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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Guest Essays

Re: “An Open Letter to Our Community, From the Former Residents of the Recently Closed LoBot Gallery in West Oakland

Here's the deal... Members of the community, all about safe spaces, knew about the conditions at Ghost Ship and the operator (see other articles right here on EBX)... And said nothing/did nothing.

LoBot operated, by their own admission for 13 years, and somehow never bothered to advise/press the existing building owner for needed repairs. After the building changed hands, they self reported to the city to force the new owner to make the long overdue repairs (I read the articles right here on EBX)... And the building was bad enough it was red flagged! The city told them to fix it, and they basically tore it down. While I've never seen a statement from the building owner, I suspect the building was so bad that's what had to be done. Not surprising as it was vacant and decaying in '96 when I moved to West Oakland as was most of the area.

The sad and simple fact is it was advantageous for these people to operate this way... The property owner and the lease holder. They built and sold illusion of safety. Those who didn't go along got subtle and not so subtle enforcement with little or no recourse. Things that are underground seem to always go that way. Bullies thrive in secrecy, in the underground.

Tove has it dead right. Get politically active. Stop throwing temper tantrums and make a difference. I know when I voted this year, I had to swallow the vomit and we still got the horror... But I did it because NOT doing it was NOT standing against it.

The city doesn't have the money it needs. It sure isn't going to get it from the art community, nor will it come from the poor or dwindling middle class; there just isn't enough there. If we keep playing "We're different and you're the other", all we do divide and expose the ever smaller groups the the vicious bullies of the world... And they win. Get in the solution. Marching isn't it.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 12/07/2016 at 8:06 PM

Re: “An Open Letter to Our Community, From the Former Residents of the Recently Closed LoBot Gallery in West Oakland

I know a manager at one of the local Bank of America branches who is always looking for young people who want a start in the banking and finance industry. Why not stop in and inquire? It can't hurt to ask. Then you could do your artwork at night and in the evenings. I did the very thing as a young man, carving models of WWII battleships from wood that the local furniture maker saved for me. You know, odds and ends that he couldn't use. Once a year I always presented one of my better pieces, just to say 'thanks'.

Posted by Francesco on 12/07/2016 at 5:33 PM

Re: “An Open Letter to Our Community, From the Former Residents of the Recently Closed LoBot Gallery in West Oakland

Why the need for censorship people? Someone doesn't agree and you want it removed? And I bet the people asking to remove comments cry when they don't get heard.

Tove had some valid points whether you agreed with it or not. No guns are being placed on anyone's head to live this lifestyle. It's a choice.

There are also rules for the GREATER safety of everyone and not just a select few. The landlords are also at risk which the author is asking to bear. It's all about self responsibility.

Posted by Robert Hope on 12/07/2016 at 1:29 PM

Re: “An Open Letter to Our Community, From the Former Residents of the Recently Closed LoBot Gallery in West Oakland

Bigfrog - Yes, I think I was incorrect there, in that I'm sure many of the buildings were abandoned or unoccupied when artists moved in. That point was secondary to the rest of the post, and I should have just left it out.

Posted by Carlos Jamal on 12/07/2016 at 8:44 AM

Re: “An Open Letter to Our Community, From the Former Residents of the Recently Closed LoBot Gallery in West Oakland

Hey Carlos Jamal - I was one of the original inhabitants at Lobot and nobody was displaced when we moved in. It was formerly a business and the guys who built the living spaces created a place where 15 - 20 people lived. And in my situation I freed up a low rent room for someone else to occupy.

Posted by bigfrog on 12/07/2016 at 8:11 AM

Re: “An Open Letter to Our Community, From the Former Residents of the Recently Closed LoBot Gallery in West Oakland

The housing crisis is a travesty, as was this horrific fire.

Unfortunately, your way of life, of living in a poverty of choice to create art, appears to no longer be sustainable in this area of the world. You were not the first people to live in Oakland, nor would you be the first people displaced. Likely, you displaced someone when you arrived.

You are in charge of your own life. You are at no one's mercy. Your problems and issues have arisen because of the lifestyle choices you have made. You should come to terms with that.

To retrofit buildings for fire safety, you need fire marshals. You need money. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Posted by Carlos Jamal on 12/07/2016 at 6:34 AM

Re: “An Open Letter to Our Community, From the Former Residents of the Recently Closed LoBot Gallery in West Oakland

What if you didn't go to art school?? That's some cold hard snobbery right there. That's called victim blaming and that is the most disrespectful way to talk about the deceased. What's selfish about what Lobot said?? They are trying to protect spaces like their own from being shut down as opposed to being made safe. Making more places where more people can feel at home so we don't all have to be privelived little pricks like you and can just be ourselves. Not every boot comes with a damn strap so try some new shoes on and figure that out smarty pants. What do you mean by don't "expect" to be taken care of by you city? Is a city not supposed to be concerned with the safety and well being of its citizens? Or are you saying don't expect it cause they obviously only give a fuck about their money... Cause yeah that's why we DON'T expect it. But that doesn't mean we don't deserve it. And if you think that's selfish, you're only looking in a mirror. You don't deserve your safety any more than anyone else, you just have more access, because you have privelive, cause the boots your daddy gave you came with straps you near sighted ditz. Just remember your diploma will be the first thing that burns when you get to the gates.

Posted by Morgan True on 12/07/2016 at 3:48 AM

Re: “An Open Letter to Our Community, From the Former Residents of the Recently Closed LoBot Gallery in West Oakland

Editor: The comment made by Tove is horrifically offensive and inappropriate in the wake of this tragedy.

Posted by chichichills on 12/07/2016 at 12:59 AM

Re: “An Open Letter to Our Community, From the Former Residents of the Recently Closed LoBot Gallery in West Oakland

Tove you are out of order and have the wrong end of the stick so to speak. I can only assume you are a middle aged white man or woman and are out of touch with other people's life experience and or position in life.

Posted by J Rashad Banks on 12/06/2016 at 9:07 PM

Re: “An Open Letter to Our Community, From the Former Residents of the Recently Closed LoBot Gallery in West Oakland

Editor: Please remove the comment from Tove. It's very sad, maddening and completely disrespectful to the conversation we're trying to have right now.

Posted by Kelly H williams on 12/06/2016 at 7:50 PM

Re: “An Open Letter to Our Community, From the Former Residents of the Recently Closed LoBot Gallery in West Oakland

Personal anecdotes on the pulling up of bootstraps always seem so relevant to everyone don't they? i think this letter perfectly points out that city fire policies don't even allow people the chance to bring a space up to code without being displaced. This comment just reeks of "i got mine, so who cares about your?" elitism.

Posted by Porch Lyfe on 12/06/2016 at 6:46 PM

Re: “An Open Letter to Our Community, From the Former Residents of the Recently Closed LoBot Gallery in West Oakland

This is, simply put, horrendously selfish and notice that the condolences to those souls lost in the Ghost Ship (an apt name, now) are at the end of the article, when they are what should be at the tip of our tongues, the top of our minds, right now. So sad you can't "create" and "live," yet somehow I've found a way to do it for over 40 years and put safety first in my living environment. You are not "forced into" ANYTHING. And, most certainly, do not expect to be taken care of by the likes of the City of Oakland or this #derekion dude or any other slumlord. These are the situations that cause us to GROW THE HELL UP. Get politically active and stop this self-indulgent sob story unless you are sobbing about someone you lost at 31st and International. If you went to art school, society took care of you in some way, shape or form. Give it back, and not in the form of bad (or even good) art. Give it back in the form of meaningful action on behalf of those 36 souls. It's on you, it's on us. But this selfish whining has got to stop because the one thing it WON'T stop is this housing and public safety crisis, nor will your art.

Posted by Tove Beatty on 12/06/2016 at 6:22 PM

Re: “Oakland's Ron Dellums on President Trump: 'Step Forward'

Sorry Dan, your list of Dellums so called "accomplishments" during his term ring a bit hollow. Police reform, really? How many scandals and new Chiefs does it take until the reform part kicks in? Measure Y, what exactly did Dellums have to do with that? The voters approved the measure and Public Works implemented the projects. What exactly was the Mayors contribution?Reduction of crime, I think not. The fact is that during his term (2006-20110) crime across the country was down. I don't think Dellums had much to do with that. Obtaining Federal stimulus grants from his Washington buddies on Capitol Hill was the least he could do. After all, he could do that with phone calls from home. It didn't require showing up for work.

Posted by Gary Patton on 12/06/2016 at 5:50 AM

Re: “Oakland's Ron Dellums on President Trump: 'Step Forward'

Thank you Mayor Dellums for these words. So inspiring. Thank you for all that you have done, continue to do and all of the hope you represent.

Posted by Joycelyn Hughes on 12/06/2016 at 2:46 AM

Re: “Congresswoman Barbara Lee on President Trump: 'The Fight is Coming'

It's a shame that someone like this, could get elected to Congress.

She spends her time spending other peoples money to get her self re-elected to office; I wonder if she has ever had a job in the real world.

Progress made in the last 8 years; 25 trillion in debt, more people on public assistance , foreign policy decisions that have been a disaster.

There is nothing like a sore loser, especially when that sore loser is a big government liberal!

Posted by Bob Kray on 11/29/2016 at 3:04 PM

Re: “Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf on President Trump: 'Move Beyond Anger to Action'

It's a shame that Oakland has a Mayor that needs a civics lesson.

Her comments about progressive values is what got defeated in November, people are sick and tired of career politicians taking other peoples income to finance their personal and social agendas.

It's unfortunate that we have elected officials that take an oath of office and then do everything they can to violate the very oath they have taken to uphold the law.

Posted by Bob Kray on 11/29/2016 at 12:33 PM

Re: “Oakland Activist Cat Brooks on President Trump: 'My Revolutionary Prayer'

When will the black on black genocide be acknowledged and become equally denounced? I live in East Oakland and with in a five houe radius, one family has lost both of their sons, another family lost a daughter, the other 3 lost a grandson each. All these murders were black on black killings. Facts prove that more black men are killed by black men then by any other race or law enforcement every year. I don't understand why there is not marching in the streets for that, why is this loss of so many black lives not a reason?

Posted by SRRnPMR on 11/25/2016 at 12:28 PM

Re: “Oakland Activist Cat Brooks on President Trump: 'My Revolutionary Prayer'

Can I reconstitute the Black panther party so this 65 yrs old white hippie can join my sista!

Posted by Kerry McClain Pay Mann on 11/24/2016 at 9:11 PM

Re: “Oakland Activist Cat Brooks on President Trump: 'My Revolutionary Prayer'

You took the words right out of my head! Well said!

Posted by Kerry McClain Pay Mann on 11/24/2016 at 9:08 PM

Re: “Oakland Activist Cat Brooks on President Trump: 'My Revolutionary Prayer'

From Martinez will join

Posted by Kerry McClain Pay Mann on 11/24/2016 at 9:07 PM

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