Today Oakland is a model city that has pulled together to create a new future for all its citizens. Part 4

Jonah Melvon & Adesha will join the Art & Soul Festival this year. The most ethnically diverse fun festival on the West Coast. Great music, great food, great art and good vibes.

The citizens were ready for the change. It started to gentrify without pushing out locals. The East Bay Times reports that the Fruitvale district is a great example that this is possible: “Schildt said it’s possible to invest in a community without causing displacement — particularly if it’s public investment or community-driven. Oakland’s Fruitvale Village is held up as a national model. As Scott Morris reports, the mixed-use development near Fruitvale BART improved the socio-economic well-being of residents in the immediate neighborhood and preserved the area’s racial and ethnic diversity.”

Today 38% of people in Oakland hold secondary degrees, crime is down to the same level as San Francisco, aside of Long Beach California it is the most racially mixed town in the world. When researching the most crime ridden towns in the US no California town made it into the top 30 most dangerous towns in the US. Niche voted Oakland as the 26th best US city to live in.

How did Oakland do it? This is the story that Oakland born and raised artists “Jonah Melvon featuring Adesha” wish to tell. Their song 1099 available on Spotify tells the story of how cities need to pull together to become whole again. Jonah Melvon works closely with business leaders and educational and community outreach organizations to bring about a spirit of “togetherness, love, peace and understanding.” Adesha works with the Boys and Girls Club as a Community Relations Manager. They have lived the story and they want to help cities around the world to help create living conditions that are pleasing for all ethnic groups. It can be done! Oakland is proof that it can be done.

Jonah Melvon believes, as his lyrics explain, that we all need to support local businesses, make education available and accessable to everyone who wishes to improve their lifestyle and take part of a thriving economy. In Oakland, Peralta Colleges came together to provide educational access to everyone at affordable rates. Businesses cleaned up neighborhoods and provide access to comfortable yet affordable housing. Charities pitched in with Kindergardens and Schools. When all people, regardless of ethnic background join forces to create a nice place to live, with compassionate support for those least among us, and businesses create access to well paying jobs through education, mentorships, classes cities can be reclaimed. Today WeWorks, General Assembly, Kickstart Coding, App Academy, Springboard, help young and mature people find ways to succeed.

Most importantly the soul based neighborhood spirit that teaches belief in each of our ability to participate in a thriving economy creates a new mindset. Love is the answer. Diversity is beautiful. By opening people’s minds through the Peralta Study Abroad Programs and by offering genuine assistance the East Bay and especially Oakland are becoming a thriving metropolis again. http://web.peralta.edu/foundation/scholarships-and-grants/

This program is immensely successful and has brought peace and prosperity through education to Oakland. The Peralta Study Abroad program brings students from around the world together and allows them to see the world, broadening their horizons while boosting their confidence.

We can do anything, when we work together. When political leaders, business leaders, eduational leaders, and religious leaders come together with the single purpose to lift up everyone of its citizens success is within reach.

Since 2010 Oakland is a new shining star showing its can do spirit. Now, Jonah Melvon and Adesha want to share how it happened. They want to bring the knowledge that celebration of life, work, and family can bring amazing results and lead to a thriving, safe town. They are supported by Drew Gephart, International Services Manager at the Peralta College Group of fine educational institutions. This group of Junior Colleges serve as feeder schools to UC Hayward, UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco. All we have to do is believe and then act on our beliefs.

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Jerry Brown leads Oakland and slowly the city changes to make Equality possible – Part 3

Oakland was named the most ethnically and economically diverse city

Oakland is the most diverse city in the country and the world.

Even before the city “hit bottom” Jerry Brown and business leaders stepped up to create a plan to fix the city. After a six year out of public service Brown returned to public life, serving as Mayor of Oakland (1999–2007). It took a lot of work to attract new investments. The police corruption that plagued cities all across California had to be dealt with.

A group of four corrupt police officers called “The Rough Riders” finally were dealt with after outrage grew too much that the city kept settling law suits to sweep the offences under the table. The clashes between the racially white police and the largely ethnic population caused much dissatisfaction and distortions about the way Oakland was perceived. Politico reported in their March/April issue of 2015: “Oakland’s cops, a legal advocate for victims of police abuse said at the time, might just be “the worst department in the country. Officer-involved shootings were frequent, and often fatal.” In continued: “Complaints of beatings, shakedowns and unwarranted arrests were rampant and cost the city dearly. All told, from 2001 to 2011, Oakland paid some $57 million for claims, lawsuits and settlements involving alleged misconduct by the Oakland Police Department—not just the largest sum paid by any municipality in California, but more than double what San Francisco, with roughly twice the population, paid in the same time frame. The police force seemed broken, brutal beyond repair.”

Accusations of corruption in Oakland were rampant in 2005 the FBI investigated Perata. The East Bay Times reported: Records show Perata’s son’s and daughter’s businesses have been paid at least $750,000 since 1999 by political committees under his direct control, even as Nick Perata and his businesses have been involved in real estate rentals and sales with his father. Also, Perata’s consulting business brought in more than $100,000 in 2003, and between $10,000 and $100,000 in each of the four years before that; his bigger clients during those years included his son’s business as well as two belonging to Staples. The case was stopped by Schwarzenegger’s call for a special election.

The citizens were ready for the change. It started to gentrify without pushing out locals. The East Bay Times reports that the Fruitvale district is a great example that this is possible: “Schildt said it’s possible to invest in a community without causing displacement — particularly if it’s public investment or community-driven. Oakland’s Fruitvale Village is held up as a national model. As Scott Morris reports, the mixed-use development near Fruitvale BART improved the socio-economic well-being of residents in the immediate neighborhood and preserved the area’s racial and ethnic diversity.”

Education in Trouble

Even in 2009 SF Gate reported that Schwarzenegger decided to California ranks 47th in per-pupil spending, according to “Quality Counts,” a report issued Tuesday from Education Week, a national newspaper specializing in public schools. It showed that while the national average is $9,963 per pupil, California spends $7,571, according to the report. Vermont spends the most, with $15,139. Utah spends the least, with just $5,964 per pupil.

Around the state, school administrators have begun looking at how many employees they can lay off next year and which programs they can cancel.

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Equality is making comeback and business leaders join in to make it happen – Part 2

Oakland went through a period of decline during in the mid 20th century

Then came the 50s, 60s, and 70s which were a very tough time for Oakland. The city became every more dangerous, crime-ridden, and unlivable. First West Oakland was destroyed by the Nimitz Freeway and the Cypress Viaduct. Many homes and businesses were destroyed creating a period of poverty for West Oakland. Then in the 1960 West Oakland suffered from the construction of BART and the Main Post Office Building on 7th Street. Again local businesses suffered, more jobs and entire neighborhoods were replaced.

Oakland become the home of the motorcycle gang the “Hell’s Angels” named after Howard Hughes movie, and eventually grew ever more corrupt and crime ridden. Eventually it became the market place of Fred Mitchell who ran a crime symposium changing Oakland into a hotbed for the sale of Crack Cocaine, a very harmful substance that ruined many people’s lives. Additionally, the crime wave sent a lot of middle class inhabitants packing and many of the people who remained lost business. They eventually were unable to keep buildings, street, school and the city services in good repair. Crime attracted more crime and the lack of policing opened the door for more crime.

By the end of the 70s crime was twice as high in Oakland than it was in San Francisco. Most of the Police Officers were white, frightened and entitled. As a result police brutality created ever more problems. This in turn brought impoverished communities together to forge alliances such as the Black Power Movement to help each other by “policing the police.” They created kindergardens and food pantries for the poor, but grew ever more militaristic. Unfortunately, this turned the city into a gang run town, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the Crips and the Bloods, the People and the Folk, the 35th Street Gang, Norteños, Border Brothers and Sureños.

From the 1980s to 2000 Oakland suffered from a Crack epidemic that is now rivaled by the Opioid Crisis

By 2010 it was estimated that Oakland’s population of gang members had grown to over 10,000 members. The situation of both, the crime level, corruption and problems with the police became untenable.

Education

Even in 2009 SF Gate reported that Schwarzenegger decided to California ranks 47th in per-pupil spending, according to “Quality Counts,” a report issued Tuesday from Education Week, a national newspaper specializing in public schools. It showed that while the national average is $9,963 per pupil, California spends only $7,571 per pupil and three times that much on prisoners. Vermont spends the most, with $15,139. Utah spends the least, with just $5,964 per pupil.

Around the state, school administrators have begun looking at how many employees they can lay off next year and which programs they can cancel. Then citizens, business leaders, charities, and religious groups decided to get involved.

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Equality is making a comeback and business leaders are joining in. Your town can succeed as well. Part 1

Oakland was a thriving town about 100 years ago. It went through many phases and now once again is a thriving town.

Oakland might be a poster child for our future.

Oakland had a most impressive long history as a thriving industrial center.

Oakland was first incorporated as a town in 1852. It had always been a popular place for thousands of years before by the Muwekna Ohlone who were part of the original Californians the Miwoks who spent winters near Temescal Creek and Lake Merritt for thousands of years. In 1772 the Spaniards occupied the land in the name of their king. Peralta, a Spanish soldier was deeded 44 thousand acres by the Spanish crown and his deed was confirmed when Mexico declared their independence. The land was divided up by his 4 sons. As much of California this region was covered by Oak trees and this is how it eventually got its name. During the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in the mid 19th century during the gold rush Mexico gave up the land to the US. Ever more and more squatters ignored the land ownership and a team of Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo roving soldiers led by three men from nearby San Francisco established “Contra Costa.”

In 1853 John Coffee “Jack” Hays took up residence while he served as the sheriff in San Francisco. On March 25, 1854, Oakland was once again incorporated as the City of Oakland with Carpentier one of the San Francisco war lords as the Mayor. However he was quite corrupt and was quickly voted out of office and replaced by Charles Campbell as Mayor on March 5, 1855. Thanks to the fact that the several railroads ended up in Oakland it quickly became a major industrial hub. In 1868, the Central Pacific ended at the Port of Oakland. The Long Wharf also served as the terminus for the Transcontinental Railroad and the Southern Pacific, which was localed initially at  16th Street Station located at 16th and Wood.

In 1902 a deep channel was created for large ships and this is how Alameda become an Island separated from the mainland. Due to the earthquake and subsequent fires in San Francisco in 1906 the population doubled. This is when Mayor Frank Kanning Mott launched the “Beautiful City project” establishing the many parks, lakes and oak rimmed boulevards the city enjoys to this day. In 1914 he founded the Oakland Civic Auditorium which cost $1.4 Million dollars. It was used briefly as a hospital during the 1918 flue epidemic. Oakland was one of the most wonderful places to live and jobs were plentiful. Employers included General Motors, Chevrolet, Chrysler, and several other major auto companies.

Motorama “Dream Car” by Chevrolet 1954

The city also housed companies such as Kaiser, Bechtel, Phelan, Dreyer’s, Rocky Road Icecream, Western Union, Del Monte, and too many others to mention here. The high employment rate and associated growth of a strong middle class allowed Oakland to fashion itself into a world class city with the Golden State Theatre, Fox, Blumenfeld, Orpheum, Turner & Dahnken, the Grand Lake and the Paramount among others. By 1949 Oakland had a seating capacity of over 43 thousand theatre goers. Theatres came and went including the Hippodrome, Lurie, Premier and Roosevelt. Thanks to the start of commercial aviation Amelia Earhart , the Alameda Navel Air Station, and the 1930’s Howard Hughes’ movie the “Hell’s Angels” Oakland was one of the romanticized the epicenter of the West Coast.

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