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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Election 2012

Re: “Mercury Rising, Again

Prop 33 only eliminates the penalty for changing insurance providers. Arguments against this proposition mainly argue that it will create a surcharge penalty for first time and non-continuous customers. What they ignore is the fact that there is already a surcharge penalty for new and non-continuous users – so that is not going to change. It only eliminates it being imposed when you transfer continuous coverage from one provider to another, which is now used to discourage customers from switching insurance companies.

There is a similar and more severe surcharge penalty on home insurance policies – sometimes amounting to as much as 100 % increase penalty for new and non-continuous customers and even worse, some insurance companies won’t even sell a policy to new or non-continuous users at all.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by j messina on 10/27/2012 at 8:05 AM

Re: “Redefining Sex Work

I agree that in order to stop sex trafficking and abuse legalizing sex work is a necessarily step that includes requiring all workers to be licensed. I think they have something similar in Las Vegas, but the model I would implement would be comprehensive and require rigorous enforcement on all levels. To receive your license you have to meet certain requirements like a physical examination ( non- exclusionary, but needed for transparency in regards to STI's), proof of age ( 18 and older), and successful completion of a sex worker education course ( which would teach safe sex practices as well as other information necessary for the safety of customers and workers). However, to say that legalization is going to stop the sexual exploitation of children would be fallacious. Legalization needs to be coupled with laws like the one proposed by proposition 35 to protect children from exploitation, and save others financial standing. We must analyze this proposition according to the cost and benefits it may provide. The proposition is advocating that the definition of sex trafficking be expanded, and the punishments imposed made harsher. The problems in the status quo that this policy wishes to remedy is sex trafficking and exploitation, which we are not able to solve because there are loop holes in our laws that violators take advantage of. In order to solve the problem above we need to close loopholes, and make it less desirable for people to commit theses crimes. The plan would be to expand certain definitions to reduce loop holes, and make the punishments harsher to serve as a deterrent. It is proven that harsh punishments deter crime, furthermore the offenders that manipulate definitions to avoid punishment would not be able to do so any more and would be put in jail. if these offenders area off the streets the people they exploit are free from their abuse. This achieves solvency for the problem of sex trafficking.

Opposing arguments are that this law has the potential to harm sex workers that, although they are breaking the law in all states other than nevada by soliciting sex, are not being forced to do so against their will. The problems that they state the proposition will cause would be wrongfully registering sex workers as sex offenders and longer sentences. The broad definitions in this law could make it possible for a consensual act of sexual solicitation to be manipulated into sex trafficking. The disadvantages are the further criminalization of sex workers.

If we look at the benefits of proposition 35 we have,
1. Prosecution of sex offenders
2. Reduction in the number of exploited children
3. Reduction in the number of exploited adults
4. Less offenders because of harsh punishment
5. Gaining the ability to track offender via sex registry

The Cost
1. Exaggeration of criminal offenses
2. Unwarranted registration as sex offender
3. Further criminalization of sex workers
4. Economic losses

My Judgement based on the above analysis is that since prostitution is currently illegal( and smoking joints) any consensual agreement made by educated adults to break the law, is made with the consequences in mind. What should be advocated is making prostitution or whatever you want to call it legal. As a former sex worker who went from being forced into sex work to independently pursuing sex work because I was broke. I would gladly put my financial gain aside it would prevent one child from being forced into sex work and experiencing that psychological trauma. I look back upon my experience and I realize that after I was forced into sex work there was no point to objecting to it as a source of income. So although yes I have posted on red tube as an escort with out being coerced , and sometimes the sex is enjoyable, If I hadn't been forced to do it initially it would never have been an option for me. So of the women who currently have taken this path how many do it for pure pleasure, and how many as a result of some psychological trauma, and of those with trauma how many would have chosen that path minus the trauma. I am all for sexual empowerment and I believe people should have the freedom to do what they want as long as it doesnt harm other people, unfortunately people are being harmed and ultimately the cost of this proposition can be remedied by making the choice not to break the law or go where sex works is legal. Keep in mind that most people who break the law have a good reason.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Lady Informed on 10/26/2012 at 9:31 PM

Re: “The Richmond Soda War

As for Dr. Ritterman’s contention that the cigarette tax is an example of his sugar drink tax working it is pure nonsense. Dr. Ritterman likes to suggest that his Measure N, a tax on sugar drinks, is comparable to taxes on cigarettes in reducing use. The only thing comparable about the two taxes is that they are both regressive taxes. The three main actions that resulted in the reduction of smoking in America are as follows: 1. prohibiting of smoking in public spaces which includes work sites, 2. Prohibition of advertising on radio and television, 3. The US Surgeon General’s report directly linking smoking with lung cancer. The cigarette taxes are earmarked for anti-smoking education and are extremely high in order to discourage teenagers from starting to smoke. Furthermore, the people who continue to smoke are, for the most part, from the lower economic bracket of the population. To insist the proposed sugar drink tax is comparable to the cigarette tax is misinformed at best or deliberately misleading at worse.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Charles T. Smith on 10/26/2012 at 9:29 PM

Re: “The Richmond Soda War

The logic of the previous post is tortured.

"The abuse of sugar drinks is a symptom, not the cause of these health issues...."

No. The abuse of sweetened drinks is a CAUSE of obesity and diabetes. The biggest single cause, in fact.

Once can debate all day about the socioeconomic or biological issues that cause people to consume these drinks, but there is nothing on the ballot to address that. Certainly people who are down about their work prospects aren't going to make that better by becoming obese.

We've taxed the heck out of tobacco and fewer people are smoking as a result. Sounds like a good model for sugary drinks.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Richard Kleinman on 10/26/2012 at 5:15 PM

Re: “Mary Hayashi Might Win

Earlier in the election process I saw posts where a very few individuals were complaining about the total lack of criticism of Hayashi's crime by Alameda Democratic Party insiders.
Then the "insiders" came back and told the posters that they were rank amateurs and to let those with experience handle Mary Hayashi.

Now we see that those with experience seem to have ZERO imagination and may end up being resposible for allowing Mary Hayashi to sneak back into office.
Then just you watch. They'll all be telling Mary they never said anything bad about her. It may be that was their thinking all along, that Mary might win, so lets cover our rear ends and say nothing bad.

However you look at it, the entire Alameda County Democratic Party is responsible for this potential debacle. You plain and simple "wimped out" being totally unwilling to condemn Mary's crime when it happened or the absurd excuses that followed.
Who can forget the "brain tumor"..

Hopefully enough voters have good memories, but none of that will be due to anything that the "professional insiders" have brought to this election.
They have turned out to be the most insular and inept bunch of folks seen in many years.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Dan de'Data on 10/26/2012 at 1:45 PM

Re: “Larry Reid Touts Police, Again

I hope this article proves to be a wake up call to the voters in District 7. Public safety should be about more than partisan finger pointing and the same old platitudes being offered to the victims of crime. If we want a change, then we should vote for a change.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Allene Warren on 10/26/2012 at 11:52 AM

Re: “Mary Hayashi Might Win

I can only add to what Tony Santos said: do we want a criminal to represent us?
It's a tragedy that she has got this far, and reflects badly upon all who could have called her out, but didn't...

Posted by Bruce Lilley on 10/26/2012 at 10:22 AM

Re: “School Closures Drive Oakland School Board Races

I'm very disappointed by this one-sided reporting from Mr. Gammon. The article assumes--without any analysis or actual numbers--that school closures are common sense and paints those who oppose them as misguided, idealistic neophytes. Had Mr. Gammon done his homework like Katy Murphy of the Oakland Tribune, he would know that closing Lazear Elementary and reopening it as a charter actually cost the district millions of dollars. ("According to a fiscal analysis by district staff, approving the charter would cost OUSD $1.4 million" -- see…;). We need experienced, thoughtful school board members who will analyze the fiscal and educational rationale behind each decision, instead of accepting without question the wisdom of Superintendent Smith's recommendations as Mr. Gammon appears to do.

10 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Daniel Morris on 10/25/2012 at 8:21 PM

Re: “The Richmond Soda War

"A generation ago, Sir Michael Marmot and colleagues [Whitehall Study] showed convincingly that social class was a far more important determinant of health outcome than cholesterol level, blood pressure, diet, and smoking behavior combined. The message was clear. The social environment is the major determinant of health outcome."
Dr. Jeff Ritterman, 3-28-2011

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Charles T. Smith on 10/25/2012 at 5:42 PM

Re: “Parker Versus Brunner

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Editor on 10/25/2012 at 4:22 PM

Re: “Larry Reid Touts Police, Again

I distinctly recall one Oakland City Council Meeting this summer when the Bus Rapid Transit was being discussed and Larry Reid admitted that he would never ride the bus on International Blvd. because he thought it wasn't safe. What does that say to the rest of us who have to ride the bus on International Blvd.? He's supposed to represent his District and doesn't even support using public transit there along a major corridor! What has he done to help make it safer in District 7? Apparently, not much at all.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Kit Vaq on 10/25/2012 at 4:03 PM

Re: “The Richmond Soda War

I think Charles T. Smith is a phony name and a surrogate for the beverage industry.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Jeff Okey on 10/25/2012 at 1:41 PM

Re: “Redefining Sex Work

Had the author of this piece gone to the Redbook site, she would have seen some of those numbers she claims no one knows and she could have made them public. Right now, there are almost 75,000 women in the SF Bay Area advertising on redbook, another 48,000 in Sacramento/Central Valley and about 20,000 in Southern California. That is one site! I would guess that at least 90% of the ads on there were posted voluntarily.

I entered the profession at the age of 49, after 3 years of unemployment, hundreds of resumes sent out and tens of interviews. I don't know what took me so long - this is the best job I have EVER had! I don't consider myself an "escort" or "prostitute". I consider myself to be an independent businesswoman and act appropriately. I do research into what is desired by my target market, track my income to see how it's affected by the weather, time of year/month/day, etc. I have a BS in Business Administration and use my education more in this profession than any other I have had since graduating. What right do the proponents of Prop 35 have to interfere with my employment/income? What right do they have to interfere with ANY activity enjoyed by consenting adults?

The men who chose to engage with underage children are sick. The people who coerce underage girls and boys into the business are sick. Target them - leave the rest of us alone.

6 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Kathi Kuddles on 10/24/2012 at 11:10 PM

Re: “School Closures Drive Oakland School Board Races

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 10/24/2012 at 9:36 PM

Re: “Ignacio De La Fuente's Big Gamble

I'm an Oakland voter and resident for twelve years, and i gotta say I was indifferent to both Kaplan and De La Fuente. However, when i started getting the De La Fuente mailers, and thought why would he have Gov Jerry Brown endorsements in them when Gov. Brown just vetoed three very important bills that would have brought relief and labor protections for hundreds of thousands of Latino workers throughout the state (Farm worker bill asking for shade and water, domestic workers asking for basic rights to cook their own food, have rest breaks, and the Trust act prevent a limited and overburden police departments from doing the job the federal immigration agents due at the local level). Then I thought...I wonder how long De La Fuente how much better his district has fared with him being on the council since 1992. And since I work in the fruitvale I only see more violence, and especially violence targeting Latina immigrants (robbery & rape) especially by the BART station. Then I remembered how it thoroughly shook me when his son got arrested for kidnapping, and serial rape charges including that of an underage girl. Moreover, what was more disturbing was De La Fuente's statement afterward where he questioned his own fathering, instead of taking a firm stance against violence especially against women and girls.....when politically he should have at least done so. I'm a Latina and I worked with both young Latinas and immigrant mothers in the Fruitvale, and I can say in 2012 this population feels more unsafe in his neighborhood than any other in the city. Yes, resources are scarce, but that are always alternatives to organizing against these types of violence.

I grew up in chicago amidst the Gangster Disciple and Latin King territories. As the neice of a Chicago homocide detective, and I have witnessed that what works is collaborations with schools, churches, neighborhood watch groups, after school programs, workforce development programs work, not more policing. Especially, within the Latino community, one that already is suspect of the police who pull them over, and make a business out of taking custody of their cars (for not having valid drivers licenses because of their lack of immigration status). I'm not a big Kaplan fan, but at least she isn't promoting things she can't deliver like Mr. De La Fuente has for two decades been in the City Councel.

Claudia Gomez

5 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Claudia Gomez on 10/24/2012 at 9:30 PM

Re: “Parker Versus Brunner

This comment was deleted because it violates our website's Terms Of Use. People who repeatedly violate our policies will lose their right to post comments. You can read our entire Terms Of Use here.

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Editor on 10/24/2012 at 8:33 PM

Re: “Mary Hayashi Might Win

I'm confused, is California using Brazil sugar cane ethanol in CA fuel and paying a premium of $0.16 per gallon?

Is EPA considering a ethanol waiver that can make California fuel better in the opinion of boat owners, classic car folks, owners of small engines, The UN, The World Bank, several Governors, hundreds of Congressmen, and California water providers. Is it time for change?

0 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Charlie Peters on 10/24/2012 at 6:41 PM

Re: “Parker Versus Brunner

Tom G. wrote: "The City Council has to vote to approve settling lawsuits over $5000. So ... blame the council."

The city attorney makes it pretty clear whether or not her heart is in litigating. So Parker throws the ball in their court. That is step one, her capitulation. If you want to add the council for step two, fine.

Burris's bullying lawsuits are more than a means of personal enrichment for him and now an alliance toward a cushy job for Parker. They are a major component of the paralysis of City Hall in the face of thuggery on the streets. Parker will obviously not stand up to him. Whether Brunner will or not is an open question.

As for trial experience, the City Attorney is a supervisor. There is plenty of talent at courtoom acrobatics in the staff.

For more, see the new article on the ORPN website.

2 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Charlie Pine on 10/24/2012 at 5:55 PM

Re: “Mary Hayashi Might Win

One more note. If you put "Mary Hayashi" into Google, you end up with the first thing you see being Hayashi's booking sheet with her mugshot.

How in the world can the most basic Google listing item for a person not be used in describing that person?
It is like ignoring the elephant in the room.
Imagine if there is a re-call election for Mirkarimi and the opposition decided to not use the domestic abuse conviction as a issue?

Who is the campaign manager making these calls?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Dan de'Data on 10/24/2012 at 2:30 PM

Re: “Mary Hayashi Might Win

There is ZERO doubt that if Hayashi had a opponent with a criminal conviction and on 30 months court probation, that she would be hammering that opponent over the head with it.

I have never seen a candidate being dealt such a good issue and simply ignoring it. Unbelieveable. Its like being dealt 3 aces, and a 2 and a 6, then dropping the aces and drawing for a straight. Unbelieveable.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Dan de'Data on 10/24/2012 at 2:16 PM

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