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Comment Archives: stories: Blogs

Re: “Oakland's Toxic Lead Contamination Isn't in the Water. It's in the Buildings and Dirt, and It's Bad.

A ground breaking lead paint liability lawsuit was won by several Cali governments a couple years ago based on lead in paint that's a primary cause of childhood lead poisoning. The companies Kelly More, Du Pont, BP and others were supposed to fund remediation programs in the state to rid houses of lead paint.

Posted by Christina Aanestad on 12/30/2016 at 12:17 PM

Re: “Oakland's Toxic Lead Contamination Isn't in the Water. It's in the Buildings and Dirt, and It's Bad.

So sad building owners of the past chose to use lead house paint in the Fruitvale area. Not like in the rest of oakland where they had the foresight to use only lead free paints.

Posted by bill h on 12/30/2016 at 11:09 AM

Re: “Oakland's Toxic Lead Contamination Isn't in the Water. It's in the Buildings and Dirt, and It's Bad.

I see no reason not to believe the findings in the study about lead based paint contamination. Think about it. The buildings in the Fruitvale neighborhood are old, the landlords are not investing in old paint removal and application of new paint, partly because the weather here does not demand constant repainting like in other parts of the country and partly because new buyers and renters just don't care about paint, since the housing market is what it is. Children do play in the dirt, and people do maintain home gardens just like I do in front or on the sides of the house. I'm one of these landlords myself, BTW. I own a single family home built in 1909. The paint is chipping and this article makes me think it's time to do something about it. I have studied the Port pollution problem, and was actively engaged in the process to develop the MAQIP (Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan) in 2008 together with Communities for Better Environment, Sierra Club, APEN and others. I believe the Port is improving its particulate emissions, especially with "cold ironing" of ships and improved emissions controls for trucks. Check this URL:… Particulate Matter (PM) emissions are way down compared to 2005. Yes, the Port could and should do more. But let's not blame the lead poisoning on the Port just yet.

Posted by Kent Lewandowski on 12/30/2016 at 10:10 AM

Re: “Oakland's Toxic Lead Contamination Isn't in the Water. It's in the Buildings and Dirt, and It's Bad.

Boots Riley: this is categorically false. Diesel fuel contains no lead (see

Posted by Joe Hankin on 12/30/2016 at 10:05 AM

Re: “Oakland's Toxic Lead Contamination Isn't in the Water. It's in the Buildings and Dirt, and It's Bad.

Boots Riley - link, please? Lead was an added chemical in gasoline, and they stopped adding it in years back. Any lead content in gas will poison catalytic converters, and federally mandated converter lifespan rules were made more stringent some years back, along with greatly reducing sulfur content in diesel fuel for the same reasons.

Posted by Edward Stewart on 12/30/2016 at 6:12 AM

Re: “Oakland's Toxic Lead Contamination Isn't in the Water. It's in the Buildings and Dirt, and It's Bad.

Editors: Please fix the link to the 2012 report in the article- thanks!

Posted by Melissa McElhatton Davis on 12/29/2016 at 10:38 PM

Re: “Oakland's Toxic Lead Contamination Isn't in the Water. It's in the Buildings and Dirt, and It's Bad.

A lot of the ships don't run in diesel, but use bunker oil, which is just a small step up from crude oil. It's the nastiest stuff ever, rich in lead and other heavy metals.

Posted by Cyrus Wong-Weissman on 12/29/2016 at 9:35 PM

Re: “Oakland's Toxic Lead Contamination Isn't in the Water. It's in the Buildings and Dirt, and It's Bad.

Ed Garrett- the EPA says that "Unleaded" fuel contains very little lead (5/100th of a gram per ??), but it still contains some. Diesel fuel, which is what Gary Patton was referring to contains more lead than unleaded.

Posted by Boots Riley on 12/29/2016 at 9:20 PM

Re: “Oakland's Toxic Lead Contamination Isn't in the Water. It's in the Buildings and Dirt, and It's Bad.

While air quality is an issue, it is not currently a contributor to **lead** poisoning. Before lead was phased out as an additive in Gasoline, the statement was true, freeway traffic added significant lead to the environment and deposits from past leaded gas use persist in soils, cracks in building walls, etc. Industries have also contributed, but Diesel from current trucking is not a contributor. Ships use "Bunker Oil" that does have more heavy metal contaminants than Diesel for on-road vehicles.

New air pollution is important. However, do NOT diminish existing problems by marginalizing them with claims about other issues. Lead comes from lead. If not in fuel being burned, emissions will not contribute to lead poisoning. Oakland is dealing mostly with legacy pollution from old products put forward as safe at the time of use.

Posted by Ed Garrett on 12/29/2016 at 7:03 PM

Re: “Oakland's Toxic Lead Contamination Isn't in the Water. It's in the Buildings and Dirt, and It's Bad.

The problem with lead poisoning in the Fruitvale District is way bigger than chipping lead based paint on older buildings or even soils in the area that previously contained uses that utilized toxic materials. What the City of Oakland and the Port of Oakland don't want you to know is that the major and ongoing source of environmental pollution in this area is the Port itself. There is a prevailing southeast wind coming off the San Francisco bay that constantly blows toxic particulate matter from the operation of the Port and the truck traffic on I-880 directly into the Fruitvale district. Many, if not most of the large container ships and trucks moving through the Port on a daily basis are diesel fueled. The ships and trucks idle for hours and days in the bay and on Port property as they queue up to drop off and pick up shipping containers. Diesel and gasoline fueled engines both generate their highest levels of exhaust when idling. Everyone knows that I-880 northwest of the Fruitvale district is a constant choke point for traffic. When those big trucks sit in traffic, they also create toxic fumes that are carried by prevailing winds directly into this neighborhood.The air quality impacts along the I-880 corridor are so bad that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) identified the significance of this problem around 2005 and questioned whether any new housing should be built along this corridor. Since then, the city has adopted new procedures and language in their CEQA findings in order to "address" the problem. Additionally, over the last 10 years the Port has provided assistance, through EPA grants, to help operators that serve the Port to retrofit exhaust systems on diesel trucks to reduce emissions. At the end of the day, the Port of Oakland is the economic engine that drives the city. I don't know what the answer is, but it is clear that nobody in City Hall wants to talk about real environmental contamination that is created by Port operations. It is easy for Councilman Gallo to blame old lead paint for elevated levels of lead in the children. However, I believe that the real problem is the contaminated air that they breathe each and every day. Real leadership, which we seldom see from City Hall, requires you to go deeper than the obvious and publicly discuss what is really going on.

Posted by Gary Patton on 12/29/2016 at 2:57 PM

Re: “Oakland's Toxic Lead Contamination Isn't in the Water. It's in the Buildings and Dirt, and It's Bad.

Free inspections of your home in Oakland for lead:

Posted by Jessica Stewart on 12/29/2016 at 1:18 PM

Re: “Housing Groups Slam Proposal to Redefine Affordable Housing in Oakland

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Posted by Oliver Sabine on 12/29/2016 at 10:20 AM

Re: “Plan Would Require City of Oakland To Be Part Owner of Any New Marijuana Business

Stoners are very loyal otherwise we would have lost the war on Pot...
We will only support our pot heroes be they biker gangs or cartels. Those who were against pot should never profit...
Use profits to help those of us that have suffered for the cause.

Watch for the Sacred Tokin Stone coming to your area.
Sacred stone and marijuana together what a match.

Posted by Doug Pederson on 12/26/2016 at 8:34 AM
Posted by Lynette Gailord on 12/24/2016 at 7:18 PM

Re: “Nellie's Soulfood Will Reopen in JK's Brickhouse in West Oakland

My heart is once again happy!

Posted by Finesse Robinson on 12/24/2016 at 8:00 AM
Posted by Jason Nino Parker on 12/23/2016 at 1:37 PM

Re: “Survivors, Close Friends of Ghost Ship Fire Victims Deliver Letter to Oakland Mayor, Demand Urgent Moratorium on Evictions

Can anyone explain the difference between a crackdown and an uptick? Can a journalist pleaae focus on the gap betwwen mayoral rhetoric and actual numbers? We'll wait, hopefully indoors.

Posted by JVerne on 12/23/2016 at 3:04 AM

Re: “Actual Cafe and Victory Burger to Close on December 23

You know who contributes the most to gentrification? People who BEGIN the process by finding an empty warehouse and turning it into something artsy. That is where it all starts. That is the point of "sensitive dependence upon initial conditions" in chaos theory.

But once gentrification starts is hard to stop. The East Bay Area was too far gone long ago. Ghost Ship marks the point of R.I.P. where people who live for the funk suddenly wake up and realize funk is highly flammable. Time to get a day job like a citizen or move to a city with funk you can afford. Yes, you kicked off the whole gentrification process somehow. The local real estate is now worth billions. The yuppies frolic in wealth.

Now you are evicted. Leave.

Yes, the ugly and ungrateful final stage of gentrification. The funky people throw up their hands, curse, and leave.

You know there is a robotics industry just starting to jell in Boston? Ten years from now who knows what could happen? And if trade actually kicks off with Cuba despite many obstacles and bumps ahead...maybe someplace in Florida is the next big thing...maybe Havana is the next big thing. But it sure ain't Oakland anymore.

There is an amazing amount of depressed real estate left over in Florida from the collapse of the housing market and Hurricane Katrina. Food for thought.


Things have a beginning, middle and just have to move on if you are lucky enough to live through the changes. And you, remember that cool little place we used to go? Sigh. Then you find the next cool little place. You kick off the next big thing.

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/21/2016 at 11:59 PM

Re: “Burnt Ramen Pushes Back Against City of Richmond

I was writing creatively and saying HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT those inspectors found in that den of finger-painting space cadet government cheese eaters, so be careful what you wish for before you demand release of information from the inspection. Who knows what kind of wierd fire hazards turned up...if the Ghost Ship is any indication with its mannequin hands reaching from the ceiling...pirate ship gang plank stairwell and let us not forget...

Condom chew toys.

Posted by Charles C. Eroster on 12/21/2016 at 10:53 PM

Re: “Burnt Ramen Pushes Back Against City of Richmond

As a Roadie, security, and member of the community most easily described as 'punk', nationwide, as well as part of the underground/outsider arts community, and having lived in similar places, roughly 35 years now- and having volunteered at Burnt Ramen in the past- I just want to say that places like this have long provided safe haven and a sense of family to people who may not get it anywhere else. And when people say that Burnt Ramen saved their lives, it's not an exaggeration; these places are put together by people for people who's eclectic personalities are drawn together. This isn't a 'scene' that people get into, or even a lifestyle we choose. That may sound phoney and pretentious to some, but it certainly isn't meant to- and my point is: I've seen too many lives lost to suicide and addiction and have witnessed first hand these little communities save people from that crap. The streets are rough, and many of us don't survive them. It's not for you to judge whether blow up dolls are art or not, or what's a visual joke. What's misunderstood is often persecuted throughout history. This is a case where an accident- a tragedy in Oakland happened, and now politicians are 'cleaning up' neighborhoods in the guise of safety. But this is a straight attack in the name of gentrification. We are not your enemies. In fact, in many instances, we are there where a cracked house, or shooting gallery could have been. Better than being homeless- which is where many will end up.

Posted by Hammerin Josh Hanke on 12/21/2016 at 8:21 PM

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