(04-06) 05:09 PDT Oakland, Calif. (AP) —

The founder of a Northern California medical marijuana training school raided by federal agents says he’s giving up ownership of his Oakland-based pot businesses.

Richard Lee, who has been instrumental in pushing for ballot measures to legalize the drug, says it’s time for others to take over.

Internal Revenue Service and Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided his downtown Oaksterdam University on Monday. Agents also raided Lee’s home.

The purpose of the raids hasn’t been disclosed.

The school offers classes to would-be medical marijuana providers in fields ranging from horticulture to business to the legal ins-and-outs of running a dispensary. It does not distribute marijuana.

The 49-year-old former rock-band roadie and paraplegic tells the Los Angeles Times                       ( he’s worried he could face major federal drug charges.


CBGB by Tim Doyle

Our good friends over at Spoke Art have brought out Portland-based Art Collective, Blunt Graffix, to Oakland Art Murmur, for a pop-up art show, Dead Rockstars. It will open at this month’s First Friday, April 6, from 6-9pm at Telegraph Cafe (2318 Telegraph Avenue).  Come check out some of your favorite rock stars immortalized, in some impressive screen prints.  The show will also feature a brand new print from Eddie Colla.  T-shirts and prints from fiftyseven-thirtythree will also be available.


Wendy O. Williams by Eddie Colla

“Dead Rockstars” is a free show that will run until April 30th.

Hopefully you can make it down!  This is some seriously dope work!

“Dead Rockstars” Facebook invite

Happy Birthday to the Almighty MC HAMMER! 50 years ago, you graced this earth with you presence, and we have loved it ever since!   Thank you for loving Oakland so much and helping put Pop Music on the map, out here.  May you enjoy many more birthdays.  Oh yea, and good luck on your Search Engine Venture.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out Wire Doo.  Hopefully it’s working out.

Also, thank you for Hammer Pants.

If you don’t know who MC Hammer is, you live under a rock, but here is his Wikipedia.

via Newser

(NEWSER) – Wall Street firms may soon have a new gig: landlord. A number of them are looking into getting directly involved in real estate, buying up foreclosed properties from Fannie Mae in bulk, reports the Wall Street Journal. They couldn’t then flip the houses—per the deal, they would rent out the properties and not resell them for several years, in an attempt to unclog the housing market. And that arrangement likely sounds fine to many investors: Goldman Sachs economists pegged the annual yield on rental units at a 6.3% average nationwide, though that figure topped 8% in some areas; mortgage bonds, meanwhile, are yielding about 3%.

The planned bulk sale is not huge: eight pools that contain a total of 2,500 houses, worth about $320 million. “We’re investing a lot of capital, a lot of time, with the expectation that this is a very small beginning to a very big movement,” said the head of one securities company considering buying. But will the bids be too low, or will investors make healthy offers in the hopes of convincing Fannie Mae that bulk buys are the way to go? On the investor side, one warns that it’s tough to get a “responsible return on capital” due to the costs associating with renovating and managing the properties. Bids are due next month.

This Friday, make sure to come out to the always poppin’ Friday Art Murmur in Oakland.  The new cafe in town, Telegraph, is showing work, from an impressive lineup of street artists representing the Bay Area: FILTHGRIME, D YOUNG V, EDDIE COLLA, & HUGH LEEMAN.  Some of the best in the game!  Telegraph is located at 2318 Telegraph Avenue (The old Mama Buzz space).  The showing will be from 6p-10p  on Friday and will run through February 29th.  Click on the flyer for more info, or click here.

You probably shouldn’t miss this.

The Oakland Police Department has disciplined two officers for violating department policy during the Occupy Oakland protests, The Bay Citizen has learned. The suspension of one officer and the demotion of his supervisor are the first known disciplinary actions OPD officials have taken in the wake of hundreds of police misconduct complaints following the Occupy demonstrations.

The department suspended Officer John Hargraves for 30 days for covering his name badge with a piece of black tape, a violation of California law. Lieutenant Clifford Wong was demoted to sergeant for failing to properly report the incident, according to police sources.

The department is still investigating the case of protester Scott Olsen, who suffered a fractured skull during an Oct. 25 clash between protesters and Oakland police. Olsen, an Iraq War veteran, is recovering from his injuries and has hired a lawyer, who sat in on Olsen’s first interview with Oakland police investigators several weeks ago.

After Occupy Oakland demonstrators were first evicted from Frank Ogawa Plaza on Oct. 25, videos of the violent confrontation between protesters and police, including the incident involving Olsen, were viewed by millions of people across the world, prompting hundreds of protesters and sympathizers to file complaints with the besieged department.

“Just from Oct. 25 alone, I was aware we had over 200 individual citizens who had called, emailed, and written in some way shape or form,” said Sgt. Chris Bolton, the department’s chief of staff. “Our policy requires us to accept every complaint, even anonymous complaints.”

Last month, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan announced the hiring Thomas Frazier, a former Baltimore police commissioner, to scrutinize the police department’s response to Occupy Oakland. Frazier’s investigation is separate from the department’s own inquiry and is due to report its findings in March.

“It’s my responsibility to ensure there is constitutional policing,” Quan said at the time of Franzier’s hiring. “We hope this will add transparency.”

Despite such promises of transparency, the OPD has remained mostly mum on its investigations of misconduct, and any planned discipline or reforms. The department’s office of Inspector General did not respond to requests for information about the investigations by the time of this posting.  

The department’s investigation of Wong and Hargraves began after local photographer and videographer Terrence Jerod Williams filmed Hargraves on Nov. 2 with a piece of black tape covering his name badge, a violation of a California penal code. The code requires officers to display their identities, and a violation can result in a misdemeanor charge.

Williams said he initially decided to film the Port protest, but zeroed in on Hargraves when he noticed the officer was hiding the nameplate on his uniform.

“That is kind of weird that you are actually not showing your name,” Williams is heard on the video saying to Hargraves, who appears to ignore him. “Why is that? Simple question.”

Receiving no response, Williams turns and approaches Wong, who is standing near other officers.

“Is it against policy for officers to hide their name badges?” Williams asks the former lieutenant repeatedly. “Shouldn’t it be in plain view? It’s taped up. Isn’t it wrong for him to do that? Isn’t it against policy?”

In response to Williams’ questions, Wong walks over to Hargraves and speaks with him for several seconds before removing the tape from his badge.

After Williams posted the one-minute clip on Vimeo and YouTube, it spread quickly. When he called Internal Affairs two days later, Williams said he was surprised to learn that the department knew about the video.

Also aware of the video were local attorneys John Burris and Jim Chaninwho petitioned a federal judge on Nov. 14 to impose sanctions against Hargraves and Wong for allegedly violating a 2003 negotiated settlement agreement that requires the OPD to follow specific rules related to the reporting and investigation of misconduct. The agreement was instituted after several OPD officers, nicknamed “The Riders,” were accused of planting drug evidence on suspects in East Oakland. In October, Oakland hired Frazier to oversee the implementation of the court-ordered reforms.

According to the attorneys’ court filing, Wong made note of the officer’s wrongdoing in iPass, the department’s personnel management system, but he violated the reform agreement when he did not notify the officer’s direct supervisor, the Internal Affairs division, and did not inform the videographer that he could file an official complaint.

The fact that Wong apparently “failed to carry out his mandatory duty to report this outrageous conduct, is indicative of the kind of lawless attitude among certain members of the City of Oakland Police Department which gave rise to this litigation eleven years ago,” wrote the attorneys, who originally sued the city and department for the reforms.

“Officer Hargraves’ blatant concealment of his identity during the ‘Occupy Oakland’ demonstration clearly has no innocent explanation,” they wrote. “Instead, it was purposeful conduct intended to prevent him from being identified as a subject officer in the event he engaged in other acts of misconduct while he was on duty at this event and/or to prevent him from being identified as a witness to acts of misconduct by other officers.”

During a hearing Monday about the proposed sanctions, the attorneys argued that the officers’ actions were representative of a pattern of problems at the department, while the city argued that Hargraves hid his nameplate in order to protect himself and his family from being identified and harassed by protesters.

Neither officer responded to emails seeking comment.

While U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson has not yet decided on sanctions, the case could have major ramifications for the department, which faces another hearing on the settlement agreement Jan. 26. Henderson has threatened a federal takeover if the department continues to show slow progress.

Williams said he was pleased his video had made a difference, but he said the department was too hard on Wong.

“I think they should have just fired Hargraves, because he put Lt. Wong in a situation,” Williams said. The lieutenant “had no clue” Hargraves had put the tape over his badge, he said.

Source: The Bay Citizen (

Our good friends at Oakland Local posted this story on their website the other day.  We are reposting it in hopes that you read and make a little donation.  Oakland Local has been a great source of information since 2009.

Oakland Local is a labor of love and determination.

We started Oakland Local in 2009 because we love this city and believe Oakland deserves high quality reporting and thoughtful discussion. We’re committed to work that helps each of us make better decisions and make our city a better place.

We wanted to create a news and community site that offered sustained, in-depth attention to issues that matter and that published diverse voices.

We were right. You, and thousands of readers like you, have embraced OL’s approach.

But sustaining a labor of love costs money.

As we invest our best efforts in Oakland Local, please join us by investing your donationin this important work. Thanks for being part of our community and working with us to build a better, more equitable Oakland.

Why we need your donations

Oakland Local is a nonprofit organization without large donors or endowments. Our operating budget comes from several sources, including journalism grants, fees for training, advertising and sponsorships. However, for Oakland Local to be be sustainable in the next year, we also need support from generous people like you.

We work hard to avoid waste and keep overhead low. Your donation to Oakland Local is an investment in a diverse, highly-efficient organization that is invested in Oakland.

Please consider making a donation of $5, $20, $50 or whatever you can to support and sustain Oakland Local.

If you want more authentic stories for, by and about Oakland residents, neighborhoods and issues, support us.

Even $5 or $10 will make a real difference.