A National Fund For Restaurants And Bars That Faced Pandemic-Related Damage Is Needed, Now, Now that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are President-Elect and Vice President-Elect, we can focus on programs to get America’s economy back on its feet. The Payroll Protection Program was a good start, and while it helped, it missed the mark in many ways. What is missing are economic development programs specific to The Pandemic. Take what thousands of restaurants and bars have faced. It’s not just the economic loss caused by closing doors, but other losses associated with being closed. In Oakland, one famous bar faced a water pipe break that would not have occurred if the establishment were open. The result: a $10,000 water bill. In another case, Radio Bar in Downtown Oakland was harmed by $25,000 worth of damage caused by looting. Their business insurance will not cover it. A GoFundMe campaign only raised just over $12,000. Radio Bar Oakland Needs Help To Re-Open Radio Oakland Bar Looting Damage These stories are not just in Oakland, or the San Francisco Bay Area, but all over America. What was done to so many businesses of this type was damage so great that they could not be helped by the Payroll Protection Program, because there was no active place to go and work in. It would not matter if a plan to reduce or eliminate Coronavirus spread was installed, because kitchens and refrigerators and light fixtures were destroyed. The Trump Administration completely ignored these problems. Take this account from ABC News: At the same time, many businesses, particularly those owned by minorities and women, have experienced great challenges when applying for loans. Although, under the CARES Act, money was set aside for them, a new report by the SBA’s inspector general determined that these businesses “may not have received the loans as intended,” because there was “no evidence” that the SBA had issued guidance to lenders about prioritizing minority borrowers. Hence, many were shut out given the overwhelming demand for the loans and the limits set by banks. Raphael Kim, owner of Gomi, a Korean wine bar in New York City, is disheartened, and told ABC News, “I really don’t know what the future of my business is.” During the shutdown, he said, “We have been doing 10% to 20% of what we normally would do. It’s just really, really even difficult to survive.” Between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Monday, the entire facade of his store was destroyed, and money was stolen from the cash register. Also in the early hours of Monday morning, Anna Barounis, a Greek immigrant, and the longtime owner of Giorgiana’s, a small neighborhood market and deli in Boston’s South End, saw on social media that her store was ransacked. Throughout the pandemic, she worked alone, because her employees were fearful of getting sick. According to Barounis, approximately 50 teenagers, carrying baseball bats and sledgehammers, looted and damaged the property. She has been told by investigators that they were likely from out of state. The Broadstrokes Of A New Program Specifically Targeted At Bars And Restaurants And Why It’s Needed Now The Pandemic and the many developments that have conspired to harm bars and restaurants are such that the very soul of what we call “The Informal Economy” has been impacted. In this case, examples of “employment” in the informal economy often occur at independent bars and restaurants: A man in need of extra money to pay monthly rent may take a job at the local tavern as an identification checker on the weekends. A college-student who needs money to pay for her books and food might take a job as a busser or a barback. A musician earns money from playing at bars and restaurants for tips between larger gigs. All of those, and many more, examples of work in the informal economy have been taken away because of our response to The Pandemic and the afforementioned actions that have caused many businesses to close. Again, The Trump Administration has not specifically addressed this; doing so will go a long way toward American Economic Recovery. While the Pandemic makes standard operation almost impossible without making more Americans sick, we should build an infrastructure of help that creates a new form of businesses governance that’s sensitive to this situation. The program needed to do this, would do the following: 1) Provide a fund specifically for bars and restaurants that need repairs that consists of per-establishment grants of up to $50,000 per business. 2) A City-focused technical assistance program that builds websites for bars and restaurants that don’t have them, and an e-commerce ordering provision for each one. Then, those websites would be connected with delivery services. In turn, delivery service’s would face a national cap on service fees, a direct response to the wild west situation of too-high costs that exists today. 3) Provide a separate fund to pay for the delivery and installation of air scrubbing and HEPA Filters. This is specifically designed for use in eateries but is very expensive for many bar and restaurant owners to obtain right now. A government program to purchase and install them will, in turn, launch a new industry with multiple makers of those devices, causing per-unit-cost to fall, dramatically. (That’s not to replace the use of masks and hand sanitizers, but to add an extra system that cleans the air in the eatery.) I welcome restaurant and bar owners to contact me with feedback on this idea, and to add their own needs to form a program that can work. Right now, I estimate the cost of such an effort will break down this way: 1) $50,000 in damage-cleanup grants for each establishment, up to 1 million businesses nationwide, totaling $50 billion 2) Online-based e-commerce assistance of $5,000 per establishment, again up to 1 million businesses nationwide, totaling $5 billion, and then adding a 30 percent administration cost, which comes to $6 billion. 3) Purchase and installation of restaurant level air purification wall units that use UV light, may cost as much as $2,000 per establishment for businesses seating over 50 people. Times 1 million businesses nationwide businesses and factoring in administration costs, that would come to $2.6 billion. So, overall, we’re looking at a program that costs almost $58.6 billion. But, considering that one F-22 Raptor costs $339 million, and that program cost $62 billion, $58.6 billion to restore the nations bars and restaurants and save lives until we find a cure for the Coronavirus is not a bad expenditure. Note, this does not cover labor costs, that’s for another program; this is designed to restart the infrastructure of eateries and taverns in America, and rebuild the very structure of a significant part of America’s economy. Stay tuned.
City Of Oakland, Youth Speaks Inc. Offer Digital Workshops For Oaklands Cultural Community, Oakland – The City of Oakland received $36.9 million in State of California CARES Act funding. Through the Oakland CARES Arts Technical Assistance Fund, $193,000 has been allocated to provide technical assistance to help Oakland-based arts organizations and artists develop a robust online digital presence. From November 9 to December 10, Youth Speaks, in partnership with YR Media and Zoo Labs, two Oakland artists-centered organizations, will offer 14 free, virtual workshops to train participants on available tools for programming and production; producing content utilizing low-cost tools and technology; the aesthetic associated with virtual presentations; social media and marketing strategies; and strategies on how to monetize one’s presence. For details on the workshop offerings and registration, please visit lifeisliving.org “The County’s Shelter-in-place Orders to keep Oaklanders safer have prevented many artists, performers and arts organizations from enriching our community through performances and exhibitions,” said “These workshops will help our cultural practitioners make the leap to online performances to share their artistic expression and generate much needed income.” “With our desire to navigate and cross several artistic fields (theatre, poetry, production, music, and beyond), we felt it was important to sculpt bold and precise experiments to help our organizations and partners to navigate this moment in time,” said Joan Osato, Producing Director at Youth Speaks. “We’re thrilled to be able to pass on what we’ve learned to our beloved community through this project.” Youth Speaks & Life Is living Cohort Workshops Session 1: Monday, November 9, 4-5:30 p.m. Grounding Rituals – Facilitated by Hodari B. Davis, and Joan Osato (Life is Living Cohort) Coaching Session that aligns and codifies shared understanding, language and connection to mission, strategy and content. Identifying your audiences and engagement strategy. Session 2: Monday, November 9, 6-7:30 p.m. Seeds – Transferring skill sets to virtual engagement and production. How to utilize, train up your existing staff and artists for virtual programming; a 101 tutorial on pre-production, production and post-production, as well as how to budget for it. Training on online tools and platforms including pros and cons of each system, costs and skill sets that are transferable to online programming and production. Session 3: Wednesday, November 11, 4-5:30 p.m. Zoomlife – 101 Tutorial on everyday use/user friendly platforms. Zoom world practical applications, tricks and tips. Tech Guide in safety, connectivity, equipment. Producing content and media assets utilizing low-cost tools and technology. Britt White, Life is Living’s Production Manager takes you through the backstage into organizing and running your show. Tech guides included. Session 4: Wednesday, November 11, 6-7:30 p.m. Advanced Tutorial on everyday use/user friendly platforms. Bringing the aesthetics of your organization, artists and engagement priorities into the design of your program. Defining aesthetics, goals, participants and barriers and how to address them. Setting your stage, capture process in the time of COVID-19. Editing, and Rehearsal and Tech. This training involves aesthetics, and innovative practice in virtual presentations and programming. Includes examples of presentations, process and technology by which they were achieved. Session 5: Monday, November 16, 4-5:30pm Open Broadcasting Software (OBS) & Wirecast Introduction and tutorials. In this session we’ll introduce you to advanced programs that help you capture, produce and stream your content for broadcast. Maximiliano Urruzmendi, Life is Living’s Technical Director takes you through the basics of how the programs work. Handouts Included. Session 6: Monday, November 16, 6-7:30pm Principles of Streaming, Wirecast, YouTube, Twitch platforms continued. Now that you have the basic outline of how the platforms work and are in communication with each other, it’s time to plot out your workflow and take it into broadcast. Maximiliano takes you through various streaming services and platforms and the pros and cons of each. Handouts included. Session 7: Wednesday, November 18, 1-3 p.m. Merchandising, Monetizing and Creating Earned Revenue Streams – Yavette Holts, founder of BAOBOB (Bay Area Organization of Black Owned Business, Life is Living Cohort) – high level overview of ecommerce platforms in order to support business owners and nonprofits who need help optimizing their online store(s) . We’ll take the participants through the platform WooCommerce. Session 8: Wednesday, November 18, 6-7:30 p.m. Pivoting your Organization and Practice (now what?) – We’ll facilitate a conversation about strategies and frameworks for a sustainable future for organizations and artists and guide and support participants in visioning next steps. Breakout Sessions and Consulting on Scenarios will look at Social media and marketing strategies that apply to virtual programming, including Branding, Analytics and their use in fundraising and strategies for monetizing your platforms. Social Media Toolkit included. YR Media Workshops Tuesday, December 1 to Thursday, December 3, 6-7:30 p.m. Social Circles: Building an Audience in Apocalypse (three-part series) Now that your fans can’t experience you in a live venue, what do you do to retain and build an audience? How can artists create a personal brand? In this three-part conversation, YR Media’s social team and youth social contributors will show you how to start, and then nurture, an authentic social presence, with recommendations of which platform(s) to target depending on your demographic. Zoo Labs Workshops (Recommended for Artists/Collectives working in music) Session 1: Tuesday, December 8, 5-7 p.m. Your Story Brand – Attendees will learn how to digitally tell a story that can sell and market their brand to their customers. Presented by Mashama Thompson of 510 Media. Session 2: Wednesday, December 9, 5-7 p.m. The Digital Roll Out Strategy – Attendees will learn how to strategically engage fans and create buzz around music, videos or other online content. Presented by Lance Coleman, Fuze the MC. Session 3; Thursday, December 10, 5-7 p.m. How to Get Paid and Follow the Trends – Attendees will learn how to collect money through their digital royalties and understand their data to know what is working in order to make future strategies. Presented by United Masters. The workshops are for Oakland residents and reservations are required. Participation in the program is on a first come, first served basis. This is the latest CARES Act-funded program launched by the City of Oakland. Previously, grant programs for small businesses, individual artists and arts nonprofits, home-based businesses, community-serving nonprofits, and low-income renters and homeowners were announced. Additionally, free legal advice webinars and consultations on lease negotiations are being supported by CARES Act funds. Learn more about the City of Oakland’s $36.9 million in CARES Act Funding at: oaklandca.gov/CaresAct About Youth Speaks Through the intersection of arts education and youth development practices, civic engagement strategies, and high-quality artistic presentation, Youth Speaks creates safe spaces that challenge young people to find, develop, publicly present, and apply their voices as creators of societal change. They are the producers of Life is Living is an eco-equity, interdisciplinary festival that centers historically underserved neighborhoods and communities with programming in public spaces that have been otherwise neglected. For the last 13 years, the Life is Living Festival has taken place at De Fremery Park in West Oakland About YR Media YR Media is a national network of young journalists and artists who collaborate with peers around the country and top media professionals to create content that matters. It is non-profit production company that builds critical skills in journalism, arts and media. About Zoo Labs Zoo Labs a not-for-profit accelerator that bridges art, entrepreneurship, and capital to conduct 3 high level workshops for musicians specifically around branding, music production and entrepreneurship. Post based on press release from The City of Oakland to Zennie62Media.