William H. Thompson 
Member since Mar 17, 2010


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Recent Comments

Re: “City Forcing West Oakland’s Alliance Metals to Close on August 20, But Supporters Argue Recyclers Have No Safety Net

Let's march out the Elephant in the room here! The City of Oakland gets a huge "franchise fee" (estimated by some to be up to $25 million) from its granting of exclusive rights to companies for their collecting solid waste and recyclables. Such a fee cannot pertain to recycling companies (like Alliance) whose recyclables are not collected by them, but brought to them by individuals (whether in shopping carts or trucks). Oakland's "franchised" collectors charge their clients by volume, and every piece of recyclable material not being collected by them (but by others) cuts the revenue those franchised collectors can charge their clients. This also probably affects the revenue percentage based franchise fees collected by Oakland from their franchised collectors - reducing the city's revenues. The Alliance Recycling outdated website states it collected 15,600 Tons of recyclables in 2008. Imagine how much volume that 15.6 tons removed from the franchised collector's revenue streams, and how they must be complaining about that lost revenue to a city government that is also losing revenue from its reduced franchise fees as a result. The city of Oakland is squarely in bed with those big businesses it granted exclusive collection rights to. One look at the Alliance Recycling location on Peralta Street will confirm that street is packed with industries - it is nobody's idea of a residential or gentile neighborhood setting. Oakland has laws against the illegal collection of recyclables (such as raiding waste bins of such), so rather than expensively policing such violations, it chooses to shut down the recycling company. This is less about sidewalk blocking or nuisances and more about a conspiracy between Oakland and its franchised collectors to do what in anybody else's viewpoint would be the illegal restraint of trade. The elephant in the room here is holding a bundle of money in its trunk, and that money is headed straight for Oakland and its exclusive franchised collectors.

Posted by William H. Thompson on 07/27/2016 at 1:24 PM

Re: “Actually, Brock Turner Did Deserve Prison for the Stanford Sexual Assault

Did I just read this here, rather than some permissive screed about how the Stanford "swimming star" rapist will now turn his life around? Bravo, East Bay Express! The guy did the same crime that could have been perpetrated by a monster of any other education, race or financial status - so his time behind bars should be not one day less of a "severe impact" than others because of how a judge sees him. The ruling is truly an insult to the victim - and every citizen, besides.

Posted by William H. Thompson on 06/08/2016 at 8:37 PM

Re: “Berkeley City Council Approves Ballot Measure to Tax Landlords and Create Affordable Housing Fund

So Berkeley City Council members, concerned about the cost of residential rental rates in their city, just endorsed a ballot measure that will result in every residential renter paying MORE rent, as the tax is passed on in their future rental rates. Who but the Berkeley City Council could come up with a more perfect torture device for renters and a way to discourage the building of more rental housing in that city? Perhaps those who endorse this scheme will next propose taxing and taking every red cent of residential rental income so they can then decide if it is "fair" in their opinion of giving any portion of it back to the owners of those rental units. After all, in their minds, they are the supreme arbiters of what is "fair."

Posted by William H. Thompson on 06/08/2016 at 2:06 PM

Re: “Benicia Oil-by-Rail Battle Hinges on Legal Controversy

Maybe Valero should simply find a location where it can do business without people who throw up barriers. Valero could tear the entire refinery down, bulldoze the land and sell if off for another one of Benicia's residential projects that drain the city's treasury to support schools, fire protection, sewage, water, and policing. All the refinery taxes paid to that city would be gone. College student Jaime Gonzalez could then graduate and get a job at McDonald's.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by William H. Thompson on 04/13/2016 at 5:42 PM

Re: “Bad Credit Histories Scuttle Homeless Housing

Of course, few want to see others trapped in homelessness. But, even those who are not homeless seeking non-subsidized housing rentals face the possible adverse results of a credit check. A person's past behavior follows them with good or bad consequences, even if some might excuse the bad ones. The frustrating situation Anthony Dunbar faced is not isolated to the homeless or low-income populations. Property owners are justified in screening those who want to occupy their properties, because large investments are at stake. In Mr. Dunbar's case, it appears the credit check had no errors about his history, only situations that had excuses - like almost all such adverse reports usually do. To his credit, Mr. Dunbar forged onward, realizing and accepting he needed to clear up the negative factors and apply for housing again. His taking responsibility to pay off old bills now has him on a waiting list for his apartment - a welcomed outcome. It does seem some "flexibility" advocated by the article would be appropriate - but that is up to the property owners, not to be enforced by society at large. Without the ability to determine the character and stability of any property renter, low-income or otherwise, there would probably be even fewer rental properties available at even higher rates - making it even worse for all.

Posted by William H. Thompson on 04/06/2016 at 1:50 PM

Re: “Mixed-Income Neighborhoods Work Best

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." It's the statement that characterizes socialism. Although Marx is popularly thought of as the originator of the phrase, the slogan was common to the socialist movement and was first used by Louis Blanc in 1851. The major problem with socialism is that it doesn't mix with capitalism. Every "market rate affordable" residence is paid for by those who do not have that entitlement, so they are paying for someone else to live in their neighborhood who otherwise could not afford to do so. Scott M. who posted earlier, is exactly right. Developers pass on the costs they endure to those with Non-Market-Rate properties. It's a devious shell game, where everyone loses. The end result is an ever-increasing upward spiral of occupancy costs that decimate the logics of supply and demand property values. Like over-fertilization of a field, the land eventually becomes barren - non sustainable.

Posted by William H. Thompson on 03/09/2016 at 12:26 PM

Re: “Trapped Part One: Cruel and Indefinite Punishment

A well-written article packed with in-depth research and information on a matter that certainly seems to merit attention. In Demian Johnson's case, it appears the parole system is not functioning to the benefit of taxpayers who must fund the continued incarceration of a man who appears to have been reformed. The matter of limiting state payments to $400 for the prisoner's parole attorney seems especially troubling, and the very low recidivism rate of such past parolees is highly encouraging. Normally a hard-nosed law-and-order advocate, this article has given me pause for thought. The overall balance of justice should not allow any government to tip the scales with arbitrary and petty weights, otherwise the government itself becomes an offender worthy of public disdain. Citizens are correct in having given the power to determine the future of offenders' lives to their government, but along with that granting comes the solemn expectation that their government will not stack the cards against any person who could become a free, lawful and productive citizen again.

Posted by William H. Thompson on 01/06/2016 at 1:25 PM

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