Sanjiv Handa: In His Absence, Celebrate Caring About Oakland

Sanjiv Handa
Sanjiv Handa, RP? Still can’t believe it. It’s a good idea to blog to get out of my head the idea that in my reality Sanjiv Handa, Oakland’s Gargoyle – head of the East Bay News Service, expert on Oakland Government, gossip about Oakland’s elected officials, and source of intel on the next local government party – is putting together his next newsletter, all set to tell us the whole matter was all a mistake, he’s just fine, and that the effort to recall Mayor Quan was going slow because of disorganization and lack of money (which is true).

But what’s true is that Sanjiv is gone from our physical presence. I’ve never used the term “gadfly” because I never saw Sanjiv as an irritant, and I have little respect for those who describe him that way anyway. Why? Because some of those same people either wrote about or knew about a really mean and stupid email that was circulated about him at City Hall in 2010 and that caused me to write this blog post called “Sanjiv Handa – the sad attack on an Oakland institution.” And I wrote:

Someone wrote a terrible email about him that I decided to ignore. I hope the people within Oakland City Hall rise to a higher standard and stop being so childish where Sanjiv Handa is concerned. For all of his faults, the man cares about Oakland.

When I say “I decided to ignore,” I mean that in total. I never saw it, and don’t know who wrote it to this day. I was told about it by someone who didn’t write it. But the anger that I expressed then, I find, is still fresh in me today, after Sanjiv’s passing.

Oakland, well, some in Oakland, can really do some fucked up shit to other Oaklanders for no good reason. It speaks to how small minded those people were and are that the person who did it never stepped forward to apologize.

But it’s people who are like that, and who constantly use the term “gadfly” to describe Sanjiv that make other people want to leave Oakland and say “screw you with your loser self,” then get their face on TV as of to remind Oakland of how good they were at what they did.

And here I’m thinking of Robert Bobb, but I digress.

If there’s anything, or anyway, I’d like for people to do to remember Sanjiv Handa, it’s not to be as informed about Oakland as he was, but to actually STOP ATTACKING PEOPLE WHO ZEALOUSLY CARE ABOUT OAKLAND!!

Got that? Hear that? If so, then DO that.

Oaklanders must stop the silly, stupid, incessant hating on each other for no good reason. (And the Oakland Tribune article slamming Sanjiv for not being a journalist with “He called himself a journalist but crossed the line of traditional journalism ethics,” almost made me cry. Who, in their right mind, gives a fuck when a man has died? Moreover, why put, in the same article, that he had problems paying his rent? Why did the Oakland Tribune allow that?)

This city, now, more than ever, needs everyone to pull together to help push it up.

See, you have to understand that after friend, mentor, and former Alameda County Counsel Richard Winnie died earlier this year, I stood in the Rotunda after the ceremony, talking with Sanjiv about how our little family of people who cared about Oakland was passing away, moving on. Really sad. Really sad.

Ok, my anger’s out and on the page. It’s not in me any more. Now, I can remember this Sanjiv that I talked to just one day after the Occupy Oakland police / protestor clash:

The one who understood the real details behind what was going on, and the interpersonal relationships that led to clashes, and the one who remembered that Oakland’s City Hall had 40,000 condoms in it.

Only Sanjiv would remember that.

Always here, never to be forgotten.

Stay tuned.

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