“Am I stutterin’, son?” the green-eyed pleasant-looking man with the perfect teeth said to the tall newcomer standing by his table. Around them the din of the eatery seemed to recede. “There’s no DeMarkus around here.” Like his displeasure, Teaflake made no effort to hide the butt of the Glock sticking out of his waistband.
The young woman sitting with Teaflake smiled understandingly, like she was ushering a patient in for a tooth extraction, Joseph “Little Joe” Dixon reflected.
“Didn’t mean nothing,” he said. “Heard you two was boys is all.” He wasn’t about to back down but wasn’t looking to escalate matters either.
“Who are you?” Teaflake said, his voice low, his enunciation clear and concise, a sharp contrast to the way the usual street hoodlum swallowed vowels and ignored tenses.
Little Joe said, “I’m the new fitness director at Water Stones.” The multi-purpose center was Waterston but everybody called it by its mangled nickname.
OAKLAND – The growing nationwide movement by cities and counties to raise the minimum wage is currently centered here in the Bay Area, and its success couldn’t be more urgent for workers like John Jones III.
Jones, 40, is a licensed aircraft mechanic but works as a Burger King security guard in downtown Oakland, making $10 an hour — $1 more than California’s minimum wage. His life is a series of financial challenges and daily indignities as he struggles to support his wife D’Nita, his 12-year-old son Kai and his newborn boy, Josiah.
To take a shower in his apartment, Jones has to use pliers to turn on the water because the knobs are broken. He can’t complain to his landlord because he’s behind on the rent. When his family runs out of toilet paper, Jones cuts paper towels into quarters to save a few bucks. He covers the windows in his bedroom with blankets because he can’t afford curtains.
“You don’t know what the hell you sayin’,” the red-eyed man blurted. He came off his barstool too fast, knocking it over as he did so. Drunk, he teetered over to Hank Dixon, who’d turned on his stool toward him but remained sitting.
“Best slow your roll, Al,” the one-handed bartender Pierre Gaston said languidly. He took hold of an empty glass between the pincers of his prosthesis. Behind him and above the bottles on a flat screen TV, played a near mute newscast about a truckers’ job action at the port.
“Oh, I’m’a slow somethin’,” Al Griffiths sneered, ignoring the advice. He stood close to the stockier Dixon; Griffiths’ beer and vodka chasers a heavy aroma in the other man’s nose. “You didn’t go around with Juanita. She wouldn’t have had anything to do with you, toilet seat fixer.”
Dixon squinted at his accuser as he sipped on his beer.
The latest sign that the nation’s 14-year romance with the for-profit cyber charter industry might be cooling came last week when the Board of Trustees for Pennsylvania’s scandal-plagued Agora Cyber Charter School discussed completely severing its relationship with K12 Inc., the nation’s largest for-profit cyber charter management and curriculum supplier.
The action came nearly three weeks after an August 5 vote by Agora’s board to not renew its management contract with the online learning giant beginning with the 2015-16 school year.
Agora had been the jewel of K12’s 29-state network of virtual charters, accounting for 14 percent of the company’s annual revenues of $848.2 million. So when news of the August 5 decision came to light during an August 14 K12 Fourth Quarter investor conference call, it sent K12’s high-performing stock into a nearly 13-point tailspin. The call-in’s moment of revelation can be heard here: