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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: News

Re: “Oakland Tenants Say Eviction Notices on Rise After Ghost Ship, Call on City Hall For Moratorium

How do you believe rental law applies here?

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/15/2016 at 1:06 PM

Re: “Oakland Tenants Say Eviction Notices on Rise After Ghost Ship, Call on City Hall For Moratorium

@Tony- Rental law is applied to tenants regardless of the legal state of their unit- that's the primary message from me on the Berkeley Rent Board & James from the Oakland Tenants Union.

Posted by Jesse Luscious on 12/15/2016 at 10:20 AM

Re: “Former AK Press Warehouse Sold to 'Tech Co-Op' Developer Who Demolished 1919 Market

I recall well going to excellent cultural events at the AK warehouse. That seems like a long time ago. It was certainly a different Oakland.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 12/15/2016 at 7:56 AM

Re: “Richmond Mayor Calls Out Legendary Punk House Burnt Ramen As City's 'Own Ghost Ship,' Residents Fear Eviction

Charles I'm sure you are known far and wide for your insight, intelligence, and compassion. You are spot on about Seattle. The weather is great for the homeless, free showers 300 days a year! Also, I hope you have great luck removing your head from your ass.

Posted by Neighbor 668 on 12/14/2016 at 9:38 PM

Re: “Oakland Tenants Say Eviction Notices on Rise After Ghost Ship, Call on City Hall For Moratorium

Guess what...I found the applicable law. The California Tort Claims Act SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDES claims arising from a city's failure to inspect a building SO LONG AS the city doesn't itself own the building.

Sorry, but nobody can sue the city here with a ten-foot pole.

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/14/2016 at 8:53 PM

Re: “Oakland Tenants Say Eviction Notices on Rise After Ghost Ship, Call on City Hall For Moratorium

People on various thteads keep asserting the city could be sued for this, the city could be sued for that.

No. Cities are subdivisions of the state. There is soveriegn immunity, statutory caps on damages...i will try to get some details and comment more later. Literally pulled my car over to comment.

Show me an instance in California where some city inspector got sued for not inspecting hard enough. This is a CITY not McDonalds.

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/14/2016 at 4:48 PM

Re: “Oakland Tenants Say Eviction Notices on Rise After Ghost Ship, Call on City Hall For Moratorium

I believe the main contention of this article to be in error. If a building is inspected and found to by unsafe for occupancy, no one will be allowed to live there until and unless the safety violations are corrected. If this policy were NOT enforced, the city would be directly liable to be sued for negligence, should another such tragedy occur.

Posted by Tony Marcus on 12/14/2016 at 1:47 PM

Re: “Oakland Tenants Say Eviction Notices on Rise After Ghost Ship, Call on City Hall For Moratorium

does this tenant protection actually apply if the property was rented for commercial use and the lease specified no residential use was permitted? My pessimistic nature is skeptical.

Posted by Sarah Lockhart on 12/14/2016 at 1:25 PM

Re: “Oakland Tenants Say Eviction Notices on Rise After Ghost Ship, Call on City Hall For Moratorium

43K tax value is NOT market value. I think everyone knows a 3 bedroom home in Oakland is FAR more than 43K... And that warehouse is/was MUCH larger. disingenuous at best. A quick craigslist search shows a 1522 sq feet sublease at $2300/mo. 4000 sq ft leasing at 168k/year in jack london square.

43k? really?

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 12/14/2016 at 1:08 PM

Re: “Oakland Tenants Say Eviction Notices on Rise After Ghost Ship, Call on City Hall For Moratorium

Your estimate on those warehouses is WAY HIGH. The one that burned had an assessed value of a mere 43k and it looks like one of the bigger and more valuable buildings.

Assume 100,000 per building times ten. A mere 1 million to divide 36 ways!!! Not including a coupke of injured people.

Your numbers or mine may be off. We need sone actual figures to make this discussion more productive. But I assert 5 million per building is way way high.

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/14/2016 at 8:38 AM

Re: “Oakland Tenants Say Eviction Notices on Rise After Ghost Ship, Call on City Hall For Moratorium

let's assume a market value of 5 million per warehouse, open market value, crappy or not. Not an unreasonable figure.

We can now postulate 50 million. Lawyers get paid FIRST, not after the plaintiff. Doesn't leave "much" for the families. No, it doesn't, less than a million per. But lawyers don't really care.

As to protected by the corporate veil, no problem. The corporation get's sued, not Mr Ng. Value is still vested in the corporation and the property still goes. Separate corporation per building is stupid. It increases tax liabilities to the state and city.

But this isn't a discussion about one particular property holder, it's the general concept that one who owns one or more properties can be held liable for the actions of the lessee and unless s/he is a complete idiot had better make sure it's being run correctly in the light of what happened at ghost ship. Same as if you loan you car to someone. You can and WILL be held liable if they do something stupid with your car and they have no assets. This is why you have insurance. Of course, if you didn't assure they had insurance your insurance run's for the hills leaving you naked.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 12/14/2016 at 4:23 AM

Re: “Oakland Tenants Say Eviction Notices on Rise After Ghost Ship, Call on City Hall For Moratorium

The property owner--Chor Ng--owns about 10 buildings. Ok, let's assume those assets are vulnerable to lawsuit...not parceled into separate corporations behind unpiercable corporate veils. Let's assume.

Take the value of 10 somewhat crappy buildings divided among 36 victims minus 30 or 40 percent to the lawyers.

Guess what? It isn't much money. A lawyer might even hesitate to take the case, wondering if he will actually get paid. One need hardly add...but I will...many of the victims had little earning capacity so that reduces damages for the loss of life...though that is more than offset by enormous pain and suffering so it's a wash.

The pressing question that could change this equation of NOT ENOUGH VALUE IN CHOR NG'S ASSETS...

What insurance policies, if any, covered those buildings?

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/13/2016 at 10:59 PM

Re: “Oakland Tenants Say Eviction Notices on Rise After Ghost Ship, Call on City Hall For Moratorium

Unfortunately lawyers look at the fire as a bonanza too. The operator *may* be what is known as judgment proof... But property owner isn't and CAN ultimately be held liable at tremendous costs.

Calling for the property owner to NOT assure the property is being operated correctly is just not real or reasonable. The inspections should proceed. Evictions are a whole different issue and have to be addressed differently.

Those are probably being done by the operators or the property owner may be vacating the lease issued to the operator. For all intents and purposes the landlord is the lease holder. If the lease holder is operating the property under condition other than the ones s/he stated in the contract... Now we come to the insurance company... Which then vacates any liability insurance the owner holds.

Unicorns and elf pee are wonderful, but just because we don't like these things, doesn't mean they go away. In the wild, I can plug my ears, shout LA LA LA LA LA YOU don't exist, but the lion will still eat me.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 12/13/2016 at 10:26 PM

Re: “Richmond Mayor Calls Out Legendary Punk House Burnt Ramen As City's 'Own Ghost Ship,' Residents Fear Eviction

Regarding homelessness...why homeless people choose to be in a particular area is much more complicated than saying anybody homeless in Oakland got evicted from housing in Oakland. That is balony.

And hell yes...homeless congregate near some places where there are resources. Some cities quietly buy them a bus ticket out of town..it is called "Greyhound therapy."

A place like Fargo, North Dakota actually sees seasonal homeless people...more homeless people in summer but they go someplace warmer in winter...not like they are taking a vacation but for pure survival.

You go to any hip and artsy business section near a large campus and homeless are always there scoring meals and change. How? Were they all evicted from places around campus? No. They congregated near resources.

There is no housing crisis in the Bay Area or anywhere in the US. Can't afford housing in the Bay Area? I can't afford to live in Beverly Hills, though i would like to...do I have a "housing crisis"?

You know what i call gentrification in Oakland?

Progress.

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/12/2016 at 3:29 PM

Re: “Richmond Mayor Calls Out Legendary Punk House Burnt Ramen As City's 'Own Ghost Ship,' Residents Fear Eviction

Hey CHARLES C. EROSTER, maybe we should give these spaces more positive names, like, "Winning Lottery Ticket" or "Free Hamburgers Forever" or "Nothing Bad Ever Happens."

Posted by Sam Smith on 12/12/2016 at 10:37 AM

Re: “Richmond Mayor Calls Out Legendary Punk House Burnt Ramen As City's 'Own Ghost Ship,' Residents Fear Eviction

Charles, Charles, Charles....you act like everyone living in a tent on the street simply gets to *choose* where to be homeless. I worked at a homeless shelter in Maine, long lines of people around the block waiting for food in January, February, waiting in blizzards to get a chance to eat and not freeze to death. But wait, they were there because it was a 'great place to be homeless', correct? They simply just buy a plane ticket, fly to wherever's hip, and set up shop, no hardship or misfortune involved, right? Your lack of compassion and empathy reflects a sociopathic disregard for the lives of those less fortunate than you.

Posted by JakobIan on 12/12/2016 at 9:09 AM

Re: “NBC Paid for Ghost Ship Operator Derick Almena's Hotel Room During Exclusive Interview

The video posted by Che Pressnall is the song "Dirty Laundry."

Here is a more informative video. A walk-through tour of the Ghost Ship taken by a former resident.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2x3rBAYZrDE

This video of the interior and people jamming to music, etc. is also very informative.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6toXmP6QO8

Check out a portion of that video at about 26:09 where somebody who is jamming on a musical instrument takes his cigarette and jams into into a crevice of a statute of a Hindu God and leaves it there burning.

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/12/2016 at 8:12 AM

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

Some of the victims had jobs. But if you analyze each one, and their so-called jobs, you see a pattern where in a number of instances these jobs weren't really, well, adult jobs where you make a living and have a responsible grown up life.

For example, a couple of the victims worked at a campus radio station. Well, that's not a real job. That's like a student job. It's a couple weeks before FINALS all over the country...and these two were at a rave party. Your tax dollars at work for Pell Grants and federally subsidized student loans. I assert my policy tweak again. The government should stop subsidizing "useless college majors" like arts and communications. Only subsidize English majors if they agree to get a teaching certificate so they at least have THAT much to fall back upon. No subsidizing of Spanish majors, ever. We have a sufficient number of people who can speak Spanish.

But back to the victims and how they afforded their rock and roll lifestyle choices.

Let's consider the lawyer. Well, he'd just accepted a job as a lawyer. So he'd probably just gotten ready to take a bar exam in January and there was an assumption he would pass the bar...or he'd taken his bar back in June and he was just now getting a job as a lawyer. In any case, articles say he'd JUST BEEN HIRED at a prestigious law firm.

This guy is actually an economic worse-case scenario. He has just finished with 12 years of free public education, 4 years of undergraduate education, and 3 years of law school and a couple months studying for the bar exam. He was just about to start a real career and start being a productive citizen and begin paying taxes, having a career, etc. This guy likely died with SIX FIGURES of outstanding student loans.

And it gets worse, where the lawyer is concerned, because with his finely-trained legal mind, and all the emphasis in law school on reasoning and prudence and having good judgment, this guy should have turned around inside the front door, thinking, "No prudent person would be at this fire death trap rave party." But there he was.

Lawsuits will come out of this situation, obviously. Responsibility will be parceled out in "joint and several liability." So percentages of responsibility will be assigned. I'm guessing it will go something like this:

The landlord Chor Ng. 40 percent responsible.

Derick Almena and his wife. 40 percent responsible.

Each of the victims: 20 percent responsible for their own deaths.

But there will be two exceptions. The minor who died, God rest his soul, will not have any percentage of responsibility. And this lawyer who died...will have a higher percentage of responsibility for his own death than the other victims. Perhaps as high as 60 percent.

Ultimately it won't matter because the deepest pocket will pay. That's the landlord, Chor, who owns ten buildings. And any insurance company who insured that warehouse. I have yet to see any media asking what is surely the most grown-up and pressing of questions: Was that warehouse insured? What was insured under the policy? How big was the policy? WHO WAS THE INSURER?

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/12/2016 at 6:25 AM

Re: “Richmond Mayor Calls Out Legendary Punk House Burnt Ramen As City's 'Own Ghost Ship,' Residents Fear Eviction

The homeless congregate for different reasons but it's not a case of housing prices go up, homeless people increase in that particular area. For example, there are a lot of homeless in Seattle. That is partly because of the nice weather and the fact Seattle is a cool place to live, but Seattle has also had, for quite a while, tolerance for homeless camping out in outdoor camps. (The policy is complicated...sometimes they crack down, other times they allow the camps) Generally, there tends to be a lot of homeless where people are "cool" and naive young people give out change and food. Go to any campus and you will find homeless people congregating near the campus.

Why are there so many homeless in that part of Oakland? Because it's a good place to be homeless. Not because all those homeless were kicked out of housing in Oakland! Homeless congregate where it's a "good place to be homeless."

Lots of homeless in Las Vegas, too. Because panhandling is especially good in Vegas.

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/12/2016 at 6:06 AM

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

Posting some days later: seemed like most of the victims had responsible jobs; not one was described as living on ssi. One was a lawyer, another worked at Pandora. Several worked in the music or arts sectors, but did so quite seriously and earned a living. Some of the above comments leapt to conclusions based on no facts or made rash assumptions. For better public discourse we could try to eschew polemics that just seek to legitimate ideas we already hold, without considering the actual events or info in an article.

Posted by Naomi_Schiff on 12/11/2016 at 9:52 PM

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