Let’s Level Playing Field for Everyone

Let’s Level Playing Field for Everyone


Standing at the end of this unnerving election cycle, let’s make a commitment to healing the divide that plagues our community. But before we do, we have to ask; what exactly is it that divides us?

During the primary season Senator Bernie Sanders called out the 1 percent for squeezing the 99 percent so severely it was causing the middle class to disappear and the very fabric of democracy itself to unravel. “Enough is enough” he said. When political and economic leadership remains unresponsive to the people the only desperately democratic action left is grassroots organizing against the rigged system and advocating for yourself and family.

Alameda is a microcosm of the divisiveness found at the national level. The root of the problem is a social and economic playing field tilted in favor of those who “have.” In Alameda the M1-L1 struggle brought to light this “1 percent mentality and power structure” in the form of unscrupulous landlords, property owners, Realtors and investors. This is the source of our divisiveness. Enough is enough.

Alamedans need what the nation needs: safe, secure, affordable housing and health care, education without going in to debt for a lifetime, the kept promise of clean air, safe water, and food; healing of the racism and classism rampant in our culture and deeply embedded in our social and economic systems.

In sum, we want social, economic, racial and environmental justice. What prevents the realization of justice — the creation of an even playing field — is something we all suffer from: fear that what we have will be taken away, or that what we need will not be provided

I call on our City Council to lead Alameda’s healing project. At a time when so many suffer a severe crisis in confidence in our political institutions, Alamedans need a commitment from our City Council that it will serve as the gatekeeper and guardian against the injustices that divide us. We need our representatives to lay the foundation of and secure this even playing field.

We have an opportunity to identify the problem for what it is, own it and then move forward as a community to healing. I like the idea of a series of old fashioned town halls hosted and guided by a neutral peace keeper/mediator; someone outside our community who can objectively help to leverage us out of the social and emotional logjam in which we find ourselves.

If we’re going to stop the local deadly squeeze on the middle class, if we’re going to deal with income inequality, with the disdain and fear inherent in classism and racism, we have to first admit the problem.

We stand at the turning point, a crossroads. We can choose the same divisive path, or collectively we can say we’re going to do this differently. Maybe, just maybe, we can be of service to other communities racked with the same fevered illness evident throughout our nation. As Sanders reminded us, if we stand together there is nothing, absolutely nothing, we cannot accomplish.