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

I do not agree that individual code enforcement, Building or Fire Dept personnel should be held personally accountable for this obvious failure on the part of the City of Oakland.The people responsible are the leaders of the organization. They are responsible for the culture of work and the competency and precision with which that work is done or not done. It is obvious when people in every responsible department fail to do their jobs, it is the culture in the organization that is at fault. The city staff does not understand their individual job expectations or how they are connected to other departments.The people who are middle managers are inexperienced and unqualified for their jobs and for the most part, the senior managers are no different. The goal each day for everyone is just to clear your desk of today's problems as quickly as possible, without consideration of the long term impacts to citizens or potential legal exposure for the organization as a whole. It's not just illegal warehouse occupancy's. In the last year alone, we have seen the Mayor illegally trying to sell city property, while ignoring the law requiring affordable housing considerations and failure by staff to make simple decisions on fences or bus stops. If you can't make a decision on a fence or bus stop, how can you decide to close down a dangerous warehouse that displaces illegal tenants at risk? There is no leadership at the top.The Mayor has continued to hire and promote unqualified people to top level management positions. As Dr Phil would say, "how is that working for you"?

Posted by Gary Patton on 01/18/2017 at 7:01 PM

Re: “Critics Say Oakland's Entertainment Permit Process Too Arduous, Contributes to Unsafe Spaces Like Ghost Ship

There are so many challenges here, where to begin? I'll give it a crack:

-Oakland's budget is such a mess, it can't provide basic services. Even though the recession is long behind us & there's lots more prop tax income. Why? Where's all the money going?

As a result:
-The City uses inspections as a revenue generator. So permit costs are sky high and they don't want to help people bring up to code...they want/need to hand out fines.

-The City doesn't have enough fire inspectors, or OPD officers to make sure venues are safe. So they probably discourage them out-of-existance (in addition to any potential discrimination).

-Oakland Zoning is a mess. Even if underground artists communities are up to code, how is it they would get the permits to live in an obvious industrial space? Does it matter? For those who have enough money Oakland routinely gives variances to the point where the only purpose of Zoning is to collect all the fees that entails.

For the rest (who can't afford the process), since there's little $ spent on enforcement, why bother? Until all hell literally breaks loose.

This is all the result of underfunding basic services in Oakland. So once again...Where is the Money?

Posted by Hugh Morrison 1 on 01/18/2017 at 5:39 PM

Re: “Critics Say Oakland's Entertainment Permit Process Too Arduous, Contributes to Unsafe Spaces Like Ghost Ship

Are there any cities that have a successful event permitting system that works well? Oakland could adopt it instead of trying to modify and keep the inefficient one we have now.

Posted by bill h on 01/18/2017 at 4:28 PM

Re: “Critics Say Oakland's Entertainment Permit Process Too Arduous, Contributes to Unsafe Spaces Like Ghost Ship

It absolutely is too arduous. Cabaret reform is long overdue, and the entire process of special event permitting is daunting to most people.

Posted by Conan Neutron on 01/18/2017 at 3:11 PM

Re: “Dan Savage: Is 'Ear Sex' A Thing?

Your response to the guy with the homeless fetish was spot on.

Posted by Julia Allen on 01/18/2017 at 1:28 PM

Re: “Oakland City Council Questions Need for Court-Appointed Police Monitor, Delays Renewing Contracts

Monitor Warshaw has a financial incentive never to find OPD in compliance. The judge could set a six-month limit on the contract for any one monitor - but he doesn't, because he hates OPD. Schaaf and the councilmembers do not seek this remedy. It seems they do not care that judge Thelton Henderson is determined to deprive residents of police service. *** This blatant stack of the deck against ending the NSA is not covered by the Express, a publication that claimed late last year OPD had only two officer vacancies when in fact there were 33 vacant slots then, still unfilled today.

Posted by Charlie Pine on 01/18/2017 at 1:04 PM

Re: “Oakland City Council Questions Need for Court-Appointed Police Monitor, Delays Renewing Contracts

"How these new leaders and authorities will impact OPD's ability to complete its court reform program remains uncertain."

Absolutely.

The bottom line question is what is the vision for a new, reformed OPD?
And, of course, what are the specific goals which will fulfill that vision?
Not to mention what are the steps we are taking towards meeting those goals, what is our timeline, how do we measure our progress?

It's not unreasonable for the Council to make only a short-term commitment
to continuing the oversight contract. The problem is that we as a city do not
have a vision, a plan, specific goals and we have no means for measuring our progress.

So we continue to be reactive, to be in a crisis mode. The Council suddenly discovers after many years that the court-mandated reform consultant has been drinking heavily at the public trough and that he has a conflict of interest in that finding ongoing fault in OPD reform brings him more income.

The Mayor suddenly discovers that her police chiefs cannot be trusted and then decides that finding the perfect new chief will be the answer. We've done the new police chief thing several times in recent years and it has never been the answer. We always forget to ask "what is the question?"

So we circle around again, without any sign of leadership or competent management in city hall. New challenges constantly arise: a sex scandal; unjustifiable shootings; a new Police Commission; piling on more police administrators.

Around and around we go. Our kids continue to be traumatized. Our vehicles stolen. Our houses burglarized. Far too many of us shot or shot to death.

Around and around.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 01/18/2017 at 11:44 AM

Re: “Kaiser Still Violating Mental Health Laws, Clinicians Say

My children were needing CA HHSA DS 5862 this month and saw an excellent service that hosts an online forms database . If you require CA HHSA DS 5862 too , here's https://goo.gl/fkU6DD

Posted by Pat Redman on 01/18/2017 at 4:51 AM

Re: “Ambushed: Contra Costa County Law Enforcement Sets Up Surprise Stings To Help Federal Immigration Agents Arrest and Deport Immigrants

I wonder if all these people railing against "illegals" and "criminals" in Contra Costa would like their drunk uncle JimBob shipped backed to Germany for reaching HIS fourth DUI. Let's just revoke birthright citizenship altogether and if you mess up, we send you "back" to whatever is closest to being your most recent homeland. Sounds fair, right?

The coordination of ICE and Contra Costa County Sheriff's office and probation offices are about nothing but moving bodies for profit. The county is raking in millions and filling jail cells by destroying families and stealing chances from people.

Those of you who choose not to see that are just the willing dupes aiding and abetting.

Posted by Mercy Garetz on 01/17/2017 at 9:05 PM

Re: “My Afternoon With E-40: A Day in the Life of the Bay Area's Most Prolific and Respected Rapper

@Charlie Pine. maaan, i can't believe you are still at it. This is literally the same argument you were making in 2005. Ok, so let's say a video shot on a closed lot features Youth Uprising turf dancers glorifying Oakland's youth-created cultural expression, and that video was also promoted by a major corporation, who got it aired on MTV, which led to entertainment careers and continued job opportunities for those dancers, and brought the local rap scene out of a sales and name recognition slump it had been in for 8 years. If an elected official came up with such a scheme, it would be called a landmark economic development initiative.
Should we forget that the military sponsors professional sports, or that big banks invest in private prisons? How are we holding Youth UpRising--whose mission is to create economic opportunity for underserved populations--accountable, but not Warner Brothers or Viacom? you should know as well as anyone there was a proposal to legalize what you call "reckless driving" put forth by the D6 Councilmember which was quickly rejected by the rest of the Council.
So, E-40 could have just as easily been promoting legal driving had a Council vote gone the other way. In other words, the criminalization of youth is not a justification for the criminalization of youth, it's a justification for bloated law enforcement spending instead of social services, and so-called public safety policies which take hundreds of millions of dollars out of the general fund, where they are spent disproportionately, i.e., not spread evenly throughout the city.
So, what happens if we take performance money out of these artists' and dancers' pockets? Do we make any dent whatsoever in curbing illegal activity? if anything, we create more illicit crime, because we've now eliminated a pathway to a career, or at least steady and gainful employment, for kids who are already at a disadvantage.
After all this time, Charlie, it's difficult to believe that you don't see the larger picture of how culture--yes, even youth culture--is an economic driver. The city's own website says so.
If you're suggesting that youth should work minimum wage jobs and turn down the chance to be in a major rap video because you disagree with its subject matter, well that just sounds mean and short-sighted.
I dont think anyone has ever proven a direct correlation between suggestive lyrics and actual actions--shout out to the First Amendment, homie--and besides, what we actually saw following the release of this video was a bunch of YouTube tributes showing suburban youth hilariously attempting to "ghost-ride" their parent's Volvos on near-empty suburban streets.
If that's a cause for alarm, then maybe its time to admit you have an adverse reaction to anything cultural which is black-created and youth-oriented. Which makes you a bigger part of the problem than one now-legendary rap video.

Posted by Eric Arnold on 01/17/2017 at 8:43 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 Untold Story: How Donald Trump Really Won?
75 percent of America's high-poverty neighborhoods in 1970 still classified that way four decades later. Racial and class inequality is very much alive, "progressive politics" apartheid. Blacks who have voted Democratic for almost 50 years are now being driven from their neighborhoods that have been their home for generations. We gave the Democratic Party our votes and they "took us for granted" leaving us living with social tension, unrest, and the worst GUN VIOLENCE AND VIOLENT CRIME . . . A diminished hope and no opportunities while the Democratic Party's upscale hipster real estate speculators prosper.

President-Elect Donald Trump wants to enable states with dedicated grants and implementation standards related to diversity, inclusion, and targeted hiring the resources necessary to spur investment in underserved black neighborhoods. Stopping gun violence, revitalizing education, creating jobs, replacing substandard housing, and strengthening black families is a mandate we secured for him.

That is, Mr. Trump owes his victory to "predominately black Democratic strongholds" who were convinced to give him more votes than the previous Republican candidates. African Americans convinced hundreds of thousands blacks to boycott the vote and/or voting "straight" Democrat. All across America the black vote "boycott" masterminded by Todd Elliott Koger effectuated an insurmountable obstruction for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. There is correspondence to the Trump campaign that outlined "Koger's Plan." There was a "Thank You for the suggestion" reply. And, President-Elect Donald Trump's verbatim use of Mr. Koger's exact same words during "online videos" and speeches that followed in Michigan, Milwaukee (Wisconsin) and Pennsylvania.

Todd Elliott Koger's writings at one point specifically advised that the "Koger Plan" to target the black vote will changed the destructive conversation and slip in the polls that the "verbal fight" with Khizr Khan, a slain U.S. soldier's father had caused in late August 2016.

When the Trump campaign started to collapse in October 2016, and everyone started to run away . . . Mr. Koger suggested the "need for a new writing" to change the conversation again. He suggested that the campaign needed to move away from the "hot mic incident." Todd Elliott Koger's correspondence suggested a "Treaty with Black America." There's another "thank you" from the campaign. And, Mr. Trump almost immediately announced a "Contract with the American Voter" and a "New Deal for Black America."

Maybe this is just a remarkable concurrence of events. Maybe Mr. Koger's packaging of Mr. Trump's visual optics and his efforts to communicate implementation of the " Koger Plan" had no apparent connection. Maybe it was just "serendipity" in North and West Philadelphia (Eastern Pennsylvania) and Penn Hills, Allegheny County (Western Pennsylvania) where turnout fell 10 percent in the majority-black wards. Happenstance in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (District 15), where turnout was down 19.5 percent. Apparent "fluke" in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, where 75,000 "Motown Voters" decided to stay home. One thing for sure, Todd Elliott Koger's correspondence kept reiterating that "Mr. Trump's only path to victory" was the "black vote." Cities like Boston, Massachusetts' "predominately black" wards had their greatest decline in voter turnout this century. And, just 50,000 votes in three states, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin (the focus of "Koger's Plan") decided the election.

The "PLAN" was conceived: Convince hundreds of thousands blacks to "boycott" the vote and/or voting "straight" Democrat.

The "STRATEGY" was organized: Find every conceivable email address, mailing lists, newsgroup, on-line discussion, black organization, local activists, and the like, and send them an endless repetition of talking points.

Mr. Koger's "MESSAGE": 50 Years of failed Democratic inner cities.

There is available representative correspondence (sent to the Trump campaign and others) that demonstrates well how the "electoral college victory" was propelled. That is, Todd Elliott Koger's suggested "THEMES" (We Must Come Together) and persuasive point-helping support is now documented with dates to prove the actual source of things (something no other person has been able to articulate about the black vote in 2016).

The National Diversity Coalition for Trump did finally send a "Thank You." But interestingly, Todd Elliott Koger and his wife don't even have tickets for the Trump inauguration, its events, nor any job offers . . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dieNd5h_qp…

Posted by Todd Elliott Koger on 01/17/2017 at 7:11 PM

Re: “Best Medical Cannabis Delivery Service

I concur. Stayed at the Claremont on my birthday and had CRAFT deliver. Just quality at every turn, from phone operator to delivery guy to medicine, I coulkdn't be happier. Very glad I did the research..these folks are legitimate & serious about their reputaition...makes me wanna move back to Berkeley!! :)

Posted by Colin Douglass on 01/17/2017 at 12:02 PM

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

A Note To The East Bay Express;

How come you always report negatives about the community in our area? Why don't you share successes surrounding the Farm Park which is open to everyone and even has someone who shuts and opens it daily that is an unhoused resident? Or what goes on with kids at Willie Keyes Center.

What about the work this community did to feed folks after the closing of Alliance Recycling? Or the hopes of what this community needs to really create change.

We know this City as a history of activism. What predominately poor minority community doesn't?

Let's get some positives told. This community wants some change that works to all who want to be here. But sometimes those who are here want to bring things that are harmful to its future. And those may not be as welcome.

Is it still gentrification to want to get Crime, drugs gangland presence and hostility out of the neighborhood? I was never raised to believe that. But I guess the readership doesn't respond positively or stay engaged unless the pile on is there.

The negative and frequently one-sided and misinformed media surrounding the activities in West Oakland (as usual) forgets to share what the collective community does to promote and create POSITIVE changes. There is a LOT if you didn't know.

Just because this community has grown up and gotten fed up to show they don't want the drug dealing and shooting here doesn't mean the people aren't welcome. The Liberation Group has more in common than they have in difference with those who live here. Actually anyone moving here has the presumed pick of the litter to choose where they want to live; why would they choose a community full of struggle unless they also care? It's not cheap to buy over here anymore as it once was so think about that!

Learn to separate the two. This is why black people are historically vilified; media that creates this narrative is as bad as those who spew it as politicians to stay endlessly in office but do no work to change the subject to positive outcomes.

I'd be happy to get some neighbors of all walks of life together for a profile and expose of this area.

Posted by Carol Wyatt on 01/17/2017 at 10:22 AM

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

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