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The planners, developers, architects, and advocates in our coalition are fully dedicated to the potential of Broadway Valdez and Oakland. The post-redevelopment road ahead is undoubtedly difficult, but if the city continues on its course of aiming for a mixed-use, mixed-income sustainable neighborhood, we can build a better Broadway Valdez.
Deputy Director of East Bay Housing Organizations
Board member, Walk Oakland Bike Oakland
"Change Is Messy," Raising the Bar, 2/15
Where's Mayor Quan?
Nationally, Occupy Wall Street has generally persisted with demands for economic equality (that is the essence of the 99 Percent exaggeration) and an end to the profit-driven ravages of corporations. The current de facto leadership of Occupy Oakland has largely abandoned those demands. For them it is all about ["Fuck the Police" actions]. Mayor Quan decades ago abandoned the genuine liberal program, which had some appeal to working people and the unemployed. Her liberalism is nothing more than self-centered identity politics.
Charles Pine, Oakland
"Oakland's Toxic Wall Street Deal," News, 2/15
Bad Deal, Important Lesson
I think it is safe to assume that, unless we elect only MBAs to public office, most local politicians are not going to understand complex financing instruments and obligations like the credit swaps. But in this case, informed and research-oriented policy staff, and/or in-house or outside legal and bond counsel should have been able to discuss the pros and cons (no pun intended) of the deals, and then policymakers armed with input from the taxpayers and citizen groups could have and would have made measured decisions to enter into these agreements. And, furthermore, before signing on the dotted line, the exemptions, cancellations, and ongoing costs of these deals needed to be vetted for the policymakers so when they enacted the deals they were informed of what the options and outcomes could cost the city and the taxpayer, and ultimately do to the city's financial standing.
All cities and local agencies need to be less dependent upon the bond sellers and their representatives and have greater access to critical financial analysis. I don't know if we can fund a methodology to share across the state, the county or similar, but in hindsight, the Oakland City Council would have been well served to have entertained a professional services contract not to exceed $14,999 and hired an independent outside expert to have reviewed and commented on the deal with Goldman Sachs before we were obligated by the contract terms.
Fifteen thousand dollars would seem to have been an excellent "hedge" (pun here is intended) against the potential $46 million cost of the Goldman Sachs deal. I do not recall how long this took originally to go from the finance staff to the City Council Committee to enactment, and what role Goldman played in those efforts prior to receiving the ultimate contract, but let us hope we have learned from our past actions. Patience is a virtue and it may have kept the taxpayers and the City of Oakland from having to face this potential obligation of millions of dollars when we do not have the funds. One can only hope that with new city administration and renewed focus by citizen groups, unions, and councilmembers, Oakland will not make similar process mistakes in the future.
Ken Benson, Oakland
"Council Was Right to Reject Occupy Crackdown," Seven Days, 2/15
OPD Is the Aggressor
This is not a chicken-or-egg argument. The OPD is the aggressor. Police have been historically violent toward protesters (exemplified in the recent history of the Occupy movement) and the people should not be blamed for defending themselves. It is not up for debate.
Jonathan Pistorino, Oakland
Time to Move On
Since many of the people who have been with Occupy Oakland from the start do not want to disavow the "diversity of tactics" that have alienated the organization from most of Oakland, and the group's decision-making structure makes it next to impossible to override the strongly held views of a minority, the sensible thing is for everyone outside the radical core to leave Occupy Oakland and start something new. As the title of one recent letter to the editor of the Express said, "Occupy is for occupying." For the rest with better things to do, it's time to move on.
Steve Meyers, Berkeley
"The Year's Most Competitive Race," News, 2/8
Ambition — or Abandonment?
Does Vice Mayor Rob Bonta think it's important to finish the job he recently stepped up to? He at least owes it to the residents of Alameda to finish one term of the job. I think of all the resources, people power, and legwork that went into his election. I wonder how his campaign volunteers feel about this new post he wants.
Patricia Rocha-Fernandez, Oakland
In our February 29 art preview, "Post Illusionism," we mistakenly cited W.H. Auden as the author of the line "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world." It was actually written by W.B. Yeats in the poem "The Second Coming."
Seven Days - March 22, 5:57 PM
Seven Days - March 22, 5:38 PM
Seven Days - March 21, 8:22 PM
Seven Days - March 21, 7:27 PM