Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Oakland as a World Cup Host? Oakland must act like a team, first.

Oakland as World Cup host? I've received a couple of emails and even wrote a blog post trying to help unblock SMG (Stadium Management Group, which manages the Coliseum for the Oakland / Alameda County Coliseum Authority) from keeping drawings of the Coliseum Complex from the Oakland Redevelopment Agency so they could form a good bid to get the World Cup, but as the person who headed the effort to bring the Super Bowl to Oakland, I've got to give the City of Oakland a kick in the tail for this common, half-hearted effort, starting with Councilmember Larry Reid and working my way down from him.

I think Larry's a great guy and an excellent representative of his district. But on the matter of going after the World Cup, I would think he learned some lessons from our Super Bowl effort, but I guess not. Here's a reminder:

1) Form a sports commission. I still have the rights to the now dormant Oakland Alameda County Sports Commission, which would serve as the staff and contractual home of the sports bid effort. As far as I'm concerned, since I'm not interested in running a sports commission, the City of Oakland can have it and place it in the Oakland Convention and Visitors Bureau. But Larry or someone should have called me about it.

2) The Oakland Chamber of Commerce is the worst place to have as the seat of a bid for a sports event. What the heck are they doing in that roll, and not, say, helping the Oakland CVB or an Oakland Sports Commission? The Oakland Chamber has got to stop trying to be the home for events and learn to better partner with other organizations to move the City forward. There's no "I" in team, but the Chamber seems to forget that.

3) Where's the website home for the effort? When I started the Super Bowl: Oakland project, I built - on my own - a website and a giant email chain and that was way back in 1999. Here it is ten years later and the City of Oakland's pitching for an event without a website home? I can't believe it. This is an outrage.

4) Why are only "certain people" involved in this and not an "all hands" effort as is done in other cities and what I tried to do with the Super Bowl? I'm going to write this and the City of Oakland's not going to like it, but if you want to be a winner you've got to learn to talk to everyone, not just some people. The City government is so full of people who have small, silly issues with each other that banding together to accomplish anything large is almost impossible. If they change, Oakland wins.

5) Where's the statement of support from Mayor Dellums? What about a logo? What about a slogan?

I could go on as there's a legion of things not done or done improperly. I'm through giving free advice because even if I did the people on the other end don't know how to implement what I say and are by my experience too prideful to ask beyond an initial contact. 50,000 signatures is very possible, but not the way they're doing going about it and the clock's ticking. Fast.

Oakland has to transform from being a loser city to a winner city. But in order to do that the City of Oakland has to change its culture. A good start would be to not react defensively to my blog post.

Let's see if that's possible.

"The Road" - Telluride Film Festival award winner possible Oscar contender

Viggo Mortensen  and Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Road

The Road is a gripping drama film starring Viggo Mortensen and which is in wide release November 25th. I mention The Road because first, I saw it this Summer and, second, it was a Silver Medallion honoree at the 36th Telluride Film Festival, of which I've served on the screening group for more years than I can remember, third because now that it's screened at the Festival and is about to be shown to the public, I can write about it, and finally because I think it's Mortensen's best performance worthy of "Best Actor" nominee consideration.

(As a note, I don't know anyone connected with the making or distribution of the film.)

The Road is an epic tale of survival based on Cormac McCarthy's 2008 and concerns Viggo Mortensen's character and his son played by Kodi Smit-McPhee who don't really know who to trust among Charlize Theron, Guy Pierce, and the many people they encounter who are also trying to stay alive in a post-nuclear America. And its about how his son keeps Mortensen from becoming more "animal" than human in the process.

The Road is not a pretty or easy film to watch. It has a realistic look at what one experiences in the conditions presented in the film. But its how Mortensen plays in that "place" which makes his role so great to experience. He's always on edge and you're not sure what he's going to do next but feel for him in the process.

I saw a raw version of the film this summer and not the finished product at Telluride but the entire story was complete.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar - LA Lakers great has leukemia

One of my favorite all time great LA Lakers and the inventor of "The Sky Hook", the great center Kareem Abdul Jabbar has leukemia. According to the Associated Press, Kareem has been receiving treatments for a rare form of it, called "chronic myeloid leukemia", and is progressing well as of this writing.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a kind of cancer of the blood cells. In Kareem Abdul Jabbar's case it showed up during a checkup as his white blood cell count being much higher than expected. CML is a clonal bone marrow stem cell disorder but its highly treatable and the survival rate is such that Kareem can expect to live a normal life.

My prayers are with him as he deals with this illness.

Zennie Abraham part of YouTube Community Roundtable

I'm happy to announce I've been invited to my first YouTube Community Roundtable this week in San Francisco.

The YouTube Community Roundtable is an event where YouTube Partners like myself (Zennie62 on YouTube) are gathered together by YouTube to talk about how to improve the user experience.

I'm also excited to learn about YouTube's new features we will be introduced to and meet my fellow YouTubers and tell them about my planned YouTube Meetup,  December 12th, 2 to 5 PM at Oakland's Lake Chalet Restaurant on the Patio.  

If you're reading this and want to have me express your desire to see something changed or improved, please send an email to me today, Tuesday, November 10th at Zennie@Zennie62.com

YouTube Meetup at Oakland's Lake Chalet Saturday, December 12th

I will host Oakland's first YouTube Meetup Saturday, December 12th at 2 PM to 5 PM at Oakland Restaurant Lake Chalet and out on the Patio.

I'm really excited about this event and want to thank the owners of Lake Chalet for allowing me to have this first-in-Oakland YouTube Meetup.

But what's a YouTube Meetup?

It's a simple gathering of YouTubers and in this case with a twist: rather than just come with our camcorders and film each other, we will also be the focus of a "video scavenger hunt contest" where the most viewed video that gets all of the elements of the hunt wins a prize.

But the idea is for San Francisco Bay Area YouTubers to meet each other and enjoy great food and people in the fantastic setting that is Lake Chalet.

Also, I will have another segment of Zennie62 Live on Thursday at 4 PM on the Patio at Lake Chalet this Thursday, November 12th.

Elizabeth Lambert and Rhode Island Girls Soccer Fight - why the violence?

All of a sudden we have an outbreak of female soccer sports violence with New Mexico Women's Soccer player Elizabeth Lambert pulling hair and hitting members of BYU's team during their playoff game last Thursday and now this video of a Rhode Island Girls Soccer Fight that was so heated it triggered another fight in the stands.

Reportedly, the scene was a Providence, R.I girls soccer team state championship on Sunday.

But the LA Times also reports that New Mexico Soccer Team player Elizabeth Lambert is from Lancaster Paraclete High School and was a standout player there. Here's a more complete video containing most of the six different assaults Elizabeth Lambert carried out against BYU.

But also notice that she's not doing all of the elbowing. Not to excuse what she did, but this video does show how violent Women's Soccer really is. Elizabeth Lambert's not an abnormality but really more a very good example of what does happen in Women's Soccer games. That she was considered a high school standout simply means that her tactics were applauded and refined for years until last week's video-captured performance where Lambert was literally beating the tar out of BYU.

Oh, New Mexico lost the game.

Why the violence? It's part of what I see as a social trend. I was at the San Francisco 49ers v. Tennessee Titans game Sunday and was struck by the number of men who were just walking around and seemingly drunk and looking for a fight.

All of the men who were doing this were walking in that "I'm a weight-lifter and pretty stupid" way and some of the women they were with looked just as ridiculous in their own way. Yes, a number of fights, one large one, started. I've never seen a football game so full of people who weren't there to watch the game but to get "in the face" of other people.

After the game the fans in Titans colors were rude, mean, classless, and awful. Yes, their team won, but to openly taunt Niners fans was just terrible and reminded me of Boise State's Byron Hout all over again.

How we got to this point of "knee-jerk" violence is a new concern of mine, so stay tuned.

FOX News Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld has World's Dumbest Guy

Greg Gutfeld

I don't normally do this but in flipping channels Monday night I happened to stop on Fox News show Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld and was treated to the ruminations of one who must be the World's Dumbest Guy in Greg Gutfeld.

Dumb because his hate-filled monologue, or what he calls a "Greg-a-logue" was nothing more than a several-minutes-long hate-filled rant against Muslims in the wake of the Fort Hood Shooting Scandal. I didn't watch the rest of Greg Gutfeld's show because I felt just plain dirty after listening to his sorry excuse for a sensible comment.

Using a tragedy like Fort Hood as the basis for the expression of racial and ethnic hate is the stuff of stupidly evil people like Greg Gutfeld. In my view he should have enough courage to apologize for his actions. Implying that all Muslims or even radical Muslims are dangerous and should be the target of hateful statements like his own only pours fuel on a burning fire for the hope and prayer of ratings.

Smart people can express themselves without installing words of hate or even seeking to drive a wedge between racial and ethnic groups by encouraging hate-speech against them.  I say Greg Gutfeld is the World's Dumbest Guy because he's not shown he can do this. I've seen his show before and always come sway feeling like I need to take a shower.

Instead, I think Greg Gutfeld should wash his mouth out with soap.

Oakland parking problem: City of Oakland's Karen Boyd is just plain wrong on tickets

More evidence that the City of Oakland does not care about the needs of residents or their economic position and how it's being negatively impacted by the economy and Oakland's new predatory parking policy.

According to a CBS report, a woman in downtown Oakland who commonly parks in front of her own driveway got a ticket for the first time, causing her to have a fit and claim that the City of Oakland is issuing more tickets.

Moreover, Oaklanders in the area of Adams Point at Oakland Avenue and Harrison were really upset over the increased parking enforcement practices.

"It seems like an overall hike in the level of aggressiveness," said Garcia. "I have paid $1500 in parking violations in 18 months."

But for some reason Acting City Communications Director Karen Boyd had to step in and make a typically defensive (for the City of Oakland) and totally wrong statement regarding Oakland parking tickets issued, as well as fail to apologize for the troubles the Oaklanders was facing. Karen said:

"There's been a perception that the ticket-giving is up. In fact our records indicate that in fact it's actually slightly down," said Boyd. CBS writes, "According to Boyd, the city is issuing an average of 39,000 tickets a month compared to 43,000 a month last year."

Nothing personal, but Karen Boyd forgets that number of tickets issued should be much lower than that for 2008 and not "slightly" lower than in 2008. Why? The economy. Many more Oaklanders are unemployed and thus not using their cars. Almost one of every five Oaklanders are unemployed; that was not true in 2008.

Moreover, with the City of Oakland's parking tow sting in force, tow truck drivers have told me that they're taking cars off the road and are worried about their market drying up!

The bottom line is that for Oakland to be so close in tickets issued to what were given out last year proves that the City of Oakland's being more aggressive in giving out tickets and towing cars in 2009.

How does one spell relief from the City of Oakland's nasty treatment of Oaklanders just for raising a buck? I-n-i-t-i-a-t-i-v-e. The City of Oakland has officially upset so many people that there's an active movement to do for parking tickets what Proposition 13 did for property taxes.

If I were reading this and I were Oakland's City Administrative Officer, I'd be very concerned. Change is coming.

LeGarrette Blount will play for Oregon Football this weekend

Oregon Running back LeGarrette Blount will play for Oregon's football team after he was suspended in September for punching Boise State Defensive End Byron Hout after Oregon's loss to that team to open the NCAA College Football season.

Blount will play against Arizona State this Saturday. Moreover, the action has the full support of Boise State Head Coach Chris Petersen, who said:

"We have tremendous respect for Oregon. Those coaches, we know most of those guys very well. And so, whatever they decide we're 100 percent behind. I think that's good for all involved if that's what they chose to do."

After the punch seen then as many times as New Mexico Soccer Player Elizabeth Lambert's dirty play videos will be seen over the next few months, LeGarrette Blount was the focus of name-calling, ridicule, and just plain hate by members of the media, reflecting the mob-mentality that grew from this incident.

But that mentality was not shared by everyone, especially Oregon Receiver Jamere Holland and his friend and my contact E.J. Prince and those close to Blount who told me that Byron Hout made a racially offensive statement to Blount, the N-word, which is what caused Blount to go off, not just hitting Hout, but attempting to work his way to Boise State fans who were yelling all kinds of things to provoke him.

This is the contents of the blog post I wrote outlining my source's claim that Hout said the N-word to Blount:

Twitter was the source of the latest information torpedo in the (unfortunately) still unfolding story behind the "punch seen round the sports World" by Oregon Running Back LeGarrett Blount to Boise State Defensive End Byron Hout.

Track athlete E.J. Prince used Twitter to blast this:

@realskipbayless Just talked to Jamere Holland (from Oregon WR) said that L. Blount socked dude from Boise State cuz he called him a n_____

Jamere Holland is Oregon's wide receiver.

Prince also tweeted this:

@q17 yeah I just hope the news about LaGarett Blount being censored gets out to people like @jemelehill

@jemelehill is ESPN Columnist and Analyst Jemele Hill.

There's no indication that she responded to Prince's Twitter feed. He also sent a tweet to Skip Bayless; no tweet back to Prince from Bayless. Basically it seems that Prince's story is being ignored by certain mainstream media people. I can't confirm that, but it seems that way.

The main problem has been that none of the main actors in this play are talking. LeGarrette Blount's not moving his lips. Byron Hout's lost his voice. Both schools are silent on the question.

(And on that note, my first blog post speculated on the use of the N-word, not claimed that Hout used it as one blogger inaccurately wrote; this is different.)

E. J. Prince's value in this story rests on his tweet that he talked to (not tweeted) a friend of Oregon receiver Jamere Holland who plays for Oregon and who I will not name here.

I revisit this because since this blog post was issued I've got a lot of negative comments that all follow the same train of thought that I'm "playing the race card" (which the users of the term don't know the meaning of) or that I'm being racist, which is just plain nuts and a "Couch Potato Conservative" mind-trick.

But I do it also because I've received a number of subsequent messages and emails explaining that many Boise State Football fans were referring to Blount using the N-word in online forums. That lends weight to the assertion that Boise State fans uses racial slurs in taunting Blount.

Since Boise State never officially explained exactly what Hout said, the speculation plus the assertions of my sources that he did use a racist term have been given more and more value.

That was bad PR on Boise State's part, plus the news that Hout would not be punished as Blout was and that it would be handled "internally" by the Boise State Football team gave rise to more speculation on what Hout said and did.

I also press this because of the desire by some to cover it up. People need to see society as it is before it can become what we want it to be. We've still got a lot of problems to straighten out. Hiding from the truth in any situation does not allow us to make progress in making ourselves better.

LeGarrette Blount took his punishment and reportedly proved himself in the classroom and in the Oregon college community during his suspension. I welcome him back, but with the sad realization that the "tests" he had to pass to rejoin the team are the same ones that should be applied to many of the people who taunted him in the first place, but they never will be.