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Re: “If Oakland Cracks Down On Underground Warehouses, It Will Snuff Out The City’s DIY Soul

I think people need to look hard at what is DIY and what are its sensible limits.

When it comes to sewing a patch on a jacket, can I do it myself or learn to do it? Sure. When it comes to doing my own electrical work, can I? Should I? If I have NO FREAKING IDEA what I'm doing? Clearly not.

This is the ugly, deadly downside of taking DIY too far...ignoring rules and laws and focusing on fun and creativity instead of mundane, necessary WORK and being a GROWN UP.

How much of this "scene" survives by sucking public benefits out of the "system" they bash with every breath? Were Derick Almena and his wife getting food stamps? SSI for his rather obvious bipoloar condition? Were the child protective services paying for a hotel room right before the fire? Or long before that?

It's time the pendulum swung in the other direction...the direction of regulation and safety and acting like a grownup and following rules.

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/08/2016 at 6:20 AM

Re: “'I'm Going To Get My Gun': Event Organizers at Ghost Ship Accused Derick Almena of Theft, Threats

In regard to who paid for the hotel...another news story in this same edition says NBC paid for that posh hotel. But if the kids were staying at a hotel the night of the fire, as they reportedly were, who paid for THAT hotel? My guess is since there was a child custody case going on, somehow the state was paying. The parents (Derick and his wife) were not considered unfit, but their living space was unsafe. So who was paying for a hotel BEFORE the fire? Probably child services. Somebody needs to dig into that.

In addition to multiple counts of manslaughter, criminal negligence resulting in death, violating multiple building codes, I think there also needs to be an investigation into whether this individual was collecting any public assistance (food stamps, SSI, etc) while partying in Bali and all the other well-documented irresponsible behavior.

But as to why this stuff was never followed up...do you know how many low-level nutcase threat-balls there are in Oakland and California and the world, generally? Law enforcement and the courts are overwhelmed with stuff. Nothing this guy was doing with low-level crime, threats, etcetera was all that notable, unfortunately.

What should have been on the radar of public officials was the death trap party space. It looks like there was an unofficial policy of benign neglect and not cracking down on artists living in these illegal spaces. Like, a building inspector went to the property...but then he just went away?

You know who is really going to pay, here? The landlord. The landlord is the only "deep pocket" in the mix. The government officials have various forms of legal immunity. The landlord is probably going to lose everything.

I would also like to point out that the behavior of Mr. Derick Ion Almena, from his creativity to his unpredictability to his utterly self-centered behavior and especially his cluttering, this all screams bipolar. He's probably been collecting SSI for a long time and using it to support his bad lifestyle choices.

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/08/2016 at 5:42 AM

Re: “NBC Paid for Ghost Ship Operator Derick Almena's Hotel Room During Exclusive Interview

Dig deeper. I think it would be good to know whether Derick and his wife were getting public assistance for years and years while partying in Bali and buying great big hand-carved wooden beds from Bali, and growing pot...this whole time were they getting food stamps? Claiming some disability and sucking off the taxpayers through SSI?

In fact, it would be good to check the "public assistance background" of everybody who died there...except for the 17-year-old, a minor, may he rest in peace.

Thank goodness the GROWN UPS will be taking over this country at the presidential swearing in, and working a job, obeying the law, generally acting like an adult will be the new normal.

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/08/2016 at 5:33 AM

Re: “Oakland Firefighters Say Their Department Is So Badly Managed, Ghost Ship Warehouse Wasn't Even In Its Inspection Database

Somehow people keep ignoring the bottom line problem when it comes to leadership at the City of Oakland. MEASURE X needs to be repealed. Mayor Schaaf is a nice person and tries hard, but at the end of the day, just because you can get 50 % of the 30% of citizens who vote to check the box next to your name does not qualify you to run a city. Running the day to day operation of a city the size of Oakland is complicated and should be done by a trained, educated and experienced City Manager. Being Mayor is political not technical or professional. The problems in Oakland with leadership in many areas are a direct result of weak and inexperienced people in key executive management positions. Trained experienced top level managers in the workforce will never ever be interested in working in a place like Oakland because they recognize dysfunction and are not interested in working for Mayors and administrators who are political and do not know what they are doing. Without the change I am suggesting, this will never get better. Jerry Brown was a unique candidate when Measure X was adopted in 1998. Not one of the Mayors elected since has been even close to being capable of running a City. When Robert Bobb was the City Manager in charge of the day to day operation, qualified and experienced professionals in all areas of the organization were flocking to Oakland. Since X was adopted, Bobb resigned and the City Administrator, with less authority, now works for the Mayor, the quality of managers and level of services to the citizens has gone down each and every year. The structure of the organization mandated by Measure X is set up for this to continue and trust me it will continue to get worse.

Posted by Gary Patton on 12/08/2016 at 5:14 AM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

By the way, Conan Neutron, the proper spelling is "here, here."

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/08/2016 at 4:55 AM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

I keep reading in various editorials about how these artists were "just trying to survive." How is making art "surviving?" Some guy who is living under a bridge, with substance abuse and PTSD issues, that guy is trying to survive in his illegal living space...but this situation wasn't about "survival." This is about never growing up and wanting to keep playing with finger paints while the other kids are doing math, science, and lining up en mass get their participation trophies. Here's a really unpopular question. How many of the dead were getting public assistance checks every month while they were out partying? Including the managers, Derek and his wife, who could barely manage to hang on to their children? And yet there are stories of them going off to Bali, of owning great big beds hand-carved of wood, from Bali, of growing pot...leaving the kids for days at a time with the babysitter while they went off and partied. Most of these participants weren't "just trying to survive." They were partying, and now society pays for the party. Society has, in fact, been paying for their party for a long time. Now the firemen and the coroners and all the GROWN UPS who work for a living have to get up at the ringing of the alarm clock and work, work, work to fix this mess. If there's a crackdown on illegal artist spaces, not just in Oakland but all over the nation....well, it's about time the grownups took charge. For the record, I don't cast any blame on the 17-year-old that died. He was a kid and could be expected to act like a kid. Everybody else...they took a risk, and sometimes when you play, you pay.

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/08/2016 at 4:53 AM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

Where do people get the idea that artists should be given affordable housing ahead of manual laborers, low-level office workers, etc.? They don't seem to realize how elitist this sounds.

Posted by MorganJones on 12/08/2016 at 1:23 AM

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