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Nobody did London Breed any favors at Tuesday’s board meeting. Not the supervisors who swept her out of the mayor’s office that had been given to her by the city charter and not Ron Conway and the big money boys whose overly aggressive support was the screen the supervisors hid their racism behind. So London heads into the June election owing nothing to anybody, only the people of San Francisco, including the most needy. We can win it and we will! Join us soon at the London Breed for Mayor campaign headquarters. Endorse London on her website, www.londonformayor.com, and contact her campaign by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and phone at 415-LONDON1.
Now, as the San Francisco Bay View newspaper’s 40th birthday year comes to a close, is the time to bring up to date the historical sketch of our paper that I began with Part 1 in the January paper. Piles of old papers rest on my desk, waiting to be read once again – a banquet of stories and pictures of our lives, our hopes, our goals. Let me let you taste the flavor of the freedom we continue to fight for in the age of Trump.
It’s 2016, 40 years since Muhammad al-Kareem founded the New Bayview, now renamed the San Francisco Bay View, in 1976. Inspired by Malcolm X, he wanted to bring a newspaper like Muhammad Speaks to Bayview Hunters Point. He’ll tell the story of those early years, and I’ll pick it up now at the point when my wife Mary and I took over in 1992. Watching our first paper roll through the huge two-story tall lumbering old press at Tom Berkley’s Post Newspaper Building on Feb. 3, 1992, was a feel-like-flying thrill we’ll never forget.
When SF’s top officials gathered for the annual State of the City address on the morning of Jan. 17, 2014, instead of the elegant environs of City Hall, they descended on a construction site at the Hunters Point Shipyard. Despite the rosy picture painted by the mayor, some of the people working at the Shipyard were on their way to losing everything. The program meant to help small local construction companies benefit from the development was instead driving some against the wall. A survey of the Shipyard’s local contractors and a review of public documents reveal systemic issues with the local builders program.
Doug is a warrior for justice. The Warriors’ new stadium, the Chase Center, is being built by Clark Construction. Doug is suing Clark because he believes Clark intentionally destroyed his business. Racism in the construction industry is legendary. It is a “buddy-buddy” network that was built to exclude Black contractors. We hope that the Warriors themselves, including Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and others, will not allow racism to put a stain on their house.
If President Trump’s $1 trillion plan materializes in some shape, form or fashion, highly capable Black contractors will be virtually shut out of public sector contracting as they were during George W. Bush and Barack Obama’s administrations. Qualified Black-owned businesses received a disproportionate sliver of federal stimulus contracts, creating a rising chorus of demands for President Barack Obama’s administration to be more inclusive and more closely track who receives government-financed work, which they did not.
“We have sought and received input from the community and our partner, the city,” acknowledged Lennar San Francisco President Kofi Bonner in a statement cited by columnists Matier & Ross in the Chronicle today. As a result, Bonner added, “Lennar intends to withdraw its request to implode the stadium.” The community’s next step is to demand a fair share of the demolition jobs. And since long experience tells us that unless Black contractors get the work, Black workers won’t be hired except in token numbers, calls to Kofi Bonner are in order: Call 415-995-1770.
All the ingredients of human bondage and denigration which characterize Anglo treatment of minority peoples in the United States are also present in Oakland, California. A study of Oakland’s socio-economic situation demonstrates, as the Kerner Report and many other similar queries have done throughout the country, that the poor are cut off dramatically from the middle and upper classes.
We recall the words of the great Black abolition leader Frederick Douglas: “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” After years of studies, pleading, begging for jobs and contracts in our city, we are prepared to call a boycott of conventions coming to San Francisco. For Jan. 1, 2014, two national organizations of Black meeting planners, controlling 75 percent of the $40 billion Black convention and meeting industry, have been notified to stand by until our meeting with the SF Travel Association and the City. SFAACC, along with a coalition of other Black and concerned organizations, will present the following DEMANDS in an upcoming meeting with SF Travel, the Hotel Board and the City of SF.
Oakland resident Joseph R. Debro Jr. was born in Jackson, Mississippi, on Nov. 27, 1928, and passed away on Nov. 5, 2013, at a VA facility in Martinez, California. Joe Debro was the eldest of three children born to Joseph Debro and Seleana Gaylor Debro. Mr. Debro’s two younger siblings, Julius Cesar and Gloria Etta, were born in 1931 and 1935.
As many of you know from experience, or have read before in these pages, the last decade has cut a deadly swath through Black prosperity and the viability of Black businesses in San Francisco. This is coupled with the flight of many of our neighbors, family members and friends out of the City. Yet we hang on, still determined to “make a way out of no way.” We remain, our children remain, and if we work hard enough, diligently enough, we can turn things around so that the next generation has a fighting chance.
The protest was staged in response to practices permitted by the San Francisco 49ers and the Santa Clara Stadium Authority and executed by Turner Construction and its joint venture partner Devcon Construction, to intentionally and systematically exclude Black and minority contractors from participation on the $1.3 billion Levi’s Stadium project.
No one with Chokwe Lumumba’s grassroots organizing experience, and no one who has so openly challenged white supremacy has ever been elected mayor of a major American city. And, as Jackson native, scholar and activist Tom Head has written, he has the distinct advantage of promoting democratic economic policies as both a community organizer and a public official.
Black people have largely been locked out of construction work in San Francisco since 1998. That’s a shame, because construction work is a solution to many of the ills in the Black community. Construction wages are high, and when Black contractors have work, they are generally eager to train Black workers regardless of their school, police or prison records.
“We must leverage our athletic success for economic development in our community,” says Magic Johnson. Everett L. Glenn, president of the National Sports Authority, a division of ESP Education & Leadership Institute, is applying that principle to construction of the 49ers’ new stadium under construction in Santa Clara.
It has been five short months since dozens of unemployed Black workers and contractors protested exclusion of Blacks from demolition and demanded inclusion of Blacks in the rebuilding of Bayview’s Willie Brown Middle School. Now SFUSD plans to ask the School Board at their meeting Tuesday, Feb. 12, 6 p.m., at 555 Franklin, First Floor, to AWARD THE $44.6 MILLION CONTRACT FOR WILLIE BROWN SCHOOL TO A MAJOR WHITE CONTRACTOR without competitive bidding. Pack the meeting! Protest economic racism!
In late August, Aboriginal Blackman United organized over 30 unemployed union members from Bayview Hunters Point to protest construction at Bayview’s Willie Brown Academy. We did not protest because we disagree that our public schools are much in need of repair or with the $531 million that the San Francisco School District will spend to upgrade our public schools. We protested because, despite this historic opportunity for the School District to work with local communities to rebuild our schools, there are no Black workers and no Black contractors at Willie Brown Academy. And at ABU we say that if we don’t work, nobody works.
On the corner of Third and Revere, where the Bayview Library used to be, nothing is left but bare ground. One of the few places in the neighborhood where youngsters felt safe and enriched and everyone was welcome is gone. If the City had allowed the low bidder to build the new library, it would have been at least halfway to completion by now. The youngsters who love the library would be watching their parents and older brothers and sisters build a beautiful new library for them to return to in a matter of months. Liberty Builders, my general contracting company, was that low bidder.
How do we as a Black community build capacity in our own people? How do we learn to circulate our money in our own community? It is not just Beth Eden; it is all of us.
On Sept. 1, we learned that Liberty Builders, owned by Bay View publisher Willie Ratcliff, will build the new Bayview Library. That's a great breakthrough for Liberty Builders, the Bay View and the entire community and a step toward heeding the advice of Malcolm X: "We should own and operate and control the economy of our community." Keep an eye on www.sfbayview.com. In about a month, we should know when the jobs will begin and how you can benefit.
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