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Not the welcome she expected

Lindsey Smallwood (courtesy photo)

On Saturday, special education teacher Lindsey Smallwood headed to her new West Oakland school, Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, to take pictures of her classroom. The trip didn’t turn out at all like she planned.

The following passage is taken from her blog, Smallwood at Large.

Dispatch: 911 – What’s your emergency?

Me: We were just robbed at gun point. We – my husband and I.

Dispatch: Are you hurt, do I need to send an ambulance?

Me: No, we’re not hurt. They took our money, took Chris’s money.

Dispatch: Where are you now?

Me: We’re at the liquor store across the street.

The liquor store across the street from the school. The new school. Where I just took the new job. The place where I am going to go every work day for at least the next year. That school. That’s where it happened.

Teachers: Do you feel safe on your way to and from school? What precautions do you take? Has anything like this happened to you?

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Harold

    A terrible beginning to a challenging new endeavor. I hope the perps get caught and you never have to experience anything like this again Lindsey. My wife is thinking about becoming a bike commuter and now I have this to worry about …

  • cesar

    So sorry and I know how scary it was. Recently I have had three friends robbed. One was walking home from Market Hall off College Avenue and another was walking a dog near the Claremont DMV. A friend in Berkeley awoke to find that he was robbed during the night as he slept. The question remains, does anyone really feel safe anywhere? The crimes that were way too frequent in poor neighborhoods are moving beyond those borders. I live in a middle class area. We have folks jumping out of cars, robbing, snatching purses or whatever and taking off. So what is the unemployment rate for everyone? For poor and miniority teenagers? What is the wealth disparity between whites and African Americans? Anyone want to guess what the impact will be(on jobs and crime) from the most recent debt ceiling dog and pony show? Be careful! It is hard to live that way.

  • cesar

    What I forgot to say is to think about all the children we teach/that you will teach who live with violence or the threat of violence every living day!

  • Yastrzemski

    So sorry Lindsey…we’re a little spoiled up at Crocker Highlands. You were an excellent addition to the staff last year and we’ll miss you!

  • Nextset

    It’s fun to see liberals get a dose of reality. I’m only saying that because it’s not fun – I’ve had a sibling robbed at gunpoint on Broadway in downtown Oakland in broad daylight one afternoon. Not sure if it was a Saturday. I’ve known people who’ve been robbed, raped, I’ve spent time with parents of murdered adult children.

    So here’s the reality. You don’t go into those neighborhoods. Least of all if you’re white and on bikes. You have a bulls eye on your forehead. Some of my friends are armed – they have CW permits. Even they do not put themselves in such a position. They do not go into ghetto areas, they choose not to do business there.

    So I guess taking a job in a ghetto school really is out of the question. And this from people who are armed. Even blacks who dislike combat do not go, which is interesting because they sure used to. We all once upon a time had barbers, hair salons, Doctors and various shops we used to trade with (in darkest Oakland) before we preferred Walnut Creek. I love the food at Nellies – a lot – and now I can’t even get some black folks I know to go down there. Since the robberies at JL Square, that’s out also.

    So when I read this from a young white teacher I just think, well at least they’re alive. Maybe they’ll learn.

    As far as feeling sorry for the little negro with the gun pointed at them – You get over that when you get to know them better. She should not underestimate the PTS aspect of this encounter. Hope she doesn’t flashback when she recognizes that look from the robbery in one of her future student’s eyes. Flashbacking is very embarrasing sometimes.

    I’m afraid for this teacher the reality is far worse than she has experienced so far. This is just the warm up. Her behavior in setting herself up for this will likely be played out again in the future in her interactions with the ghetto. At some point her self-preservation instincts – or her hubby’s – may kick into overdrive and she’ll join the Tea Party.

    Brave New World.

  • Nextset

    Ceaser:

    Poverty has absolutely nothing to do with this. You can bet the robbers have flat screen TVs and Smartphones, probably some wheels. Evil is the game here, not poverty. I’ve know lots of poor people, I’ve known friends who were on welfare, who were malnourished to the point they have lifelong health issues. They never pointed a gun at anyone – and they had access to a gun.

    And we can talk about the poverty of the European Immigrants to the US in the first half of the 20th century – people were so malnourished they were ill. And so were some of the Mexican and even African and Asian immigrants. I had a black co-worker, an Attorney, who grew up in Mississipi with dirt floors and was in a foster home most of her childhood after that. I have have relatives who spent time in refugee camps. Joyce Kennard who lives in the Bay Area lost a leg in WWII refugee camp, never saw a lightbulb till she was 14, came to the US alone in her late teens/early 20s. She turned out rather well. Then there’s the Irish Nuns who came over from large poor families and taught me how to read.

    I could go on, but when I grew up in the Oakland Area I was surrounded with people from “poor”, black, white and everything else. Pointing guns at people in broad daylight in front of a crowd is Sport, and it’s evil. That’s what the little thug is all about, hurting people and taking things from them as sport. The money is ok too. And he gets street cred from the other witnesses/thugs.

    Poverty has nothing at all to do with this kind of crime. Anybody who thinks that way is just as much the problem as the thugs.

    And remember, if the thugs had killed them – for sport – they’d face the death penalty except in San Francisco. And there are those who want to remove that little disincentive.

  • make it go away

    Sorry Lindsey: Nextset is wrong. Don’t lose your inner drive. Those students need you. But learn what you need to do not to put yourself in that situation again. You are blessed that you and your husband were not hurt. You will have a wonderful impact on the students you will get this year.

  • http://www.tigerthegecko.blogspot.com maestra

    I taught in a similar area (but in East Oakland) for 8 years and had many of the same experiences. At one point my car broke down and the tow truck wouldn’t come, even in broad daylight – and I was a 25 year old woman!

    However, unlike what some trolls on this forum say, I wouldn’t trade anything. I have kept in touch with some of my students and I did make a difference – some are in college, many are doing well in high school against all odds. They’re worth it and I wouldn’t change it, even with some of the scary experiences.

  • Nextset

    make it go away Says: So not getting hurt is a matter of being “blessed?” Really? Are you particularly religious? And Maestra reports being denied tow truck help because she drove into a no man’s land – East Oakland – but somehow that means she wouldn’t trade something for what she didn’t quite express…

    And we shouldn’t discuss teacher safety because that would be a Troll thing to discuss.

    Baloney.

    No worker in this state should have to work in hazardous locations and conditions as a condition of employment – certainly not without all the safety training and gear reasonably available. I’d rather see ghetto schools closed and the classrooms set elsewhere in locations that could be secured. The students could walk, take the bus, or have their parent(s) bring them to class. Or telecommute.

    The ghetto is not going to change as long as the people there are accommodated in their crazyness. You don’t see the merchants maintaining stores in a ghetto – remember Eastmont Mall? And all the other malls across the country that have closed (usually after first banning city buses from their properties).

    End the end the workers vote with their feet. I know retired teachers who left because they decided the working conditions weren’t right (safe/comfortable) to stay with. Funny, they are all black.

    So maybe it does take a white woman. We’ll see. Presumably Lindsey will not bike into that area ever again. That will be a reduction in her risk factors. I wish her well. But believe me, she will in the future make the risk/cost/benefit analysis that an educated woman must do. Hopefully OUSD tries to maintain at least a secured parking lot for the teachers. I’ve seen them at ghetto public schools before. That’s just the beginning of managing a property in a combat zone. On-property armed police officers make a nice statement too. I wonder if Lindsey was in any way warned about crime rates, gang territory, graffiti and gang member recognition, or any safety training in any way by OUSD? Are any of the teachers so coached? Does anybody even care about these issues?

    My mother was a social worker in Oakland in 1949-1954. They had them in all colors then it seemed. She took incoming families (black refugees from the South, etc) from the office downtown on buses all through the city to find housing, enroll the kids in schools, and make home visits. She says she never once felt afraid in any part of the city at any hour.

    But the government wasn’t paying single girls to have kids by the boatload back then. Fatherless boys are dangerous statistically, especially in groups (wolf packs).

    The schools should be no different than the merchants in pulling out of dangerous areas – or fortifying it’s facilities in dangerous areas (or at least coaching and training staff). Staff safety and student safety is more important that any conveniences.

  • Mr. Lew

    Lindsey, sorry to hear that you and your husband were a victim of a horrendous crime. The neighborhood in question has a high crime rate, which the city has limited resources to deal with. If you read the articles in this same venue, countless stories of crimes being committed by shady people in the same neighborhood. Neighborhoods in East Oakland comes to mind also as crime-ridden. I have lived in Oakland for a better part of 35 years and I don’t see these neighborhoods changing without major actions.

    OUSD can provide the training for employees, but I don’t believe that it will do much if anything at all. I have been a substitute for the past 3 1/2 years. The only training that I need is common sense and always be aware of your surroundings.

  • http://www.tigerthegecko.blogspot.com maestra

    discussing teacher safety is fine. this: :I’m afraid for this teacher the reality is far worse than she has experienced so far. This is just the warm up. Her behavior in setting herself up for this will likely be played out again in the future in her interactions with the ghetto. At some point her self-preservation instincts – or her hubby’s – may kick into overdrive and she’ll join the Tea Party.” is not.

    whatever, I’m not going to get anywhere with some people. All I’m saying is that I wouldn’t change it for anything – scary moments and all. And I didn’t leave after I was scared – I stayed long enough to be the senior teacher at my school.

    Also, something where Nextset is wrong is saying that especially if you’re white you’re in danger. In my experience, you may get more ugly stuff yelled at you if you’re white in Oakland but you’re less likely to be hurt. Everyone knows the police are more likely to find people who have hurt/killed white people. One year there were 150 homicides in Oakland. 149 were black, Latino, and Asian. 1 was white. Guess which one was the only one on the front page? White people are physically safer in the ghetto of Oakland, strange as that may be. I’m sure someone will be along to comment that everything I’ve just said is wrong but again, I was there for 8 years and have volunteered there for another three. This is from experience.

  • Nextset

    Maestra: You’re the first person I have ever encountered to say that a white person is safer (wandering into) in the ghetto than a black person.

    I don’t see the logic. The contention that Oakland Police would take more seriously black on white crime and just maybe catch the black criminal has little to do with getting mugged in the first place. Even if that is true – at the rate the ghettos of CA are being de-policed I don’t think we are going to be able to say or think this very much longer.

    This sounds like typical “blame whitey – whitey has everything and I’m so mad” thinking to me.

    Nobody is safe in black ghettos least of all black children who turn up with injuries and fatal injuries more often than white children. My memory of mortality tables is that white youngsters die from diseases mostly and black children die of trauma and similar casualty deaths.

    As far as the dead black people (homicide not heart attacks) in Oakland and Los Angeles – this adds nothing to the discussion. Check out the FBI rape stats and black on white crime there (as opposed to the opposite).

    So no, black on white violent crime far outstrips white on black. Beyond that crime tends to be similar on similar. Or in the case of LA homicides, Mexican on Black.

    As far as what to do about it – that’s pretty obvious and it doesn’t include any income redistribution. Florida has armed the population with universal carry laws which are very effective in reducing all street crime. Anything that makes street crime even incrementally more dangerous to commit quickly reduces it. Criminals aren’t dumb. They knew this victim was a “good” victim. It’s not as if Oakland Police would ever send in bait white women – like the bait stolen cars that trap the car thieves.

    As far as your pride in working at a school where you had to fear for your safety – that is nothing to be proud about. Read “Animal Farm” by Orwell and learn the fate of those workers who think like this. It’s a universal thing. You sacrifice yourself in any way for an organization who doesn’t value and protect you and you get sold to the glue factory when it’s over. Nobody appreciates a patsy, that’s human nature.

    Yes, teachers can give themselves away. Go right ahead. It’s more moral to refuse to do so and go work for a real school.

    Here’s the MadTV clip I was referring to earlier:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVF-nirSq5s

    Good luck to all. I still think workers should not set themselves on fire to cater to an employer and the employer’s mission. A worker’s duty is to themselves and their own family first – then to secondary interests. You are no good to anyone as a victim.

    Brave New World.

  • http://www.tigerthegecko.blogspot.com maestra

    I knew I’d be corrected. Every child and teenager I’ve ever talked to in East Oakland agrees with me, as did my co-workers, black and white alike. The way it was described to me was “the cops don’t care if another n—- gets killed but they do care about white people” Like i said, we get harassed, but find me an example of a white person killed in Oakland. I have heard of one in the 10 years I’ve been paying attention.

    As for what is more “moral” – right. Tell that to the kids I’ve helped get into college.

  • Nextset

    Maestra: I have no problem with helping kids get into college – unless they are not college material and the process clearly harms them.

    You seem to think that my point about working for crazy not being a right thing to do translates into not helping children.

    You can help children from a good employer and a good school. I have.

    If you mean to say that you are willing to work in a crazy house in order to sacrifice your safety and happiness to help specific children resident at the crazy house, that’s another thing.

    That is the rationale we get from women who stay in abusive relationships (“for the children”). That is a dumb way to think and it doesn’t work out. But to each his own. Still it’s not clear to me that that is what you were saying, if it was.

    As far as Whitey having all the good things in life and not getting themselves gunned down all over town – Even if that is true what does that have to do with anyone else’s behavior? Do you not agree that we are each responsible for ourselves and our families?

    As far as the cops not caring if blacks get themselves killed – so what? Again, even if that is true – and I’m not saying it is and by the way, since Odell Sylvester was at Oakland Police Dept there have been Black Police Officers and Management figures in this, you know. Yes Blacks die of Diabetes and you see them – young – running around porking out of high salt high fat foods, obese at 17. And yes, they catch a lot of flying lead too. And Yes, they (blacks as a group) put out more bastard children than the other groups. What, you don’t like freedom? People are people.

    Maestra, Blacks (as a group) do as they damn well please, it’s a free country. And they take all the mortality tables that go with it just like any other ethnic group does (Asians smoke, etc). If you get upset because anybody doesn’t throw a pity party for you you probably went nuts when you didn’t get invited to somebody’s birthday party in 2nd grade.

    You don’t expect anyone else to be especially worried about your problems – individually or as a group. You should not be brought up to worry about that.

    Let’s go back to the thread here. A nice white lady teacher tiptoed through the ghetto and of course was spotted and attacked by the local black thugs who lounge around the territory. Whose territory is it anyway? What part of ghetto do we not get here? Good for her that she wasn’t sexually assaulted – there are stats on that.

    Like an innoculation she will in the future be more sensitized to the presence of thugs and the need to be in a car for protection and escape. She may even remember this in a gun control debate when the liberals whine that law abiding citizens should be disarmed even in their homes and workplaces and can only rely on the government for deadly force in their protection.

    All in all this is a good story and a marvelous cautionary tale.

    But most people I know, white and black, don’t have to learn it the hard way. I was taught about evil growing up. I was taught to recognize it. I was 4 living in Oakland with a liquor store a block from the house. You know what that can mean – vagrants on the block, or something worse.

  • Nextset

    Something I’ve seen, and tried to warn the black youth about – are incidents where HS or college aged black boys put the make on a Norteno Princess. Good way to die. You really have no right not to expect violent retribution. It doesn’t matter if they think she likes it.

    Guess how seriously the warnings are taken?

    When examples are made the point is accepted and everybody adjusts and moves on.

    There are a LOT of things that can happen in ghetto high schools (on and off campus) involving violence, racial realities, raging hormones and applied cultural anthropology. I rather doubt OUSD conducts any continuing education for the staff about such issues. Thay’d rather not be politically incorrect, better to just let whatever will be, be.

    I think the schools should periodically discuss all these issues in teacher conferences – using outside sources like the police gang units or juvenile probation officers if they can still get them.

  • Cranky Teacher

    Nextset, you’ve really exposed your narrow understanding here.

    *Everybody* knows that adult white people, especially if they look professional, are far less likely to be injured or killed in bad neighborhoods. We are seen as likely representatives of authority, and everybody knows the neighborhood will feel intense heat if we are harmed, which will disrupt everybody’s hustle. If a thug isn’t scared of the police, they may still be quite frightened of the local heavyweights…

    Now, robbed/burgled/mugged is a different matter, to some extent, since the police barely investigate those. But the murder rates are clear — people are almost exclusively killing people of the same age and color as themselves.

  • livegreen

    Q: Why is there a liquor store next to (or even near) a School???

    This is something New York eliminated YEARS AGO but, like gangs, Oakland does little about and even defends. For gangs IN schools, for liquor stores ACROSS FROM schools.

    Whether or not they sell groceries too, the fact is Liquor Stores specialize and highlight LIQUOR and thus are a magnet for some of the worst criminal elements in society. Additionally many liquor store owners are pressured into becoming outlets for drug dealing, esp. with an under-staffed police force that can’t help them in their predicament.

    Again, NYPD Chief William Bratton took on eliminating liquor stores near schools years ago as one of his first major crime fighting initiatives, supported by NYC’s Mayor and City Council (Republicans AND Democrats). Meanwhile Oakland does NOTHING as gangs and criminals are magnetized by some stores to congregate as near as possible to our classrooms, our children and our teachers.

  • livegreen

    Correction to my prior comment: I read the link and the liquor store is two blocks away. Also it mentions there’s drug dealing on every corner, so the liquor store might not be the sole attraction/source of criminal activity.

    However my other comments stand and the blight and drug dealing point to another big problem: Oakland PD is seriously understaffed.

  • 4th year Oakland teacher

    I am a young white female teacher in East Oakland. I take public transit and walk to and from school, and I have never been threatened aside from annoying cat calls (which are funny given that my standard attire is slacks and long-sleeved button downs). However, my students frequently are robbed, threatened or attacked. Even in their own neighborhood they are living with a great deal of fear and risk.

  • J.R.

    All these problems(blight,crime) are the direct of indirect result of city government,inefficiency,corruption,fraud, abuse or ignorance. This link outlines some sane ideas for getting us out of this huge hole that we have dug for ourselves.

    http://www.orpn.org/

  • J.R.

    For those of you that think poverty is directly relational to crime and other problems, look at this:

    http://www.orpn.org/poverty_cities1.htm

    I will post more relevant(and related)data soon.

  • TiredofNextset

    The Constitution guarantees EVERY American freedom of speech; however, does anyone but me tire of reading the ramblings, (somewhat intellectual in spite of the racist under- and over-tones), of Nextset? Does this protagonist write for the sake of the attention he gets from people, (like myself), who are offended by his narrow-minded thinking? I am proud to be an OUSD administrator of a “ghetto school”, (as Nextset refers to them). I LOVE MY CALLING, AND LOVE MY so-called “ghetto” LEARNING COMMUNITY! I will only say to Nextset: Get off your computer and DO SOMETHING besides complaining about what could, should, and would be if the world were the way you envision!! By the way, were you once rejected membership by the Black Panthers?

  • Gabby

    I’m sorry to hear this teacher was robbed, and I’m glad she and her husband are ok, relatively speaking. That outcome could have been so much worse.

    When I worked at a middle school in East Oakland, I took some definite safety precautions. For example, I always wore a whistle around my neck, and I never, ever was around the school site when it was dark. To this day I carry pepper spray whenever I feel especially vulnerable. Growing up in Oakland, I learned early on how to stay alert and look like I know where I’m going and what I’m doing without distractions and with confidence.

    I think that OUSD should invest in at least a safety training course for it’s employeees. The funds could come from cutting some of the money it spends on expensive consultants. I can’t help but notice that the teacher who was robbed sounded almost surprised that this happened to her in her blog. I believe that people who work in unsafe or crime-ridden environments should also be highly safety conscious, especially if their employer has not done much to educate them about the risks involved.

  • Harold

    There’s an epidemic of “petty” crime across the Bay Area. Thieves are snatching smart phones and iPods. I suggest everyone be more aware, no matter whey they are. A false sense of security is just what the criminals rely on.

  • Nextset

    Cranky Teacher:

    You are delusional if you can’t grok the stats for black on white crime. Try some more internet research. FBI stats are useful. There is the paper – “Color of Crime”, you won’t like the authors. It works the FBI stats. Maybe you are living in the past where this syndrome really was kept under better control. It is not longer.

    The reaction to this syndrome is garden spots such as Detroit, Baltimore and other such once vibrant cities. Complete white flight – to avoid the crime. The government refused to deal with the issues so the people reacted logically. Same thing is happening in Oakland. Bye Bye tax base. And then there’s the object lesson of Philadelphia (black city council enacts a payroll tax to kill off what remaining employment left in the city).

    So in Oakland we have a defunded Police Dept trying to protect what’s left of the tax base. A school district that pretends to teach. And liquor stores galore…

    It would help to have universal gun carry for non-criminals. Not going to happen. This isn’t Florida.

    Hello Detroit West.

    You cannot have a real school in an American Black Ghetto. Or in a Mexician Indian Ghetto. But keep on trying. You may actually find young idealistic female teachers to staff it. Thing is, once they get married and have children they come under significant pressure to choose between their own family and teaching in a madhouse. In other words, they grow up and leave.

    Brave New World.

    PS: The difference between us and Detroit is we sit on top of Mexico which is encouraged to colonize CA by the Federal Government. We can expect Los Angeles’ experience to move up I-5 – in which case the ghetto blacks of Oakland will likely have some political and increasing mortality problems in the next several years. This is where we differ with Detroit and the Eastern ghettos.

  • Nextset

    J.R.: When I was at Berkeley taking Political Science Classes (or was it Anthropology?) one of the required reading books was Banfield’s “The Unheavenly City”.

    To this day I believe it’s the best discussion ever on ghetto mores and behavior.

    Poverty is not the cause of violent crime or the other behavior problems in the ghetto. It never is. Only fools and children believe that. Violent Crime is done for the pleasure of the criminal. It is supressed by suppressing criminals. Killing them off, if you will. No different from eradicating any other bug or pest. This includes disrupting their reproductive cycle. Prison does that. At least if you don’t foolishly add conjugal visits and sperm mailings.

    Our government has oh so carefully stopped criminal suppression. Which isn’t such a problem for the elites because they’re safer behind walls and distances. Plus, they do have guns.

  • http://www.tigerthegecko.blogspot.com maestra

    #22 – yes; lets agree to ignore

    About the liquor stores – it’s an odd phenomenon, really. The liquor store was the only thing near my school that wasn’t fast food so if you wanted, say, an orange juice at your lunch break, that was your one option. I never saw gangs/drug dealing there – that happened on random corners. More importantly, the families there don’t have anywhere else to buy food. It’s liquor stores or fast food in the ghetto.

  • alice spearman

    I am so sorry that this happened to a teacher, or anyone.
    More and more, (sadly), I am tired of reading such junk being posted. I read this Blog to hear what others have to say regarding OUSD and our town so I may govern as informed as one can be. This discussion is a bit much for me.
    Nextset, I find it very hard to believe you really think this way, but I know there are people in this world who do, so maybe you are included. One must not give up on humanity. I guess people who do not have means are doomed to jails, deportation, death?
    Sorry Katy I am taking a break from this madness.

  • Nextset

    As far as those who don’t want to hear a discouraging word – that way of thinking is how we got in this situation in the first place. The beginning of solving any problem is the ability to discuss it. Those that can’t continue on the same path..

    In reading the complaints about this dialog it seems to me that those who don’t want to hear anything they deem unpleasant – or allow anyone else to hear -continue to think and prattle that poverty is the cause and reason for crime. This is a recent way of thinking favored by liberals Banfield among other social scientists puts the lie to this. Anyone versed in economic history would not conclude this either.

    Those who persist in equating poverty as causation of crime and justify government hand outs to appease criminals are not to be taken seriously.

    In other words there is no reason to conclude that anti crime measures are anti poor people measures. That is a tactic of a liberal looney. Poor people and their children are the first victims of criminals including white collar criminals. The wealthy and the elites are far better at protecting themselves from criminals and from liberal legislation.

    So post # 22 most likely comes from someone with little realistic experience with life or poverty.

    Crime In Oakland has always been disproportionately black crime and there are reasons for at. Letting it get beyond the harder to abate crimes of passion and become outsized highway robbery in black neighborhoods and on Lakeshore is a reflection of publIc policy. If we don’t fight this – crackdown if you will – darkest Oakland will become another Detroit or Baltimore. Albeit with better weather.. So take a look at what community schools look like there. That’s what we have to look forward to if wanton attacks like the one in this thread are not avenged/dealt with by OPD or OUSD Police.

    Do I believe that the police chief and the OUSD Board will go after the boy that assaulted one of their teachers even on a Saturday? No.

    But they would have in the 1960s. There would have been a contract out on him. He would have been taken, convicted and made an example of. Because that’s how you take care of your teachers.

    So my detractors can complain about how uncomfortable I make them. But they won’t call their union and their administration and demand that this attack be answered..

    I don’t expect to change a lot of opinions. I do enjoy pointing out the poison oak in this garden of OUSD.

    Things are probably worse than we know.

    Brave New World!

  • J.R.

    Hiding our heads in the sand and not discussing the root causes of problems is the absolute worst thing that can be done. While everyone has their heads down, criminal vulture opportunists of all stripes(political or otherwise) will be ready willing and able to pick our pockets literally and figuratively. That is the nature of discourse and debate, present evidence and likewise refute evidence with factual data. We are running out of time to be making positive action choices, and what will be left are decisions made on the basis of the lesser of two evils. The district is shrinking because the ADA and the tax base is shrinking, and next the FED funding will be shrinking as well. Do we just want to pretend it isn’t happening or do we deal with it?

    BTW- Nextset,kids,victims, and taxpayers all need to be in unions, and then maybe they’ll count for something.

  • Nextset

    Unions are essential. They can do a lot of good and with the state crashing and services being curtailed membership in something is going to be the only way one is able to get services. You are going to have to know someone – or have your union executives go to their rolodex and start making phone calls.

    Back to this thread. I hope this discussion is read by the school teachers’ union local and the local School Board and it’s Police. If they allow shots to be taken to any school staff on or off duty especially the teachers – they will have given up keeping what is theirs. They need to put a contract out on this vile street mugger and his friends. Just for the pleasure and the politics of doing it. Nobody should harm an OUSD teacher like this in broad daylight and get a nights sleep.

    But this is how the WWII types who hired and trained me operated. They were pretty ruthless and they traded favors. I wish I could tell stories of what happened when whites threatened or molested a minority new member of the “firm” – when minorities were first taken in in the early 1960s. (for firm insert social club, gang, partnership, public employment, profession or whatever). Back then it seems that when the first of whatever joined up, there were some people who thought they could second guess the decision to integrate. (It’s not as if there was a lot of integration, either, just the “first” or so.)

    Upon the first open discourtesy or non co-operation these noncompliant white folks were beaten or otherwise given actual violence far in excess of whatever they thought they were going to do to the new member of the club. The grumbling was put down hard. (Yes, people actually paid violent social calls in those days)

    The WWII types did not take kindly to anybody second guessing their staffing decisions. Retailiation was swift and severe.

    What do you think would happen to anybody actually pulling a gun on a teacher in Oakland in 1962? I believe that this kind of thing is why my mother says she was never in fear when she took the bus & streetcars all over Oakland as a Social Worker in 1949- doing her job.

    As if that wasn’t interesting enough, some of these WWII types were what we’d call “Crackers”, Salt of the Earth, many up from manual labor, some from the Dust Bowl too. Great to do business with, they never made a threat they weren’t ready to deliver on, and they honored their contracts/deals/promises even at great risk to themselves. I think of them when I say “save us from white liberals”. If this teacher worked for one of these “cracker” personalities… that boy with the gun would be toast. But I’m sure the nice lady works for very nice liberals. Oh Well..

    What do you think happens now? Online reporting??

    Damn right the teachers need a union. I think they have one. Will the union react to this?

    Back to what I said about going to work elsewhere at a real school. At some point you realize you cannot fix a failure factory except by leaving.

    #22 said I should be “doing something”. And I had experience with Elaine Brown, she didn’t ask me to join up. Dealt with the Bakery Gang a lifetime ago also. I once worked in downtown Oakland. Had friends who ran off with Syananon thinking they were going to change the world starting with Oakland. Am I going to fix Oakland or OUSD? No. If I didn’t post anything here I doubt anyone would post this side of the debate. I’m satisfied with this for now.

    I was in San Jose this weekend. Vibrant downtown. Looks like the tax base seems stable. Too bad Oakland is in the mess it’s in compared to San Jose. We all know why.

    People do what they want, not what they should or what economic history would tell them.

    Brave New World.

  • Nextset

    Forgot something. Some of my relatives were early black teachers in OUSD in the 1950s or so. What do you think would have happened if somebody pulled a gun on them across the street from a school where they worked? Granted this teacher is white and it’s 2011. But the issues are still the same. There was a time the establishment had a care about it’s staff. Now what has so changed?

  • livegreen

    re. Liquor Stores, they’re not called Food Express, Food Pantry or some food related name. Yes in some areas where there’s a food desert they might be one of the few sources of food. But if they have LIQUOR in their name or highlighted on it, there’s only one reason for that: that’s what they are pushing.

    As far as where gangs and trouble makers hang out, not every liquor store is the same. But I know of at least two near each other that, when O-High let’s out kids have to walk by, as do younger kids from nearby Elementary and Middle Schools.
    And hanging out on the corner are a bunch of young men in their 20s, along with some of the high school kids, taunting other young men of color as they walk by and harassing young women. Often the young men have beverages wrapped in paper bags.

    The bottom line is making excuses for Liquor Stores near schools because they also sell food is NOT a good excuse. They should either be forced to relocate OR change their names and highlight/promote healthier foods (a supposed emphasis of both OUSD & the City). If not, they should be forced to relocate.

    Liquor Stores do not belong near schools. Oakland is 20 years behind NYC in policing and in supporting young men and women (of color or not) who want to do the right thing.