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Re: “Was Operator of Oakland Warehouse Fire Venue 'Warned' of Safety Issues, 'Illegal' Construction, Danger?

To Shelley Mack, TY for standing up and exposing Derick Ion. In my opinion he appears to be a Charlie Manson sociopath. Could it be that he tried to control his targets by not having exterior exits at the top of the staircases? In my opinion, it appears the property owner provided a platform for Derick Ion to operate. And it appears the city of Oakland enabled him.
I hope you prevail in showing the people of Oakland the reasons that so many innocent lives were lost,displaced and traumatized. Sincerely, Judith Steen waddynlily@gmail.com

Posted by Kidy on 12/07/2016 at 8:15 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think if the artists and musicians made an outreach to local churches and businesses, they could broaden and diversity their community. I know the church just down the street is always looking for new voices in their choir.

Posted by Francesco on 12/07/2016 at 5:25 PM

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

Why don't the artists make Christmas ornaments and wreaths that they can sell to make money for rent? You know, things that people want and need, things they can relate to.

Posted by Francesco on 12/07/2016 at 5:20 PM

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

Bullshit. This was a cult, like so many others in the SF Bay Area, and the denial surrounding it is so pervasive even the press is in on it. I am neither surprised or saddened, but relieved there's even a small chance some exposure may finally be able to happen. With 36 dead, I think you all ought to be ashamed, and The East Bay Express in particular. Where are the adults in this part of the world? It's sick,...

Posted by The Crack Emcee 1 on 12/07/2016 at 4:24 PM

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

I guess Oakland has learned nothing from the pathetic record of modern cover-ups by government officials.

Posted by Dan Asimov on 12/07/2016 at 3:30 PM

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

I doubt the Express is capable of agenda-free reporting, even though at times I can't see any agenda, just bias. What i have yet to hear is how the owner of the building can charge 7000/month for an empty box that could not function as ANYTHING- no reliable power, no water and no stairs. This person is every bit as culpable as the weirdo who everyone wants to crucify.

Posted by Matt Piucci on 12/07/2016 at 2:43 PM

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

The East Bay Express is in worse shape than I thought if this weepy muddle-headed piece represents their best editorial wisdom.

There is no imminent witch hunt going on against Oakland's arts and music underground scene. There is, however, a very justifiably skeptical eye being cast on the situation that the horror of the Ghost Ship represents. There is plenty of blame or accountability to go around.

The City of Oakland needs to step up big time on code enforcement. Building managers and landlords of outrageously dangerous places should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

However, artists and musicians, their crews, and their audience simply don't get off the hook. Fire has not gone extinct, however righteous the art may be. No free ride for fantasy lands and reality-denying outfits like the Ghost Ship. The quandary of how artists support themselves has been around since time began. Solutions have never been easy, but for artists to survive, the solutions need to be responsible and reality-based.

Posted by David Cohen on 12/07/2016 at 1:54 PM

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

So your saying that Artists don't have power? Maybe that kind of thinking is the problem. To me it sounds like the person who wrote this article is trying hard not to feel bad. I really don't think anyone is blaming artists. In this case the authority is dammed if they do and dammed if they don't. Taking ownership is a way of gaining power.

Posted by Sara B James on 12/07/2016 at 1:53 PM

Re: “Couple In Charge of Ghost Ship Lost Kids to Child Protective Services While Living in Oakland Warehouse

"One guy" built a death trap and profited off the people he rented to and the people who paid to come to his events. "One guy" is indeed responsible. I've seen squats with better safety.

Posted by Holly Harwood on 12/07/2016 at 1:51 PM

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

John NoMoniker:

You obviously did not read my post. You spent too much time looking for a way to make an ad hominem attack - using my views on a completely unrelated subject and quoting out of context - to try to typecast me as an evil person (all Republicans are evil, right?) and as someone that is saying bad things because they have a different view than yours.

And, btw, I am a registered Democrat and I voted for Clinton. So, try to be less shallow in your thinking and grow up. Personal responsibility works better than being a victim. It is about being an adult.

I guess you think it is OK for cool dudes to create unsafe environments.

Try to appreciate that your view is not the only one and maybe, just maybe, you are wrong. "We used to have the luxury....." Who is "we" - the readers that agree with you? Only, the righteous ones only that meet with your approval?

Posted by Michael Good on 12/07/2016 at 1:43 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

As usual, "suck it up buttercup" trolls are in control of this comment section. We used to have the luxury of ignoring these heartless jackasses, but since they have as of late leveraged enormous political power (one of their own is the future POTUS), we can no longer afford to ignore their venom.

Let's look at some other comments (accessible via their public profiles) from some of the pro-crackdown people on this thread to find their philosophical leanings. If you are a hardline, trickle-down economics-boosting, unabashedly pro-cop Republican you will relate to them. For everyone else (let's not forget that 4% of Oakland voted Republican in the last election), these quotes may give you pause before you give their voices any credence in this great city:

Garry Ovalbach: "How about increasing rents? Bring in wealthier people to Oakland and have the wealth trickle down? There are many other affordable cities surrounding Oakland that can be a place to live and Oakland a place to work. Affordable housing at this point is a pipe dream. Support rent increases folks."

Michael Good: "...the [police] union needs to be even more vigilant to protect its members - the public moods and emotions along with protesting activists can drive decisions that are not particularly thoughtful, clear and fair - police "discipline" driven by political committees tempted to pander."

Posted by JohnNoMoniker on 12/07/2016 at 1:15 PM

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

Adult children who want a parent(authority) to take the blame for their decisions and actions.

Posted by hammerrobby on 12/07/2016 at 1:14 PM

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

I'm sorry but this is bullshit. It's a bloody tragedy that so many had to die unnecessarily and it's insulting to the dead to try to shift blame from those that put them in danger to "the system" or the shadowy "they" or "them". I was in several art/music scenes on the west coast since I was 16 and I played at a ton of alternative spaces, specifically in the east bay. We played at places that didn't have liquor licenses or cabaret licenses but I was young and dumb. We played this one place with sketchy electrical and I was shocked repeatedly, maybe it was that event that changed my mind at 19 but we never played anywhere that had questionable electrical circuits, this include legit clubs that pushed outlets as well. We checked out the places we were going to play or our friends played. Some were dangerous and sketchy and we never returned, some were spaces where they we trying to do something for the community of artist or musicians but had the common sense to have fire extinguishers, cleared exits and at least one that was clearly marked.

The ones that treated their space as a legit space were safe. The ones that treated their space as their own little scene or a drug dive or flophouse ended up being just that. This idyllic view of these places is naive and honestly complete crap. Gentrification and the housing crisis didn't stop them from doing the right thing. Being poor isn't a shield to hide behind that exonerates you from responsibility for your guests. The owner here was legendary for being horrible to renters, everyone knew it! When any of us attempted to talk about it, shade was always thrown our way. We werent keeping it real and we were now old and out of touch. Fuck that!

I did art and music since moving to LA at 17 and I had to pay bills like rent and gear, how I did it was working. Actually working! We worked temp jobs, shit jobs but we had to keep the roof over us and our practice space. Yeah, I had lean times where we illegally lived in our practice space for 2 months, but we knew we were pushing our luck. Anyone can call themselves an artist and a great many in the bay area confuse being a shifty bum and being an artist, others think because they were born in the area they have a deep rooted punk ethos. I'm sorry to burst your punk ethic but it's bullshit. You actually have to produce art to be an artist or be included in the scene, you have to actually do something not just hang out or do drugs, or be a hanger on. So many here in the Bay Area think attending a camp at Burning Man or going to a DIY warehouse show when they were kids equates to artistry, you made a fuzzy fur coat, that doesn't make you a fashion designer. Being a fanboy for a band doesnt make you a genius musician.

Yes, there are artists that do awesome work at Burning Man and throughout the year here in the bay, but they work their asses off. They are also intelligent, empathetic people that put others first and their studios are safe. I understand why you want to work a day job as little as possible because I did but I had to. I understand not fitting into the neat box of the square world but I had to in order to keep a home, keep food in belly and strings on my guitar. It's expensive here, I have had to leave twice because of employment/housing issues but I had more sense then put myself into dangerous situations just because I wanted to dodge responsibilities.

You may find this blunt, but it's the truth I witnessed in LA, Portland, Seattle and here. There's always someone trying to nudge a dodgy situation so they don't have to do the right thing and they do it in the name of the all holy scene. This poor artist con is a fantasy. Trying to paint this as "artist' vs gentrification is a smokescreen. People's family and friends died because Ion and Allison and everyone that lived there couldn't think about basic safety issues. That's the hard facts here, anything else is sticking your head in the sand. This happened in what was my front lawn. I lived across the street from this for two years and like Don Quixote tried to get the City of Oakland to take notice of what was happening there. Many of the direct neighbors tried. Unsafe is unsafe.

Posted by Mike Benedict on 12/07/2016 at 1:12 PM

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

"Alternative" people were living in warehouse spaces since long before the current Bay Area housing crisis intensified. Housing activists need to STFU and not claim that every blip is a ratification of their agenda.

Posted by Marc Salomon on 12/07/2016 at 1:08 PM

Re: “Operator of 'Ghost Ship' Lived Inside Site of Oakland Warehouse Fire with Wife, Children, Was on Probation

The City will need to create a task force now to make sure this doesn't happen again. All warehouses that are suspected of being anything like the "Ghost Ship" will need to get extra special scrutiny and Red Tagged when in violations of fire and safety codes. If this means throwing people out into the streets then so be it. It is better to be homeless than killed in the most awful way. I realize most that lost their lives were not living there. Everyone now should realize the awful consequences of what can happen when public events are allowed to happen in places that are not approved for such events. People need to be more respectful and understanding of the reasons for city codes. Unfortunately, people, especially young people, to often are disdainful of the established system and can't be bothered to think about the need to comply with the laws. It is so very unfortunate that events like this are the only thing that can effect a reappraisal of a mindset that is disdainful of safety codes.

Posted by Vincent Sauve on 12/07/2016 at 1:06 PM

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

Y'all keep on saying there needs to be a crackdown or code enforcement. While I don't want another tragedy like Ghost Ship to happen, you have to understand what helps to create this. We live in one of the most...if not the most expensive region in the US. All though in recent months there has been a bit of a freeze in median price of the rental market, your average non-tech worker resident (for example, artists and creative types) cannot afford to pay $1,600 + a month for a hole-in-the-wall studio in Downtown Oakland. Also, there aren't a lot of nightlife options anywhere past 2 am. I will say it is a lot more complicated than that but the combination of the two definitely encourages people who live in warehouses and are able to supply space for nightlife events to go that route. Personally, I think a program like the one in New York (can't remember the name) which helps warehouses get up to residential building code would be a better middle ground solution.

Posted by Joshua Gaerlan on 12/07/2016 at 12:45 PM

Re: “'I Genuinely Thought I Was Going To Die': Reddit User Describes Terrifying Escape From Oakland Warehouse Fire

Lil' Mike is always the voice of reason. A very smart guy who knows how important it is to be silly, too. I'm gonna repost your thing to FaceBook, Mike.

Posted by Michelle Castro on 12/07/2016 at 12:41 PM

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