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HELLO! BACK AT YOU in the year 2015; which promises to be busy – especially in Bayview Hunters Point, which will increase its population with opening of new housing, a phase of ALICE GRIFFITH, in the spring; later this year DR. GEORGE DAVIS SENIOR CAMPUS, on Third and Carroll; AND DEMOLITION of Candlestick Park Stadium, IN PROGRESS, to begin building a new community.
As I stroll on 3-STREET, within the blocks bounded by Newcomb and Palou, took time to get a close up look at the Community Christmas Tree on the grounds of the Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre. Ules Tabron Jr., who works for the Opera House, plays Santa every year – look for him during festivities; Dec. 18, 5-9 p.m., in the HEART of the PEOPLE’S Plaza, on Third, between Oakdale and Palou, decorated with beautiful lighting above.
HO! HO! HO! The holiday season is upon us! Times are good. Folks crowding the malls, spending cash or charging their purchases; some buying on the layaway plan! Where are WE shopping? Are dollars channeled BACK to BLACK businesses on THIRD Street!??? Tough question! I travel through the corridor every day, not impressed at the options where I can spend my money.
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 San Francisco Housing Commission meeting of Sept. 4 on a new acronym called Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), code for selling public housing to private investors, was still. Still like a grave. A grave for all us poor people destroyed by the massive privatization of our public housing. Us unprioritized and barely housed, the forgotten elders and disabled folks, the very poor, the displaced, now houseless and rarely remembered.
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.
The restraining order barring DeBray (Fly Benzo) Carpenter from the Cahill construction site and the stay away order barring Fly’s presence at Mendell Plaza are SFPD examples of this nation’s conspiracy to mass incarcerate and control the lives and the deaths of the young, Black and male in America. A victory for Fly Benzo is a victory for us all. Pack the courtroom Wednesday, May 30, 1:30 p.m., at the San Francisco Superior Court, 400 McAllister St., Department 514. Occupy Fly Benzo’s courtroom for us all.
DeBray “Fly Benzo” Carpenter. He was busted on Oct. 18, 2011, by two of SFPD’s finest, John Norment and Joshua Fry, for (gasp!) participating in a community organized rally while playing a boom box in Mendell Plaza in the heart of Bayview Hunters Point. For speaking out against police brutality, especially the SFPD murder of Kenneth Harding last July, he was brutally arrested, tried and now is barred from Mendell Plaza by order of Judge Jerome T. Benson.
Occupy Fly’s hearing Friday, April 27, 9 a.m., 850 Bryant, SF! Help him now before it is too late. We should not just sit by doing business as usual while his freedom is about to end. We have an opportunity here to make a difference. We must mourn and seek justice for our dead, but we should just as strongly fight for the freedom of our living. We need to own that courtroom. Fly is putting the SFPD on trial. The right to videotape police is on trial here. Everybody video the police, not in the courtroom but in the hallways and outside. Bring your phones, cameras and camcorders and use them.
DeBray “Fly Benzo” Carpenter, Kilo G and Claude Carpenter – along with the rest of the Black Star Coalition and unemployed Bayview residents – marched to the job site, bringing the contractor’s work to a screeching halt by standing unmoved in front of the heavy construction equipment. “We don’t work, nobody works,” declared DeBray. Support this young leader, Fly Benzo, who is facing four years in prison for copwatching. He refuses to stop fighting for justice for Kenneth Harding, the 19-year-old murdered by SFPD last July. Pack the courtroom Tuesday, Feb. 7, 1:30 p.m., Dept. 27 at 850 Bryant, and for the days to follow.
We get criminalized in Bayview Hunters Point on the T-Train, and the police chase people down because they don’t have a transfer. I spoke before the Board of Supervisors, and a couple of days later Kenneth Harding was shot down over a $2 transfer. African American youth in San Francisco have a 70 percent unemployment rate, so our population is rapidly decreasing. It’s going to continue to decrease when the police are criminalizing our poverty. When I tried to videotape a cop, they put me under arrest, they beat me up. I was hospitalized, and I was put in jail. They gave me $95,000 bail.
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.