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Comment Archives: stories: Blogs

Re: “Operator of 'Ghost Ship' Lived Inside Site of Oakland Warehouse Fire with Wife, Children, Was on Probation

Does anyone dispute that he was in charge of the facility and that he leased it for the electronic music event of Dec. 2? He is guilty of negligence that led to these deaths -- and with electrical wires reported to spark often, he knew it. If anyone deserves prison, it is he.

Posted by Charlie Pine on 12/05/2016 at 3:27 PM

Re: “Operator of 'Ghost Ship' Lived Inside Site of Oakland Warehouse Fire with Wife, Children, Was on Probation

He hasn't left or fled. He's still in Oakland staying at the Marriot

Posted by calmdown on 12/05/2016 at 2:34 PM

Re: “Building Engulfed by Deadly Oakland Fire Had Pending Habitability Complaints

It's amazing that the unionized city workers are not getting 100% of the deserved blame for this. Criminal charges should be brought against the city workers who failed to do their jobs.

Of course no one is going to be punished and of course they will retire with full pensions eventually. Thanks government unions!

Has there ever been a more clear-cut case for banishing city workers from unionizing? At-will employment would have prevented this disaster as the inspectors would have known that they would be getting kicked to the curb if they failed to do their jobs properly...

Frustrating.

Posted by Vladislav Davidzon on 12/05/2016 at 1:02 PM

Re: “Couple In Charge of Ghost Ship Lost Kids to Child Protective Services While Living in Oakland Warehouse

Rent is hard to afford anywhere in Oakland, even if you have a decent job. As of October 2016, average apartment rent within the city of of Oakland, CA is $2778. One bedroom apartments in Oakland rent for $2420 a month on average and two bedroom apartment rents average $3075. Is it any wonder that people will live in dangerous conditions rather than be on the streets? You need to earn about $60 per hour to live here.

Posted by Kelly Erickson on 12/05/2016 at 12:54 PM

Re: “Building Engulfed by Deadly Oakland Fire Had Pending Habitability Complaints

If you look over the Commercial Inspections information on the Oakland Fire Departments Fire Prevention webpage it is clear that procedures were not being followed. It is especially troubling as the Ghost Ship building was very close to an Oakland Firehouse and as a retired firefighter I can assure you the crews I worked with always knew what was going on in buildings nearby. Cincinnati Ohio Fire Department took even more aggressive steps and was known to visit bars and nightclubs late in the evening to check for exit and overcrowding violations.
http://www2.oaklandnet.com/government/o/OFD/s/Inspections/index.htm

Posted by Dennis McCloskey on 12/05/2016 at 12:31 PM

Re: “Operator of 'Ghost Ship' Lived Inside Site of Oakland Warehouse Fire with Wife, Children, Was on Probation

Why is the East Bay Express suddenly a trashy gossip rag? Its ironic(?)...hypocritical(?)...unfortunate and disappointing to see a publication that normally reports on the injustices of our system (including how defendants are often railroaded into accepting plea bargains due to overworked public defenders and a classist bail system), immediately publish Mr. Almena's probation status as if it was relevant to the fire. It's alarmist and pandering to simplistic blame and revenge mentality. He's on probation (after accepting a deal, as you report, so he wasnt tried or convicted), therefore he's a criminal, and deserves to have his dirty laundry aired before being hung for the deaths of the partygoers? He may be a dirtbag, but does that make him guilty?...and he may be guilty of something, but isn't that for the (broken) courts to decide?

Posted by Edward Cervantes on 12/05/2016 at 11:48 AM

Re: “Artists Who Survived Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

Lots of folks were lost Friday night. I'm not sure why the writer of this article chose to focus on soley people of color and transgender people, which seemed in poor taste. Victims that were neither should be mourned and respected equally. A lot of life was lost Friday night, whether they were black, white, hispanic, asian, native american, gay, straight, cis, trans, etc, they will all be missed, and they were all lost too soon.

Posted by Ivan Torres on 12/05/2016 at 11:16 AM

Re: “Couple In Charge of Ghost Ship Lost Kids to Child Protective Services While Living in Oakland Warehouse

Parents and caregivers and friends please tell your loved ones to never live somewhere where you don't have a lease and where the building is not a residential structure with all its proper city permits for safety. This is not about a city being harsh and preventing people from having the freedom to live where they want, it is about the failure of an individual to embrace the responsibility of providing safe and legal residential living space to third-party individuals who entrusted their now lost young lives. Landlords everywhere take note of this responsibility for the lives of others. David Moss

Posted by grahamgriffin on 12/05/2016 at 11:07 AM

Re: “Operator of 'Ghost Ship' Lived Inside Site of Oakland Warehouse Fire with Wife, Children, Was on Probation

this man just lost a large number of friends, and his home. Nice to see that scruples and common decency don't restrain the EBX from digging up whatever dirt they can on the man.
And you petty spiteful commenters need to recognize that your demonization is basically fueling a witchhunt.
This grave event may be the impetus for a wave of artist spaces being red tagged. Similar to what happened in SOMA after the 89 earthquake.

Posted by Russ D on 12/05/2016 at 9:37 AM

Re: “Couple In Charge of Ghost Ship Lost Kids to Child Protective Services While Living in Oakland Warehouse

Rent is hard to afford when you spend everything on meth and broken Hammonds.

Posted by Alan Rager 1 on 12/05/2016 at 8:30 AM

Re: “Couple In Charge of Ghost Ship Lost Kids to Child Protective Services While Living in Oakland Warehouse

Re: the closing paragraph, there's at least two grammatical errors in the last sentence, and it's implied that the couple lost their previous East Oakland home because the owner raised the rent to an affordable level. Is this what happened?

Posted by Jesus O'Nazareth on 12/05/2016 at 8:22 AM

Re: “Couple In Charge of Ghost Ship Lost Kids to Child Protective Services While Living in Oakland Warehouse

Why always when something like this tragedy takes place not only does the media find a scapegoat, but they expose all these persona matters which are not relevant. I mean who doesn't have issues on this society. Stop blaming one individual, this is a local government problem. The people " representing us" really aren't. They represent themselves and their pocket book by allowing moneyed people to dictate policy such as housing and skyrocketing rents for one.

Posted by foodiexp75 on 12/05/2016 at 8:17 AM

Re: “'I Genuinely Thought I Was Going To Die': Reddit User Describes Terrifying Escape From Oakland Warehouse Fire

What were these two thinking? (God and Mother Superior) That "it" wouldnt happen to them? How old were they? Maybe when I was a young adult/kid, when I was invincible and knew everything, I would have scoffed at something like this happening to ME.
But now, at 45, I would have LOVED the eclectic boho artistic altar/shrine space inside the Ghost Ship. However, being painfully aware that anything can happen, to anyone, anytime, anywhere...I would have simultaneously thought "what about a fire?" Thats just from having lived a few years, and yes Ive grumbled many a time about jumping through hoops to do things the way "the Government" dictates they be done. But not only are these two old enough to KNOW BETTER, they are PARENTS as well.
Most people change when they have children, even those who would have previously thrown caution to the wind in regards to their own choices in life. As a parent I could never have slept at night, in a tinderbox like that place OBVIOUSLY WAS, with my children present. I am not one to demand conformation, I relish the unique differences among us ALL...and I try to appreciate each person for who they are ~ but in this case, I dont understand. How could these two "older" PARENTS be so blindly ignorant? So ARROGANT?
To CHARGE people (indeed, mostly younger people...still in their invincible phase) to come into this death trap and party??? KNOWING the electrical situation, the flammability, the manueverability of the place?
Sigh. I dont think they ever intended anyone get hurt, but they did nothing to prevent it, it appears. Tough learning curve.
Why? Why?
I understand their young daughter, 13, was upset about the comments being made about her dad. Someday I hope she understands the bigger picture. Its about RESPONSIBILITY...Its about growing up and trying to manuever through our lives without DOING HARM. Its learning from everything that we experience and reflecting that knowledge back onto the world we live in.

How can two people who tried so hard to appear so enlightened been so in the dark?

Posted by Tina Wilson on 12/05/2016 at 8:17 AM

Re: “'I Genuinely Thought I Was Going To Die': Reddit User Describes Terrifying Escape From Oakland Warehouse Fire

I'm as sick of young people dying needlessly as I am of hearing the white supremacist bull crap. I'm white and from where I stand in not the hater!

Sorry for all the lost ones

Posted by Nina Ison Wittenbarger on 12/05/2016 at 7:40 AM

Re: “'I Genuinely Thought I Was Going To Die': Reddit User Describes Terrifying Escape From Oakland Warehouse Fire

Francesca M. Austin, That is a pretty awesome memory to have! No doubt what makes it so memorable is the fact that you were "young and foolish" and because it was "WRONG and DANGEROUS ", yes? :) Taking chances is part of LIVING life rather than simply just EXISTING. There is however a fine line between taking chances and having total disregard for others safety (because you're too busy getting high on meth. Derick Ion, along with the owner of the building deserve jail. ). I mourn the creative young souls that were lost in a fire that never should have happened,

Posted by Carrie Paulson on 12/05/2016 at 7:12 AM

Re: “Artists Who Survived Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

Angela Talbot, I only (so far) know one person personally who died and she was not white nor the one hispanic person you counted off. Soen intelligently and thoughtfully spelled out what white supremacy means and you completely failed to acknowledge or understand. Read some more, respect the people mourning, and realize that your opinion may not be valid or appropriate right now.

Here's a good place to start in my opinion. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jared-loggins/explaining-white-supremacy-to-innocent-white-people_b_7617828.html

Posted by Mof on 12/05/2016 at 12:04 AM

Re: “Artists Who Survived Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

There is no reason to be arguing semantics. Respect the dead you fucking pricks and keep your opinions to yourself. This isnt about anyONES opinion. Say your PEACE or move along.

Posted by Sean Johnson on 12/04/2016 at 10:12 PM

Re: “Artists Who Survived Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

Must be nice to sit around and point fingers. Your words are ignorance and your opinions are uselss, those of you blaming the space. We get it, and it's in bad taste. The fact that many of you think the queerness and emotional safeness of the space doesn't matter only proves your privilege. The housing crisis here and the expense of safety and living are often unfathomable. You seem so small.

Posted by armoragainstwonder on 12/04/2016 at 8:29 PM

Re: “'I Genuinely Thought I Was Going To Die': Reddit User Describes Terrifying Escape From Oakland Warehouse Fire

I fear that the authorities will now, and justifiably so, come down hard on all the warehouse space venues in our wonderful creative city and in other cities as well. No one wants Oaklanders to create or host in death trap situations and the Ghost Ship venue sounds like it was out of hand for quite a while before the terrible tragedy of this weekend.

I was at a concert at the Anderson Theater in NYC MANY years ago (when we were young and foolish) before the building closed (was likely condemned) - Patti Smith - and there were open flame heaters heating the space in January. Outside temperature was in the low teens -- windy outside and freezing inside. We went in, saw the flaming heaters, and proceeded up to sit in the balcony WAY against our better judgment - but we did it. We knew how we got in and how to get out but totally knew the scene was WRONG and DANGEROUS but we froze in line for hours and were damned if would miss this event. When the show started, Patti sang three songs and the NYCFD came on stage to stop the show because the building was a fire hazard. Duh. No surprise there - Patti tried to speak to them then kept on singing and was dragged off the stage screaming out "Rock and Roll N...." with the entire audience shouting along and booing the emergency personnel who were of course 100%CORRECT. It was a crazy, unsafe and unforgettable experience BUT everybody lived to tell the tale.

We were lucky that night. Luck ended at the Ghost Ship this First Friday of December, 2016. My neighbor's friend lived there, smelled smoke, so opened his door, saw stuff falling from the ceilings and ran out. He was in his room watching a movie on TV, and not upstairs. No young people should be put in danger BY ANYONE to listen to music or create their art simply because they allow themselves to be in that situation. When we are young we think nothing bad can happen. But it can and it did this weekend. We have to do better.

Posted by Francesca M. Austin on 12/04/2016 at 8:06 PM

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