{ metropolis devoured }
a tribute to my san francisco

3/4 oz scotch whiskey
3/4 oz local politics
1/4 oz public policy
1/4 oz disaster preparedness
1/2 oz alamo square

Shake over neighborhood dives & venues, strain into a chilled cocktail dress, garnish with a sprig of gov 2.0, and serve.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Remember the Alamo.

Let's talk about my neighborhood for a minute. Since I want to venture into talking about all things lifestyle and crime related in my 'hood, I think it's only appropriate to describe it, from an insider's point-of-view, first.

My disclaimer here is that I am not an insider insider: I wasn't raised in the Western Addition/Divis/Alamo Square/NOPA neighborhood; I am not a homeowner; I am not raising a family here at the moment; I am not as in touch with the roots of the neighborhood as the majority of the long-term residents are. I am paying rent here, going on 2 years, and slowly taking baby steps towards positively improving my new neighborhood. And when I say baby, I mean infant steps. Witness:

District 5 Porgressive Democratic Club

Earlier this year I participated in the creation of a brand new Democratic Club, aimed at organizing progressive voters in District 5. Though our district has a history of political participation in and outside of the democratic party, I was surprised to learn that it did not have an active Dem club. Why a Dem club? Well, it's a little more efficient than a neighborhood group, if organized right. Additionally, chartered clubs can make recommendations to DCCC, which makes recommendations to the State party. I'd also like to see D5ProgDems pursuing official endorsements as early as next year.


N° 756

On August 7th, Big Booty Barry hit homerun number 756, but after seeing re-runs of fans clawing over each other to get to the ball and BBB's press conference more times than I can stomach in a day, I stopped caring. But for the sake of consistency, it's worth a mention before I start talking about local crime.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

The life & times of Chauncey Bailey,
or Oakland's N° 72 murder in 2007.

The following isn't exactly a San Francisco event, but it's extremely relevant to our life & times in the Bay Area, and it signals the sign-off of local journalism as we know it... at least when it comes to the big dogs.

Remember when being a local newspaperman was a respectable profession, when notebook in hand he followed his tipsters' leads to dig up a story, sometimes in conflict with the police, always with a tip of his hat to the folks who give him the first heads up? It's possible that this romanticized idea died of old age with black and white movies, and the reality is that journalists who are ambitious enough to investigate any controversial matter are too big of a liability for their publisher, but until not too long ago, somewhere east of the San Francisco Bay, there was a remnant of the journalism of yesterday, a dinosaur still committed to the dignity and integrity of his profession, still pursuing the tough stories buried behind concrete walls and the backrooms of warehouses.

His name was Chauncey Bailey, and after 37 years as an investigative reporter and editor in the rough terrains of Detroit and Oakland, his commitment to his profession left him in a black body bag.

1949 - 2007

The Chauncey Bailey Project (photos, articles, timeline)

Bailey had been looking into the financial nightmare of Oakland's Your Black Muslim Bakery, currently owned by 21-year-old Yusuf Bey IV, then $1.1mil in the hole and publicly linked to a violent, fanatical religious sect. Here is the brief sequence of events that surround his death:

2006, Bailey investigates Your Black Muslim Bakery on its finances (they file Chapter 11) and links to violence in the community; his reports are not published by the Oakland Post due to unconfirmed sources. He resumes his investigation in 2007 with further information from said source.

August 2nd, 7:30 a.m., Bailey is on his way to the Oakland Post, when he is publicly gunned down by a man in a ski mask on 14th Street near Alice Street. (At this point, the San Francisco Chronicle, all caught up in sensation, is a little slow in catching on to the fact that this is a target killing. The Oakland Tribune has no doubt.)

August 3rd, starting at 5 a.m., several locations of Your Black Muslim Bakery are raided by Oakland PD, SWAT and bomb squads, who confiscate a number of weapons and make 7 arrests. The shotgun used to murder Bailey is found.

August 4th, police confirm the identity of Bailey's shooter: Devaughndre Broussard, 19-year-old kid from San Francisco's Western Addition with a once promising future in business. He insists that he killed Bailey because he was upset with the negative press Your Black Muslim Bakery, where he is a handyman, received from the outspoken journalist. There is no official statement at this time on Yusuf Bey IV's involvement.

August 7th, Bailey's source about the illegal activities of Yusuf Bey's organization, now headed by Yusuf Bey IV, comes forward. Saleem Bey, son-in-law to former Bakery chief operator late Yusuf Bey, was collaborating on the exposé with Bailey and did not think he was in any danger. Says Saleem Bey, "I gave him the stories. I knew everything that was going on. I thought it was dangerous for me, not him....They are out of control, I told Chauncey all about it, about their illegal bankruptcy and plans to liquidate the bakery." (Chron)

Devaughndre Broussard, Bailey's confirmed shooter, is arraigned by the Alameda County Superior Court; refuses a referral to the Public Defender. Who will foot the bill for his private attorney?

Yusuf Bey IV, younger brother Joshua, and associate Tamon Halfin are charged with kidnapping, torture, extortion and various other crimes by the Alameda County Superior Court. Joshua Bey enters a plea of not guilty. Pleas from Yusuf Bey IV and Halfin are expected on Monday when their legal representation is finalized.

August 10th, Broussard revises his admission to guilt, saying that he was coerced by police into making a confession. Reps from the Oakland Police Department deny the allegation, saying the cofession was obtained in a free and open manner. They also have it on tape.

Your Black Muslim Bakery has been ordered by a federal judge to liquidate its assets.

August 16th, a second revision to Broussard's original admission of guilt: his attorney claims he was told to take the fall by another individual involved in the bakery, and that the nice young man now feels betrayed and taken adventage of. As to the facts of the case, the attorney says he has not yet had a chance to discuss them with his client. Am I wrong, or would that have been a good start?

October 9th, the San Francisco Chronicle finally does something besides quote other publications in this gem: an actually comprehensive and well-researched piece on the last 15 years at the bakery, their leadership, and their role in the community, both positive and negative (SF Gate article). The article blames the recent criminal activity of the Bakery on the illegal seizure of the establishment by Yusuf Bey IV, following his father's death, saying that living Bakery leaders did not agree with Yusuf Bey (the convicted child rapist) that it should pass down to his son. Hey, hey, criminal organizations have rights as enterprises too! Well, not in this case, because they didn't file for appropriate status.

October 18th, the handyman who originally confessed to Bailey's murder, and then withdrew his confession under the guise of duress, entered a "not guilty" plea in court, and will identify another Bakery employee as a potential suspect.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

N° 755

Finally. We all know it would happen sooner rather than later. Big Booty Barry hits #755. Fucking amazing. Sure, ultimately the Giants lost to the Padres 2-3, but that's just how we roll: winning the media battles, losing the war.

Video: http://cbs5.com/video/?id=25540@kpix.dayport.com

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