Saturday, April 10, 2021

Notes on the Black Arts Movement Business District and Street Vendors in California, SB946


Many North American African street vendors, especially those who attempted to vend on the east side of Lake Merritt, i.e., Lakeshore Avenue, should be aware of SB946, the bill on vending in California that was passed during the regime of Gov. Jerry Brown. And it was passed because the 30, 000 Los Angeles street vendors, mostly Latinx, got organized and lobbied to change vending laws throughout California. Below is a summary of SB946 and it applies to Oakland as well and may need to be utilized in a possible legal challenge to the City of Oakland's recent termination of vending on Lakeshore Ave. Those of us who grew up in Oakland are well aware of the long history of white supremacists excluding North American Africans from utilizing Lake Merritt for any reason, part of Oakland's institutional and systemic racism, now parading under gentrification, and ironically, some of the residents of the lake area who wish the Black presence would simply disappear, are in fact Black or Negropeans. Yes, from coast to coast, there are many Negropeans who are quite satisfied with gentrification or more properly, ethnic cleansing, just as there were Negro slave owners and as per Nazism, there were Jews who assisted Hitler in the elimination of fellow Jews, supposedly one such collaborator is George Soros, chief financial backer of Black Lives Matter. How can the upper class lead and finance our freedom? How can the slave master free the slave to the benefit of the slave. How can the liberation of the slave benefit the economics of the master who must lose the source of his wealth unless the process is a shell game as Kwame Nkrumah noted, "Neo-colonialism is colonialism playing possum." Further, he said, "You give a flag, national anthem, a colonial elite class of educators and politicians," but, most importantly, you control the finance, the banks, yes, the interlocking directorates wherein the same band of thieves all critical institutions to our detriment, including the linguistics of our literature as the Kenyan writer Enguji wa Thiongo has pointed out. I said long ago language is logic. Thion'go says we must write in our Mother tongues, not the tongues of our colonial masters. Elijah Muhammad taught us we shall not speak English in the new world, it shall be banned. 

As per North American Africans vending on Lakeshore Avenue, please be informed that on January 19, 2016, the City of Oakland established the Black Arts Movement Business District along 14th Street from the Lower Bottom to Lake Merritt, thus North American Africans are presently being denied occupation of their Cultural District. FYI, Gov. Jerry Brown, aside from SB946, also established Cultural Districts throughout California and Oakland has applied to have the BAMBD as a certified cultural district. Furthermore, the BAMBD was belatedly incorporated into the City of Oakland's Downtown Plan for the next 25-50 years. As per usual, North American Africans were only included when the plan was in its final stages. We have great doubts bout our inclusion and, more importantly, our equity in said plan, especially if our present exclusion from the designated area is not rectified in the name of social and economic justice. Further, Oakland has yet to fund the BAMBD to any degree whatsoever. There are no banners or signage that the BAMBD exists along the 14th Street corridor and most certainly along Lakeshore Ave where we have staked our claim to a piece of land in our beloved Oakland, known throughout the world as the City of Resistance to white supremacy and domestic colonialism, with the Pullman Porters, the first North American African Union, and the Black Panther Party of Self Defense that challenged police violence under the color of law. But, alas, the OPD was called to subdue the North American African presence at the lake as we exercised our right to be in our own cultural district, i.e., The Black Arts Movement Business District. 

Sadly, most North American Africans, including vendors, don't even know we have a cultural and business that extends to Lake Merritt. When it was clear to the community stakeholders of the BAMBD that the City of Oakland was reticent, reluctant, moreover, recalcitrant to establish our district, we established the BAMBD, CDC, under the direction of Dr. Ayodele Nzinga, and she has almost singlehandedly won community benefit packages from developers who've caused displacement leading to the plethora of homeless encampments throughout Oakland. Of course she was opposed by politicians, especially Negropean politicians and they sycophants, including even Negropean business persons who lacked radical consciousness in their attempt to be petty bourgeoise capitalists. Alas, when we literally forced the word "movement" in the name of our district, i.e., Black Arts Movement Business District, certain of them opposed the word "movement" until they got a PE lecture, i.e., political education, from BAMBD co-founders, especially Paul Cobb, Publisher of the Oakland Post News Group, and a long-time radical who informed the petty bourgeoisie businesspersons that it is only because of our radical movement history that we are alive today, since every attempt was made to destroy Oakland's radical movement for social justice. The most recent example is the US Government's attempt to destroy the Black Panther Party as a threat to the national security of the USA, even though the BPP stood on the US Constitution to demand our human rights. 

The Oakland Police occupation of Lakeshore Avenue to prevent any semblance of economic equity for the BAMBD and its vendors, is a continuation of Oakland's Jim Crow history to mainly placate lake residents who were expressly informed in SB946 that community animus...does not constitute an objective health, safety, or welfare concern.  

It should be clear that for North American African vendors to establish our presence in our BAMBD, we will need to form the BAMBD, CDC Vendors Association to advocate for our economic and social justice, just as the 30,000 Los Angeles vendors. FYI, the BAMBD, CDC was able to win Community Benefit Agreements only because we united with the Asian Community as well as the Latinx, but especially the Asians. I point this out because Afro-Asian unity was formed at the Bandung Conference when the Third World nations declared their policy of non-alignment as per the Capitalists and Communists fighting for global hegemony.

In unity, the BAMBD, CDC and the Asian Community won Community Benefits from developers that vendors must be aware of and take advantage of, e.g., below market rate housing and commercial space in the plethora of new developments in the BAMBD and throughout Oakland. The brother who organized the Black Solidarity Market at the lake indicated his desire to have vendors in retail spaces along the 14th Street corridor of 14th Street, downtown Oakland. Again, I remind you the BAMBD is supposedly an equitable partner in the 25 to 50 Year City of Oakland Downtown Plan.

As I conclude my preface to the SB946 Vendor Summary, please understand the vendor struggle at the lake is an integral part of the struggle for North American economic and social justice in Oakland and coast to coast.

As per economics, imagine the cost of employing the OPD along the lake to prevent North American Africans from any measure of economic survival in the Covid19 era wherein corporations are thriving but socalled non-essential economic entities were shuttered and mandated to close as non-essential. Non-essential to whom? Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Amazon, et al.

But in truth, we know in the filthy socalled free market system--alas, even the low life, white nationalist President Donald Trump cried for fair trade to no avail except the Covid19 soft coup germ war fare China answered Trump with, along with China's multi-cultural sycophants, i.e., European-American corporations and other global economic entities, including the above mentioned Negropean petty bourgeoisie capitalists rappers and athletes, including LeBron James, et al., so greedy they sing Silent Night as their products arrive in America and throughout the world from Muslim, Tibetan, and North Korean concentration camps.

Thus the new world order is not white supremacist, alas, globalists are diverse, multiracial, cultural, and ethnically diverse. So we must be careful when charging the white supremacists for global evil--Europeans are not the totality of the 1% loath and despise the 85-99% wage slaves, aka, the deaf, dumb and blind, suffering domination by the blood suckers of the poor. Yes, the wage slaves work to die poor, and even their basic wealth, i.e., a home, often is lost in probate court in legal battles between siblings, wives and other women, ultimately benefiting lawyers at $400 per hour times 3 or 4 times 2 or 3 years in probate court.

No matter all the above negrocities (Amiri Baraka term he told me not to steal, but I gave my definition as an inflammation of the negroid gland at the base of the brain caused by bad habits. AB said in his mythic drama A Black Mass, his interpretation of the Muslim myth of Yakub, i.e., as per the evil created by Yakum's devil created in his bio-tech lab by separating the dominant gene from the recessive, the result was a being created "where the heart's print should be there was only a cellulose pouch of disgusting habits." Master Sun Ra arranged the music for A Black Mass and in his lectures at UC Berkeley, 1972, said of the white man, "You so evil the devil don't want you in hell."

Thus, as a Black presence at Lake Merritt, we shall only secure our presence by being organized. The City of Oakland made the lake part of our Black Arts Movement Business District. We occupied the space without knowledge we have official rights to the space. If we claim the space as part of our BAMBD and demand the City concur, we shall occupy said space. But, we must understand any space we occupy is connected to our liberation, thus any space we claim and occupy must be administered with discipline. Freedom was the critical fault in our liberation struggle as I was taught by Master Sun Ra of the Black Arts Movement. And he is now known as the Father of Afro-futurism. But as I said at the University of Chicago Symposium on Sun Ra, "He taught me discipline and his Myth-Science Arkestra was the supreme example of disciple, even though he was a free spirit as his music and philosophy and band history will attest."

Lake vendors, you can occupy Lakeshore but only with discipline. You can be your own security and employ your own to clean up after yourselves. You can take advantage of Community Benefits from developers along the 14th Street corridor to occupy retail space and warehouse space to store your goods as I proposed years ago during the administration of Oakland's first Black Mayor Lionel Wilson. 

With discipline, you can be a presence from the lower bottom to Lake Merritt's Lakeshore Avenue since you have made your footprint there as part of the BAMBD. 

As I close, I encourage you to read the thoughts of my dear Sister Cat Brooks on the lake issue, especially as per the police occupation of the vending area we declared.

--Marvin X

Co-founder of the National Black Arts Movement

Co-founder, Black Arts Movement Business District, Oakland

4/10/21

SB 946 Street Vending Bill Summary


SB 946 (Lara) Street Vending Bill Summary: This measure would prohibit a local authority from adopting rules or regulations, by ordinance or resolution, that regulate or prohibit sidewalk vendors unless it first adopts a sidewalk vending licensing program. Bill Description: Specifically, SB 946 allows a local authority to adopt a sidewalk vending licensing program that requires a sidewalk vendor to obtain a license from the local authority before he or she is authorized to sell food or merchandise. 


The local authority’s licensing system shall comply with all of the following standards:  A local authority shall not restrict the location of a licensed sidewalk vendor unless the restriction is directly related to objective health, safety, or welfare concerns.  A local authority shall not prohibit a sidewalk vendor from selling food or merchandise in a park owned or operated by the local authority, except the local authority may prohibit stationary sidewalk vendors from vending in the park only if the operator of the park has signed an agreement for concessions that exclusively permits the sale of food or merchandise by the concessionaire.  A local authority may adopt additional requirements regulating the time, place, and manner of sidewalk vending in a park owned or operated by the local authority if the requirements are any of the following: o Directly related to objective health, safety, or welfare concerns. o Necessary to ensure the public’s use and enjoyment of natural resources and recreational opportunities. o Necessary to prevent an undue concentration of commercial activity that unreasonably interferes with the scenic and natural character of the park.  


A local authority shall not require a licensed sidewalk vendor to first obtain the consent or approval of any nongovernmental entity or individual before he or she can sell food or merchandise.  


A local authority shall not restrict sidewalk vendors to operate only in a designated neighborhood or area, except when that restriction is directly related to objective health, safety, or welfare concerns.  


A local authority may prohibit stationary sidewalk vendors in areas that are zoned exclusively residential, but shall not prohibit roaming sidewalk vendors.  


A local authority may prohibit sidewalk vendors in areas located within the immediate vicinity of a permitted certified farmers’ market or a permitted swap meet during the limited operating hours of that certified farmers’ market or swap meet.  


A local authority may restrict or prohibit sidewalk vendors within the immediate vicinity of an area designated for a temporary special permit issued by the local authority, provided that any notice, business interruption mitigation, or other rights provided to affected businesses or property owners under the local authority’s temporary special permit are also provided to any sidewalk vendors specifically permitted to operate in the area, if applicable.  


A local authority shall not restrict the overall number of sidewalk vendor licenses issued unless the restriction is directly related to objective health, safety, or welfare concernsPerceived community animus or economic competition does not constitute an objective health, safety, or welfare concern.  


A local authority may, by ordinance or resolution, adopt additional requirements regulating the time, place, and manner of sidewalk vending if the requirements are directly related to objective health, safety, or welfare concerns, including, but not limited to, any of the following: o Limitations on hours of operation that are not unduly restrictive. 


In nonresidential areas, any limitations on the hours of operation for sidewalk vending shall not be more restrictive than any limitations on hours of operation imposed on other businesses or uses on the same street. o Requirements to maintain sanitary conditions. o Requirements necessary to ensure compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-336) and other disability access standards. o Requiring the sidewalk vendor to obtain from the local authority a permit for sidewalk vending or a valid business license. o Requiring the sidewalk vendor to possess a valid California Department of Tax and Fee Administration seller’s permit. o Requiring additional licenses from other state or local agencies to the extent required by law. o Requiring compliance with other generally applicable laws. o Requiring a sidewalk vendor to submit information on his or her operations, including, but not limited to, any of the following:  The name and current mailing address of the sidewalk vendor.  A description of the merchandise offered for sale or exchange.  certification by the vendor that to his or her knowledge and belief, the information contained on the form is true.  The California seller’s permit number (California Department of Tax and Fee Administration sales tax number), if any, of the sidewalk vendor.  If the sidewalk vendor is an agent of an individual, company, partnership, or corporation, the name and business address of the principal. 


A violation of a local authority’s sidewalk vending program that complies with Section 51038 is punishable only by the following:  


An administrative fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) for a first violation.  An administrative fine not exceeding two hundred dollars ($200) for a second violation within one year of the first violation.  An administrative fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) for each additional violation within one year of the first violation.  A local authority may rescind a permit issued to a sidewalk vendor for the term of that permit upon the fourth violation or subsequent violations. If a local authority requires a sidewalk vendor to obtain a sidewalk vending permit from the local authority, vending without a sidewalk vending permit may be punishable by the following:  An administrative fine not exceeding two hundred fifty dollars ($250) for a first violation.  An administrative fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) for a second violation within one year of the first violation.  An administrative fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each additional violation within one year of the first violation.  


Upon proof of a valid permit issued by the local authority, the administrative fines shall be reduced to the administrative fines set forth in paragraph (1). Failure to pay an administrative fine shall not be punishable as an infraction or misdemeanor. Additional fines, fees, assessments, or any other financial conditions beyond those authorized in this measure shall not be assessed. A violation of a local authority’s sidewalk vending program that complies with Section 51038, or a violation of any rules or regulations adopted prior to January 1, 2019, that regulate or prohibit sidewalk vendors in the jurisdiction of a local authority, shall not be punishable as an infraction or misdemeanor, and the person alleged to have violated any of those provisions shall not be subject to arrest except when permitted under law. This shall apply to all pending criminal prosecutions under any local ordinance or resolution regulating or prohibiting sidewalk vendors. Any of those criminal prosecutions that have not reached final judgment shall be dismissed. A local authority that has not adopted rules or regulations by ordinance or resolution that comply with Section 51037 shall not cite, fine, or prosecute a sidewalk vendor for a violation of any rule or regulation that is inconsistent with the standards described in subdivision (b) Section 51038. “Sidewalk vendor” is a person who sells food or merchandise from a pushcart, stand, display, pedal-driven cart, wagon, showcase, rack, or other non motorized conveyance upon a public sidewalk or other pedestrian path. “Roaming sidewalk vendor” means a sidewalk vendor who moves from place to place and stops only to complete a transaction. “Stationary sidewalk vendor” means a sidewalk vendor who vends from a fixed location. “Local authority” means a chartered or general law city, county, or city and county.

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