Oakland, Berkeley, And East Bay News, Events, Restaurants, Music, & Arts
Actually, don't come to First Friday. The people in the neighborhood that actually live where it happens (me being one of them) hate it. It inconveniences and disturbs us, and the police harass the homeless people in the area that have been displaced by rising rents and illegal evictions in order to "clean up" to hide the city's inhuman treatment of homeless folks -- most of which are people of color. Two buildings for disabled people have residents that are literally prisoners on that night because they're wheelchair bound and the crowds are anything but wheelchair friendly. Drunk people cause a fuss in the streets when our children are trying to sleep. The neighborhood the days after is awash in garbage. First Friday is part of the gentrification long time residents of Oakland hate. So stay home or go somewhere else on the first Friday of the month because we don't want you here.
Wow. It has gotten bad there. I owed a home in West Oakland from 2005 to 2008. In 2004 the city of Oakland was supposed to help build a People's Co-op Grocery store where the old abandon train station is on Wood St. They didn't do this not because the funds weren't there or that they didn't have a location. The real and honest reason simply is that city officials don't care about the black community. If you live there or move there, help support community gardens, keep calling and writing to the city until they come through with their end of the bargain, and if you can help the schools out by offering to tutor kids that need it for free. It's been over ten years that the city was suppose to build the grocery store. It's time. And if you have a problem with music then don't live there. West Oakland historically was been one of the corner stones for jazz, blues, hip hop, you name it. There are several music studios in West Oakland. That neighborhood has been a black community for many generations and they deserve some respect and some nurturing.
In regards to the amount of existing housing units in Oakland and the myth that more housing needs to be built-
According to the last US Census and data from the City of Oakland, the number of vacant, habitable Oakland housing units being purposefully held off of the rental and sale market by the owner is 6.2 per every unsheltered person in Oakland.
The housing crisis in Oakland is not about a lack of housing units, it is about a lack of access to the existing housing. Access to housing is blocked not only by sky rocketing prices, it is also blocked by the city's and the state's policy of allowing housing to sit vacant in the midst of a housing crisis of historic proportions. Oakland citizens die on the streets while our elected officials allow speculator property owners to hold housing units vacant thus decreasing the supply in a time of extremely high demand. Consequently the lack of supply drives the rental prices and thus property values unattainably high.
Can anyone look into another judicial injustice in Hillsborough county florida. Gang crackdowns have sentenced a young man to 6 yrs and 8 months for florida rico violations. Look into Operation SURrender by the Hillsborough county Sheriffs operation and Pam Bondhi claiming that these young boys are the worst of the worst of the Surrenos. A real life witch hunt to further the re election of Pam Bondhi has ruined several young Mexicans lives as they have sat in county jail for over two years with Judge Holder denying every motion for bond reduction. Now forced to take a plea or get threatened with thirty years if taken to trial. The state had no evidence of racketeering or proof of two predicate acts. Makes me hate being a white american when such injustices can put an innocent young man in prison for over 6 years and ruin his future as well as his five year old sons. Sickening and nobody cares because these boys grew up in gang life. That doesnt mean they dont have the same civil rights as you and I.
Thank you for your reporting and your snarky writing, when such was not just appropriate, but required. Telling truth to and about power i.e. our senior Senator; the rot at the Coastal Commission and private profiteers in our national park are but a few examples. You published stories that other so-called news organizations turned a blind eye to or dumbed down for click bait. So, thanks, Bob. Long may you run. I've set up a Google Alert in your name and look forward to your ongoing outstanding reportage. With deep bows. Susan Ives
Rent affordability, home purchasing and the growth of the middle class is in serious jeopardy and this issue is not isolated to a few Cities. Its an issue that is growing rapid and its spreading across America as this article states. BTW to all the jack behinds commenting you should go to college and the likes...lets see recently at the Google headquarters a few Programmmers are living in utility trucks parked in the employees parking lot. There are engineers in SF currently paying for the privilaged to sleep on a couch the same amount the entire apartment should actually cost. So this isnt an issue that is solve with education as many of you Arseholes would like to chime in on. This has more to do with an elitist class whom have choosen not only to stop paying Taxes. Who have figured out that you can buy large scores of land cash using Shell Realtor Comp and speculating neighborhoods. Money Laundering you betcha!!! Panama Papers 2.0
This is a WORKING CLASS ISSUES AND THE WORKING CLASD NEEDS TO MOBILIZE IN AMERICA.
"Costa-Hawkins, which doesn't get nearly enough attention from the news media, prohibits Oakland from establishing rent control on buildings constructed after 1983."
Mr. Gammon: Costa-Hawkins exempts units constructed after 1995, not 1983.
Oakland's own rent control ordinance sets 1983 as the cut-off date (Art. 1, sec. 8.22.030(A)(5)), and not Costa-Hawkins. San Francisco has a similar built-in date to their ordinance (1979). Like Costa-Hawkins, both were set at the time the laws were respectively passed - and Costa-Hawkins was modeled on this.
I just spoke with some anti-gentrification activists at the city council meeting last night. They told me with a straight face they wanted to stop all luxury housing in the entire bay area and only building low income housing to stop the gentrification of the region. I asked them how they could actually stop investors from building any market rate housing and they simply asserted they could. I asked them what it cost to build a unit of housing and they didn't dispute a cost of 300,000 to half a million dollars but they said there were enough state and local funds to build low cost housing.
I proposed we needed to build more housing at all income levels and they sneered I was one of those "supply side people."
One of the pair said he knew how to crash the real estate market. I asked with great interest how we could do this and he said that currently the city of Oakland pays landowners of vacant land in Oakland not to build housing in order to keep the price of real estate high. " If housing were built on the vacant land it would lower the price of housing."
I jumped on the comment to say I completely agreed with him more housing would help to lower or "crash" the market price. He then seemed to realize t he was also supply sider.
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We'll miss all your great reporting, writing, and editing. Thanks, and best of luck!
Yes, Robert did the best article on AC Transit and the new buses from hell...and, I was always surprised when Chris Peeples from AC Board (usually a man with intelligence and reason) who I rode the bus with over the years, didn't want to admit to the mistakes made by the board....it was terrific journalism and Chris apparently was caught in the middle of a thorny issue and took to throwing the reality exposed in the article, under the bus!
Your very well researched two issue expose of AC Transit's Buses from Hell was a great example of investigative reporting. Too bad the lover of the buses, Chris Peeples on the board, just dismissed it as "yellow journalism." If that was "yellow journalism," I hope you get a chance to do some more. We need it!
Moving here from LA in 2008 (the day of Obama's election), I quickly became a devoted reader of EBX. You introduced me to the real Oakland and I always read your stuff first. Thank you for reporting facts.
GAMMO FOR MAYOR
I am sorry to see you leave your post. I usually read Seven Days and have often found it to contain very valuable information that was lacking in other newspapers. I wish you the best.
Thanks, Robert, for your work all these years at the EBX -- and the Oakland Trib!
Thanks for the shout-out, Bob. Oh, what fun we had in those heady mid Aughts, huh? Good luck to you!
Best wishes Bob. You have big shoes to fill. Thanks for all your good reporting over the years.
Bob, hate to see you go as Seven Days is the way I get my day going, much more stimulating than the proverbial cup of coffee. I have to say, without the Express in the last year, we may have never known all the shenanigans around the E 12th St parcel fiasco and today's piece on Redefining What Affordable Housing means in Oaktown is the kind of journalism I hope will continue without you. I am so very grateful for the cover story the Express did on Oakland's mobile food policy and the lack of permits for food trucks to pull that caused then food writer Jon Birdall to describe me as "calculating or clueless!" I happen to know where you're headed and wish you'd also replace Chip Johnson with a column for the Chron but maybe that is truly dreaming. Blessings on you.
Say it ain't so! Very sad to hear you're leaving the Express. It was great working with you back in the day. I hope you do continue reporting in the East Bay, we need you! Best of luck on your next move.
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