’t immune to the problems inherent to Occupy Oakland either. During the Oakland City Council Meeting last night, someone testified that Occupy Oakland was being threatened with violence by some who are against #oo, and showed a flyer that said “Kill the Occupiers”. Can we attribute violent behavior of a few anti #OO individuals to the Stand for Oakland group as a whole? I would hope not.

Conflict is newsworthy

Stand for Oakland took the time out of their day to protest in front of City Hall, disrupt the peace of Frank Ogawa plaza to protest Occupy Oakland’s protest. They had news coverage.. the irony is that the only coverage worth mentioning was when there was conflict. When I turned on MSM ( main stream media ..Channel 5 news specifically) about the Stand for Oakland event, it wasn’t all positive.  It was “Shouting match at Frank Ogawa plaza” ..etc. Was that what Stand for Oakland was looking for in the coverage of the protest?  If the MSM can so easily turn something that was supposed to be positive into a negative about Stand for Oakland..imagine what they can turn an Occupy Oakland event into?

Everyone uses free speech

It seems both groups are using the same tactics to influence law makers:  protesting in downtown Oakland to attract media, in order to influence the city government to take action.

  • Stand for Oakland and the Business community doesn’t thing the City is doing enough to protect residents from #Occupy Oakland.
  • #Occupy Oakland doesn’t think the city is doing enough to protect residents from big Business and OPD and helping those that need help.

Neither one of the groups seem to want to cooperate within each others system to make change. Stand for Oakland says they agree with Occupy Oakland’s movement in general. GREAT: then go to General Assembly and participate. Make your complaints there and work on solutions there!

Occupy Oakland ..I have to hand it to you, you went to City Council last night to protest the proposal to protect the Port of Oakland by increasing police enforcement of laws against blocking streets and assembling without a permit. The proposal did not pass. But it wasn’t a win for Occupy Oakland (IMO).  It was a win for freedom of speech and the right to assemble.  The shouting match that went on between #OO and some Council members was horrible (IMO). The counsel listened to you quietly as you gave your speeches.. but when it was their turn some of you would not let them speak.

It not only bugs me (personally because I am a quiet person and I don’t like yelling)..but it gives MSM and those against #OO credibility in their arguments against you. What if a bunch of roudy Stand for Oakland folks went to General Assembly and shouted YOU down? Would you like that?

There is something to be said about catching more bees with honey.

My point in all of this is that it seems that both organizations are working to have a better Oakland. I think everyone needs to take to the time to listen to each other, respectfully, and figure out a way to work together to make it happen.  Do your research. Don’t just listen to the inflammatory language of MSM, or the Police, the Mayor, Occupy Oakland (either side essentially) and let it mislead you.  Don’t let the violent actions of a few distract people from the point of your protest.

Further comments I would like to make and rant about:

To Anti Occupy Oakland:

  •  Occupy Oakland isn’t made up of only young white out of towners!
  •  Occupy Oakland didn’t bum rush YMCA.
  •  Occupy Oakland isn’t all violent.
  •  City of Oakland: Street protest and broken windows and graffiti isn’t violence. Murders and robbery is. I wish the city and OPD would redirect their priorities on their own. People are dying in the streets and you CHOOSE to focus your efforts on Occupy? REALLY?

To Occupy Oakland

  •       PLEASE .. choose sustainable winnable actions. Taking over the Kaiser building was not one of them. Make a clear distinction between symbolic actions and real change.
  •       Random acts of vandalism may express anger but it is pointless. You love Oakland..you hate the blight that is found in other areas of the city..contributing to it does not help. I liked it when after the Nov. 2 protests groups of people cleaned up after the vandalism. Continue doing that. That would bring goodwill and will help separate yourself from the ‘violence’
  •       Be thorough in your research –  the City Council does not control OUSD  or give them funding. The State of California gives funding to the school districts. Go to Sacramento and protest there.  (THAT would be FUN!)

TO EVERYONE: I hate cigarettes..QUIT SMOKING!!! <— wait..am I yelling here? 😉

 

EDIT: Davey D just posted a an article about Black Bloc and ‘diversity of tactics’ Check it out:

Are Black Bloc and diversity of tactics hurting or helping the Occupy Movement?

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Filed under Advocacy, City Council, Oakland

Emerge California celebrates women at Make Westing!

Another great night in Oakland that I can’t wait to share.

Emerge California East Bay hosted a fundraiser celebration last night at Make Westing and I was very fortunate to be able to attend.  I had a ball! I want to share the good times with you..so here we go!

Make Westing is packed with Emerge California celebrants

Emerge California is part of a national movement that trains women to run for Democratic elected office at the local, state and federal level. So far, Emerge has trained over 600 women across the United States, and at least 40% go on to run for office.  Half of those were successful. As SNL’s Miley Cyrus would stay: “That’s pretty cool!”

Last night, Emerge California wanted to celebrate graduates who were running for elected office in 2012, as well as raise a little money for their campaigns. These awesome women are running for offices in the City Council, School Board..all the way up to State and Federal government.

Alumni and the current Emerge California classmates were on-hand to have some drinks and network with the likes of  Oakland City Councilmembers Libby Schaaf and Pat Kernighan, Mayor Jean Quan and City Attorney Barbara Parker.  However, the party wasn’t just for women. There plenty of men on hand, some of whom were running for local office as well, like Mario Juarez running for Oakland City Council District 4 and Joel Young  and Abel Guillen both of whom are running for State Assembly in the 18th District.

Emerge California Executive Director Kimberly Ellis was ecstatic as she applauded all the candidates for 2012. She said Emerge California is about leveling the playing field and addressing the lack of diversity in elected positions. She also appreciated the men who were present for their support and recognizing the value of having more women represented in government.

Ellis also thanked Make Westing, for being such gracious hosts!

Make Westing is a local bar found in the Uptown District of Oakland (17th and Telegraph) that serves cocktails, beer, wine, gourmet snacks..AND delicious (plus nutritious!) cucumber water. The venue is spacious, the bartenders are nice and the owners Bay Area natives. Yes, sports fans, there is a flat-screen TV to watch the latest game while having a beer with friends.

I’m not a huge drinker or sports fan.. so the most compelling feature of the bar is the Bocce Ball Court.

Bocce Ball..what the heck is that?

It’s an Italian ball game, that consists of throwing balls in a dirt lane with the hope that they land closest to the game ball

Make Westing's Bocce Court

(or the Pallino). Does that make sense to you? It didn’t to me either (read more about Bocce here ). Yet, when challenged to a friendly “girls vs boys” competition between random strangers, I was down for a little ball throwing action.

Three games later, my teammate (the girlfriend of one of the bartenders) and I emerged as the undisputed winners! I left the bar in good spirits, with lots of contacts, new friends and a promise to play Bocce again.

What a night!

Take home message? Women make up only 17% of elected officials in the United States. That’s really sad considering that the rest of the world is much more enlightened (we rank 84 in women representation, behind Mexico and Pakistan!). We need to support women running for office and demonstrate that America is the liberated country that we say we are!

Besides women are natural born winners.. (my Bocce ball experience is a prime example).

Support local business.  Oakland, Make Westing is an awesome place to be. I am sure you will have as great a time there as I did. Go have a drink there some time. Play a little Bocce. Watch some football. Drink the water. It’s tasty!

Have a great weekend!

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Filed under Election 2012, Oakland, Politics

Sean is for Oakland, small business and local artists.

Inkwell Tatoo, Piercing and Gallery

It’s 2012, THE most important election year since the last election!

Tonight I was fortunate to be able to attend an event hosted by one of the many people running for office in Oakland.

Sean Sullivan (@seanforoakland) is hoping to be a member of the Oakland City Council, representing District 3 which includes West Oakland, Downtown, Adam’s Point and Lake Merritt.  In an effort to get to know potential voters, he had an informational session at Inkwell, while showcasing local artists and helping to support an upcoming event for black nurses.

Sean Sullivan and Leslie Silket at Inkwell

Sean has been an activist in Oakland for over 10 years.  He is a member of the Community Block Grant Board,  a board member of Khadafy Washington Foundation for non-violence, and Oakland’s Community Action Partnership an organization dedicated towards reducing poverty. He also worked as an environmental health activist, advocating for such things as getting rid of BPA in sippy cups. He is all about supporting small business, which he demonstrates by having tonight’s meet and greet at Inkwell.

Inkwell Studio is a local tattoo, piercing and art gallery, located on the corner of 24th and Broadway in Downtown Oakland. Not only do they offer custom tattoos and with exceptional customer service, they display art by local artists.

Tonight they showcased a father and son team: Buggsy  and Wade Malone.  Buggsy is a Marine veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. On display were some beautiful wood work of  musical artists such as Tupac and Micheal Jackson. There even was a piece of work depicting Frida Khalo.

Tupac, by Buggsy Malone

His son Wade is a student at the Oakland School of the Arts. I didn’t see any wood art from him, but his drawings show great promise. I’m definitely thinking about buying the flowers, if someone else doesn’t snatch them up. (We need to support the kids, ya’ll!)

Also on hand was a bay area nurse named Leslie Silket, RN, BSN. She was there to share information about the 2nd Annual Black Nurses Event. This is a special occasion to celebrate ‘unsung heroes’. Nurses, for little pay and sometimes no benefits, dedicate their lives towards taking care of patients. It’s not an easy job, and it’s sadly unappreciated. Silket says that this is a opportunity for local African-American nurses to get together and share their stories,  celebrate triumphs and get a good meal!

The Black Nurses event will be Z Cafe Feb. 16 at 5 pm. Tickets are $40, but if you are a student nurse you can get in for free. Email Leslie Silket, nuselove67@aol.com for more information.

Flower Art by Wade Malone

Sean Sullivan says that it is important to support local businesses because they provide employment to Oakland residents, and bring revenues back to the city. He is a huge supporter of risk takers and dream makers, and feels that small businesses like Inkwell and artists like Buggsy and Wade Malone are “hella cool!”.

I agree.

Visit Inkwell Studio all this month to see more work from Buggsy Malone and his son Wade.

Support small business, local artists ..and don’t forget to vote!

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Filed under Advocacy, City Council, Election 2012, Healthcare, Oakland

When “*hit people say..” is more than just funny.

This “*hit …. say” meme has been growing like crazy! People have been saying a lot for a long time, but apparently now is the time to air it all out for public commentary.

Black girls say

Black guys say..

White guys say to ..black guys

Asian girls say..

Asian guys, drunk girls, baby mama’s, gay guys, southern gay guys.. You name it, they have all been sayin’!

However, it is ‘ish White girls say to Black girls that’s getting a lot of talk recently, and generating plenty of blog commentary. Franchesca Ramsey’s list of things white girls say to black girls is funny and all too familiar to plenty of Black women that have White girlfriends.

At the same time it has hit a nerve that we have previously ignored for the sake of friendship and the need to be PC. In the past we have tried to be more accepting of each other and in that effort, maybe we let some comments or questions slide in order to maintain a shaky peace.

Yet, 2011 and beyond seems to be the era of honesty! We have now come to a place where it’s possible to call folks out for their questionable behavior and laugh at it.

But are we really that comfortable?

I don’t know..”*hit Black girls ..say to White women” hasn’t come out yet.    ….    …..

I applaud the effort of everyone airing out dirty laundry so that we can discuss, come to some sort of understanding, hold hands and become friends. Yay!

However, I’m more interested in what some other people are saying in public that isn’t getting talked about as much as it needs to.

Newt Gingrich Says He Would Urge Blacks To Demand Paychecks, Not Food Stamps In Front Of NAACP.

Gingrich told a town hall meeting at a senior center in Plymouth, N.H., that if the NAACP invites him to its annual convention this year, he’d go there and talk about “why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/06/newt-gingrich-naacp-food-stamps_n_1189005.html?ir=Black%20Voices

-__-

According to the USDA SNAP Household Characteristic Report for 2010, African American’s make up 22% of those in the food stamp program. That’s not even the majority…*cough*Caucasians make up 35%*cough*. What is he going to tell the rest of them?

The Republican candidates are saying a lot of *hit about minorities and low income people. Gingrich and Santorium (the “I don’t want to make Black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.” guy) both have made some sketchy comments about Black people and welfare. Ron Paul defends denounces racist newsletters he has written in the past. And let’s not forget about their opinions on immigration, the Occupy Wall Street movement, women’s reproductive rights etc.

These candidates are airing dirty laundry all over the place.

A significant and really harmful difference is that these people have the power to effect us in more damaging ways than getting us to laugh or have deep conversations at the water cooler.

One of these people can potentially become the President of the United States.

The potential candidate could help elect a congress that would have the power to make some significant changes. They could cut social benefits, appoint a radical supreme court member, go to war with Iran for no reason, kick out ALL illegal immigrants.. We thought the Bush era was bad? At the time no one thought Bush would get elected.. and now  Santorium is a front runner!

We need to talk about that.

Do you care that these candidates saying some crazy ‘ish? Are we really at a place where we can say anything about each other and get away with it? How would YOU react to “*hit Black girls say to White Girls?”

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Filed under Advocacy, humor, Politics

It’s official. Sandre Swanson will run for State Senate, for District 9

Assemblyman Sandre Swanson confirmed Tuesday that he’ll challenge incumbent Loni Hancock for her newly drawn state Senate seat next year, setting up a term-limit-fueled, Democrat-on-Democrat grudge match that’s sure to divide many East Bay allies.

Sandre Swanson will challenge Loni Hancock for State Senate http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_19540356

Yay!!??

I don’t know. I don’t know enough about him or the incumbent.

A friend suggested that I get to know Swanson and chronicle my learnings on this here blog. I signed up on Facebook, put myself on the Swanson email list and learned that he was co- sponsoring a food drive at Everett and Jones that was held last week. Food drive, free bbq..I was soo down!

BBQ and Elbow rubs.

Swanson/Lee/Carson Christmas Party, 2011 <— View Photos here

I couldn't get there at 5 when it started, but when I did arrive (at 6) E&J was already packed full of people I did not know. Luckily I brought a friend, and my handy dandy camera to take pictures and pretend like I had a purpose.

I didn't learn very much though. The speeches I heard contained a lot of "Thank You for.." and "Look who's here!.." and "Great job everyone!" and "Remember when..?" none of which I took notes on because I was too busy partaking of bbq beef and cornbread muffins while trying to look pretty. I did make note that Sandre Swanson was there, along with Keith Carson (co-sponsor), Desley Brooks and a rep for Rebecca Kaplan. Barbara Lee (another co-sponsor) was not present because she still had some voting to do down in DC. Something to do with payroll taxes. 😉

Thanks to Pamela Drake for chatting with me as well. So, I knew two people. 🙂

All in all, the event was a great mixer for those that have worked with Carson, Swanson and Lee for a long time. It also helped collect food for the local food bank. Several bins were filled with food. I brought beans, peas and corn. Keepin' it healthy!

Were you there? Was there other stuff to learn? Share!

Some Learning..

District 9 ( download District 9 Map.pdf) includes parts of Contra Costa County (Hercules, Richmond, El Cerrito) and Alameda County (Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro).

Loni Hancock has served as the representative since 2008. I remember voting for her..I don’t remember why. (bad Tonya, bad!) Her website says that she is a strong advocate for criminal justice, government reform, education and environment. She recently stood by the California Faculty Association during the strike at CSU East Bay and was (is she still?) a supporter of the Occupy movement and supported the General Strike on Nov. 2nd.

Sandre’ Swanson has been the State Assembly District 16 (Emeryville, Oakland, Peidmont and Alameda) Rep since 2006. Serving the public for the past 30 years, Swanson’s legislative work is pretty transparent. His website, Facebook and newsletter lists legislative wins through the year for 2011, and also for 2006 and 2007. Those include: new child labor laws, strengthening laws human trafficking, small business tax credits, and justice for low wage workers in 2011. His bio says he also has a deep commitment towards access to health care. What happened in 2008-2010? Dunno. Not on the website. Get on it Swanson Communications team!!

So who should we vote for in June? We shall see. As I learn I will share.

What do you know? Got an inside scoop that should be public? Share!

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Filed under Advocacy, Election 2012, Oakland, Politics

Should #OccupyOakland Campers Stay? I don’t know.

Occupy Oakland General Strike (135 photos)

In my previous blog post, I enthusiastically gave #OccupyOakland my support.

On Wednesday, I participated in the awesome march to the Port of Oakland during the General Strike. (see photo album above)

Thursday, I attended the City Council meeting to discuss a draft resolution from CM Nancy Nadel, Rep for District 3 which includes downtown Oakland, that would allow camp to stay at Frank Ogawa Plaza. I tweeted throughout the meeting (see @tdlove5). If you want some riveting and juicy details (CM Brooks literally embarrassed the heck out of CM Kaplan), check out my tweets or read through tweets dated Nov. 3rd in this hashtag: #oakmtg.

Anyway, at the meeting I learned some things that have left me with mixed feelings on the whole issue. I will share what I learned at the meeting, pro and con, and explain my thoughts at the end.

Warning this post is long, but I wanted to be thoughtful and as thorough as I could be in my ‘reporting’ and subsequent thoughts. So get out your coffee, put your feet on the table and join me.

Again, let me reiterate that these are arguments that I learned from those who testified at the City Council meeting. Let me start this by saying that I truly admire those that take the time to show up to these meetings and speak. Especially the young children. It’s not an easy thing to do (people heckle others they don’t agree with).

I have attended meetings, and so far I have not been brave enough to say something. Yet. Someday, I will be ticked off enough about something to speak my mind. Or maybe even happy enough to say something nice.

Arguments for why Occupy Oakland campers should stay.

Occupy campers are providing a service to the community that the city of Oakland can’t/won’t.

Many speakers testified that there are homeless, disabled (mentally and physically), and jobless who are camping with Occupy. They are being fed, and treated (at nurses tent) and mentored on site. Something that the city of Oakland hasn’t been doing a job good of.

It’s their right. The Constitution does not preclude time or place or amount of time allowed to protest on public property.

The First Amendment of the Constitution does not explicitly place limits to freedom of expression. City Administrator Santana mentioned (and it’s my basic understanding) that you must apply for permits to have events at public parks and spaces..

(However, IMO (not Santana’s) many sit-ins and protests in the past that were successful, broke the rules and laws.)

Please note: Dorothy Jones, owner of Everett and Jones and supporter of Occupy Oakland, applied for permits so that Occupy could serve food and have events at Frank Ogawa during Wed. Nov 2 strike and provided a bbq for thousands of participants that evening.

You (the public and city) only have a problem with the trash because it is downtown.

CM Nadel and other speakers pointed out that there are homeless, trash, and violence in all parts of the city that people don’t seem to care much about. One resident said she has to live amongst violence and crime in her neighborhood in East Oakland everyday. Why does the city care about it now? Because it’s on their front door step. (and I would say because it is National news)

Occupy inspires young people towards civil protest.

A couple of young people attended the City Council meeting and testified before the council. They expressed admiration for those speaking out for their rights and trying to make a difference in the community. One young teen was a camper herself and asked that the police remember that there are young children in the camp. The police should not bring tear gas or shoot pellets at them. She also admonished them to take off their shoes upon entering the campsite.

(I have a picture as proof, but something doesn’t seem right about posting it here. shrug).

Furthermore, this is an “opportunity” for Oakland to be an example of progressiveness. To show the world that we care about equity and want to do something about it!

The police have committed unfair brutal attacks against the campers and protesters in violation of the city’s crowd control policy.

I am not sure if this is an effective argument of why they should stay, but it is a legitimate complaint. There are the examples of veterans Scott Olsen, and now Kayvan Sabehgi being injured by police action. Another resident talked about how her daughter had a tear gas canister explode on her ankle. Local reporter resident, Max Allstadt, was arrested for ‘being in the wrong place at wrong time’. And there are probably many more examples that I am missing..

Attorney Michael Siegel tweeted me a copy of the Oakland’s crowd control court order which you can download here.

Occupy Oakland does not condone violence, they are a work in progress that could use the city’s help instead of it’s condemnation. Don’t punish the whole group over a few bad apples.

Over the past couple of days you have probably heard statements from Occupy Oakland decrying the random acts of violence that occurred during the General Strike and on several other occasions. There seems to be a small sector of the community, who dress in all black and are labeled anarchists, that like to cause destruction. Even the Oakland Police Department, in public statements, identified the trouble makers as a separate group.

Occupy Oakland has apologized to the city and have organized efforts for clean-up. Last night they held a General Assembly to come up with ways to stop the violence. You can watch live streaming of GA meetings by following @OakFoSho’s live stream.

At the meeting Occupy Oakland asked the Council several times for help figuring out their electricity issues and invited them more than once to attend the General Assembly meetings.

Arguments for why Occupy Oakland should leave.

The campers are causing the city of Oakland to lose business.

The President of Oakland’s Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce testified to the city council that two businesses have left Oakland’s downtown’s office space and another business declined to make a deal to move to Oakland. Mayor Quan says that another business owner is concerned for the safety of the employees and warned that if he leaves, he will be taking 500 jobs with him.

Occupy Oakland is costing the City money and resources that the city can not afford.

Recently the city reported that the cost to the city from Occupy Oakland as of Oct. 28th has been a little over a million dollars. This does not include the costs from the General Strike or the loss of business from the shut down of the Port of Oakland.

Mayor Quan also testified that the city has limited resources..when the city directs those resources to Occupy Oakland, they are being taken away from areas of the city that really need it. Cops being used to police Occupy are being taken away from East Oakland. She pleaded with Occupy Oakland to help her, help East Oakland.

The camp has trash, public safety and violence issues. One of reasons for eviction on Tuesday, 25th was lack of communication from the campers, and not allowing the police or ambulance to answer calls of distress.

City Administrator Santana presented a thorough power point presentation listing the problems with trash and instances of violence. She said there was a report of a man being beaten over the head with a 2 x 4. A reporter being bit by a dog. The kitchen using illegal extension cords and propane tanks and various other bio-hazards that you can look at in the picture at left.

She says that the city tried various avenues of communication. She sent a staff member to GA meetings, who was not allowed to participate. They used social media, following tweets and reading Facebook posts, in order to find out what is going inside the camp. They even sent written notices that were ignored. The city were looking for a willingness to comply with the laws and to cooperate. CM Brooks even admonished Occupy in her speech saying “This was a Council that was willing to work with you”.

The downtown residents not involved in Occupy, feel their rights are not being fairly taken into consideration.

The Occupy movement had a lot of supporters at this meeting. However, there were a few brave souls who came and spoke in opposition to CM Nadel’s resolution. Residents testified that they don’t feel safe downtown anymore. That the national coverage sheds a negative light on the city. Via ear hustle, I heard one woman complain that she feels like she is being held ‘hostage’ in her own neighborhood.

When I tweeted this comment, I got some flack from a couple who were following my tweets. However, in her (and my defense), the word may be an exaggeration, but the constant drone of helicopters and the constant police action taken towards Occupy Oakland does leave one feeling trapped in a “war-like” atmosphere. (Another inflammatory phrase for you).

Further comments made by residents at the meeting (in summary): Oakland has had it’s fair share of protests and strife in the city. It’s not fair to continue to subject the city to abuse, when all we (residents of Oakland) are trying to do is survive this economic crisis and take care of our own. Why does Oakland have to be the example? Why not LA or New York?

The 1% is not here in Oakland.

CM Patricia Kernighan reminded the audience that the 1%, who Occupy is complaining against, does not reside in Oakland. Goldman Sachs is not in Oakland. Bank of America is not based in Oakland. Even the really wealthy do not live in Oakland. Why not go to Piedmont..or Marin? Or Wall Street?

The 1% don’t care about what is happening in Oakland. They are watching, sitting back in their comfortable homes and neighborhoods, and laughing at our expense.

SF Chronicle recently published an article on Bay Area companies that are targeted by the Occupy Movement (like Wells Fargo) and addresses the issue of their tax contributions.

What is the point of Occupy Oakland? Who is the leader? What are the plans? What are the goals? Why should we (city of Oakland and residents) support something without a clear agenda?

CM Brooks in her speech showed how she clearly supported Occupy Oakland. She camped out with them for the first couple of days. Yet, Brooks expressed disappointment in the fact they have yet to tell even her, a supporter, what their goals are.

In the end, the council did not make a decision. CM Nadel did not think she would have enough votes for her resolution that night so she decided not to bring it up. After a long meeting which heard over a 100 speakers, CM Reid called for another meeting at a later date to discuss specific policy solutions.

MY personal thoughts:

I actually agree with all of the points here. Pro and Con. This is why I have mixed feelings on Occupy Oakland campers staying at Frank Ogawa.

On one hand, I am in total agreement with the movement, for reasons I stated previously. On the other hand, I loathe the negative affects the occupation has had on the city of Oakland in particular.

I’m not really bothered by the fact that #Occupy Oakland has no real concrete position. I feel that this is a movement that is a work in progress. As well planned as the Civil Rights Movement has reportedly been, I find it hard to believe that there were no instances where a protest didn’t achieve a specific goal. I think that maybe there were instances in the past where people engaged in civil disobedience and protested because they were merely upset over what was happening and had no real goal in mind except to just register their complaint. Yet we don’t know about those, because there was no internet or media to broadcast those not-so-successful demonstrations for the whole world to judge and condemn. However, from those sporadic protests in the beginning, over time a thought out, goal-oriented and well-organized movement emerged that was able to achieve some success which is now being recognized and celebrated.

For some reason we aren’t allowing Occupy Oakland the chance to grow and learn. I don’t think it’s very fair. Especially if all some people are doing are being an armchair critics and not helping the situation at all.

If you are one of those feel that Occupy Oakland needs direction, guidance and focus: (my suggestion) go to their General Assembly and help them. You got concrete ideas and plans?..Share them at the GA. I have gone to the General Assembly meetings and you would be surprised at how organized and democratic they actually are. It’s pretty awesome actually. They meet in the afternoons. I don’t know what specific time but if you go to Occupy Oakland’s Facebook page you can find out.

I believe there have been successes within the Occupy Movement. Occupy Oakland shut down the Port of Oakland- the 5th largest Port in the US. Hit international and national corporations in their pocket books. If we know nothing about the ‘clear intentions, goals or expected outcomes’ of the Occupy Movement, we do know that they are tired of big corporations taking money from the 99%, and that attacking corporate pocketbooks is the preferred method to register a complaint. That’s what Occupy wanted to do and that’s what we (myself and thousands of supporters) did.

Other instances of success include Occupy Walnut Creek, and their success in getting residents to leave their banks. And today..the movement to get people to switch to credit unions. This may not directly be attributed to Occupy Oakland, but the conversation has changed. People are listening and not liking what they are seeing. Change is happening, slowly but surely.

Yes, this is costing the city (and country for the national movement) money and inconvenience. Unfortunately that’s the nature of protest. I can imagine, and it is probably documented in books that I haven’t read, the loss and suffering endured by innocent bystanders to the Civil Rights movement. However, the end did justify the means, right? We don’t like it while it’s happening..but there is potential. And in the future, when we look back we can marvel at the great change that occurred and it would be celebrated. We don’t know that yet.. but isn’t it worth it to see what happens?

Thousands of us walking to Port of Oakland- from http://www.sfbayview.com

I do not regret my part in the General Strike. It may have meant nothing in the end, but words can not accurately express what it feels like to speak out and be heard. When I was marching with the city..and we came to the overpass that takes you to the Port (as pictured above).. and we were able to witness the thousands who were marching with us…tears came to my eyes. I was so proud. It was amazing.

But does that mean that Occupy should camp out in front of Frank Ogawa plaza? I am starting to think not. CM Brooks stated (and I paraphrase) “This movement is bigger than a park. The movement won’t die just because you can’t camp out front.” This I agree with.

I also agree that the negative consequences of camping is unfair to the people who live in downtown Oakland and just want a safe place to be when they get home. The helicopters are annoying. And when I saw what (the small group of anarchists) did to Whole Foods..it broke my heart. On the other hand, it’s hard to control those who are bound and determined to make trouble. They were also bound and determined to make trouble before Occupy Oakland ever arrived. Is it fair to punish Occupy Oakland for this..or should the police do a better job of making sure this group does not have the opportunity to act again?

So what should happen? I don’t know. But, I do hope that the city and the Occupy Oakland team comes to some sort of peaceful agreement. I hope that both parties continue to communicate. I hope that members of the City Council and the Mayor attend General Assembly meetings and I hope that Occupy Oakland will allow them to speak. I really hope that the OPD can root out the small group of ‘anarchists’ and do something about them once and for all. Finally, I hope that Oakland residents can feel safe in their own city, while allowing other residents the opportunity to engage in peaceful and civil protest.

I will participate in the movement the best I can given my already hectic schedule. But, like I said, I believe in this movement. I can be patient and see what happens. I am optimistic.

What do you think?

Did I forget something that you think should be included? Let me know. Share your thoughts, complaints and solutions. I may not have all the answers, or any that satisfy you, but I love hearing different points of view.

So speak out!

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Filed under Advocacy, City Council, Oakland, Politics

Which side am I on? #OccupyOakland’s

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere! Hella #OccupyOakland." Posted on Oakland's City Hall Wednesday evening, October 26th.

Over the past couple of weeks Oakland has become famous for something other than it’s murder rate!

#OccupyOakland has highlighted it’s rich history with civil protest and our city has once again become national news. The actions of the local police department and the city government has  given Oakland’s arm of #OccupyWallStreet new energy and support from all over the world including myself.

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Barbara Lee/Elihu Harris Lecture series featuring Dr. Dorothy Cotton and Reverend C.T. Vivian. The Lee/Harris lecture series features activists from the Civil Rights era who share words of wisdom to inspire youth. Vivian and Cotton, who both worked with Martin Luther King Junior as part of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, spoke to a roomful of young students and Oakland residents about the need for continued advocacy and activism during our current economic crisis and for the upcoming 2012 election.

A student at Merritt College opened the discussion with a question: In the struggle of justice, peace and a stronger democracy..which side are you on? I have listened to opinions pro and con about the Occupy movement and decided that is very important for me to give Occupy Oakland my full support.

Why? Because I am one of the 99 percent! 

That seems too easy right? It is..but it’s still true. I am a young African – American female, subject to the systematic racism and prejudice that plagues this country today. I am what some might call middle class, yet I’m living check to check. As an independent consultant I am what you would call a small business..something that our government often encourages more of. Yet, I am the portion of the middle class that suffers from the inequitable tax system having to pay a higher percentage of my income than those that make way more money than I do.

I have to give Vice Presidential candidate Herman Cain a small measure of credit. The fact that I am not rich is my own fault. I chose not to become a doctor or work for a corporation that would give me more money.  I chose to live in a city where home-ownership is nearly impossible for a single person.

However, I also chose to be dedicated towards helping the community, making advocacy not only part of my work but part of my life. I feel good about that choice.

Given that..choosing to support Occupy Oakland is a natural fit for me and should surprise no one.

(Some of my friends weren’t surprised at all..they fully expected to me to be one of the arrested on Tuesday night..lol!)

The Occupy Movement has no purpose..

I disagree. The occupy movement gives voice to struggle of peace, stronger democracy and justice. Many complain that there isn’t a specific goal or plan and that there are too many issues to address.  True. The occupy movement is not merely about banks taking our money to line their own pockets, or about lack of jobs. It’s about issues with race, class, prejudice. Who are most affected by the lack of jobs? African-Americans. Who is negatively affected by our horrible tax system? Middle and lower class. Who is being targeted by unfair police actions? Young minority males. Who are affected when public schools are closed? All of our children!

The eviction of occupy protestors and aggressive action by the City of Oakland/OPD against Occupy Oakland last Tuesday  has clearly demonstrated the continued struggle for peace, democracy and justice.

We can’t solve these problems with one single law, or action. That’s impossible. Yet, what can happen is that our voices can be heard and for the ‘powerful’ to realize that they can not continue with business as usual. We have the power to put our money where our mouths are. We can boycott, sit-in, march, vote, shout, dance .. but most importantly..BE HEARD!

But what does supporting Occupy Oakland accomplish?

It has encouraged people of all races, gender and economic status (within the 99% and even the 1% (Micheal Moore..Danny Glover?) to come together and speak out about equity and it has visibly shifted the political discourse.

It has made Mayor Jean Quan and the Oakland Police Department reconsider their actions against peaceful protest and prompted the City Council to hold a special meeting to evaluate Oakland’s response to future protests in the city. (Thursday, 5:30 pm, City Hall)

Bank of America is dropping their $5 fee for debit cards! Can we attribute that to Occupy?  Maybe ..maybe not. But many unhappy customers made their voices heard and a change was accomplished.

Imagine what else can be possible by continuing to speak out.

The success of the Occupy Movement can mean different things (as outlined by this blog post on CNN). However what really resonates with me is that thousands of people are willing to do  SOMETHING.

There is nothing more irritating than a complainer that does nothing. (IMO)

You have to camp out and live in a tent in order to support Occupy.

No you don’t. You can stay in your comfy bed and you can go still go to work. However, there are other things you can do to show your support

  • You can attend #Occupy general assembly meetings which usually happen early evening. You can participate in rally’s that happen over the weekend or in evenings.
  • You can attend city council meetings. (Thursday, 5 pm City Hall to discuss Occupy Oakland eviction)
  • You can share your opinions with your peers. Have discussions that generate concrete ideas and ways we can make change happen within our own sphere of influence.
  • Patronize small business.
  • You can encourage your friends to stay safe and peaceful when they participate in protests.
  • Retweet an informative tweet.  Like a facebook post.
  • You can write a letter to “The Editor” of a newspaper.
  • You can call your congressman and ask them to support bills that help the 99%.
  • You can donate to the presidential campaign that best supports your ideals.
  • You can sign petitions. Make phone calls.
  • Send in your ballot on Nov. 15th.
  • You can donate food and supplies to the tent community in downtown Oakland.
  • You can educate youth about peaceful protest.

Participation can mean many things.  The whole point of occupy is to show that the 99% are not silent doormats waiting to be stepped on.

General Strike, November 2nd

The general strike, Wednesday Nov. 2nd, is one day where we as a city can collectively raise our voices. I encourage those that can to participate. You don’t have to take a whole day off.  You can participate in three rally’s that will occur throughout the day as outlined in the poster below.

So Oakland..are you going to participate in the General Strike?

or.. General Public

Do you agree or disagree with the occupy movement?

Have thoughts about the city’s response to Occupy Oakland?

Share! Hopefully I will see you tomorrow. I will participate at 5 pm and share pics/tweets. 🙂

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Filed under Advocacy, Oakland, Politics

Happy Birthday, President Obama! Oakland celebrates his 50th at New Parish

Today is President Barack Obama’s 50th Birthday, and last night I went out to a club (something I rarely do these days) to celebrate!

Organizing For America – Oakland and organizers from  East Bay Young Democrats, along with a host of other co-sponsors, threw a “Happy Birthday President Obama” fundraiser at The New Parish in Oakland. Part of a nationwide celebration, with 1100 parties in cities across the country, Oakland did not dissapoint!

A who’s who of key players from Oakland were there to celebrate and raise money for the 2012 Obama campaign, such as City Council reps Rebecca Kaplan and Desley Brooks.

However the stars of the show were Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Congressional Rep. Barbara Lee, Attorney General Kamala Harris, and keynote speaker Donna Brazile.

I was there to gush and tweet about the whole thing! Here’s what happened:

Mayor Quan opened the program by reminding the guests that although California was largely in support of Pres. Obama, Oakland was still instrumental in helping to garner support across the Nation. She noted that she herself was one of the many who made calls, especially to motivate Chinese voters, across the country. Mayor Quan encouraged the crowd to continue their support by knocking on doors, making phone calls, and raising money. “We can make a difference here (in Oakland)!” Yes, we can!

Barbara Lee, charged up the crowd by expressing how glad she was to be back home in Oakland! She lets us know that it was because of the efforts of Mayor Quan and her frequent trips to Washington DC that the city of Oakland is becoming an important player in this year’s campaign.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris, an Oakland native, thanked us for all of our support and help in getting her to Sacramento. Harris said she wasn’t a stranger to campaigning for the President. In 2007, she stepped out in the cold winter of Iowa and knocked on doors, and continued campaigning in several other states. Harris said that re-electing President Obama is not about the money or huge fundraisers, it’s about us the people!

Last but not least, Donna Brazile came out and got the crowd pumping with a chant “Fired up and Ready to Go!”  The audience was clearly impressed with the history of her work with the Democratic Party and her continued commitment towards the Obama Administration. She says that she will continue to have “Obama’s back” during the upcoming election. Now more than ever, President Obama needs the continued support of progressives. Although the deal wasn’t ideal, he preserved Medicare and Social Security for the poor and continues to fight for the “least of these”.

At the end of her speech Brazile led us into a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday” Stevie Wonder style, while we waited for the venue to overcome technical difficulties in bringing up a live stream of the President at his event in Chicago. Once things got underway, we listened as the President thanked his supporters and urged us to stick with him.

The President’s speech was a little long.. (my feet hurt from standing)..and he looked exhausted. However Obama is nothing if not a good orator and he peppered this one with cute jokes like this..

“Tomorrow I turn 50 and will get a letter from AARP asking me to ask the President to protect medicare”

At points during the speech he leaned over the podium. He was tired..so was I. ..but his job is harder, so he gets a pass. LOL

and rousing statements designed to encourage and keep us  focused on the  fight ahead  “You knew when you elected me that we were in for a long struggle..” or “Change doesn’t happen over night”  etc..etc..

PopLyfe ..they are AWESOME. Support tha kids please!

At the end of the program we were further entertained by PopLyfe, a young band mentored by Dwayne Wiggins of Tony Toni Tone.

I personally believe these young folks are awesome and OAKLAND, nay AMERICA, needs to support them 100%. The two guitarists would make PRINCE himself proud.  I was so impressed..yet mad at the same time. WHY did I stop playing clarinet in high school? That could have been me!!

We were also blessed to have a couple of songs from Dwayne Wiggins himself.

All in all, I had a great time! The event was successful, the MC announced that they reached their fundraising goal! 🙂 I was very happy to be there.

Thanks to my friends Anne ..for inviting me to the party. Dalila..thanks for the pics (my camera is janky..who wants to donate an iPhone?).  Rebecca nice to meet you looking forward getting to know you better.

I am IN, President Obama. I’m ready to do what I can to help you get re-elected!

So friends..tell me. Did you celebrate with Obama? Were you at home watching the Chicago program..or did you go out? Are you a supporter? Are you in..will you stump for Obama, too? Share!

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