Oakland News: Kathy Neal Quits Assm Race, Blasts Joel Young; Boots Riley Strikes

Zennie Abraham / Zennie62
Zennie Abraham / Zennie62

A lot of Oakland News to catch up on so let’s get started.

First, Kathy Neal called to explain that yes she’s out of the race for the 18th California Assembly District Seat, and while she’s not yet endorsing a candidate, the person she’s definitely not backing is AC Transit Board Member Joel Young. What Neal can’t get over is Young’s behavior and that, even with his domestic violence challenges, he still has supporters.

But the complex fact of political life is that it looks just as bad to bail on a candidate as it does to back one after they have had their issues. Fortunately for Joel Young, many of his supporters were just that before his anger management switch took a holiday.

And in part because of that, I think the race is still Joel’s to lose. He’s getting too much name recognition because of this problem of his. My gut tells me it’s not a deal-breaker. Just saying.

Also, in terms of polls, this blogger made a mistake: Neal came in second in polling for the California Assembly Race, with Abel Guillen behind Joel Young and coming in last place. But that wasn’t the reason for Neal’s departure from the race, it was the low level of support, and her health, which took such a turn for the worse, it made her stop and think about what was important.

She’s fine now, and sounding like someone who’s relaxed after making some major decisions.

Oakland Police Need More Female Cops

Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan’s up against it because the City of Oakland may come under Federal Government control if it doesn’t get its community relations act together in months. He said this to the San Jose Mercury News:

“I think we’re not as good as dealing with the community and how we treat the community. For whatever reason, we have an us-against-them mentality. We don’t treat the public with the respect they deserve.”

Well, at least Chief Jordan admits that. The problem is the Oakland Police force is almost all male. Oakland need to let go of 100 male cops and replace them with 100 female police officers. At present, when I think of Oakland Police, I think of the crew that occasionally comes up to Gaylords Ice Cremery on 41st and Piedmont in uniform but don’t look to say hello to people. Then they take up the outdoor seating and part of the sidewalk, and in a way that makes them look like a biker gang. Plus they have a habit of looking at everything as if it’s a potential arrest situation. That’s great for community relations.

By contrast, check out how this woman handles her police work in the video below. Note that she’s not overly aggressive or hostile; she’s professional and calm, yet strong. She’s also nice to look at.

There’s no reason Oakland can’t change it’s police force to include more women – 100 more female cops. Now!

Boots Riley Takes On All Comers

The Occupy Oakland group and issue shows no sign of completely fading away, especially since opposition groups have started to form in Oakland. Well, for some, the only organized group is one that doesn’t have a website, or at least a searchable one. It’s called Stand Up For Oakland.

Stand Up For Oakland made its presence felt on the first Monday of February during a rally at Oakland City Hall. Who was there to challenge them? Members of Occupy Oakland, led by Boots Riley. What eventually happened was this argument that was captured on video by Zennie62 Content and Social Media Partner Bev Rivas:

My take on all of this is that hard-core Occupy Oakland participants can’t see the forest for the trees. They’re too caught up in picking battles and forming events to challenge people they perceive as the enemy, and seeing themselves as the outsiders. Boots comment on the media is one example of what I mean. At a time when almost everyone has a media production facility resting in their pocket, it’s down right silly to complain about the media.

What Occupy Oakland needs to do is spend more time on collaborative new media – in other words, teaming up with like-minded people to tell their own story using video, blogs, websites, mobile apps, and livestream, and staging press events (well, unless you consider violent protests press events).

Right now, Occupy Oakland lacks a concerted, coordinated effort to do media. It’s not that it can’t do it, but because it’s not really well-organized enough to make this happen, it will not do it.

The effort takes churning; 10, 15, 20 items of content each day. It takes a system of installing content rapidly, including mobile blogging. It takes commitment and determination. Does Occupy Oakland have it? We shall see.

Occupy the Truth

Over this weekend, a conference called “Occupy the Truth” was held at the International House At UC Berkeley. There’s no video from the event, at least not one that’s properly tagged, so here’s the intro video:

It’s not that I totally disagree with the Occupy Movement, I just don’t like how the Oakland version has gone off the rails. The big issue is fighting austerity policy and helping people who can’t help themselves. That’s a message many can get behind.

Take the video above. I don’t really know what the Occupy The Truth conference is about; I had to check out the web page to get some idea; the video did not tell me, nor did it tell me to click on the link; I did so because I was looking for a link. Should I expect to get arrested while music plays in the background? Well, that almost happened Saturday, from what I’m told. Geez.

The New Parkway Is Open At 474 24th Street

Say, glad to see the new Parkway Theater is open, even though it’s not in the original theater that gave the idea of Pizza, Pub, and Movies in that old theater on 18th and Park it’s popularity. It’s a total shame California Governor Jerry Brown killed Redevelopment in Oakland, because the staff and raison d’etre for declaring the area around the theater blighted and letting the City step in and take over the place is gone.

Meanwhile here’s Moses Ceasar, talking about the New Parkway with Bev Rivas, but before you see that, congratulations to Moses for signing a 13-year lease and doing the work to make the new facility a reality.

More Stand For Oakland

Bev Rivas went out and talked to a number of people who were part of Stand For Oakland. Here are those videos:

Jill Broadhurst Talks About Standing For Oakland

Ron Scrivani On Standing Up For Oakland

(And I’ve got to say, another person whining about media, when Art Murmur should be making its own media. They don’t get it either. Just because a TV camera arrives doesn’t mean there will be coverage beyond 2 minutes for one day on local television. Big deal. Bet you can’t find it online!)

Are Blogs Dead In Oakland?

I got a call from Rachel Swan of the East Bay Express who wanted to talk to me about how of all of the blogs that got community awards last year, about half of them are active. I didn’t know this, because to me the Oakland blog community is as vibrant as ever. Oakland Local’s alive. So’s Oakland North. This blog’s active, and really is on more than one platform when you include Oakland Focus. There’s also TdLove, and I could go on.

The real story is that A Better Oakland hasn’t been updated since November 11, 2012, and the word is that VSmoothe or Echa Schneider, stopped blogging. Well, the website’s still up, which means someone’s paying the server bill, but there’s no new content.

So the East Bay Express story is really a story of Echa. That’s too bad. I openly told Rachel that in order to make money blogging one has to churn material. Perez Hilton tosses out between 15 and 25 new blog posts a day. TMZ has as many as 10, and as few as four, but its updated daily.

In Echa’s case, her blog wasn’t every day and it catered to a narrow group of Oaklanders who don’t seem to realize their numbers are in the hundreds, not thousands, and this in a city of 400,000 people. Echa focused on development-related issues, which was red meat for that group, but nothing much beyond that, and no sports at all.

Still, that’s not to say A Better Oakland did not, and doesn’t, serve its market well; quite the contrary. The blog posts that Echa produced were intricate dissections of the Oakland condition, and at a time when no other publication presented such a detailed point of view, including mine.

But she stopped. For a time. It doesn’t take a genius to determine that money, or the lack of it compared with other needs and pressures, was the reason.

This habit of narrow focus is the problem with blogs. In the days before blogs, community newspapers like The Montclarion and The Oakland Post knew to include national headlines in their paper, otherwise sales would suffer. You’d think someone would realize that the same logic should apply to online news, but because a pseudo-intellectual group of people came up with crazy term called “Hyper Local” and other like-minded types that wanted to be blessed by them consumed that idea without thinking about it, we have blogs that are narrow, and certainly not money makers at all.

Can you imagine not mentioning Oakland sports in an Oakland blog? Can you imagine not having a good video-blogging component to go with the blog? Well, that’s what we have more often than not.

Sad.

I also told Rachel openly that I have tried to help many Oakland bloggers, and some of them make snide remarks about me when I’m not present, then turn around and smile in my face. A lot of the problem is silly jealously; I don’t feel the same way, so it’s hard for me to understand, but it’s there. At one event, hosted by Oakland Local at Cafe 817, one blogger saw that arrived and turned her back to me. Didn’t say hello at all. So I sat down at the extreme end of the table.

I’ve done nothing to that person, so her reaction was weird, to say the least.

Meanwhile, I made sure to say “hi” and “bye” to her when I left.

Sanjiv Handa’s death was the final straw for me. Some said he was “bitter” during the last years of his time on Earth. But I think he was reacting to how others in the City of Oakland, well some others, were treating him, including that sad email that was sent out in 2010.

So that’s one reason why I decided to basically drive around saying I don’t give a fuck with my windows down and my system up. That’s how I feel now. I have a national following and friends. My Mom, who I dearly love, is in Atlanta and I, as the only child, try to spend as much time with her as I can as she approaches 80 years of age (by 2014). I love Oakland, but more often than not it’s people make enemies of other Oaklanders and for the damn silliest of reasons.

To be continued.

About the Author

Zennie Abraham
Zennie Abraham | Zennie Abraham or "Zennie62" is the founder of Zennie62Media which consists of zennie62blog.com and a multimedia blog news aggregator and video network, and 78-blog network, with social media and content development services and consulting. Zennie is a pioneer video blogger, YouTube Partner, social media practitioner, game developer, and pundit. Note: news aggregator content does not reflect the personal views of Mr. Abraham.

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