Tag: Oakland

Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, we’ve heard a lot about anti-Asian racism. From New York to San Francisco, there have been reports of slurs, taunts, and violence. Recently, several horrific attacks committed by young black men against the elderly have caught national attention.

Numerous Asian American activists and political leaders have blamed former President Trump, noting that his use of the terms “Kung Flu,” “China virus” or “Chinese virus” has led to the increase in racism and violence.

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I have been especially moved by the Ghost Ship warehouse fire tragedy in Oakland. I can’t count the number of times I’ve stared vacantly out the BART train leaving the Fruitvale Station as it flew past the unremarkable street full of shabby structures that was home to the Ghost Ship. I never gave it a […]

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Don’t Talk Back — Unless You’re Working Out Some Personal Issues


Restorative-Justice-Ven-DiagramYou may have heard me say it here before: California is the world’s largest open-air asylum. I’ve always thought that, but it became much clearer to me after I decamped from my native Golden State to Tennessee last year. Now every time that I sent foot back on California soil — as I did last night — I’m struck by the air of unreality that characterizes the place. All you have to do is look around for a few minutes before you start thinking “Is it possible that there’s a gas leak in this entire state that no one knows about?” That’s about the same reaction I had reading through the San Francisco Chronicle this morning, which notes this — ahem — innovation taking place in Oakland schools:

Mouthing off in class or failing to follow a teacher’s instructions will no longer lead to suspension in Oakland schools, a ban that will be phased in and be fully in effect just over a year from now, the school board unanimously decided Wednesday night.

Oakland Unified will become one of a handful of California school districts that restrict suspensions to more serious offenses and eliminate the punishment for willful defiance — a broad category of misbehavior that includes minor offenses such as refusing to take a hat off or ignoring teacher requests to stop texting and more severe incidents like swearing at a teacher or storming out of class. San Francisco and Los Angeles are also among those districts.

Live from the Berkeley Riots


National media have carried photos and videos of the rioting in Berkeley over the weekend in response to the police brutality cases in Missouri and New York City. The protests were initially peaceful, well within what is protected by the First Amendment, and a reasonable response by a community that has grievances which should be addressed in the political process. But in the course of the protests, gangs of anarchists became the face of the occasion by destroying public and private property. They smashed store windows, looted stores like Trader Joe’s and Radio Shack, set fires in the streets, and tried to deface city hall and the police station. They attacked police officers and tried to destroy police vehicles. They stopped traffic on major streets and highways.

There is a terrible irony here. The activist left protesting the city government of Berkeley, Calif. is like communists holding a demonstration in front of the Kremlin or the Berlin Wall during the Cold War. If there is a left-wing paradise in the U.S., it is the People’s Republic of Berkeley. Just the other day, the city voted to tax sugar in sodas (to take a stand against “Big Soda”). It requires free marijuana for the homeless (don’t ask me about what we would call implementation problems). It has its own higher minimum wage. It thinks it is a nuclear-free zone. And so on. And then there was the 1960s.