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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: News

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

JohnNoMoniker's seems fixated on discrediting views on this matter by assigning labels to people. Fortunately, he has graduated from "trolls" and "heartless jackasses" to "conservatives" vs. "progressive and radical."

One would think that someone who truly believes in a progressive and radical agenda would be inclusionary and embrace and honor diversity of opinion rather than hurling slurs against those he disagrees with. But, perhaps there is hope.

With regards to a dozen friends being evicted - perhaps they are now out of danger. If they need a place to stay, I am confident John will care for his friends and take them in.

Unfortunately, the rants from that poster say nothing about the actual subject at hand. Perhaps he means to distract from the issue as a tactic.

John: If you read the article - it not about people living in unsafe places. The article is about people throwing "rent parties, ad-hoc concerts in auto-body garages, and all-night DJ bacchanals." My advocacy is about doing this with safety and holding those that create these events to a higher standard that helps ensure the safety of all.

The points about poorly choosing to live being in unsafe places are separate remarks and I stand by them. Last time I checked, lack of personal accountability is not part and parcel to a progressive agenda.

Can you move away from ad hominem attacks and try to focus on the issues being debated here? I suspect you do not like these debates because it means not everyone agrees with you. But, perhaps you will surprise the readers here.

Posted by Michael Good on 12/08/2016 at 7:56 AM

Re: “Friends Remember Integral Bay Area Artists, Musicians, and Sound Engineers Still Missing after Ghost Ship Fire

You can only assume they perished because they were trying to help people?

That's how we're different. I assume some of them were high as kits and therefore disoriented in a situation that would have been terrifying and disorienting even to somebody who wasn't high on pot, speed, you name it. You assume they were helping. I assume they were high. Hey, maybe we're both right. A couple lucky ducks managed to avoid dying because they left to go buy booze!

When the truth comes out--and it will all come out--we need to know how many of the victims had drugs in their system, and cards for Food Stamps in their wallets and purses. Including Derick Almena. Was he collecting public benefits all this time while claiming he couldn't work (sad, tragic, self-centered bipolar hoarder) and those kids, were they being put up in a hotel by child protection services before the fire? Paid for by the taxpayers? And meanwhile they were flying to Bali and buying big, hand-carved wooden beds?

The irresponsible, drug-using, public benefits sucking, bad and immature lifestyle choices...all this needs to come out in the searing light of truth.

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/08/2016 at 6:39 AM

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

I think people need to look hard at what is DIY and what are its sensible limits.

When it comes to sewing a patch on a jacket, can I do it myself or learn to do it? Sure. When it comes to doing my own electrical work, can I? Should I? If I have NO FREAKING IDEA what I'm doing? Clearly not.

This is the ugly, deadly downside of taking DIY too far...ignoring rules and laws and focusing on fun and creativity instead of mundane, necessary WORK and being a GROWN UP.

How much of this "scene" survives by sucking public benefits out of the "system" they bash with every breath? Were Derick Almena and his wife getting food stamps? SSI for his rather obvious bipoloar condition? Were the child protective services paying for a hotel room right before the fire? Or long before that?

It's time the pendulum swung in the other direction...the direction of regulation and safety and acting like a grownup and following rules.

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/08/2016 at 6:20 AM

Re: “'I'm Going To Get My Gun': Event Organizers at Ghost Ship Accused Derick Almena of Theft, Threats

In regard to who paid for the hotel...another news story in this same edition says NBC paid for that posh hotel. But if the kids were staying at a hotel the night of the fire, as they reportedly were, who paid for THAT hotel? My guess is since there was a child custody case going on, somehow the state was paying. The parents (Derick and his wife) were not considered unfit, but their living space was unsafe. So who was paying for a hotel BEFORE the fire? Probably child services. Somebody needs to dig into that.

In addition to multiple counts of manslaughter, criminal negligence resulting in death, violating multiple building codes, I think there also needs to be an investigation into whether this individual was collecting any public assistance (food stamps, SSI, etc) while partying in Bali and all the other well-documented irresponsible behavior.

But as to why this stuff was never followed up...do you know how many low-level nutcase threat-balls there are in Oakland and California and the world, generally? Law enforcement and the courts are overwhelmed with stuff. Nothing this guy was doing with low-level crime, threats, etcetera was all that notable, unfortunately.

What should have been on the radar of public officials was the death trap party space. It looks like there was an unofficial policy of benign neglect and not cracking down on artists living in these illegal spaces. Like, a building inspector went to the property...but then he just went away?

You know who is really going to pay, here? The landlord. The landlord is the only "deep pocket" in the mix. The government officials have various forms of legal immunity. The landlord is probably going to lose everything.

I would also like to point out that the behavior of Mr. Derick Ion Almena, from his creativity to his unpredictability to his utterly self-centered behavior and especially his cluttering, this all screams bipolar. He's probably been collecting SSI for a long time and using it to support his bad lifestyle choices.

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/08/2016 at 5:42 AM

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

Dig deeper. I think it would be good to know whether Derick and his wife were getting public assistance for years and years while partying in Bali and buying great big hand-carved wooden beds from Bali, and growing pot...this whole time were they getting food stamps? Claiming some disability and sucking off the taxpayers through SSI?

In fact, it would be good to check the "public assistance background" of everybody who died there...except for the 17-year-old, a minor, may he rest in peace.

Thank goodness the GROWN UPS will be taking over this country at the presidential swearing in, and working a job, obeying the law, generally acting like an adult will be the new normal.

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/08/2016 at 5:33 AM

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

Oh, ps. Mr. Good: As you make your declarations about what needs to be done, over a dozen of my friends have been evicted from their already-precarious living situations in the last 24 hours, a result of this witch hunt. More will follow, and all the city is offering is a grant aimed at professional artists who know how to game the system.

Posted by JohnNoMoniker on 12/07/2016 at 9:37 PM

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

Michael Good: You have a right to your opinions, and I have a right to assert that I (and I suspect many others) find your opinions to be quite conservative, your vote for Clinton (not exactly a progressive though admittedly better than a neo-fascist) notwithstanding. By pointing this out, I am noting that you (and many of the reactionaries commenting on this issue) and your views should be considered as part of a philosophical agenda that is at odds with the city's long progressive and radical tradition, and can't be viewed as some kind of neutral "voice of the people" as comment thread denizens often give an impression of - you are consistently projecting conservative viewpoints, and by doing so in a public forum you are being inherently political and should be judged based on your leanings thereof. Like many conservatives, you seem to imply that your ramblings are "common sense", but that sense is common to your worldview only.

Posted by JohnNoMoniker on 12/07/2016 at 9:06 PM

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

Why don't the artists make Christmas ornaments and wreaths that they can sell to make money for rent? You know, things that people want and need, things they can relate to.

Posted by Francesco on 12/07/2016 at 5:20 PM

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

John NoMoniker:

You obviously did not read my post. You spent too much time looking for a way to make an ad hominem attack - using my views on a completely unrelated subject and quoting out of context - to try to typecast me as an evil person (all Republicans are evil, right?) and as someone that is saying bad things because they have a different view than yours.

And, btw, I am a registered Democrat and I voted for Clinton. So, try to be less shallow in your thinking and grow up. Personal responsibility works better than being a victim. It is about being an adult.

I guess you think it is OK for cool dudes to create unsafe environments.

Try to appreciate that your view is not the only one and maybe, just maybe, you are wrong. "We used to have the luxury....." Who is "we" - the readers that agree with you? Only, the righteous ones only that meet with your approval?

Posted by Michael Good on 12/07/2016 at 1:43 PM

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

As usual, "suck it up buttercup" trolls are in control of this comment section. We used to have the luxury of ignoring these heartless jackasses, but since they have as of late leveraged enormous political power (one of their own is the future POTUS), we can no longer afford to ignore their venom.

Let's look at some other comments (accessible via their public profiles) from some of the pro-crackdown people on this thread to find their philosophical leanings. If you are a hardline, trickle-down economics-boosting, unabashedly pro-cop Republican you will relate to them. For everyone else (let's not forget that 4% of Oakland voted Republican in the last election), these quotes may give you pause before you give their voices any credence in this great city:

Garry Ovalbach: "How about increasing rents? Bring in wealthier people to Oakland and have the wealth trickle down? There are many other affordable cities surrounding Oakland that can be a place to live and Oakland a place to work. Affordable housing at this point is a pipe dream. Support rent increases folks."

Michael Good: "...the [police] union needs to be even more vigilant to protect its members - the public moods and emotions along with protesting activists can drive decisions that are not particularly thoughtful, clear and fair - police "discipline" driven by political committees tempted to pander."

Posted by JohnNoMoniker on 12/07/2016 at 1:15 PM

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

Y'all keep on saying there needs to be a crackdown or code enforcement. While I don't want another tragedy like Ghost Ship to happen, you have to understand what helps to create this. We live in one of the most...if not the most expensive region in the US. All though in recent months there has been a bit of a freeze in median price of the rental market, your average non-tech worker resident (for example, artists and creative types) cannot afford to pay $1,600 + a month for a hole-in-the-wall studio in Downtown Oakland. Also, there aren't a lot of nightlife options anywhere past 2 am. I will say it is a lot more complicated than that but the combination of the two definitely encourages people who live in warehouses and are able to supply space for nightlife events to go that route. Personally, I think a program like the one in New York (can't remember the name) which helps warehouses get up to residential building code would be a better middle ground solution.

Posted by Joshua Gaerlan on 12/07/2016 at 12:45 PM

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

No one is being "forced" to live in unsafe warehouses. Those that do so are making a choice. They choose to live in one of the most expensive places to live in the country in order to meet some other social and cultural needs they perceive must be more important than safe and decent housing. Not a choice most would make - but the choice they make. Using "forced" as the description is victim mentality.

It is not the taxpayer's job nor is it the local government's job to subsidize those that want to live in the fringes by artistic choice. We have too many other problems - be it housing for the poor (not 20 somethings making a lifestyle choice), enough food for people, education and public safety from crime and violence.

This article is not about living conditions. This article is about concerts, parties and the like. There you have people invited into often unsafe and unlicensed facilities. Those responsible for arranging the gathering (and charging for it!) are in a whole new realm of accountability for the safety of others. Accountability for ensuring the safety of others and having these gatherings go hand in hand, whether you like it or not. That is why the regulations are there. Not getting caught and/or thinking you know safety limits better than the regulators is no OK. Especially when the victims, their families and the public at large are the ones who take the hit.

No doubt about it, this fire was a terribly tragic, preventable disaster. That is not a reason for witch hunts but nor is it a reason to encourage or permit people to continue to make dumb and irresponsible decisions.

Posted by Michael Good on 12/07/2016 at 11:34 AM

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

my heart breaks at the loss of so many young artists and muscians, who are the soul of Oakland. After the end of fundraising for the victims and families,
a new fundraising drive should start to help fund safety up grades for the many warehouses used by Oakland's artists. Oakland Technology companies
such as Pandora and Uber could spear head this effort . It sems technology, although a huge benefit for Oakland, is also the driver of high rents which are forcing some into unsafe warehouses.

Posted by Judy.Belcher on 12/07/2016 at 9:09 AM

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

Safety is obviously the most important issue. All venues must be safe, as I would have hoped everyone has learned from this awful tragedy.

Beyond that, we don't need bureaucratic interference with our artistic events. But we cannot do without safety.

Posted by Dan Asimov on 12/06/2016 at 10:58 PM

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

A crack down is needed. Landlords rent to people and the people then break the lease by doing illegal activities. Often jimmy rigging electrical or plumbing to accommodate more people.The Ghost Ship better wake people up at City Hall.

Posted by Garry Ovalbach on 12/06/2016 at 8:34 PM

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

No one should die for the sake of art. Art does not get murdered when it follows the rules in a gallery. It gets better because if you want it bad enough you will jump through the hoops to get it. The can do spirit of humans has taken harder blows than this and thrived. This jackass Ion needs to be charged with murder. He is a drugged out poser that doesn't care about the lives lost. It's all about him. I bet the criminal in him wants to hide, but the attention whore side has to go for the light. What if you were at the party? Instead of complaining why don't you go out and help the underground be safe. Get a code book, read it and develop a working relationship with a fire marshal. You could do a whole series of articles on what it takes to be safe and why it so important. Or, you can sit safe behind your computer, whine and throw rocks.

Posted by Patrick Farmer on 12/06/2016 at 8:15 PM

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

"If Oakland attempts to shut down every party that doesnt have the right permits, even if its for the admirable reason of preventing another Ghost Ship disaster, then it may inadvertently snuff out the beautiful do-it-yourself spirit that animates so much of the citys soul. "

--That is so f-ed up.

Posted by Tove Beatty on 12/06/2016 at 6:14 PM

Re: “'I'm Going To Get My Gun': Event Organizers at Ghost Ship Accused Derick Almena of Theft, Threats

OMG. Dude needs a criminal defense lawyer and fast. Holy moly. Who gives the proverbial shit about how he feels? The NERVE of this BASTARD saying he didn't have enough money when he can pay for a luxury hotel (the Marriot) and was collecting market-level rents for a complete death-trap. You KNOW he is spending that money right now and, as per his poor wife (who he pulled out of rehab against her parents' wishes, and she is the mother of three who should probably be sober or close to it, but is instead with a man with a history of meth, which would explain guns, bullets and crossbows and locking people in), saying that they didn't "have enough money" is a total laugh, if it wasn't so insanely tragic.

Where did you get your money for a hotel that you're still staying in #derekion ? And for all those trips over the years on which you collected the wood items that burned in your hoarder's paradise into which you brought vulnerable people and then stole from them #derekion #ghostshipfire? To answer your rhetorical question about whether you are to blame: I see 36 counts of negligent homicide/involuntary manslaughter and a bunch of other bad stuff (karma's a bitch) coming your way.

(Some deluded folk keep saying you have a side to the story but they can't cite it nor will they defend you or say that you are a nice guy. Looks like the devil is about to get his due after letting 36 souls burn in Hell.)

Posted by Tove Beatty on 12/06/2016 at 6:10 PM

Re: “'I'm Going To Get My Gun': Event Organizers at Ghost Ship Accused Derick Almena of Theft, Threats

Dear Derick Almena, I wish you the best in your transition to art director at San Quentin prison for the next 40 years. If you don't get your money from someone at least you won't have to lock 'em up!

Posted by Joe Sampson on 12/06/2016 at 12:36 PM

Re: “Oakland Landlord Evicts Tenant, Then Hangs Pro-Trump Billboard on Building

HA HA - someone was able to deface the t-RUMP sign by throwing paint at it! Now I can smile when I drive by...

Posted by D Silverman on 12/06/2016 at 12:13 PM

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