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Re: “Operator of 'Ghost Ship' Lived Inside Site of Oakland Warehouse Fire with Wife, Children, Was on Probation

It is sad to see such scurrilous and needlessly caustic responses to this article which was to all intents and purposes a non-starter. So he is on probation. How does that pertain to this tragedy? So he is staying in a Hotel. His house just burned down, he has to stay somewhere with his family. I don't know him and I do think he has some responsibility for this very unfortunate situation. At the same time he is a victim too and deserves to be given some space at this point for that reason alone. Beyond this, the fact that local politicians are using this as grist for the mill in their attempts to position themselves for future advancement represents the worst kind of opportunism. The Bay area is a very difficult place for artists and musicians these days. If it wasn't for their creative abilities and their application thereof to the problem of housing and so on we would see their exodus. Their contribution (generally poorly compensated) constitutes one of the primary reasons that the Bay area has the elevated and progressive culture that we all enjoy as residents. The inevitable over-reaction to this tragedy from a crackdown standpoint is unfortunate and represents a loss of macro perspective overall. Warehouses are the traditional home of counter-culture in the East Bay. I have been to hundreds of events in similar spaces. There must a hundred events like this going on every weekend in Oakland alone. Scale this across the Country and the probability that a tragedy like this is going to unfold is inevitable. It is a numbers game. I lost a couple of friends in this fire for the record. I see the need for a practical approach to implementing safety measures in such instances. It is important to recognizing that people are living in warehouses, legal or not. If this is the case let's make the owners of such spaces responsible for at least the minimal improvements necessary to make a big difference. Things like sprinklers and fire escapes do not constitute a massive expense. But a hardcore crackdown on semi-residential warehouses across the board would be an additional blow to the artistic community which is already reeling from the loss at hand.

Posted by John Middle on 12/07/2016 at 9:27 PM

Re: “If Oakland Cracks Down On Underground Warehouses, It Will Snuff Out The City’s DIY Soul

Michael Good: You have a right to your opinions, and I have a right to assert that I (and I suspect many others) find your opinions to be quite conservative, your vote for Clinton (not exactly a progressive though admittedly better than a neo-fascist) notwithstanding. By pointing this out, I am noting that you (and many of the reactionaries commenting on this issue) and your views should be considered as part of a philosophical agenda that is at odds with the city's long progressive and radical tradition, and can't be viewed as some kind of neutral "voice of the people" as comment thread denizens often give an impression of - you are consistently projecting conservative viewpoints, and by doing so in a public forum you are being inherently political and should be judged based on your leanings thereof. Like many conservatives, you seem to imply that your ramblings are "common sense", but that sense is common to your worldview only.

Posted by JohnNoMoniker on 12/07/2016 at 9:06 PM

Re: “Operator of 'Ghost Ship' Lived Inside Site of Oakland Warehouse Fire with Wife, Children, Was on Probation

The Mayor and the head of Code Enforcement need to step down and be criminally sued themselves. All of the above reported points to a City out of control for years. The reporting is unfortunately necessary - 36 people were killed in the most horrific way - a full picture needs to be painted pixel by pixel of why they died and who is responsible, or it will keep happening. The mayor, FD, PD, CE all knew these dangerous underground artist complexes were rampant, and needed to have addressed the problem as community leaders. They obviously can't find their way out of a paper bag, much less come up with win-win solutions.

Posted by OhNoNotStationFireAgain on 12/07/2016 at 9:03 PM

Re: “Oakland Officials Order Staff to Withhold Public Records Related to Ghost Ship Fire

Every time that insult for a Mayor people gets on the news, she's just digging a deeper hole for herself and Oakland - she needs to step down now and get someone who actually can get things done to take her place. She's an insult to those who lost their lives there. As for the First Responders, speaking as an ex FR, yes it's difficult, but get used to it because there will be lots more horror shows since your Mayor is so incompetent. Also, remember this, what the victims went through is far worse than what you went through recovering them, you chose this very job, are well compensated for it, receive taxpayer help to over come any fire-related psych difficulties - so the story should not be about you, real FR's stop the press making the story about them when it's about those guests on the second floor who were invited there even from Facebook. Think about that.

Posted by OhNoNotStationFireAgain on 12/07/2016 at 8:50 PM

Re: “Oakland Firefighters Say Their Department Is So Badly Managed, Ghost Ship Warehouse Wasn't Even In Its Inspection Database

This expose is marred by a blatant falsehood that makes one wonder: "The Oakland Police Department has only two vacant positions." The current OPD personnel report, prepared Nov. 28, 2016, details 92 unfilled positions. So much for Mr. BondGraham's crude attempt to set OPD against OFD. What other basic facts did he get wrong?

Posted by Charlie Pine on 12/07/2016 at 8:50 PM

Re: “Oakland Officials Order Staff to Withhold Public Records Related to Ghost Ship Fire

PS Many victims in the 2003 Station fire had more clout than the poor victims in Oakland, so the lawsuits flew, most victims and families were properly compensated, if there can ever be such a thing. Now, watch this "mayor" try to stop any such activity from helping this Oakland horror show, one for which the owners etc. are surely responsible, but so is the City, for 30 years they let this fester - and Schaaf thinks she can shaft the victims, making Oakland above the legal lawsuit process, because the vics are poor, transgender, counter-culture, and so obviously in her opinion aren't people, aren't humans, deserving of proper compensation. And this in "California" no less. Oakland needs to be properly sued for criminal negligence, along with the owners etc. etc. etc.

Posted by OhNoNotStationFireAgain on 12/07/2016 at 8:38 PM

Re: “Oakland Officials Order Staff to Withhold Public Records Related to Ghost Ship Fire

Oakland Code Enforcement, their uniformed services, all the way up to that "Mayor" failed to heed the lessons - taught worldwide - of the Station fire, RI 2003, you can hear the horrific screams of those victims, memorialized 4ever on Youtube, and know exactly what those poor Oakland victims went through. In Station, everyone was sued, and fairly quickly and agreeably paid the victims, but this "Mayor" has deemed herself above this sort of legal & civic responsibility to the poorest of her citizens, the most promising artistically. What a hypocrite. She and the head of her Code Enforcement can circle the criminal legal wagons, but they're all gonna get bitterly fought civic lawsuits up the wazoo. Schaaf said "Need to get more regulations", the regs are already there lady. You're just not doing your job, and the buck stops with you.

Posted by OhNoNotStationFireAgain on 12/07/2016 at 8:30 PM

Re: “Was Operator of Oakland Warehouse Fire Venue 'Warned' of Safety Issues, 'Illegal' Construction, Danger?

To Shelley Mack, TY for standing up and exposing Derick Ion. In my opinion he appears to be a Charlie Manson sociopath. Could it be that he tried to control his targets by not having exterior exits at the top of the staircases? In my opinion, it appears the property owner provided a platform for Derick Ion to operate. And it appears the city of Oakland enabled him.
I hope you prevail in showing the people of Oakland the reasons that so many innocent lives were lost,displaced and traumatized. Sincerely, Judith Steen

Posted by Kidy on 12/07/2016 at 8:15 PM

Re: “An Open Letter to Our Community, From the Former Residents of the Recently Closed LoBot Gallery in West Oakland

Here's the deal... Members of the community, all about safe spaces, knew about the conditions at Ghost Ship and the operator (see other articles right here on EBX)... And said nothing/did nothing.

LoBot operated, by their own admission for 13 years, and somehow never bothered to advise/press the existing building owner for needed repairs. After the building changed hands, they self reported to the city to force the new owner to make the long overdue repairs (I read the articles right here on EBX)... And the building was bad enough it was red flagged! The city told them to fix it, and they basically tore it down. While I've never seen a statement from the building owner, I suspect the building was so bad that's what had to be done. Not surprising as it was vacant and decaying in '96 when I moved to West Oakland as was most of the area.

The sad and simple fact is it was advantageous for these people to operate this way... The property owner and the lease holder. They built and sold illusion of safety. Those who didn't go along got subtle and not so subtle enforcement with little or no recourse. Things that are underground seem to always go that way. Bullies thrive in secrecy, in the underground.

Tove has it dead right. Get politically active. Stop throwing temper tantrums and make a difference. I know when I voted this year, I had to swallow the vomit and we still got the horror... But I did it because NOT doing it was NOT standing against it.

The city doesn't have the money it needs. It sure isn't going to get it from the art community, nor will it come from the poor or dwindling middle class; there just isn't enough there. If we keep playing "We're different and you're the other", all we do divide and expose the ever smaller groups the the vicious bullies of the world... And they win. Get in the solution. Marching isn't it.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 12/07/2016 at 8:06 PM

Re: “An Open Letter to Our Community, From the Former Residents of the Recently Closed LoBot Gallery in West Oakland

I know a manager at one of the local Bank of America branches who is always looking for young people who want a start in the banking and finance industry. Why not stop in and inquire? It can't hurt to ask. Then you could do your artwork at night and in the evenings. I did the very thing as a young man, carving models of WWII battleships from wood that the local furniture maker saved for me. You know, odds and ends that he couldn't use. Once a year I always presented one of my better pieces, just to say 'thanks'.

Posted by Francesco on 12/07/2016 at 5:33 PM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

I think if the artists and musicians made an outreach to local churches and businesses, they could broaden and diversity their community. I know the church just down the street is always looking for new voices in their choir.

Posted by Francesco on 12/07/2016 at 5:25 PM

Re: “If Oakland Cracks Down On Underground Warehouses, It Will Snuff Out The City’s DIY Soul

Why don't the artists make Christmas ornaments and wreaths that they can sell to make money for rent? You know, things that people want and need, things they can relate to.

Posted by Francesco on 12/07/2016 at 5:20 PM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

Bullshit. This was a cult, like so many others in the SF Bay Area, and the denial surrounding it is so pervasive even the press is in on it. I am neither surprised or saddened, but relieved there's even a small chance some exposure may finally be able to happen. With 36 dead, I think you all ought to be ashamed, and The East Bay Express in particular. Where are the adults in this part of the world? It's sick,...

Posted by The Crack Emcee 1 on 12/07/2016 at 4:24 PM

Re: “Oakland Officials Order Staff to Withhold Public Records Related to Ghost Ship Fire

I guess Oakland has learned nothing from the pathetic record of modern cover-ups by government officials.

Posted by Dan Asimov on 12/07/2016 at 3:30 PM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

I doubt the Express is capable of agenda-free reporting, even though at times I can't see any agenda, just bias. What i have yet to hear is how the owner of the building can charge 7000/month for an empty box that could not function as ANYTHING- no reliable power, no water and no stairs. This person is every bit as culpable as the weirdo who everyone wants to crucify.

Posted by Matt Piucci on 12/07/2016 at 2:43 PM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

The East Bay Express is in worse shape than I thought if this weepy muddle-headed piece represents their best editorial wisdom.

There is no imminent witch hunt going on against Oakland's arts and music underground scene. There is, however, a very justifiably skeptical eye being cast on the situation that the horror of the Ghost Ship represents. There is plenty of blame or accountability to go around.

The City of Oakland needs to step up big time on code enforcement. Building managers and landlords of outrageously dangerous places should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

However, artists and musicians, their crews, and their audience simply don't get off the hook. Fire has not gone extinct, however righteous the art may be. No free ride for fantasy lands and reality-denying outfits like the Ghost Ship. The quandary of how artists support themselves has been around since time began. Solutions have never been easy, but for artists to survive, the solutions need to be responsible and reality-based.

Posted by David Cohen on 12/07/2016 at 1:54 PM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

So your saying that Artists don't have power? Maybe that kind of thinking is the problem. To me it sounds like the person who wrote this article is trying hard not to feel bad. I really don't think anyone is blaming artists. In this case the authority is dammed if they do and dammed if they don't. Taking ownership is a way of gaining power.

Posted by Sara B James on 12/07/2016 at 1:53 PM

Re: “Couple In Charge of Ghost Ship Lost Kids to Child Protective Services While Living in Oakland Warehouse

"One guy" built a death trap and profited off the people he rented to and the people who paid to come to his events. "One guy" is indeed responsible. I've seen squats with better safety.

Posted by Holly Harwood on 12/07/2016 at 1:51 PM

Re: “If Oakland Cracks Down On Underground Warehouses, It Will Snuff Out The City’s DIY Soul

John NoMoniker:

You obviously did not read my post. You spent too much time looking for a way to make an ad hominem attack - using my views on a completely unrelated subject and quoting out of context - to try to typecast me as an evil person (all Republicans are evil, right?) and as someone that is saying bad things because they have a different view than yours.

And, btw, I am a registered Democrat and I voted for Clinton. So, try to be less shallow in your thinking and grow up. Personal responsibility works better than being a victim. It is about being an adult.

I guess you think it is OK for cool dudes to create unsafe environments.

Try to appreciate that your view is not the only one and maybe, just maybe, you are wrong. "We used to have the luxury....." Who is "we" - the readers that agree with you? Only, the righteous ones only that meet with your approval?

Posted by Michael Good on 12/07/2016 at 1:43 PM

Re: “An Open Letter to Our Community, From the Former Residents of the Recently Closed LoBot Gallery in West Oakland

Why the need for censorship people? Someone doesn't agree and you want it removed? And I bet the people asking to remove comments cry when they don't get heard.

Tove had some valid points whether you agreed with it or not. No guns are being placed on anyone's head to live this lifestyle. It's a choice.

There are also rules for the GREATER safety of everyone and not just a select few. The landlords are also at risk which the author is asking to bear. It's all about self responsibility.

Posted by Robert Hope on 12/07/2016 at 1:29 PM

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