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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: News

Re: “How Serious is the Wild Fire Threat in the Oakland Hills?

Why is no one talking about the epic failure of CalTrans to maintain vegetation along our freeways. We've already had a fire closing Hwy 13 and the excuse from CalTrans that they are "down one maintenance crew"...is not good enough to excuse them from responsibility. Signage is not even visible because everything's so overgrown. New landscaping is installed and promptly neglected by CalTrans. C'mon Sacramento...get down here and clean up!

Posted by S. Taylor on 06/23/2017 at 5:58 PM

Re: “How Serious is the Wild Fire Threat in the Oakland Hills?

What seems obvious is that we have two sides to a public safety issue. The problem is that both sides are wrong. The City has not had any competent leadership in the Fire department for a decade or more. As a result, the staff is poorly trained and there is no long term focus or establishment of priorities from the top in how the work is accomplished. Most firefighters see their jobs as fighting fires and EMT work. The ancillary duties that require additional technical training, like hazardous waste control, plan check, building and hillside fire inspections are viewed as nuisance duties, instead of a part of the core mission. The history and lack of performance in these areas have demonstrated that to be true. At the same time. for the people who live in high fire hazard areas like Ms Piper to think that they should be given the same level of protection as the people who live in the developed city is unreasonable. People who love the wild land ambiance and expensive views from the Oakland hills have to realize that there is a risk associated with their choice of neighborhoods. Most of the streets and lots in the north hills were mapped almost two centuries ago. The streets are not and never will be adequate to safely accommodate the level of growth that has occurred. The homeowners choose to take on that risk by the choices they make. It is like people who live in the hills of Lake Tahoe complaining that the bears are a nuisance. It is not the bears that are the problem. With that being said, somewhere in the middle is where both sides need to be. The City needs to do a better job in their mission and the neighbors need to take personal responsibility for creating defensible spaces around their homes whether the city inspects the neighborhood or not. If these folks want extra attention because of their own choices not to live where fire service is readily available, they need to pay for it.

Posted by Gary Patton on 06/23/2017 at 1:42 PM

Re: “Living Downstairs, or Lying?: Advocates Say Oakland Landlords Pretending to Reside in Apartments so as to Evict Tenants

Ilona Nesmith Clark... dial back your snark: no one should have to live with mold at ANY cost - and that is health code ... that is a health hazard and they have every right to raise that issue and get action on it. 2ndly, the property taxes are kept in check by Prop 13 controls, so that bit of snark is inaccurate. 3rdly, he is complaining that the landlord is jacking up rent on a rent-controlled unit by nearly 300% by faking residency in order to circumvent the law.... this is yet another sleazy cheapass slumlord driven by greed.

Actually, when adhered to, Oakland has excellent rent control and just-cause eviction laws.

Greed is a powerful form of evil and once people are infected with it they just want all they can get, at whatever human cost. This is an example of another sick, greedy landlord exploiting a vulnerable family. I am sick of these **********ers. It was a landlord like this who owned the Ghostship warehouse and was just as glad to look the other way; or another who owned that disgusting sro on San Pablo that recently caught fire. Shallow greedy people.

Where are people who do labor like this supposed to live, in your fantasy of what is just and right?

Posted by Lynn Rogers on 06/23/2017 at 11:45 AM

Re: “Oakland Police Commanders Who Buried Sex-Crime Scandal Investigation Were Later Promoted

Yes, the entire thing is a total cesspool of corruption that has clearly been going on for a VERY long time, but what truly amazes me is that no one seems to have noticed, or at least have chosen to not mention, is the under aged womans connection to an OPD employee... In and of itself a possible trigger for an unlawful cover up. ALL of the implications of that connection, and not just the more obvious salacious ones that have attracted the most attention need investigation as well.

While evidence may have been deleted from her phone, no one made an attempt top obtain a subpena to retrieve it from the cellular carrier? And the monitor was completely unaware of the well covered issues of case until March 2016?! Was this individual in a cave?

I can't imagine there is anyone (let alone a city politician) who would not be overwhelmed and distracted by not just this the mess, but the entire wild west environment of Oakland.


Again, while wagging fingers may be satisfying for the moralists, specific direction is more useful for correcting the situation... Which they seem to have gotten.

Suggestions that multiple investigations might not have presented a hazard to ongoing criminal investigations seem to be naive at best, and given the authors past reporting on the subject, disingenuous.

Better written, but still shallow and biased.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 06/22/2017 at 10:10 PM

Re: “Living Downstairs, or Lying?: Advocates Say Oakland Landlords Pretending to Reside in Apartments so as to Evict Tenants

So they live in this apartment for 7 years on $1100 a month and they think they've been mis-treated? I would like to meet the landlord who can afford expensive repairs for mold and down-spouts on so little income and still pay property taxes and all the other fees, oh and lets not forget the fee to the rent board which more than DOUBLED this year!
It is sad that people are getting priced out of their homes but rents are not the only thing going up and up. Housing is really expensive and no laws or "protections" change that fact. Sooner or later, someone has to pay up.

Posted by Ilona Nesmith Clark on 06/22/2017 at 9:11 PM

Re: “Protests, Arrests After Berkeley Approves Contentious Urban Shield Program

The political forces that you would like to know more about are not involved with traditional politics. You won't see them on TV and their faces will never be shown in the media. Neither will you hear of them on a radio interview, or a talk show for that matter. You wont find them serving the community, nor will you find them on any ballet. And even though they have managed to collect the most root of all evil (Money) still you won't see them on the top 10 richest list. That said, why is it that with the latest worlds top 10 richest list coming out we see Bill Gates as #1 with 88 billion, yet the Rothschild's have accounted for some 350 billion, and the Rockefeller's amassed some 340 Billion? The system is such that people this rich actually have indirect control down to as low as the community level. And their system is so brilliant that it could not have been created by humans alone. Im afraid these people have what has been traditionally referred to as the Devil, on their side. That's not to say that they are unbeatable though. : )

Posted by caliwebman on 06/22/2017 at 6:45 PM

Re: “Oakland Metro Operahouse Claims Harassment by a Neighbor, Who Says the Music Venue is Breaking the Law

DIVERSITY means people with different points of view, backgrounds, lives etc. Unfortunately, as evident in Nat's comment, in Oakland it seems to means be like me, act like me, do what I do or shut heck up hater. Sucks so many people look at this situation as good vs evil instead of that everyone is living in the grey area and needs to work this out. I love the Metro, but they're in the wrong, too.

Posted by Matt_Chambers on 06/22/2017 at 4:31 PM

Re: “Oakland Metro Operahouse Claims Harassment by a Neighbor, Who Says the Music Venue is Breaking the Law

Dear Mark Kraft: you obviously don't know very much about code compliance. A cabaret license is the exact license nightclubs are required to get.

Posted by Sarah Lockhart on 06/22/2017 at 1:12 PM

Re: “Oakland Police Commanders Who Buried Sex-Crime Scandal Investigation Were Later Promoted

I'm convinced that OPD's 'Deep State' is simply waiting out Judge Henderson, who is 83 years old. His death or retirement will mark the end of the Department's wheel-spinning efforts to 'look busy', after which they will return to their normal state of being corrupt as f**k and proud of it.

Posted by John Seal on 06/22/2017 at 12:51 PM

Re: “Oakland Metro Operahouse Claims Harassment by a Neighbor, Who Says the Music Venue is Breaking the Law

Shame on that Xavier guy as well, an absolute traitor and sell-out of the highest caliber. How can you be surprised that your scene friends have ostracized you when you've betrayed them in the most literal way possible? Shame that the charlatan Paley and his dirty money have corrupted another former member of Oakland's REAL creative community.

Posted by Max Chanowitz on 06/22/2017 at 11:57 AM

Re: “Oakland Metro Operahouse Claims Harassment by a Neighbor, Who Says the Music Venue is Breaking the Law

Brad Paley: yet another douchey money mogul with an over-inflated ego that thinks he can buy his way to "cool", and deserves to steamroll over any of the pesky Little People that get in the way of his Genius Vision. How many of these insufferable guys are there in the Bay Area, trying to ruin the fun for the rest of us? It never ends!

His vision for those knockoff TED talk "lecture parties" sound like a smug nightmare, I can only imagine how arrogant and self-congratulatory the crowd there might be! Paley, my boy, don't you know there's already a great venue for rich, pompous, self-described "Intellectuals" to jerk each other off over how Smart and Important they are? It's called San Francisco! Kindly fuck off to the other side of the Bay and leave our Metro alone.

Posted by Max Chanowitz on 06/22/2017 at 11:47 AM

Re: “Oakland Metro Operahouse Claims Harassment by a Neighbor, Who Says the Music Venue is Breaking the Law

Does anyone know why The Metro left their old 3rd street space? Was it rent? Seems like the isolation of the old space was a bit better to me. And just to put it out there, it really broke my heart when the metro blacked out the ricky henderson mural. That mural meant so much to so many people and was the only mural on 3rd street. Nevertheless, i hope the metro remains open, for the sake of oakland punk/metal community.

Posted by Adan Ortega on 06/22/2017 at 10:17 AM

Re: “Protests, Arrests After Berkeley Approves Contentious Urban Shield Program

What this Council meeting demonstrated beyond all doubt was that public comments at Berkeley City Council meetings are merely a form of false empowerment. Council members pretend to listen, or listen for comments supporting their positions, but comments against their predetermined positions are totally ignored. This meeting had 400+ people showing up and nearly all were against the militarization of police. In the 3-4 hours of public comment, only two people voiced support for police militarization. As with the previous Bates Council, the fix was in, the vote predetermined. Berkeley public meetings are a farce. It will take a major effort on the Council's part regain the public trust and demonstrate they are actually a representative body who listens.

I'd like to know more about the political forces that determine how the Council arrives at their predetermined votes. Who are the lobbyists who have the Council's ears? Are Council members so dependent on staff bureaucracy that staff can dictate how to vote? Or are there political groups whose influence the Council fears more than the voting public. In this most recent case it seems clear that Council members that voted for police militarization do not have the courage to stand up to the police prison industrial complex. One of the primary lobbying groups for this growth industry is the Police Officers Association (POA). One question to ask our Council members is how much are they influenced by fear of POA money and influence. What political calculation are they making?

Police lobbying groups have far too much influence on government. (https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/the-per…) They promote a culture of police secrecy and impunity, rallying to protect officers in scandal after scandal. A representative scandal is the recent sex crime scandal in Oakland. (https://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/oak…) If we are ever to reform our police and create less repressive community policing that is answerable to the public, we must deal with this lobbying force. This lobbying is driven by investor interest in growing the police-prison industrial complex. That complex now imprisons citizens at more than 5 times the rate of the rest of the world. (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/23/world/am…) Perhaps it is time to take a look at police lobbyists and who funds them.

Posted by James McFadden on 06/22/2017 at 9:56 AM

Re: “Oakland Police Commanders Who Buried Sex-Crime Scandal Investigation Were Later Promoted

Well, look on the bright side. Our new Department of Violence Prevention is going to hire a few new overpaid city employees who will propose a range of feel-good projects that will need still more funding. Then all of them will be ineffective against such a profoundly corrupt police and city leadership. Oh, did I say bright side? Oakland is deader and less hopeful than ever.

Posted by Mike Elwin on 06/22/2017 at 9:39 AM

Re: “Oakland City Council Passes Divisive Proposal to Establish Violence Prevention Department

It seems to me that the sharks in the city's political machines are frantic to grab the increased city budget made possible by our real estate boom. A project like this useless department will produce a number of high-paying jobs with ridiculous expenses for things like crime-fighting conferences in Tahiti. Oakland has become more shameful than ever.

Posted by Mike Elwin on 06/22/2017 at 9:23 AM

Re: “Oakland City Council Passes Divisive Proposal to Establish Violence Prevention Department

Mr. Montague is clearly unaware of the massive reduction in violence in Richmond achieved over a five year period from 2005 to 2010 that they accomplished by NOT utilizing any of his recommendations.

Posted by j! on 06/22/2017 at 8:37 AM

Re: “Oakland Police Commanders Who Buried Sex-Crime Scandal Investigation Were Later Promoted

No surprise here. Mayor Schaaf and the City Administrator are on many levels over their heads in leading this city. It was obvious that Schaaf was more focused on the photo op of feigned outrage at the cops boys club out of control than she was about actually finding out what happened. When the warehouse fire came along, it was easy to pivot her attention because that was the story on the front pages. Her inexperience was evident because she did not understand that when you are at the top of the food chain as Mayor, you have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. The City Administrator has yet to demonstrate anything other than her ability to walk in a straight line behind Schaaf to the podium at news conferences. Even after this case, the ghost ship fire, the other warehouse fire on San Pablo and chaos in leadership in the Fire dept, Landreth's silence is deafening. Now there is a new Police Chief and so far she has shown the public absolutely nothing to demonstrate her competence or leadership. It looks like leadership in City Hall is now a girls club, which would be fine if they were qualified and competent. That does not seem to be the case.

Posted by Gary Patton on 06/22/2017 at 8:34 AM

Re: “Oakland Metro Operahouse Claims Harassment by a Neighbor, Who Says the Music Venue is Breaking the Law

When will these bozos get it? This is a city of Diversity! This is Oakland. This is us. The kids that longed to see other people express themselves in a no holds barred kind of way. The sounds, the excitement of being around the music and people that are deemed as different or dark or whatever:) For years people have traveled here hoping to see it all! Growing up in any small town in the us or elsewhere Oakland has long been a haven for artists, musicians, poets, light teachers, freak lovers of life and so on. There will always be an opposition to this in mainstream society. Always. There will always be some shady little creep with an overinflated sense of ego and a little money in the bank that owns a building or two that's very jealous he's not getting all the attention. Who goes out of his way to try and take culture away from kids and there community like that? A very unsavory individual that's who. Seems he likes to throw parties too so he's a bit "social" himself. This Paley guy is pretty much making a very big mistake by being so indecent and ridiculous as to putting the community at risk of losing a very much needed music venue. There's been countless times where some prick comes along buys up a whole block and poof done deal. This poor excuse thinks by hiring old school punk dudes that will give him credibility as well. That's pretty standard I suppose. But as a former artist and patron himself, to go out of your way, for a paycheck, to get rid of what and who you once were is the absolute bottom. It's everything that's wrong with the Bay Area now. And it's enough. I hate to say it, but Khama is very real. You have to put out what you want that's all real and good and that will come back to you! It's not coincidence when someone loses everything because they fought so hard to wrongfully take from others. Adolf Hitler comes to mind. And a few others as well. These types don't have a place in society so they buy one. But that doesn't ensure yourself a place forever. I think our actions as people show who we are and what we are about as an individual. And I hope that like other venues that have had these kinds of run ins, the venue holds some benefit shows to help raise funds for there situation. It might be a good idea to look for a space that's a little more secluded as well to protect your rights. Because as a venue they do have the right to not be constantly under scrutiny and the watchful eye of this mental dude Paley. He's grown himself a very unhealthy obsession with destroying something he's obviously jealous of and has no qualms about digging in his cookie jar whenever he gets that neurotic curiosity pang to interrupt as he finds necessary. This venue needs immediate protection and I hope all the patrons realize they should be more thoughtful and not provoke the other neighbors so as they don't also follow suit. I think we can agree that a good place near the waterfront is great place to have a music venue. In all city's in California north and south we have grown up frequenting music venues, variety shows, comedy clubs, and other establishments as well. As a free society we work or maybe not:) We and our children go to these places to release energy and hit our reset button. And to just exist outside the norm. To socialize and flirt maybe giggle a bit and throw on some outrageous outfit! How on earth could we be slaves all week and not have a place to go and relax. And float around. And twirl in the moonlight afterwards hoping you meet the singer for Black Flag or meet a new friend to play music with perhaps. People don't try to come here because they give one rats shit about some prick with a bank accounts petty behavior, but to enjoy! You can't take enjoyment away from a very free thinking and strong minded group that's when the real problems begin. Cheers!

Posted by Nat J Caudillo on 06/22/2017 at 8:02 AM

Re: “Oakland Metro Operahouse Claims Harassment by a Neighbor, Who Says the Music Venue is Breaking the Law

Also, yeah... Ben Delaney is an assh*le.

"Frankly, hes a carpetbagger...", he says of Professor Paley, who went to Berkeley in the '70s, got his start around here as a digital artist before working on visualization, interface, and design, who lived in the East Bay most of his life, owns a house in the East Bay, and is a distinguished artist and professor, who has had his digital art featured in MOMA and at The Whitney...

No, seriously. F*CK BEN DELANEY. And screw Sam Lefebvre for this seriously unbalanced POS article, written to please one of the East Bay Express' major advertisers.

Posted by Mark Kraft on 06/22/2017 at 7:56 AM

Re: “Oakland Metro Operahouse Claims Harassment by a Neighbor, Who Says the Music Venue is Breaking the Law

As someone with some knowledge of code compliance, it seems pretty obvious here that The Metro tried to pull a fast one by getting a cabaret business license rather than a nightclub business license, in order to get around a whole host of expensive requirements having a nightclub, a liquor license, complying with fire and noise abatement requirements, etc.

... and now they are paying for it. Not particularly sympathetic.

Posted by Mark Kraft on 06/22/2017 at 7:45 AM

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