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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: News

Re: “City of Oakland ‘Bulldozer’ Hit A Homeless Man While He Was Sleeping In A Tent

Well, Valerie, I guess this IS trash collection. How is it that the trash became so intermixed into the personal effects of the inhabitants that it became easy to mistake one from another? I know if someone came by and dumped garbage on MY living area, I'd either shift my living area so that it's clear illegally dumped stuff isn't mine or move the illegally dumped stuff doesn't mingle with what's mine. Naaaa... Let's just blame some hypothetical person. It's SO much easier.

Have you ever watched a fully loaded cart being used to haul stuff down the street? A truly amazing tribute to human endeavor. Humans have been using muscle power and minimal "machines" to move fairly large loads for thousands of years.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 06/01/2017 at 10:03 PM

Re: “City of Oakland ‘Bulldozer’ Hit A Homeless Man While He Was Sleeping In A Tent

Where are the inhabitants supposed to put the trash from the encampment if there is no regular trash collection? And it's not clear that some of it isn't illegal dumping by people taking advantage of the unsupervised nature of the areas where the encampments are. If you look at the stuff, lots of the bulky items are things the people in the encampments could not have carried there.

Posted by Valerie Winemiller on 06/01/2017 at 9:04 PM

Re: “Oakland Officials Question Police Partnerships with Federal Immigration Agents and FBI

Libby and the Oakland City Council need to take immediate action to keep ICE out of Oakland. They would not allow a federal agency to come terrorize Mountclarions, so they should leave the backdoor open for these bullies to come in and harass and arrest immigrants and POC. LIbby and and Annie say, they are all about justice and fairness, time to put your policies where you say your values are.

Posted by Ann Nomura on 06/01/2017 at 7:40 PM

Re: “City of Oakland ‘Bulldozer’ Hit A Homeless Man While He Was Sleeping In A Tent

Lets see... 160 cubic yards (to use the smallest figure quoted). What can that mean? It could mean a debris field about 3 feet deep, 3 feet wide and 18 feet long. That's a hell of a lot of trash accumulated in one location! I doubt it was really that compact, but we can set that aside for now.

What are the implications of this? Hmmm... Home for vermin? (rats, mice, roaches and any other disease ridden creepy crawlies we can think of in an urban environment). Sound like anything you want anyone living around? Not me.

How about just simple paper and other burnable junk... Had some fires that wiped out a tent city recently, didn't we? People hurt? Wonder how that happened, huh?

As to the use of industrial equipment to clear it... How many back breaking human (expensive) man hours would it take to clean it otherwise? Yeah, the equipment operators need to be a LOT more careful but it's disingenuous to paint this as anything but what needs to be done.

Since all the "stuff" didn't accumulate itself, it's equally clear the inhabitants aren't doing much to clear it themselves.

I don't have a good solution, but more care needs to be taken on the part of all parties.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 06/01/2017 at 5:47 PM

Re: “Berkeley To Consider Banning Plastic Straws

Hey Carl, crawl back in your Trump Hole

Posted by Vincent Blafard on 06/01/2017 at 10:39 AM

Re: “Oakland Expends Considerable Money and Person-Power Displacing Homeless Residents, According to City Records

Hey Mitchell Halberstadt... "...a neighborhood of their own". Isn't that called a ghetto by classic definition?

And Mr Cervantes, I came up and out those streets and populations. That's why I mentioned trying it for yourself. I did.

We're dealing with people suffering from mental and emotional difficulties... Yeah, I like difficulties better than problems. Many have been there for decades. Yes, some lost jobs and were evicted and/or were priced out. A lot more are there because of their "difficulties", and yet again, there is NO MONEY in Oakland for services for them, Anything that would bring in money is decried as gentrification.

Evictions are really the least of the problem, but it IS smugly satisfying to point that finger. Zero tolerance isn't an answer either. That just means criminalizing not being able to maintain.

Treatment is paramount... Not the half-baked type of thing that recently burned down on San Pablo Avenue. Had that been correctly run and supervised, the cause of the fire would not have been needed (candles). The fire control system would have been insisted upon by the "operator" from the property owner; mandated by city inspection of a treatment facility.

No, that was a scam shepherded by city council members to fleece needy people of what little they had while providing little more than a dangerous roof and an opportunity for "Tammany Hall" council members to make political points and reward neighborhood cronies.

Once treatment happens, then training/education needs to happen. Teach them to fish...

Until then, all that is being done is to "distribute fish"... Until the fish run out.

It takes money to do those things. Money that Oakland has been wasting for decades while slowing bleeding to death and self serving crypto-anarchists/activists trash the streets, driving businesses out.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 06/01/2017 at 7:53 AM

Re: “Oakland Expends Considerable Money and Person-Power Displacing Homeless Residents, According to City Records

I disagree with Alice Marshall on one point: she says, "What would not be allowed is to live permanently in a temporary camp." The point of setting up a dedicated campground is to accommodate a nomadic population (of tent dwellers) at a location off our streets -- not necessarily to channel everyone into indoor housing. The issues to be addressed involve land use in existing neighborhoods, and developing sufficient low-income housing to meet local demand -- with minimum intervention into people's lives.

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 06/01/2017 at 6:23 AM

Re: “'Homeless Lives Matter Too??': People Sleeping On Oakland's Streets Still Waiting For Government Response To Growing East Bay Crisis

The Mayor only cares about the real estate developers and the tech companies. When all those shiny new condos get built next to homeless camps then maybe we'll see some response...but it will probably be in the form of arrests, ticketing, and dismantling of the camps. The homeless folks will move on to another location. And the way things are going here in Oakland, many more will join their ranks.

Posted by Vincent Blafard on 05/31/2017 at 2:26 PM

Re: “Oakland Expends Considerable Money and Person-Power Displacing Homeless Residents, According to City Records

After attending last night's City Council meeting, I'll double down on my attempt to address the two crises of spreading street encampments and a lack of housing. Both of these involve pressing physical needs, yet we misdirect attention and divert scarce resources by focusing on interventions in "homeless lives." We need to approach these issues directly, as a matter of problem-solving -- with respect for those involved, rather than viewing them as helpless victims in need of dubious (and expensive) "services," or as pawns in a political game.

We need to fight evictions, zealously enforce rent control, and develop housing for THOUSANDS of people (and a neighborhood of their own where they can camp out in the meantime), not to inflict encampments on neighborhoods of the housed while we build a "navigation center" designed to "connect the homeless with services" that can house 150!

150? That would be a joke, if it weren't such a scandal -- and so sad!

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 05/31/2017 at 10:40 AM

Re: “Oakland Expends Considerable Money and Person-Power Displacing Homeless Residents, According to City Records

I agree with Mitchell Halberstadt. It's unacceptable for people to simply set up camp wherever they please. The situation that exists in Oakland with homeless camps popping up everywhere, or people living in their cars wherever they want, and negatively impacting housed people and neighborhoods, is unacceptable. Squat camps are turning areas of the city into filthy slums. On the other hand, it's also not acceptable to prohibit sleeping anywhere at all, and to make it impossible for the homeless to exist in the city. I believe that the solution to the homeless problem is in cities working with state and federal governments to create both indoor shelters and some campgrounds as temporary residences for the state's homeless.

It's not ideal to not be able to provide permanent housing for every single person who needs it, but if cities could provide free housing for everyone who asked for it, why would anyone bother to work? Rather than focus on getting ideal housing for a few, I would say the focus should be on spending money to create designated shelters and camps for all the homeless. Instead of spending money on permanent housing for a few lucky "lottery winners", raise the quality of life for all these homeless and protect neighborhoods and housed residents at the same time by setting up sufficient temporary shelters/camps to house all.

Instead of being "moved along", allowing the homeless to be a serial nuisance in one place after another, the homeless --including those living in vehicles on public streets -- could be driven to an existing shelter or campground -- both would ideally have parking lots for limited temporary car camping. Anyone setting up camp where camping isn't permitted should either be taken to a sanctioned camp or shelter, or have their property confiscated and disposed of. They would be given help to find permanent housing. If local permanent housing could not be found for them within a certain amount of time, they would be given an option of taking housing wherever it could be found, perhaps in another city or state, or else leaving Oakland. What would not be allowed is to live permanently in a temporary camp, or to set up a tent on public land wherever they please.

Posted by Alice Marshall on 05/31/2017 at 8:03 AM

Re: “Berkeley To Consider Banning Plastic Straws

There are straws made from compostable plastic these days. I'm not sure how quickly they biodegrade if they become litter

Posted by Omar Yacoubi on 05/30/2017 at 2:58 PM

Re: “Oakland Expends Considerable Money and Person-Power Displacing Homeless Residents, According to City Records

Oakland has a problem with the massive growth of street encampments. This is a land-use issue, and we need to stop conflating it with homelessness. Each of these phenomena needs to be addressed on its own terms.

Solving our housing problems will take time. Shame on those who, meanwhile, exploit unhoused people as a political scourge, sustaining encampments in our neighborhoods (even distributing tents!) as a means of publicizing Oaklands shortage of low-income housing. (Indeed, tighter enforcement of rent control is a no-brainer, as is the dedicating the resources and political will to fight evictions. Problems that involve drug use or mental illness are far more complex, and any solutions are sure to be controversial -- if the implicit issues can ever be settled, and if truly effective and universally accepted "treatment" even exists)

Acquiring a tent is an act of volition; its not a magical by-product of homelessness. Ive been homeless (twice, each time for about a year), but I never imagined that the streets and sidewalks of my city (or any city) were available to me for storage of household belongings or for pitching a hulking tent. I never considered that an option so I found and developed all sorts of other ways to cope. In at least one case, this even involved going to another city where I had friends whod put me up until I got my life back off the ground.

Criminalizing homelessness? Nowhere else to go? In a city with all sorts of intricate zoning, health and building codes (and where we constantly hear talk about peoples deep roots and pride in their neighborhoods), people may be free to come and go as they please -- but no one has a right simply to perform certain vital functions on the neighborhood street of their choice. Our streets are not available for camping, any more than theyre available for taking a crap.

For now, the City should immediately set aside campgrounds for its current nomadic population, appropriately situated in its own (or an industrial) neighborhood, on open land with toilet facilities and trash receptacles, possibly including secure storage as well. So-called activists -- if theyre welcomed -- might best assist in maintaining peace and well-being among the residents, rather than inflicting themselves upon neighborhoods of the housed. (Let them save their ideological ire for the 1%!) More power to them if they can help create a community of "mutual aid" that resembles a Rainbow Gathering, or Yasgur's farm. ;-)

"Safe ground" is a wonderful concept; it should also insure that every existing neighborhood is safe ground" for its housed residents. Therefore, such a policy must correspond to Zero Tolerance for street encampments. Enforcement? Anyone who erects a tent where camping is not explicitly permitted should be warned that he or she has thereby waived any property rights to that tent, or to household belongings deposited on the street -- and that such items are considered to be trash. If need be, signs should be posted around town to that effect: "You abuse it, you lose it."

So much for "whack-a-mole"!

Homeless residents? Wheres THEIR outreach to their neighbors? Homelessness is not a license to pitch camp at whatever spot one decides is convenient, dumping ones belongings on the street of ones choice. Existing residents (those with a residence) are also entitled to a modicum of consideration and respect.

Otherwise, are we ready to demonstrate, for all the world to see, that spreading squalor is Oaklands real "secret sauce"?

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 05/30/2017 at 1:21 PM

Re: “'Homeless Lives Matter Too??': People Sleeping On Oakland's Streets Still Waiting For Government Response To Growing East Bay Crisis

Oakland has a problem with the massive growth of street encampments. This is a land-use issue, and we need to stop conflating it with homelessness. Each of these phenomena needs to be addressed on its own terms.

Solving our housing problems will take time. Shame on those who, meanwhile, exploit unhoused people as a political scourge, sustaining encampments in our neighborhoods (even distributing tents!) as a means of publicizing Oaklands shortage of low-income housing. (Indeed, tighter enforcement of rent control is a no-brainer, as is the dedicating the resources and political will to fight evictions. Problems that involve drug use or mental illness are far more complex, and any solutions are sure to be controversial if the implicit issues can ever be settled, and if truly effective and universally accepted "treatment" even exists)

Acquiring a tent is an act of volition; its not a magical by-product of homelessness. Ive been homeless (twice, each time for about a year), but I never imagined that the streets and sidewalks of my city (or any city) were available to me for storage of household belongings or for pitching a hulking tent. I never considered that an option so I found and developed all sorts of other ways to cope. In at least one case, this even involved going to another city where I had friends whod put me up until I got my life back off the ground.

Criminalizing homelessness? Nowhere else to go? In a city with all sorts of intricate zoning, health and building codes (and where we constantly hear talk about peoples deep roots and pride in their neighborhoods), people may be free to come and go as they please -- but no one has a right simply to perform certain vital functions on the neighborhood street of their choice. Our streets are not available for camping, any more than theyre available for taking a crap.

For now, the City should immediately set aside campgrounds for its current nomadic population, appropriately situated in its own (or an industrial) neighborhood, on open land -- with toilet facilities and trash receptacles, possibly including secure storage as well. So-called activists -- if they're welcomed -- might best assist in maintaining peace and well-being among the residents, rather than inflicting themselves upon neighborhoods of the housed. (Let them save their ideological ire for the 1%!) More power to them if they can help create a community of "mutual aid" that resembles a Rainbow Gathering, or Yasgurs farm. ;-)

"Safe ground" is a wonderful concept; it should also insure that every existing neighborhood is safe ground" for its housed residents. Therefore, such a policy must correspond to Zero Tolerance for street encampments. Enforcement? Anyone who erects a tent where camping is not explicitly permitted should be warned that he or she has thereby waived any property rights to that tent, or to household belongings deposited on the street and that such items are considered to be trash. If need be, signs should be posted around town to that effect: You abuse it, you lose it.

So much for "whack-a-mole"!

Homeless residents? Wheres THEIR outreach to their neighbors? Homelessness is not a license to pitch camp at whatever spot one decides is convenient, dumping ones belongings on the street of ones choice. Existing residents (those with a residence) are also entitled to a modicum of consideration and respect.

Otherwise, are we ready to demonstrate, for all the world to see, that spreading squalor is Oaklands real "secret sauce"?

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 05/30/2017 at 1:19 PM

Re: “'Homeless Lives Matter Too??': People Sleeping On Oakland's Streets Still Waiting For Government Response To Growing East Bay Crisis

Oh, you mean actually ask all the people (renters, artists,event promoters) and corporations to pay TAXES? Is that what you mean, Edward Cervantes? Not JUST the home owners?

And yes, too many of the homeless have been there long term. I know there are more than a few who have been there since I moved to Oakland over 20 years ago. They were there due to mental/emotional issues and are still there for those reasons. Treatment has to be paid for by someone.

Oakland was financially gutted decades ago and is kept that way by a bread and circuses mindset today.

Only by bringing in money can the needed services be paid for. That means being friendly to new development and new businesses; not just supporting what's already here. That is nowhere near enough to reverse the damage and neglect of decades.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 05/29/2017 at 10:41 AM

Re: “'Homeless Lives Matter Too??': People Sleeping On Oakland's Streets Still Waiting For Government Response To Growing East Bay Crisis

Any plan that does not include treatment for mental illness and drug abuse will fail. We have seen plenty of articles by EBX blaming these tent cities on lack of affordable housing, while completly ignoring the elphant in the room.

Posted by Robert Murphy on 05/27/2017 at 9:06 AM

Re: “Oakland Expends Considerable Money and Person-Power Displacing Homeless Residents, According to City Records

In response to Mr. Ferrell's comment: I'd add that people go where they know. Most of the homeless people i know out here in West Oakland were displaced from longtime homes here in West Oakland.

Posted by Edward Cervantes on 05/27/2017 at 5:24 AM

Re: “'Homeless Lives Matter Too??': People Sleeping On Oakland's Streets Still Waiting For Government Response To Growing East Bay Crisis

If its a finance matter, why not ask citizens for money? There are many issues that require more funding, but citizens of any community should feel obligated to ensure all of its members have some basics. If concerned with encampments, and dumping, and blight, and/or the safety and well-being of fellow citizens and would like to contribute toward ending homelessness in our home city, send what you can to Oakland's "Housing 4 All" Fund c/o Libby at City Hall.

Posted by Edward Cervantes on 05/27/2017 at 5:12 AM

Re: “Video: Oakland's Homeless Residents Are Targets of Arson Attacks

...and after the emeryville fire, people immediately suspected "the homeless."

we gotta stop blaming and scapegoating people for their unfortunate circumstances. its not an easy life, why do we insist on making it even more difficult and less likely they'll ever make it out of "homelessness?"

Posted by Edward Cervantes on 05/27/2017 at 5:00 AM

Re: “'Homeless Lives Matter Too??': People Sleeping On Oakland's Streets Still Waiting For Government Response To Growing East Bay Crisis

Its such a Beautiful article...
post by http://www.dnenews.com/

Posted by Daily News By Emma on 05/26/2017 at 12:24 PM

Re: “Oakland Expends Considerable Money and Person-Power Displacing Homeless Residents, According to City Records

Have you ever walked or biked to Montclair? I have. Wanna know why there are no camps there? Try it for yourself. It will become painfully clear why there are no camps.

It's not about there being more enforcement for any reason... It's just too hard to do, so the camps are in the flat lands or West Oakland, deep East Oakland and around the Lake.

It's not a "class" thing, just plain human practicality.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 05/26/2017 at 11:52 AM

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