Hobart Johnson 
Member since Aug 1, 2014


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Re: “Town Business: Oakland Fire Department Still Seriously Under-Staffed

The Chron article points out yet another aspect of fire-safety failure in Oakland--recently there have been serious fires in homeless camping areas in Oakland.

It's a double-whammy. More people displaced by gentrification and poor development policy who are also vulnerable to fires when they have to squat on our streets.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 04/24/2017 at 9:33 AM

Re: “Federal Judge Rules Against Oakland, Allows Coal Terminal Lawsuit to Proceed

Alas, even earlier than 2013 when the development agreement was made, most environmentally-aware citizens would have thought about the threat of hazardous bulk materials being handled at the terminal.

Didn't occur somehow to Oakland's officials and their staffers. So nothing was done to protect Oakland's citizens, not to mention the city's finances, if a future environmental threat were to arise.

Maybe it's just me, but this sounds like business as usual in Oakland. We invariably seem to get our butt kicked.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 04/22/2017 at 8:38 AM

Re: “Community and Labor Groups Say Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Has Stacked the Planning Commission with Real Estate Industry Reps

This undemocratic packing of the Planning Commission may not have begun with Libby Schaaf, but it certainly has continued, and even been increased by her. Remember that her main financial backers are developers and that most of her campaign finance comes from outside Oakland.

The problem for Oakland is that it really would benefit from the urban livability and social function insights of people like Jane Jacobs whose 1961 book "Death and Life of Great American Cities" took on redevelopment baron Robert Moses in NYC.

Not that Oakland is necessarily a great American city, but so much of Oakland has been neglected for so long that this city has never quite lived up to its potential.

Oakland needs a vision which is about Oakland and its unique resources and needs. This is not the same as a vision of short-term profit which motivates developers and their captive pols.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 04/22/2017 at 8:28 AM

Re: “Oakland's Poorest Neighborhoods Will Be The Most Susceptible to Flooding Due To Climate Change And Sea-Level Rise

Despite the likelihood of rising sea levels affecting low-lying neighborhoods in far fewer than 100 years, planning ahead is hardly a task for which Oakland's government is prepared.

Looking ahead even one year regarding serious social and environmental problems would be most unusual for Oakland.

Of course our pols do look ahead at their coming elections. Within a few months of being elected, our current Mayor was busily raising money for her next campaign. Her out-of-town developer sponsors are taking no chances.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 04/20/2017 at 1:14 PM

Re: “Town Business: Strengthening Code Enforcement

Oakland simply does not do "proactive." What we do, as a city, is inevitably reactive.

People are hurt in ways that could be affected by good policy. It makes the news. Then city hall responds. Later, far too often, nothing has been done.

Leadership? Not our strong point.

A violence-prevention department to oversee Human Services and Oakland Police? Simply magnificent thinking!

Human Services function and policy are under the purview of the Mayor, the Administrator and the City Council. OPD likewise with the addition of an amalgamation of committees and consultants potentially under the umbrella of the eventually-to-be Police Commission.

Create yet another bureacracy to oversee the failures of two existing dysfunctional bureaucracies? Sure, why not?

By the way we have a Public Ethics Commission which supposedly looks over all city officials and functions. I know the name--I have never seen any evidence that it breathes.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 04/10/2017 at 10:27 AM

Re: “West Oakland Fire Survivors Say City's Response Is Unacceptable and Victim Assistance Is Lacking

"Some positions in the fire prevention bureau, including the job of fire marshal and assistant fire marshal, were already funded, going on years. The city's administration simply failed to hire for the jobs."

Sounds a lot like the Trump administration which doesn't think that Secretaries of the various Departments need their regular staffing.

The Department of State for example is 'way understaffed so that some observers think that important diplomatic opportunities may be missed with the result that military action would get more emphasis.

If the Fire Prevention Bureau is short-staffed, an Oakland administration might expect more people could die in fires.

Guess what happened.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 04/01/2017 at 7:14 PM

Re: “Oakland Mayor Literally Raises A's Flag Over City Hall An Hour After Raiders-To-Vegas Vote

"No comment from the Mayor on the recent fire."

But a publicly-announced "heartache" about the loss of the Raiders.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 03/31/2017 at 12:00 PM

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