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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Feature

Re: “An Intentional Homeless Community

Why should the government supply housing? That money comes from the middle class. Why should the middle class have to pay for laziness? Ridiculous article.

Posted by Garry Ovalbach on 02/09/2016 at 5:55 PM

Re: “Trapped Part Two: The Vicious Cycle of Trauma

The two in-depth articles on the California parole board illustrate mental problems, not of the inmates seeking parole but of parole board members. I'm no mental health professional, but I see cruelty and sadism in the actions of the board members toward the inmates during the hearings. Their "reasons" are nothing more than excuses for their own sick behavior. They also exhibit the same range of attitudes - smug, self-satisfied, judgmental and unreasonable - that I have seen in criminal court from DAs, judges and even bailiffs, treating inmates and their friends and families with contempt in the courtroom.

Posted by Jan Van Dusen on 02/05/2016 at 10:04 AM

Re: “The Gunrunner and the Peacemakers

“Much of the political thinking about violence in the United States comes from unfavorable comparisons between the United States and a series of cherry-picked countries with lower murder rates and with fewer guns per capita”



Posted by Kurt VanderKoi on 02/04/2016 at 5:13 PM

Re: “Cap and Clear-Cut

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 01/29/2016 at 3:47 PM

Re: “Top Ramen For Life: The Student Loan Crisis

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.

Posted by Editor on 01/29/2016 at 8:42 AM

Re: “A Father's Quest

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 01/28/2016 at 11:13 PM

Re: “The Gunrunner and the Peacemakers

A good story very well told. On the other hand I would draw some quite different conclusions and point out some seemingly obvious points neglected by the writer.

Gun control laws generally speaking, as the article suggests, are not particularly effective in reducing gun availability or gun violence. Certain gun control laws, on the other hand, seem to be very effective. Among the effective laws are those, as put forth by the Obama administration, to set up a nationwide system for gun purchase data and eliminate loopholes where guns sale information is not taken and entered into the national system.

"Symbolic" gun control laws, as promoted by Oakland Council member Gibson McElhaney and her chums on the Council, are entirely useless and actually are harmful because they divert attention from local government action which actually might be helpful. Residents of Oakland's city hall spend a lot of time in symbolic action. Far too much time in the light of the neglected potential for doing something actually useful.

Pointed out but not emphasized in the article was the excellent problem-solving work done by local, state and federal law-enforcement. One of the long term limitations on this kind of truly effective work locally has been the longstanding failure to provide Oakland cops with useful crime data analysis resources.

A last point, egregiously neglected in this tale, is the central, driving problem of violence in Oakland. Guns in Oakland do not create the violence here--they are used in service to that violence. Oakland stands out now, as it has for half a century, as a more-violent city in an apparently increasingly less-violent state. It behooves all of us who are truly concerned about violence in Oakland to take a close look at the pertinent causes of violence in Oakland: inequality, institutional racism, profound governmental failure to provide adequate services to about 25% of our neighbors and so on.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 01/27/2016 at 9:35 AM

Re: “Cap and Clear-Cut

Millions of forest people could lose their homelands and livelihoods, if California’s Cap and Trade buys REDD *1 carbon credits.
Trading REDD+ (REDD) carbon offsets without enforcing forest people’s land tenure & human rights will accelerate climate change & land grabs.

This article convincingly presents the ineffectiveness & local danger of California’s Cap and Trade(AB32) . But it understates the global suffering, dislocation & acculturation AB32 will cause due to buying carbon offset through REDD as it currently is written.

At the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21) Pennie Opal Plant of the group ‘Idle No More Solidarity San Francisco Bay’, shouted at Governor Brown "Richmond, California says 'no' to REDD!”…”no' to evicting indigenous people from their forests…!” Eviction is just the beginning.

AB32 is targeting Acre, Brazil for REDD cap and trade. ”According to Ninawa Huni Kui, the president of the Federation of the Huni Kui people in Acre, Brazil in the Brazilian Amazon, the community he is from, is no longer to fish in their own land, to cultivate food, or to practice agriculture. All of these activities are banned and have been declared illegal, and people are jailed if they participate in agriculture or go fishing. Leaders are being criminalized for opposing the [REDD] project.”

One of the most cost effective methods of sequestering carbon, REDD’s main goal, is by recognizing and enforcing the land & resource tenure of forest people . A. Agrawal’s study “shows that the larger the forest area under community ownership the higher the probability for better biodiversity maintenance, community livelihoods and carbon sequestration.” “The growing evidence that communities and households with secure tenure rights protect, maintain and conserve forests is an important consideration for the world’s climate if REDD schemes go forward, and even if they do not.” according to Agrawal, A. (2008) ‘Livelihoods, carbon and diversity of community forests: trade offs and win wins?’

World Bank SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT WORKING PAPERS Paper No. 120/December 2009 stated, "…the cost range of recognizing community tenure rights (average $3.31/ha) is several times lower than the yearly costs estimates for …. an international REDD scheme ($400/ha/year to $20,000/ha/year).” "…a relatively insignificant investment in recognizing tenure rights has the potential to significantly improve the world’s carbon sequestration and management capacity…, prioritizing policies and actions aimed at recognizing forest community tenure rights can be a cost-effective step to improve the likelihood that REDD programs meet their goals."

Tropical forested countries have very poor land tenure rights enforcement record for forest people. Living on Earth”(LOE) radio reported, that “governments own about 75 percent of the world’s forests, less than ten percent legally belong to communities. In Indonesia, 65 million people live off forests—most of them have no official rights to the land they consider theirs. In the eyes of the Forest Ministries, they’re squatters occupying a national resource.”

Even Brazil which has a better record than most Tropical countries, has failed to adequately recognize & enforce resource & human rights. “Clear ownership records exist for less than 4 percent of the land in private hands throughout the Brazilian Amazon, government officials said… …In the state of Pará, officials have discovered false titles for about 320 million acres, almost double the amount of land that actually exists, according to federal officials.” New York Times, December 26, 2009 by Alexei Barrionuevo.

?Got The Golden Rule?
The REDD agreement is only requesting that REDD participants address land tenure rights, forest governance, safeguards and participation for marginalized traditional forest peoples. Would the Paris Agreement negotiators and REDD promoters sign an agreement not to have their family’s property rights or human rights enforced but just request them to be addressed? Not securing those rights prior to REDD funding or payment for marginalized forest peoples with minimal legal means and sophistication is unethical, not the “Golden Rule”.

“Given the history of land tenure and conflict in most Tropical countries with large remaining forests, it is implausible and inefficient to believe that rights being requested at the country level will be sufficient. After remote forests & their peoples are put on REDD’s radar it will be a rearguard nightmare to try to stem the suffering, dislocation & acculturation. Either amend REDD to stipulate recognition & enforcement of resource and human rights prior to funding or do not increase interest in those forests by introducing REDD without rights.” commented Forest Keeper to Mike Gaworecki’s Mongabay 12–14-2015 article. 

Abdon Nababan of Indonesia, Secretary General of Indigenous Peoples' Alliance of the Archipelago told LOE: ” I think nothings wrong with REDD, if the implementations put indigenous peoples' rights as a precondition. We have the same goals with REDD+, to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, but if they put that in a market scenario, if they put REDD into the hands of corporations, the REDD + will colonize our territory.”

Forest Keeper continued, “REDD could be amended, so that it would stipulate that forest communities’ resource customary rights shall be secured and enforced before REDD funding is granted for anything other than implementing that legal land tenure process. These rights of resource tenure should be secured for at least three times the life of the oldest tree species in the forest in question and 51% of REDD+ funds or carbon offsets received by the national or sub national Government should be matched by those entities and provided to the forest peoples for the recognition & enforcement of these rights.”

California is in the environmental vanguard it could push REDD to recognize and require land tenure and human rights; it could improve Cap & Trade or replace it with a progressive environmental footprint tax.
?AB32 supporters, what is the strategy to ensure REDD requires the recognition and enforcement of customary resource tenure and human rights for forest peoples prior to REDD payment or funding?

While Daniel Nepstad comments to this article refers to some COICA leaders speaking in favor of REDD. Not all COICA leader’s believe that REDD sufficiently guarantees their land rights. Jorge Furagaro Kuetgaje, climate coordinator for COICA, the Indigenous People of the Amazon Basin stated, “For us to continue to conserve the tropical forests … we need to have strong rights to those forests. Death should not be the price we pay for playing our part in preventing the emissions that fuel climate change. A Global Witness report found "that at least 116 environmental activists were murdered in 2014, and 40% of the victims were indigenous." 

The human rights & land tenure record of Tropical forested countries is alarming. Global Witness’s Nov. 30, 2015 Press release stated, “At least 640 land and environmental activists have been killed since the 2009 climate negotiations in Copenhagen - some shot by police during protests, others gunned down by hired assassins." Nepstad & other REDD supporters can always find groups confident enough in their land tenure to participate in “Sectoral REDD” activities, but they are a minuscule minority of the world’s forest people. The vast majority of forest people need those rights now and even more if exposed to REDD.

Mike Gaworecki’s 12-14-2015 Mongabay article states, “Indigenous peoples and other local forest communities are known to be excellent stewards of their land, but according to the Indigenous leaders assembled in Paris, their ability to protect the forests they call home is often limited by lack of legal and financial support, especially when they lack title to their traditional lands… …The provisions on human rights and ecosystem integrity in the Paris Agreement are aspirational, however, meaning they are not binding requirements and must be implemented on the ground before they begin to make any kind of difference — and while it’s easy to make commitments on paper, it’s often far harder to make them a reality.”

The history of land rights & human rights for the world’s 1.2 billion forest people *2 suggests that these rights should be required prior to REDD funding; currently they are not stipulated. Global Witness continued, “Most murders occurred in Latin America and Asia with far fewer reported in Africa, however this may be (due) to a lack of information…. …Justice is rarely given to murder victims. Killers are rarely brought to trial and often acquitted when they are. In Brazil, fewer than 10 percent of such murders go to trial, and only 1 percent see convictions.”

Forest Keeper stated, “The promotion of REDD without requiring these rights makes these people & their forests much more endangered. The world’s unprotected forests and their peoples primarily exist because these forests were not profitable to exploit due to inaccessibility or danger. REDD is creating an economic incentive to now make these forests and their peoples much more profitable to exploit but without requiring the enforcement of the rights that will protect forest peoples & create well regulated markets. Carbon credit entrepreneurs, Government entities and NGOs have started promoting REDD without the enforcement of required safeguards in the last remote forests.”

*1REDD+ as it reads after the 2015 Paris Climate Conference

*2 Mongabay posted on 5-16-2012, “Up to 20% of humanity (is) directly dependent on forests.
Despite a global trend towards urbanization, some 1.2-1.7 billion people worldwide remain primarily dependent on forests for their livelihoods, reports a review published by the Forest Peoples Programme.
The figures exclude people who are indirectly dependent on forests for the services they provide, including climate regulation, provision of clean water, and carbon sequestration.
 The data, which comes from an array of sources, indicates that the vast majority of people dependent on forests are small-holders, who rely on subsistence agriculture or agroforestry. Only a handful of forest people remain truly nomadic.

The report notes that 200 million of the world’s “forest people” are considered “indigenous”. Estimates of indigenous people worldwide range from 454-560 million.”

Posted by Norman Lippman on 01/26/2016 at 4:06 PM

Re: “Racial Profiling Via

As an Oakland resident in the Diamond District, on a very mixed street, this makes me sad and embarrassed. I did participate in an discussion on this topic on Nextdoor and suggested that rather than being suspicious of our neighbors, we should get out and get to know them. I love the diversity of Oakland and would hate to see that change. P.S.-I love the drummers by the lake.

Posted by L.J. Roberts on 01/26/2016 at 6:52 AM

Re: “Cap and Clear-Cut

California and REDD: getting the facts straight

The anti-REDD protestors who confronted Governor Brown on December 8th were apparently assuming that California's climate policy could somehow empower and enable land-grabbing schemes that have been falsely labeled as "REDD", which is simply not true.

We (Earth Innovation Institution) are happy to see the East Bay Express cover REDD and the event we co-hosted with the Governors’ Climate and Forests task force in Paris that featured a keynote address by Governor Brown. However, we are dismayed to see important errors in the way REDD is described. Contrary to the main message of the EBE article, the kind of REDD program that California could eventually support--called "sectoral REDD"-- is already delivering important benefits to indigenous peoples and is endorsed by organizations that represent hundreds of indigenous communities throughout the Amazon and Meso-america, including the Meso-American Alliance for Peoples and Forests (AMPB) and the Amazon Basin Indigenous Coordination (COICA). The coordinator of COICA, Edwin Vasquez, participated in the second panel of the Dec. 8th event, after most protestors had departed. COICA represents 390 indigenous groups and 5000 communities across the Amazon Basin, and its leaders were in Paris voicing their support for REDD as a mechanism for supporting tribal life plans.

To learn more about what sectoral REDD programs that could some day qualify for CA support look like, including mechanisms for guaranteeing a fair distribution of REDD benefits and protection or expansion of land rights, go to the recommendations of the REDD Offset Working Group and the Air and Resources Board

Posted by Daniel Nepstad on 01/25/2016 at 9:42 PM

Re: “Cap and Clear-Cut

Your coverage of REDD is inaccurate and biased. REDD proponents have been discussing and refining their methodologies for more than 10 years, grappling with all of the issues you mention. CA is one players in a vast global effort. This short piece from OnEarth sums up the issues, progress and challenges nicely.

Posted by Jim Hight on 01/24/2016 at 5:58 PM

Re: “In Fashion, Sincerity Is the New Irony

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Posted by Lenovo Shao on 01/23/2016 at 6:38 PM

Re: “Racial Profiling Via

I think that it is about time that the people who've been targeted because of the color of their skin start to let others know WHO IS DOING THE RACIAL PROFILING, WHEN THE GESTAPO (aka the Oakland Police) HAS HARASSED THEM, SPECIFICALLY WHERE AND WHEN, AND MOREOVER, BEGIN TO PROTECT EACH OTHER FROM THE RACISM WHICH IS BEGINNING TO FESTER ITSELF IN OAKLAND!!!! The anglos would LOVE for you to disappear---do NOT let that happen!!!!

Posted by Phillip Roberts on 01/23/2016 at 6:18 PM

Re: “Cap and Clear-Cut

Incredible notion this cap and trade that trades carbon emission "offsets" on another part of the planet to destroy complete ecosystems in another. How narrowly focused on GHG reductions are we? While countless ecosystem benefits that can't even be fathomed (nor yet accounted for in our capitalistic way) are negotiated and chopped away. We are Easter Island. Can we conciously wake up, like yesterday?
Thanks for all you do, Will. Another amazing journalistic piece.

Posted by Ellen Hopkins on 01/21/2016 at 11:23 PM

Re: “Cap and Clear-Cut

The writer appears to be unasware of the forest protocol for the ARB's cap and trade program. Please read, then revise your article...

Posted by a. hultgren on 01/21/2016 at 12:23 PM

Re: “Little Miss Murder

disgustin people,,,,, burn to hell bastards

Posted by Amos Amaranti on 01/15/2016 at 2:19 PM

Re: “Trapped Part Two: The Vicious Cycle of Trauma

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.

Posted by Editor on 01/12/2016 at 9:21 PM

Re: “Bred in Abuse

I was in juvi with moses. N unfortunately fought moses in our unit (2) he was very troubled but he wasnt all bad. We were friends for the rest of the short time we were lockd up together.

Posted by Fernando Blazed Griego on 01/12/2016 at 10:00 AM

Re: “Bio Hackers

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.

Posted by Editor on 01/12/2016 at 6:42 AM

Re: “Trapped Part One: Cruel and Indefinite Punishment

From a taxpayers point of view, I feel these prisoners should be allowed a second chance. Rehabilitation is real and if a professional can determine that they have been, by all means set them free. However, they should have consequences if another crime is committed. I believe the consequences will keep them on the straight and narrow as well as keep taxpayers happier.

Posted by Garry Ovalbach on 01/09/2016 at 3:00 PM

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