Journal Editorial: Racism Still in Alameda

As we’ve seen in the recent debates over Measure A and the upcoming elections, some of the “Slate” candidates have a tendency to resort to racist and culturally insensitive comments (perhaps indavertently in one case and more blatant in the other) . These incidents have also been chronicled on A Progressive Alamedan’s blog.

It appears that the small vocal minority of NIMBY Alamedans who remain opposed to any new development are taking their cue from these candidates, as witnessed by their remarks at City Council meetings:

If we build (fill in the blank) it will attract “those people” or the “riff-raff” or, when really emboldened, “those folks from Oakland.”

The Journal’s Editorial goes on to say:

Someone once observed that hidden just past the shiny SUVs, the perfectly manicured lawns and the precisely restored Victorians, Alameda is home to an old-school class of ignorant hillbillies. Incidents such as the ones noted above only feed that stereotype.

So when we choose our representatives to the City Council this Nov. 7 or when we engage in public debate about a proposed development, we should do so with clear minds about the reality of the world we live in and how damaging racist speech — subtle or gross — can be.

Enough said. The facts and actions of the Slate candidates speak for themselves!

33 Responses to “Journal Editorial: Racism Still in Alameda”

  1. NIMBY Says:

    That’s right, let the facts speak for themselves. Problem: where are the facts? One instance is being blown out of proportion, another is what someone thinks someone said. The Progressive Alamedan chronicles nothing. The editorial you quote is conveniently fact-free and chock-full of insinuations. I suppose fear of being sued for slander is the reason they stopped short of mentioning names.

    You have engaged in a cowardly slandering campaign. Bring out the facts—let people judge for themselves.

  2. Joseph Says:

    I’m afraid NIMBY is showing her own prejudices. Perhaps she is a tad bitter that her obstructionist approach to the Alameda Theatre renovation is going nowhere and the theatre will be built and the area has been cordoned off before construction begins shortly. Take that NIMBY!

    If you had conducted a little research into the two insensitive remarks, you will see that they did occur. The “tar baby” reference is simply unacceptable in this day and age. The coverup attempt was embarrasing to even watch!!! As for the “eating live turtles or whatever they eat”, that comment is simply, galling, and was seen by many on the Don Roberts show.

    The real cowards are the pro-measure A folks who cloak their opposition to any new development (and by extension, newcomers to Alameda) under the guise of protecting Measure A.

  3. NIMBY Says:

    Tar baby’s common and primary meaning is “difficult problem” or “entrapment.” It’s racial meaning is secondary and completely irrelevent to the context in which it was used. Using the phrase to describe a problem does not mean the person is a racist. People getting their underpants all twisted over “tar baby” reminds me of the whole “niggardly” stupidity that held the nation captive a few years back. Would someone please pass the brains.

    People who fan the racist hysteria either, 1) betray their own racial insecurities, or 2) this being the campaign, are using every dirty trick in the bag to bring a candidate down.
    The editorial in the Journal was malicious and cowardly. Shame on Jeff Mitchell for shoving the manure.

    I am voting for DeHaan, Bail and Thomson, and I am not cloaking myself in anything. They actually have principles, and a vision for Alameda I happen to agree with. They are also honest. In my book, that counts for a lot.

    ps. I am curiously watching to see how many “respectable” people will do unrespectable things trying to get to their ends this election. Because we will all still be around after November, you know.

  4. Joe Says:

    I am sorry Nimby, I have to totaly disagree with you, Tar Baby is Racial, and today it is view that way, just as gay doesn’t me happy any longer in most peoples minds. Word meaning change over time and what something meant 50 years ago is totally oblivious to what they mean to people today. The eating live turtles or whatever they eat goes on to show she think she is above everyone else…This may be true or not true but if in the Corporate World and made thes comments in the workplace she would be in trouble and posibably fired.

  5. Chris Says:

    Just goes to show how morally bankrupt the Slate supporters have become, by trying to justify the use of “tar baby” as acceptable. I suppose the very same Slate people are also supporters of the Republican “family values” despite the Mark Foley incidents. Sheesh!

    Random House says:

    The expression tar baby is also used occasionally as a derogatory term for black people (in the U.S. it refers to African-Americans; in New Zealand it refers to Maoris), or among blacks as a term for a particularly dark-skinned person. As a result, some people suggest avoiding the use of the term in any context.

    Yeah, we are also watching your “respectable” actions like trying to stop the theater at all costs. Losing the battle must’ve been a giant blow to your ego, but you need to move on (and perhaps watch a movie or two at the Alameda Theater when it opens next year).

  6. NIMBY Says:

    Below is the full Random House definition in case people just take Chris’s word for it. As always, partial quotations and innuendo are the the preferred slate detractors’ methods. Consequently, whatever it is Chris supposes about me or other should be double checked at the source.

    “The tar baby is a form of a character widespread in African folklore. In various folktales, gum, wax, or other sticky material is used to trap a person.

    The folktale achieved currency in the United States in written form in one of Joel Chandler Harris’s Uncle Remus stories, a collection of stories based on African-American folklore, narrated by the fictional Uncle Remus, a former slave. In the story “Tar-Baby,” the character Brer Fox makes a doll out of tar, which he places by the road to entrap his enemy Brer Rabbit. Brer Rabbit talks to the doll, and when it doesn’t answer, he hits it, and gets stuck in the tar. The more he struggles with it, the more he is entangled in it.

    This story has led to the figurative use of tar baby in the sense ‘an inextricable problem or situation’, sometimes with the nuance ‘something used to entrap a person’. Both the examples cited in the question show the use of this sense, which appears to be first used in the early twentieth century.

    The expression tar baby is also used occasionally as a derogatory term for black people (in the U.S. it refers to African-Americans; in New Zealand it refers to Maoris), or among blacks as a term for a particularly dark-skinned person. As a result, some people suggest avoiding the use of the term in any context.”

  7. NIMBY Says:

    Oops, forgot to include the original question which shows contemporary usage of the phrase. DeHaan used tar baby in reference to the budget—in line with the example below. It’s a long, long stretch from here to racial insensitivity.

    “Several people have written:
    I have come across the term “tar baby” recently. For example, a recent newspaper editorial mentioned the Clinton impeachment as a “tar baby” they’d have to get rid of before the 2000 elections. Another article, on a drug-policy Web site, mentioned the “medical marijuana tar baby” as an issue that the FDA had to deal with. What does the expression mean, and where does it come from?”

  8. Chris Says:

    What part of “derogatory term for black people” don’t you get?

    If that wasn’t worse, how about this “As a result, some people suggest avoiding the use of the term in any context”.

    How about this wikipedia entry re: ethnic slurs?

    I find it amazing that you still justify the use of the word despite all the negative connotations. I am sure you can comprehend that, Ani!!!

  9. NIMBY Says:

    There may have been a better word choice if one thinks about it, but a single use of the phrase “tar baby” as described above does not make one a racist. How desperate you must be to insist on such twisting of the person’s intent!

    The incident is being politically exploited—this is what I object to. I’m sure you can comprehend that, Chris.

  10. Steve Says:

    How can you say the editorial is fact free? DeHaan’s comment is on videotape. Pat Bail’s reference to Marie Gilmore was made during an interview with the Journal. Whether these two are racist or not, really doesn’t matter. I simply know that I do not want people who freely make public comments like these representing me, nor do I want them representing, and thus embarrassing, the city.

  11. Jon Spangler Says:

    Ani and all,

    To valiantly defend what Doug admitted was a breach of good manners, as Ani has been doing on narrow and indefensible grounds, is worse than the original error, for which Doug made several emotional apologies from the dais.

    Defending an act for which the perpetrator has apologized calls into question the judgment of the one defending the original error. which surely cannot be classified in any way as an example of GOOD manners, no matter how one reads one’s Merriam-Webster.

    Doug had the good sense to immediately admit and apologize for his mistake, as he should have. I do not believe he ever tried to justify or defend his own unfortunate word choice, other than to attempt to explain what he had meant to say. That was the honorabl;e response to his own error, and Doug’s supporters should follow his good example. (We all make mistakes, and some of them are made in public. That is why we make apologies.)

    To minimize the error or attempt to justify it is almoat worse than the original “sin.”

    The problem with Doug’s use of the term (he is my friend, and I was there when he said it) is that it indicated either a temporary error in judgment or an underlying insensitivity that is problematic at best. A single lapse can be forgiven (and has been, in my case), but if a pattern of misjudgments or insensitivity becomes apparent, it is clearly unhealthy for the body politic.

    I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that I can no longer support Doug deHaan because of two things he has done that I consider even more significant “errors in judgment.” (Not fatal, but significant.):

    1. When I asked hm about it, he failed to see the potential ethical and moral problems created when any candidate tries to “buy” an election, as Pat Bail did in 2004 with over $100,000 for a single City Council seat.

    The fact that she spent her own money makes the influence of so much cash no less problematic than if she had received it from contributors, in my own opinion and in the eyes of most campaign finance advocates. If Mayor Johnson’s 2002 campaign was problematic because of too much money, then so was Pat Bails’ 2004 bid. To not see and point out the parallels reveals a significant ethical “blind spot” in a man whom I respect and admire.

    2. Doug has allied himself with someone who has sought to “buy” a City Council seat, which, in my mind, is the worst way to demonstrate one’s “love” for a community.

    Pat Bail does not bring to the table any record of public service on boards or commissions, and we have no basis on which to judge her capabilities as our representative.

    Public service is not the same as volunteering or participating in civic improvement projects, It demands different skills and greater accountability.

    Pat Bail has recently been known more for her opposition to proposed government decisions and policies (such as providing adequate bus shelters) than for a cooperative problem-solving approach to community problems. It seems out of character for Doug to have allied himself with someone who seems so unlike himself in public service and approach.

    It is mostly for these reasons that I find myself unable to support Doug in this race. Others are free to support him if they wish, but they should not waste time defending something that Doug himself did not defend.


  12. Alan Says:

    A single use of a racial slur may not emblematic of a racial intent, but points to gross ignorance of public etiquette (especially for somebody who is running to represent a city with a population of 75,000). As for Pat Bail, there are two documented incidents of cultural insensitivity (her reference to a “black” seat and also to “people who eat live turtles”). I certainly do not want such ignoramuses representing me or my city.

  13. Alex K Says:

    Pat Bail is simply attempting to buy the election (that she failed miserably the last time even after spending $100k is another story). Did this amount surpass what the other candidates spent cumulatively? I will have to look that up.

    Wasn’t she also against the new library that’s being built. I might be mistaken, but her words were something to the effect of “libraries are outdated, who needs them”. This is a classic Republican approach to politics (remember Grover “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub” Norquist?) Pat Bail embodies this spirit.

  14. NIMBY Says:

    I have never been able to see how spending one’s own money to get elected is problematic. It is much more problematic when political machines or developers get someone elected, as in Beverly Johnson’s case. We have a federal government beholden to private interests-oil to be sure, and I know we all have something nasty to say about that. Nobody pours thousands in a campaign out of the goodness of their heart—there are favors to be returned later. If it’s problematic on national level, why is it OK locally? Pat Bail paid for her campaign so she doesn’t have to represent anybody but the people who elect her—this a problem? Johnson outspent her, using developer’s money and has been returning favors ever since—but this is OK? Come on people, pick a stand.

  15. Rob Says:

    Pat Bail is beholden to Republican interests (and her own warped ideas) as the other poster pointed out. I think she will not be a good match for Alameda with her obstructionist ideas. Despite the valiant attempts by NIMBY, Pat’s insensitive remarks do not make me comfortable.

  16. Michael Krueger Says:

    NIMBY writes, “Nobody pours thousands in a campaign out of the goodness of their heart — there are favors to be returned later. . . . Pat Bail paid for her campaign so she doesn’t have to represent anybody but the people who elect her — this a problem?” Well, these two statements certainly seem to pose a bit of a logical problem. Consider them separately:

    1. “Nobody pours thousands in a campaign out of the goodness of their heart.”

    2. Ms. Bail poured thousands of dollars — nearly $120,000! — into her failed 2002 council campaign “so she doesn’t have to represent anybody but the people who elect her” . . . in other words, out of the goodness of her heart.

    If statement #2 is true, then #1 must be false.

    However, if statement #1 really is true, then it must follow that Ms. Bail had an ulterior motive for pouring that much money into her own campaign. If it is true that people and organizations always expect specific favors in exchange for contributions, then surely she must have been planning to do herself, her family, and her friends a favor or two if she had been elected.

    Ms. Bail’s direct contributions to her own campaign dwarfed the direct and indirect contributions to the other candidates’ campaigns, even including the largest and most controversial donations to a soft-money group that sent out literature on behalf of a number of candidates without their knowledge. Why does Ms. Bail get a free pass while others’ motives are scrutinized?

  17. NIMBY Says:

    Rob, do you think that Pat Bail will manage to singlehandedly drive the republican agenda (if she indeed represents it) on a council with no other republicans, in a city which is overwhelmingly democratic? Those terrible republicans have really got your fear then.

    Please recognize that there is a large number of people, I believe a majority, whose interests are not being represented by the prodevelopment faction on the council right now. These people need a voice, and if a republican candidate will give it to them, so what? This is about Alameda, not the congress or senate. Democrats should do so much better if they turned around from time to time to see the wreck they leave behind on their way to making the world a better place.

  18. Rob Says:

    Looks like the theater has indeed taken a toll on NIMBY and she is unable to see the forest for the trees. Pat Bail has no demonstrated proof of any achievements (other than a self proclaimed “Community Volunteer” with a sizeable bank balance). Hardly convincing reasons for me to vote for her. However, she has (using Don Roberts show as a platform) vehemently served up an obstructionist agenda: no to library, no to bus shelters — so much so that she is a misfit for Alameda. I know this is Alameda and not a senate race, but the library and bus shelters are valid issues and she has opposed them.

    I am not sure if you have kids. I do and they look forward to spending time at the library. Pat Bail would have killed the new library in town (thank God she was shown the door in the last elections).

    Michael Krueger raises some very valid points above and Vernetti’s rebuttal to Pat Bail is ample proof that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

  19. keepmeasurea Says:

    re: Alameda Journal

    Mitchell raises more questions about his own racial biases by presuming that Oakland people must only be African American, and that “riff-raff” can only mean African American. Did he interview the people he quotes to confirm they were speaking of race, and not those that are criminally pre-disposed, irregardless of their race?

    re: Vernetti

    1) Michael’s protestations to the contrary, the fact that he works for a public relations firms whose clients include Catellus, Warmington Homes, Bayport, The Waterfront at Harbor Bay and Marina Village to name a few, should give readers to pause to consider if he is truly un-biased. He’s an executive with his firm and I’m sure his compensation package is structured such that what’s good for the firm as a whole is also good for him.

    2) In keeping with 1) above, Mr. Vernetti would seem to think it more acceptable that developers funded Mayor Johnson’s last campaign and “bought” her mayoral seat for her than Pat Bail funding her own campaign in 2004.

    3) I have documents from Mayor Johnson’s 2002 campaign – including last minute late disclosures presumably to hide the source of funds – that show Johnson raised over $100,000 to “buy” her seat. Will Mr. Vernetti also speak out against Mayor Johnson raising “megabucks” to buy her seat, thereby distorting local politics? If not, he must have an ulterior motive.

  20. keepmeasurea Says:

    Michael K – for the umpteenth time, on this forum and on LaurBendos – I offer copies of Johnsons campaign contribution forms for 2002. Yes, some money was turned back, but the sum total overall is well over $100,000

    How can you people keep coming on these forums, saying that you want an intelligent debate, and chastising others for making ad hominem attacks, but then repeatedly refuse material documentation in support of an opposing view? This is a farce.

  21. Rob Says:

    I find it strange that keepmeasurea has the gall to contort Lauren’s name (some grotesque attempt at humor, perhaps) and yet accuse the others of ad hominem attacks. Have you no sense of decency, sir? And to drag their little daughter into this brawl as well is the absolute worst thing you can do. Will the slate supporters not stop at anything to achieve their goals?

    If keepmeasurea is a paragon of tolerance (as he has himself declared by virtue of his mixed family), he owes it to himself, his family and to Lauren’s 6-month daughter to stop indulging in his online stalking!

  22. John Knox White Says:

    The question about financing of campaigns is difficult. There is certainly a point to be made about where financing comes from. When its developers, will the candidate be beholden to them? When it’s a political machine, same question. However, candidate Bail (2004), raises equally vexing issues, such as, why did she have to spend her own money to fund her campaign, why was she so unable to raise funds?

    Before anyone jumps in with “she didn’t want to be beholden to anyone” defense, please remember that she held a fund-raising event that lost $4-6,000 last time around before the decision to fund her own campaign.

    Back to the racism issue (topic of the thread). I agree with Jon Spangler, Doug’s comment was ill-advised and insensitive (he had to issue multiple apologies and there can’t be an argument about that).

    Add that to the fact that he threw his hat into the ring to help Pat Bail, known for her lack of sensitivity, get elected. One has to question his judgment on tolerance and diversity issues and his ability to represent a diverse population. (Its like the insinuations about the motives of the current council with developers, only with actual facts to back up the concerns).

    Doug’s comments became a part of the discussion when he chose to ally himself with a campaign partner that has a much darker history when it comes to diversity and tolerance. On their own, Doug’s comment is a regrettable mistake, combined with the slate, they become another piece in a pattern. The slate may offer a slow-growth strategy, but so do other candidates (Ashley Jones and Mike Rich are two) and they do it without intolerance and insensitivity.

    The slate has crowned itself the voice of alameda; it will be interesting to see what Alamedans feel is their voice in November. I for one hope that voters make it clear that these attitudes are the past, and that there is no issue more important to a community than respect and tolerance. We won’t always agree, but at least a substantial part of the population won’t find itself wondering if their voice wasn’t heard because of their background (race, class, etc.).

  23. Michael Krueger Says:

    I’m sorry to take the thread off-topic again so soon, but I feel I must respond to keepmeasurea’s accusation that I am deliberately ignoring the information he has posted (here and here, for example) about the financing of Mayor Johnson’s 2002 mayoral campaign.

    I agree that we need to have a rational debate, and part of that is conceding points when one is wrong or has not argued clearly. In that spirit, I would like to thank keepmeasurea for calling attention to some issues with my comment above. First of all, I made a factual error when I referred to Ms. Bail’s “2002 council campaign.” Her council campaign was in 2004. 2002 was the year of Mayor Johnson’s election.

    The second issue is the ambiguous wording of the following statement: “Ms. Bail’s direct contributions to her own campaign dwarfed the direct and indirect contributions to the other candidates’ campaigns.” What I meant is that Ms. Bail’s contributions to her own campaign in the 2004 council election were larger than any of the contributions from a single individual or group to the other candidates in that race, and were also larger than any of the contributions from a single individual or group in the 2002 election, whether directly to the candidates’ campaigns or to soft-money groups not affiliated with specific candidates’ campaigns. I did not mean that Ms. Bail’s personal contributions were larger than the total contributions to (or on behalf of) a single candidate in either election, though I now see how one could have read it that way.

    Though I apologize for any confusion my comment has caused, I stand behind my original argument: When it comes to allegations about campaign financing, the same standards need to be applied to all of the candidates. If it is true that large donations are automatically suspect, then Ms. Bail is in for some serious scrutiny. For example, her contributions to her own 2004 campaign were over ten times the average size of the supposedly damning donations to Mayor Johnson’s 2002 campaign listed by keepmeasurea. If one is going to let Ms. Bail off the hook but continue to pursue the others, one must explain why Ms. Bail’s extremely large donations are automatically assumed to be altruistic, whereas all the relatively smaller (but still large) donations to other campaigns or to political action committees are automatically assumed to be evidence of a developer conspiracy.

  24. Joe Says:

    You can argue the point with Nimby because she doesn’t seem open minded enough to admit she may be wrong…but just goes on to justify what was said, not by her, but by someone else…reminds me of G. Bush. And Mr. duplex-measurea-landlord is the same way. It is not even worth the effort to read their responses or respond to them because they are not open to any one elses view but their own.

  25. Carl Halpern Says:

    I’ve read KeepmeasureA’s comments about the Alameda Journal editorial. I think he misses the point.

    The Journal is talking about the use of code words. Code words are used among likeminded people, when they don’t want to use outright bigoted expressions. They can use the codes words and have a certain sense of deniability.

    Where I come from when a person said the neighborhood is “changing”, you know they meant racial minorities were moving in. In Alameda terms, “people from Oakland” has always been code for Black people. I moved to Alameda from Oakland, but I’m white and affluent. I don’t think anyone is referring to me in these debates when they are talking about “people from Oakland”.

    KeepmeasureA goes on to say “so far as a I know – and I have asked this of Mr. Mitchell and still await a reply at the time of this writing – he hasn’t interviewed any of the people he’s quoting to verify that they are referring strictly to people of a given race rather than people of a certain criminal disposition, irregardless of race”.

    So people who use the term “people from Oakland” might not be referring to Black people, they are referring to “people of a certain criminal disposition”. So if you come from Oakland, you might not be Black, you just might be a criminal.

    Then KeepmeasureA begins to talk about a coroner’s report detailing homicides in Oakland and notes “I can’t imagine any Alameda residents – racially prejudiced or not – want to see our crime statistics start to look like Oakland’s, least of all in the categories of murder and gang-related violence.

    There’s no doubt that systemic racism is entrenched in our society and is a contributing factor to another Oakland statistic: 77% of murder victims and 63% of suspects were African-American.”

    Now in fairness to KeepMeasureA, I’m going to do what he requested and ask, why does he “coincidentally” refer to these statistics? Could this not be a way of amplifying the term “people from Oakland” as people with a criminal, even homicidal disposition? In fact,isn’t conjuring up images of homicide another kind of code?

    Help me out here.

    Carl Halpern

  26. John Knox White Says:

    First off, given the accuracy of comment that Mr. Howard presents, I’d be careful quoting the information provided by him. Above he rudely suggests that Mr Kruger ignores his “material documentation” when in fact, he’s presenting his “theories” that are made up of large leaps in logic and extremely cynical assumptions.

    I visited the city clerk today, and checked the financial records for Mayor Johnson’s 2002 run. There was no large amount of late reportings. And the total amount for her campaign was $35,600 and change. NOT $100,000.00. Again, Mr. Howard avoids dealing with actual facts by asserting untruths and mis-information instead.

    During the 2002 election, a group call Californians for Neighborhood Preservation associated with Don Perata mailed a number of mailings for a number of candidates, unbeknownst to them. Mayor Johnson said at the time, and continues to maintain, that she knew nothing about them until the paper called her about it.

    It is true that one should be concerned about soft-money and it’s influence on candidates. However, the money raised for these mailings were raised by Don Perata (or operatives), not Mayor Johnson.

    Once the actual facts were known, there were never any accusations that Mayor Johnson had anything to do with raising this money or even knew anything about it. The same was true for Tony Daysog and the rest of the Democrats endorsed in the race who all received some support from this group, according to published reports. (Tony Daysog said he appreciated the free publicity, at the time, the Mayor said she was angry about it. In fact Barbara kerr, Johnson’s opponent and not a big supporter said “Don Perata is obviously trying to decide who becomes our next mayor”).

    For Mr. Howard to continue to run around talking about this money as late-filed donations to the mayor and to insinuate that she deliberately hid them from voters is outrageous, but par for the course in terms of “facts” he has offered in this and other debates.

  27. Alameda Joe Says:

    Just remember that the Johnson campaign received $19,116 in campaign mailing support from Californians for Neighborhood Preservation. Even if Mayor Johnson did not control the mailings. she did receive a subustanial boost from the mailing.

  28. keepmeasurea Says:

    Here – see the sums on Johnson’s 2002 campaign:

  29. keepmeasurea Says:

    Rob – the point of “LaurBenDo” is to highlight the hypocrisy of Lauren Do and Ben Kruger, who:

    1) Repeatedly denigrate Gold Coast and East End homeowners as “elites” who try to control what happens in Alameda, when Lauren and Ben are themselves of the same ilk, living in new $900K market-rate Bayport Homes and bragging about their new $40K BMWs with sports packages and asking for donations to the BMW driving school. They also cry for “affordable housing” which they really intend for people of their own socio-economic class, when most people interpret the term as meaning housing for people of much, much lower income levels.

    2) Repeatedly post on their own blog and this one as if they are strangers to one another, presenting some kind of facade that they are independent people un-connected to each other, but like-minded. At the same time they decry others for what they claim is mis-leading information.

    Carl – my point about “those people” is that there’s no evidence they were referring to race. However, there is a great deal of evidence that Oakland has a much higher crime rate than Alameda, on any number of measures:

    Given the crime rates in Oakland, surely it’s obvious that there are more criminals in Oakland than Alameda. Criminals are not a protected class.

    And you twisted my words, or read them through angry lenses.

    The racisim problem that we all need to address – and one that Jeff Mitchell at the Alameda Journal has no interest in addressing, unless it supports his campaign objectives, is that system racism in our society leads to a high incidence (not 100%) of African Americans as perpetrators or victims of crimes.

    This is what we (and the Alameda Journal) should be focused on – not appropriating racism to support political candidates.

  30. keepmeasurea Says:

    Pardon me – I was certain I had clicked “publish”…

  31. Joe Says:

    Nick Cabral wrote a fantistic – GUEST COMMENTARY
    Racism in Alameda — revisited in the Alameda Journal. This is a follow up to the original editorial. It is the Friday Oct 13th paper. I would encourage everyone to read it. The whole thing is a great example of his familys experience growing up in Alameda as a person of color – he goes through 3 generations

  32. Carl Halpern Says:


    Thanks for responding to my question.

    I tried to be as fair as possible by putting in full quotes from your writing.

    I still think you are not addressing the question of using code words or phrases. The reason people use them is that they have deniability. I was just talking to a neighbor who said that Target will “bring people from Oakland”. I explored it a little but the term definitely had a negative connotation to this person.

    I certainly like living in a community that has a low crime rate. And no one one would deny that there are certain areas of Oakland and Alameda that have relatively higher crime rates. The question of what causes crime would require a broader discussion, but I think we might both agree that economic policies which have a disproportionate impact on working class and minority communities are a contributing factor to higher crime rates e.g. policies which encourage employers to ship good manufacturing jobs overseas.

    I’ m not sure where KeepMeasureA is going when he says “criminals are not a protected class”. What point are you making?

    But if we want Alameda to continue to be a community where people of all ethnic backgrounds and economic levels feel comfortable living and raising their children (see Nick Cabral’s testimony cited by Joe), then I think we want leaders who set an example in their statements and votes.

    In a democracy, elections are a time when we hold office holders accountable for their statements, no matter who they are. KeepMeasureA seems to have a problem with people pointing out what certain candidates have said. Are they being quoted unfairly? Isn’t it important to consider racial attitudes when we are trying to decide who should lead a multracial, multiethnic community like Alameda?

    Carl Halpern

  33. JPN Says:

    I think we should look into the hiring practices of Alameda businesses and then drive owners and executives out of town who have not voluntarily been open to people of all kinds. I hate to say it but Alameda can be thy Ty Cobb of the bay area at times and upstate New York is not for Alamedans. Please look at they businesses you frequent and judge them from the heart. Seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be open, but beyond the law, please opine on what you see.

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