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Comment Archives: Stories

Re: “Pot Law Reformers Killed A Slew of Sick Bills This Year in Sacramento

Strictly speaking, it wasn't just "patients" who killed the bills, esp. Assembly Bill 2500, this year's DUI bill. California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer testified against the measure at its April 29th hearing, before the committee voted it down. Although the bill never got to the floor, NORML members (both medical and recreational users) sent in 2000 emails against the bill. NORML's been fighting for drivers' rights since the 80s, with the "Smoke a Joint, Lose Your License" laws we fought off. If you have a California driver's license, you can thank Cal NORML. (Joining would be better. See:

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ellen Komp on 09/10/2014 at 12:05 PM

Re: “The Trouble with Kaiser's Technology

Has Odette ever been where the patients reside?
I spend a lot of time rescanning my patients' bracelets and medications, and the code tucked into the back of the computer cart, which is supposed to reconnect the scanner to the computer, because our scanners are simply faulty, or worn out. There is a new scanner in another department that works every time, but our budget was just reduced, again, and we're already over budget.
I guess they have to save pennies for the poor CEO.

19 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Laurie Smith on 09/10/2014 at 11:47 AM

Re: “Zoo Gone Wild

I am in a bad Oakland Zoo-Knowland Park proposal nightmare!
This incredibly dangerous and destructive “conservation” exhibit
proposed by the Oakland Zoo on sensitive Knowland Park land,
will FOREVER ban public access to pristine native plant habitat.
As a local birder, I cannot imagine such a horrendous zoo

I am flabbergasted (again) at the continued failure of the City Council
to require a full Environmental impact report on this “project”.
The public has a right to complete access to Knowland Park.

It is unthinkable that the zoo and the City Council think it OK to
build on the ridge line. This area ia supposed to be protected
park land and contains the threatened Alameda Whipsnake habitat,
as well rare plant communities.

There exists lots of vacant land for this project adjacent to Oakland
Zoo’s present footprint.
Once again we are spectacularly let down by City Council’s bizarre need
to accommodate Oakland Zoo.

Ellen Gierson
Frequent Knowland Park wanderer

8 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ellen Gierson on 09/10/2014 at 11:44 AM

Re: “Of Volleyballs, Ships, and Jackie Chan

And once again, Brezsny's mix of philosophy and humor is spot-on. He's some kind of genius.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Alana Dill on 09/10/2014 at 11:43 AM

Re: “Waste Management Launches Referendum Drive to Win Back Oakland Garbage Contract

I am always suspicious of corporations who have the arrogance and entitlement to decide to sue because the outcome they expected isn't the outcome they received. Although this is one of the first times in my life for me to openly witness this, it brings me to look a little deeper and think a bit differently about this issue. And just like my neighbors in West Oakland, I want air that isn't compromised by smells and I will work with my neighbors and friends to determine this factor and how it will effect us as a community; I won't just sign what's put in front of me or support it because the people putting it out there believe in the end they will prevail; especially since I'm not quite sure if they still should based on their greed and refusal to compromise. However, My own due diligence is pointing to some concerns I have about Waste Management as a company; not just their claim in the ability to outperform the services now being staged by contract awarded to CWS. I didn't vote for either of them however, as the character of an entity has to play into my decision as a vote overall, it appears quite disturbing to me to see how a corporation's positions in other avenues (e.g. Prop 8 for example) are completely antithesis to my own. Waste Management is filling its referendum with untruths. I asked myself if it's possible they have to reach for lies as a strategy to confuse voters and the residents of Oakland? All I can say then for anyone interested in this issue is to search for the truth, YOUR TRUTH. I'm not saying they deserve or don't deserve to lose. I for one will certainly not support any business that doesn't hire women or minorities in its upper-ranks in this day and age, since one bias usually leads to others. And I'm talking about the ranks of 6-figure bonuses...these are the people that typically take a corporation down...not the little guy or girl working in blue-collar jobs. I have found that these are corporations as Mitt Romney said "are people too" that typically support ballot measures to shrink my voter rights as a black woman or who may be totally against the rights of my gay brothers and sisters to marry who they love. Not saying that this is WM, but I'm still researching. And while I do, I'm not signing ANYTHING and advising my friends the same. Sometimes we have to read between the lines, not just the language published on the paper that someone uses fear as a tactic to persuade you into signing.

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Carol Wyatt on 09/10/2014 at 11:40 AM

Re: “When Liberals Take Control of Police

Robert Gammon didn't do his homework. Progressive policing strategies isn't a liberal vs. conservative issue and I know plenty of moderates and conservatives who decry the militarization of our police forces and welcome the lower social costs of alternative sentencing, reentry assistance and gang intervention. The liberals here in Richmond are as often a thorn in Magnus' side as are the more conservative council members and the real credit for Richmond's progress goes to both Magnus and City Manager Bill Lindsay.

14 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Felix Hunziker on 09/10/2014 at 11:33 AM

Re: “The Trouble with Kaiser's Technology

I have worked for ten years as a nurse in ICU and then Post Operative Recovery and I get to see what the conditions are like on medical surgical floors when I am bringing my patients to these departments.
The electronic chart which has some great benefits to look at a patients history and most pertinent problem but it is a very time consuming task though to input nursing assessments, chart medications, clean up old information and input things that do not describe the patients condition or response. I can easily say my charting which was previously on paper allowed me most of my time with my patients and I could easily describe pertinent information along with vital signs. Now I am filling in boxes in an excel spreadsheet that have preset descriptions and multiple selections that require me to scroll up and down for each box to find the right assessment descriptor. I can easily fill out on each patient at least 50+ or these rows in one flow sheet and then they have added for many reasons additional flow sheets to chart additional information on. If I want to add a comment to the flow sheet description I am limited to 5-7 words and I would have to write a note in another section of the chart which would require someone to research through multiple notes to find what I was addressing. This additional time has not been accounted for in our work day and when we have asked to have additional time for charting it is managements response generally that somehow we are inflating the numbers.

Regarding the cardiac monitor system, it is written in the manual that the monitor is not even a first line response system it is a secondary response system for heart monitoring. The system alarms to the nurse as she is passing medications, speaking with families, ambulating a patient, on the phone with the physician, when charting, when responding to a call light. Basically the pager system goes off constantly while the nurse is trying to care for immediate needs. Most of the alarms are yellow, which means not clinically dangerous but to be monitored, there is little you can do to adjust some of these alarms to not go off because the system is already pre-set and there is basically no intervention needed. Also patients do not just lay in bed so when they are moving around it has false alarms then also. In addition the system when you receive the alarm does not show you the rhythm you need to look at just the alarm so you have to stop what your doing and go to the central monitor to find out what was the problem. The problem with this is that the system just causes alarm fatigue because if you could easily just sit with the monitor and acknowledge these alarms all day but there is nothing clinically we would do with most of the information. What a nurse wants to know is a change in rhythm, beats that were not present before, lethal arrhythmia. What this requires is for a trained telemetry technician to be focused on the monitor and to alert you to something requiring intervention because there is so much information and we are required to do 2-5 tasks at a time that all require our full attention, which is just not possible. This issues has been brought to managements attention for years and the response that it is lacking is to blame the nurse for every mishap not to bring in someone to physically watch cardiac monitors which is the standard in many hospitals.

On chronic under-staffing we have reached a point where we have not trained new staff for years, we are expected do more with less. Positions when nurses retire or transfer are not replaced in many places. They choose to take travel nurses who are from out of state and give them 12 week contracts that get extended multiple times, many of them do not pay taxes in our state or own homes so they do not invest in our communities. Even with them we still do not have enough staff to take care of the patients we have. Staffing also does not have a back up system for when census's fluctuate, we will accept what one shift can manage with no concrete plan to staff for the next 16 hours. So then they email and text what staff we still have to come in for extra shifts which many of them do because they want their colleagues and patients to have enough help. These nurses get tired and sick after being stretched so thin for so long. I always thought when people paid for insurance they were paying for the what if? What if I get sick? I personally want to know my hospital is ready to take care of me and has the power to do so. Especially when the company is so profitable, using the cost-effective care argument for why we don't have the ability to provide staffing is not being backed up by a decrease in administration or decrease in patients premiums. Many hospital floors now have employed 3-5 assistant nurse managers who do no patient care, I have witnessed situations where we have 2 managers on site for one floor while two bedside nurses are taking care of 10 patients while the other nurse is on a break? How is that cost effective to have 2 people combing through charts to tell someone they forgot to document a pain re-assessment while they are moving nonstop to just provide the care needed to their patients?

33 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Kimber Wooten on 09/10/2014 at 10:52 AM

Re: “Waste Management Launches Referendum Drive to Win Back Oakland Garbage Contract

Smaller companies? Are you referring to CWS which operates out of Oakland, San Jose, and Vietnam? That's what you consider local? And how do you consider Waste Management monopolizing oakland when CWS has serviced half the cities recycling for how long? Waste is very diverse as well. I don't know where you heard that fact. People tend to forget that Oakland City Council wasted $1 million hiring an outside company to bring in more bidders which failed. Who's paying for that? Are you still saving money? Do you realize that the garbage CWS is proposing to send to Livermore is revenue loss for oakland? Let's just forget the Zero Waste Initiative that was so important to council at the start of the bidding process. I guess that's not important anymore if it effects the bottom line.

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by aaron brown on 09/10/2014 at 10:47 AM

Re: “Of Volleyballs, Ships, and Jackie Chan

What a relief, this newspaper is a newspaper again......long live Brezsny!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Elizabeth Zima on 09/10/2014 at 10:35 AM

Re: “Of Volleyballs, Ships, and Jackie Chan

Long Live Brezsny!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Anna Stepchin on 09/10/2014 at 10:11 AM

Re: “The Trouble with Kaiser's Technology

Kaiser is playing Russian Roulette with patients lives.

I have been a high risk labor and delivery nurse for almost 13 years and 10 at Kaiser Oakland, this is the most unsafe and anxiety ridden moment of my nursing career. It is unethical that Kaiser chooses profits over patients.
The technology fail is a major safety issue. On L&D our phones are STILL not working. We do not get calls from our patients in order and it is an annyoying issue if an RN is not alerted that the patient desires water for instance, but it is a potentially fatal issue if the patient falls in the bathroom.
This must be resolved asap, yet our openly and loudly voiced concerns fall on deaf ears.
14 Billion Dollars was the operating revenue posted recently in SF Business Times by Kaiser Oakland…I mean we KNOW corporations are not looking out for the "people" this however is another sort of evil to intentionally ignore severe concerns and place lives at risk.

32 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Umma Amina on 09/10/2014 at 9:48 AM

Re: “When the Water Runs Out

I was driving to San Fran over the weekend with my fiance and noticed the California Aqueduct and came up with a totally legitimate plan to save millions of gallons of fresh California water each year.

I'm trying to get people to pay attention to this, but I'm having A LOT of trouble. Although I have gotten some water experts (the closest I could find anyway) to go over the solution and find no holes in the plan, noone is really taking this seriously.

I honestly believe this could be a sustainable way to save billions of gallons of our water over time. BILLIONS!

Please at least read the petition...

Thank you in advance!!!!!!

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Jj Bisnar on 09/10/2014 at 9:46 AM

Re: “The Trouble with Kaiser's Technology

Technology cannot replace bedside care. The first rule learned in nursing school is 'look at the patient'.As technology proliferates, Time spent at a counter is time taken away from the patient. A computer cannot hold a patients' hand or rub his back.
I fear for my profession as my practice morphs from caregiver to data collector.
Pat Tomasello, RN,
Vallejo ca

23 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Pat Tomasello on 09/10/2014 at 9:38 AM

Re: “Best Beyond-Organic Vegetables: Voluptuous veggies guaranteed

Voluptuous vegetables? Invoke the voluptuous hypothesis!

Posted by Michael Skinner on 09/10/2014 at 9:30 AM

Re: “Of Volleyballs, Ships, and Jackie Chan

YAY!!!!!! Thanks for publishing Brezsny!!!!! :-) <3

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Suzi Garner on 09/10/2014 at 9:19 AM

Re: “The Trouble with Kaiser's Technology

For someone who just moved to a new facility, I know exactly how this feels. The elimination of TCU (Transitional Care Unit), means higher acuity in the Telemetry Unit. When we first moved to San Leandro Medical Center not all registered nurse where trained to take care of patients, who now Kaiser calls progressive patients (former TCU patients). Due to lack of staffing, it was even harder to train nurses because no one to train but that also equals no one to take care of these patients. A few weeks after we moved the monitor techs were eliminated. The patients are now under care of newly trained registered nurses and new technology which is not error proof.

17 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Cherr Dizon on 09/10/2014 at 8:40 AM

Re: “The Trouble with Kaiser's Technology

Kaiser was not prepared for this move. We don't have enough nursing staff in the NICU to safely care for patients. This, despite hiring 8 travel nurses, that do not exhibit our same standards of care. Permanent staff nurses should be hired and trained, so that Kaiser patients receive optimal care. Managers are assigned to the role of charge nurse, which is clearly a safety issue as they don't routinely do patient care. There have been adverse outcomes as a result of using this faulty model of managing the unit. Kaiser, stop using travel nurses. Commit to your members, and provide the quality care you promised when they enrolled.

31 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Gabriela Robles Wijegunawardena on 09/10/2014 at 8:00 AM

Re: “The Trouble with Kaiser's Technology

The nurses at the old Kaiser Oakland had been repeatedly stating there was not enough staff to safely take care of patients. Fast forward to the beautiful new state of the art facility that has opened, attracting more patients with it's shiny facade, but the walls inside can tell the dirty secrets. Nurses have received inadequate training in units where they are caring for a new patient population. There is not enough supplies, and equipment is often broken or missing. There is no longer a TCU (Transitional Care/Step down Unit). Where will these patients go? They will certainly not stay any extra time in ICU but will go to a MedSurgTele floor with 1:4 or 1:5 ratios instead of 1:3 in TCU. L&D has fewer rooms, albeit all private and beautiful, enticing patients to deliver in Oakland. The reality is they are frequently dangerously understaffed and lack basic supplies. The same is true for Pediatrics and virtually every unit in the hospital. There have been several instances where the Pediatric unit has been short 5-6 nurses. The response from upper management (it would be a misnomer to use the word leadership), is to change the assignments to 1:4, discounting the RN staff needed to care for the children receiving chemo, or comfort care. When Ms. Bolano states "Our nursing staff meets and often exceeds state-mandated nursing requirements", she has unfortunately misspoken. This facility is staffed to ratios plus PCT's (unlicensed assistive personnel who's main duty is patient mobilization, not patient care), not according to patient acuity as Title 22 calls for. With Kaiser earning record profits, it's time for KP to put some of those profits back to the safe care of their members when they become patients. We don't want another Jenevieve.

35 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Kathy Donohue on 09/10/2014 at 7:52 AM

Re: “The Trouble with Kaiser's Technology

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.

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 09/10/2014 at 7:48 AM

Re: “Of Volleyballs, Ships, and Jackie Chan

Love Brezsny- thank you!

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Lili Holland on 09/10/2014 at 7:34 AM

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