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Re: “Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Says: The Remedy is More Women in Power Now

Talk about tone deaf.

Wah wah wah wah

Posted by Vincent Blafard on 12/07/2017 at 12:36 PM

Re: “The Wrong Path?

I find it urgent to respond to the 11/27 post by Earl Marty Price, whose text is overwhelmingly filled with mistruths and ad feminem attacks that are designed to eviscerate a substantial corpus of excellent teaching and my efforts to promote the best for Oakland Tech and its students. The plan of Mr. Prices letter is to represent me as a teacher who turned away talented students because of race; he signaled falsely my unwillingness to go the extra mile in order to accept more than the 32 maximum per class (some years I had between 43-45); and he devalued the seriousness of Socratic classroom teaching as a scenario in which conversation among students and teacher is seen by Price as the easy route that takes the place of lesson preparation and clear instruction; finally Price put in circulation that I was unwilling to cooperate with school initiatives to make Paideia an academy as per OUSD plans. The host of slurs that insinuates my so-called racist approach to students at Tech, along with Mr. Prices provocative attempt to undermine the unity among women faculty (by which he tries to claim that I was the uncooperative teacher while the other women in Paideia were splendid examples of hard-working instructors) are quite frankly scandalous. In the age of Trump and Harvey Weinstein, now we have Price who can attempt publicly to sow divisiveness among women who have taught together for over twenty-five years.
Mr. Price's brief tenure at Tech prevents him from knowing the details. First, from 1986-2000 (before Price worked at Tech), most Tech and Paideia students were African American; in fact, Tech only recently became a school of 29% African American and from 22-25% of each of the following groups: Caucasian, Asian-American, and Latino. In the last few years, the racial makeup of each year's Paideia senior classes varied, so some years Paideias makeup was 10%, sometimes 20% and at other times 30% African American. In addition, and contrary to the profile of me that suggests practices of racial exclusion, I led efforts through summer bridge programs to increase the participation rates of African-American students (these efforts later proved unsustainable because district money was pulled). Last spring, efforts to have former Paideia minority graduates recruit students of color among 9th graders were forbidden by the administration. I have never turned down students who approached me with the request to enroll in my senior Paideia classes! Our goal was never to make Paideia a white program; if we wanted to do that, we wouldnt have committed ourselves to teaching in Oakland in the first place.
Second, Paideia was never given the opportunity to become an academy. By California and Oakland guidelines for academies or pathways, a "school to work" concept prevails; since Paideia doesn't fit this paradigm (with its program in history, English, government, and political theory), Paideia teachers were never given any real chances let alone "three opportunities," as Price suggests, to become an academy. Last school year, we were, however, invited by Co-principal Diaz to restructure our program; we decided to focus on public policy and law in order to meet the pathway model. We submitted a plan to this effect, which was subsequently rejected without any opportunity for discussion.
Third, in response to the idea that Socratic method was the sine qua non for keeping the teaching faculty to a limited group, let me remind Price of our teacher training efforts. In addition to preparing student teachers, I also gave my entire government curriculum to two Tech teachers so that they could teach AP Government. I coached one teacher (of color) on a daily basis, giving up my conference period every day for a semester and spending another year meeting weekly with that teacher to assist in pedagogy and curriculum development. Other Paideia teachers trained several current teachers now on staff and shared curriculum with U.S. and World history teachers, as well.
Fourth, let me return to a gender issue here. In Prices letter, there is not only an unsubtle attempt to insinuate divisiveness among the women colleagues, but also a way to diminish my observations of the failings of Tech by ascribing them to the sphere of a damaged ego or hurt feelings as he describes it. This is not about sentimentality of the weak and feeble, but about the urgency to identify the collapse of reason in a once better organized school and to name the ways in which the system has failed to meet its obligations to students across racial and ethnic lines.
Fifth, as for Prices phony attacks on former students who were interviewed by The Oakland Magazine, how dare he minimize their experiences? More recent grads have expressed immense gratitude for the Paideia Program and chimed in with Daniel Hutchinson and Kulwa Apara though The Oakland Magazine, which could not include more of their interviewees, so Price is way off base here.
Sixth, regarding my resignation, my announcement to the co-principals came in early July, not two weeks before school started as Price claims in his letter. And this, as captured in the Express article as well as The Oakland Magazine, was difficult to formulate (again, please cast aside questions of hurt feelings); this was about the realities of continuing in a program that was being dismantled on a regular basis. Price can continue with the name-calling in this venue and in social media, but the hundreds of minority students who went on to successful careers will and have supplied another narrative about my professionalism, my work in the classroom, and my unhesitant donation of time and labor to the good interests of the school.
Finally, Paideia teachers have always wanted to give students, no matter what race or sexual identification, a rigorous academic program in the social sciences and humanities because we wanted them to be critical thinkers, thoughtful writers, and civically engaged Americans. We wanted to graduate students who would be prepared to succeed in college and pursue whatever career interests they chose. We chose a path, but we insisted upon more than school-to-work. We also remained steadfast in demanding high standards; why should students of color be given lower standards, as Price suggested?
Maryann Wolfe

Posted by Maryann Wolfe on 12/07/2017 at 10:10 AM

Re: “Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Says: The Remedy is More Women in Power Now

If, and when, Libby Schaff takes her experiences of unwanted sexual attention (and the complexities of such), and can undertake an intersectional analysis, and see that what she is doing to the poor, the homeless, the people of color in the city of Oakland is much akin (but magnified greatly toward other oppressed groups) to what's been done to her, there is not much hope in hearing her say, "me too," and her ability to really understand others (who have not only lost their jobs, or been raped, are homeless, or who are killed/incarcerated/abused by racist police practices, etc) her statement is becomes a hollow joining in to "me too."

Interesectionality is the gift of 3rd wave feminism. Intersectionality is the common thread that links all of disability/ies.

AND, having said the above makes true my statement (in regards to HRC's run for president) that, yes, we need more women in power, but it must be the right woman/women, just as it must be the right men. This is not the right woman. Not the right woman to chose other women, either.

Libby Schaff has not listened to the multiple Oakland communities who packed City Hall over and over re the development of the City. Instead, she's held "back door" meetings, rescheduled meeting times or dates, and did everything in her power to eliminate public comment. Schaff has closed the downtown recycling lot where many homeless or other poor took carts filled with Oakland's discards (cleaner city complaints? Duh!), and helped developers in obtaining said lot, who is building even more expensive housing, etc.

When Libby Schaff plans to hold a meeting about the future of Oakland next week, with developers, and there are no other communities present who are homeless, seniors, artists, the disabled, etc. and are fearful of the rising costs of living in this city, and who has been given in the past (ie, the 12th street parcel), a "people's" design that would accommodate the needs of all, including the developers ... well, there is little that comes from this office, from her mouth, that I can any longer believe in. Like Trump, who won because he made promises to desperate people, and told them that he "understand(s)," we've been had because she has claimed progressive politics, and now because of her gender. We cannot universalize gender any more than we should universalize race. We must seek to improve representation of each oppressed class, but not assume all of any one class is appropriate.

Posted by deGrace on 12/07/2017 at 9:57 AM

Re: “Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Says: The Remedy is More Women in Power Now

It's a little disingenuous for Schaff to talk about "radical inclusion," when she was hand-picked by the Brown/Perata machine to further the gentrification agenda, which is anything but inclusive. I would challenge Schaffr to concentrate not on being powerful, but being equitable, i.e., upholding equity as a guiding principle.

Posted by Eric Arnold on 12/06/2017 at 8:22 PM

Re: “Oakland Has Yet to Spend Soda Tax Funds

Some of my low information customers blamed this tax on Trump instead of blaming their fellow citizens for voting it in.
As for Oakland screwing up its implementation, who is surprised by that?

Posted by Kevin Seay on 12/06/2017 at 7:39 PM

Re: “Berkeley Progressives Have a Chance to Prove They're Not NIMBYs

This is not going to make the neighborhoods happy.

Wander through most any residential neighborhood in the flats, from El Cerrito to East Oakland, and you'll find block after block of pleasant, mostly well-cared-for older homes rich in character and variety while showing only one or two common architectural styles.

Then you run into an eyesore apartment building, probably from the post-WWII era. Usually cheaply built, out of character with the rest of the neighborhood, a profit-driven investment for non-resident owners. "What a shame," you say. "It doesn't fit in at all, does it. The rest of the block is so pretty."

City staff can't force a builder to respect a neighborhood; only an open political process can. Berkeley's City Council and affordable housing advocates just gave up on open processes. "But it's for a good cause!" It always is ...

Posted by MikeE on 12/06/2017 at 5:28 PM

Re: “Oakland Has Yet to Spend Soda Tax Funds

Read the study. It included a telephone survey that asked people about their beverage habits. The result was, "Changes in self-reported sugar-sweetened beverage intake were not statistically significant." That is, no change in behavior could be detected.
How does the survey of users square with the reported decline in store sales of taxed beverages? The decline was in Berkeley, but sales rose in stores just outside Berkeley.
Also, the survey found that corner grocery stores did not raise prices on SSBs, but there was too little data to say whether their sales went up or down or stayed the same. All the study really found was that the large chain markets in Berkeley passed on the tax and lost sales.
Some of the authors of the study campaigned for sugar taxes and donated to the campaign. It is no surprise that they do their best to spin their own results.

Posted by Charlie Pine on 12/06/2017 at 5:11 PM

Re: “Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Says: The Remedy is More Women in Power Now

Finally, Mayor Schaaf has made an honest statement to the public. She has never admitted it publicly, but it has been painfully obvious that her personal women empowerment agenda has been the driver of many management decisions she has made since coming into office. Her City Administrator, Assistant City Administrator, Police Chief and Fire Chief have ALL been women. Let's see how that has worked out. The City Administrator had no significant experience that demonstrated any ability to navigate a complex and challenged municipality like Oakland. Two years in Emeryville is just not enough. Ms. Landreth has been largely silent in her job and when she has made public appearances, it has been clear that she is over her head. The same can be said for the former Fire Chief, who was hired based on her relationship with the former City Administrator. She "retired" after getting into an argument with a member of the public about her departments failure to inspect the north hills fire zone adequately. It should have never come to that. She should have been fired immediately after the disappearing act she pulled off after the Ghost Ship fire. The Assistant City Administrator (Cappio) was hired by Schaaf to be the "development czar" who was going to make the the Raider deal happen. Moreover, how valuable was she when you Mayor Schaaf, ignored the City Attorney's advice and broke the law by initially pushing the city into a backroom deal with an unqualified developer of the E12th st housing project. What a waste of money. Your outrage at male behavior was particularly obvious in your selection of the Police Chief. Your whole public presentation was clear that the priority was to break up the boys club, not necessarily to hire the best candidate. I disagree totally with your premise that the only way forward is more women in power. While having more women in top positions is a good thing, the goal should be to have more qualified good people in leadership positions. That includes more well adjusted men, without the personal defects that have damaged the work environment in America for decades. If you say that only women are the answer for the future, you are no better than those who have oppressed women in favor of men for years. The right way forward is when gender is not a job qualification, EVER.

Posted by Gary Patton on 12/06/2017 at 5:01 PM

Re: “Systems That Oppress Women Create Dangerous Circumstances for Girls of Color

Holly this is an excellent article. It defines and exposes the practices in OPD that, through the years, were normalized. I worked for OPD and saw, first hand, the mistreatment of females, both sworn and civilian. I heard about how female employees were sexually exploited. The culture at OPD was horrific for any woman that did not acquiesce to the patrichial environment which existed. Than you for exposing this culture, which hopefully, will create a new norm.

Posted by Sylvia DeWitt on 12/06/2017 at 5:25 AM

Re: “Why Derick Almena Deserves the Most Scorn

I understand the writer's perspective in this article. Almena just did video interviews where he basically states he's the victim and everyone else but him is to blame. That's not the truth. This is from a certified electrician who saw the building. "Robert Jake Jacobitz: On my contract with him and verbally I warned him of a fire argue with him about a fire more fingers than I have on my hand the last argument we had he finally finally had me cut a fire door in that he owes me for still and I understand he barricaded up that night. I've done my interviews with the FBI ATF DA's office got my subpoena I'm the one is going to be telling Derek he's going to s*** when he sees me in court do you don't know I'm coming. so you won't be able to play uninformed surprised victim he was well-informed multi times about the very real possibility of Fire as my second hand information from the horse's mouth not hearsay."

Posted by Mary Cummins on 12/05/2017 at 7:13 PM

Re: “Five Ways to Protect Future Generations from Sexual Harassment and Assault

In addition to the steps the author outlines, it is also important as we move forward, to focus on men to play their part in solving this problem. Men, starting with young boys, need to be shown the connection between sexual assault and harassment to their own mothers, sisters and female friends. If young men can get to a place where they value all women like they do their own family and friends, this will stop. The classic male paradigm that tells boys that all that matters is "scoring" at any cost has to change. That mindset diminishes the value of women as people and friends who can add way more to your life than sex. I have always opined that when men consider whether sex should be a part of a relationship with a woman, the question they should ask themselves is not should we do it. The question should be, if we do it, then what? Failure to have a cogent answer to that question almost always means that it is not a good idea. Having women as friends ads value to a mans life. Young boys need to be taught that as early in life as possible.

Posted by Gary Patton on 12/05/2017 at 7:04 PM

Re: “When Sexual Harassment and Violence Become Normalized

There is no doubt in my mind that at least 6 or 7 women of 10 in America have experienced sexual assault, violence or harassment at some point in their lives. This issue has been underground far too long and especially in families and in the workplace.The current wave of the "me too" movement is a good thing that is long overdue. Hopefully, it will change the way men are socialized in this country. Although men who are guilty of taking advantage of women have moms, wives, daughters and sisters, somehow there is a disconnect. These men do not personalize these assaults as having an impact on the women in the world that they love. In my own life, I was lucky enough to have a sister one year my senior. That meant two things. One is that she was my first best friend that I shared my life with every single day. Secondly, that my adolescent introduction to girls was initially from being around her friends. I learned to communicate, treat and respect females as people and friends first. On the other hand, most males are socialized and introduced to girls and dating by stupid boys their age or older boys who teach that all that matters is to somehow "score" as much and any way possible. This initial socialization of the male mind is not healthy and easily leads to the culture that we have always had in America. With that being said, I challenge women to pay more attention to the current impact of social media on the attitudes of young boys and girls. The internet is full of disturbing images of women and girls participating in pornography, music videos and sexual images that the girls themselves post. Because of the Kardashian gang and others, young girls believe that taking sexually explicit pictures of themselves and posting them to become an"internet personality" and getting paid is a valid career alternative. The combination of this trend along with the exposure of young kids to pornography on the internet does not bode well for healthy relationships in the future. Women, as a group need to be way more aggressive in calling out the problems with social media. You can't applaud the Kardashian gang as trend setting businesswomen and then fail to call them and others to task on the messages they are sending to young girls. So far, they seem to be getting away with becoming rich with no sense of responsiblity.

Posted by Gary Patton on 12/05/2017 at 6:48 PM

Re: “Why Derick Almena Deserves the Most Scorn

The only thing deserving of "scorn" here are people like you - Robert Gammon (a journalist I used to respect) - who, rather than investigate a story, decide it's easier to stick to the status quo and continue to heap blame where you find it easiest. Almena, the media villain, deserving of all of your self-righteous scorn. You should be ashamed, and please stay away from this story and our community's grief. You are not worthy of commenting on this matter anymore.

Posted by ConnorMorrison on 12/04/2017 at 11:59 AM

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: “Evictions After Ghost Ship

Key word: UNPERMITTED (not actually a word, but this is EBX).

Posted by Garry Ovalbach on 12/03/2017 at 5:49 PM

Re: “Why Derick Almena Deserves the Most Scorn

Rereading the above, I realize I was using some strong language. The anniversary is a rather heavy time. Pardon the oversight but please take the points.

Posted by Jonah Strauss 1 on 12/03/2017 at 10:07 AM

Re: “Abalone Collapse with Kelp Forests

This is very concerning, however there are many people focused on working on solutions that reimagine the way we relate to our ocean ecosystems. Concerned California citizens have been partnering with and CA Fish and Wildlife to strategize on how to successfully permit and implement restorative ocean enterprises that restore kelp forests through actively seeding native varieties of kelp to help repopulate kelp forests. Please reach out to support's work and sponsor this CA initiative.

Erin Axelrod
Sonoma County, CA

Posted by Erin Axelrod on 12/03/2017 at 6:54 AM

Re: “Why Derick Almena Deserves the Most Scorn

Robert, everyone already knows Almena shoulders the primary responsibility, so I don't understand the source of your fervor. Regarding Harris, I'm sure you have the resources to dig a little deeper than what went into the sentiment you're expressing here. There are pretty significant differences -- just ask community members. Remember that the DA has a PR goal, and charges may have to change after deposition this week.

The article comes off as pretty mainstream in its reactionary tone, which was the standard MSM approach a year ago. Your Oakland Magazine article (January?) was along similar lines, though I can see you've toned it down since then.

You've got the tacit agreement thing between tenants/landlords/City described accurately, and you are certainly correct that tenants who build out non-conforming spaces -- typically with owner permission -- have historically taken great pride in their work and in its long term safety and stability. That was nice to see acknowledged in print after all these months.

Regarding the building department, you are a little misinformed, which is surprising coming from the editor of the Express. That is most clear here:

"But requiring city employees to determine which spaces are clearly dangerous and need to be shut down like the Ghost Ship and which ones only present minor hazards that need to be fixed is not so simple. Such a protocol, if it were established, also could expose the city to further liability, especially if people were to die in a fire in a warehouse that the city had deemed to be not that bad."

While technically true, this last sentence is fearmongering, no better than internet whackos who call for widespread evictions. Warehouse & non-conforming unit safety advocates have been meeting with select City officials for many months to design an appropriate path forward, one that is hardly touched upon in the Anniversary Report and in the Mayor and Administrator's rhetoric. Both parties share the same concern for life safety, and recognize that there are very few (if any) spaces left like Ghost Ship since the community did its own cleanup in the first half of 2017.

There are clear and simple ways to define what is and is not a life safety hazard. And contrary to Rich Fielding's historical approach, a collection of common code violations does not necessarily equal a life safety hazard. I look forward to seeing a hierarchy of compliance priorities in the future -- such as that used by community safety organizations -- adopted by Code Enforcement. There is no reason that such a practice would increase liability, as imminent life safety hazards do indeed require temporary relocation for repairs. Even in highly problematic cases where tenants can not be moved, such as 2551 San Pablo, the City can always order a 24-hour fire watch (which I believe would have saved that building).

If you need to worry about it, worry instead about the hazards that Code Enforcement is often careless about attending to, namely the pervasive violations in conventional multifamily housing available to low-income folks. You'd be alarmed at the callous approach of inspectors. From water damage and mold to uneven floors and shoddy electrical work, there are many violations that landowners are allowed to explain away or never be cited for -- provided, of course, that the tenants are poor and typically people of color.

Posted by Jonah Strauss 1 on 12/03/2017 at 5:46 AM

Re: “Why Derick Almena Deserves the Most Scorn

Who the heck writes these articles these days? What generation are these writers mostly derived from? What happened to writing articles of actual substance, and not just repeating 3 things, 6 different ways, in order to be able to hit the word count necessary, to look like a real news article?

Posted by Nicole Celli on 12/03/2017 at 2:07 AM

Re: “Why Derick Almena Deserves the Most Scorn

Second floor was built out of redwood springboard floor by previous tenants. Same for roof. Was not designed for the building.

Could have had ceramics in there and sprinklers everywhere. Since it was an electrical fire, it would have still went up.

Derrick "rigged" the electrical because it was actually causing problems before.

This article is semantics.

Posted by Marcavius on 12/01/2017 at 2:52 PM

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