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Re: “Survivor, Oakland City Hall: Power Struggle Led to Expulsion of City Clerk from Closed Session

Hiring a private detective to investigate leaks? Sounds like something from the Nixon administration. I recall they called the leak investigators in the Nixon administration "Plumbers". All of them ended up in federal prison. I think Mayor Schaaf is getting carried away - the public has a right to know what's going on in City Hall. Even these "closed door sessions" are a little dubious. I think Mayor Schaaf's leadership has been horrendous. This police scandal with the teenage hooker - other departments are involved but they are not firing police chiefs right and left or trying to put civilians in charge of PD. You've got a few bad apples on OPD - other department too - big deal fire them and let's move on - you don't need the historonics we've seen from Schaff. Her wacky leadership has got the national media covering the teenage-hooker story - which has lead to a all this bad publicity for Oakland. Oakland is a great City - got some problems - like most metro cities - - big deal, solve them without all this soap opera like drama. Schaaf isn't doing that - she's making things worse with her wacky behavior.

Posted by Richard Woulfe on 07/20/2016 at 5:39 PM

Re: “Survivor, Oakland City Hall: Power Struggle Led to Expulsion of City Clerk from Closed Session

"How does this city clerk LaTonda Simmons hold the job of City clerk with only a high school education?????"

This seems to me to be very biased, unfair and uninformed.

LaTonda seems to be fair and respectful when she deals with the public in the often very tense environment of a City Council meeting. I think she is generally well-liked among the public and she seems to have been well-respected by Council members. LaTonda's job isn't easy.

I have not heard anything about her failure to perform her duties properly and efficiently.

Whether or not she has had a higher education, her language and cognitive skills seem to be up to the job.

I am not suggesting that LaTonda is a whistleblower. However whistleblowers or leakers are very important for democracy when, as with our elected officials, laws are broken and blatant tactics are applied to avoid transparency.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 07/20/2016 at 2:53 PM

Re: “Survivor, Oakland City Hall: Power Struggle Led to Expulsion of City Clerk from Closed Session

Be careful with the City Clerk. No one is to be trusted in the City Clerks office. How does this city clerk LaTonda Simmons hold the job of City clerk with only a high school education?????

Posted by Kayla Johnson on 07/20/2016 at 2:32 PM

Re: “Survivor, Oakland City Hall: Power Struggle Led to Expulsion of City Clerk from Closed Session

This is ridiculous. How much money is being spent on watermarks and investigators? All the council business should be public. There should be no closed sessions especially when it seems that they are closed merely to protect council members who want to be re-elected. The council is supposed to be serving the people of Oakland, not hiding from us or ruling us.

Posted by Karen Hesse on 07/20/2016 at 1:43 PM

Re: “Survivor, Oakland City Hall: Power Struggle Led to Expulsion of City Clerk from Closed Session

It's shocking that these city politicians have the gall to make illegal backroom deals and then COMPLAIN about whistleblowers busting up their fun. Ever stop to think that, maybe, just maybe, you are the bad guys in this situation?

Posted by Max Chanowitz on 07/20/2016 at 1:33 PM

Re: “Tenant Advocates say Oakland Officials Delaying and Obstructing Rent Control Ballot Measure

I'm one of the organizers of the campaign to place a rent control and eviction protection measure on the November ballot, and I have to say I have no doubts about City Attorney Parker's commitment to tenant's rights. My colleagues and I see the abuse of tenants and illegal evictions happening every day and the Office of the City Attorney Parker has been a consistent ally of ours on this issue. I have personally worked closely with Barbara to protect youth from commercial sexual exploitation, and I know that as City Attorney, she has filed lawsuits against abusive landlords all over Oakland.

While I can't speak competently to all the legal and procedural issues raised in the article, what seems most plausible to me is that Barbara's advice to the City Council was consistent with her legal responsibility to protect the City and laws it passes from legal challenge. Surely we want Oakland's tenant protection laws to be less vulnerable to legal challenges, do we not? I know I do. And I also believe that Barbara shares my commitment and the commitment of other organizers to protect the homes, lives and rights of Oakland tenants.

Andy Nelsen

Posted by Andy Nelsen on 07/20/2016 at 10:36 AM

Re: “Survivor, Oakland City Hall: Power Struggle Led to Expulsion of City Clerk from Closed Session

"City officials reportedly fumed over the leak because it made the city look bad."

If it closely resembles a duck, and walks and quacks just like a duck, odds are it's a duck.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 07/20/2016 at 9:49 AM

Re: “Survivor, Oakland City Hall: Power Struggle Led to Expulsion of City Clerk from Closed Session

I don't understand how the City Attorney could come up with another conclusion. Read the Charter. East Bay express read the Charter. The problem with the City is that no one wants to follow the rules. I have no idea what issues the City Administrator had with the Clerk,it should not however prevent the Clerk from the performance of there official duties.

Posted by THERESA64 on 07/20/2016 at 9:13 AM

Re: “Survivor, Oakland City Hall: Power Struggle Led to Expulsion of City Clerk from Closed Session

According to the City Charter the City Clerk is the Clerk of the Council and the keeper of all official City records. The Clerk does not report to the City Administrator. The Council doesn't need a resolution to include the City Clerk because the City Administrator had no authority to exclude the Clerk.

Posted by THERESA64 on 07/20/2016 at 9:06 AM

Re: “Will Oakland Lose Its Artistic Soul?

my company was needing a form last year and was made aware of a business with lots of fillable forms . If you need it too , here's a https://goo.gl/sekBoF.

Posted by sussanedavis on 07/19/2016 at 11:21 PM

Re: “Why are Oakland's City-Worker Unions Making it Harder to Fire Bad Cops?

The answer to the question in the title of this article: "Why are Oakland's City-Worker Unions Making it Harder to Fire Bad Cops? " is pretty obvious.

It is the same reason that any union makes it harder to fire any of its members (bad or otherwise). It is a byproduct of who they are and what they do. No union wants (in their view) for management to run roughshod over the union members and make the decisions on who gets hired, fired, working conditions, work rules, time off, whatever. They work hard to protect members even though the protection sometimes protects cheaters, liars, stealers, lazies, whatever. Comes with the package. There is nothing different here - almost...

What is different? Management is, ultimately, the public citizenry. Now, the the shoe is on the other foot and members of our liberal society are bristling at the member protections being defended by the union. So, it is Ok for unions in general but not this one?????

Yes, the stakes are higher given the bad deeds committed by some cops. No doubt about it whatsoever. But, the stakes are higher in protecting the cops too. That means the 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.

For those who are union supportive liberals, this is a dilemma, huh? If the shoe fits.......................Sorry, it ain't that simple. You either support the idea of unions or you don't. Either side of the argument has baggage. It is difficult to talk out of both sides of a mouth.

I like the idea of trying to understand the position of the other side of the argument rather than vilify it.

Posted by Michael Good on 07/19/2016 at 3:48 PM

Re: “Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0

Today a customer called to state she'd left a review on Yelp for us
July 19, 2016
Ugggnnn!!!! No more bing/yelp for me.
When I search for the problem with their apparent suppression of reviews, I see they recently were drawn into court and have complaints by the thousands in a class action lawsuit
FOR SUPPRESSING REVIEWS!
I googled to find out what to do about it and see what others are encountering (since there's no way to contact the bing/yelp monopoly...I did however leave this message on a few OTHER websites where people are all up in arms about the manipulation (apparently they are all saying the same thing....if you advertise with yelp/bing your reviews MIGHT be able to be seen (!!!)

This was the note I wanted to send to Yelp....but they don't have a means of contacting them....what a joke, anonymous terrorists.
"I was called earlier by a woman customer that stated she left us a review on Bing. When searching my company name with the terms " Troy Road Computers Springfield Ohio " I see the company page come up and it states only 1 review, after clicking to see the 1 review I see it states we have 3 reviews, when I click to see what was said, the yelp page states that 'these reviews are not recommended " (!?!) Are you kidding me? I am not one to be extorted or manipulated but AM the type to inform each and every one of our customers that if they are finding that we serviced them appropriately to please use google to do so (to avoid loss). We have our own server and will be updating our notices page to reflect this recent finding with the bing/yelp monopoly asap. http://www.yelp.com/biz/springfield-computers-springfield?utm_campaign=yelp_feed&utm_medium=feed_v2&utm_source=bing
Searching a bit deeper I see there's been others with the same problem with the yelp manipulation."

And to think that I've gone through the extra work of putting bing as one of the links available to a great deal of my customers favorites bar....phhhhttt......just goes to show you, our nation is overrun by capitalizing and it's at all levels.
Capitalists don't appear to be doing such a good job of managing our nation as evidenced by our very real debt/looting (pick your word): http://usdebtclock.org

Posted by Kenny Hendrick on 07/19/2016 at 2:22 PM

Re: “Alameda Poised to Become Next California County to Ban Fracking

Yay Alameda County! We got fracking banned in Butte County, you can do it! #ProtectCAfood

Posted by Mary Kay Benson on 07/19/2016 at 1:35 PM

Re: “An East Bay Pimp Trafficked Her Daughter. And the Man that She Turned to For Help Exploited Her For Sex.

After reading the article Betrayal of Trust I was left wondering who I should feel sorry for. Is it Ms. Pendergrass who was taken advantage of? She blames Mr. Mims the ex-con turned public servant. Certainly the young lady who was forced into prostitution is a victim…of poor parenting. Now that she’s pregnant it leaves me to wonder what sort of parenting skills she learned from her mother and what will she be able to pass along to her child. Mom’s a victim. She’s a victim. Clearly this new baby will be the next victim. Who is to blame for this lack of personal responsibility? The timing of this story is unfortunate and I am afraid it only serves to reinforce the racial divide by perpetuating the stereotype of black people as helpless victims who have children out of wedlock and then wind up on welfare. The fact that this whole thing began at a public agency doesn’t bode well for social programs either. Will more social programs alleviate problems like this? Is this story some sort of right wing propaganda? It sure fits the conservative agenda.

Posted by Sigh Coexboifrend on 07/18/2016 at 10:43 AM

Re: “Time for White Americans to be Part of the Solution, Not the Problem

"This isn't racist...I'm disgusted by this lame and offensive attempt to make me guilty of a crime I didn't commit."

Remarkably naive or dishonest or both.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 07/18/2016 at 10:01 AM

Re: “Thousands of Black Lives Matter Activists Shut Down Oakland Freeway, Vandalize Police Headquarters

Protest, OK.
Get change through legal means, OK.
Work with the community and police to make things better, OK.
...
Smash windows, which happened. Not OK, you should go to jail.
Block traffic, which happened. Not OK, you should go to jail.
Attack people that stand for their rights to express another opinion. Not OK, you should go to jail

Posted by SF Tech on 07/17/2016 at 1:53 AM

Re: “Time for White Americans to be Part of the Solution, Not the Problem

This is absolute rubbish.
1. No one alive is a slave or knows a slave.
2. Black people sold black people into slavery as well, there is REAL slavery today in Africa and the Middle East.
3. Black people are told to be proud of their heritage. BUT whites are told we guilty of crimes we didn't commit, crimes before we were born.
4. The black community can protest shootings, but when thugs attack the police they are held up as victims when they are clearly a thug.
5. More white people are killed by the police.
6. 10 times more black people kill black people but this can't be discussed.
7. The black community is about 75% fatherless. Black men who won't take responsibility for their sex without a condom actions.
...
This isn't racist, this is factcist....if the black community wants to be part of society they need to look inward and gain respect instead of demanding it with blocked streets, looted stores, and daily killing of other black people.. I'm disgusted by this lame and offensive attempt to make me guilty of a crime I didn't commit.

Posted by SF Tech on 07/17/2016 at 1:43 AM

Re: “Why are Oakland's City-Worker Unions Making it Harder to Fire Bad Cops?

Some background on binding arbitration: All City of Oakland employees covered by union contracts have the right to choose to go to binding arbitration to contest discipline imposed by management for violation of work rules that were set by contract negotiations. Alternatively, the employee could choose to go to court and pay big legal fees and court costs.

Binding arbitration does a good job protecting employees from arbitrary, capricious discipline that could be imposed on police officers as much as on City Parks maintenance employees, etc. But typically, arbitrators "split the baby in half" in their decisions. Since it is impossible to half fire someone, terminated police officers invariably get re-instated.

Regardless of a charter amendment, any change to arbitration would not take effect until expiration of current police contract, two years from now.

In addition, Police and Fire sworn personnel also get binding arbitration to resolve contract deadlocked negotiations. No other City unions get that.
Two years ago Palo Alto repealed that type of binding arbitration for police and fire. They promptly reduced fire and police pay by 5%. Police and fire fighters are prohibited by state law from striking.

Binding arbitration for all city employees including police for discipline matters is common in big cities. SF is one of the few big cities that does not allow binding arbitration for serious discipline matters of police and fire.
For discipline matters, the arbitrator is selected by a process of elimination by City Attorney's office staff and the union's attorney (or equivalent) from a pool of arbitrators certified by a state body. Arbitrators who are partial to either management or employee end up without work if both sides are on the ball and exercising their veto power in the selection process.

Everyone except the police union agrees that the discipline binding arbitration process make it very difficult to fire bad cops. There is no consensus on how to fix that without going to the other extreme and eliminating it entirely for at least serious discipline charges. Not simple to fix in an equitable way. For example, if there's a police officer disliked by brass because she/he went to the press to disclose problem within OPD and brass brought bogus charges against them, it wouldn't be good to force the accused cop to file a lawsuit if an arbitrator would do the right thing.

As the article described, the nonpublic safety unions see any reform of police discipline binding arbitration as an attack on binding arbitration for all city workers.

Will T. asked which Council Members refused to approve the amendment with even a mild reform to the method of selecting the arbitrators (which probably would have no effect on the outcome of their decisions). I'd say all of the council members other than Kalb and Gallo.

Personally, I favor a variation of the SF approach combined with an independent Police Commission (SF's is not very independent) where binding arbitration is repealed only for police and only for serious offenses.

But it's more important to establish a strong, politically independent Police Commission none of whose members are chosen directly by any Mayor, with broad oversight and subpoena powers and scope, with its own staff attorney, then to fail approval because of insistence on reforming binding arbitration.

If this charter amendment is approved by voters in November we will have two years until the police contract expires to evaluate whether the Commission is able to fire bad cops and effectively discipline other officers and their supervisors. If we see most of the officers and their supervisors who were complicit in the cover-up of the statutory rape, get off with the usually binding arbitration letter of reprimand plus full back pay and restoral of rank, then we have to come back to Council to repeal binding arbitration for police serious discipline matters.

Regardless of future binding arbitration reform, we have to insist on transparency of all future contract negotiations with the OPOA (police union) so that whether we change arbitration or not, that we make sure the City has negotiated hard for clear enforceable standards of behavior for all police officers, including the brass. Without such rules, it is always going to be difficult for either an arbitrator or a court to uphold a disciplinary action.

Len Raphael, CPA
(opinions expressed are my own)

Posted by Len Raphael on 07/16/2016 at 11:59 PM

Re: “Time for White Americans to be Part of the Solution, Not the Problem

This is an insightful commentary with a dire warning. I think all Americans need to take heed and step up to individual responsibility. I KNOW most black Americans don't want blood shed just by their patience and willingness to work with system for decades. By the current status of America on race relations with black Americans, I KNOW that a large majority of white Americans DON'T CARE about race relations with black Americans as an important issue in their daily lives. I KNOW THIS FOR A FACT.....a great portion of white America can come together with other races and elect a black president for two terms, when they think its to their individual benefit but cannot come together in 250 to 300 years over racial injustice to a major racial sect. A major sect of people carrying various degrees of the white blood line too, with a skin color shades deeper. It is my opinion that a large majority of white Americans DON'T WANT TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION. Racial divisiveness continues go be perpetuated in the homes by parents, in the schools by teachers, in the workplace by employers and corporations, in the politic by power grabbers and authority enforcers. So even when Black Americans follow all the rules, rise to the top, wait on the nod or favor of someone in power, they are still disrespected....i.e. President Obama called a liar by a congressman during a State of the Union speech in front of the joint House of Congress and the SCOTUS. When black Americans, white Americans, all Americans, the world, witnesses this behavior....come on, what's next....

Posted by cynthia1948 on 07/16/2016 at 11:56 AM

Re: “Black Lives Matter Now: Short Essays by Express Readers on Racial Injustice in America

We can't hide from the headlines anymore and people from all over the world are now waking up. The European power structure with their religious jargon is now falling on deaf ears. Minorities all over the world are now being awakened.

From my first visits to Cuba, Central America, and Africa, you could feel the change and global revolution among the people worldwide within the air. That's why it's so imperative for people of color to learn their history and to be properly educated on who they are and their history of greatness.

And now I can compare the Black lives matter movement to the civil rights movement of the late 50s and early 60s. Both movements are equally powerful. Whenever I would compare their struggles, I've always thought the civil rights movement was more dangerous because of the lynching.

But now I can sadly say we are still witnessing lynching in 2016 by the same crooked cops, which has sparked the Black lives matter movement all over the world and equally placing both organization's struggles on the same page.

Pretty much we've been treading in shallow waters and nothing has changed. But it's just something special about this generation. I remain hopeful and optimistic that this generation will be victorious in our struggles.
#Blacklivesmatter

Derrick Newton

Posted by Derrick Newton on 07/16/2016 at 4:52 AM

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