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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Feature

Re: “West Oakland Councilmember Involved in House-Flipping Scheme

Alex Miller-Cole is a very shady developer backed by shady capital from a shady source. Is anyone surprised he's defending a shady development deal backed by shady capital from a shady source?

Posted by Mary McFarlane on 12/17/2014 at 9:03 PM

Re: “West Oakland Councilmember Involved in House-Flipping Scheme

Where there is smoke, there is fire. I cant wait to see what else find. I dont like Lynette because this is just a job for her. Wrong person, wrong job. Now, I have to go fix my park since you have done NOTHING to fix it. Oh wait, it was cleaned once in the Anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. Well, nothing else to do. Good luck getting out of this one good for nothing.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by edson1115 on 12/17/2014 at 8:26 PM

Re: “Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0

I am trying to build an alternative that allows you to simply point your iPhone at the restaurant to view/leave a review.

The rules are as follows:
* Patrons are only allowed to leave a review if you are within 15-20 meters of the restaurant.
* Your review will last for 2 months, as long as you don't receive 5 disagrees from other patrons. If you do, your review will be removed.
* To get your review to last beyond 2 months, you must receive 5 agrees from different patrons each month.
* You are only allowed to leave one review per restaurant every 2 months, this includes likes and dislikes at that same restaurant (avoiding the problems mentioned above).
* You cannot agree with your own review. You will receive notifications when someone agrees or disagrees with your review and you will be notified when your review is removed or expires.

We are doing a kickstarter project and have 16 days left to reach our target. I don't know the terms of this site so if you do a Google search for our project named iDined you should find us. I will be sharing your comments and retweeting this to my social networks.

Our prior app has already proven the technology that will be used to build this next app, again no name - this is not a call for advertising this is a call to build something better. We really desire to fix these problems: help us to build something that can't be tricked, rigged or leaves the customer last. I would like to hear from restaurant owners as well as patrons.

Yes we are still working out the issues of how we will be charging, but we are thinking that a coupon would appear to anyone who has read a review for that particular restaurant, this would be a low flat fee per month and charge for changes to said coupon or allow a per transaction coupon that would be slightly higher when the user downloads the coupon, but making it reasonable for both options. We would have a check box from the users reading reviews and leaving reviews to "request a coupon" from that restaurant. Again, no hacking of this as they must still be within 15 - 20 meters of the restaurant. This is the information our sales team would use to go back to the restaurant, not removing bad reviews.

(I spent 15 years at Cisco System working on innovation and submitted over 90 patents on their behalf, we can figure out how to do this without gaming the system.)

Please send your suggestions/comments to us to make this a better app that doesn't paint itself in the corner.


Peter M. Gits

Posted by Peter M. Gits on 12/17/2014 at 6:05 PM

Re: “West Oakland Councilmember Involved in House-Flipping Scheme

When I read this article i immediately felt bad for LGM because it is a total hatchet job. It appears that the organization made less than $50k over several small loans for real estate transactions in mainly very nice neighborhoods (is she gentrifying Rockridge?). Nothing was illegal and the tax stuff is old news. There is no sign of embezzlement or even misconduct maybe she was operating on the boarderline of her organization's mandate.

What is heartening is seeing that several other readers see right through this sensationalist reporting. Gives me hope when my fellow citizens of Oakland show off their critical thinking skills.

11 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by d1rez on 12/17/2014 at 1:29 PM

Re: “West Oakland Councilmember Involved in House-Flipping Scheme

Hou you going to have are back when you investing in your self in really hard time when we are trying to help are people

1 like, 4 dislikes
Posted by DANTE CANO on 12/17/2014 at 1:20 PM

Re: “West Oakland Councilmember Involved in House-Flipping Scheme

Sell out for the west

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by DANTE CANO on 12/17/2014 at 1:18 PM

Re: “West Oakland Councilmember Involved in House-Flipping Scheme

Clarence Johnson raises some good points about what this article doesn't report on, and despite all the sensationalist innuendo, there may be more smoke than actual fire here.

I am also a D3 resident, and the nonprofit i work with has worked with Lynette's office in the past to get a mural painted on a blighted lot. Her office was very helpful in making this happen. The mural didn't gentrify the neighborhood, but rather documented the cultural resilience of the Afro-Diasporic and Chinese-language community in the face of historical cycles of displacement. So it's easy to say that Lynette has been an ally.

I can only hope that the EBX will make it a point to put as much effort into reporting the positive contributions Lynette has made as they have into building what seems to be a weak case against her.

9 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by Eric Arnold on 12/17/2014 at 11:47 AM

Re: “Berkeley's Unequal Punishment of Teachers

Wouldn't it be nice if Berkeley Unified (Scuderi and cronies) and the town gossips focused on working with students so that they don't throw objects that hit people in the head resulting in visits to hospitals instead of picking on teachers and dividing up the staff and community at large? Your cool t-shirts and "Black Lives Matter" signs don't make up for the fact that things aren't going so well for certain marginalized groups. Teaching our children to marginalize each other by engaging BPAR and blaming teachers and workers for the world's problems is really modeling bullying and is part of the problem. BPAR is bullying and models abusing power. BPAR hearings are like a grand jury that meets, and nobody can question their outcomes, and they always side with the power position (not the teacher) . Haven't we seen enough of this? No more divided communities. Let's come together to help students and our community. 2015 is a new year. Let's be civil. Think Globally but ACT locally. Get rid of BPAR and expose the evil it has quietly put into place. Let's bring kindness back.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jack Sprat on 12/17/2014 at 11:04 AM

Re: “West Oakland Councilmember Involved in House-Flipping Scheme

I had my doubts about LGM due to some of her past anti-police and anti-gentrification rhetoric, but this article has given me newfound respect for her. Oakland already has far more affordable housing than other cities in the Bay Area, and it bears a disproportionate burden from the crime that often accompanies such housing. If anything, the city should be investing in efforts to accelerate the process of bringing in productive new residents who will contribute to our city's ongoing rebirth.

6 likes, 16 dislikes
Posted by Andrew Hatch on 12/17/2014 at 10:28 AM

Re: “West Oakland Councilmember Involved in House-Flipping Scheme

Also a D3 resident, and I find this very troubling. Embodying the process of gentrification in order to 'house veterans' and keep your organization afloat?

I'm sorry, but if your organization cannot do its mission (creating affordable housing) without engaging in its antecedent (creating non-affordable housing), perhaps the organization should shut its doors.

I happen to be a veteran, and find this 'we did it for the veterans' pretense to be a shill. If veterans were their concern, and they did 5 minutes searching they would find a local organization called Swords to Plowshares, largely comprised of veterans, establishing an immense (and admirable) amount of local affordable veterans housing, without flipping houses.

Gibson-McElhaney has also been involved with the 'San Pablo Corridor Coalition' in our district which appears to be an avenue to usher in development, chaired by real estate investor Alex Miller-Cole. First on the agenda is closing the most popular place for our neighborhood's houseless folks- St. Andrews Plaza, for 7 months to install a 'sculpture installation'.

If this is what affordable housing advocacy means to Gibson-McElhaney, I don't want it.

14 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Joshua Shepherd on 12/17/2014 at 8:32 AM

Re: “West Oakland Councilmember Involved in House-Flipping Scheme

What!? The East Bay express did what? I'm sure they are doing this just because she is black.

8 likes, 24 dislikes
Posted by Alex Miller-Cole on 12/16/2014 at 10:40 PM

Re: “West Oakland Councilmember Involved in House-Flipping Scheme

As a D3 resident, I have to say this story is one big 'meh'. It focuses too much on what Richard Reese is doing and NO amount of reporting on what LGM's non-profit is doing. From her non-profits website, they have 28 properties they manage (again, not mentioned in the article).

Her non-profit made a loan to a private investor, and that loan was paid back with additional fees and interest. Did any of this money go to purchasing rentals for lower income tenants? What was done with the money made from the 2 flipped properties went to the non-profit? The author was only able to confirm salaries up to 2012 (homes were sold in 2013).

Lastly, how is the non-profit supposed to get funding to continue to rent to low-income residents? If money invested into by the non-profit into these properties generates funding to provide affordable housing to lower income residents, then this is not much different from levying a tax on all new wealthy Oakland homeowners and using that money to pay for affordable housing.

18 likes, 21 dislikes
Posted by Clarence C. Johnson on 12/16/2014 at 9:12 PM

Re: “Oakland's Tennis Revolutionary

Excellent writing, interesting history, and perceptive analysis of what drives the creation of greatness.

Posted by Kimberly Moses on 12/15/2014 at 10:29 AM

Re: “Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0

Yep, my biz is Yelp as well. I was unwise to reach out to them to get a quote for ad space. got it and then decided to grow the page organically first. Told Steven the ad guy we are happy with the free service for now. well, a day later a 5 star excellent review was filtered and now it's down at the bottom saying "one more review that is not recommended" > What? Why? no reason.. none at all. except maybe they put our account in the "limited" account pools to get us to pay more? Not cool at all! and yes, i think its not legal. its borderline extortion because nowhere in the free biz acct does it say that your reviews will be filtered and such. bs, total bs. Pretty pissed now.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Yoana Georgieva on 12/12/2014 at 6:29 PM

Re: “Rich, Black, Flunking

The results of this research sound quite reasonable and I believe that such behavior can take place in the classroom. Moreover, I have also noticed that middle and upper class students don’t value any help at all, as they are in habit of ordering online from and they believe that everything could be bought nowadays. However, I would like to mention that there is another very important factor bringing up and atmosphere in the family. When parents respect people and value support they get, children will do the same.

Posted by Cindy Mayer on 12/09/2014 at 1:12 PM

Re: “The Tyranny of Free

Excellent article, Sam Lefebvre. I have long distrusted streaming services like Pandora and its ilk. Now I have concrete reasons for my skepticism. You were wisely linked in an email newsletter from The Last Record Store in Santa Rosa, CA. Here's hoping for wide distribution of your writing.

Support indy music!

Posted by Shawn R. Britton on 12/04/2014 at 2:00 PM

Re: “The Tyranny of Free

Fabulously helpful, clear, and in-depth piece about the old and new quandaries faced by musicians in this time. Exploitation raises its head again in sneaky guises.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Lisa B aka Lisa Bernstein on 12/02/2014 at 4:24 AM

Re: “The Tyranny of Free

Sam, I echo the comments above. This is undoubtedly the best article I've read on this topic. You not only summarized all of the royalty issues involved, some that had not been entirely clear to me, but you also do a bangup job of placing the rise of music streaming companies within the wider context of our entire inequitable political-economy. I hope this article is read around the world.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Joshua Wachtel on 11/22/2014 at 10:20 AM

Re: “Why Black Students Are Avoiding UC Berkeley

The article states that some Black students feel unwelcome because only 4% of the University campus is Black. If that figure is doubled to 8%, which corresponds to the State wide Black population in California, are Black students really going to feel that more comfortable? In a small section class of 20 students, there is a high probability that whether there is a 4% or 8% portion of the entire student population, a Black student will still be the only Black in many of his/her classes. How unwelcome so male WASP's feel if they are only 5-10% of the entire student body, especially if they came from the predominately White suburban school system?

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by George Shers on 11/21/2014 at 8:31 PM

Re: “The Tyranny of Free

Sam Lefebvre, this is an incredibly well written article. Thank you for this information.
Steven Cravis
Musician | Composer

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Steven Cravis on 11/21/2014 at 6:51 PM

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