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Re: “East Bay Environmentalists at Odds Over Future of Eucalyptus Trees

In the late 1980s, California State Parks did thorough studies regarding potential impacts of removing the Tasmanian blue gum plantations--note, not forests--on Angel Island. The studies were extensive and covered all aspects of natural history. Their findings were unsurprising: there were more plant and animal species and more of them in the areas where the tree plantations had not yet invaded.

The studies should not have been needed, as the point has been proven over and over that native wildlife need the plants that they are familiar with. We should cherish our native wildlife--they, like the plants, help to create a sense of place that is like no other place in the world. As for the danger of catastrophic fire, it beggars understanding that people invite a 1991 rerun.

Whenever anyone talks about the need of removing blue gum plantations they are accused of unworthy motives, of being a tree-hater. I love the blue gum and have written several articles on it; you can find some in the September, October, and December 2015 issues of San Francisco's Westside Observer (westsideobserver.com). I have urged San Francisco's park department to plant more of them in developed parks where they can be irrigated and where they can't displace wildlife habitat. Climate warming and droughts are taking a toll on these plantations, and it is only a matter of decades when most of them will die out from lack of adequate rainfall.

I am grateful to the Sierra Club for its intelligent stand and for the courage to not be intimidated by the whipped-up fervor of ill-informed people.

Jake Sigg
San Francisco

Posted by Jake Sigg on 07/11/2016 at 9:49 AM
Posted by Will Hall on 07/11/2016 at 8:45 AM

Re: “An East Bay Pimp Trafficked Her Daughter. And the Man that She Turned to For Help Exploited Her For Sex.

This is very terrible. I have had to take anti-sexual harassment training every other year at my job for about a decade now, so am familiar with the legal issues. This sounds like something that could result in a civil suit against BAWAR for the very issue of exploitation of clients by counselors identified in the article. They are liable for that and the resulting psychlogocal/emotional trauma it caused this woman, who should have been safe and protected.

Posted by Lynn Rogers on 07/10/2016 at 11:37 PM

Re: “An East Bay Pimp Trafficked Her Daughter. And the Man that She Turned to For Help Exploited Her For Sex.

BAWAR needs to open up publicly about this terrible breach of ethics. Otherwise, how will anyone trust them after this?

Posted by batya_lee on 07/10/2016 at 4:26 PM

Re: “Thousands of Black Lives Matter Activists Shut Down Oakland Freeway, Vandalize Police Headquarters

Similar to "Occupy" this is nothing more than a collection of misfits whose parents didn't pay enough attention to them.

Where is the "Occupy" movement these days?

Posted by Robert Hope on 07/10/2016 at 1:04 PM

Re: “An East Bay Pimp Trafficked Her Daughter. And the Man that She Turned to For Help Exploited Her For Sex.

I'm being subjected to near fatal whistleblower retaliation in Oakland, and anywhere I go. [Lawyer desperately needed to save lives]

In 2014 Swords-to-Plowshares.org raped me in a manner described by hate crime & acknowledged doing so to many others (shown 'souvenirs' and told they're entrapping, raping, & killing Veterans with hate crimes) when attempting to obtain permanent housing/employment through their agency. Justice remains obstructed, with near fatal harassment daily ever since per StP's threats.

Their criminal acts destroyed my housing & careers (leaving me homeless as acknowledged by VA therapist despite the VA being acknowledged by my attacker as their friends) then threatened me into silence with their gang & have nearly killed me several times & harass me daily while agents attempt to solicit me for prostitution after displaying the same threatening gesture as the StP agent who apologized for their crimes, bought me coffee & informally paid me a few gift cards for food before having me tortured per the United Nations definition. (Which is ongoing to the point of my praying to God that i do not wake up the next day, every day.) This past week strangers have begun slipping me unknown poisons/drugs again causing more damages. Their crimes have destroyed my entire life (finances, relationships, careers, etc.) Email is best for now, but i am desperate for help & have DVDs/footage of the constant harassment. Police report (see below RD#16-010658) has been filed but I need a lawyer.

Thank you,
Mike VanValkenburg
PeaceAdvocacyLove@gmail.com
https://twitter.com/PeaceAdvocLove/status/742797379716288512

Posted by Mike VanValkenburg on 07/09/2016 at 4:07 PM

Re: “Thousands of Black Lives Matter Activists Shut Down Oakland Freeway, Vandalize Police Headquarters

CHP should put their ticketbooks aside, break out the batons and get those lawbreakers off the streets within the hour.

Posted by John Kracht on 07/09/2016 at 5:51 AM

Re: “East Bay Environmentalists at Odds Over Future of Eucalyptus Trees

How much money is being spent on this project? With people losing their homes, record numbers on food stamps, stagnant wages, and we're talking about trees. Misplaced priorities. Spend the money where it's needed most.

Posted by chris gilbert on 07/09/2016 at 12:19 AM

Re: “Thousands of Black Lives Matter Activists Shut Down Oakland Freeway, Vandalize Police Headquarters

This just in (my mailbox) from your Mayor:

"As a white woman, I can't pretend to understand fully the pain, the anger, the frustration and the fear that many in our communities of color feel..."

White people don't have compassion? Politicians don't pretend?"

"As a civilian, I don't know intimately how police officers around the country and their families are grieving..."

As a civilian you, as Mayor, are directly responsible for Oakland's police department about which you are obligated to have just a smidge of intimate knowledge.

"But as your Mayor, what I do understand is the need to change this reality because neither our communities, nor law enforcement can continue on this trajectory we're on."

So you've finally come around, after 14 years in city hall, to recognize that there's a problem?

"I have talked often of how Oakland is trying to change this narrative, the progress we've made in principled policing in Oakland and about the fact that it's still not enough as evidenced by our police department's most recent struggles, but this is not the time for that discussion."

If now now, when?

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 07/08/2016 at 9:46 PM

Re: “Will Lehman Abandon Oak Knoll?

Helpful blog post , I learned a lot from the insight . Does someone know if my business would be able to find a fillable KY DoR 62A500 (P) form to fill out ?

Posted by Estrella Lipman on 07/08/2016 at 1:45 PM

Re: “Thousands of Black Lives Matter Activists Shut Down Oakland Freeway, Vandalize Police Headquarters

Meanwhile where are our elected officials, especially Mayor Libby? Whose constant PR efforts are what she dos.

OTL (out to lunch).

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 07/08/2016 at 1:12 PM

Re: “Inside the Monster

Dear Ms. St. Clair,
Despite the subject matter of the interviews you had with Kenneth Eugene Parnell, I must say that I really did enjoy reading your article; it was very well-written and gave me a sense of being right there with you. I usually lose interest in a story after the 2nd page, but you held my attention by bringing everyone in the article to life.
I realize that this article is 7 years old, but the story sparked my interest after seeing a Discovery Channel story about Cary Stayner on YouTube. I remember both stories very well because I've lived in Modesto for over 25 years. I saw the movie "I Know My Name Is Steven" when it came out on TV, and it left an impression on me. I could not imagine having to interview a man like Parnell, so I commend you for your bravery as well as your writing skills.
I raised my two kids in Modesto, and didn't realize how much crime history this small town has; The Lacy Peterson case; Sandra Levi case, and the 3 women murdered in Yosemite are among the most famous....and the most recent. To leave on a better note, this town did produce people like George Lucas, Timothy Olyphant, Jeremy Renner and many others who are famous for more credible things.
I hope to find more of your writings because I believe that they will be as interesting as this one.

Posted by Marlene Torres on 07/08/2016 at 3:45 AM

Re: “East Bay Environmentalists at Odds Over Future of Eucalyptus Trees

Most of the trees that will be destroyed are no where near buildings.

Posted by Millie Trees on 07/07/2016 at 5:41 PM

Re: “East Bay Environmentalists at Odds Over Future of Eucalyptus Trees

UC Center for Fire Research and Outreach at Berkeley, which Jack Cohen is affiliated with would disagree. Having read some of their work, which formed the some of the basis of the Berkeley plan to remove Eucalyptus from their land in the hills, and advocated for a larger removal, they don't view Eucalyptus an equal to native tree species.
Jack Cohen has never published on Eucalyptus fires, nor presents himself as an expert on this type of forest fire. Rather than get into dueling fire scientists, I would note Mr Cohen advocates a 100 foot gap between buildings and a forest as the minimum for safety. The vast bulk of the trees slated for removal fail within this 100 foot gap.
http://www.firewise.org/wildfire-preparedn…

Posted by David O'Sullivan on 07/07/2016 at 5:35 PM

Re: “Badge of Dishonor: Top Oakland Police Department Officials Looked Away as East Bay Cops Sexually Exploited and Trafficked a Teenager

Further to Eric's excellent reply to "geykerry"'s attempt to minimize the issues here, it should be noted that in the model for decriminalization of prostitution , New Zealand (the place of my birth) the actions of the law enforcement outline in the story are all illegal. In fact about a decade ago there was a similar case of a culture of one North Island city's police force having sex with young women who were exploited.
Several officers and ex-officers faced long trials on rape charges and though they were unsuccessful (due to the jury finding the actions consensual) in conviction, all the officers who where still in the force were dismissed, losing their police pensions, including a senior officer who was at that stage 3rd in line to being NZ's Police Commissioner, the highest post a Police officer can hold.
Even in a decriminalized system the Police's actions outlined in the story are completely unacceptable and corrupt.

Posted by David O'Sullivan on 07/07/2016 at 5:03 PM

Re: “East Bay Environmentalists at Odds Over Future of Eucalyptus Trees

Mr. O’Sullivan describes a firestorm in Australia. He could just as easily be describing a firestorm here in Western North America where wildfires consume thousands of acres of native trees and vegetation every year. Such firestorms also occur in Australia where the climate is similar and in that case the trees are predominantly eucalyptus. Eucalyptus trees are not inherently more flammable than bay laurel which contains twice as much oil in its leaves nor are they taller than our resinous conifers. Rather the fire conditions are weather related and the consequences for human development is where we choose to build our homes and how we maintain them.

Jack Cohen is a world renowned fire scientist at the US Forest Service fire science laboratory in Missoula, Montana. He has evaluated eucalyptus fires here and in Australia and says of our 1991 fire: “This indicates that the eucalyptus trees did not burn with high intensities (or any intensity) leading to home destruction. This strongly suggests that eliminating eucalyptus and replacing it with some other vegetation would not prevent future WU fire disasters because the problem was inappropriately defined as a eucalyptus vegetation problem and not a home ignition-home ignition zone problem.” Here is his assessment, including the photos he supplied to illustrate his conclusion: https://milliontrees.me/2016/05/06/fire-sc…

There are many reasons why people defend our urban forest. Aesthetics has little to do with my motivation for defending it. We have lost 66 million native trees in California in the past few drought years and millions more are expected to die. These dead trees are, indeed, a fire hazard, yet we are wasting millions of dollars destroying living, healthy trees that are expected to live another 200-300 years. Such voluntary and natural deforestation is contributing to climate change and the warming climate is the primary cause of increasing wildfires and the death of our native trees. I am as concerned about fire safety as Mr. O’Sullivan.

Posted by Millie Trees on 07/07/2016 at 4:27 PM

Re: “East Bay Environmentalists at Odds Over Future of Eucalyptus Trees

Having witnessed a Eucalyptus fire first hand in Australia and having a forester uncle who worked with them (including in fire fighting and fire management) for 25 years, if the opponents of removal are successful a large fire in the hills will involve the deaths of people.
People are right that Eucalyptus are highly fire resistant, but they do this by becoming incredibly dangerous to any building or human near by. Gums (the name they commonly known by in Australia and NZ) have evolved to burn extremely hot to rapidly exhaust the available fuel. The mean the fire burns itself out very quickly on the individual tree itself, but causes immense heat and embers which mean Eucalyptus fires often turn into fire storm events. (google Australian fire storm to see how terrifying this is)
As trees literally explode in minutes to shooting out flames 40-50 feet high the intense heat sucks in so much air to feed the fire it starts to generate its own weather, which when added to the huge amounts of embers that are generated means you get a very rapidly moving fire, as glowing hot embers will travel miles on the self generated winds.
These fires are almost impervious to conventional North American fire fighting techniques. In Australia back burning and very wide fire breaks (I think the aim is to get a least 1 kilometer( or 2/3 of mile) wide) is the main way these fires are fought. I've seen a controlled burn where so much heat was generated that when a heavy rain storm blew in it hardly reduced the size of the flames, as the heat from them turned the falling rain into steam which didn't reach the ground.

Australians living in forested area are instructed that if a fire is reported 5 miles away or less to pack and evacuate immediately. They are also told to make sure no large tree is within 60 to 100 feet of any building. Even then, many Australians have been killed in bush fires in the last 20 years. Some have been incinerated in their cars as the fire engulfed it as they were trying to escape.

In the closely settled hills with narrow and steep roads an Eucalyptus fire event would likely turn into a tragedy as some people wouldn't be able to escape the rapidly moving fire.
It is this reality which is driving public safety authorities to push to remove Eucalyptus from a closely settled area. Failure to do so before the next fire will result in people dying.
Keeping the trees is very much about choosing aesthetics over human lives.

Posted by David O'Sullivan on 07/07/2016 at 3:27 PM

Re: “East Bay Environmentalists at Odds Over Future of Eucalyptus Trees

Talking about two things. Yes, Eucs are very flammable. However, a crown fire will not kill the tree. It will regenerate. But that doesn't mean they are not extremely flammable.

Posted by Mike Yarmouth on 07/07/2016 at 12:24 PM

Re: “East Bay Environmentalists at Odds Over Future of Eucalyptus Trees

Thank you for this article. Sierra Club does not seem to know that almost all fire, like the 1991 firestorm starts in grasslands, which is most of what we will have left when the FEMA plan is finished.

Not one tree is scheduled for "restoration." While our native trees are dying, the magnificent Eucalyptus, Acacias, Monterey Pines are thriving in the drought. Eagles and raptors prefer Eucs for nesting.

EBMUD and others know that the most flammable tree her is the native Bay Laurel, while Eucs are fire resistant and there are plenty of photos showing them standing after firestorms destroyed houses from fire started by arson in grasslands.

Monsanto and Dow will benefit from planned herbiciding for years.

The issue really is, the way things are now scheduled, our rare and beautiful East Bay Hills wilderness parks and public land are being clearcut and poisoned, and we will be left with highly flammable grasslands. And the only real reason is money.

Posted by Bev Von Dohre on 07/07/2016 at 12:05 PM

Re: “East Bay Environmentalists at Odds Over Future of Eucalyptus Trees

There are several studies of soil moisture in the eucalyptus forest. A study in the Presidio reported an average of 19% soil moisture in the eucalyptus forest year around. A study of ants in the eucalyptus forests in San Francisco reported 16 inches of fog drip in the driest months of the year and soil moisture of 15%. Harold Gilliam in his book about the climate of the San Francisco Bay Area reported that fog drip in eucalyptus and Monterey pine forests in the East Bay hills was measured at 10 inches per year. These are published studies that anyone can read.

When all else fails, there is also common sense. Do you really think that a huge pile of wood chips with no tree canopy above it is going to be more moist than the shaded forest floor? I doubt it.

All leaves have stoma that take up moisture from the air. That capability is not confined to native plants.

Posted by Millie Trees on 07/07/2016 at 11:18 AM

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