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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Feature

Re: “Can Oakland Protect Chinatown and Eastlake?

This is really not brain surgery folks. If you have to adopt interim zoning restrictions to limit the economic and social impacts of a new ball park on the existing residents and neighborhood, chances are this is not the right site. It's like taking the antibiotics before the infection arrives.The controls are interim and once removed, there will be a yard sale that will quickly drive up rents and land values in the Eastlake district. That's how the market works and nothing the city can do will change it. Believe me, developers are already cueing up for the assault.The result will be massive displacement of low income residents and the fabric of this neighborhood will be changed forever. Oakland is a city of neighborhoods. Both West Oakland and North Oakland have already been gentrified over the last 20 years. Many lower income people and families who resided in these neighborhoods for nearly a century are now gone. Does Eastlake deserve the same fate? Does every neighborhood need to be invaded by Starbucks, yoga studios and expensive condos?That is not what makes the character of a city rich or diverse. Do not be fooled, the City of Oaklands interim control solution is just a ploy to keep public opposition at bay while the A's can throw a few million dollars at the project and create the kind of political momentum that the neighbors will never be able to stop. The city should be figuring out how to invest, support and retain the special character of Eastlake instead of greasing the rails for it's demise.

Posted by Gary Patton on 11/08/2017 at 4:03 AM

Re: “Can Oakland Protect Chinatown and Eastlake?

If the price of a stadium is a de facto three-year moratorium on infill housing projects all the way out to 14th and Franklin, screw the stadium.

This smells an awful lot like people who always oppose new housing downtown (hi Naomi!) using the stadium as a pretext to get the building freeze they've always wanted.

Posted by C.J. Garrett on 11/07/2017 at 10:08 PM

Re: “The Woman Behind Oakland's Mobile Food Scene

The "New Oakland" food trucks for the techie/finance trend-oids sell small plates of food for the same price as a dish in a restaurant. Young affluent white people aren't selling this stuff, they're the ones lining up for 30 mins for a craft hot dog on a sustainably sourced wooden stick.

Posted by Vincent Blafard on 11/07/2017 at 10:05 AM

Re: “The Woman Behind Oakland's Mobile Food Scene

La Placita is the cleanest commercial kitchen I've ever seen. Ms. Otero and her family have done a great service for Oakland.

Posted by HeavyTruth on 11/02/2017 at 11:45 PM

Re: “The Woman Behind Oakland's Mobile Food Scene

First... taco trucks and "roach coaches" owned by Latinos and Asians have been part of the east and west Oakland landscape DECADES before "2001" ( where I first tasted Sriracha back in the 80's as an accompaniment to the egg rolls and wings off the Asian owned roach coaches before it was "discovered" )
and Blacks to a lesser extend have also tried sell also- which brings up a sore point with me. I have no problem with ANYONE hustlin plates. Although I actually work in public health, I believe no one wants to kill their customers so MOST will take the needed precautions. A ServSafe certification goes over most food safety issues and is only $15 (if I recall- I have from last year). My sore point is the unequal enforcement. Most notably are the hot dog vendors who sale RIGHT under BART police noses on the Coliseum walkway and no one says a word as they sale in the open. The blacks who are selling bottled water out of a cooler have to go further down nearer to the Coliseum side of the foot bridge in order not to be hassled. I wonder if I were to set up a cart on the same bridge and sell BBQ plates, would I be hassled? I recall a few years ago, a black guy would sell BBQ on 98th and E.14th and felt the need to display on his truck window, blown up and exaggerated copies of his permits while down the street other brown folks sold everything from tamales, churros and pillows without the need. Again I welcome all the hustle and have even supported many of these carts with my $$. My only gripe, either enforce it equally across the board or leave everyone alone. These vendors offer a vital... yes vital service to the late night hutlas, shift workers, clubbers and anyone craving the munchies on the cheap in areas without many late night epicurean offerings. Let's just allow everyone to sell if this is the route we are going to go

Posted by Anthony Moore on 11/01/2017 at 10:55 PM

Re: “The Woman Behind Oakland's Mobile Food Scene

How to regulate the food truck phenomenon while trying not to create too much of a competitive disadvantage for local restaurants is a complicated and difficult dance. Several things about how Oakland has fared in this arena are clear. First, what is obvious to Oakland residents and what was illustrated in the Ghost Ship fire, the City has no resources or any idea how to enforce the rules that are on the books. Long time vendors know this and no matter what the ordinance requires, they creatively avoid compliance with the program. Secondly and once again in America, the rules change when white folks decide they want to participate. Heroin was an "urban " (code for Black and Brown) law enforcement problem until white kids started overdosing. Now, it is a public health crisis deserving public funding for intervention and counseling. Selling marijuana was grounds for long prison terms until it was decided that it really was an undiscovered economic opportunity. The laws were changed and now white venture capitalists are making money hand over fist from the cultivation, distribution and sale of weed. The cab industry has been supplanted by Uber and Lyft, who basically do not follow any industry rules to ensure public safety and call it an example of the "new economy". In fact, they do not even own, maintain or insure riders or any vehicles. They even claim that the people who work for them are not even employees. AirBnB is a company who provides transient habitation, but do not own any hotels. Similarly, food trucks were an interesting Mexican cultural nuisance until white chefs and others saw an alternative to paying expensive rents. Now, lawmakers scurry around trying to find ways for them to operate because they are now a "thing" seen as essential to a cool hipster urban experience. Oakland should try to keep the rules as simple as possible because detailed regulations require a level of resources for enforcement and tracking that they just don't have.

Posted by Gary Patton on 11/01/2017 at 6:24 AM

Re: “A Towering Scam

Michael, my point is that City would get higher tax revenues from many other types of businesses than the HQ of a transportation company. While I think the Oakland business tax structure should be an even playing that doesn't tax one type of business differently from another, that ain't gonna happen.

Posted by Len Raphael on 10/30/2017 at 10:24 PM

Re: “Bred in Abuse

Fernando please contact me 4088403893 thank you

Posted by Theresa Munoz on 10/30/2017 at 8:27 PM

Re: “A Towering Scam

Len Raphael: Just curious... Are you deploring the fact that (under the current business tax) Oakland wouldn't be able to tax Uber for fares paid in Hong Kong or Helsinki? ;-)

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 10/30/2017 at 7:36 AM

Re: “A Towering Scam

Uber always hedged it bet on whether the Oakland building acquisition was just a real estate investment to be flipped or their new HQ. Uber's internal problems might have had something to do with final decision, but Oakland factors even less.

Uber would have brought jobs, some sales and business tax and property tax revenue, but because of Oakland's business tax on transportation businesses headquarters, it looked like Uber would have only paid business tax on the revenue directly from Oakland activity, a tiny fraction of it's total gross receipts.

Posted by Len Raphael on 10/29/2017 at 10:30 AM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

This article reads like a political hit job

Posted by Jay Kim on 10/26/2017 at 9:55 PM

Re: “A Towering Scam

Great follow-through! The demise of the grocery project might be the worst aspect of this debacle -- a story that seems to have faded from view in the past couple of years.

Unlike other West Oakland grocery projects that would compete with the nearby Pak N Save in Emeryville, the Jack London Gateway site is truly in a food desert -- with no full-scale grocery south of Grand or (aside from specialty shops in Chinatown) west of Lake Merritt.

Here's hoping this story remains alive, and that the neighborhood gets the store it's so desperately needed for so long!

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 10/26/2017 at 8:01 PM

Re: “A Towering Scam

...ANd people complained about Uber. Yes, they suck, but they were bringing real jobs to Oakland

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 10/25/2017 at 9:05 PM

Re: “A Towering Scam

Solid journalism

Posted by CrowdExpert on 10/25/2017 at 3:43 PM

Re: “A Towering Scam

"Quan, the first Chinese-American woman to be mayor of a major U.S. city" - why does the Express not check the facts before it reprints her self-inflating falsehoods? Quan began by claiming to be the first Asian mayor, man or woman. Then she backed off to first Asian woman mayor. Well, Japanese-American Eunice Sato became the mayor of Long Beach, California in 1980. Did Quan ever narrow her claim again? Cecelia Xie Birge became mayor of Montgomery, N.J. in 2007. Quan kept adding modifiers to be a first. Yeah, maybe the first U.S. mayor to get into an auto accident in a City car while driving and talking on the phone at the same time. She did that on June 8, 2014.

More important, the Express buries the basic shame of the EB-5 program: rich families in China with $500,000 get a U.S. green card. The federal government barely audits whether the required jobs are created. The money is really a purchase of a greased path to U.S. citizenship for their son or daughter or whomever.

Posted by Charlie Pine on 10/24/2017 at 5:37 PM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

Before the 2014 election Daniel Bornstein of the EBT conducted the EBT's endorsement interview. When Mr. Bornstein asked us about our platforms, Ms. Roberts launched into her stump speech about applying the highest CPA professional standards to the Auditor Office. Mr. Bornstein presciently cut her off by saying that all those CPA professional standards and ethics didn't help in the Enron and other auditing scandals.

Those professional standards/ethics of independence and objectivity don't mean diddly without the threat of SEC enforcement actions and shareholder lawsuits against CPA's who fail to audit businesses aggressively and independently. In the government sphere, the only practical threat an elected City Auditor faces is from the voters at re-election time.

Consider removing the City Charter requirement that candidates for City Auditor must be either CPAs or Certified Internal Auditors. (anecdotally one of our prior Auditors got that requirement inserted in the Charter to eliminate potential opponents) Plenty of other city's and states have elected effective Auditors and Treasurers who don't have those professional licenses. Removing those requirements would give voters a wider choice and could generate more voter attention.

Section 403 of the City Charter gives the job description of the broad powers of the City Auditor. https://library.municode.com/ca/oakland/co…

A 2007 City Attorney opinion lays out the very broad investigative power of the CIty Auditor. http://www.oaklandcityattorney.org/PDFS/Op…

In the last twenty years, we've never elected a City Auditor who took full advantage of the powers of their office to scrutinize the operations of our city government.

Posted by Len Raphael on 10/24/2017 at 11:39 AM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

You can judge a person's character by the way she treats her assistant.

Posted by Holly Harwood on 10/21/2017 at 2:48 PM

Re: “The Mother and the Officer

I don't understand why there was a cover up. There isn't a jury in the world that would convict a cop for shooting someone in a stolen car with a gun in it, who tried to flee the police. Now there is a cloud over the cops for the rest of their lives, due to the cover up. The victim's mom can't get closure, due to the cover up. And Oakland trusts the people who covered up with our children.

Posted by Holly Harwood on 10/21/2017 at 1:35 PM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

Dear Fellow Oakland residents,

Ms Roberts has asked her campaign treasurer/assistant city auditor (yes, she appointed her campaign treasurer to be her right hand man) to post the statement below on behalf of her anonymous staff members and it really isnt helping her cause. If this letter was signed, I would be more inclined to believe its contents. As she mentions on her website, Anyone who has ever managed people knows that its not always the right fit and I am sorry they are struggling with the consequences of that. As voting residents of Oakland, we are her managers, and we will not be sorry that she deals with the consequences of her not being a good fit for the position of an elected, ethical City Auditor.

Ms. Roberts - please do us all a favor and dont run for another term.

Posted by Jim Chen on 10/21/2017 at 12:19 AM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

Dear Fellow Oakland residents,

Ms. Roberts has asked her campaign treasurer/assistant city auditor (yes, she appointed her campaign treasurer to be her right hand man) to post the statement below on behalf of her anonymous staff members and it really isnt helping her cause. If this letter was signed, I would be more inclined to believe its contents. As she mentions on her website, Anyone who has ever managed people knows that its not always the right fit and I am sorry they are struggling with the consequences of that. As voting residents of Oakland, we are her managers, and we will not be sorry that she deals with the consequences of her not being a good fit for the position of an elected, ethical City Auditor.

Ms. Roberts - please do us all a favor and dont run for another term.

Posted by Jim Chen on 10/21/2017 at 12:16 AM

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