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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Guest Essays

Re: “The Oakland City Council Should Implement Measure AA and Honor Voters' Voices

I am not a representative of the real estate industry, nor a wealthy man making profits from real estate. I am a thirty year homeowner who has seen his property tax bill increase at almost 6% yearly average, over thirty years. That's with Prop. 13 supposedly protecting us. This law is clearly illegal, and allowing the majority to tax the minority is a horrendous idea.

Posted by Ernest Montague on 04/18/2019 at 7:47 AM

Re: “The Oakland City Council Should Implement Measure AA and Honor Voters' Voices

The relationship between EBX and truth has been tenuous at best for a very long time. The level of "journalism" and the journalistic standards exhibited by the publication is so poor that it may as well be one of the Hearst publications of the era of the Spanish American war (Remember the Maine!).

Law has no place at EBX, allowing them to scream for implementation of a measures that did not pass, preferring instead, mob rule.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 04/15/2019 at 2:34 PM

Re: “The Oakland City Council Should Implement Measure AA and Honor Voters' Voices

Does the EBX now have a policy of allowing editorial content without identifying the author of the material? Who wrote this?

Posted by Ralph Kanz on 04/14/2019 at 6:48 AM

Re: “The Oakland City Council Should Implement Measure AA and Honor Voters' Voices

Parcel tax proposals require a two-thirds approval for good reason: City government has enormous propaganda advantages when they run a proposal. Renters tend to vote for them because they do not feel directly targeted for a tax increase. *** But Measure AA lost anyway. It just went too far: $198 a year for 30 years. It was a City tax on top of a couple of school district taxes already in effect. And it was put forward while the City has let streets and basic infrastructure fall apart, even after a big tax for that was passed. *** The NAACP in this opinion piece does not care about children and their education - what has it done for the last twenty years while the school district decays into corruption and mismanagement?

Posted by Charlie Pine on 04/11/2019 at 4:57 PM

Re: “The Oakland City Council Should Implement Measure AA and Honor Voters' Voices

I have never voted against a tax measure until AA and am uncomfortable in my vote being allied with the JarvisGann no tax ever lobby. That said, AA contains flaws, which have only been compounded by the proponents and City Hall's post election machinations.

My pre-election reasons for voting against AA (and I did nothing to campaign against it) :

1) A large amount of the revenue is guaranteed to go to one charity, Oakland Promise. That means every Oakland homeowner, when paying the tax, is also making a forced contribution to Oakland Promise. Can you imagine the outrage or concern if, City or community, put a parcel tax on the ballot for disaster recovery with 30% (or more) set aside for the Red Cross? a violence prevention parcel tax with a like set aside for one community organization that does violence prevention work?

No problem for me that such tax revenue ultimately goes in part to community/charitable organizations chosen by an oversight Board Problem to guarantee/favor one in particular.-----That's the process used for Measures Y and Z.

2) 30 years? Too long. Again, a periodic sunset and renewal, like used for Measures Y and Z and the Alameda County Health System funding measure.

3) Oversight Board powers too weak and language allows plenty of opportunities for folks associated with Oakland Promise to basically run the spending allocations.

4) Two wrongs don't make a right or breaking the law to enforce the law or supporting a good cause in an arguably unlawful process is harmful--both the language of AA and the post-election machinations are poster child for this.

5) It's time to go back to the ballot in 2020 with a Measure that has stronger fiscal oversight, no preference for Oakland Promise, a more reasonable duration.

Mary Vail

Posted by Mary Vail on 04/11/2019 at 11:30 AM

Re: “The Oakland City Council Should Implement Measure AA and Honor Voters' Voices

Lets be clear here: Measure AA lost on a fair and open election in which there was more than enough information for the voting public to choose. Now the losing side wishes to usurp the results by changing the rules after the election disappointed them.

As a voter I find it reprehensible and down-right crooked that the governing bodies of this city now threaten to bypass the election results to implement their own will. Such actions are an assault on the voters and undermine the trust of the citizens. Hardly 'progressive values'.

Often I have heard people state they no longer bother to vote because, 'Politicians are all liars and it doesn't matter anyway. They'll always do what they want.'

Well, Oakland pols, you are on the verge of proving those naysayers correct. Do your job. Listen to the Oakland City Attorney. Stand for the rule of law and respect the result of this last election.

Posted by Jean Dillon on 04/11/2019 at 10:47 AM

Re: “The Oakland City Council Should Implement Measure AA and Honor Voters' Voices

How misleading this letter is. All of the ballot materials, including the opinion of the Oakland City Attorney, made it clear that Measure AA , like all City-sponsored parcel tax measures, required 2/3 to pass. Measure AA did not receive the required 2/3, and its failure was a done deal until the City Council made the unprecedented moving of the goal posts after the game was over. Now the City is being sued in Alameda County Superior Court, and it is up to a judge to decide Measure AA's fate. The supporters of Measure AA repeatedly have failed to identify themselves on social media. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, however, are all Oakland residents and property owners who willingly identify themselves as such.

Contrary to the author's claims, Measure AA was not a citizen led initiative.
Rather, it was drafted by Libby Schaaf and co-signed by other politicos, in City Hall. City Hall staffers spent hundreds of hours lobbying well heeled donors to support it. The idea that it was a group of citizens who were behind this measure is a crock. If that is so, why won't those "citizens" identify themselves?

What is at issue now is not the virtues of Measure AA. Rather, it is whether the City will collect the tax prior to a judge ruling if they can or can't. This vote will take place at the next City Council meeting on April 16. If the City starts to collect the tax and spend the money, and a judge rules against the City (which is inevitable) will the taxpayers ever get their money back? Given our City officials' known lack of integrity and ethics, and past misspending of taxpayer dollars, the answer is likely no.

Citizens who support democracy, the rule of law, and integrity in our government officials should all be appalled by the attempt to collect taxes under a measure that clearly failed at the ballot box. Come to the City Council meeting on April 16 and tell the Council NOT to collect the tax.

Posted by MarleenLee on 04/09/2019 at 7:59 PM

Re: “The Fight for Oakland's Future is Only Just Beginning

Oakland isn't giving enough compensation to its workers...according to Debra Grabelle the Executive Director of IFPTE Local 21.
This is a joke right.... was put out on April 1st, right?
Oakland has excess unspent funds available...right?
Another joke...
This must be why we had to pass yet another Library parcel tax, because the city didn't have enough to keep the libraries open.
She also overlooks the huge increases coming every couple of years to fund the CalPERs pension obligations.
She know full well, that because of the way the pensions work, any increase in wages.. even in a final year.. are then paid for life at the higher rate.
Oakland is drowning in a wave of pension obligations coming down the road.
Oakland's employees only work a 37.5 hour week, unlike many of those nearby cities she talks about.
Is Debra Gabelle willing to have workers work a normal 40 hour work week in order to facilitate the higher pay she demands? I didn't think so.
Oakland could get by on 7% fewer employees if they only worked a normal 40 hour work week.
Debra Gabelle's entire premise is flawed and its obvious she is just reciting absurd demands to fulfill her job as Executive Director of IFPTE Local 21.

Posted by Dan de'Data on 04/06/2019 at 9:28 PM

Re: “The Fight for Oakland's Future is Only Just Beginning

I have worked for the city for 25 years. I have seen many times over the course of contract negotiations in the city. Around 3 months before contracts are due, I always hear of these deficits... 20%, 30%, and yes even 80%.
And as soon as the contracts are signed there is no peep on the subject until the next contract negotiating begins again. And during non negotiating years they make there budgets. Lol
My department is operating with 5 vacancies and we have overtime to carry the load of emergency vehicles that need servicing. The city is not filling positions. We need more employees to operate to the best potential to serve the city of Oakland.
The city of Oakland pays 10%-15% less for my job title than any other of the cities around it.
I just don't know what to think of it all anymore.

Posted by dryphus on 04/06/2019 at 1:45 PM

Re: “The Fight for Oakland's Future is Only Just Beginning

It is difficult to understand the source of Ms. Gravelle's Comments as to the City's financial situation. She states the City has a " brightening five-year financial picture". Following is a direct quote from the recently released 5 year financial forecast.
"The City is projecting an operating deficit in the General Purpose Fund(GPF) in each year of the forecast. The prospective gaps would be even greater if the City were investing at sustainable levels in maintaining its basic infrastructure and recapitalizing assets. Furthermore, this forecast assumes that current economic conditions continue without a recession. Modest changes in the assumed revenue growth rates could significantly alter these results. The Citys projected baseline gap is approximately $17.4 million in FY 2019-20. If no corrective actions are taken, thecumulative gap would increase to more than $84.4 million in the GPF by FY 2023-24."
This report certainly does not paint the rosy forecast of the author!

Posted by ed gerber on 04/04/2019 at 10:39 AM

Re: “Why I Introduced The Marijuana Justice Act

Many thanks to Congresswoman Barbara Lee and her team, who really work hard for our district.

Posted by batya_lee on 03/13/2019 at 3:48 PM

Re: “Why I Introduced The Marijuana Justice Act

From the article:

>>>"the Marijuana Justice Act seeks to repair some of the damage done by the War on Drugs by creating a Community Reinvestment Fund that would fund job training, re-entry, youth development, and community programs for the communities hit hardest by the War on Drugs. Because its not good enough just to end the federal ban on marijuana weve got to make sure those already affected by it arent left behind."

If the focus of reparations is only on the "communities" most affected, then we certainly are leaving millions of victims behind.

Instead of focusing on communities, we should be focusing on the actual victims of the insane witch-hunt, no matter their color, race, or community.

Posted by John Thomas on 03/11/2019 at 4:14 PM

Re: “Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf on President Trump: 'Move Beyond Anger to Action'

Robert Appeldorn nobody EVER said they hate Trump because he's a man and he's white... Nobody... ever... A fool or a damn liar. Which one are you?

Posted by Rudi Mwongozi on 12/04/2017 at 10:48 AM

Re: “Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf on President Trump: 'Move Beyond Anger to Action'

Can't wait tell she gon...................e.

Min. Edward J. Ailsworth

Posted by Edward J. Ailsworth on 11/06/2017 at 2:10 PM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

Regardless of whether it's Uber occupying the Sears building or not, Oakland needs a steady influx of revenue. Those millions of dollars Oakland NEEDS to fight homelessness and improve it's infrastructure (just two things the City needs to work on), won't come if they keep buckling to the demands to STOP GENTRIFICATION. I'm tired of hearing, "I was born and raised in Oakland, and I rent here, and they owe me an opportunity to afford to live here..." Well guess what, I was born and raised here, own a home here, and Oakland owes me the opportunity to actually benefit from things my PROPERTY TAXES say I'm entitled to. Well maintained streets, decent schools, low crime, businesses to spend my money, etc. I haven't gotten jack from this Oakland EXCEPT a higher tax bill EVERY YEAR. So until I start getting something in return, I don't care about what the anti-gentrification community has to say.

Posted by Melissa Kittell on 07/02/2017 at 2:04 PM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

As to Uber gate... While the wheels of justice turn slowly, they do turn surely. The near criminal CEO, Travis Kalanick has been ousted as has the board member trying to walk in his shoes.

While some may be salivating for blood on the walls, I view this as a positive step.

Guilt by association must NOT be allowed. The approximately 12,000 employees shouldn't be penalized because the boss is a jerk.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 06/14/2017 at 9:16 PM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

Well, a quick google on Mr Aguilar shows he is yet another out of state, out of bay area academic carpet bagger come to waggle their fingers in our faces and attempt to shame those they don't approve of or pay them off in some way and no real experience in much of anything.

In short, no story here. Ignore him and move along.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 06/14/2017 at 9:08 PM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

Who the hell is Orson Aguilar and what office was he elected? Companies, corporations, and small businesses purchase real estate for their own reasons with the ultimate goal to earn a profit or create a return on investment. Zoning is the municipal process in which industries can distinguish where they are welcome and where they are a burden. Zoning is the process, not some community "activism" or whatever that nonsense is called. People are investing,with real money, into Oakland. That's a good thing. As they do, prices will likely rise as demand soars. If you can't afford it-leave or get a higher paying or second job. I fled the suburbs, Antioch, a few years ago, to move to Oakland. Love it. Orson- did you take Economics in high school or college? Nothing personal here, but the demands your group is making on a property owner are wrong.

Posted by michael.sagehorn on 06/13/2017 at 10:35 PM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

Bravo, John Seal.

I read this opinion piece along with the mostly withering comments the other day and was energized, saddened and disgusted, in quick succession. It closely reflects my torn feelings about gentrification in general, and in Oakland specifically. After having been both a renter and recent homeowner here close to downtown Oakland for more than 22 years, Ive seen how dramatically the city has changed. From Friday and Saturday nights where downtown was literally a ghost town to the 100 fold increase in traffic and building activity, Ive witnessed the transformation firsthand. To say that the influx of money and revitalization to the area in general has been positive would be an understatement. I welcome the city finally picking up steam from then Mayor Browns initiative during his time in office to bring 10,000 new dwellings downtown. There are strangely and sadly a lot of residents who seem to have wanted to keep Oakland the way it was. No thanks. Stagnation is always death.

The thing is, I believe that a good many opponents and activists were not against change per se, but rather against the seemingly wholesale selling out to what seems to be happening at the expense of people who have lived here their whole lives. The tech gold rush that started in the late 90s across the bay has now come to roost here in Oakland, for better or worse. Ill not get into the obvious reasons nor make a judgement about its coming about.

There is, however, something much more troubling happening here that is in lock step with what has happened state-wide and collectively as Americans: the complete and total sell out of virtuous values like integrity and character. Uber and its CEO, Travis Kalanick, have never, ever displayed anything other than what could easily be portrayed by the worst, most evil villain in a super hero movie, sans the trappings. Just this week, weve once more been exposed to a former Uber executives illegal handling of personal medical records, not to mention CEO Kalanicks cautionary *wink-wink* email detailing in the most fratish-way what to avoid at the then 2013 Miami celebration. And folks are bemused by the trail of idiocy the 45th has committed? Really?

This company embodies and emanates every disgusting human quality an American company can represent. The lot of them are scumbags. Full stop. They do not represent anything I believe in, they do not represent any qualities a responsible, good-citizen model of corporate America would condone, and they certainly do not reflect anything the best of Oaklands hard-working, creative, historically blue-collar citizens represent in any way shape or form.

You may say, well, a $70 billion-valued company that owns a cheaply-sold plot of land in Oaklands burgeoning downtown can do whatever it likes. No. They cannot.

Ever since the citizens of this nation have become so utterly hypnotized by the almighty bottom-line at the expense of common sense, human virtues to celebrated and maintained (honesty, integrity, concern for your fellow human being, hard work, etc.), as a society weve experienced a dearth of heartless, immoral choices. Human beings matter. Community matters. History matters. Sometimes even tradition matters. Making money at any expense NEVER matters, ever.

For that reason, I say, No. No, I cannot and will not support a leviathan of the tech church of Libertarianism and money-at-all-costs. These scumbags will never be welcome in my home and our shared community of Oakland. Because, in the end, this is about values, integrity and a reflection of the community.

Posted by FigAlert on 06/09/2017 at 11:27 AM

Re: “Gentrification Station: Why Oakland Still Says NO to Uber

Pursuant to previous comment, this from a news story published TODAY: "Uber has reached the stage where there is seemingly no low it can reach that will surprise people"…

Posted by John Seal on 06/08/2017 at 9:44 AM

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