This sad tale started because I dare criticize District 6 Oakland City Councilmember Loren’s constant promotion of the San Francisco Chronicle, and his insistence on pushing his legislative agenda when Oakland businesses need the City of Oakland to implement AB-464, which allows Oakland and California cities to raise billions to provide assistance to business. You would think the City of Oakland would be all over that legislation before it passed, right? No.
Yet, Oakland claims its helping people. Right. Oakland’s elected officials do not at all do anything to reshape the market to help those least fortunate. We did with Redevelopment and Tax Increment Financing in the 20th Century, but not today.
I long suspected Councilmember Taylor was not interested in black tech, and moreover a black media personality who owns his own tech startup and who can be critical of the Oakland government and politicians. Rather than have to deal with currying favor with me, Loren would rather turn to white media for fake-objective takes that make him look good.
What he texted to me shows that. He wrote this to me out of the blue:
Hi Zennie.. I saw your post on Instagram and instead of replying on social media, I am sending you a direct message. – Your false accusation of “giving stories” to different media representatives is very disappointing. This isn’t about race, but instead about which journalists put in the work to identify, investigate, and publish a story. While it is my right to do so, I did not reach out to any journalist about my most recent legislation. I merely published the legislation and agenda memo into the legislative packet (public record) and made comments during the council meeting (also public record).
I am grateful for any media (Black, White, or other color) who helps amplify the work I am doing, especially when it doesn’t require me to do the work for them.
I wrote this back:
Loren. Your message is insulting and nasty. You revealed yourself as not a good person.
Think about it. You use social media constantly to promote the San Francisco Chronicle. In other words YOU DO THE WORK TO PROMOTE THEM. They paying you?
Your promotion of that publication is so frequent that any logically thinking person would surmise you feed story ideas to it.
You also do the work to promote yourself on social media. Not black social media. Not my platform but Facebook and Instagram. The platforms created by white people. Forget Zennie62Media blogs. My firm’s Oakland News Now or Oakland News Online. Forget Morgan De Baun and Blavity.
You got a real issue with blacks in media tech. That much is clear. Clue in Pal: there aren’t a lot of us. The playing field is not equal as much as you try and portray otherwise in your text. Indeed its sad you even think that way.
But when it comes to me producing work to help you, my publication NEVER RECEIVED the same treatment as you gave and give the San Francisco Chronicle. Not once. And you call me lazy. Seriously. You just did that.
Then you use the term journalist as if you understand media and yet to a person, who is black, ME, who is not only the writer of text but the creator of the website design and the coder of the pages, and the manager of his own dedicated server, and the negotiator of sponsorship deals, the manager of vloggers and bloggers, the CEO of Zennie62Media, a real live tech startup Delaware c-corp of which I own 68 percent and my dear Mom owns 10 percent. ME. As if you know media better than I do. LOL.
And I made a company to allow me to work and help my 86-year-old mother, whom your text completely forgot about. Meanwhile I have three jobs: Mom, Company, and me. Do you show any respect for that? No. None. Wow.
Oakland Post? Hell, Paul Cobb hired me in 2016 to improve his site’s search engine optimization. I did by 300 percent. I also got the yen to start my own new tech oriented blog to upend institutionally racist Oakland! That was Oakland News Now.
And I am the first to make an Oakland blog in 2004, the first YouTube Partner Channel in 2006, and the creator of the most stand-alone news websites about Oakland in Oakland’s history.
As a blogger at SF Chronicle’s SFGATE.com, I generated MORE TRAFFIC than any other person or section of the ENTIRE website in 2010. 26 million page views. Doubt it? Typical. Ask Phil Bronstein the famed Executive Editor of SF Chronicle because he told me personally. He also recommended SFGATE hire me as a consultant. The editors never did and hired a person to run it that the hiring editor (not Bronstein) told me (first thing out of his mouth) was ” really attractive ” when I asked why she was selected to run SFGATE.com.
I also install and code my own web security, Pal. My Oakland News Now blog has been attacked as much as 1.45 million times in 45 days leading up to last year’s election. Never worked once.
And the San Francisco Chronicle HIRED a hacker to take down Oakland News Now in 2018. Why? Because it went after my client Maria Ayerdi Kaplan. She hired my firm to counter the SF Chronicle which was telling bad and false stories about her. There should be a statue of her up at Salesforce Transit Center today.
Journalism. HA. You say that in a sad attempt to attach yourself to a white institution.
Aa I suspected you are one of “us” who can’t stand when another of us dares to establish his own organization and remake a practice- in this case, media. In this case me. You just want to be a crab barrel and pull folks like me down. That’s typically Oakland, Loren.
Its no wonder you can’t accept my 33 years of economic development experience in the case of Howard Terminal. And hey brother, I got my masters degree at the best planning school in the world, Cal Berkeley.
You think you can pull me down into your crab barrel?
Well that’s not happening.
The kind of media you prize, white big media , is uneconomical and unsustainable. It take a ton of money to produce and then few read it.
My media has low overhead and high revenue returns. I even tried to get you involved in it but from what I now see as your racist treatment of me as some interloper , stopped you from seeing the value in what TECH I BUILT! Then you proceeded to mishandle it. Now I perceive your actions as deliberate.
Remember this: The Legendary Oakland Post Founder and Publisher Tom Berkeley was right when he told me that black folks are fighting a war on two fronts: information and law. He said that as he was showing me his law library and his printing press in 1997.
Now, its also clear that we are fighting a war against those of us who don’t want us to have the ability to fight that war.
Not a good person. You’re not a good person Loren.
In all my years no elected official has ever written anything to me so nasty.
But I am glad you did. Thanks for revealing your true self. Thanks for showing me the true City of Oakland. Once again. Just this time from a black Oakland Councilmember.
It’s a sad day, but for me an uplifting one. I know who’s against me and the very very few black folks in the world who establish their own media companies. Sadly, it’s other black folks, like Councilmember Taylor. A democrat.
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