2/17/22 Press Conference and Rally
Thursday, February 17, 2022 12:00 Noon
Oakland City Hall – Oscar Grant Plaza
The City Council of Oakland is pushing ahead to give GAP-A’s billionaire owner John Fisher hundreds of millions of dollars of city and state funds for his private stadium, hotels, and 3,000 1 million-dollar condos that will wreck the Port of Oakland and drive out working-class Black and Brown community members.
They also claim they are against the privatization of the schools in Oakland, but they ignore the fact that Fisher and his family control KIPP and Rocketship charter schools, and even the president of A’s Dave Kaval is on the board of Rocketship. Why are they helping him and his agenda?
These politicians are planning to help a billionaire’s development as well when thousands of Oakland residents are homeless and living in tents. The connection between the proposed shutdown of Oakland public schools by the Bloomberg-controlled school board is being helped by Assemblywomen Mia Bonta and Democratic Superintendent Tony Thurmond.
Democratic politician Mia Bonta’s bill AB 1912 requires that schools be sold off to developers to get money for the schools, and her husband and now Attorney General Rob Bonta with the support of Democratic Assemblywomen Nancy Skinner introduced and passed a bill in the legislature that allowed Fisher to grab the land at Howard Terminal and get public tax dollars from Oakland and the State for this land grab. This was supported by labor-backed Gavin Newsom who just helped dump the single-payer healthcare bill for California since he takes his orders from the Hospital bosses and Health insurance plans like Blue Cross and Kaiser.
The other part of this deal is the head of the Alameda Building Trades Andreas Cluver who is also the president of the Port of Oakland. He has supported the privatization and has got support from the head of Alameda Labor Council Elisabeth Ortega-Toro who wants to destroy a working port to build a stadium, hotels, and condos. Cluver and Ortega-Toro have betrayed the more than 80,000 maritime workers and their unions including the ILWU Locals that have led the fight against systemic racism and for worker rights. He is also trying to bring in the Teamsters at an Eagle Rock Aggregates gravel operation in the port to pit Teamsters against ILWU longshoreman doing the boss’s job. This union-busting tactic by Cluver is a threat to all working people and that is why the bosses and their politicians put him on the Port Commission to do their dirty work.
What is also behind this is that these capitalist politicians take their orders from the billionaires who really run Oakland and California. While California has a $45.7 billion-dollar budget surplus, they are starving OSUD, SFUSD, and San Francisco City College and are using the publicly funded but privately run FCMAT (Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team) to order budget cuts and school closures in mostly urban working-class Black and Brown school districts.
This of course will benefit the developers who want the school sites for condos, and it is a major statewide land grab backed by the Democratic Party and their funders. It is time to call a halt to the destruction of the Port of Oakland and reject any corrupt deal with scam artist Fisher. We need to demand a halt to any closures and for full funding of the schools, but this will not happen without mass worker, community action. Workers have the power to shut Oakland and the State down to defend public education and stop privatization. We also need a democratic labor party that will stand up for our schools and Port instead of implementing the billionaire’s agenda.