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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Seven Days

Re: “Oakland Council Should Kill Illegal Deal

It turns out that the ruling on inclusionary housing only applies to for sale units, but there are other ways to help affordable housing developers secure the funds.

7 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Pamela Drake on 06/17/2015 at 9:43 AM

Re: “Oakland Council Should Kill Illegal Deal

The question is whether or not there is the political will to do what is legal and right for the citizens of Oakland. To this point, the Mayor and City Council have failed. If they proceed to approve this back room deal, the city will be sued. The first thing a judge will check is whether or not the law was followed in regards to process for notice and disposition of public land. The second test is whether or not the city is in compliance with state planning law. The third is whether or not the city, by its action, is in compliance with it's own General Plan (Housing Element). On all counts, the City of Oakland fails. This is an easy call for the City Attorney (Barbara Parker). Her job is to keep the city out of court and avoid litigation the city has no chance of winning. She should be reminded that under Measure X, she works for the people of Oakland, not the City Council or the Mayor. Parker has not historically been strong in the land use area, but in this case, her opportunity to show leadership is right in front of her. She should not be swayed by opinions from the Mayors executive branch, comprised of City of Emeryville ex pats looking to cut developers a deal or local attorneys for hire (Wasserman) who, for the right price, will argue both sides of any land use issue.

13 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Gary Patton on 06/17/2015 at 4:09 AM

Re: “Oakland Council Should Kill Illegal Deal

Abel Guillen made a motion to redo the RFP after his first one failed but could not get a second. Despite the 1 no vote and the 2 abstentions, it's clear that the council intends to vote to sell the land anyway.

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Pamela Drake on 06/17/2015 at 12:32 AM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

I don' t think the mayor has any other choice. Spend the money to protect downtown and other sites in Oakland. Oakland is constantly in the news with protests, riots and other. Worse is to come with the Warriors either winning or losing the championship. No city official has any reason to surrender downtown to a bunch of thugs who most likely are not from Oakland either.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by J.J. Lasne on 06/16/2015 at 9:56 AM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

If Robert Gammon wanted to help stop vandalism at protests, he could do it easily. All he has to do is assign Ali Winston and Darwin Bond Graham to investigate who's doing the vandalism.

9 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Manuela Chavez on 06/13/2015 at 4:59 PM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

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.

7 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 06/13/2015 at 9:28 AM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

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.

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 06/13/2015 at 8:33 AM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

Wow. Blaming the City because vandals, and those who choose to give them cover, cost the City money when it attempts to enforce the law.

Gammon called out the Black Bloc when they acted like agents provocateur and helped turn the public against Occupy, and the same criticism should apply here. Most working class Oakland residents want the police to be doing something different, but the puny little groups who keep protesting to no effect are the ones causing the misuse of funds, not the City. The City represents our interests more fully than the narcissists in the street.

30 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Ambierce Brose on 06/11/2015 at 11:50 AM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

At some point can we stop calling it protests and call it what it is, riots. Let's go back to when these "protests" began and calculate the cost to the city. Dating back to Jan 09 when the Oscar Grant protests began, Oakland has struggled to find a balance between free speech and peaceful protests and riots. As long as legit protesters allow rioters to hijack peaceful demonstrations, the issue won't be heard. Thru my work, I have been on the front lines of all of the protests and as late as Friday June 5th, there were still protesters wearing masks, carrying spray paint and antagonizing not only police but anyone who spoke up. The media should at some point, really take a in depth look at who the protesters really are instead of continuing to vilify the police and government agencies and officials. I ask, what came first? The spending for PD overtime or rioters destroying the notion of peaceful, constructive and law abiding protests? Blaming a mayor with less than 6 months on the job is a cop-out.
Vince Mackey

39 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by Vincemackey on 06/11/2015 at 8:01 AM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

There is no ban on protests. There is no ban on protests at night.

The Mayor changed one thing: No more blocking traffic after dark without a permit. This is not a civil rights violation. This is a reasonable restriction which is not unlike restrictions upheld by the Supreme Court in Grayned v. City of Rockford and Clark v CCNV.

Protesters can march on sidewalks, they can carry signs.
They can stand on corners at intersections and wave signs.
Protesters can shout whatever they want while waving their signs.
Protesters can gather in public parks and chant and wave signs.
They can do all of this any time of day they want to, without a permit.

This is not a ban on free speech. People can still speak, peaceably assemble, and petition their government for redress of grievances. They just can't play in traffic while they do it.

43 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by Mary McFarlane on 06/11/2015 at 6:41 AM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

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.

5 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 06/11/2015 at 2:46 AM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

These pieces by Robert Gammon amount to censorship because he is using the written word to influence others to his way of thinking which amounts to obsessive slams against the establishment. Chip on the shoulder syndrome? I think there is a pattern here. Now we have protestors protesting the way they are allowed to protest. Oakland is a whiner's dumping ground.

Has he interviewed any of the innocent, law abiding business owners who lost thousands of dollars in property destruction and the domino effect that has had on their lives?

38 likes, 18 dislikes
Posted by Mary Vigilanti on 06/10/2015 at 9:55 PM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

Sorry, but it's Mr. Gammon who is out of whack. His thesis is incomprehensible. Let's simplify things. Maybe in his next column he could talk about how he would be thinking if the windows of his house were broken by these so-called protesters, exercising their rights. And just out of curiosity, let's pretend that he suddenly became the mayor. What would his policy look like?

40 likes, 17 dislikes
Posted by David Cohen on 06/10/2015 at 9:31 PM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

I agree that the money could be better spent. The only way to "pocket" the 4.7 million is to send a strong message to protestors with a no tolerance ban on night time protests. Police the next one and use more force. I propose lengthy jail time, steep fines, community service and tear gas. These people have proven not to be peaceful (look at Broadway Auto Row). The ones who are peaceful are still breaking the law and should also suffer the same hard blow by police. We have laws in this country that must be followed. I am extremely grateful to the police for protecting the majority of law abiding citizens of Oakland and equally grateful to the Mayor for following through with her promise.

34 likes, 25 dislikes
Posted by Garry Ovalbach on 06/10/2015 at 5:16 PM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

Point of column is about priorities: crowd control vs solving violent crimes against mostly black people.

Article on racism and clearance of homicides of black people:…

14 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Hobart Johnson on 06/10/2015 at 12:08 PM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

You mean to say the ACLU Nor Cal is contradicting it's own stated rules as set down by the national chapter. Oakland is not preventing protests. It is only forcing them on to the sidewalk which the ACLU has already stated is within the purview of city government. Nobody's first amendment rights are being denied. To say so is complete sidestepping of accepted rules. Regarding the OPD crowd management policy. There are major ambiguities in that document regarding the definitions and enforcement. I say let the courts decide on this. The Federal OPD monitor has not released an opinion on what OPD/Mayors office are currently doing.

35 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Gene Keenan on 06/10/2015 at 11:40 AM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

Mr. Keenan,

The ACLU opposes Schaaf's policy on the grounds that it is unconstitutional:…

"There isn’t a sundown exception to the First Amendment. We don’t want to live in a police state in which you can’t demonstrate at night."

20 likes, 35 dislikes
Posted by Robert Gammon on 06/10/2015 at 11:08 AM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

@Robert Gammon
"Moreover, it makes no sense: Why put people who want to break windows closer to those windows?"

Um, nobody is going to break windows when they are pushed up against those windows in a large crowd. You would possibly experience serious bodily harm to yourself and those around you. This is a straw man argument used by opponents of this policy change.

32 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Gene Keenan on 06/10/2015 at 11:04 AM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

Mr. Gammon,

Purposely attempting to mislead? You just acknowledged that you purposely use the phrase "nighttime protest ban" when its actually a night time STREET protest ban, citing "Numerous people inside City Hall, including people close to the mayor", whom you dont disclose, but seem to believe, even though, as you state, "it makes no sense: Why put people who want to break windows closer to those windows?".

Of course, this is the first time you ever informed your readers of EBXs decision to ignore the mayors details on street protests and report hearsay as fact.

So if I'm understanding you correctly, they mayor is banning night time protests because people at city hall told you it was because of vandals. Even though the mayor herself said its just a street protest ban, and asking these protesters to move the sidewalks actually puts these protesters closer to the windows.

You're right - it does not make any sense. And maybe thats because what "people at city hall" are telling you is just hearsay - which is why a journalists jobs is to report the facts, and not just the hearsay. Is that too much ask of the EBX?

41 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Clarence C. Johnson on 06/10/2015 at 11:03 AM

Re: “Schaaf's Priorities Are Out of Whack

No-body's right to assemble is being blocked. We are all free to assemble. It just has to be on a sidewalk at night. If you want to block traffic then you may need to get a permit. Libby is just doing what the majority that voted for her wants her to do. Put an end to the anarchists that are destroying private and public property.

Can my free speech be restricted because of what I say — even if it is controversial?

No. The First Amendment prohibits restrictions based on the content of speech. However, this does not mean that the Constitution completely protects all types of speech in every circumstance. Police and government officials are allowed to place certain narrowly drawn "time, place and manner" restrictions on the exercise of First Amendment rights — for example, permit requirements for large groups using public parks or limits on the loudness of sound amplifiers. Any such restrictions must apply to all speech regardless of its point of view

Where can I engage in free speech activity?
Generally, all types of expression are constitutionally protected in traditional "public forums" such as streets, sidewalks, and parks. In addition, you may have a right to speak in other public locations that the government has opened up for unrestricted public speech, such as plazas in front of government buildings

How about on private property

The general rule is that the owners of private property can set rules for speech on that property. If you disobey the property owner's rules, they can order you off their property (and have you arrested for trespassing if you do not comply). But your speech may not be restricted if it is taking place on your own property or with the consent of the property owner.

Do I need a permit before I engage in free speech activity?

Not usually. However, certain types of events require permits. For example:

- A march or parade that does not stay on the sidewalk, and other events that require blocking traffic or street closure;
- A large rally requiring the use of sound amplifying devices; or
- A rally at certain designated parks or plazas.

Many permit procedures require that the application be filed several weeks in advance of the event. However, the First Amendment prohibits such an advance notice requirement from being used to prevent protests in response to recent news events. Also, many permit ordinances give too much discretion to the police or city officials to impose conditions on the event, such as the route of a march or the sound levels of amplification equipment. Such restrictions may violate the First Amendment if they are unnecessary for traffic control or public safety, or if they interfere significantly with effective communication to the intended audience. A permit cannot be denied because the event is controversial or will express unpopular views
If organizers have not obtained a permit, where can a march take place

If marchers stay on the sidewalks and obey traffic and pedestrian signals, their activity is constitutionally protected even without a permit. Marchers may be required to allow enough space on the sidewalk for normal pedestrian traffic and may not maliciously obstruct or detain passers-by

May I distribute leaflets and other literature on public sidewalks without a permit?

Yes. You may approach pedestrians on public sidewalks with leaflets, newspapers, petitions, and solicitations for donations without a permit. These types of free speech activities are legal as long as entrances to buildings are not blocked and passers-by are not physically and maliciously detained. However, a permit may be required to set up tables or other physical structures

Do I have a right to picket on public sidewalks

Yes, and this is also an activity for which a permit is not required. However, picketing must be done in an orderly, non-disruptive fashion so that pedestrians can pass by and entrances to buildings are not blocked

What do I do if I get stopped by the police?

Stay calm, be polite, and don't run. Don't argue, resist, or obstruct the police, even if you are innocent or you believe that the police are violating your rights. In some states, you must give your name if asked to identify yourself, but you do not have to provide an ID or other paperwork. Make sure to keep your hands where police can see them. Point out that you are not disrupting anyone else's activity and that the First Amendment protects your actions. Ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, calmly and silently walk away.

For the full text:

38 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Gene Keenan on 06/10/2015 at 10:58 AM

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