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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: News

Re: “City of Alameda Votes For Protections Against 'Just Cause' Evictions — But Landlords Threaten Litigation

Of course they'll threaten to litigate. That's their right. And they'll get knocked down.

When it comes to collecting signatures for a ballot measure, they seem to forget the vast majority of residents are in fact renters and exactly the concerns this measure addresses.

Sorry guys, no easy outs. You want to operate a business, then learn how to do so within the law, else you're just another kind of gangster.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 06/07/2017 at 2:22 PM

Re: “Oakland's Only Nigerian Restaurant Was Set to Close, Until Community Rallied Behind Miliki

Congratulations Miliki - your pepe fish head soup - ee de sweet-o! Ben & Sarah

Posted by Ben Wolf 1 on 06/07/2017 at 2:17 PM

Re: “Oakland's Only Nigerian Restaurant Was Set to Close, Until Community Rallied Behind Miliki

Isn't this old news? I had breakfast at Miliki months ago and an employee told me then, that the landlord had told them they could stay.

Posted by Eric Sisneros on 06/07/2017 at 2:16 PM

Re: “Oakland Privacy Committee Urges Police Cut Ties with Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Gee, I'd really hoped that "public safety" had something to do with preventing drive-by shootings, muggings, car jackings and other typical Oakland inconveniences.

Is someone really in charge of "public safety" (whatever that might mean
in Oakland)?

Does Oakland really not have a "public safety" policy which has to do with
the violence and social dysfunction which somehow dominates so much of Oakland?

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 06/06/2017 at 6:23 PM

Re: “After Giving Oakland Schools Measure G1 Money, District Now Taking It Back — Leaving Principals With Yet Another Deficit

G1 funds are not tied to the Spending Limitations Protocol that was imposed in January. The SLP was imposed because of years of fiscal mismanagement under the new LCFF funding system which brought an average of $40 million dollars a year over previous levels for the last 4 years. The plan to distribute 50% of G1 funds during the upcoming school year is illegal. The mandate clearly states that funding should be collected this fiscal year and distributed, after proposals are approved, in 18-19. Once again, the district is treading on thin ice with its decisions and maybe be crossing over into completely disregarding the law. Please write about that!

Posted by Goyim Circus on 06/06/2017 at 2:35 PM

Re: “Berkeley Looks to Tackle Gender Wage Gap, End Pay Discrimination Against Women

Please be very careful with these statistics. The article says "African-American women are paid 63 cents..." Did you make sure to compare African-American women in the same jobs with the same training and experience as white or asian woman, or versus black men and white men? The devil is in the details for these comparisons.

I believe much of the pay difference between men and women comes from occupation choices, experience, and training. It was good to see the article point out the minimal pay gap for nurses, professors, and teachers. If occupation and education are the dominant factors, regulations to limit salary visibility will do little to reduce the aggregate (all men vs. all women) pay gap.

Posted by Pete Smoot on 06/05/2017 at 9:37 PM

Re: “DA Files Charges In Ghost Ship Fire, Master Tenant Derick Almena And His No. 2 Max Harris Each Face 39 Years

Actually, mayor Schaaf, slumlords get away with murder in Oakland. Your remark attempts to wave away the fact that the City refused to act on clear information presented to its officials again and again.

Posted by Charlie Pine on 06/05/2017 at 6:06 PM

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

hi my name is Sarah Menefee and i'm the homeless pages editor for the national independent monthly newspaper The People's Tribine [peoplestribune.org]. I would like to seek permission to use the photograph by Nick Miller showing the bulldozer crushing the encampment. I'm not sure how else to contact the photographer besides this. If somebody could send me better contact information that would be wonderful, to talk about permission and terms.

Posted by Sarah Menefee on 06/05/2017 at 1:04 PM

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

As I said before, HARM reduction is simply a variant on the mantra from the loan officers of the financial crash, IBG-UBG (I be gone, you be gone), AKA kick it down the road for someone else to deal with.

Real adult.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 06/03/2017 at 12:24 PM

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

"Grownups have to make life happen even when wishes don't come true."

Precisely! That's what makes harm reduction the adult approach!

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 06/03/2017 at 11:46 AM

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

Mr Halberstadt, we then share similar backgrounds.

As a born and bred East Bay native, I've seen what NIMBY brings, "get it out of my face" does and HARM reduction's only result is all too often to stop short of real solutions, leaving the wound to continue to fester.

I prefer real solutions. References to fantasy accounts are at best "feel good" substitutes. Why not say instead to pray the problems away? Bah!

Those band-aids all can make breathing room possible, but that room HAS to be used, not become "out of sight, out of mind, it's not a problem". This last has been the history and there is no reason not to believe, the fact going forward.

And this is where you and I fundamentally differ... What is vs what I think it should be.

As I said before Unicorns, Elves, Fairies and money trees are wonderful... For children.

Grownups have to make life happen even when wishes don't come true.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 06/03/2017 at 9:25 AM

Re: “Oakland Privacy Committee Urges Police Cut Ties with Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Is the Chief of Police, Anne Kirkpatrick, a direct report to Tim Birch, an "analyst"? I find information on him elsewhere that calls him "Police Services Manager". Accurate? If so, why was he answering questions about agreements signed by the former C.O.P. and making apologies vs the Chief? Why was he even present?

The reason I checked is because I saw other articles on EBX regarding Mr Birch as an IT specialist dealing with communications technology. In that role, he has NO role in police policy so it struck me odd he was responding to policy questions for this commission.

I was under the impression the C.O.P. reported to at a minimum to the city manager, if not the mayor.

Was this "theater" so the commission could say it held a hearing... Withoutthe public realizing it meaningless? Or is this commission so clueless they had no idea he had nothing to do with these policies, if which case the question rises, should these individuals even be at the table? Which Tammany Hall rats appointed them?

And why do I have to ask these questions vs the "award winning" EBX reporters who don't seem to fact check ANYTHING!

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 06/03/2017 at 8:13 AM

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

Mr. Ferrell, I have my own experience (with homelessness and substance use); I've left both behind, and I still have a life (one not mired in "recovery") -- no thanks to the practitioners (and often cult-like programs) you celebrate, however well-intentioned they may be. (For an alternate perspective, please read [or view] "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" or "A Scanner Darkly.")

In any event, as I've already noted, any purported solution (regarding mental illness and substance use) is sure to be controversial -- if the implicit issues can ever be settled, and if truly effective and universally accepted 'treatment' even exists.

That's all beside the point, however.

We face an immediate crisis -- specifically involving the street encampments that have recently been mushrooming in our neighborhoods, and the catastrophic depletion and displacement of low-income (and specifically SRO) housing. This is new -- and it's the situation we immediately need to address.

As you yourself acknowledge, at best "some have to work at recovery for years to achieve basic stability." What are we supposed to do in the meantime -- even assuming such an approach is destined ever to have widespread success? Given the urgency of the current situation, let's address the encampments as such, and ameliorate the shortage (and loss) of low-income housing as fully and quickly as is competently possible.

Ironically, we agree on much regarding the political situation that's exacerbated the current problem, and that's kept us from addressing the crisis we face. Unfortunately, the perspective you promote is yet another part of the problem -- contributing to the current self-seeking and paralysis -- rather than a solution.

In that context, everything I've written and proposed here falls clearly and straightforwardly under the rubric of harm reduction -- of addressing the crisis at hand. That's where we need to start.

We may need to focus on the hardest cases later -- if, indeed, they're truly amenable to "professional" interventions, or prove to have any viable solution at all.

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 06/02/2017 at 11:22 PM

Re: “Oakland Privacy Committee Urges Police Cut Ties with Immigration and Customs Enforcement

It's a good thing our Federal Government isn't this inept. Oh. Wait.

Posted by JP Massar on 06/02/2017 at 7:52 PM

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

charlie pine thinks this article is about his suspicion and undocumented claim that 'homeless residents engage in arson attacks, too'

in fact, charlie, this article is about the known fact (not your speculation) that homeless residents HAVE BEEN TARGETED BY ARSON

if you have proof that someone has started a fire, maybe you should provide that . otherwise, keep your speculation to yourself

Posted by demotro polis on 06/02/2017 at 3:45 PM

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

robert hope is clearly clueless about poverty . of course houseless people are houseless because they don't have money for rent, and because oakland allows greedy landlords to push people out so they can increase rents for outsiders to replace local residents . pay attention : many people are houseless as a direct result of illegal foreclosures or what should be illegal rent spikes

meanwhile, someone step up to represent this man . he should be able to afford to buy a house with a fraction of the cash he should collect from this incident . if we, the people, can't control our city government and workers, we, the people will have our taxes used for payouts in lawsuits and 'settlements' for situations like this along with rapist and otherwise abusive and murderous police

Posted by demotro polis on 06/02/2017 at 3:28 PM

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

Nanci, I pay for my garbage to be removed so there's an expectation that it will be done.

Are these people paying to have their garbage removed? Shake your head no. You, I, and the rest of the city are paying for their garbage to be removed.

Posted by Robert Hope on 06/02/2017 at 2:16 PM

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

Obviously Mr Halberstadt, you have no clue about what is needed for substance dependency problems. I'd respectfully like to suggest that you leave your do-gooding in that realm to those with experience. Else what happens become at best ineffective or as I mentioned previously (and you eluded to) a scam sucking desperately needed help away, often facilitated by self serving politicians operating their own version of Tammany Hall.

While the paid recovery industry sometimes suggests 12-step self-help (free meetings), many use those free meetings, and other forms of free resource all by themselves without ever touching the paid side of that world. Yes, some have to work at recovery for years to achieve basic stability... It's the nature of the beast.

I don't think anyone would even begin to suggest the problems of substance use and abuse aren't complex and highly individual and as such not really amenable to a simplistic solutions.

The cries about "coercive intervention!" were first heard in California long ago under Reagan (then governor) resulting in people being tossed into unfunded, non-existent community facilities... In effect, homeless into the streets. The genesis of the visible homeless crisis.

What we see now in the existing camps, isn't organized community and it's fairly obvious never will be. Nor will a semi-permanent campgrounds be.

The problems of "affordable housing" are almost equally difficult. It takes money to buy land and materials and pay laborers to build housing at any level of value. Oakland, as a community, has not enough... As a community, does almost nothing to encourage that money be invested here... When existing businesses here can almost guarantee they WILL be the target of expensive reconstruction and repairs when crypto-anarchists take to the streets smashing and defacing them... When new construction is destroyed by arson, not once but twice in less than a year. When community "activists"
obstruct new construction, not because no set aside for affordable housing isn't made, but because what is set aside isn't "premium".

Which brings us right back to a community that tolerates these behaviors, that re-elects pocket dictators over and over, that "doesn't snitch" and want's instant solutions for long festering problems, throwing out anyone who doesn't kowtow their demands.

While it may feel good to immediately provide for physical needs, without a long term recovery plans, all that happens it to open a deep hole in which to endlessly pour resources making it more difficult to provide any the of services needed.

When we say "Fire the bureaucrats and social workers" we eliminate the on-the-firing-line people needed to do the hard work. Change doesn't "just happen" people paying their bills, working and living their lives do that hard work.

If people can't do those things, the work doesn't happen and change never happens. For people to do those things, they need to be paid.

We can demand unicorns, elves, fairies and money trees, but those aren't real. Quasi-libertarian suggestions are just another form bullying too.

Now, instead of bitching about how little we allocate for these problems, can someone show me where what money we have comes from and, maybe, suggest new sources?

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 06/02/2017 at 8:51 AM

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

What sort of "treatment" are you talking about, Mr. Ferrell? Institutionalization? The endless merry-go-round of 12-step meetings touted by the "recovery" industry? As I already wrote, "Problems that involve drug use or mental illness are 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."

Meanwhile, we face two immediate crises: the metastasizing spread of tent encampments throughout Oakland (especially in the flats), and the depletion of low-income housing. While these issues reflect urgent physical needs, we're misdirecting attention and diverting scarce resources to dubious (and potentially coercive) interventions in "homeless lives."

We need to approach these two crises with respect for those affected, rather than viewing them as helpless victims in need of dubious (and expensive) "services," or as pawns in a political game. A dedicated campground isn't a ghetto; it's a campground: a place for someone who's acquired a tent to pitch camp until he or she either commits to a nomadic existence (in whatever locale seems most suitable and hospitable), or sets his/her sights on another way of life. At least it's an alternative to "criminalization."

As for "teaching them to fish"? These days, those who'd "teach them to fish" would typically charge a licensing fee for the gear, and demand a royalty on every fish they caught (which would, in turn, fund the training and salaries of new "teachers"). Instead, how's about giving them a rod and reel; ingenuity (and talking to others on the pier [i.e., seeking out wisdom and making connections]) should take care of the rest.

This ain't rocket science! Fire the bureaucrats and social workers, and provide for real, physical needs.

We need to develop housing for THOUSANDS of people (and set aside a place where they can camp out in the meantime, especially those who've burned all their bridges to friends who might otherwise help). Instead, we inflict encampments on neighborhoods of the housed while we build a "navigation center" designed to "connect them with services" -- but that can actually house only 150!

150? That would be a joke, if it weren't such a scandal. That's where we end up when, instead of focusing on immediate, practical problems -- the actual crisis that we face -- we become mired in trying to reshape other people's lives.

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 06/01/2017 at 11:57 PM

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

Thank you for writing this, Nick. It's clear to me that the City of Oakland is not doing it's due diligence to take care of its citizens, and in this case was egregious in their misconduct. It's clear that a tent with a person and their belongings inside isn't garbage.

What I have seen is that most encampment residents work hard to out all the garbage in one place, and that the city has not been collecting garbage from the camps. Imagine if the city didn't pick up your household waste for weeks...it's an unimaginable nightmare that the city has seen before during strikes.

Get it together, Oakland. Treat residents kindly and fairly and utilize the city services to help rather than harm.

Posted by Nanci Armstrong-Temple on 06/01/2017 at 10:47 PM

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