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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Editor's Note

Re: “Homelessness, Caltrans, and the East Bay's Forgotten People

Got to say there's a bunch of truth in Ms, Kittell's rant. "Let It Be" is not good policy - just ask City of Albany and how it ignored its waterfront "bulb" property which turned into a giant 200+ homeless camp (with no sanitation, security etc).

What I don't get is that the tent camps are often boarding fenced parking lots which probably belong to Caltrans (since they are within the right of way) and so why not, at least as a stop-gap, open up those lots, add some portable toilets and showers, trash cans, etc. and let them camp with a bit more dignity? How much could that cost? The Express should ask the City why it can't do something like that since it's happened in other cities like Portland and now SF.

Last year I noticed one guy who started living in his car along at a metered parking spot on Lake Merritt. He lived in his car for at least two months before (somehow) the City forced him to move. Not a single parking ticket! How long would my car last parked out there like that?

Posted by Tom Gan on 08/16/2016 at 5:24 PM

Re: “Homelessness, Caltrans, and the East Bay's Forgotten People

No, no, no, no, no!!! Now this is where I draw the line. I hate articles like this because they're completely one sided. "Harassment from government agencies...," GTFOH!!!!!! I have a pretty in-depth knowledge of how these CalTrans clean-up days work. Yes, homelessness is a problem. I'm not debating that fact, but to expect or imply CalTrans, the State of California, or any police agency should turn a blind eye to these encampments, is ridiculous. Due to the B.S. bureaucracy, CalTrans is required to "post" their clean-up intentions DAYS in advance. Their posting schedule gives people several days notice to move their belongings. Sure as hell, when they come back, the people are STILL there (acting like it's the first time they've heard CalTrans was coming). COME ON!!! CalTrans not only has a pretty regular schedule, but they take photos when they post notices. Not CalTrans' fault the people in the encampments remove the notices. Additionally, when CalTrans arrives, due to the fact they've already posted a notice, they're not REQUIRED to afford the encampment residents with additional time to clean their crap up. They do, but they're not required to. No one wants to be heartless meanie. Due to the ridiculous missing property claims, and lawsuits, CalTrans is now required to videotape (as opposed to simply photographing), the property they discard. They receive claims of jeans worth hundreds of dollars getting thrown away, valuable jewelry going missing...YEAH RIGHT!!! These places are filthy and full of rummaged and/or stolen property!! Don't insult my intelligence.

The people who work for CalTrans and go out and clean these encampments DO NOT have the power to disregard the order of their bosses. They have a job to do. And as a tax paying, home in West Oakland owning (an epicenter for this filth), and resident of California, I expect CalTrans to do their job!! I've been in these encampments (and stepped in "dookie bombs" the homeless left behind), and I've interacted with the hopeless HOMEOWNER who also feels like they're being punished/victimized. I belong to the latter group. So I have to suffer because people feel sorry for the homeless? I have to deal with the filth, trash, noise, and vermin, because people feel sorry for the homeless? What about me, the HOME OWNER, THE TAX PAYER, THE PERSON THAT GOES TO WORK EVERY DAY? What about the tax paying, home owning (or renting) residents who call in or go to the police begging for help with the encampment problem in their neighborhood, and they get brushed off, or their complaints get discarded, because the City and the State's hands are tied? How do you tell a person who does EVERYTHING RIGHT, and "PAYS THEIR DUES", that their complaints are invalid. "Sorry my friend, you're successful and own your home and pay your taxes, but because you're not homeless, we don't care you feel victimized too."

I spoke to one defeated home owner who lived next to an encampment. He said, "I don't understand how these people are not being arrested for the least! If i cut the lock and drove onto State property and started vandalizing stuff, or doing donuts, i would get arrested!!! Why are they not getting arrested ?!!!!" My response was, "Because they're homeless and you're not." But he's absolutely right. This is asinine!!!

And to go back to that line about "harassment." When CalTrans goes into these encampments to DO THEIR JOB, they're threatened, assaulted, and harassed themselves. Sometimes, they're not even CalTrans employees...they're contracted out to some work program. Men and women just trying to earn a living and/or fulfill the terms and conditions of their probation. If some of these homeless people weren't so hostile, perhaps CalTrans wouldn't need the police's assistance. I tell you what, this liberal Oakland City Council and spineless OPD (and their moratorium on the homeless) have made it difficult for other agencies to do their job. Because the City of Oakland and OPD refuse to address the problem, let people live in their cars (illegally parked or not), and let people pitch tents and block the sidewalks (out of compliance with ADA laws and regulations), then the homeless and activist think all other agencies are supposed to do the same. The City of Oakland's and OPD's LACK OF ACTION, is counter productive to the problem. They don't want to victimize the homeless, but they're victimizing the homeowner. oh but wait, NOT IN THE "NICE" NEIGHBORHOODS THOUGH!! Let a homeless person pitch a tent or live in their car on College Avenue, Piedmont Avenue, or Lasalle Avenue. OPD would be on their butt REAL QUICK!!! Hypocrites.

This whole problem gets me worked up, as you can see. I'll get off my soapbox now.

Posted by Melissa Kittell on 08/13/2016 at 6:03 PM

Re: “The New Guy: Introducing 'Express' Editor Nick Miller

Sherman Kassoff:

Uh, uh. This guy is "serious" about being a "philosopher."…

Posted by Michael Good on 05/09/2016 at 6:58 PM

Re: “The New Guy: Introducing 'Express' Editor Nick Miller

I've always thought that "Free Will Astrology" was satire. A bit verbose and long running, but satire. It isn't?

Posted by Sherman Kassof on 05/08/2016 at 10:02 PM

Re: “The New Guy: Introducing 'Express' Editor Nick Miller

As someone who read 7 Days A Week religiously to know what was really going on, especially at Oakland City Hall, I congratulate you for having the sense to come back to the Bay and I hope you will continue exposing the incompetence that is unfortunately such a fabric of life in Oakland. In particular, Darwin Graham Bond's reporting on housing and the lack of affordability is a topic worthy of intense scrutiny and coverage of 2 important developments in the Temescal (tower at MacArthur BART/meeting on May 11th) and May 18th Planning Commission meeting re: 51st and Telegraph project are critical in the story. Will North Oakland provide the high density and reduced parking that most progressive folks think are vital? Or will the City keep making developers tear their hair out and look elsewhere? Thanks for the email share as well. I like your style.

Posted by Karen Hester on 05/06/2016 at 12:58 PM

Re: “The New Guy: Introducing 'Express' Editor Nick Miller

I agree with everything the other commentators have written here.

Posted by Vincent Sauve on 05/06/2016 at 3:34 AM

Re: “The New Guy: Introducing 'Express' Editor Nick Miller

Nick Miller:

As I said: You have your work cut out for you.

Taken from the About Us section : "We seek to promote truth, expose wrongdoing, and give voice to the voiceless. We are dedicated to local arts and culture. We aim for the highest standards in our journalism and business practices."

If you want East Bay Express to aim for the highest standards, then you may want to ask yourself why you are promoting the reading of astrology - pseudoscience at its worst.

Being all things to all people in the East Bay will put you in a bit of a bind.

Good luck rationalizing this one as part of high standards and the promotion of truth.

Posted by Michael Good on 05/05/2016 at 6:43 PM

Re: “The New Guy: Introducing 'Express' Editor Nick Miller


This week's Free Will Astrology has been posted – sorry to make you wait! Here's the link:…

Thanks for reading!

Posted by Bert Johnson on 05/05/2016 at 2:43 PM

Re: “The New Guy: Introducing 'Express' Editor Nick Miller

Did you cut "Free Will Astrology"? If so, not a great start.

Posted by Richard Landry on 05/05/2016 at 12:45 PM

Re: “The New Guy: Introducing 'Express' Editor Nick Miller

Did you cut "Free Will Astrology"? If so, not a great start.

Posted by Richard Landry on 05/05/2016 at 12:45 PM

Re: “The New Guy: Introducing 'Express' Editor Nick Miller

Welcome, it will be excellent to have someone with your experience carry the flag. One request: Can you guys please stop with "The Town" thing? It's just embarrassing. Oaktown if you really must.

Posted by Susan Kuchinskas on 05/05/2016 at 9:39 AM

Re: “The New Guy: Introducing 'Express' Editor Nick Miller

Congratulations on your new role and best of luck. I believe you will find that you have your work cut out for you.

"Clearheaded" reporting is often lacking and the substitute is more along the lines of cherry picking facts and quotes and a significant amount of confirmation bias.

A diverse mx of writers, better reflecting the East Bay Community, will be welcome. There are actually are a few people in the East Bay that are not to the left of the left. But, you would never know it by some of the articles that appear here.

The Writers Guidelines for EBExpress includes: "A strong point of view is not necessary but welcome, as long as the writer can back it up." As the editorial leaders, it would be great if you would please work on the latter part of that.

In general, "news" and "opinion" seems to be conflated to the detriment of each.

I look forward to the day when I can continue to look forward to reading the Food and Drink section but discontinue my dismay over the quality of "reporting."

Posted by Michael Good on 05/04/2016 at 12:09 PM

Re: “The Express' New Commenting Policy

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 06/13/2014 at 9:55 AM

Re: “The Express' New Commenting Policy

As long as Facebook commenting isn't used, I think it's weird to require a full first and last name. Last initial should really be enough. But I understand your rationale

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Omar Yacoubi on 06/12/2014 at 12:23 PM

Re: “The Express' New Commenting Policy

Trib/Mercury news don't have a facebook only policy. They use Oauth open id, which allows comments via several different services. You also fundamentally do not understand the purpose of it - one thing it isn't used for is elimination of anonymous comments. That policy is shifted to the individual services, such as yahoo,, aol. Among them only facebook demands user's real identities, and even then policing is lax. And you should go look who actually comments on the Trib using their real facebook, if you want to see how that elevates the discussion. Bona fide morons, nearly all of them, and pretty nasty as well.

The fact that you specifically forbid anonymous comments reveals you to be cowards and frauds, and terrified of critisism as only the truly mediocre and pretentious can be. I hope in the future you have the good sense to refrain from editorializing on privacy issues, or drone controversies, since you've outed yourselves as massive, smelly, sanctimonious leftier-than-thou hypocrites.

14 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Alfred Packer on 09/07/2013 at 8:39 PM

Re: “The Express' New Commenting Policy

This comment was removed because it violates our new policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

6 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 12/13/2011 at 3:19 PM

Re: “The Express' New Commenting Policy

Bravo! An excellent decision, and one I hope will be emulated by other media organizations in the coming year.

Eric Westby,
Berkeley, CA

7 likes, 17 dislikes
Posted by Eric Westby on 11/22/2011 at 10:54 AM

Re: “The Express' New Commenting Policy

Of course anonymous comments will present the problems you outline here. Probably also to include some you don't mention.

Still, I remain firmly against not allowing anonymous posting generally. A sufficient argument that this should not be done is that it restricts free speech, but I am also finding no comfort in the idea that disallowing anonymous comments results in an improvement of discourse. So what? That's not the point really. Keeping ignorance and stupidity and ill intent OUT will improve discourse...but these are ordinary components of free speech. I notice you are not suggesting not posting comments flavored by these.

Finally, as others observe, there might be a good reason for wanting to remain anonymous. I find the "let's check your papers" aspect of using Facebook and the like as an identifier extremely invasive. Wanting to keep your right to privacy by denying such a procedure should you wish to do so is worth protecting.

19 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by terrybake on 11/04/2011 at 6:21 AM

Re: “The Express' New Commenting Policy

How will you determine who is using their real name in creating an account?

11 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by J.B. Schwartz on 11/03/2011 at 6:02 PM

Re: “The Express' New Commenting Policy

This comment was deleted because it violates the Express' new commenting policy, which bars anonymous commenting. See a full explanation of the change here.

4 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 11/01/2011 at 10:59 PM

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