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Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

My heart is heavy at the loss of so many young talented artists with their whole lives ahead of them.
the incredible rising rents in the east bay have pushed many artists into unsafe buildings, where some landlords also lack the funds to upgrade their buildings for these venues or uses. After the fundraising for the victims and their families ends, a fundraising effort to upgrade these buildings could start, at least to make them safe. Fundraising could be led by sharing companies such as Uber and AIRBNB and tech companies such as Pandora, or Google, who have so many of their employees living in Oakland. And after all the housing needs of these companies are creating the pressure for rents. to rise. Support the arts and the artists!!

Posted by Judy.Belcher on 12/07/2016 at 12:12 PM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

Conspiracy theory wrapped up in a comfy blanket of protecting the "scene."

Good! - expose those in power for not following basic safety codes and procedures. By all means, great thing to do. Please, go for it!

Also, expose and don't coddle those that are not in power for thinking they are exempt from basic safety codes and procedures because that is the lifestyle choice they want to make.

If you only do one, then you are playing wrapping yourself up in the victim flag. No one is forcing these people to live in squalor in one of the most expensive places in the world so that they can be part of a "scene." They can find some other way to make money rather than feel sorry for themselves as starving artists or they can move to a less expensive place to live. I do not remember the agreement that they are exempt from the realities of the world.

Can't afford to be part of a scene and party, dance and be creative in a super expensive area? Give me a break! The community has so many other more important needs and needy to tend to than "starving artists" or "creatives."

Posted by Michael Good on 12/07/2016 at 11:52 AM

Re: “If Oakland Cracks Down On Underground Warehouses, It Will Snuff Out The City’s DIY Soul

No one is being "forced" to live in unsafe warehouses. Those that do so are making a choice. They choose to live in one of the most expensive places to live in the country in order to meet some other social and cultural needs they perceive must be more important than safe and decent housing. Not a choice most would make - but the choice they make. Using "forced" as the description is victim mentality.

It is not the taxpayer's job nor is it the local government's job to subsidize those that want to live in the fringes by artistic choice. We have too many other problems - be it housing for the poor (not 20 somethings making a lifestyle choice), enough food for people, education and public safety from crime and violence.

This article is not about living conditions. This article is about concerts, parties and the like. There you have people invited into often unsafe and unlicensed facilities. Those responsible for arranging the gathering (and charging for it!) are in a whole new realm of accountability for the safety of others. Accountability for ensuring the safety of others and having these gatherings go hand in hand, whether you like it or not. That is why the regulations are there. Not getting caught and/or thinking you know safety limits better than the regulators is no OK. Especially when the victims, their families and the public at large are the ones who take the hit.

No doubt about it, this fire was a terribly tragic, preventable disaster. That is not a reason for witch hunts but nor is it a reason to encourage or permit people to continue to make dumb and irresponsible decisions.

Posted by Michael Good on 12/07/2016 at 11:34 AM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

Each individual bears responsibility for their own safety and safety of their friends, family and loved ones. If you live in a place that is cluttered and unsafe CLEAN IT UP! FIX IT UP! MAKE IT SAFE!

Posted by Christine Dawn on 12/07/2016 at 10:55 AM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

Millennials want their underground experience but they don't want to take risks to get it.

If the government were to enforce regulations on these spaces they would disappear.

You can't have it both ways.

Posted by Marc Salomon on 12/07/2016 at 10:47 AM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

Sorry. No one has a "right" to live in Oakland. And no one has the excuse of "it's too expensive" as rationale for ignoring safety codes and putting others at risk. Those who lived there ARE at least somewhat responsible. They saw the lit candles and sparking wires and said nothing.

I'd rather have artists leave and Oakland lose its soul instead of it losing 36 more lives.

Posted by Ajax Mitchell on 12/07/2016 at 10:22 AM

Re: “Oakland Officials Order Staff to Withhold Public Records Related to Ghost Ship Fire

Patton is correct again when he says that the acting director at the Building Dept is a conscientious guy and a competent planner, who was put into a position that requires a management skill set that he wouldn't have acquired in his previous position. So many problems in Oakland government are caused by poor management.

The current and previous City Administrators were number crunchers not line managers of big departments. Dan Lindheim, Dellums' City Administrator had never managed anything bigger than Dellums' Washington office. Much of his background was policy and global economics. But Dellums twisted his arm to become City Administrator because he wanted someone he could trust.

With weak management in the upper layers of crucial city departments, our city government is no more prepared to handle the growth we face now than it was to handle the recession of a few years ago.

Posted by Len Raphael on 12/07/2016 at 10:11 AM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

"Specifically, Im talking about underfunded government agencies, and the myopic elected officials that ignored these departments needs. "

what agencies exactly are you talking about? fire and inspection departments? by their nature artist warehouses are illegal - people saving money and living under the radar in non-residential spaces. you can't bring the government in on this, they would have a liability nightmare on their hands and would have to evict people to follow the law. unfortunately, if you want to live under the radar, the burden is on you to keep yourself safe. not to blame the victims, but it's the reality of this type of life. maybe there needs to be an underground advocacy group of like-minded building/safety professionals to advise anonymously about a space, but you can't ask anyone to take on responsibility in situations like this. it's a can of worms all around. don't get me wrong, this tragedy is heartbreaking and terrible beyond belief, but blaming the government for this is completely off the mark.

and for the record i completely support artists living in warehouses, or anyone living nontraditional lives. but it comes with a different sets of responsibilities, it's just the reality.

Posted by Cassie Tyler on 12/07/2016 at 10:10 AM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

People in power are to blame for this fire? What are you talking about? I seriously doubt that anyone is "blaming artists" for this terrible tragedy. The blame is pretty clearly on negligent landlord, bad-actor leaseholder, and promoters. Safety can be addressed without much money if you take it seriously. Im not saying artists need to bring their buildings "up-to-code" or that they are responsible for this, simply that we re all responsible for our own safety. The megalomaniac leaseholder knew this space was unsafe yet took money for events, the landlord turned a blind eye because the laws are weak, and the promoters wanted to have a party and blindly felt they could trust the other stakeholders. The artists and partygoers are innocent.

Posted by Matthew Aaron Gerring on 12/07/2016 at 10:06 AM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

No one made Ion build that staircase. And, no one made people perform in "an exquisite deathtrap" as one previous promoter put it. Hold the powerful accountable, but also let the counterculture know that they don't need to go like lambs to the slaughter.
"With that show, I thought, It's at that spot? Fuck that place," Buchanan said. "The last time I was there, I stood by the exit the whole time just in case there was a fire. Having an event there with ten people to me is criminal negligence." This quote is from one of your own articles. Ion, was a particularly reckless player, enabled by others who felt they were serving a greater good.

Posted by LJ Schneider on 12/07/2016 at 10:00 AM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

Do not blame "lack of funds" and gentrifications for the space managers choice to profit on illegal sub-leasing, failure to install life safety / fire protection standards, adhere to capacity egress rules, and operate an entertainment venue negligently. These laws, like speeding or not driving drunk, are appropriately established to protect people; Government can do better at education and partnering with citizens - absolutely - but the newly arriving customers to the event that night had a reasonable expectation to a safe environment - they were tragically let down. Let's see how the City pivots and takes a leadership role to help make the community safer.

Posted by Bennett Hall on 12/07/2016 at 9:56 AM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

The way I see it, the fault lies almost entirely with one individual, Mr. Derick Almena. Under his direction, residents were exploited and both the civic authorities and property owners were purposefully decieved. This allowed the conditions to persist and worsen; while Mr. Almena profited financially.

His bizarre and distraught behavior has guilty written all over it. They will be coming for Mr. Almena quite soon, and he knows it.

Posted by Nick Bolla on 12/07/2016 at 9:55 AM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

Thank you. That home & building owners routinely pay higher permit fees and answer to a stricter intepretation of the code than "development contractors" is bad enough and probably extends to people who want to create creative spaces as well. Use your laser light on this topic.Please.

Posted by visualeyes on 12/07/2016 at 9:50 AM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

If the "people in power" had shut the place down, or required GS to get the necessary fixes, which would have pushed up what they'd have to charge for rent, the editorial here would say, "Oakland Regulations Push Prices Out of Reach for Most Artists." The "people in power" are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

Posted by Jenni Li on 12/07/2016 at 9:46 AM

Re: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

Underfunded? Because I am able to save money and pay for my own housing and adhere to local building codes I'm the bad guy? Why don't all of you "artists" move somewhere that is more affordable?

Posted by Rob Appeldorn on 12/07/2016 at 9:35 AM

Re: “If Oakland Cracks Down On Underground Warehouses, It Will Snuff Out The City’s DIY Soul

my heart breaks at the loss of so many young artists and muscians, who are the soul of Oakland. After the end of fundraising for the victims and families,
a new fundraising drive should start to help fund safety up grades for the many warehouses used by Oakland's artists. Oakland Technology companies
such as Pandora and Uber could spear head this effort . It sems technology, although a huge benefit for Oakland, is also the driver of high rents which are forcing some into unsafe warehouses.

Posted by Judy.Belcher on 12/07/2016 at 9:09 AM

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: “Stop Blaming Artists and Musicians for the Ghost Ship Fire. Blame People In Power Who Screwed Up.

Yeh, just like how you "helped" the Church of the Buzzard.

Posted by Rachel Hella Oakland on 12/07/2016 at 8:44 AM
Posted by Abigail Carvalho on 12/07/2016 at 8:36 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

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