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On June 20, the Berkeley City Council, only months after being swept in by a progressive majority, rejected the call of hundreds of people to terminate a series of entanglements between local police and the federal security forces of the Donald Trump administration. The resistance failed to resist. In the nation’s heartland of dissent. What went wrong, and why? Petitions, a huge crowd, support from prominent public figures, fact sheets, a city poll dominated by those wanting a pull-out, three hours of public comment with no support for anything other than getting out. None of it mattered.
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.
From the moment the doors opened on the evening of Sept. 13, it was apparent that the honoring of our global African media would begin its night of empowerment with the tradition of honoring one of the community’s foremost elders. We celebrated the 82 years of life and struggle of Dr. Willie Ratcliff and Dr. Ratcliff’s 22 years of Black media ownership of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. Black Media Appreciation Night 2014 was filled with wisdom, communication and the exchange of knowledge, as well as people receiving awards for life changing, revolutionary work.
On July 29, the Oakland City Council surprised observers by postponing a final vote on the West Oakland Specific Plan (WOSP) without setting a new date. WOSP is a massive redevelopment scheme spearheaded by some wealthy investors planning to gentrify the old Oakland Army Base and major portions of West Oakland that are cynically being called Opportunity Sites, and at first reading on July 15, the City Council voted 7-0 to approve it, with only Desley Brooks abstaining.
On Nov. 13 the San Francisco Chronicle ran a lead story written by the S.F.-based Center for Investigative Reporting. The story was about the radioactive contamination of Treasure Island, a former U.S. Navy base in the middle of the Bay. This story is important in and of itself but also because it once again unearths the region’s role in the birth of the atomic age and also highlights the radioactive legacy that continues to haunt us.
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.
Thousands of mothers currently incarcerated in the California state prison system are now eligible to serve out the end of their sentences at home or in local facilities. To qualify for the program, women must be “primary caregivers” convicted of non-violent, non-serious, non-sexual offenses with remaining prison sentences of less than two years.
Hours after San Francisco Bay Area radio show host JR Valrey screened his documentary film, “Operation Small Axe,” about police brutality at a university in Philadelphia, daily newspapers in that city carried articles about two separate lawsuits filed against Philly police alleging brutality. “Police brutality is definitely not ‘isolated incidents,’ as officials always say after each new killing or beating by police,” said Valrey, host of the Block Report, a program aired on KPFA-FM, the Pacifica station in the Bay Area.
I recently watched the Zachary Stauffer documentary “A Day Late in Oakland,” which is about the murder of Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey in August of 2007. It is truly a look into the mind of white power media spin-doctors.
In this manifesto that shows why JR Valrey is rightly called the Minister of Information, he exposes "gentrification journalism" as "the public relations team that is put in place to make gentrifiers feel safe," the media's twisting of the murders of Chauncey Bailey and Oscar Grant to demonize Blacks and the hyper-funding of "hyper-local media" as an effort to drown out community media. Everyone who wants to stop the exodus of Blacks from the Bay must read this.
Due to the recent reconstruction of solidarity with, and change in perception of, the local progressive/liberal radio community as displayed in the recent article about 94.1FM KPFA written in the East Bay Express, I am hereby forfeiting and de-recognizing my 2005 East Bay Express Award for “Most Listenable Radio DJ” for my weekly program, The Friday Night Vibe, which is broadcast at 94.1FM KPFA.
Is the Black community supposed to be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of KPFA when our community is not deemed important enough to be given a public affairs show? "Shut up and keep dancing" is what KPFA's management team is telling the Black community.