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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: News

Re: “Neill Sullivan's Oakland

I rented an SMC house. It caught fire due to faulty construction done without permits. They also told me that the bottom floor (where the fire occurred) was "non-conforming but legal" -Bally Singh, turns out not so much - more like totally illegal and not fit for human inhabitation. After living in the house with no lights, no gas, and raw sewage piling up in the back yard after they made a sewer repair and refused to recap the sewer drain-- they attempted to evict me -- they kept us out of the house for months as they "repaired the home" . I used quotes because the word repair must mean something different to them than it does to me. Their repairs shrunk the house by taking away all the walls between what had been marketed to me as downstairs bedrooms, they took away the bathroom that caused the sewage problems and gave me back a house that was one bathroom and three bedrooms smaller and expected the same rent. A bad deal right? Then that house began to fall apart in large part because of their "repairs" We discovered mold, dry rot, and the house flooded because of the gutting during repair and according to contractors hired by SMC the flooding should have been expected as a result of the deconstruction done while we lived from pillar to post waiting for the house to be repaired. We were told that they should have been aware of the dry rot at the very least in their voracious deconstruction of the house we rented, a 5 bedroom, repaired into a two bedroom. Apparently they did not anticipate the result of their actions although they own hundreds of houses and have played at renovating most of them, or so they would have me believe. The aim of most renovations seems to be to turn former family residences into multiple units or multiple rent streams. We were relocated after another stint of months in discomfort, to another house, smaller, same rent, adjacent to multiple homeless encampments, downwind from a recycling plant with a steady stream of transients, a hearty rat colony, and the miracle of multiple species of flies that seem to inhabit the house year round. I too have had utility bill issues in connection with SMC as a result of them using utilities in my name to renovate a house I am no longer in. This has happened more than once, taken months to get straight and cost me money. So, this business man who is saving Oakland by increasing its tax base has no problem eating off the plates of marginalized renters who are living hand to mouth. In the process of all this I asked more than once to meet with Mr. Sullivan assuming that with so many holdings he might not be aware that our lives have become a living hell, that we lost all our meager savings, that we buried loved ones and could not have a repast at our home, that we have lost material belongings they won't replace, disrupted our lives trajectory, that our mental health has suffered and we will never quite be the same and that we are now in the throes of housing insecurity like we have never experienced. I would still like to talk to him. I would like to ask him about heaven, camels, needle-eyes and the fate of people misplaced by his takeover of West Oakland and his excursions into East Oakland, places where marginalized families could once afford to live but are now scrambling to get out from under the bus REO 1, REO 2, and SMC are driving. As a closing point, our new SMC residence took on water during the last storm and the cause has not been discovered although we spent a lovely week with repairmen who eventually just stopped coming although the problem was never resolved. They did leave me a nice message saying they would figure it out -- meanwhile; I am losing sleep wondering if that means yet another move is looming, and if we can endure it, or if after all this struggle we become just another displaced statistic . This is more than dollar amounts in personal profit, tax bases for a city, and individual business savvy it's very much connected to the fate of working class families, intentional community building (which could work in a number of ways depending on what you intend to build), real diversity in urban areas, and the outcomes of marginalized families struggling to survive.

Posted by Ayodele Nzinga on 03/25/2016 at 11:52 AM

Re: “Oakland Police Commission Battle Heating Up

I find it interesting that police reform brings so many right-wing loonies out of the woodwork. The notion that "there is a war on the police generally promoted by the far left of the Democratic Party" is not even close to being true, and has been effectively debunked by the Washington Post {https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/w…], NPR, and other major media outlets. In Oakland's case, the entire department has been under an NSA since 2003. Not because citizens are at war with police, but because of police misconduct. To say that OPD has been resistant to reform is an understatement. Progress under the consent decree has been at a snail's pace, while the CPRB has been ineffective and under-resourced. The larger question here is, what's wrong with police accountability? Wouldn't that make for a better department and more trust by citizens -- which could in turn lead to more crimes being solved? With any luck, a reformed police commission would also bring about a drop in the tens of millions of dollars Oakland pays out in misconduct suits, which comes out of the General Fund. Which means those millions of dollars aren't available for schools or parks. Painting this as an ideological or partisan issue, when it's really just common sense that police should be accountable to the community, is entirely misguided.

Posted by Eric Arnold on 03/25/2016 at 11:00 AM

Re: “Oakland Police Commission Battle Heating Up

I don't understand why journalists continue to quote Rashidah Grinage on any matter regarding Oakland police without citing facts surrounding her "activism".. to quote from wikipedia ? "On December 15, 1993, at Raphael's home in Oakland California, Grinage's son Luke got into an argument with two Oakland Police Officers. Luke Grinage got a shotgun from the house and murdered Officer William Grijalva. When the dying Grijalva and his partner returned fire, both Luke and Raphael were killed." Readers may want to know that her son Luke was being approached by officers for having a dog that had bitten someone, before he went to get a shotgun

Further information is at SF Chronicle story.. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Chil…

Relying on this person for anything regarding OPD governance calls in to question the origins of any proposal she supports (or her fellow "activists")

Posted by Scott Law on 03/24/2016 at 1:25 PM

Re: “Oakland Police Commission Battle Heating Up

Unfortunately, this article and similar articles illustrate that there is a war on the police generally promoted by the far left of the Democratic Party, which is now in control of the Democratic Party. This is particularly unfortunate for Oakland, since there is a dire need for strong and effective law enforcement in the flatlands of Oakland. There is rampant petty crime, drug dealing, guns, and danger in the streets, even nearby our largest high schools. The dangerous gang activity in the streets should be the focus of our city officials. Yet, all they do is to hamstring the enforcement activities of the police, protecting the criminals that should be put in jail effectively and positively. Those who do not understand this have no idea as to what actually goes on in the streets of the Oakland flatland. It is a crying shame.

Posted by Jerry Udinksy on 03/23/2016 at 10:30 PM

Re: “Oakland Police Commission Battle Heating Up

Passing a ballot measure will require the efforts of many volunteers and $.

Please contribute what you can at:

http://www.coalitionforpoliceaccountabilit…

Len Raphael, CPA
Treasurer

Posted by Len Raphael on 03/23/2016 at 9:47 PM

Re: “Oakland Police Commission Battle Heating Up

There is no objectivity in this proposal. Ms. Grinage is against police plain and simple; take a look at her PUEBLO group when it spread lies about a police staffing measure during Jerry Brown's mayoralty. After Lovelle Mixon killed four officers in one day.Ms. Drake criticized Oakland police for their courteous but firm rebuff to mayor Dellums' wish to speak at a funeral ceremony.

Posted by Charlie Pine on 03/23/2016 at 9:04 PM

Re: “Oakland Police Commission Battle Heating Up

Before publication of this article, Council Member Campbell Washington reached out to meet with us-we hope to have a full discussion with her on our measure in the near future.

Posted by Pamela Drake on 03/23/2016 at 10:36 AM

Re: “Hacking the Racial Divide

This comment was deleted because it violates our website's Terms Of Use. People who repeatedly violate our policies will lose their ability to post comments. You can read our entire Terms Of Use here.

Posted by Editor on 03/23/2016 at 12:37 AM

Re: “Loopholes in ADA Law Make "No Pets" Clauses Nearly Impossible to Enforce

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

Posted by Editor on 03/21/2016 at 12:02 PM

Re: “The Senator Versus Coal

I applaud Senator Hancock for the strong stance on avoiding new coal and fossil fuel infrastructure. It is imperative that we massively reduce our use of fossil fuels as soon as possible to avoid catastrophic impacts from human forced climate change. Reducing and eliminating new fossil fuel infrastructure is an important step in that direction. However, the Senator is making one major and unfortunately common climate science mistake, that regarding mitigation with offsets. The science shows that essentially it is physically impossible to "neutralize" (i.e. offset) the emissions from our burning of fossil fuels. This is an issue that in other instances the East Bay Express is excellent at calling in to question, but in this article the assumption was left unchallenged. California Cap-and-Trade is premised upon a common but erroneous assumption, that we can compensate in any meaningful way with Offsets for the irreversible emissions impacts from burning fossil fuels. Stakeholders who have expressed this view in the development of California climate policy have been marginalized, and the concept of offsets has gained popularity and acceptance, regardless of the dubious nature of the science that is used to justify offsets on both environmental, social, and economic grounds. Perhaps another important legacy that Sen Hancock could leave is to require a rigorous scientific assessment of California Cap-and-Trade, whose environmental and social impacts have yet to be reviewed in a substantial manner. The incredible effort to inhibit new fossil fuel infrastructure would be complimented by a policy push to see that California climate policy is informed by the best available climate science.

Posted by Gary Graham Hughes on 03/20/2016 at 1:41 PM

Re: “Hacking the Racial Divide

This comment was deleted because it violates our website's Terms Of Use. People who repeatedly violate our policies will lose their ability to post comments. You can read our entire Terms Of Use here.

Posted by Editor on 03/19/2016 at 7:15 PM

Re: “The Senator Versus Coal

It is amazing that in such a political year the people of Utah are allowing themselves to be bamboozled. The Utah end of this deal is as crooked as a summer day is long. At this end, it is appalling that Phil Tagami would get involved in this fiasco.

If Asian countries are importing less natural gas from nearby Australia, than expected, Russia has more natural gas than Europe wants to buy and China is cutting back on coal production and burning so that people in Beijing can keep breathing, who will buy this coal. The only winners in this deal will be the investment bankers selling the Utah bonds. People, don't you get it?

Posted by Ken Gibson on 03/19/2016 at 5:37 PM

Re: “The Senator Versus Coal

Thank you Senator Hancock. In Vallejo we too are fighting against a private deep-water industrial port that no doubt plans on shipping coal. The draft EIR used those scary words "bulk goods".... nothing good about it. The SFBCDC stated numerous times a port is not needed and will harm the bay. Please help shut down damaging projects such as the VMT/Orcem debacle. www.freshairvallejo.com

Posted by Boudicca Hot-toddy Todi on 03/18/2016 at 12:11 PM

Re: “Toxic Incense

Makes sense to me. No matter what is being burned, whether it be incense of ANY ingredients natural or otherwise, paper, brush piles, cigarettes or any tobacco products for that matter, wood in a campfire/fireplace/backyard fire pit; all are smoke and all smoke is toxic. Yes they vary in the level of toxicity, but toxic is toxic and I avoid all of them. I also do what I can to reduce or limit exposure to my family. Incense always has given me a headache and made me feel like crap within a short amount of exposure to it and usually for the rest of the day.

Posted by Benjamin Maes on 03/17/2016 at 5:01 PM

Re: “The Senator Versus Coal

For the few folks who went to school in the 40s ,when instructions were less politicized , can remember we were told that we are still coming out of the prior ice age. We were also burning an awful lot of coal all over the world.Last season we were told that California will soon be uninhabitable because of lack of H2O . Hope yours is not one of the houses sliding down the hill because of the drought Many of our fellow Californians seem to suffer from delusions of grandeur as to how much our physical behavior influences the rest of the world . This coal will be shipped from someplace on the west coast. Concentrate on having the coal people controlling the dust , and add a few more Oaklanders to their payroll. Funny, in the 50s Oakland was a thriving City with factories , fruit packing companies , Owens glass made the containers and Contra Costa County had less than 200,000 inhabitants . In retrospect , it makes one wonder how our political leaders sold Oakland down the river for 5 cents on the Dollar . Mostly it was with "well meaning " "decisions which then drove commerce out of town. Just think of how much dirt blows in the air from air planes of the Oakland airport. Your coal dust will pale to the jet exhaust . Hey, lets get rid of our airport. Time to stop commenting , to keep an old man's blood pressure down.

Posted by Helmut Jacobi on 03/16/2016 at 8:12 PM

Re: “Gay Priest Ousted By Conservative Bishop

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

Posted by Editor on 03/16/2016 at 6:45 PM

Re: “The Senator Versus Coal

Loni Hancock is doing the right thing.

Posted by Vince Rubino on 03/16/2016 at 5:00 PM

Re: “The Senator Versus Coal

Utah is a beautiful but largely uninhabited area, they should be able to tuck that coal dust in some dry uninhabited spot.

Posted by Ed Ellis on 03/16/2016 at 3:34 PM

Re: “Revolving Doors at John George

THANK YOU, Carol for your comment from one who knows. This article is finally explaining the financial incentives causing the nightmare scenario for us parents of mentally ill adults who have been trying to get help for our loved ones for years.
There is such a need and so few resources, added to the fact that so many people with mental illness cannot understand that they need treatment. And due to HIPAA laws, their family members are often left in the dark and unable to help. Too many of our loved ones are ending up in jails and prisons where they have little chance of getting any treatment at all.
We must change this. Tim Murphy's Bill H.R. 3717 could be a start at addressing this dreadful cycle and revamping our mental health care nonsystem. Our loved ones need help.

Posted by Linsay Aikman on 03/16/2016 at 2:48 PM

Re: “The Senator Versus Coal

I applaud Senator Hancock for doing the right thing. Too many politicians roll over and play dead when offered money by the fossil fuel industry.

Given that January and February of this year are so far off the top of the charts when it comes to high temperatures, all of human society should be accelerating our move to get off fossil fuels rather than figuring out ways to burn more.

Exporting coal to burn in Asia is madness as it will contribute to rising sea levels in the Bay Area, to more droughts, floods, fires and more violent storms and hurricanes. Is that a future we want to give to our children and grandchildren?

Posted by Chris Darling on 03/16/2016 at 10:29 AM

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