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The Story of The Coal Lawsuit:

 

1. Phil Tagami and his company CCIG, have filed suit in federal court against the city of Oakland, to overturn the ban the city passed last year on the storage and handling of coal in the city.

2.The city council voted unanimously last year to ban coal, after extensive testimony from health, science, labor, environmental justice, and youth groups. The city took this stand because of the health and safety impacts of coal on city residents, especially in areas already suffering disproportionately from pollution. The overwhelming majority of Oakland residents polled agreed that they opposed construction of a coal terminal in the city. The cities legal advisors found that the city had a legal right to ban coal on health and safety grounds.

3.The proposed terminal is massive: mile long coal-trains would arrive in Oakland daily. This would result in:
-risk of toxic spills and explosions
-the likelihood of dust and runoff contaminating already overly-impacted communities in West Oakland and workers at the port.
-huge climate impacts, including a dectable rise in global temperatures as a result of this coal in particular.
4. The city ruled to protect its residents, but now, Tagami and CCIG are attempting to overrule democracy for short term profit. This lawsuit is in federal court and could go all the way to the Supreme Court. There, given the national political climate, it could set a dangerous legal precedent that no local jurisdiction has the right to make any rules protecting their residents from toxins. This is a local battle with national and global implications.

5. Phil Tagami has in the past spoken out about the dangers of climate change for his children. He and his wife say they are progressive. Mr. Tagami owns a yoga studio, Ume Yoga, in downtown Oakland and is a practicing yogi. We are calling on him to take a stand of moral leadership, and stand for his kids, future, and all living things by dropping the lawsuit and finding another use for the terminal

6. Phil Tagami seems to take pride in Oakland and has been a prominent member of this community. He has contributed frequently to many charitable efforts and is a leader within the community. He is a business associate and friend of Gov. Jerry Brown. We are asking him to be a true leader and lover of our community and drop his suit that would over ride democracy and force our city to waste millions in legal defense that could be better spent on other things.

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An Open Letter to Phil Tagami from East Bay Yogis and Yoginis

An Open Letter to Phil Tagami from East Bay Yogis and Yoginis

Dear Mr. Tagami,

We are yogis and yoginis who live and practice in Oakland and the East Bay. We write to you as a fellow yogi, an owner of Ume Yoga, a parent and a fellow human being.

We urge you to drop your lawsuit against the City of Oakland, which seeks to overturn a unanimous City Council decision to ban the storage and handling of coal in Oakland. The people of Oakland, and our elected representatives, have made it clear that we do not want a coal terminal in our beloved city.

One of the key values provided to us, as part of our yogic path, is that of “ahimsa,” or the non-harming of other living beings. It has been well documented that the coal terminal would have long-term negative health and environmental impacts on Oakland residents, especially those living in West Oakland, a neighborhood where lower-income families of color already suffer disproportionately from pollution.

Mr. Tagami, please ask yourself: Can you both practice ahimsa and be responsible for asthma and other illnesses impacting children in West Oakland from leaked coal dust, for a detectable rise in global temperatures from this coal in particular, for possible toxic spills or explosions, as well as the financial impact this case will have on the City of Oakland?

Your lawsuit could have national implications for local authority over public health, safety, and environmental hazards. Given the current political climate, you may unwittingly hand Donald Trump’s administration a precedent-setting victory over local communities’ rights to implement our own laws and policies, based on our values. This would seem an odd position for you to take, given your role as the Governor’s Delegate to the California Democratic Party, and a major supporter of Democratic Party candidates.

On its website, you describe Ume Yoga as a “calm place in a world gone mad.” We urge you to consider that your actions are causing madness in Oakland. The inordinate amount of money and time the City of Oakland will spend to defend our residents against your lawsuit could be better spent on positive benefits to our community, such as well-funded schools, clean parks and playgrounds, and services for youth, the elderly, refugees and immigrants. We urge you to drop this lawsuit and help make Oakland a calm place for everyone, not just for those fortunate enough to practice at Ume Yoga.

As fellow yogis and yoginis, we implore you to look into your heart and think about your own children and all of Oakland’s children. What future do you want for them? What is your role in helping to create that future for ALL children? Please practice your values as a yogi, both on and off your mat, and drop this lawsuit.

Namaste.