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At our council retreat in San Diego Jan. 18, during the presentation on how to correct the low 1 percent participation of African Americans in Caltrans contracting in the midst of a 17.9 percent DBE accomplishment, a council member made a comment that has made me feel compelled to clarify why this council is in existence. I know that most of us, particularly newer council members, may believe that we are here because we are qualified contractors, but in this country, with its inherent institutional discrimination where qualifications of certain ethnic groups don’t matter, we are here to pursue equality and equal opportunity, known as civil rights, for all classified minorities and women.
Caltrans is perhaps the largest and most high profile evictor of homeless encampments in California. According to “The Mile Marker: A Caltrans Performance Report” – the organization’s quarterly progress report – Caltrans estimated that it spent $10.04 million cleaning up homeless encampments in fiscal year ending 2017. Obviously, Caltrans should be impacted by Martin v. Boise, because it restricts the conditions under which evictions can be made.
We youth scholars from Deecolonize Academy and POOR Magazine submitted 14 Freedom of Information Act requests to 14 departments in the City of Oakland, only to receive a series of messages from two of the departments saying, “We have no documents,” and no word from the others. On Jan. 16, we will be making a demand to the City of Oakland and AC Transit that, with the money they received for BRT, they support Oakland residents to be able to stay here as reparations for the millions of dollars they are receiving to displace us out of here.
At 4 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, a network of Oakland community members took over Marcus Garvey Park, moving in small homes, a hot shower, a healing clinic and other services – declaring it a people’s encampment for those who need housing and basic services. The group, which includes folks living on Oakland streets, activists from #FeedthePeople and #Asians4BlackLives and individuals from the community, said the move-in demonstrates their ability to provide what the City of Oakland cannot to its most vulnerable residents.
Yerba Buena Islanders’ Icarus-like plunge from their remote mountaintop into the contaminated air, soil and water of Treasure Island’s radiological and chemical cleanup zone is imminent. This was the main topic at the Treasure Island Development Authority board’s Wednesday, April 8, 2015, annual on-island meeting. Yerba Buenans facing fall 2015 eviction who normally don’t attend because they feel unheard and their issues ignored, presented their concerns.