Thursday, December 08, 2005

First the SF 49ers "Videogate", then The Racist Stanford Video Before "The Big Game" , Now The SF Police Video - All This Year. What's Going On?

At the start of 2005 the San Francisco Bay area was rocked by the revelation that the San Francisco 49ers created a racist and sexist "traning tape." Then, just before this year's Cal / Stanford "Big Game" a group of Stanford Students made a video said to be, again, racist and sexist. Now, the San Francisco Police Department's dark underbelly of racial intolerance is being exposed in the release of information on another video that is, yep, called racist and sexist.

Wait. This is the SF Bay Area, right? What's going on?

Well, my theory is that the kind of subtile racism Bay Area African Americans have always complained about has found its way into these videos and are quickly being exposed to the public in this Internet Age.

The fact that the general public was made aware of all three of theese videos just this year is no spritual accident, in my view. The arrows of policy and institutional reform point to the need to one-and-for-all solve this problem of racial intoleerance in our local institutions.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom should convene a Task Force on the Elimination of Racism and Sexism. I think it will be not only his most provacative action, but the most eye-opening. Mayor Newsom wiill find people and organizations running for cover or moving to prove that they are models of diversity and understanding. The effort would cut to the very core of San Francisco's culture and force the city -- and the Bay Area -- to take a hard look at itself.

Some will say that the videos "were all in fun" but that's the point: "fun" should not be obtained by hurting someone's feelings because they are minority, or female, or any person who -- until the last 30 years of economic advancement -- were not part of the socioeconomic mainstream. Yet, it seems to be some kind of sport in some circles to do this.

It's not right. Humor does not have to come from physical differences.

The San Francisco Bay Area should know better.

Oakland Creates Another White Elephant - The Case of The Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center

You know, with so many Oakland-related posts, I may create another blog on Oakland-related matters. I just don't know what to call it. Until then..

The Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center is an enormous building that sits on the western shore of Lake Merritt, and opposite Laney College. It has an 8,000 seat arena, a 2,000 seat auditorium, and with all of that, the City of Oakland can no longer afford to keep in open. The Oakland Tribune reports the Oakland City Council made that decision Tuesday night.

11th-hour plan can't save center
Oakland council decides the city doesn't have the money to keep Kaiser open after Jan. 1
By Heather MacDonald, STAFF WRITER

OAKLAND — A last-minute proposal from a Chicago-based consulting firm and the Peralta Community College District will not save the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center from being mothballed.
The Oakland City Council decided unanimously Tuesday night that the city simply does not have the money to keep the historic building's doors open after Jan. 1.

"We tried," said council President Ignacio De La Fuente (Glenview-Fruitvale), adding it would take a "miracle" to keep the center open.

Although International Facilities Group promised to operate the center with a subsidy of only $175,000, City Administrator Deborah Edgerly recommended the council reject the deal because the city would be on the hook if the center's performance failed to meet expectations.

IFG planned to rebrand the Kaiser center and make 10th Street Oakland's "Avenue of the Arts," tying together the Oakland Museum of California and Laney College.

The community college district would have used the center, which includes an 8,000-seat arena, the 2,000-seat Calvin Simmons Theater and two smaller ballrooms, as a performing arts center to showcase its theater and dance programs.

But the city would have had to give IFG, which was founded by the son of Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, the center's $1 million budget up front, said Anne Campbell Washington, assistant to the city administrator.

"That puts all of the burden on the city," said Councilmember Pat Kernighan (Grand Lake-Chinatown). "We shouldn't risk all of our money."

Joseph J. Briglia, IFG president of business development, said the company would continue to work on a viable plan to keep the Kaiser center open, saying it is a valuable resource.


The City's never had a marketing plan for the facility, and I know the Convention and Visitor's Bureau could have determined a way to bring it into its efforts.

New Orleans East Side "A Wasteland" According to M. Barnett at

Post by: Michael Barnett at

I made it back to New Orleans on Thursday afternoon and here were my initial thoughts:

I started my 1996 Honda Civic EX's engine at 0100 EST. I rocketed up I-75 to I-10 and then headed west on 10 all the way in. At 0900 CST, I hit the Twin Single Span across the Lake. Moments later I realized that New Orleans will never be rebuilt in my lifetime.

New Orleans East cannot be described; it can only be seen. You must drive through it. What you see on television is nothing. Nothing. You have not seen devestation until you have driven through NOE. There is no life -- mammalian, avian -- nothing outside the plant kingdom (and whatever mold falls into). It is uninhabitable and must be bulldozed. This will take decades. Yes, the cleanup will take decades. In fact, it's likely that the cleanup will never be complete.

I fully expect New Orleans to be a mostly dead city until I am an old, old man, maybe in my late 60s or my 70s. My guess is that no place on Earth compares to the ghost town of New Orleans East. Maybe some cities in the former Yugoslavia were close during the recent clashes. Close. But there, people still lived. No one lives in New Orleans East.

It's been something like three months and most and perhaps even all of Carrollton Avenue still has no functioning street lights; neither does Earhart Expressway.


It has been a week now, and I've had a chance to drive all around the city.
All I can say is that this place is broken down. Crushed. Demolished.
It is a moral lapse of the first order for politicians to keep telling people to come back. I am going to take some flack for telling the truth, but since that's what this blog is for, that's what I'm going to do. New Orleans is a wasteland. Sure, there are a lot of contractors out there trying to clean up, but it's barely making a dent.

You have to see it in person to understand. There are MASSIVE dead areas. Areas of several square miles which will have to be completely torn down. Hell, they ARE STILL FINDING BODIES in some areas.

The idea that this city is going to try to do Mardi Gras boggles the mind.

Anyway, a close friend of mine is trying to do the Lord's work in another brutalized area along the Gulf Coast. You can read what he's got to say in the email at the bottom of this entry. If you can do anything to help, it will be greatly appreciated. There is a link to the school and my friend's email included. Please help if you can.

From: eli lucas
To: Michael Barnett

As per our conversation last weekend, I'm writing regarding
St. Clare Elementary School of Waveland, Mississippi. St.
Clare's beach-front location on the Gulf was in the direct
path of Katrina's greatest destruction. The school was
totally devastated - washed from the surface of Earth;
albeit their recovery thus far is amazing.

While New Orleans evacuees complain from afar about the lack
of improvement in New Orleans, St. Clare Elementary is
returning to business. To date approximately 85% of their
student body returned to class. St. Clare is neither
waiting for the FEMA elf, nor any other governmental agency
to rebuild their paradise. Funded solely by private
donations, St. Clare's new home consists of nineteen white
tents surrounded by total devastation. The link to their
website is

Continued progress at St. Clare is not without costs.
Although the limited amount of tuition revenue thus far
fails to meet salary expenses, St. Clare accepts everyone
regardless of their ability to provide tuition. I hope your
readers will consider assisting in this remarkable
renaissance in Waveland. Donation information is included on
their web site.

Thank you for your help in this matter.

New Orleans Police Misused Federal Funds - From "The Dead Pelican"

Police Commissioner Kevin Riley shown
According to the Dead Pelican website, the controversial New Orleans Police department deliberately overstated the number of officers to be paid by the federal government, and then gave more money to "connected" officers.

Here's the account from their website:


In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Feds are asking a number of very specific questions of the NOPD, sources tell The Dead Pelican. Among the questions that the Feds are asking, one stands out: "Where are all these officers that we were paying you for?"

As reported earlier, it is widely known that NOPD's real troop strength has never been more than approximately 1000 commissioned officers but the "official" number (that is, the number given out by the Superintendent's office) has always been 1500 to 1700.

But The Dead Pelican has learned that the actual numbers are quite different.

The Dead Pelican has learned that the NOPD has been taking Federal money supposedly earmarked for hiring and training officers, and using it for things like overtime for "connected" officers, rather than hiring new officers.

And, of course, there is the "phantom officer" situation, that is, "officers" who drew and cashed paychecks but cannot be found to exist.

So now there is a lingering question: where did the money go? "Something this widespread and blatant can't go on without the Superintendent's knowledge and implied consent," said a source.

Insiders say that indictments are inevitable...

by Chad E. Rogers
DECEMBER 03, 2005
(c)THE DEAD PELICAN for updates

Sometimes I Think People Reserve Their Worst Behavior For You When You're Black and Male

Tonight, I just went down to The Alley, a local bar and piano establishment I visit, to have a good, basic chicken dinner. I didn't feel like cooking, and had enough of pot roast, steaks, and pasta. I wanted chicken.

Jackie, the owner and bartender, had my place read for me to sit -- and the meal prepared -- when I arrived. Ok. I was late, but I got there. So, I sat down to eat and to my joy, the Warriors basketball game was on. So, I was content, but I had one call to make, and it was an important one, so I got my cell phone to take action.

While I'm on the phone, someone yells "What's your name" and just as I'm getting up to go outside to hear the recording better. I motion that I'm on the phone, and go out. When I returned, I sat down to eat the meal I ordered. The matter of what the other person wanted to know seemed a distant memory to me -- not important.

So, I ate. Then, after a while, the person who was yelling at me, who turned out to be an older African American woman, again yelled -- yelled, "Married or Single?" And repeated it. So, I slowly turned and said "I'm eating and watching the Warriors" with a wink of an eye. She said some other words I didn't bother to comprehend, because I just wanted to eat -- ya know? As this is going on, Jackie's going back and forth pouring patrons drinks.

Finally, the lady asks Jennifer, who's the waitress, to tap me on the shoulder -- "The Black Man. Him," she says. So, I turn, and she asks me "What country are you from?" Well I was now deep in the middle of watching "The Best Damn Sports Show" and waiting for the segment featuring my friend, Fox Sports Analyst Jay Glazer. So, I was a bit annoyed, but said nothing. My gut told me that responding would not help matters and I just wanted to be left alone. Besides, something appeared to be wrong with her -- maybe it was the alcohol.

So after a while, she was finally leaving -- I guess -- but then doubled back and forced herself into my attention because she "Had something to say to me." I wanted to be left alone. I asked her -- several times -- to stop bothering me. I finally asked Jackie -- who seemed to be trying to ignore the whole thing. Finally I threatened to call the cops -- it was that bad. I told Jackie it was either her or me who would do so. All the time, this lady is yelling, and I'm asking her to stop and just leave. Wild.

Finally, she left.

What I didn't like was that because I'm a guy and black, it seems like it's OK if I get harassed. I really got after Jackie for allowing that to happen. Jackie felt there was nothing that she could do; that the lady was going to do what she wanted to do. But she could have asked the lady to stop.

About two years ago, I was at The Alley with my friend Setor, when a drunk white lady started saying all kinds of racist and offensive things. Eventually, she was asked to leave. That's what Jackie should have asked this lady to do.

I later learned that it was her birthday. But she certainly didn't do anything to make it a happy one for her and anyone else. Certainly not me.

Folks, if you see someone black and male being harassed for no good reason, jump in. Don't just let it happen. In my case, I was ready to send that lady to jail because her actions were so very threatening and unnecessary. And I would not begin to think of using violence -- calling the police was the best alternative.

I didn't like the scenario of someone black calling the police on someone else black and female, but the lady's behavior was so -- wild -- it was the only reasonable action to take. No one else seemed interested in stopping her,and I'm still puzzled by the whole thing.