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Comment Archives: stories: Last 7 Days

Re: “Larry Reid is Retiring From the Oakland City Council

24 years of representing our district is quite enough.
We may be satisfied or dissatisfied with what Larry has done for the district over those years. But certainly nothing in his record is so special that it suggest we ought to hand over the next 24 years to a member of his family.
If anything, District 7 has seen the least improvement over those past 24 years compared to other parts of the city. where great change is well under way.
Larry will now retire as a recipient of the massive pension hike that the council passed in 2004. By voting for that huge hike, Larry gave himself a 35% pension hike while at the same time setting up the city budget for deficit after deficit as the mandated contributions carve out a extra $20 million from daily services...which must be paid to CalPERS...
(that extra $20 million is over and above the prior years mandated contributions). Back in 2004 the council never calculated what the overnight 35% boost in pension would end up costing, as it yanks dollars out of street paving, parks, library.
Now we are going to be asked to pass on the same thinking his daughter will bring to the city issues.
Does only one family deserve to hold this office? Enough is enough.
District 7 deserves some new and imaginative thinking.

Posted by Dan de'Data on 11/21/2019 at 1:23 PM

Re: “Homelessness Is a Tragedy When Solutions Are at Hand

Long term homelessness is unavoidable in the Bay Area for several reasons. 1. The demand for housing by those being pushed out of S.F. housing relocating to Alameda Cty. 2) The disappearance of land in Oakland by new units. 3) CA's new rent control law that will allow rents to increase by 5% /yr. A $1300 unit over the next 10 yr's could increase 5%/yr will be $2117.56 an increase of over $800 during that time period.

To slow homelessness Alameda Cty should help current homeowners to EXPAND ADU units on their properties through affordable loans etc. Relocation help for people that want to leave the Bay Area for other regions of the country.

Posted by Paul Merr on 11/21/2019 at 8:28 AM

Re: “Fired Piedmont Custodian Seeks to Clear his Name

Ken is a solid guy. I have known him since high school days in Piedmont, and this looks like tarring with a brush for somebody's own agenda. To take someone who has been as positive and participating as Ken is in day-to-day life, and removing a retirement a month before the finale date, reeks to me of some type of foolishness that I find disagreeable. Besides, if he was going to retire whoever was worried would not have to work with him in the future. We will probably never know the true story here as with many things people distort facts due to their own interest and focus. More people should learn about Ken, and vote with their thoughts accordingly. I don't doubt for a minute he has earned everything he should be given. Okay, let's expand this community to be a bit more understanding and passionate for its people who are friendly and not so self-centered and myopic as the average citizen. We live in California, and to many folks in the world we should be setting the standards for open-mindedness. While we may not be living up to these expectations, this does not mean it's too late for us to embrace some common sense and fairness in our day-to-day interactions.

Posted by Jaan on 11/20/2019 at 9:23 PM

Re: “Best Cannabis Concentrate

Vaporizing hash oil, known as dabbing.
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Posted by Wallet Khalifaa on 11/20/2019 at 8:20 PM

Re: “Can Legal Weed Save the Music Industry?

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Posted by Wesley Brandon on 11/20/2019 at 2:55 PM

Re: “The Big Blue Eviction

I am 63 and disabled , I have rented my rent controlled single family house with 2 bedrooms for 33 years. My landlord has always lived out of the state. I always maintained repairs by finding contractors and then the landlord would pay for the repairs. I repaired many things myself over the years. I live in Berkeley..
Now he has informed me that he is going to serve me with the Ellis Act Eviction for 2022. I do not have enough money to buy any condo, etc. I have an income that decreases by $1200/month in 2021. So there are many low income housing waiting lists I cannot apply to. I have an empty bedroom that he will not let me rent to a subtenant (l was told this is against the law). I am having a nervous breakdown bc I do not know where I can afford to live. I would share a place with someone but I am frozen in fear. Now I developed a seizure disorder over this pending Eviction. I keep researching all the laws. I really need to stay in the East Bay due to health reasons and my doctors are here. I am a disabled RN.
Any suggestions are welcome. I have talked to all the Eviction lawyers that are free. I want to rent the bedroom out to help me pay my bills. I am so angry.
I love my rental and have taken excellent care of it. It was a dump when I moved in and had to do a lot of work to fix it up. The landlord says he is donating the house into a Donor Advised Fund so he can get tax write offs and a Roth IRA. He says it is a charitable fund. Meanwhile I see myself like so many others who are being forced out of our neighborhoods. HELP!!!!!!!

Posted by GA on 11/19/2019 at 1:06 AM

Re: “The Clock is Ticking at Point Molate

When you consider the accidents that are possible with those refineries and other facilities so near, who would want to live there knowing that? The developers would have to deceive prospective buyers.

Posted by Ellen McCarthy on 11/18/2019 at 6:38 PM

Re: “Fired Piedmont Custodian Seeks to Clear his Name

I don't know Ken and this article is the first I have heard of this issue, but it sounds to me like he is a sweetheart of a guy - the kind America needs to become great again!!! Look at the T-shirt he is wearing, folks, that says it all!! I just happen to be much like him and, as such, am always in trouble with those who don't understand what compassion and caring is all about. Why don't you just give him the retirement & benefits he deserves, and allow him to go in Peace to in-joy the rest of his life?? Is this your way of keeping the money for - - - whatever???????? signed, Donna McCaskey Piedmont/Oakland PS - A person wearing a shirt like that and exhibiting the type of behavior he has in the past would NEVER harm another living creature, human or animal!!

Posted by Donna McCaskey on 11/18/2019 at 12:27 PM

Re: “The Clock is Ticking at Point Molate

Besides the questions on fire safety, equity, and loss of habitat, we need an honest accounting of who benefits? Who profits? The City Council easily came up with an analysis that it would cost Richmond $5 million per year to provide city services to North Richmond, and that property taxes would not cover the cost. Although we were promised a year ago that the City would provide an economic analysis of a development at Point Molate, nothing has been done to date. This is another bad deal for Richmond, similar to the sale of the Ford building to Butt's friend Eddie Orton. And similar to the choice of Veolia to run our sewer district. I am tired of a bunch of good old buddies, slapping each other's backs, and doing each other favors.

Posted by dbayer49 on 11/18/2019 at 12:19 PM

Re: “The Clock is Ticking at Point Molate

Thank you for the excellent article. Point Molate is a treasure worth saving for all people in Richmond, the Bay Area , and beyond to enjoy. I have spoken with hundreds of people at community events in Richmond and have yet to meet anyone who thinks that using this land for housing is a good idea. People who live in this gritty over urbanized part of the world need more contact with nature - our health depends on it. It is documented that construction and housing will damage the eelgrass beds. We need the eelgrass to thrive - we need the crabs and the fish . We need sports fields, we need hiking trails, we need an Ohlone cultural center, we do not need another high end housing development, we need BREATHING ROOM.
Tarnel Abbott

Posted by Tarnel Abbott on 11/18/2019 at 10:26 AM

Re: “Fired Piedmont Custodian Seeks to Clear his Name

I worked at a Wildwood with Ken. I can honestly say he is the nicest guy and his ease with conversation made me feel comfortable with him, even alone on Sunday afternoons in the empty school. I felt he was respectful and looked out for my needs as a teacher. He is not your stereotypical Piedmont Guy, however. I can imagine some teachers at the school finding him a distraction or “different” but that’s what I enjoyed about him! He always had time for you whether just for a quick convo or a classroom need that he would personally take steps to solve. Of all our custodians, he was the one who went out of his way to get us what we needed like the resident green bins, a special hook, etc. He cared.

I’m also wondering about the agism/sexism charge he made against PUSD. Wildwood is not known for its diverse staff being almost all white and female.(Like me) Could it be we just don’t have enough people of different demographics to create a culture of understanding and acceptance? Instead we find fault in behaviors and words that don’t warrant it. We overreact. Would a female employee who made a random reference to a “gun at home” be fired for it? NO WAY!! They would be given a pass just by virtue of their age and their femaleness! And btw, Ken said he has no gun and made no such reference.

I have no answers but this whole story makes me depressed and sad for Ken. I wish he could get his retirement back.

Posted by Suzie Saliba Skugstad on 11/18/2019 at 8:59 AM

Re: “Let's Speak Truth About America's Housing Crisis

Dear Jerry,

There is much in your most recent post I agree with, (I am no fan of rent control, rent boards, or big government solutions per se....et etc.).

But targeting blame for the problem to specific people-or even types of people-I do not agree with at all.

Oversimplifying the problem and then pointing at handy solutions to those oversimplifications is not problem solving-it is reifying the entire process. And that won't produce light at the end of the tunnel.

The problem is huge, enormously complex, and affects millions.

The problem isn't local-it is global.

And you are correct-aspects of the problem are as old as civilization.

I favor a "Marshallesque" plan because of the enormity of the problem. In that plan I am not advocating for "more government built housing". I am advocating for an intense focus of resources (money & talent) to address the problem in a 21st century (not 20th century) manner.

But to get there, we will have to work hard and smart and long. We will have to work together. It won't happen by arguing/targeting/ridiculing/oversimplifying/politicizing/polarizing/disrespecting/scapegoating/circling the wagons , etc.....no matter how good or right such may feel in the moment.

I am an engineer-I make things, solve problems, build systems. Talk is cheap as mud. But when we do it-let's do it for a product result that helps solve the underlying problem. The rest is vanity and pure noise to me.

I applaud Chiu for acting on his convictions, I applaud Patton for speaking, and I thank you for sharing productively. There is much right in what you type. But let's focus on attacking the problem, not the person.

Posted by LT2012 on 11/18/2019 at 8:42 AM

Re: “The Clock is Ticking at Point Molate

Tom Butt, like Donald Trump, believes if you repeat the same lies often enough people will accept them. Just one example - Butt asked the scientist who's been leading over a decade of peer-reviewed studies of Point Molate's eelgrass beds if this housing development would impact their health, telling her he thought it would improve them. When she told him it could damage or destroy the eelgrass beds he turned away and walked off. When I wrote about the threat to the eelgrass in Bay Nature he called it "Junk Science" and his son took to social media to call it "Fake News." Butt continues to ignore the science and claim the housing tract's water treatment will improve the eelgrass. That's why the Estuary and Ocean Science Center, the major marine science lab on SF Bay, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, the largest commercial fishing organization on the West Coast, and others have joined the Point Molate Alliance in opposing this bad deal for Richmond, the eelgrass and the health of SF Bay. As for SunCal, I've assembled a lovely drone tour for potential buyers they should feel free to use. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwkoNoeUjIw&fbclid=IwAR32ZiNwJBWF5pRmJsmhV7Cs5Os_NygdKYugHlBF6CCDpjHIt016STo7wM0

Posted by David Helvarg on 11/17/2019 at 8:41 PM

Re: “Let's Speak Truth About America's Housing Crisis

Hi LT,

I agree there is a housing crisis. But the problem is not the need for a "Marshall Plan." That would just be more slush funds, bureaucratic spending for housing projects that will inevitably fail.

It is important to remember that the price of housing and apartments has increased because real people have the money and are willing to pay more to live where they want to live. Generally I have seen a movement of software engineers from Sunnyvale and Palo Alto up to San Francisco and Oakland. These people have earned the right to housing because of their study and hard work, allowing them the economic means to buy the housing and pay the rent for apartments. The problem is that some people cannot afford the higher cost of houses and rents. That is not a new problem; that problem has existed since the beginning of humanity. Don't you tell you children to work hard in school, so that they can become software engineers and earn lots of money to buy nice houses? Some people have not followed the program.

The underlying economic problem is a lack of investment in new housing to accommodate the increasing demand for housing. With all these well off software engineers moving to San Francisco, why has there not been more housing built?

The biggest problem in San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland is Rent Control and Eviction control, plus unfriendly rent board hearings and courtroom dramas. If I invest my hard earned money and build new housing, I am taking a tremendous risk. In addition, I will need to manage the properties. But who wants to own property in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley? Dealing with the rent board, eviction control, the Eviction Defense Center, unfriendly courts, rent board hearings, etc.. is a headache that normal people avoid at all costs. In addition, you have politicians like Mr. Chiu and tenants like Mr. Patton to make your life miserable. So who needs it? There are other places to invest your money. So, the housing stock increases very slowly but the demand for housing increases fast. There will be an inevitable increase in rent and housing costs that exceed inflation.

I lay the blame on politicians like Mr. Chiu and political activists like Mr. Patton. They probably do not realize that they are mouthing the words of Karl Marx. And Marxism has failed whenever it is tried. Yet people like Mr. Chiu and Mr. Patton never learn. They are consumed by ideology, so consumed that they prefer their ideology over what is good for people.

Posted by Jerry Udinksy on 11/17/2019 at 6:59 PM

Re: “Fired Piedmont Custodian Seeks to Clear his Name

I have met Ken a couple of times around the school stadium. On one occasion he found my dog (who was running around the stadium) and brought him to my house. I always found him to be very friendly and courteous and helpful. I don't know any of the facts of these incidents, but it seems unnecessarily punitive to fire Ken one month before he was eligible to retire.

Matt Kretzer

Posted by Matt Kretzer on 11/17/2019 at 6:01 PM

Re: “The Clock is Ticking at Point Molate

Ask UCSF scientist Kathy Boyer whether housing will be good for the eelgrass, since she has been studying the eel grass at Point Molate for years.
Tom Butt has opinions that support his politics, but that does not make them factual.

Posted by Carol Teltschick on 11/17/2019 at 5:41 PM

Re: “The Clock is Ticking at Point Molate

There were no JUDGMENTS. This is simply a propagandized talking point by certain sectors on City Council to get you to believe there were no options. That is FALSE. The judge simply stamped the SETTLEMENT - that Tom Butt negotiated - or should I say - shoved down the throats of his surreptitiously called sub-committee. When a settlement is reached, the judge, finding no legal discrepancy is required to then enter it as an 'order'. The courts have zero jurisdiction nor can they "Order" the no's of housing or any other land use specificity. And although the 'consultants' on the development of the 'public process' were challenged incessantly about falsely continuing to refer to a 'judgement' they did not. They know where their bread was buttered. Tom Butt, on his own without a consensus vote from City Council appointed a sub-committee to participate in the settlement process. He pulled in one person who only does Tom's bidding because he is scared to death of his job at MCE - where Tom sits on the board, and a young, naive councilor who had ZERO history of the property and a tangible bias about housing - to basically be a rubber stamp on providing a 5 car lane opening for his buddy Jim Levine to do whatever he wanted. The entire process was shameful.

If ANYONE in the City of Richmond should be ashamed and stand back from his biased 'OK WHITE BOOMER' standpoint - it is Tom Butt.

Posted by Pierson on 11/17/2019 at 5:05 PM

Re: “Let's Speak Truth About America's Housing Crisis

Dear Jerry,

You stated:

"The issue concerns whether the economy has improved under Trump."

That is pure reification.

For "the issue" at hand, per the article we all (hopefully) read, is in essence: "how do we best address what is widely recognized as the housing crisis".

Not sure how you converted that to what reads as a MAGA referendum on Trumps "economic miracle", but there ya go. :)

Agreed that facts are helpful-so is sticking to the issue under discussion. ;)

To me, the latter is a heck of a lot more important than the former....and both together is even more so.

Posted by LT2012 on 11/17/2019 at 4:09 PM

Re: “Let's Speak Truth About America's Housing Crisis

Hi Mr. Patton,

In no way does my post suggest you are Black. Your effort to bring some kind of racial animus in to this discussion reveals more about you than about me. Second,you do not bring forward statistics because you have none to prove your points. You just argue by invective and and not by facts. By the way, Hispanic unemployment also is at all time lows.

Can you please stop the invectives and engage in a rational discussion? The issue concerns whether the economy has improved under Trump. The data are clear. Although President Obama did some good things, he just did not know how to stimulate an economy. After all, he was a community organizer from Chicago, without any real business or economic experience. What did you expect?

By the way, regarding the Chinese economy, it started to improve most when it adopted Capitalist methods of production and distribution. In fact, some Chinese younger people find more capitalist opportunities in China than in the U.S. Where would China be without the investment of Apple and similar companies? China had to attract American capitalist enterprise to China. Of course, you need to watch out for the Communist Party at all times, as you would recognize if you visited China. The people in Hong Kong are protesting for good reason.

Posted by Jerry Udinksy on 11/17/2019 at 3:46 PM

Re: “Let's Speak Truth About America's Housing Crisis

First of all Jerry, why do you assume that I am Black? You do not know me. That assumption says a lot about you. Secondly, It is commonly accepted in the real world and easily found economic statistics illustrating the rise of the economy under Obama after Bush nearly drove the country off a cliff. However, what good would it do for me to spend my time trying to educate people like you? Your comments clearly indicate the problem with our country today. Half the population lives in a bubble where Trump, a dumb, lazy carnival barker somehow is the "great leader". It does not matter to your ilk that he not only kisses Putins ass, but he and the clown car he brought to Washington is screwing this country every single day. He is responsible for needless deaths, destruction of the environment and chaos over the world with his thoughtless tweets which is no more than foreign policy from a fool. He lies every time he opens his mouth. I think the latest numbers are approaching 20,000 and since you like numbers, look that up. At the end of the day, anybody can find numbers from somewhere that support any opinion. What matters most is truth, which you obviously know little about. By the way Jerry, any statistic from a federal agency led by a Trump appointee is highly suspect. Remember that EPA reports are no longer allowed to contain the words "climate change". That is your heroes brilliant solution to the problem. Lastly, see the comments from LT2012.

Posted by GPatton on 11/17/2019 at 11:22 AM

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