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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: News

Re: “City Forcing West Oakland’s Alliance Metals to Close on August 20, But Supporters Argue Recyclers Have No Safety Net

I'm surprised and appalled at the shoddy journalism here. Lots of quotes from the for-profit company that is exploiting the homeless. Lots of quotes from the documentarian (who actually seems to be using this issue to promote his film). No mention of the three other recycling centers within a 10-block radius? You quote Alliance on how much they paid out last year but not on how much they made (hint: at least twice that in PROFIT). You have an unattributed quote from the ACLU—could it have been made by Executive Director Abdi Soltani? Not a single quote from someone who lives in the area and has lived there for many years? Or the local pastor who is helping to ensure that Alliance's victims get the services they need?

This isn't about gentrifiers not liking the shopping cart parade. It's neighbors being appalled at the victimization of our unhoused neighbors by Alliance. If the company is so concerned for them, why hasn't it put up a port-a-potty even?

Lazy, lazy reporting.

Posted by copykate on 08/09/2016 at 3:31 PM

Re: “'A People's Port': Unions, Community Groups Hope to 'Revive' Oakland with Jobs Agreement at Army Base Project

I totally support Myre's work to Ban The Box.

But I can't help but notice that she's also on the planning commission and regularly blocks projects where she is involved with the negotiations when they don't go in her favor.

I would be incredibly surprised if this doesn't get killed in the planning commission by her, costing us millions of dollars in investment.

Posted by Victoria Fierce on 08/08/2016 at 9:58 AM

Re: “City Forcing West Oakland’s Alliance Metals to Close on August 20, But Supporters Argue Recyclers Have No Safety Net

Why don't you rally to support an Alliance Metals in you neighborhood ?
I am sure that these people, and of course you and your neighbors, will be very happy with this relationship.

Posted by Jerry Howe on 08/07/2016 at 8:20 AM

Re: “Make Voting Great Again: On Oakland's Police Commission Ballot Initiative and 2016 City Council Races

The only major loss on the police commission charter amendment was Mayor having 3 direct appointments-----As I told the Council, in SF in the 1990's we all thought we'd be getting beyond days where every Commission vote was heavily influenced by SFPOA and then found splitting appointments between multiple elected officials didn't change that at all.----Post the 1997 change, we got a better and more diverse Commission, but still one unduly influenced by politics and particularly the SFPOA. So for me its not about 'the community' picking commissioners , or preserving the powers of the Mayor, or who is Mayor, it's about firewall between OPOA pressure and Commissioners. Time will tell if 2/3's of a loaf on the appointments issue will be enough

Posted by Mary Vail on 08/03/2016 at 11:40 PM

Re: “Make Voting Great Again: Introducing the Express' Weekly Election 2016 Column

EBE states, "Oakland landlords can raise rents however much they want, even if the increase violates the city's rent-control law." this is true if said landlord doesn't care about the law. Typically piling more laws on doesn't affect people who are already breaking it, New laws only affect those who try to follow it. Oakland does need to educate its renters and property owners on the ways of existing rent control laws before piling on more. It works if you work it.

Posted by Ilona Nesmith Clark on 08/03/2016 at 10:45 PM

Re: “BART's Lead Negotiator Has a History of Illegal Behavior

I love it! Excellent article. I think it could also be useful for everyone to know how and where to fill a form online. BTW, if anyone needs to fill out a a form, I found a blank fillable form here http://goo.gl/46FheV

Posted by Lavone Minyard on 08/03/2016 at 10:32 PM

Re: “Make Voting Great Again: On Oakland's Police Commission Ballot Initiative and 2016 City Council Races

Thanks, Darwin, for pointing out the very substantial change in police accountability offered by the potential police commission. The glass is certainly much more than half full and much will depend on Oakland residents applying to be commissioners who will bring diligence, fairness and commitment to delivering results for the Oakland community.
We also need to appreciate that the vote was unanimous to place this measure on the ballot -- something that did not seem likely only weeks ago. Special thanks to Dan Kalb and Noel Gallo, the principal authors, Rebecca Kaplan and Desley Brooks who supported the Coalition's call that all 7 commissioners be appointed by the selection panel instead of only 4, and Lynette McElhaney who became our 4th sponsor at the time of the vote.
We look forward to informing Oakland voters about the merits of this proposal so that we prevail in November! Folks who want to help should visit the Coalition's website: www.coalitionforpoliceaccountability.org and click on 'volunteer.'

Posted by Rashida Grinage on 08/02/2016 at 10:53 PM

Re: “City Forcing West Oakland’s Alliance Metals to Close on August 20, But Supporters Argue Recyclers Have No Safety Net

I saw the documentary on PBS, IT WAS HEARTBREAKING!!!, How can people in the USA, live & suffer? Where are the homeless advocates, the drug task force, where is the help."Save this company".Im sorry but they are the connection too any to less than none income,for the poor people!!
smh. The company is a green based company, that provides a income to poor and indigent people. I LIVE IN Georgia, I was in utter shock to see the community complaining, but not offering any concrete prevention!!!
Instead of complaing join forces, apply for community improvement grants, green based environmental grants for the company and community!!
Hell no one wants crime or vagrants but wheres the help @least Alliance Metals are helping .What is the community doing as a whole to promote a steller community; prevent homelessness, other than complaining?
Please set up a online patition too stop the closing, Bring in city officials to obtain green grants it's a green company .City officials not the police to assist in setting up a greenspace environmental grant for the company to assist in the clean up the environment around the facilityand bridging relationships with community leaders!!!I cant say that enough.DAH ITS A RECYCLING CENTER, THE GOVERNMENT WILL AID YOU TO IMPROVE THE COMMUNITY, AIR QUALITY, GREENSPACE, FOR THE COMPANY AND COMMUNITY SURROUNDING THE COMPANY!!!Where are the LEADERS city councilman, the new female mayor, the congressman of that district. CLEARLY HAS FAILED AND FAILED BIG TIME. This is a shame and Tragedy for humans whom are clearly addicted and need help are barely, merly existing in this manner, help the poor people ,I'm outraged!!!!!
I AGREE, IF THEY CANT HAVE THE GARBAGE, WHAT CAN THEY HAVE.
SAD IN ATLANTA, GA.

Posted by IsawthisonPBS on 08/01/2016 at 12:30 PM

Re: “City Forcing West Oakland’s Alliance Metals to Close on August 20, But Supporters Argue Recyclers Have No Safety Net

To the folks complaining about MOVING INTO THIS NEIGHBORHOOD IN WEST OAKLAND and are shocked by the drug use and thefts all I can say is GO FUCKING HOME . Oakland has been and will be the city it always has been and we will put up a damn good fight before we lay down and let you gentrifying fucks take it making its completely unaffordable even to be fucking homeless . You people make me sick I hope your $600 bbq got sold for meth .

Posted by Tj King on 07/30/2016 at 10:53 AM

Re: “Survivor, Oakland City Hall: Power Struggle Led to Expulsion of City Clerk from Closed Session

This is obviously a personal issue between the City Clerk and City Administrator. The City Clerk's attendance at closed session has never, ever been an issue in the past.Trust me, this is the last organization in the world you would want to hold to a standard of education qualifying somebody for the position they hold. That as a standard would be questionable starting with the Mayor, Assistant City Administrator and Public Works Director. Political connections and relationships seem to be more important than educational background in this place. Perhaps that's why they don't seem to be able to operate without getting in their own way.

Posted by Gary Patton on 07/29/2016 at 5:08 AM

Re: “Make Voting Great Again: Introducing the Express' Weekly Election 2016 Column

"Worthington announced that he forged an alliance with fellow progressive council colleague and already-announced mayoral hopefully Jesse Arreguín." Think you mean "hopeful" here.

Posted by Michael Baker on 07/27/2016 at 4:42 PM

Re: “Make Voting Great Again: Introducing the Express' Weekly Election 2016 Column

Writing in Bernie is a great strategy for electing Donald-is that your goal?

Posted by ed gerber on 07/27/2016 at 3:21 PM

Re: “City Forcing West Oakland’s Alliance Metals to Close on August 20, But Supporters Argue Recyclers Have No Safety Net

Let's march out the Elephant in the room here! The City of Oakland gets a huge "franchise fee" (estimated by some to be up to $25 million) from its granting of exclusive rights to companies for their collecting solid waste and recyclables. Such a fee cannot pertain to recycling companies (like Alliance) whose recyclables are not collected by them, but brought to them by individuals (whether in shopping carts or trucks). Oakland's "franchised" collectors charge their clients by volume, and every piece of recyclable material not being collected by them (but by others) cuts the revenue those franchised collectors can charge their clients. This also probably affects the revenue percentage based franchise fees collected by Oakland from their franchised collectors - reducing the city's revenues. The Alliance Recycling outdated website states it collected 15,600 Tons of recyclables in 2008. Imagine how much volume that 15.6 tons removed from the franchised collector's revenue streams, and how they must be complaining about that lost revenue to a city government that is also losing revenue from its reduced franchise fees as a result. The city of Oakland is squarely in bed with those big businesses it granted exclusive collection rights to. One look at the Alliance Recycling location on Peralta Street will confirm that street is packed with industries - it is nobody's idea of a residential or gentile neighborhood setting. Oakland has laws against the illegal collection of recyclables (such as raiding waste bins of such), so rather than expensively policing such violations, it chooses to shut down the recycling company. This is less about sidewalk blocking or nuisances and more about a conspiracy between Oakland and its franchised collectors to do what in anybody else's viewpoint would be the illegal restraint of trade. The elephant in the room here is holding a bundle of money in its trunk, and that money is headed straight for Oakland and its exclusive franchised collectors.

Posted by William H. Thompson on 07/27/2016 at 1:24 PM

Re: “Make Voting Great Again: Introducing the Express' Weekly Election 2016 Column

We can only write-in Bernie's name if there are 55 electors filed. Keep in mind that those disqualified in the primary and independents will be voting in the General Election.

Anyone interested in becoming an elector for Bernie?

Only those names written on the ballot at the General Election for President of the United States, for which a group of 55 Presidential Electors pledge their votes to that write-in candidate, shall be counted as votes.

http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/upcoming-elections/june-7-2016-presidential-primary-election/qualifications-running-office/

November 8, 2016, General Election
Summary of Qualifications and Requirements:

Presidential Elector - Independent Candidates (PDF)

Presidential Elector - Write-In Candidates (PDF):
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9SQmm-iXRGtblJHZ2tFT2FMQjg/view?usp=sharing

In nearly every state, the candidate who gets the most votes wins the "electoral votes" for that state, and gets that number of voters (or "electors") in the "Electoral College." http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/electoral-college/

Posted by Donald Switlick 1 on 07/27/2016 at 12:37 PM

Re: “Make Voting Great Again: Introducing the Express' Weekly Election 2016 Column

Just to be clear: what I meant by "Goldilocks" was that the rent ordinance adopted by Council in March and that we recently placed on the November ballot rests neatly in between the rent control activists' initiative ("too strong") and the California Apartment Association's initiative ("too weak") -- our ordinance, as Goldilocks would say, is "not too strong, not too weak, but something in between that's just right." Thanks! : )

/s/ tony
tdaysog@alamedaca.gov

Posted by Tony Daysog on 07/27/2016 at 10:27 AM

Re: “City Forcing West Oakland’s Alliance Metals to Close on August 20, But Supporters Argue Recyclers Have No Safety Net

Super unfortunate and unjust. If the reason for closing is theft and compromised-hygiene in the nearby area, I imagine the city could think of more clever and useful means of regulation and maintenance than simply closing Alliance.

What if Alliance needed to see proof of purchase or ownership for certain metals (fancy copper and lead; BBQs, etc.) , and not for others (cans, bottles, old scrap)? Or something similar?

What if the city helped set up a homeless outreach clinic in the vicinity? Teamed up with the Berkeley Suitcase Clinic, create an Oakland buddy project. With a restroom or two? Or teamed with UC Berkeley's Haas Business School or School of Social Welfare to find a more just solution?

Instead of shutting down these humans' means for sustenance, they could put in some more energy and time and find ways to reach a compromise.

Posted by William Renauld on 07/26/2016 at 2:22 PM

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

Eucalyptus are no more flammable than our native chaparral. They do not crowd out or poison other plants. WHat you see are old plantations, where they were planted densely. A little thinning, as I've seen in bits of Tilden Park, creates a more natural open forest. I quit the Sierra Club because of its ignorant tree-hating. Read the facts at sutroforest.com/eucalyptus-myths

Posted by Robert ANderson on 07/25/2016 at 12:35 PM

Re: “City Forcing West Oakland’s Alliance Metals to Close on August 20, But Supporters Argue Recyclers Have No Safety Net

Here is what one resident of the area reported, "My house was broken in for the fourth time in two months today. A $600 barbecue was stolen out of my back yard. ... I am at a loss as how to deal with the 'clients' at Alliance Metals. A good number are decent folks, but there are just as many if not more who are serious trouble. The amount of drug dealing and using, public defecation, urinating, etc. by the shopping cart folk is bad enough. ... shopping cart customers from Alliance Metals simply loiter on our street all day long looking at our houses, when people come and go from their homes, and what cars people drive."

And Randall Reed of Reed Brothers Security reported that thieves stole $800 of welding leads (large gauge expensive copper wire) from a company truck. The leads "had been bolted to the welder and locked with a chain and padlock to the ladder rack." Doing his own detective work, Reed found the thief, who even admitted his crime. It was "Sonny," a morning regular at Alliance Metals.

Posted by Charlie Pine on 07/25/2016 at 8:36 AM

Re: “Survivor, Oakland City Hall: Power Struggle Led to Expulsion of City Clerk from Closed Session

This is a very timely article due to the fact that Oakland lacks transparency, and has struggled with issues of equity for years. Oakland has paid several high profile lawsuits that span wrongful termination to police corruption. Oakland is lucky to have a City Clerk who can sit between the City Council and the City Administrators without being conflicted or controlled. This helps to eliminate bias and improves public trust. When we start allowing City Officials private spaces to meet without someone to keep a record of the actions, we allow obfuscation of the political process. The public is completely in the dark as to their actions, intent, and policy motivations.

Above I read someone speak on the Clerk having a 10th grade education and found that interesting because it sounds like an attempt to insult Ms. Simmons personally and professionally. Boasting a credential or formal education in an attempt to use it as some type of a trump card is an act of immaturity and likely some form of jealousy. I would respond to that by saying John D. Rockefeller, nor Henry Ford had a high school education and became billionaires and both contributed significantly to the world we live in today. Moreover, Rachel Ray, Dave Thomas, Steve Jobs, Madam CJ Walker, Richard Branson, Michael Dell and several other people worked hard and built legacies. None of these people graduated from high school. While I do not reduce the idea of formal education, because I have plenty (AA -2, BA, BS, MSA, PMP), sitting in a classroom collecting credit hours is not the only way to gain vital experience.

I wanted to add that many of the Ivy league schools offer free online classes now. You do not earn credit hours, but you are able to get a command of the educational materials. Doesn't Ms. Simmons have all of the Clerk designations and certifications, project management education, etc? How can someone stay in a job for more than a decade if they are incapable of doing it? Why did I belabor this point so much? I have a problem with people who think they are better than other because they have a formal education and others may not. It is a divide that has history in my community. Ms. Simmons is from my community and is a beacon of light and hope for others.

In a simple math equation, it takes approximately 120 credit hours for someone to earn an undergraduate degree, and an additional 48 to 60 to earn graduate level credentials. When I looked over Ms. Simmons background it appears she has worked approximately 48,000 hours in administrative positions with significant levels of responsibility managing others, processes, dealing with budgets, organizational restructuring, etc. I couldn't ignore that type of experience unless I was simply immature, foolish or suffering from some form of narcissism, deeply arrogant or just having delusions.

Oakland needs to address the lack of affordable housing and jobs for their citizens, get their police in line, and bring some recreation back for their kids. The last thing we need in the city I love and cherish is for our valuable resources to be squandered harassing the clerk and trying to hide actions from Joe and Josette Public. What I find most astounding about this article is that the City of Oakland wants to control whistleblowers and information that should be public and accessible. Ms. Simmons is the perfect person to be at the table because she has the history of the city, is well versed in the rules and processes and has been a staunch advocate for transparency and public access.

Posted by Mason Cooper on 07/23/2016 at 12:25 PM

Re: “City Forcing West Oakland’s Alliance Metals to Close on August 20, But Supporters Argue Recyclers Have No Safety Net

Man you're literally talking about removing a huge help to that community. I lived near there, im from West Oakland and say this is absolutely bonkers.

Posted by Ronald Tre Brown on 07/22/2016 at 6:19 PM

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