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Re: “How a Billionaire-Funded, Anti-Union Think Tank in Nevada Shapes Bay Area News Media Coverage of Public Employee Pay

Seems like Transparent California is also paying commentators to gripe on any articles where they are being uncovered ;)

Posted by Patrick Mastrobuono on 08/11/2017 at 6:40 PM

Re: “How a Billionaire-Funded, Anti-Union Think Tank in Nevada Shapes Bay Area News Media Coverage of Public Employee Pay

Simply a amazing article where the "reporter"... essentially suggests that the public is better off NOT KNOWING the facts about how much they are paying public employees or how high the pensions are for such employees.
Incredible that she would imply that newspapers, and other media outlets not have access to such information that can be passed onto the public.
I suppose this same reporter would banish the Brown Act that guarantees the public's right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies.
Yes lets hide the actions, budgets, and salaries of all government workers from the taxpayers who pay the way.
Secrecy in government is best... Public can't be trusted in understanding the facts. Just leave it all up to the politicians and public employees like in Bell California...
Sheesh... this article deserves some kind of prize for for the "Most anti-free press" article of the year.

Posted by Dan de'Data on 08/11/2017 at 1:03 AM

Re: “How a Billionaire-Funded, Anti-Union Think Tank in Nevada Shapes Bay Area News Media Coverage of Public Employee Pay

This is a hack argument that attacks the messenger rather than the veracity of the data. I mean, the Koch brothers funded Wonder Woman too. Treasury Secretary and key Trump advisor Steven Mnuchin was an executive producer. Does that mean that we should stop taking our daughters to see it?

More information is good, and I'm happy that the Koch brothers are doing it rather than our time-crunched, cost-cutting newspapers (the Bay Area News Group used to perform the public records requests before Transparent California took over) or on an ad hoc basis by random citizens. The reason this information is public, which the writer failed to note, is because of the Bell scandal, where city manager Robert Rizzo and his crony Angela Spaccia collectively cost taxpayers of the poor city over a million a year, and lied to residents by giving them a forged document with his contract at $1 a page. Some city managers actually found that Transparent California raised employee compensation since unions could easily look up what their peers were making and ask for more. So I don't see how the data affects anything. you can choose to draw your own conclusions, but the NPRI's data is neutral.

Posted by Henry Fung on 08/10/2017 at 7:11 PM

Re: “How a Billionaire-Funded, Anti-Union Think Tank in Nevada Shapes Bay Area News Media Coverage of Public Employee Pay

What unmitigated garbage in this 'article' - more like an SEIU opinion piece. The arrival of entities such as Transparent California - and there are many, many more - are due to a growing pension debt approaching $1 TRILLION in California alone. Most of the public was unaware of how this could happen, until the salaries, pensions and benefits became available for all to see.

Unions are furious, of course. What was previously a secret is now common knowledge, and that knowledge has led to some major research into public pension systems and their drain on taxpayers. End of story. To have printed this article is an insult to people's intelligence. Who is funding YOU?

Posted by Jody Morales on 08/10/2017 at 10:59 AM

Re: “Group Calls for Oakland Animal Services to Lower Euthanasia Rate, But Administrators and Allies Say Shelter is Best it’s Been in Years

As a former volunteer whose plans to return have been dashed due to current mismanagement, I am heartbroken. Director Katz showed great promise upon her arrival at OAS which makes its present irresponsible conduct that much harder to swallow. I don't doubt that cats and smaller dogs are being rescued at a quick pace, but big dogs, esp. pit bulls, do not seem to be given a fair shot. Expert behaviorists and evaluators should be a core element in a shelter--they literally make life or death decisions. A robust foster program and support for foster parents is also a key element that is missing. I am disappointed, disgusted and heartbroken and hope Katz will quickly shake off her shocking negligence of Oakland's homeless dogs and engage in constructive dialogue with her critics.

Posted by Stephanie Rubin on 08/08/2017 at 11:40 PM

Re: “Group Calls for Oakland Animal Services to Lower Euthanasia Rate, But Administrators and Allies Say Shelter is Best it’s Been in Years

I pull dogs from OAS for rescue's and have seen a huge improvement in the dogs from OAS coming out of the shelter in much better condition during Rebecca Katz' tenure at OAS. 3-5 years ago, almost every dog I pulled from OAS was very sick with kennel cough, Giardia, pneumonia and worse - it was awful. The last year has gotten so much better, almost every dog I pull has been healthy. Last weekend I helped pull 24 dogs to go on transport up to Embrace a Discarded Animal Society - in Washington and none of the dogs were sick. That would have never been the case 3-4 years ago.

I also foster for the shelter and the last two dogs I fostered were spayed /neutered, fully vaccinated and microchipped by the shelter vet, prior to coming to my home. This also never used to be the case.

In my opinion, while the shelter is still not perfect, it's much better than it has ever been in the past 7 years that I have been involved with them. The entire management team and all of the current volunteers seem very committed to doing right by the animals and improving the conditions for the animals while they are in their care. This is just my humble opinion, but I've seen vast improvements in the last 2-3 years.
Cindy Douglas
Paws Crossed Small Dog Rescue

Posted by Cindy Douglas on 08/07/2017 at 10:18 PM

Re: “Oakland Rallies Around Owner of Henry's Gallery Café, Who Recently Lost His Business and Life's Savings

So... It seems EBX is ONLY concerned by wrong doing by the OPD, not wrongs done IO the community BY the community. Nor, it would seem, is the city council the EBX sockpuppets for.

In this same "issue" I see one member of the council is up for corruption and EBX is ONLY concerned about the amount needed for the defense.

Not a word from EBX on the swarm attacks or general lawlessness in the streets of Oakland.

VERY community oriented EBX.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 08/07/2017 at 9:33 PM

Re: “Lieutenant Governor Hopeful Gayle McLaughlin Wants to Take the East Bay’s Progressive Revolution to Sacramento

The Progressives have ruined California with their liberal anything goes platform. Paganism at its finest, yea right!

Posted by Mike Mitchell on 08/05/2017 at 4:23 PM

Re: “East Bay Paratransit Bus System Leaves Drivers Broke and Riders Often Stranded

I worked at the Alta Bates campus in berkeley about 7-10 years ago. This was the same at that time. Obviously there needs to be changes made, but nothing is going to happen anytime soon. Until the owners are ready to make the changes, unfortunately these problems will not get addressed. SMH I feel so sorry for the people who have to depend on these agencies to get where they need to go. Maybe an agency needs to supply thr people who need transport, vouchers for Lyft..I bet they would get better service!

Posted by Ingrid Sweet on 08/05/2017 at 11:27 AM

Re: “California Traffic Tickets Amnesty Program Leaves Many Behind

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Posted by Nicole Marie on 08/04/2017 at 6:40 PM

Re: “East Bay Paratransit Bus System Leaves Drivers Broke and Riders Often Stranded

A neighbor in my building needs kidney dialysis 3X a week. She can barely walk to get to the front door of our building, much less hike to bus stops and walk from bus stops to her dialysis clinic. Increasingly, however, she ends up sitting in our lobby for an hour or more and then gets a call from AC Paratransit telling her no paratransit bus is going to show up. By this time, she is late for her appointment but still needs the dialysis so she suffers her way to a bus stop and from the bus stop to her clinic. She reports this is becoming almost the norm, that more and more she just gets told, after waiting a very long time, that the bus aint coming.

It does seem peculiar to me that a foreign company is not only managing this local, publicly funded service but that this company is doing such an inadequate job. The workers deserve a living wage and affordable health care, as drivers for other public transit systems receive, and the riders deserve an operating system that picks them up within reasonable wait times. Shame shame shame on the folks who outsourced this and did not negotiate meaningful public oversight of how the public money is spent.

Posted by Tree Fitzpatrick on 08/04/2017 at 11:11 AM

Re: “Court-Appointed Monitor Who Oversees Oakland Police Department Could Have Blocked Controversial Promotions — but He Didn’t.

Ms. Guap (not her real name) was an UNDERAGE prostitute and every cop that had sex with her knew she was under age and had illegal sex with her anywat, using their positional power over a legal child. Some of the pigs used her to make money, pimping her out. Bruce Ferrell's comment questions that she was an underage, legal child as if to shift some of the resopnsible onto the legal child and as if Ferrell wants to defend the cops who used her. Ms. Guap received a million dollars from the City of Oakland for the way she was used and abused by Oakland cops. There no excuse for anyone to have sex with an underage person but esp. cops who are tasked with enforcing the law instead of flouting it.

Posted by Tree Fitzpatrick on 08/04/2017 at 10:44 AM

Re: “Lieutenant Governor Hopeful Gayle McLaughlin Wants to Take the East Bay’s Progressive Revolution to Sacramento

Richmond's finances are in horrible shape, now she wants to take her ideas to Sacramento (The State is already in enough financial trouble due to tax & spend politicians).

Her campaign slogan should be "Progressively Bankrupt"

Posted by Bob Kray on 08/04/2017 at 8:38 AM

Re: “Lieutenant Governor Hopeful Gayle McLaughlin Wants to Take the East Bay’s Progressive Revolution to Sacramento

The real RPA, a history!
Mike Parker, along with the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), has unleashed a misguided, middle class, liberal agenda on Richmond, California's poor working class community of 106,000 residents.

Parker has been on the RPAs steering committee since he arrived in Richmond in 2008 during a campaign to pass by popular vote a tax on Chevron known as Measure T. He is the editor of the RPAs email newsletter with complete discretion to write articles expressing his political viewpoints. His strongest opinions have been expressed in support of a misguided tax settlement with Chevron and two regressive tax proposals but he has remained indifferent and mostly silent about City Hall corruption and ongoing bullying of City workers.

After the voters passed Measure T, a tax on Chevron, Chevron challenged it in court and in 2010 Parker and the RPA pushed through, without any public discussion, a settlement of this litigation which gave the City $114 million from Chevron paid on a graduated schedule over fifteen years. In exchange, Chevron demanded a fifteen-year moratorium on the City levying any new taxes on Chevron. The significance of the Measure T sellout cannot be measured in dollars and cents alone. The passage of Measure T was a grassroots effort against enormous moneyed opposition that resulted in the people standing up to Chevron for the first time in Richmond's history. Mike Parker and the RPA's so-called progressives squandered this major victory, setting back Richmonds nascent grassroots movement for years to come.

In 2011, the RPA proposed a regressive sales tax; Measure D. Parker supported this regressive sales tax proposal which was to be levied on a poor working class community which already had the highest sales tax in the area. The voters defeated Measure D.

In 2012, Parker pushed a regressive inventory tax, Measure N. This was a regressive tax on merchants based on the inventory of certain sugar products sold in their stores which could be passed off onto their customers. By an overwhelming margin, the voters also defeated measure N.

In 2013, Parker refused to hold the City Manager responsible for not terminating the Human Relations Director for blatant corruption which took place with his knowledge. Ultimately, she was allowed to retire, with full benefits and a glowing letter of appreciation, only because of City workers and citizens demands for her termination. As a result of the RPAs condoning such corrupt mismanagement, there remains in Richmond City Hall an ongoing culture of bullying and retaliation against whistle blowers.

In 2013 the RPA and Parker proposed and pushed for an untested eminent domain scheme purportedly designed to assist homeowners in danger of foreclosure because their mortgages were underwater. In fact, this scheme was not designed to help those most in need and, if implemented, would cost the City years of litigation. Because of this poorly thought out political grandstanding, the City was burdened with higher interest rates on its bonds. When the RPA was unable to garner a super-majority on the City Council to implement the use of eminent domain, they tried to get around this requirement by setting up a Joint Authority with other jurisdictions to do so. They were unable to find a single jurisdiction willing to take the risk.

All of these examples demonstrate that the RPA under Parker's leadership has consistently acted in the interest of the gentrifying element in Richmond while alienating the working-class residents. Parker and the RPA prefer headline-grabbing gestures rather than working seriously on multiple community problems such as, for example, the horrendous situation at Richmond's Public Housing Authority and the huge deficit in the City budget. Parker and the RPA talk about empowering the residents while refusing to fight for district elections, a political structure that truly empowers voters on a grassroots level. As they have pushed their political agendas they have consistently exhibited arrogance and intolerance for the people of Richmond. They have furthered class and ethnic divisions in our community and made a mockery of the term, progressive.

Posted by Charles T. Smith on 08/03/2017 at 4:54 PM

Re: “Lieutenant Governor Hopeful Gayle McLaughlin Wants to Take the East Bay’s Progressive Revolution to Sacramento

I may speak for many progressive Richmond residents when I express disappointment, dismay, and even disgust with the RPA's "ends justify means" political playbook. Sadly, the disconnect between their words and actions give progressivism a bad name. Start with their movement away from district elections now that they dominate the council, though they reside in only one or two districts; follow that up with well-documented public harassment and intimidation of an elderly landlady over the just cause eviction of a problematic tenant during their push for rent control laws ;check Richmond city council meeting minutes for accounts of Council member Beckles publicly humiliating a visually impaired fellow council member; and photos of her playing games on her phone during a budget hearing. Most egregiously, note that while RPA has sworn off corporate donations, they have no such qualms about taking donations from both local and national organized labor groups. This effectively rules out significant financial support for non-RPA candidates lest they be accused of being the puppets of corporations or wealthy individuals. . Yet the RPA dominated city council rules routinely on matters affecting union members - but somehow those contributions aren't seen as influential.

Posted by aj benham on 08/03/2017 at 1:23 PM

Re: “Lieutenant Governor Hopeful Gayle McLaughlin Wants to Take the East Bay’s Progressive Revolution to Sacramento

The Richmond Progressive Alliances first priority when they arrived in Richmond in 2004 was to fight for district elections.
Once they got into power they turned their backs on the working class community and fought against district elections.
Here is what they said about district elections.
Former Mayor and current Richmond Council Member Gayle McLaughlin
Districts could create truer democracy.
Current Richmond City Council member Eduardo Martinez
I have said that I support district elections and I stand by that.
KPFA radio show host Andres Soto
On at least two occasions Andres has endorsed the concept of district elections during his KPFA radio show. His son Alejandro ran in a district election in Berkeley in 2014
Founding member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance Roberto Reyes
He endorses district elections and still does but he has since moved out of State.
Former Richmond City Council Member Jeff Ritterman
"I felt I represented all of Richmond, not Point Richmond," he said. "But it's true that the concentration of elected officials (in Point Richmond) could raise the question of district elections and whether that should be debated in the city."
Richmond Progressive Alliances initial public statement as stated on their handout upon their arrival on 1-12-2004.
The more efficient city council we envision will also require that the city council members reside in their districts.

Posted by Charles T. Smith on 08/03/2017 at 11:43 AM

Re: “Oakland Rallies Around Owner of Henry's Gallery Café, Who Recently Lost His Business and Life's Savings

The GoFundMe campaign mentioned is here:

Posted by brent_noorda on 08/02/2017 at 10:38 AM

Re: “Oakland Rallies Around Owner of Henry's Gallery Café, Who Recently Lost His Business and Life's Savings

This article makes no sense. 2007+5=2012, 2012+5+2017. They did exercise their option to extend. It also states in April that they were told to look for a new space. While I sympathize, there is nothing illegal happening here on the landlord's part.

Posted by Simone Furey on 08/01/2017 at 12:04 PM

Re: “Oakland Rallies Around Owner of Henry's Gallery Café, Who Recently Lost His Business and Life's Savings

I've met Jung and Park many times. They are lovely - always happy and helpful. I hope they are able to find a new location.

Posted by Jim Willows on 08/01/2017 at 11:49 AM

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