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New twist in Lake Merritt BBQ controversy

OAKLAND — A man who had the police called on him for barbecuing at Lake Merritt could soon be on the city commission that helps oversee rules at the lake.
Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan is nominating Kenzie Smith to join the parks and recreation advisory commission, weeks after the controversial “BBQ While Black” episode.
Smith, an Oakland native, was among a group barbecuing April 29 near Lakeshore Avenue and Cleveland Cascade when a white woman called the police. In a video taken then, the woman said she called Oakland police because the people were barbecuing with charcoal in an area where that wasn’t allowed.
Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan has nominated Kenzie Smith for the city’s parks and recreation advisory commission. 
The daytime confrontation drew widespread support for the group barbecuing and sparked protests by residents who said the police call was racially motivated. Hundreds of people showed up Sunday for a “BBQ’N While Black” event at Lake Merritt.
“Recent incidents in our parks have reinforced the importance of undertaking review of our regulations, to ensure that our public facilities have clear and responsible rules that are effectively communicated and which allow for the respectful use of our parks by everyone in the community,” Kaplan said.
Kaplan said Smith, who is the founder of DOPE ERA Magazine, has a track record of public service and philanthropy.
“I believe that appointing Mr. Kenzie Smith to the PRAC will help ensure that the needs of all Oaklanders are included in these discussions, and will help advance these important efforts,” she added.
The City Council needs to approve the nomination.

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