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Re: “Tenant Advocates say Oakland Officials Delaying and Obstructing Rent Control Ballot Measure

To the editor and readers:

This story misrepresents the City Attorney’s response to tenant advocates.

We explained to the reporter why the accusation of “delaying and obstructing” by the City Attorney’s Office is unfounded.

But that explanation isn’t in the story, which of course makes it look like we didn’t offer any explanation.

So if you read this and you want to know why the City Attorney’s Office wrote a title and summary over 500 words, here you go:

The City’s practice for decades has been to write a 500-word summary (when needed) and a separate title, e.g. Measure Z from 2014.

This ballot measure is complex and needed a full summary, so we followed the City’s historical practice and wrote a 500-word summary, with a separate title of about 30 words. We provided the summary and title to the City Clerk on time. Five days later, the proponents objected to the word count. We immediately revised the summary to accommodate their concerns and filed it the day after they objected.

Why exclude this explanation from the story? And why leave out the timeline showing a quick response by my office and minimal "delay"? It certainly doesn’t support the premise of the story, that “Oakland officials are delaying and obstructing” the measure.

The City Attorney is a strong advocate for tenants. For example see the many public nuisance and tenant protection lawsuits she has filed against problem landlords in Oakland. She’s also an advocate for good landlords who follow the rules and treat people fairly. And she personally supports expanding just cause eviction protections citywide.

The City Attorney’s job on this and other ballot measures is to provide voters with an impartial, fair and factual summary, title and analysis, and she will continue to do so.

For the record, my original response to the reporter’s questions is below.

Alex Katz
Chief of Staff
Oakland City Attorney’s Office

Mr. Bond Graham:

With respect to the ballot measure:

There’s no attempt to delay. We followed the same practice the City has followed for decades of applying the 500-word limit to the summary. Oakland is a charter city, meaning the City can follow its charter and ordinances. We revised the summary after the proponents objected to accommodate their concerns.

We issued the original title and summary on March 18. The proponent's letter objecting to the word count is dated March 23. We issued the revised title and summary on March 24th, one day after the proponents objected.

As to your question about advice to Councilmembers:

The City Attorney is bound by attorney-client privilege. We are legally and ethically barred from releasing confidential advice to clients. We cannot even confirm whether or not we provided advice. However, the client who holds the privilege can share advice with you if s/he chooses to do so.

I also understand that you are asking about the City Attorney's rental property? Her property is already covered by the just cause ordinance, therefore there is no conflict.

Thanks, Alex

Posted by Alex Katz on 06/01/2016 at 5:54 PM

Re: “'Cannabis Damages DNA' Claim Debunked By Leading Researcher Ethan Russo

Meanwhile... here in Australia - where all Cannabis is illegal, Cannabis Law reform is taking a major step backwards - Recently the government announced they were legalising Cannabis and Cannabis products for medicinal use - on showing the benefit that many have achieved on the "illegal oils" using "crude" Cannabis . This was quickly followed up in late 2015 and in 2016, with new Bills and new laws changing the definition of Cannabis to include synthetics, GMO, and single Cannabinoids vs Real Cannabis. The means all reference to medicinal Cannabis and Medicinal Cannabis products have no Cannabis. Making Medicinal Cannabis different to Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes. Also in some of these new bills thought non Cannabis related hidden USA type "rider clauses" were added that recently introduced new laws against Cannabis patients, caregivers, and growers, making books, magazines, emails, and websites punishable by up to 10 years for sharing an email, selling a joint punishable by up to 25 years if done near a school (1/3 mile) even if out of school hours and even if to an adult. The press is also controlled by the government so as the Government is not advertising this, the media is not given the sound bites so are not reporting on it either. Prey for us in Australia - more or on twitter @mr_internet

Posted by This Week in Weed TV on 06/01/2016 at 5:43 PM

Re: “Boycotters Accuse 924 Gilman St. Project of Ethical Backslide

My punk years preceded Gilman's heyday, and as I never much cared for hardcore (Circle Jerks was about it for me, maybe a little Black Flag) I've not had much cause to go there (though I have been to a few shows & have a membership card). That said, I have always appreciated its all ages/straight edge policies and wish there had been such a place for me when I was a teenager.

I sincerely hope the club can work through these issues and continue doing its most important job - providing a home for the outcasts, losers, and punk rock geeks (such as yours truly).

Posted by John Seal on 06/01/2016 at 3:36 PM

Re: “Tenant Advocates say Oakland Officials Delaying and Obstructing Rent Control Ballot Measure

Despite the alleged moratorium, several of my neighbors who are tenants have been slapped with rent increases which I would say are considerable. One woman organized her building and fought management back - the tenants ended up with a smaller but still significant increase. And last I heard, they has still received nothing in writing about the change. The other folks I know are too fearful to fight since they are in a small building and "things could be worse". Not sure what is happening elsewhere but from what I see, the effect of the moratorium in increases has been nil.

Posted by Francesca M. Austin on 06/01/2016 at 3:29 PM

Re: “Tenant Advocates say Oakland Officials Delaying and Obstructing Rent Control Ballot Measure

Tonya Love,
Thanks for laying out the winding legislative path this has taken so far.
I think your version is pretty accurate. It was my impression that the CED Committee intended to eventually hear the ballot measure, but yes, in a narrow sense they only forwarded the report/legal analysis to rules for scheduling.

Posted by Darwin BondGraham on 06/01/2016 at 3:10 PM

Re: “Togi's Serves Real Mongolian Food

Thanks guys and welcome

Posted by Togi on 06/01/2016 at 2:53 PM

Re: “Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley Faces Thorny Re-election Fight Against Bryan Parker

As a long-time Oakland resident, I cannot recall anything that Miley has executed that really has (or had) an impact in the Oakland-Alameda County communities. So, I took the opportunity to hear him speak at a forum in Castro Valley. Miley does not present himself well. He sounds very ignorant and stated that he believes the County is well run. I disagree.

Miley said that it should be acceptable for him to pay for his Claremont Hotel sports club membership with campaign funds. But, he makes $232,000.00. He cannot afford to pay for the membership? Meanwhile, his constituents are becoming homeless due to unreasonably high rents.

Scott Haggerty, another Supervisor, was recently investigated by the Grand Jury and the result indicated that his official office cost the County money in the 2014-2015 final report:…

In addition, Miley sits on the Coliseum Joint Powers Authority which has issued some very questionable contracts including one to a law firm affiliated with the politically corrupt Don Perata:…

Voters be smart. VOTE for BRYAN PARKER!

Posted by Mari jones on 06/01/2016 at 2:47 PM

Re: “Boycotters Accuse 924 Gilman St. Project of Ethical Backslide

Different. Just like everyone else.

Posted by Edward Stanaway on 06/01/2016 at 2:35 PM

Re: “Tenant Advocates say Oakland Officials Delaying and Obstructing Rent Control Ballot Measure

From what I can follow, last week the CED committee heard the city's report on the ballot measure. They then decided (before all of the public speakers could comment) that they would send the report back to rules to schedule for a full council reading. During that process Kaplan recognized that they wouldn't be sending the ballot measure to council, just this report and that council wouldn't be obligated to vote on the measure. Then, ACW requested that there be a full 'legal' analysis done and sent to council before they vote on the ballot measure. Parker's staff said that a full legal analysis needed to be requested by city council. So they sent the full legal analysis report request to Rules, so that Rules can schedule city council to make the request for the report. Once full council makes the request for the report, then the report would be finished for the June 20th meeting. THEN on June 20th the full council will be able to read and hear the report and vote on the ballot measure.

All of that to say..this was a lot of procedure, taking place in May, for a request that came in March. It makes me wonder, if a full legal analysis would be needed to consider the ballot measure, why wasn't it then requested in March? Why wait until May? All this process seems so unnecessary. :(

Posted by Tonya Love on 06/01/2016 at 2:33 PM

Re: “Boycotters Accuse 924 Gilman St. Project of Ethical Backslide

On its face, there appear to be a bunch of legitimate issues raised by this boycott. The need for gender neutral bathrooms is a perfect example. Concerns with the booking of bands with lyrics and that have exhibited behavior clearly restricted by the Gilman's rules is another. My main issue with the boycott is that it appears to be an end route around what for me is the foundation of what makes Gilman so great. The open transparent democratic process of decision making at membership meetings.

The boycott statement includes a lot of calling out specific people for their opinions, but fails to acknowledge the concept of people having the right to offer differing opinions in a democratic process. Jesse Luscious, one of the people called out for his opinions, has commented above with a very thoughtful and detailed response which includes sharing that he rarely votes at membership meetings on the issues raised by the boycott. I could potentially understand calling him out for specific votes on issues that the boycott is specifically trying to address, but are we to believe that people are not entitled to voicing their opinions at membership meetings? I hope not. Jesse went on to say that he supports the idea of an outside organization such as Bay Area Women Against Rape to do trainings on recognizing and dealing with abuse which appears to be another central issue of the boycott.

Longtime member and co-founder Kamala Parks has responded here with several equally detailed and thoughtful comments/responses by suggesting that online forums are poor formats for discussing these types of complex and sensitive issues. I share that view and wonder if the Boycott organizers and supporters have either failed to truly participate in the membership process which admittedly can be arduous and frustrating, or if they gave up on it far too soon.

From what I have seen, there has been no response from the boycott organizers to these responses from people who have been specifically called out. If true, I find that troubling because these are folks who I believe deserve at the very least respectful engagement. Don’t’ we all? With that said, I do understand people may feel unsafe and possibly even threatened for speaking out. I would suggest that this dynamic of feeling unsafe is especially exacerbated when trying to discuss all of this via an online forums. Membership meetings provide a process to achieve decision making with clearly understood rules that include rules of conduct towards others. I can’t stress enough how important the membership meeting process is to the survival of Gilman. As someone who has been around for the venue’s entire history, I can honestly say that there is not one instance that I can recall where going outside of the membership process has achieved a desirable outcome for anyone. I wonder what would happen if all the folks behind the boycott organized all their supporters and attend a membership meeting all together as a unified voice to openly address all of this? There is an accusation that Gilman has failed to do the work on these issues of equality, but given that the venue is run by a democratic process, I wonder if it is the people making this claim who not done the work? After all, it is their venue as much as anyone else’s.

Posted by Ryan Sullivan on 06/01/2016 at 2:11 PM

Re: “Oakland Rap Legend Mistah F.A.B. Moves Past His Hyphy Legacy and Makes a Different, Lasting Impact on His Hometown

if anyone should apologize, it should be Charlie Pine.

Posted by Eric Arnold on 06/01/2016 at 1:52 PM

Re: “UC Berkeley Report: Affordable Housing is Best Way to Combat Gentrifcation

"Don't hide behind budgets." is the most Oakland thing I ever heard. Cause the money is always there -you just have to strip it from something else. Well then get to it Nanci. The budget is public domain, so start cutting.

Posted by Matt_Chambers on 06/01/2016 at 1:50 PM

Re: “UC Berkeley Report: Affordable Housing is Best Way to Combat Gentrifcation

Housing is not a right. It's an economic commodity-bought, traded, sold, or leased. It's done so with capital-land. However you choose to participate in "housing" you are engaging in an economic exchange.

The only real successful housing programs involving the government have VA/FHA loan guarantees with people with some successful credit history. Everything else-impact fees, mitigation, etc. just adds more unneeded costs to the housing.

If you can't afford Oakland-just move or get a second job. Also, there are other communities here in California and in 49 other states far more affordable.

Posted by michael.sagehorn on 06/01/2016 at 1:07 PM

Re: “Boycotters Accuse 924 Gilman St. Project of Ethical Backslide

People keep saying that the boycotters are “cowardly”, “pc pussies” and any other number of insults among the threats of death, gang rape, and other attacks. Since when did either punk or being strong become about sitting down and letting other people run you over or push you to the margins?

“PC” was an idea invented by people with power to turn the idea of basic respect into something political and controversial so they could make it look like a conspiracy instead of a real conversation. Issues of gender, race, abuse, sexuality, bodies, and safety aren’t intellectual political debates or games.

For many of us those issues are our LIVES and about actual fucking daily survival. But if some people get asked to learn what even a dozen new words mean, it’s like the world is ending.

Kamala Parks said that electronic forums are inappropriate for these kinds of conversations but she declined to be interviewed for this piece. How many people read the violent comments her words were placed in before jumping to say she wasn't inciting violence. Kamala didn't, and she refused when I asked her to after it was posted.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I heard from a reliable source that Jesse Townley also declined the request. Still, he's first to come in with a long, balanced-sounding criticism about the article and the boycott. Why would that be the case?

I wasn't there for the Green Day issues, but those are probably the most public and well known of the boycott complaints, so I'll let others speak to those.

I was there and heavily involved since 2010 for the others. And I've talked to every single person involved firsthand in the abuse incident in depth.

Like hundreds (or thousands at this point, who knows) of others I still support the boycott.

I agree with Jesse Townley’s comment above about something. I personally wouldn't call Jesse's speech at the May 21st meeting "a tirade", though it would be easy to read the content of what he said as a tirade. No, it wasn't loud, he's right about that. It was worse than loud, because it was calm, even, and full of doublespeak. Then as he was finishing, he said he had somewhere to be so he left immediately after finishing his speech and there was no further discussion or back and forth with him about some incredibly faulty points.

Yes, he spent a lot of time talking about how we can't read minds or know people's beliefs so he gets “nervous when people start talking about things that happen outside the walls" of Gilman. I get nervous when people DON’T do that, and I said so. Like when the abuser in the incident was partially defended before being 86’d because abuse didn't happen in the club (except some did). If that's what you want Gilman to be like, you can have it. I’m doing my work outside the walls for now after exhausting myself trying twice now in two years.

The problem with Jesse's point is *WHAT WE WERE TALKING ABOUT WAS NOTHING BUT PEOPLE'S ACTUAL ACTIONS, NOT THEIR BELIEFS*. He used doublepseak to derail the conversation and then left, making it sound like any of these issues are about some liberal thought police conspiracy instead of about actual concrete behavior. Look long enough with enough context of the issues and you’ll spot patterns of doublespeak no matter who they are coming from.

A boycott means people did all the showing up they could, some for decades, some for years, some for months and then left. Criticizing not showing up is missing the ENTIRE fucking point of a boycott. So maybe drop that erroneous argument and focus on the real issues, which plenty of people and witnesses are talking about and plenty of Gilman supporters are ignoring.

Maybe more folx need to speak up, but that’s a personal decision nobody can make for them.

Regarding the board and bylaws: no, it is not stated in the bylaws that the board won't interfere in the day to day running. But Jesse doesn't acknowledge that it absolutely was promised to be or why it wasn't included. The last draft of the bylaws was written by Obadiah, one person, not a committee or a group..

Obadiah is actually my good friend, despite all this. I feel closer to him now than when I quit in 2014. He didn’t/doesn't have ties to the board, and the board mostly stayed back from daily running before Gilman's reputation was publicly, legitimately called into question by the boycott.

He didn't realize it was necessary to include that rule, and that's because once again the entire club dropped the ball when it happened and assumed the issue was finished and everybody was on the same page, so it hadn’t been talked about for a while. I assume it was never really talked about how it would be written into the rules. It happened after I quit in 2014 or I would have fought for it to be included.

Jesse "I'm Going Prioritize Telling People How to Spell my Name Correctly Before Any Other Point" Townley conveniently left that part of the story out. Let’s be realistic and fair, maybe he didn't even know about the promises. If so, THAT’S another big problem that illustrates the lack of perspective, communication, organization, and priorities that the majority of membership has had for years.

I believe Obadiah, even as a member of Fang, has good intentions. I think his heart has been often misunderstood throughout the boycott. I think it’s happened mostly because he's usually a man of few words and often sees the best in everybody. I truly feel like he cares about many people and wants everyone to get along and be happy.

My personal take is that, like that vast majority of members with elected positions (Obadiah and I were co-heads of sound last year and this year until I quit) and other voting members, he doesn’t have much experience with the “accessibility-oriented political discourse that characterizes the subculture today”. Still, he listens better than most others I’ve talked to, and is willing to discuss long past the time others have become defensive or petty.

In times like this, when more and more people are involved, it becomes even more clear that actions are about our impact and not our intent. This is true for everyone on both sides of the Gilman issue and nobody is perfect; though in my experience, many of the boycotters are more practiced and comfortable with looking at their impact and doing hard work to listen to people and grow. In fact it’s one of the main divisions.

If somebody runs over me with a car but didn’t mean to, that doesn’t heal any bones. If somebody is abusive or manipulative but didn’t mean it, that doesn’t necessarily mean people aren’t hurt, sometimes quite badly. Owning your shit means owning all its effects, forever. It means having the strength to face yourself and the world and learning to do better without blaming others when your actions get you backed into a corner you didn’t want or see coming. A lot of us are being called to accountability in ways we didn’t expect. Now our choices are about how to react and what to do about it.

Being accountable doesn’t mean putting yourself out there to be hunted down without thought. If people think the boycotters put people in danger at anywhere near the level of threats of death and gang rape by naming issues and people, then those people have a lot to learn about the issues and the kind of people who want Gilman to evolve with the rest of the punk community.

Kamala Parks publicly suggests mysterious corporate conspiracies and wants people to track down the people who actually started the boycott. She calls the boycott “cowardly” and anonymous - even though many many people who know the incidents and issues in the boycott statement are supportive of the boycott - even though they are talking about it regularly and are NOT anonymous. If she wants people to track down the people who "started" it and is willing to say so in a post full of a thousand aggressive posts and dozens or more violent threats and refuses to reconsider re-wording her statement when privately, directly asked to. She and Jesse (who are also roommates, again correct me if I'm wrong, I have not heard it from them) both declined to be interviewed here and yet continue to pop up and be quoted with rhetorical doublespeak.

Maybe while people are busy personally tracking down the people who started the boycott, they might ask themselves how the side *defending* Gilman would look like right now if it didn't prominently feature two community members with huge amounts of social capital. They are members who live together, admit freely that they are long removed from the daily running of the club, and (speaking of agendas) it is their job it is to try and keep people interested in Gilman enough to raise at least $1 million dollars to ensure it continues and to secure its legendary status - a status their own local fame is built on.

I can’t speak for any other people boycotting, but I know the bottom line of what I want to see is a lot more people communicating HONESTLY and thinking critically. I have no fear about what things would be like if that started happening more.

And if I or anyone else is physically attacked for continuing to talk about it, I’ll be sure that as many people as possible hear about it. I’m not too worried about that - despite major people players defending the club with questionable tactics and refusing to renounce violence when asked to. Anybody with a bit of foresight can see that following through on the threats would be infinitely more damaging to the club’s future and existence than anything that has happened so far. Hopefully people are at least thinking critically enough to know better.

Posted by J. Holland on 06/01/2016 at 12:53 PM

Re: “Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley Faces Thorny Re-election Fight Against Bryan Parker

" 25 years as supervisor and an Oakland city council member"

Question... has either Oakland or Alameda County been run that great in all the years that Miley has been in office? I have to say no... and that nothing Miley has contributed has altered that poor performance of those entities.
25 years in office... Is there no limit to how many times we keep giving these people yet another term. After 25 years they have simply run out of new ideas. Time to try something new.

Posted by Dan de'Data on 06/01/2016 at 12:12 PM

Re: “Boycotters Accuse 924 Gilman St. Project of Ethical Backslide

My name is Jesse Michaels. I was the lead singer for the band Operation Ivy and was a Gilman member from before the first show.

This article is inaccurate, disingenuous and is written by somebody who is in the self affirming echo chamber around the boycott narrative. The boycott idea is based on several false premises:

1) That Gilman has "changed" from an imagined previous era in which the wall rules were followed more vigorously.
FALSE. The wall rules have always been a matter of debate and this issue has been coming up literally since the first month of club activity. It has always been a matter of organized chaos and people being bummed on both sides of the issue. In the first year, many bands played that were every bit as controversial as some of the ones coming up now. The Feeders anyone? What is new is well educated, upper middle class white ideologues playing Safe-space Savior and trying to DAMAGE OR EVEN END THE CLUB because they lost a meeting vote. This article portrays a sense of betrayal on the part of certain alienated members. What it doesn't portray is the sense of relief among the majority of members, including young, queer and POC members, that Gilman is NOT being turned into a new-left info shop where anybody who says something "problematic" has to face a Community Call Out™. It also does not portray the sense of betrayal felt by the majority who can't believe that people who lost a simple majority vote or two would actually take to outside public forums to try to influence broad opinion rather than continuing to participate or at least handling the boycott on a show to show basis rather than trying to shut down a place that has changed the lives of thousands of young people.

2)That the people who disagree with the boycott are all or almost all older, white, male volunteers.

FALSE. Every public thread on this subject shows a majority of commenters disagreeing with and in fact, openly mocking the boycott (hey - it's punk, don't expect good manners). Many, many of the people who see the boycotters as a bunch of reductive, dogmatic true-believers are young people, POC and queer people.

3) That a monolithic entity (old Gilman volunteers) sought to ban dissenters.
FALSE. A vote was taken up to ban specific members for seeking to damage the club publicly. The membership, including older volunteers, voted against the ban.

4) That Kamala, Jesse and other veteran members sought to discredit or even encourage reprisal against the boycotters.
FALSE! FALSE! FALSE! You fucking idiots! (sorry). Kamala is the nicest person in the WORLD. When she suggested readers research who was boycotting and what kind of shows they played, she was pointing out that some of the people jumping on the bandwagon play over 21 gigs, play with bands with seedy reputations and so on. She was pointing out that before you join a self feeding mob of rah-rah-rah buzz-word shouting dipshits, take a look at who they actually are and how rigorous they are at avoiding "problematic" situations and "oppressive" behavior in their own affairs.

As I said at the beginning of this post, controversial bands have played since day 1. Nobody, not even Tim, ever thought of the rules on the wall as absolute, inerrant dogma. The thing that is NEW is not a departure from Gilman's ethical culture, but rather an outbreak of absolutism and rigid adherence to "safespace" principles. The reason I said that this article is disingenuous is because the article writer is almost certainly one of the adherents of this politically sterile, judgmental and sanctimonious line of thought. He discloses that he used to work for MRR but he should disclose what his own take is on the subject before writing a slanted piece in a high visibility public format under the pretense of objectivity.

One more thing: I do NOT believe in the new culture of encoded bias against "privilege." In other words, I think it is stupid when people have to do an analysis of somebody's class, race, social position, etc. before they listen to what that person has to say. But since the boycotters DO believe in that bullshit (with their repeated allusions to "white male" opposition) I find it more than a little vexing that the boycotters seem to be mostly college educated white people with liberal arts degrees trying to shut down a space that has served as a refuge and stomping ground for generations of working class and homeless kids, most with no formal education.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jesse Michaels on 06/01/2016 at 11:59 AM

Re: “West Oakland Gets an East Coast-Style Italian Deli

I've been 40 years on 26th street a few blocks away. This deli is a gem for our area. Just like Brown Sugar at the other end of 26th street, If you put out good food and atmosphere you will do great. I love West Oakland and am so happy i can walk up the street to get an awesome meatball sandwich.

Posted by Vanhagar11 on 06/01/2016 at 11:38 AM

Re: “Boycotters Accuse 924 Gilman St. Project of Ethical Backslide

Fuck how many years you've been volunteering at gilman, fuck how much work you put to keep it alive, if you don't support oppressed people, if you don't stop and re evaluate your values, if you keep on the side of those who's bullying the ones who want gilman as a safer space, all your effort is U.S.E.L.E.S.S. This is fucking 2016, wake up. Also what goes around comes around, just saying.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by femme on 06/01/2016 at 10:26 AM

Re: “Tenant Advocates say Oakland Officials Delaying and Obstructing Rent Control Ballot Measure

The fact that the City Attorney is unable to count should of significant concern to the residents of Oakland.

Or that she should deliberately sabotage an effort to bring a critical issue to a vote of the people.

Posted by JP Massar on 06/01/2016 at 9:54 AM

Re: “Tenant Advocates say Oakland Officials Delaying and Obstructing Rent Control Ballot Measure

The measure was not forwarded out of committee last week. The measure was never in committee last week - only the City Manager's report on the measure was on the agenda as an informational item.

The committee voted on moving forward in some incredibly confusing way, but it did not move the ballot initiative itself, per se, out of committee as best I could understand what happened.

Posted by JP Massar on 06/01/2016 at 9:52 AM

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