Oakland Bay Bridge | Photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash
Part XXXVIII of the “Back-to-Basics Governance” Series
This columnist reckons that not many Oakland residents know their city’s history. Perhaps folks that are serious history students know by heart that there was a cofounder of Oakland named Moses. Yes, Moses Chase and his associates organized a settlement that became one of two towns that merged into a more extensive municipality that was baptized “Oakland.”
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the applicable historical narrative tells the story of how two towns merged and eventually became the City of Oakland. The area was first inhabited by Costanoan Indians when Spanish explorers explored it in the late 18th century. In 1820 a Spanish land grant known as Rancho San Antonio was established there. Logging began in the area in the 1840s, and during the California Gold Rush in 1849, it became a transit center for goods and passengers. In 1849–1850, Moses Chase, a settler, and some associates leased and then purchased farmland and laid out the town of Clinton, later named Brooklyn.
In 1851 Horace W. Carpentier started a trans-bay ferry service to San Francisco and acquired a town site in 1852 to the west of Brooklyn. They named the town “Oakland” for the oak trees on the grassy plain. Carpentier and his associates extended the area and incorporated it as a town in 1854. Oakland and Brooklyn — separated by a slough that had been bridged in 1853 — were merged into one town in 1872.
Moses Chase, Horace W. Carpentier, and their kin presumably started their own version of an Exodus. Yes, the resettlement of their in-laws, friends, and their friends’ friends to their version of a “Promised (Oak)Land” on the West Coast.
Californians of Filipino descent (including this columnist) think the next Moses of Oakland was Edmund Gerald Brown, Jr., popularly called Jerry. Yes, the modern Moses of Oakland was Jerry Brown, the only 4-term governor of California from 1975-to-1983 and 2011-to-2019. He became the city mayor of Oakland from 1999-to-2007. He ran and was elected next the State Attorney General from 2007-to-2011.
The “love affair” between the Brown Family and Filipino-American voters started with Jerry Brown’s father, Pat, who served as California’s governor from 1959 to 1967. The Browns’ Fil-Am supporters organized the “Browns for Brown.” The moniker “Brown Brothers” or “Brown Americans” (meaning “Filipino Brothers”) was coined by many of the 6,000 Buffalo soldiers that the U.S. Army sent to the Philippine Islands (P.I.) during-and-after the 1898 Spanish-American War.
On March 19, 2021, this columnist wrote the article America’s Fascination With Filipino Brides at this link. It said: “Probably the earliest accounts of mass weddings between American grooms and Filipino brides came with the more than 6,000 Buffalo soldiers that the U.S. Army sent to the Philippines after the so-called Christian version of the Filipino-American War erupted on February 4, 1899. The American troops’ adversaries were the First Philippine Republic soldiers, inaugurated on June 12, 1898, when Filipinos declared political independence from Spain.
“After 20 Buffalo soldiers defected to the Filipino Army and died fighting for Philippine independence, peace was declared on July 4, 1902. After that, the U.S. Army began sending the Black-American soldiers back to the Continental United States (CONUS). But more than 1,200 chose to remain in the P.I. as they married Filipino brides.
On May 14, 2007, this journalist wrote in the mabuhayradio.com how Filipinos were called Brown Brothers by the Buffalo soldiers and then by Civil Governor William Howard Taft.
Perhaps the people of Oakland (and of the County of Alameda, too) should ask former Oakland City Mayor and Governor Brown, who Filipino Americans call their “Number-One Brown Brother” (pun intended), to end his retirement. And serve as the “Moses of Oakland” and lead them to their version of “The Promised Land.”
Jerry Brown, who is 85, is only five years older than when Yahweh chose Moses to lead his people out of Egypt and begin their Exodus to the Jewish Promised Land. This columnist cited the example of Moses in penning an article that says, “Life Begins Now at 80” at this link.
The Honorable Jerry Brown can indeed be the modern-day Moses of Oakland and its neighboring cities in Alameda County. And complete in less than a decade the voyage that took the original Moses and the Israelis 40 years to accomplish. This columnist is sure that many younger men and women of Oakland and Alameda County will gladly serve as the Joshua (or “Joshuanita”) of the “Jerry Brown (of a) Moses.”
The voyage to the “Promised Oak(Land)” can begin with saving a 155-year-old educational institution, the Holy Names University — as explained in the first two articles of this mini-series. Among other back-to-basics projects that the “Jerry Brown (of a) Moses” can lead is the building of a state-of-the-art Medical Center. It can be patterned after the first Overseas-American Medical Center built in the City of Manila in the early 1900s. More details of this cooperative-owned MedCenter will be explained in this Sunday’s column episode — as a centerpiece and ultimate prestige project of an “Oakland SCENE City.”