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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Feature

Re: “Brown's Tunnels Could Start in 2018, and Delta Farmers Say They'll Be Devastated

How does the Little Scamp get everything he wants?..

Posted by Phil Allen on 08/24/2017 at 8:42 AM

Re: “Lieutenant Governor Hopeful Gayle McLaughlin Wants to Take the East Bay’s Progressive Revolution to Sacramento

The Progressives have ruined California with their liberal anything goes platform. Paganism at its finest, yea right!

Posted by Mike Mitchell on 08/05/2017 at 4:23 PM

Re: “Lieutenant Governor Hopeful Gayle McLaughlin Wants to Take the East Bay’s Progressive Revolution to Sacramento

Richmond's finances are in horrible shape, now she wants to take her ideas to Sacramento (The State is already in enough financial trouble due to tax & spend politicians).

Her campaign slogan should be "Progressively Bankrupt"

Posted by Bob Kray on 08/04/2017 at 8:38 AM

Re: “Lieutenant Governor Hopeful Gayle McLaughlin Wants to Take the East Bay’s Progressive Revolution to Sacramento

The real RPA, a history!
Mike Parker, along with the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), has unleashed a misguided, middle class, liberal agenda on Richmond, California's poor working class community of 106,000 residents.

Parker has been on the RPAs steering committee since he arrived in Richmond in 2008 during a campaign to pass by popular vote a tax on Chevron known as Measure T. He is the editor of the RPAs email newsletter with complete discretion to write articles expressing his political viewpoints. His strongest opinions have been expressed in support of a misguided tax settlement with Chevron and two regressive tax proposals but he has remained indifferent and mostly silent about City Hall corruption and ongoing bullying of City workers.

After the voters passed Measure T, a tax on Chevron, Chevron challenged it in court and in 2010 Parker and the RPA pushed through, without any public discussion, a settlement of this litigation which gave the City $114 million from Chevron paid on a graduated schedule over fifteen years. In exchange, Chevron demanded a fifteen-year moratorium on the City levying any new taxes on Chevron. The significance of the Measure T sellout cannot be measured in dollars and cents alone. The passage of Measure T was a grassroots effort against enormous moneyed opposition that resulted in the people standing up to Chevron for the first time in Richmond's history. Mike Parker and the RPA's so-called progressives squandered this major victory, setting back Richmonds nascent grassroots movement for years to come.

In 2011, the RPA proposed a regressive sales tax; Measure D. Parker supported this regressive sales tax proposal which was to be levied on a poor working class community which already had the highest sales tax in the area. The voters defeated Measure D.

In 2012, Parker pushed a regressive inventory tax, Measure N. This was a regressive tax on merchants based on the inventory of certain sugar products sold in their stores which could be passed off onto their customers. By an overwhelming margin, the voters also defeated measure N.

In 2013, Parker refused to hold the City Manager responsible for not terminating the Human Relations Director for blatant corruption which took place with his knowledge. Ultimately, she was allowed to retire, with full benefits and a glowing letter of appreciation, only because of City workers and citizens demands for her termination. As a result of the RPAs condoning such corrupt mismanagement, there remains in Richmond City Hall an ongoing culture of bullying and retaliation against whistle blowers.

In 2013 the RPA and Parker proposed and pushed for an untested eminent domain scheme purportedly designed to assist homeowners in danger of foreclosure because their mortgages were underwater. In fact, this scheme was not designed to help those most in need and, if implemented, would cost the City years of litigation. Because of this poorly thought out political grandstanding, the City was burdened with higher interest rates on its bonds. When the RPA was unable to garner a super-majority on the City Council to implement the use of eminent domain, they tried to get around this requirement by setting up a Joint Authority with other jurisdictions to do so. They were unable to find a single jurisdiction willing to take the risk.

All of these examples demonstrate that the RPA under Parker's leadership has consistently acted in the interest of the gentrifying element in Richmond while alienating the working-class residents. Parker and the RPA prefer headline-grabbing gestures rather than working seriously on multiple community problems such as, for example, the horrendous situation at Richmond's Public Housing Authority and the huge deficit in the City budget. Parker and the RPA talk about empowering the residents while refusing to fight for district elections, a political structure that truly empowers voters on a grassroots level. As they have pushed their political agendas they have consistently exhibited arrogance and intolerance for the people of Richmond. They have furthered class and ethnic divisions in our community and made a mockery of the term, progressive.

Posted by Charles T. Smith on 08/03/2017 at 4:54 PM

Re: “Lieutenant Governor Hopeful Gayle McLaughlin Wants to Take the East Bay’s Progressive Revolution to Sacramento

I may speak for many progressive Richmond residents when I express disappointment, dismay, and even disgust with the RPA's "ends justify means" political playbook. Sadly, the disconnect between their words and actions give progressivism a bad name. Start with their movement away from district elections now that they dominate the council, though they reside in only one or two districts; follow that up with well-documented public harassment and intimidation of an elderly landlady over the just cause eviction of a problematic tenant during their push for rent control laws ;check Richmond city council meeting minutes for accounts of Council member Beckles publicly humiliating a visually impaired fellow council member; and photos of her playing games on her phone during a budget hearing. Most egregiously, note that while RPA has sworn off corporate donations, they have no such qualms about taking donations from both local and national organized labor groups. This effectively rules out significant financial support for non-RPA candidates lest they be accused of being the puppets of corporations or wealthy individuals. . Yet the RPA dominated city council rules routinely on matters affecting union members - but somehow those contributions aren't seen as influential.

Posted by aj benham on 08/03/2017 at 1:23 PM

Re: “Lieutenant Governor Hopeful Gayle McLaughlin Wants to Take the East Bay’s Progressive Revolution to Sacramento

The Richmond Progressive Alliances first priority when they arrived in Richmond in 2004 was to fight for district elections.
Once they got into power they turned their backs on the working class community and fought against district elections.
Here is what they said about district elections.
Former Mayor and current Richmond Council Member Gayle McLaughlin
Districts could create truer democracy.
Current Richmond City Council member Eduardo Martinez
I have said that I support district elections and I stand by that.
KPFA radio show host Andres Soto
On at least two occasions Andres has endorsed the concept of district elections during his KPFA radio show. His son Alejandro ran in a district election in Berkeley in 2014
Founding member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance Roberto Reyes
He endorses district elections and still does but he has since moved out of State.
Former Richmond City Council Member Jeff Ritterman
"I felt I represented all of Richmond, not Point Richmond," he said. "But it's true that the concentration of elected officials (in Point Richmond) could raise the question of district elections and whether that should be debated in the city."
Richmond Progressive Alliances initial public statement as stated on their handout upon their arrival on 1-12-2004.
The more efficient city council we envision will also require that the city council members reside in their districts.

Posted by Charles T. Smith on 08/03/2017 at 11:43 AM
Posted by Lavon Godfrey on 07/26/2017 at 6:06 PM

Re: “Trapped Part One: Cruel and Indefinite Punishment

My husband and I are friends with Demian and his wife, Hilda. They are both beautiful people. If you don't think serving 30+ years in prison for his crime of accessory, then you aren't paying attention. He's a mature man who's doing wonderful things with his life. I encourage each of you who have no idea who he is to write him, introduce yourself, and be open to the possibility that he deserves a second chance.

Posted by Nandi on 07/23/2017 at 9:26 PM

Re: “Who Will Be There When You Call 911? Our Writer Plunges Into the World of For-Profit Ambulances.

It is such a broken system- where are the policy makers? Where are the voters demanding a working system? This is one of so many broken systems in Alameda County- take your pick- but I do wonder what the policy makers @$100K + a year actually do.

Posted by Jeff Diver on 07/13/2017 at 2:30 PM

Re: “The Recline of Movie Civilization: How Bay Area Theaters are Reinventing Themselves in a World of Netflix and Chill

$16 for a matinee of the new Spiderman movie in Vegas is enough to keep anyone out of the theater.

Posted by Igor Davis on 07/13/2017 at 12:36 PM

Re: “The Recline of Movie Civilization: How Bay Area Theaters are Reinventing Themselves in a World of Netflix and Chill

Sounds like this is a "fox watching the henhouse" situation to me.

Posted by Francesca M. Austin on 07/13/2017 at 9:13 AM

Re: “Who Will Be There When You Call 911? Our Writer Plunges Into the World of For-Profit Ambulances.

Reading this article made me feel physically ill - happily, the feeling dissipated and I didn't need to call an ambulance.

It is remarkable that a 'public/private' partnership would be considered an acceptable or preferable solution for the problem: people who become ill and need transportation to a hospital. Quite simply, this should be a service provided either on a city or county level, by well paid city or county employees responsible to the taxpayers and not to their employer's bottom line. Any other solution is flushing money down the drain and selling the public - and public health - down the river.

Posted by John Seal on 07/12/2017 at 12:06 PM

Re: “Who Will Be There When You Call 911? Our Writer Plunges Into the World of For-Profit Ambulances.

It's about time the media shined a light on this serious public health issue. You would think in a progressive county like ours this could not happen.
I've always had a problem with "For Profit" companies providing emergency services. It doesn't work to the benefit of the taxpayers.
Vince Davis

Posted by sonnysteel on 07/11/2017 at 2:53 PM

Re: “Who Will Be There When You Call 911? Our Writer Plunges Into the World of For-Profit Ambulances.

OPD doesn't come unless there's a firearm or death involved. So now EMTs get there after you die, too.

Posted by Vincent Blafard on 07/07/2017 at 11:58 AM

Re: “Who Will Be There When You Call 911? Our Writer Plunges Into the World of For-Profit Ambulances.

How the hell is PM+ LOSING money in Alameda County?
One trip to the mental health ward (john George)
My SO was billed over $2500.
And it was just a ride, no medical attention was needed

Posted by Ken Kellogg on 07/06/2017 at 8:50 PM

Re: “Who Will Be There When You Call 911? Our Writer Plunges Into the World of For-Profit Ambulances.

This is the first coverage of ems I've ever seen in local press. Long overdue.

While you describe the business motivations of the various segments of the ems industry, you skip over the motivations of firefighter unions in this. As fire codes improved and older building replaced over the last few decades, staffing needs for firefighting have dropped. As population ages and Obamacare implemented/preserved, 911 medical calls increase.

But It is nutso expensive to dispatch an entire fire crew to every 911 medical emergency. Replacing firefighters with emt's paid at fast food wage rates is not the answer either, but surely there's something in between where the emt's would get paid decently and the public wouldn't get gouged by fire departments.

Posted by Len Raphael on 07/06/2017 at 8:44 PM

Re: “Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0

Yelp is an evil company, they were so stupid on the way they manage their company, money first, careless about anything else. If you don't listen to what they are asking for or don't do a highly cost ad with them, they will do everything that they can in order to destroy your business, by showing all the bad reviews and filter all the good reviews, just like what they did with Massinos pizza. They even go on Google and spend a lot of money in order to try to take business from you and send it to your competition using EAT24.com which they bought couple years ago (evil doing and unfair to any human beings).

It is just a matter of time for Yelp to be sued and that is the only way for the CEO to stop this evil work.

Yelp came alive by paying people to go eat at all restaurants if that person puts a review on Yelp, and after few years and after they fed a lot of people, and managed every review on Yelp (filter what ever review they want and show what ever they want for any particular business), then they start calling all business and ask them to put ads on Yelp in order to get more business (which a lot of business did go for but others were disadvantaged if they couldn't afford to pay for a costly ad on Yelp).

Yelp advertising team call us multiple time (at least once a week for the last 3 years) asking us to put ad on Yelp in order to get more business and they will improve Masinos rating on Yelp, but we couldn't afford it (asking for at least $300/month contract), but I told them that I gave you my business website through EAT24.com where they were generating an average of $760 (online ordering processing fees through our website, just in 2016, we processed over $70000, and Yeld received 10 % of that ($7000), but still not happy. Then, they stopped calling, and they started the evil work online, by filtering all good reviews and showing mostly nasty reviews.

Then in 2017, I noticed the online ordering through our website was declining because EAT24 is redirecting our customers to their APP where they show the Yelp rating (only 2.5 stars but on Google we have 3.5 stars, tripadviser 4 stars, etc), I started calling them in order to ask why sales are declining, and explained that one of the reason is the Yelp low rating, and when they redirect to their website and showing other business with higher rating than Massinos, of course the sales will decline. EAT24 couldn't do anything of course, just because Yelp is in charge, and yelp wanted more money from us.

So I had to close EAT24 account, and switched our website to Menufy, which in just 2 months, sales were tripled.

Then EAT24 were so upset, they started that evil work just like Yelp, by trying everything in order to take business from Massinos and give it to our competition which are signed up with EAT24/Yelp.

Is this how a bad company (EAT24/YELP) operates, when they lose some business, they need to work harder in order to make that customer very upset, or they will work very hard and understand the issues that led to the lost of business and try harder to get it that business back. Stupid thinking and reactionsfrom EAT24/Yelp.

YELP/EAT24 = EVIL COMPANY = EVIL DOING

Posted by Joe Massi on 06/27/2017 at 3:40 PM

Re: “Plans for a 'New' Oakland Are Taking Shape, but Existing Residents Are Demanding More Equitable Development

The state legislature has a major role to play in development. Most recently, it mandated that cities ease the creation of mini-lots and backyard housing, which have a mixed bag of good and bad effects. Where do our state legislators stand on affordable housing and neighborhood preservation?

Posted by Mike Bradley on 06/23/2017 at 12:45 PM

Re: “Plans for a 'New' Oakland Are Taking Shape, but Existing Residents Are Demanding More Equitable Development

There is no history in Oakland, or in America for that matter, that views existing diverse urban neighborhoods as having intrinsic value. Instead, they have always been seen as economic opportunities for the development community whose baseline approach was to destroy those neighborhoods and totally displace existing residents who, because of race and lower economic status, don't deserve a place at the table in the planning process. In the late 50's, Black residents of the Filmore District of SF had to sue the City in order to be included in the committee required to formulate the new plan under the Model Cities program. In Oakland, since the 60's, for the most part, the top levels of the Planning Department have been occupied by UC Berkeley planning school graduates whose inflated views of their own intelligence defined the City by floor area ratios and height requirements. Moreover, having no exposure, interest or connection to the broader Oakland flatland communities, concentrated the planning focus on downtown, Montclair, Rockridge and Jack London neighborhoods. Not surprisingly, almost all of the Planning Commissioners during those years also resided in those areas and many, if not most, were professionals at some level in land development. The blatant disregard at the top levels for the value of diverse neighborhoods and their populations has never been better illustrated than former Planning Director Rachael Flynn's statement that there was no housing crisis in Oakland. More concerning is that there was no response at all from the Mayor or City Council for that obvious disconnection with reality. In the recent E12 st housing debacle, it was only when the Eastlake neighborhood became involved that the community benefits conversations with the developer began to develop. There has to be sensitivity to these cultural diversity issues by City leadership in order for any plan to reflect those values in the process and the ultimate result. Currently, I see the Mayor and City Council members continuing to make backroom deals with developers and doing their best to bypass the neighbors.That is not a good sign for the immediate future.

Posted by Gary Patton on 06/23/2017 at 6:34 AM

Re: “Plans for a 'New' Oakland Are Taking Shape, but Existing Residents Are Demanding More Equitable Development

"adhocracy has had another important result: It showed a different kind of development is possible.... Except while it made those already in housed in Oakland feel they had control of their neighborhood(s) resulting in...:

The strategy was similar: delay and negotiate... While the homeless crises worsens as population pressures in the bay area rise.

The gaping holes existed well past the early 80's and on into the 90's.

While anti-displacement policies are wonderful, in no way does they address the needs and history of the community.

In East Oakland, not far from where I live there was a thriving merchant community in the 70's. Now, liquor stores, smoke shops or just boarded up store fronts are what those streets offer.... That didn't happen because of "urban redevelopment". It didn't happen because of "gentrification" or "developer domination" or "unjust planning decisions".

It happened because a desperate community allowed self serving pocket Boss Tweeds to offer tidbits of bread and circuses and illusions of "community control and pride" instead of jobs and education... And did it for decades!

We can't build a wall and keep "those people" out. We can't simply declare solutions by zoning them away. Nor can we simply demonize those who have in the past or or now want to invest in Oakland. People put money and effort in because they see a possible benefit. No one works for free, but somehow the activists expect others to do what they will not.

While we're at it, can get someone to plant a money tree in my back yard? I'd rather not go to work in the morning.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 06/22/2017 at 10:50 PM

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