Monthly Archives: October 2007

SF Chinatown City College Update

Box readers might remember this post from awhile back that highlighted the struggle in getting a permanent city college campus built in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Basically, the community (which is 90% Asian and immigrant) wants the facility, which would provide English language, job training and citizenship classes; but has been facing intense resistance and lobbying from the facility’s next door neighbor, the Hilton Hotel.

Great news then came a couple of weeks ago when the city unanimously agreed to move forward with the campus’s development. As noted by the Asian American Movement Ezine: “Key to the victory was massive community support: over 25,000 petition signatures, 10,000 individually completed postcards, and 3,500 emails sent in three days.”

This was a victory for racial justice, immigrant rights and educational equity. It is a reminder to all that with organizing and activism, the demands of the people can prevail over powerful interests. Much respect to the Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) organization for handling much of the organizing work throughout this struggle.

Fuck Lew Wolff (Again)

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And yet, the cold, cruel truth, proven again and again by economists everywhere, is that stadiums have not paid off for anyone except for the team owners.”

~ Ray Ratto

This is old news to anyone who has been watching the moves made by Oakland A’s co-owner, Lewis Wolff, but last week he declared that “it’s out of the question we’ll stay in Oakland.” However, SF Chronicle columnists Ray Ratto points out how it was really just a bullshit way of trying to sound like he has leverage when in fact, he doesn’t. The plans for building a ballpark and moving the team to the perceived silicon valley goldmine Fremont aren’t going so well, so little boy Lew is almost ready to throw a tantrum.

I almost don’t care at this point. The Oakland A’s have been losing their soul for awhile now. Billy Beane’s moneyball maneuvers have lost their shine, and what we’re stuck with is a mediocre team that goes through a complete roster change every two years, and is especially good at not holding on to any of its Black players.

I hope that Fremont takes a long hard look at Wolff’s proposal before it makes any decisions. The bottom line is that the plan should not be publicly subsidized. How long are us sports lovers going to tolerate these rich billionaire team owners moving our teams to other places, and getting rich off of public tax money that could be going to fund the public schools, hospitals or social services that our cities need? I think we owe it to ourselves to look at how the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League have operated, in being publicly owned by members of the community. I mean come on, the Packers even have the same green and gold team colors as the A’s, right?

So, Lew Wolff you get a big “Fuck You” from the Box…again. At this point, you’re gunning for the most “Fuck You’s from the Box” award.

Criminal Injustice in New Orleans

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Just got back from New Orleans this past weekend and wanted to give some love to one of the best organizations fighting the criminal injustice system in New Orleans, Safe Streets Strong Communities. I’m biased because I used to work there, but these folks really are doing some great work. My boy Jordan Flaherty wrote a great article about the criminal injustice scene in New Orleans two years after Katrina, definitely check that as well.

Weeziana

“I’m probably in the sky, flying with the fishes,
Or maybe in the ocean, swimming with the pigeons,
See my world is different,
Like Dwayne Wayne,
And if you want trouble, bitch, I want the same thing…”

~Lil Wayne, “Sky Is The Limit”

Lil Wayne does live in a different world than the rest of us. No question about it after seeing the man do his thing live in Monroe, Louisiana last week. He did everything from epic versions of “Sky’s The Limit” and “I Need A Hot Girl” to playing live guitar on “Leather So Soft.” It also helped that he was in his home state and the crowd (which was about 50/50 men and women, mostly high school and college kids) gave him much love. In turn, he gave the crowd much love and gratitude, on top of an energetic ass show. In this post-Katrina America, Weezy as a New Orleans rapper with New Orleans swag and pride has risen to a different level of the game. As he says on “Gossip”: “It rains a lot in my city cuz my city’s cryin’, cuz my city’s dyin’, but I emerge from all of that I am a livin’ pion, Neer, Zion…Fear God Not Them.”

The Rebel

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I want to see this movie, The Rebel, real bad. A 1920s epic focusing on a Vietnamese uprising against French colonizers? Shiiiet, I’m all about that, sun. The Weinstein Company just picked this up for distribution, but it sounds like we won’t be able to see it in the States until next year. Better holler at your local bootleg Vietnamese movie plug.

The Wire

f-thewire1.jpg“Look. For 35 years, you’ve systematically deindustrialized these cities. You’ve rendered them inhospitable to the working class, economically. You have marginalized a certain percentage of your population, most of them minority, and placed them in a situation where the only viable economic engine in their hypersegregated neighborhoods is the drug trade. Then you’ve alienated them further by fighting this draconian war in their neighborhoods, and not being able to distinguish between friend or foe and between that which is truly dangerous or that which is just illegal. And you want to sit across the table from me and say ‘What’s the solution?’ and get it in a paragraph? The solution is to undo the last 35 years, brick by brick. How long is that going to take? I don’t know, but until you start it’s only going to get worse.” ~ David Simon, Series Creator

The Cheddar Box loves HBO’s award winning series, The Wire. Best show on TV, hands down. The fourth season is out on DVD in December, while the fifth and apparently final season begins in January of next year. Now, series creator David Simon is planning on bringing the show’s trademark sense of authenticity to a new series for HBO focusing on the struggle of post-Katrina New Orleans musicians. Being a big fan of the New Orleans music scene, I’m real excited about this one. At the very least it should kick K-Ville’s ass, right? Also, peep this dope interview with Simon from a few years back.

Dellums: The Right Way To Speak About Crime

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“I am serious about crime and violence, and I’m so serious that I’m saying let’s don’t play games with each other, folks. When crime and violence were constrained to the barrios and the ghettos and the ‘hoods, people didn’t pay any attention. [When it spreads citywide] we’re all concerned about it.

This is not just a question about police. We have to do the best we can, and I’m absolutely and unequivocally committed to do that. But at the same time, I have lived long enough to know we have closed our eyes to the injustices and inequities, and now we are reaping the wild winds of that disregard for a whole range of people.”

~Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, 10/13/2007

In addressing a North Oakland Town Hall meeting yesterday, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums is consistently setting an example for how progressive big-city mayors should talk about solutions to the issue of crime. He also outlined his vision for the city, which included plans for a citywide zoning plan, high density concentrated in the downtown area, and a mixed-used development of the former Oakland Army base that would produce a minimum of 10,000 jobs. Word.