Browsing All Posts filed under »Uncategorized«

End of Year Piece: PACS for Polluters and Gentrifiers Find Labor Allliances; the Police Commission Puts the We in its Woes; and Tuff Sheds Move to East Oakland

December 29, 2018


2018 was a big year for Oakland news, but there were several news stories with potential effects that will be felt for years to come that also occurred with less or disjointed attention. I chose to focus on three areas of reporting and analysis this year: the city’s homeless management regime, the Police Commission’s first […]

Oakland’s District 6: A Referendum on Big Money & Dirty Politics

November 4, 2018


I’ve written extensively about where the money for the opposition to Desley Brooks in District 6 comes from. For a deep dive, read here. But before the election on Tuesday, I wanted to make one last argument about what the origin of the money means, and how it reflects on the candidates running against Brooks. […]

Tuffshed-ification: Phase 2

October 29, 2018


Last month, the city council passed a city administrator’s office-recommended proposal to create a tuffshed encampment at Lake Merritt. Though it was the city’s 4th homeless camp, passing the legislation necessary to enact the Lake Merritt Tuff Sheds marked a new phase in the city’s homeless intervention strategy–or rather, it marked a phase of now […]

The United Front Against Desley Brooks, Part II

October 22, 2018


Several months ago, Mayor Libby Schaaf and District 4 council person Annie Campbell Washington teamed up in press releases and local television and print news media specifically attacking District 6 council person Desley Brooks. The attack–which painted Brooks as a toxic presence on the city council, in the words of Campbell Washington and the “Donald […]

Orwelling Our Way out of Oakland’s Homelessness Crisis

September 13, 2018


One year ago, Oakland’s City Council approved a shelter emergency ordinance . This legislation–along with a state level version of the shelter crisis legislation passed around the same time in late 2017–gave the city extraordinary powers to suspend the normal health and safety, building code and zoning laws that govern habitations to build emergency transitional […]

The Curious Case of the Backchannel Notebook: An Oakland City Council Mystery

July 20, 2018


A funny thing happened on the way to the Oakland City Council Community and Economic Development Committee meeting on July 17th. Let me back up a bit. I usually sit on the second floor balcony at city council meetings and its not just because I’m a misanthrope. It lets me better focus on events. From […]

Public Lands for Corporate Good: the Derby Street Parcel Sale Proves Oakland Needs a Public Lands Policy

July 1, 2018


Like many public land sales that come before the Oakland City Council, the Derby Street parcel sale was set to glide beneath public notice when it began its final journey of council approval in May, 2018–a perfunctory committee nod and a quick set of ayes at an unnoticed city council meeting seemed assured. But there […]

The United Front Against Desley Brooks

May 17, 2018


Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf launched her current assault against District 6 Council Person Desley Brooks, in April–ironically, in the midst of “honoring” the work of fellow council person Annie Campbell Washington. Washington announced she was retiring, setting the stage for Schaaf’s attack with a subsoundbite against “the corruption” at city council. Schaaf picked up the […]

The Killmonger Compromise: How a CIA Agent and a Black Revolutionary Combine Forces to Preserve the Status Quo in Marvel’s Black Panther

February 22, 2018


Like many viewers with a general awareness of recent African history, I was shocked quite early on in Black Panther by an inscrutable bit of dialogue. T’chala tells his escort that he has “spotted an old friend who works for the CIA”. The agent is Everett Ross, played by legendary second-fiddle Martin Freeman, and turns […]

Source File Corrupt: The Left’s Faustian Bargain with the ADL and the SPLC

February 18, 2018


The Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center were two ancient orgs slumping into the horizon with barnacled hulls and weather-beaten jackets, when antifascist fever took off around 2015. ADL’s rep as a right-wing organization that had spied on left of center organizations and Black political groups for years was common knowledge. Most of the […]

Re: Your Bad Hot Take on Charles Manson

November 28, 2017


Many years ago, when people still read whatever was lying around to fight downtime boredom, I picked up and read a discarded copy of the biography of Charles Manson, Manson in His Own Words, by Nuel Emmons. Like almost everyone under 60 today, my knowledge of Manson up to that point came from cultural inheritance […]

Policing History: Peter Nicks’ Ahistorical The Force Erases Context and Facts about OPD

September 16, 2017


There’s a scene in Peter Nicks the Force, the much hyped documentary by the director of the Waiting Room about the Oakland Police Department that is illustrative of the film’s foundational failure. Then-Captain Leronne Armstrong addresses an incoming police academy. He represents the intsitutional OPD that the young men and women are poised to enter […]

Intersectional Feminism: Wonder Woman, Palestinians, Wakanda and Zionism

June 3, 2017


Though I’m not by any means an expert or anything, I was a historical consultant for one of the better documentaries out there on Wonder Woman, released long before there was even the hint of any hope for a Wonder Woman film—a role I began in 2008 for a film released in 2012. That’s not to […]

A Tale of Two Oaklands: The Ghostship Fire, The San Pablo Apartments Fire, and the Fight for Oakland’s Heart and Soul

April 20, 2017


  Dozens of reporters, videographers and photographers thronged around the yellow tape surrounding the block containing the Ghost Ship warehouse the morning after the tragic fire that killed 36 people in the center of Fruitvale. As the hour approached noon, a group of thousands of Latino Catholics began their scheduled annual procession for the Virgen […]

A Pointless Article About Bernie Sanders

March 27, 2016


I’ll start by admitting this article is pointless. By this stage in the primary season, people who are backing Sanders will back him no matter what emerges about his past, his record, what current awful statements he makes, who he allies himself with.   This all started out innocently enough. People despise Hillary Clinton, and […]

Engagement not Displacement: a story about Public Places

January 30, 2016


The standing room-only crowd at a recent community meeting to discuss the fate of St. Andrews Plaza on San Pablo Avenue, in Oakland, waited patiently as City Council Person Lynette Gibson Mcelheney and her accomplices outlined an unusual redevelopment plan. St. Andrews is a small parklet, literally a concrete container for a few trees on a […]

Umbrella Insurrection at Oscar Grant Plaza

December 15, 2011


Photo by Enrique When police looked for a code that makes physical presence in OGP illegal, they decided on a novel interpretation of a local ordinance. On three separate occasions police officers claimed that standing still with an umbrella in the plaza makes you a structure and such novel umbrella-human hybrid forms would be subject […]