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Comment Archives: stories: Blogs

Re: “For MLK Holiday, Activists Tear Down Fence and Take Over Oakland's St. Andrew's Plaza in the Name of 'Black Joy'

To amplify what was shared by Michael; the community wanted the park closed as part of the renovation-activation of healthy activities that serve the community as a whole. The community has been abused and mistreated for Decades.

Pretty much every surrounding entity (senior center residents and those who utilize the senior center; West Oakland Youth Center, the residents of neighboring Myrtle, Filbert, Linden and Chestnut Streets) experienced endless amounts (and I do mean endless) of police activity and drug use, prostitution and hostility. It's why the redesign was considered.

To support what Dorothy us saying: What does it take to provide the younger generation in the community some hope? The acts of a few adults who didn't give a damn and used their circumstances to abuse the community were so intense, shutting it down to redesign it for things like what occurred was actually desireous.

For the record, I know because I attended 90% of the meeting the community held to inform and engage the public about this long-time neglected area.

Plus, the ground-break of what is supposed to come in the form of People's Community Market has no hope for success if we don't work to change and bring a different narrative to this area. Just look at the area surrounding the park. Since I've lived here and even as many cleaned the area weekly to rid it of needles and filth left by those who abuse it for sport.

The community wants to see everyone be involved and included; even those who are forgotten still matter but having wrong incomes don't have right outcomes.

Adults who have aged out of (addiction,foster or prison) systems that suffer from having no homes is still a community problem to be solved. Even average working folks can't afford to live here, even offsetting incomes by thanks to an overall and overwhelming expensive city hijacked by San Francisco's lack of affordability. That is a longer and less addressable issue. But it will still need to be addressed; these are human beings; not disposable trash. Yes, the chickens always come home to roost and the conflict of gentrification which is always the buzz word even for communities of all races and income levels.

These are always factored into and mounted onto the happenings in this area or Clawson-McClymonds. The younger folks here are tied of getting shot and tired of seeing their futures destroyed because adults can't get their shit together. They don't want to be shifted out of the area to places that are more affordable but unfamiliar to them.

Posted by Carol Wyatt on 01/17/2017 at 10:18 AM

Re: “For MLK Holiday, Activists Tear Down Fence and Take Over Oakland's St. Andrew's Plaza in the Name of 'Black Joy'

Great comment by Carol Wyatt, which only confirms what I noted in my earlier comments here: the (missing) heart of the story is the status of the City's renovation plan for the park, and the need for continuing community involvement (which shut it down in the first place) -- NOT the (unchallenged) ideology of a clique of self-appointed arbiters of "Black Joy."

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 01/17/2017 at 8:49 AM

Re: “For MLK Holiday, Activists Tear Down Fence and Take Over Oakland's St. Andrew's Plaza in the Name of 'Black Joy'

Most of the persons living in those West Oakland primarily tents and other areas, were never educated, had jobs, or apartments to begin with. They have always really survived by General Assistance, or SSI, which primarily funds this drug, alcohol and prostitution desires. And, during the day, some break into cars and homes. No one in their right mind, is going to create / build housing for people of this source. No one is even renting to people who have Section 8 vouchers in most cities in the United States. So let's be clear, this is a new world in America, but this has been going on in a multitude of countries forever but now Tent City has hit home!! It's nothing new around the world. If you can't feed yourself you have to go elsewhere. Stop having babies the tax payers will no longer afford. I'm a black landlord, and the population has changed who rents from us, and diversity is welcome, nothing stays status quo.

Posted by DorothyT on 01/17/2017 at 8:41 AM

Re: “For MLK Holiday, Activists Tear Down Fence and Take Over Oakland's St. Andrew's Plaza in the Name of 'Black Joy'

Well said Carol Wyatt. I think you speak for all the residents of Oakland that want a better, safer Oakland with opportunities for all.

Posted by Anya K on 01/17/2017 at 7:27 AM

Re: “For MLK Holiday, Activists Tear Down Fence and Take Over Oakland's St. Andrew's Plaza in the Name of 'Black Joy'

AmericasSTARS - A political party of the people, by the people, for the people. We can't remain the United States of America if we stay divided. Let's stand together - all of us... choosing who to elect from the people - your voice matters and will be heard. Look for us on Facebook and come join the party!

Posted by Margaret Chiffriller on 01/16/2017 at 11:45 PM

Re: “For MLK Holiday, Activists Tear Down Fence and Take Over Oakland's St. Andrew's Plaza in the Name of 'Black Joy'

I moved here a decade ago and am black. I also have neighbors who have historical roots in this community. From all racial backgrounds. And many of the black community were here during the periods when employment existed in the rail yards and Port of Oakland.

While I don't agree with the vandalized style the fence was taken down, I am far from surprised that it occurred.

First the closing of the Recycler without a response to serve the poorer residents. When you leave something sitting, without designing it to completion and not continuously engaging the ENTIRE community and including those activating the Plaza to resolve problems, this is what can happen.

All you have to do is look at who lives in these encampments to measure who is being effected. Promises to engage with nothing coming back to the table.

The one thing most wanted gone is the crime and drug use going on in the Plaza, along neighboring Filbert Streets and Brockhurst Street where there is a senior center and Youth Center within a block from the Plaza. Many of the neighboring activities which are serving the community are the anthesis of activities going on in the Plaza

What's unfortunate is there is no Adult Center because the age group between senior and youth appears to be ignored.

I actually like the Black Joy idea but don't think it should to be just racially motivated. If that was related to Dr King's Day, I am not surprised. The challenges in this community are about poverty across the racial spectrum. Everyone in this community including new residents understand this. It is clear that the people suffering most of these injustices are residents of a predominately black and impoverished community, with higher indices of unemployment and other opportunities.

And weekly cleaning that include defecation not to mention the hundreds of used needles from overwhelming addiction in this community. The Plaza was abused when it was open on so many levels that these discussions, which were inclusive and open to the public were intended to redesign the Plaza and try to get those who brazenly did whatever they wanted to do, with blatant disregard for EVERYONE ELSE. No matter who they were or what group they represented.

Serving JOY for the benefit of ALL PEOPLE within the Community isn't a bad idea, especially if the goal is to bring healthy alternatives to the Plaza and change the environments that remove crime (drug dealing) and behaviors that brought more police action to that little parklet and plagued a community for several decades; long before the gentrification occurred this was here and continues to be here.

Children here need more also; McClymonds just won the State championship and turning around the crime and drug use, dumping and ignoring the for JOY isn't truly a bad thing. But it should be done right.

Long time black residents want these eradicated also. When you have less of this, as one of the elders on Filbert Street told me 'you can't have officer involved shootings when you can keep the police away from the community; keep the crime out and the police don't have to spend tons of time here'.

No one wants their children and family exposed to these behaviors. Black, Hispanic, Asian or White.

Once again, a failure to focus and complete goals to serve the community's needs, serves to embarrass the City. We have folks sleeping under overpasses here. Of course a group of people who are activated to do something to change the subject was and is brewing.

I think the focus should shift the blame from the community. There are those in position who should be working with all of the residents: those who acted and those who want change and to bring everyone to the table.

The divisive nature of this is unnecessary, when all in the community want outcomes not dissimilar. The activists and the residents. In my opinion, that's an exclusive community that recognizes the needs of the poor and under-served and longtime disenfranchised and balances it with the growth and development for change that includes affordable housing and jobs, is what needs mending.

Posted by Carol Wyatt on 01/16/2017 at 11:20 PM

Re: “For MLK Holiday, Activists Tear Down Fence and Take Over Oakland's St. Andrew's Plaza in the Name of 'Black Joy'

Reality check: The residences who work and pay rent to live in a crime infested hell hole, invested time and energy in obtaining that fence to drive junkies, thieves, and low lifes away from where their children play.

Now entitled journalist who think more about movember than about hour by hour hardships of impoverished youth move to celebrate this vandalism of hope as some kind of social justice victory.

Is it any wonder that people are disavowing cultural Marxists at every turn?

Posted by Dee Ceeover on 01/16/2017 at 11:16 PM

Re: “For MLK Holiday, Activists Tear Down Fence and Take Over Oakland's St. Andrew's Plaza in the Name of 'Black Joy'

Typical EBX drivel.(Identity Politics) This corner park has been a serious health and safety threat for years, and you know it. Drug dealing, defecation and unhealthy sanitary conditions. I am happy the city is finally doing something about it, I encourage development. Oakland needs to continue to encourage new massive infill market rate development. Maybe EBX should join forces with Indy Bay and safe us all from.....How about setting up camp in front of the home of one of Wells Fargo's board of trustee's. Some of them live here too.

Posted by jay mac on 01/16/2017 at 10:16 PM

Re: “For MLK Holiday, Activists Tear Down Fence and Take Over Oakland's St. Andrew's Plaza in the Name of 'Black Joy'

The article also mentions plans for the park's "renovation, using a $456,000 grant, [that ostensibly] would transform the area into a welcoming space for all," but fails to discuss the current status of those plans. Isn't that the heart of the story -- even if a clique of self-appointed arbiters of "Black Joy" meanwhile have a plan of their own that they seek to impose on the neighborhood instead?

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 01/16/2017 at 8:41 PM

Re: “For MLK Holiday, Activists Tear Down Fence and Take Over Oakland's St. Andrew's Plaza in the Name of 'Black Joy'

If, indeed, "a group of neighbors had complained for years that the sliver of land was a magnet for illegal drug use and crime," why weren't any of them interviewed for this story? For that matter, those neighbors were evidently there for years: were all of them white? As neighbors (not to mention other passers-by) did they find that park intimidating?

A power play is a power play -- a battle for control (with conflicting cultural norms being weaponized by both sides). "Displacement" cuts both ways.

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 01/16/2017 at 8:26 PM

Re: “For MLK Holiday, Activists Tear Down Fence and Take Over Oakland's St. Andrew's Plaza in the Name of 'Black Joy'

@jerome funkhauser
your use of the phrase 'black joy' is disgusting.

Posted by Neck Stuffing on 01/16/2017 at 7:50 PM

Re: “For MLK Holiday, Activists Tear Down Fence and Take Over Oakland's St. Andrew's Plaza in the Name of 'Black Joy'

Good to see the plaza opened up again as it has been a bastion of black joy for decades. Drug use, prostitution, violence, public defecation and various other forms of black joy on display for the whole world to see.

Posted by Jerome Funkhauser on 01/16/2017 at 7:16 PM

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

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Posted by David Flinch on 01/16/2017 at 4:37 PM

Re: “Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee To Boycott Trump Inauguration

Thank you Congresswoman Lee for standing up to an unprincipled, bigoted and immature individual by NOT attending the inauguration - we are a great country because of principled politicians like you!

Posted by Amy R. Booe on 01/16/2017 at 7:33 AM

Re: “Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee To Boycott Trump Inauguration

No one is going to miss you Barbara there.

Posted by Robert Hope on 01/15/2017 at 9:55 PM

Re: “Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee To Boycott Trump Inauguration

She's right on the nose with everything.

Posted by Donnell Moses on 01/15/2017 at 4:45 PM

Re: “Oakland Mayor Schaaf Issues Order Intended to Improve Safety of Unpermitted Housing While Avoiding Displacement

Bill H raises the salient equation: Who pays for rehabilitating Oakland?

I suggest we take our cue from commonsense (and Tom Paine, while we're at it (Agrarian Justice)).

Land values belong to the community, not to those who nominally own one and another plots of nature. Tax land values heavily, and the owners of land will get that land into use quickly. The rent for the structure will pay for the rehabilitation; meanwhile the land value rents won't go to the mere landlord, they'll be a pass-through from renter through landlord and back to the community where they'll pay for streets, fire protection, and other social services. Renters will get what they pay for: safe, secure housing and work space (the building rent) AND public infrastructure (the land value rent).

And, all that rehabilitating of Oakland's buildings will employ scads of people!

Posted by David Giesen on 01/15/2017 at 10:51 AM

Re: “Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee To Boycott Trump Inauguration

I send her all our Aloha from Hawaii!!!

Posted by Terry Aguiar on 01/14/2017 at 9:34 AM

Re: “Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee Refuses to Certify Trump's Electoral College Win

Henry Wade
Still holding out hope? Well stop. It's over! The liberals are parched and dying as they claw through an unending desert of denial. And for the next four years, the Hand of God will be dry.So you may want to save a precious swallow or two.

Posted by Henry Wade on 01/13/2017 at 10:30 PM

Re: “Town Business: Increasing Financial Aid for Renters Displaced Due to Code Enforcement


-What if the building is hazardously noncompliant with building codes b/c of the actions of the tenant, and the tenant is unresponsive to requests by the land-lord? Do they still get paid to leave? (If not, great way to extort).

-What if the tenant is richer than the landlord? (Even greater way to distort).

-What happens in the case of commercial warehouses that are zoned commercial (no variances) and a tenant illegally subleases. When & if the landlord finds this out, will the subtenants still be given protection, and the landlord still forced to pay illegal tenants to move?

I'm guessing/hoping not, but given our reactionary City and how general the article is written it makes it sound like no matter the condition all tenants will be protected, even if they're illegal and even if it violates zoning.

Posted by Hugh Morrison 1 on 01/13/2017 at 2:42 PM

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