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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Opinion

Re: “Getting Smart About Public Safety

Kaplan is nothing more than a political panderer.

Did you know she has threatened to cut the police force further if Oakland residents do not renew the Measure Y taxes? Mind you, this comes after the fact that Oakland residents paid Measure Y taxes and yet, the City Council still cut the police force while these taxes were being collected. Kaplan had absolutely no right to make those threats!

11 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by John Blankenship on 04/24/2014 at 6:47 PM

Re: “Getting Smart About Public Safety

This piece of writing is a perfect example of why Oakland’s electeds are completely over their heads regarding how to manage Oakland’s resources and to meet our needs for better public safety.

Kaplan is right on one matter--Oakland cops haven’t been used well to control crowds and the costs of this are unaffordable.

Kaplan’s approach is utterly misguided and is typical of our governmental dysfunction. It’s misguided because it looks at only one aspect of a complex series of problems, thus any resulting policymaking is virtually guaranteed not to solve the problem at hand and to cause further problems.

Oakland’s police/public safety/finance problems all have to do with our lack of a comprehensive plan to deal with them and no specific official or agency with the responsibility to carry such a plan to fruition.

Rather than looking at one little aspect--crowd control failures and costs, we need to create a public safety plan which looks at what resources we have, what resources are needed and needs to set specific priorities and goals for moving forward. We also need a competent agency to manage such a plan and all related resources--comprehensively, day-to-day. Most cities which do this successfully have a police commission and/or commissioner--someone who knows how to run a cop shop efficiently and ethically.

7 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Michele Ocla on 04/24/2014 at 2:24 PM

Re: “Getting Smart About Public Safety

I am the World's Smartest Leader. God tells me to spread the Community Empowered Safety Plan to the world and an army of the righteous will spring forth to bring World Peace to Earth. No kidding.

20 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Peter Yuan Liu on 04/23/2014 at 4:43 PM

Re: “Getting Smart About Public Safety

Unfortunately Rebecca (the red) Kaplan has just taken up space instead of getting into the grit of explaining in great detail how to re form OPD. even worse for demotro polis. It is a fluff piece that Kaplan has written trying to absolve herself of complicity in the abysmal performance of OPD. OPD has had the greatest payouts per capita of any city in the region. There is no doubt that OPD needs reforming. She's correct in pointing out that "drag stabilized rounds" aren't to be used for crowd control and that's what OPD used- so is RK asking for the officer in charge badge? Not really and Oaklanders paid $4.5MM and $2MM in this instance. She's arguing that OPD should not be used for crowd control- she's not afraid, lol. remember the downtown riots? Of course there has to be some public safety units to respond to rioters. She goes on with meaningless statistics- there hasn't been a riot in a while so when she averages out crowd control on a daily basis one would think OPD is actually deploying 20 officers a day for crowd control- I don't believe they are. They are deployed when needed. She states she wants more police- almost everybody does except for Dan Siegel- however even with the police academy's we only have 647 officers and how many on sick leave? 647 according to all except Siegel are too few but our finances are limited. RK how are you going to pay for more officers (and at $250,000 a pop how many can we afford? Lay it out please. How must we say no to gun crimes, robberies, and home invasions- she doesn't say. She says she'd rather spend the money on technology- but the officers still need $24MM in radios, pretty basic. RK has a many problems with OPD 1. she is accused of comparing them to abusive priests and she was at a protest ostensibly blocking officers from performing their work.

I agree with her that "Oakland residents deserve to know we are making the best use of public safety resources that we possibly can." I would argue that Oakland residents deserve the best use of resources- not only OPD but every other department. We see very little value for dollar here :(

12 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Jeff Diver on 04/23/2014 at 3:57 PM

Re: “Getting Smart About Public Safety

the police came to my door 5 times in one year for noise complaints from my downstairs neighbor. the noise? my partner's snoring. 5 times. 2 officers. the last time, they apparently stood outside of our apt for 20 minutes listening for the mystery noise. if we had lived in fruitvale or further into east oakland and not at a building on the lake, would snoring be cause for 5 visits from 2 officers? as lovely as the officers were on their visits, it strikes me as a poor use of resources.

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Edward Cervantes on 04/23/2014 at 2:20 PM

Re: “Getting Smart About Public Safety

the city of oakland should pass legislation which makes paying out settlements and lawsuits for police misconduct, brutality, and murder with taxpayer funds a crime . these lawsuits should be paid with the offending officers' and their superiors' own funds, along with funds from police union and whatever city officials are authorizing these uses of force . every officer causing loss of funds due to their unconstitutional actions should be immediately fired, and the intent to do so should be written into law . every officer charged or accused with violence or other unconstitutional actions against people should be immediately suspended without pay until the matter is resolved

people are locked up until trial when accused (quite often wrongfully on purpose) of any crime, unless we can afford bail . this should be the same for police officers, especially those with a history of unresolved (ie dismissed by their buddies in blue) complaints

we need a government that will pressure prosecutors to file and actively pursue convictions against every officer who breaks the law . we need to end the policy of 'internal' investigations, and hold police accountable through the courts for every infraction, including every illegal abduction without evidence, every lie in court, every instance of misconduct which violates a person's civil rights

the violation of a person's civil rights is a felony

the city of oakland, having made decisions to waste money hiring bill bratton, and waste money starting war against people for exercising our constitutional rights, is operating as an illegitimate government . it's time you all step aside and make room for the people of oakland to re-create government BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE

0 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by demotro polis on 04/23/2014 at 12:11 PM

Re: “Oyster Company's Appeal Is a Sham

Don't know about you, but I like to eat, and the idea of cutting off 40% of the shellfish California produced during the middle of a drought, creating more scarcity and higher food prices does not feel like a smart move on the part of our government. In case you aren't familiar with oysters, they clean the water. The shells they produce are non-toxic.
These kind of moves by against food producers are driving up prices all over the country and will hurt a lot of incumbent Democrats in November.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Sebra Leaves on 04/20/2014 at 2:33 PM

Re: “Ban Fracking Now

Fracking has been around for 65 years. You wonder how many farms we're contaminated with the 500 to 700 chemicals they use. We live in what is called the Pacific Flyway. Where birds fly, north and south in the fall and spring. You wonder how many birds have stopped to drink, from the holding ponds laced with these deadly chemicals.
Over 2,00 Fracking sites already in our state, with holding ponds that are allowed to evaporate and contaminate the very air we breathe.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Phillip Moya on 03/27/2014 at 3:59 AM

Re: “Save Water the Delicious Way

Kristie Middleton got it right. Reducing (or eliminating) consumption of animal products needs to be recognized as the number 1 water-saving strategy for Californians to focus on.

The New York Times printed an op-ed by James McWilliams of Texas State University on March 8 ( in which he says: "Changing one’s diet to replace 50 percent of animal products with edible plants like legumes, nuts and tubers results in a 30 percent reduction in an individual’s food-related water footprint. Going vegetarian, a better option in many respects, reduces that water footprint by almost 60 percent."

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Michael Kevin Sage on 03/21/2014 at 12:15 PM

Re: “Save Water the Delicious Way

Give up lawns, golf, meat, showers, toothbrushing and most of all, sex. Making more people is absolutely the worst way to use up our limited water supply.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Michele Ocla on 03/20/2014 at 8:45 AM

Re: “Save Water the Delicious Way

I have a better idea. Quit irrigating golf courses. Quit having lawns.
I eat grass raised beef, lamb, and mutton raised on unirrigated pastures and high desert scrubland. This is a good use of fragile, drier soils when well managed. Plowing and farming these areas leads to such fun as the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

I don't have a lawn; I have a native plant habitat for indigenous birds and insects. I also have a wood chip covered back yard with a small orchard and raised garden beds. We use significantly less water than average.

Oh - and don't complain about the rice paddies in the central valley as they have replaced the traditional resting places for migratory birds since the traditional resting places were destroyed by development. The swallows no longer return to Capistrano since the grain fields were destroyed for expensive housing and estates.

And we could quit growing grapes; it isn't as if wine is an important part of anyone's diet. If we must use irrigate, let's use it for food.

4 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Nadja Adolf on 03/20/2014 at 2:43 AM

Re: “Let's Not Sweep Substance Abuse Under the Rug — Again

The proposal to make Coyne a drug-free academic-themed house makes perfect sense to everyone but the emotion-riddled clones who cannot see that they are still part of the problem.

0 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by H Nicole Anderson on 03/10/2014 at 11:29 PM

Re: “Resident Doctors Deserve Respect at Children's Hospital Oakland

I know a first year intern at CHO, and she clearly works 60 to 80 hours per week. The shifts always go well beyond the 8 or 10 hours that are scheduled, and night shift is often followed by work the next afternoon. Will the work get done with fewer residents?
No. The legal liability and risk will increase, the length of stay will increase, the ER will get more backlogged, and there will be more frustration by parents of the children due to lack of attention to their children's care. The price will be paid in other ways. The residents work very, very hard as it is.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Marianne Burns on 03/07/2014 at 10:54 PM

Re: “Let's Not Sweep Substance Abuse Under the Rug — Again


Nice try at 1984 logic, but no where does VonKaenel mention cost of going to the hospital as the motivation for the woman letting her boyfriend risk death because she refused to call 911 while he was unconscious. Vonkaenel only mentions the fear of eviction. So basically the choice was risk death vs. risk eviction, and the woman chose to protect herself from eviction and let her boyfriend suffer. This was a 20 year old adult, not some dumb teenager.

Next 1984 item from you -- you claim the woman who risked her bf's life was just cautious. Nope -- Vonkaenel says she was afraid for his life. Big Brother has nothing on you, Hunter.

And you say VK was just trying to add more info to the "calculation". Sure -- it's not enough that the woman felt afraid for the life of her bf -- that wasn't enough info to get her to call 911. She needs more info. Riiiiiiiiiiiiight. I call bs on your attempts at revisionist argumentation, Hunter.

The bottom line of Vonkaenel's article is that students who openly and constantly break rules should be coddled and understood. And Vonkaenel is of course for rule-breakers -- she herself was too damn lazy to get outside to smoke her cigarette -- and instead smoked inside and damaged her room. All of her arguments are tainted by the fact that she believes rules should be broken. I'm glad the woman's bf didn't die -- but if he did, I would love to have seen Vonkaenel approach the guy's parents at the funeral and explain why she thinks the woman was right in letting her bf die.

2 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Andre Jackson on 03/06/2014 at 1:45 PM

Re: “Resident Doctors Deserve Respect at Children's Hospital Oakland

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 03/05/2014 at 4:20 PM

Re: “Resident Doctors Deserve Respect at Children's Hospital Oakland

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.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 03/05/2014 at 3:51 PM

Re: “Resident Doctors Deserve Respect at Children's Hospital Oakland

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, 0 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 03/05/2014 at 1:20 PM

Re: “Let's Not Sweep Substance Abuse Under the Rug — Again

Uh, I think you missed the point, Andre. The author isnt supporting her friend's choice, she's arguing its a choice that shouldnt have to be made in the first place. Its hard to judge without all the details - it doesnt say he was unresponsive, limp, etc, just that his breathing had slowed to a level that scared her and caused her to be on guard, so she spent the entire night regulating his breathing to ensure his life wasnt in jeopardy. Its tragic, but the reality is people have to make calculations all the time about wether or not to seek medical attention - mainly the cost of hospitalization. I imagine the boyfriend might have been a little pissed if he got evicted and a $1000 medical bill when medical attention wasnt even necessary. The point I think the author was trying to make is that society should not be adding more burdens into this calculation, it isnt a calculation that should have to be made. We should be doing everything we can to remove the barriers which discourage people from seeking medical attention. She isnt defending her friend's actions. simply relating a story that I'm afraid is not all that uncommon. The point is that her friend should have called an ambulance -shouldnt have had any second thoughts about calling one-, and the pair shouldn't have been evicted for that choice.

15 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Hunter Rose on 03/01/2014 at 1:55 PM

Re: “Let's Not Sweep Substance Abuse Under the Rug — Again

Is this writer serious? She supports the woman who decided that her lease was more important that her boyfriend's life? And then vonKaenel suggests others will do the same and instead of condemning them, she wants to coddle them.

And the ending says it all -- vonKaenel herself is someone who knowingly breaks rules and got kicked out of Coyne.

6 likes, 18 dislikes
Posted by Andre Jackson on 02/28/2014 at 11:19 AM

Re: “Why We Oppose the Oakland Spy Center

This is a horrible idea. When will cities get a clue that crime is attached mainly to a lack of decent, dignified jobs & truly affordable housing? "Affordable" being housing affordable to someone working full time minimum wage. Pour money into housing that is actually affordable, bar corporations from buying up homes to artificially prop the prices, and support local democratically run businesses, and crime will drop.

1 like, 3 dislikes
Posted by JJ Noire on 02/27/2014 at 3:11 PM

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