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Comment Archives: stories: Blogs: Seven Days

Re: “FEMA Approves Funds to Thin Trees in East Bay Hills, Rather than Clear-Cutting

It is amazing how some people have forgotten the Oakland Hills Firestorm - the deaths of humans, the huge number of animals killed, the billions of dollars wasted. It is time to do something and not debate. If one delays too much the Firestorm will reoccur. And we are in a drought.

Apparently the opponents care more about their opinion than human life.

Posted by Howard Matis on 04/24/2015 at 7:16 PM

Re: “Is Jerry Brown Breaking His Prop 1 Campaign Promise?

Wow, thanks for shedding some light on this issue. It's been confusing to wade through the politics.

Posted by MDub on 04/24/2015 at 3:22 PM

Re: “Thursday Must Reads: Coliseum City Developer Pushes for $200 Million Public Subsidy; Mandatory Vaccine Bill Moves Forward

First of all, the citizens of Alameda County are still paying for the last great "deal" that brought us Mt Davis 20 years ago. Local politicians have absolutely no chance of convincing the voters of approving the expenditure of public money for this project. Those who try will be publicly skewered and they know it. Secondly, the only public contribution to the project should be the land which the City, Port and Coliseum JPA already control. Thirdly, I do not believe that the funding gap is only 100-200 million dollars. That number is being thrown out as a hook to make you think this dream is somewhere near reality. The real number is probably closer to 400-500 million. Remember that the voter approved public contribution to the goal of building a new 49ers stadium in SF was 100 million dollars. It was not nearly enough to green light the project. As a result, the stadium was built in Santa Clara and that city is still giving away concessions to Jed York. The citizens of Santa Clara are just now finding out what the real cost of that stadium is. The citizens of Oakland should learn from the past and not let incompetent politicians or their hired guns fool them.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Gary Patton on 04/24/2015 at 6:02 AM
Posted by Emmanuel Mendoza on 04/23/2015 at 10:10 PM

Re: “Thursday Must Reads: Coliseum City Developer Pushes for $200 Million Public Subsidy; Mandatory Vaccine Bill Moves Forward

A mass transit hub should be downtown, not on the edge of the city.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Mike Bradley on 04/23/2015 at 9:23 PM

Re: “Thursday Must Reads: Coliseum City Developer Pushes for $200 Million Public Subsidy; Mandatory Vaccine Bill Moves Forward

You betcha. No problem for debt-ridden Oakland to come up with another $100 to $200 million. Big developers a major ingredient of Oakland's "secret sauce."

The other big sauce ingredient, violent crime, no problem either.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 04/23/2015 at 11:22 AM

Re: “Thursday Must Reads: Coliseum City Developer Pushes for $200 Million Public Subsidy; Mandatory Vaccine Bill Moves Forward

That Coliseum proposal actually sounds halfway decent. Spending public money on stadiums is a fool's game , but a massive transit hub would actually be a good investment for the region, even if the teams leave or the stadiums fall idle.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Andrew McGuillicudy on 04/23/2015 at 10:46 AM

Re: “Tenants Disrupt Landlords' Conference in Oakland

I apologize in advance. I know "bitter battles" make good news. This just isn't one at all.

The protesters were very friendly and civil. I chatted with a number of them. I (and just about every landlord I know) recognize the need to treat everyone with respect and dignity. They also broke their barricade when we requested they allow Scott's Restaurant's employees to pass so that they could clock-in to their very difficult and necessary jobs. For that, Kudos!

I think we all agree it SHOULD be very difficult (ideally impossible) for a Landlord to unlawfully evict a good, law-abiding tenant. I'm sure any tenant will agree it should be quick (and hopefully easy) to evict a bad, law-breaking tenant.

We all know there will be a bad tenant or two giving the rest of the wonderful tenants a bad name, and a few bad landlords giving the rest of us a bad name. The responsibility of all of us is to ruthlessly pursue and correct those seeking to manipulate the system illegally for their own selfish purposes (regardless of what side they're on).

Among the topics discuss at this "toxic" meeting:
**The need to police our own** Landlords realize the key to Landlord/Tenant harmony is openly disciplining bad landlords so that tenant groups don't have to expose the shameful mess.
**How to evict squatters and drug-dealers**
**recycling systems and strategies**

Not discussed:
**How to circumvent the law to evict a good tenant for profit**

Personally, I can give examples of a few of my recent evictions:
**A minor pimp** We rented to a tenant (that passed all our screening). She left, and her "boyfriend" moved in and began pimping underage women from the unit and property. He had previous convictions for pimping minors (as confirmed by his parole officer--in writing to us). We found suitcases of female, childrens-sized clothing in his garage and unit, and had reports of strangers and very young women going in and out. Heartbreaking. What was more heartbreaking was that this continued for an extra month or two because it was very hard for us to get him out due to the inefficient eviction process.

**identity theft** A professional "tenant" passed screening, and deposit check cleared. A week after moving in, we discovered the "tenant" had stolen ID, checks, etc. from a blameless victim. My gratitude to the DA for prosecuting this case. Unfortunately, the month+ it took us to finally get the tenant out, allowed our unit to serve as a convenient space for this criminal to continue to destroy the credit and life of the victim.

I hope we are all working towards the common goal of stopping illegal evictions and speeding up legal and appropriate evictions.

This is an open invitation. I will speak to anyone, at virtually any time about any of these issues. Unfortunately for Darwin, it will likely result in Landlords and tenants being on the same page, sharing goals and working together. Heaven forbid--not really that news-worthy.

Oh--and I said lots of this to Darwin, but I honestly don't blame him for publishing only what he thought would make the best story...and spelling my name wrong. He's a reporter and these things happen.

Will you sensationalize, battle, and segregate, or will you work towards a mutually beneficial harmony? Best of luck.

13 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by James Kilpatrick on 04/23/2015 at 9:20 AM

Re: “Tenants Disrupt Landlords' Conference in Oakland

Sounds like just another way for landlords to collude in price fixing. It's funny that they say techies are the reason for the skyrocketing rental increases when they only make up 5% of the workforce in San Francisco. It's also obvious that they're price fixing when an apartment in East Oakland is only moderately cheaper than an apartment in the Grand Lake/Rockridge area.

0 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Matthew Wiseman on 04/22/2015 at 11:15 PM

Re: “Wednesday Must Reads: Amended Vaccine Bill Heads for Vote Today; State Considers Charging Higher Rates to People Who Cut Energy Use

regarding the "anti-vaxxers'" story above: I'd rather those who choose not to pump babies/children with formaldehyde, polysorbate 80, mercury, aluminum, aborted fetal tissue, Thimerosal, bovine albumin....the list goes on....as pro-health people, which is what we are. If you don't understand the dangers of injecting your body or your child's body w/ chemicals then why not give them heroin and cocaine while you are at it. Geez. Three billion dollars awarded to vaccine damaged children (my friend's baby died a day after his vaccines at age 91 days old) is not a vindication that vaccines are safe.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Mindy Stone on 04/22/2015 at 10:42 PM

Re: “Well-Connected Billionaire Expands Almond Acreage as Cities Forced to Slash Water Use

Politically very naive perspective. Only the very last sentence reveals any useful information: "subsidized Delta water."

Almonds are a healthy food, not just a snack. The cost of growing almonds, like most food using "subsidized Delta water" is kept purposefully low for political reasons, not only for billionaire investors but also for the public in general which much prefers cheap food to more expensive food. Yep, the Chinese like California almonds just like we insist on Chinese-made iPhones. Cheaper is better, right?

It's all about public policy, subsidizing of certain basic supplies and externalizing of costs like environmental destruction. Politicians get elected by making sure water (as well as gasoline and other stuff) is cheap. Pols stay in office by ignoring environmental constraints like the destruction of the Delta due to overuse of water and little things like climate change because we all prefer to drive rather than take the bus, walk or bike.

Bottom line: don't blame the rich bastard who takes advantage of the same public policies that allow all of us to be wasteful and destructive in our everyday lives. We are the ones who elect people like the environmental moron Jerry Brown. We all need to look in the mirror. We need to think about the fact that water is too cheap and so is gasoline.

8 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Hobart Johnson on 04/22/2015 at 2:24 PM

Re: “Berkeley High Retaliation Case Results in State Complaint Against School District

Thank you Brian Crowell for standing up for bullied workers everywhere! Retaliation is in rampant in many school districts. I don't care if Brian wins or looses in court. He has helped all of us. Thank You Thank You Thank You.

Posted by CJ Jenner on 04/19/2015 at 9:27 PM

Re: “Oakland Police Co-Developing a Statewide Racial Bias Training for Cops

Perfect example of the all-show, no-go approach to providing vital civic services in good ol' Oaktown.

Keep in mind that Oakland is one "hella" place where our "secret sauce" always does the trick.

Or maybe it IS the trick.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Hobart Johnson on 04/19/2015 at 2:06 PM

Re: “Friday Must Reads: California Almond Growers Expand Acreage in Drought; Governor Says Stopping Them Would Be a ‘Big Brother Move’

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.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Editor on 04/18/2015 at 2:56 AM

Re: “Updated: Court-Appointed Investigator Slams Oakland’s “Broken” Process for Dealing with Bad Cops

Ralph, aren't elected officials supposed to pander?
But to voters not police unions.

I don't see how making the City Attorney (or City Auditor for that matter) appointive by elected officials would significantly insulate them from the power of campaign contributions or endorsements because their bosses still have to raise money and collect endorsements to get re-elected.

Campaign reform similar to what we have at the Federal level, forbidding political contributions from public service unions would be a start. We forbid contributions from contractors doing biz with the city. Why not muni unions alsoL

Nor would making the position appointive correct the fundamental Charter flaw that the City Attorney's client is City Hall, not the residents.

I agree with both Chanin and Swanson that the failures of the binding arbitration have to be spread over all of City Hall and years before Parker.

I'd go further and say that problem we've had at OPD ranging from ineffectual crime reduction to police abuse, have been more the result of political failure to property manage OPD than any internal problems at OPD or its "culture."

Len Raphael, CPA
Temescal

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Leonard Raphael on 04/17/2015 at 11:05 PM

Re: “Building Homes and Jobs Act Would Generate Possibly as Much as $720 Million for Housing

I'm curious what $720 million could translate to (i.e. how many people could we shelter if we built public housing?) but this seems like a good idea.

Posted by Anthony Lyons on 04/17/2015 at 10:26 AM

Re: “Updated: Court-Appointed Investigator Slams Oakland’s “Broken” Process for Dealing with Bad Cops

Oakland is not Ferguson. But three decades of progressive leaders at City Hall have abdicated responsibility for protecting residents and fellow police officers from bad apple cops.

There are many reasons binding arbitration, not just in Oakland, is heavily skewed in favor of police officers. Explanations range from the influence of police union political campaign contributions and endorsements on local elected officials to game theories of arbitration.

Many cities do not have binding arbitration for police discipline appeals.

The only reason to keep binding arbitration for police is that protects good cops from getting scapegoated or harassed by brass because officers usually win at arbitration or get off with wrist slaps.

Unfortunately way too often, residents and other police are stuck with the bad apple cops.

Whatever the causes for the high rate of police discipline reversals by arbitrators, we should set a time limit of say two years without extension, and monitor results of arbitration. If it continues to skew in favor of police, the City Council should sponsor a ballot measure to repeal binding arbitration.

Considering Swanson's list of failures of the internal investigations conducted by OPD, it is now even more important that we support the efforts of Council Members Noel Gallo, Lynette McElhaney, and Desley Brooks to consolidate the intake of all civilian complaints against police, at a strengthened completely civilian staffed Citizen's Police Review Board.

Three years ago the Council agreed to do this but the Federal police overseer vetoed it. The current czar is staying out of what he considers something outside his mandate.

This is coming up for re-consideration this Tuesday, April 21,2015 at City Council. Agenda item #13

If you agree that we would all benefit from a credible competent civilian police review board, please email your local city council member before next Tuesday expressing support for that proposal.

It will not pass without the vocal support of residents who normally don't come to council meetings, send emails to council members, or post comments on news sites.

Len Raphael, CPA
Oakland

6 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Leonard Raphael on 04/17/2015 at 1:46 AM

Re: “Updated: Court-Appointed Investigator Slams Oakland’s “Broken” Process for Dealing with Bad Cops

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.

9 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Editor on 04/17/2015 at 12:38 AM

Re: “Updated: Court-Appointed Investigator Slams Oakland’s “Broken” Process for Dealing with Bad Cops

It is time to look again at whether an elected City Attorney is benefiting the City of Oakland. Do we want a pandering politician worried about re-election making legal decisions for the City or would we be better served by an appointed City Attorney? Based on the history a strong argument can be made for both methods of filling the office. Parker has been a clear decline in quality from Russo, but what is the best approach going forward?

14 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Ralph Kanz on 04/16/2015 at 6:24 PM

Re: “Updated: Court-Appointed Investigator Slams Oakland’s “Broken” Process for Dealing with Bad Cops

Barbara Parker is a joke. Only in Oakland could a police officer admit under oath (in deposition) his and others' participation in an extortion scheme by OPD officers against downtown Oakland club owners, and still be the go-to guy for a (dirty) search warrant, and have his sworn statement form the basis of criminal charges. Not only do we need a police commission; we need a clean sweep of Oakland City Hall, including a new Oakland City Attorney. And no, OPD has not "come a long way." It has succeeded for many years in covering up the fact that it has not complied with court orders. OPD is as corrupt as the rest of the City of Oakland and Alameda County government.

11 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Jan Van Dusen on 04/16/2015 at 6:19 PM

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