Buffy Wicks, Former Obama Aide, Running For California State Assembly District 15 2018

Buffy Wicks is someone I’ve known since 2007, and because of her job as field organizer with the Obama For America campaign. After the successful 2008 Presidential Election, Buffy landed a position in the White House working for President Obama.

I interviewed Buffy at the 2012 Democratic National Convention:

After the unsuccessful 2016 Presidential Race ran by Hillary Clinton, for which Buffy was, again, a field organizer, she took time off with her family in Oakland, then issued this letter moments ago, today, announcing her run for the California State Assembly District 15 Seat currently held by Eric Swalwell:

Advocate and Activist Buffy Wicks Launches Campaign For State Assembly

OAKLAND — Today, in an email and video message to supporters, advocate for kids and families and longtime grassroots activist Buffy Wicks officially announced her candidacy to be the next Assemblywoman from California’s 15th District.

“We live in scary times, but here’s the thing: we don’t have to let what’s happening in Washington define us,” Buffy said. “California has the unique opportunity to achieve bold, progressive goals that reflect our shared values and actually help people: economic security for all women and families, equity for all people, and clean air and water for all our kids. The next Assemblywoman from our district should be leading this fight, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

Buffy is a community organizer, an advocate, and a grassroots leader with experience at the local, state and federal level. A California native, she got her start in community organizing when she moved to the Bay Area to organize against the Iraq War. She’s been an organizer ever since.

Buffy became a grassroots organizer for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, then joined the United Food and Commercial Workers and led the campaign to fight Wal-Mart for better wages and health care for its employees. In 2007, she was one of the first hires on then Senator Obama’s campaign for President, innovating the campaign’s national grassroots organizing model and serving as one of the senior staff for the California primary. Following the President’s election, she was asked to serve in the Obama White House organizing support for the eventual passage of the Affordable Care Act that has provided more than 20 million Americans with health care, including 5 million here in California.

Buffy’s passion is fighting for equity, equal opportunity, and economic security – with a particular focus on policies affecting women and children. She served at the Center for American Progress as a Senior Fellow, where she launched a national policy initiative, with Planned Parenthood and SEIU, fighting for economic security for women and families. Currently, Buffy is leading a statewide campaign to empower parents to advocate for better opportunities for their kids. Buffy hopes to continue advocating for California’s parents and kids as an Assemblywoman in Sacramento, where only 22% of our state legislators are women and just a handful are mothers to young children.

Buffy lives in Oakland with her husband Peter and her 6-month old daughter, Josephine.

Alameda County DA Files Charges Against 7 Oakland Police Officers In Celeste Guap Sex Scandal

Nancy O’Malley, the Alameda County District Attorney, has filed charges against seven Oakland Police Officers that were responsible for the sexual violation of Jasmine Celese Abuslin, who’s commonly known as Celeste Guap. You can read more about the charges filed here, but the DA did not release the names of the officers.

You can learn about Ms. Guap herself, via this interview conducted by Zennie Abraham:

Rebecca Kaplan First Oakland Councilmember On BAAQMD Since 1992 #OakMtg

Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan

OAKLAND, CA (Press Release) – After over two decades of Oakland going unrepresented on the Board of the powerful Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), Oakland Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan won a seat on the Board of Directors, representing all of the Cities of Alameda County.

Link for BAAQMD Board: http://www.baaqmd.gov/about-the-air-district/board-of-directors

Councilmember Kaplan is the first Oakland representative to hold a seat on BAAQMD’s Board of Directors since the late Oakland Councilmember Frank Ogawa left the Board in 1992. Kaplan obtained the seat, which is appointed by the Alameda County Conference of Mayors, by applying and obtaining the votes of Mayors of cities from throughout Alameda County, upon the departure of prior member, Margaret Fujioka of Piedmont.

In her short time thus far on the BAAQMD Board, Kaplan has successfully advanced limits on refinery pollution, new funding for the Broadway Shuttle connecting BART, ferries, Amtrak and more through downtown Oakland, and is launching new initiatives to clean up air pollution from trucks.

Kaplan said: “Parts of Oakland have had some of the highest asthma rates in the nation, and it is vital that programs and laws to improve air quality for our region protect some of our hardest hit and most vulnerable communities.”

Councilmember Kaplan plans to work with BAAQMD to achieve high quality air standards and reduce the health problems caused by air pollution. Councilmember Kaplan has already urged the Board of Directors to adopt stricter emission limits for the Bay Area oil refineries in order to protect community and refinery worker health and safety. “Bay Area residents already suffer disproportionally from emissions related diseases,” Kaplan said. “This is unacceptable, which is why we must prohibit any further increase of emissions from the five Bay Area oil refineries.”

Oakland receives a disproportionate share of some of the negative impacts, from truck congestion and pollution from ships and other projects that benefit the economy of the region. Solving the region’s traffic congestion and air quality problems can be achieved more effectively if the city in the heart of the region, which carries a majority of freight traffic and other impacts, is at the table and part of the solution.

Bringing creative programs, whether connecting transit systems, increasing use of zero-emission vehicles, or improving truck systems to protect communities, can improve air quality and human health for Oakland and the entire Bay Area.

To learn more about BAAQMD, please click here.

In Oakland, Councilmember Kaplan fought for and succeeded in keeping the Free Broadway Shuttle running. This fast and free shuttle connects riders to Oakland offices, restaurants, local shops, and social services 7 days a week. “Before the Broadway Shuttle, Oakland had a hole in the transit system,” Kaplan said. “The Broadway Shuttle helps weave that together, which is why I am so happy to have succeeded in maintaining this service.”

To learn more about the Broadway Free Shuttle, please click here.

Tony Thurmond, Rob Bonta, And The Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Tony Thurmond, Rob Bonta, And The Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Looks like it’s up to California Assemblypersons Tony Thurmond (D 15th District) and Rob Bonta (D 18th District) to make sure that MTC won’t become its own, self-serving mini-empire once the “merger” with ABAG goes through and all the planners in that formerly once-respected agency are let out to pasture – or, more likely, onto the street.

The promise of more efficient and fairer Bay Area-wide governance depends on what kinds of checks and balances the Thurmond-chaired Assembly Select Committee on Regional Planning manages to put into place, otherwise the already-painful elitism of a superagency like MTC will continue on its psycho path of funding special interests while throwing mere crumbs into public transit and other needed infrastructural improvements.

Think not? How bizarre that so much public money ($250M+ and already $90M over budget!) should into the purchase and remodel of the new, not-at-all necessary MTC HQ in SF, an exercise in power that some malcontents have already tagged the Taj Mahemminger. Well, it is a more worthy address than crudball Oakland, no? Plus it just happens to be farther from BART (so the hoi polloi will have an increasingly difficult time accessing the new building and actually coming into contact with MTC personnel?).

Plus, we get a new Emperor out of all this! There’s suddenly just one supreme head of post-merger MTC to direct staff when it comes to the usual monthly buffalo session for Commissioners, where staff-prepared reports that are too big for even Paul Bunyon to digest in a single sitting are piled high like pancakes, topped with the syrup of public money, and a yea vote expected.

Our recent Bay Bridge Bolts Boondoggle could soon be seen as this decade’s construction highlight if Rob and Tony don’t ride to the rescue here and allow for the healthiest possible oversight process to be in place when the next round of abuses hits the headlines. This is, after all, the ultimate regional government we’ll all be left with when our Bay Area-wide megalopolis finally coalesces into a single entity to manage one of the strongest economies in the US, if not the entire world.

Oakland Needs A New News Blog: “Oakland News”

Since 2004, when I started Oakland’s first true blog (and not a news website) Oakland Focus, Oakland has seen the following online publications come and many go:

Grand Lake Business
Oakland Local
A Better Oakland
Make Oakland Better
The Oakland Tribune

And between 2004 and today, 2016, the ways that media is published and distributed have expanded and changed at the same time. Back then the concept of micro-blogging was just that. 2006 gave us Pownce and Twitter. And now, even though the basic micro-blogging platform is easy to build, it seems like everyone has just counted on Twitter without challenge.

But this growth and change has caused many established news sites to reduce in both web traffic and staff size. And many offline media publications did not successfully make the leap to the Internet. And so the Oakland Tribune is, for all practical purposes, dormant.

The last Oakland news website standing, The Oakland Post, is a fantastic publication ran by the legendary Paul Cobb. But The Oakland Post’s problem is, it hasn’t successfully monetized its content, nor widely expanded from it’s base in the African American Community of Oakland to fill a news void that has gotten only larger with time.

This is also true of the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner. Blogs like SFist and 7×7 have tried to cover Oakland culture, but they just don’t get it, and only know that after decades of being ignored by the white media in the Bay Area and the World, Oakland is now mainstream.

The hunger for Oakland news has become so great, some have turned to The New York Times, but even that has failed to meet the demand.


There has to be a publication that has enough Oakland moxy to know that Rod Dibble has played piano at The Alley at 3325 Grand Avenue, and since 1960, and yet pay attention to who’s running for what Oakland City Council seat, and why!

I could go on and on, but you get the point now: this new site is the news venue of Oakland. The main difference here is that you can read about what Oakland’s are doing in their own words, and using there own voice, either in text or video.

Like this:

“Oakland News” is an experiment I am excited to get going.

Let’s go!