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Re: “Why Derick Almena Deserves the Most Scorn

Rereading the above, I realize I was using some strong language. The anniversary is a rather heavy time. Pardon the oversight but please take the points.

Posted by Jonah Strauss 1 on 12/03/2017 at 10:07 AM

Re: “Abalone Collapse with Kelp Forests

This is very concerning, however there are many people focused on working on solutions that reimagine the way we relate to our ocean ecosystems. Concerned California citizens have been partnering with and CA Fish and Wildlife to strategize on how to successfully permit and implement restorative ocean enterprises that restore kelp forests through actively seeding native varieties of kelp to help repopulate kelp forests. Please reach out to support's work and sponsor this CA initiative.

Erin Axelrod
Sonoma County, CA

Posted by Erin Axelrod on 12/03/2017 at 6:54 AM

Re: “Why Derick Almena Deserves the Most Scorn

Robert, everyone already knows Almena shoulders the primary responsibility, so I don't understand the source of your fervor. Regarding Harris, I'm sure you have the resources to dig a little deeper than what went into the sentiment you're expressing here. There are pretty significant differences -- just ask community members. Remember that the DA has a PR goal, and charges may have to change after deposition this week.

The article comes off as pretty mainstream in its reactionary tone, which was the standard MSM approach a year ago. Your Oakland Magazine article (January?) was along similar lines, though I can see you've toned it down since then.

You've got the tacit agreement thing between tenants/landlords/City described accurately, and you are certainly correct that tenants who build out non-conforming spaces -- typically with owner permission -- have historically taken great pride in their work and in its long term safety and stability. That was nice to see acknowledged in print after all these months.

Regarding the building department, you are a little misinformed, which is surprising coming from the editor of the Express. That is most clear here:

"But requiring city employees to determine which spaces are clearly dangerous and need to be shut down like the Ghost Ship and which ones only present minor hazards that need to be fixed is not so simple. Such a protocol, if it were established, also could expose the city to further liability, especially if people were to die in a fire in a warehouse that the city had deemed to be not that bad."

While technically true, this last sentence is fearmongering, no better than internet whackos who call for widespread evictions. Warehouse & non-conforming unit safety advocates have been meeting with select City officials for many months to design an appropriate path forward, one that is hardly touched upon in the Anniversary Report and in the Mayor and Administrator's rhetoric. Both parties share the same concern for life safety, and recognize that there are very few (if any) spaces left like Ghost Ship since the community did its own cleanup in the first half of 2017.

There are clear and simple ways to define what is and is not a life safety hazard. And contrary to Rich Fielding's historical approach, a collection of common code violations does not necessarily equal a life safety hazard. I look forward to seeing a hierarchy of compliance priorities in the future -- such as that used by community safety organizations -- adopted by Code Enforcement. There is no reason that such a practice would increase liability, as imminent life safety hazards do indeed require temporary relocation for repairs. Even in highly problematic cases where tenants can not be moved, such as 2551 San Pablo, the City can always order a 24-hour fire watch (which I believe would have saved that building).

If you need to worry about it, worry instead about the hazards that Code Enforcement is often careless about attending to, namely the pervasive violations in conventional multifamily housing available to low-income folks. You'd be alarmed at the callous approach of inspectors. From water damage and mold to uneven floors and shoddy electrical work, there are many violations that landowners are allowed to explain away or never be cited for -- provided, of course, that the tenants are poor and typically people of color.

Posted by Jonah Strauss 1 on 12/03/2017 at 5:46 AM

Re: “Why Derick Almena Deserves the Most Scorn

Who the heck writes these articles these days? What generation are these writers mostly derived from? What happened to writing articles of actual substance, and not just repeating 3 things, 6 different ways, in order to be able to hit the word count necessary, to look like a real news article?

Posted by Nicole Celli on 12/03/2017 at 2:07 AM

Re: “Why Derick Almena Deserves the Most Scorn

Second floor was built out of redwood springboard floor by previous tenants. Same for roof. Was not designed for the building.

Could have had ceramics in there and sprinklers everywhere. Since it was an electrical fire, it would have still went up.

Derrick "rigged" the electrical because it was actually causing problems before.

This article is semantics.

Posted by Marcavius on 12/01/2017 at 2:52 PM

Re: “Abalone Collapse with Kelp Forests

The Sixth Great Extinction. We're probably not that far down the list.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 12/01/2017 at 7:56 AM

Re: “Why Derick Almena Deserves the Most Scorn

Any person, entity, anyone who could have stopped this ship from sailing bears responsibility. Fail after fail. This includes PG&E.

Posted by Andy Kershaw on 12/01/2017 at 6:04 AM

Re: “Oakland Schools Grapple with Another Financial Crisis

Thanks to EB Express for their in depth coverage.

Here's a link to the No Cuts to Schools petition that is helping turn the tide against cutting funds to our schools & students, helping to create awareness & helping School Board members know the level of of opposition to these proposed school cuts:…

Please get the word out by email & social media to your friends, neighbors & family.

Posted by Hugh Morrison 1 on 11/30/2017 at 2:35 PM

Re: “Abalone Collapse with Kelp Forests

Nature has it's own ability to recover but sometimes we need to help them to heal or recover.
We all need to harvest or remove purple urchins as many as possible and migrate starfishes and implement seaweed seed on to the bottom of the rocks.

Posted by Sungsik Joo on 11/30/2017 at 11:23 AM

Re: “Oakland Schools Grapple with Another Financial Crisis

I think every Oakland citizen should refuse to pay city taxes until our schools and police force are properly, fully and responsibly funded and managed.

Posted by Dayvid Jones on 11/30/2017 at 7:41 AM

Re: “Abalone Collapse with Kelp Forests

As a abalone diver who's been diving over 25 years I've never seen it so bad. Places I've dove for years are now a Barron waste land of urchins . This is a problem that I believe can be repaired. Bull kelp seed will lay dormant for years and grows fast. We as the stewards of our oceans must take action. Instead of taking your abalone and getting out take a bag of urchins. Fish and game could aslo put some of our tax dollars to work and hire these out of work urchins divers to clean up and harvest these purple urchins. The starfish are coming back slowly but it's up to us to fix this. A hand full of urchin divers could clean up a cove in a day and within a matter of weeks the kelp will start to return. We divers need to press Fish and Game to allocate money for the clean up of our ocean. 10 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the total collapse of one of the last great wild abalone populations in the world. I call on every sportman and woman to take action and put pressure on the fish and game to fix this. It can be done if we take action now . Let's not wait on fish and Game to do nothing which we all know will happen. Sometimes nature needs a little help. Starfish are coming back but without a effort to rid some of these coves of urchins there is no way the Starfish alone can solve this by themselves!! The time for action is now so please get involved and let's make sure your kids kids have the opertunity to enjoy one of natures greatest delicacys !!

Posted by Donald Gates on 11/30/2017 at 7:04 AM

Re: “Evictions After Ghost Ship

The living conditions that lead to the establishment of the Ghost Ship should not have been.
The living conditions which lead to the establishment of the Ghost Ship resulted from the collaboration between Jerry Brown, Henry Paulson and Steve Mnuchin.
The collaboration between these three men, has resulted in one third of the homeless people in America now living in California.
The collaboration between these three men, allowed MERS and associates to put 67 million illegally generated mortgage transactions into the system.
The collaboration of these three men, are what resulted in the Ghost Ship warehouse fire and the fire on San Pablo in Oakland, that have resulted in the deaths of 40 people.
My name is Allen Sanford and here is the proof, if you choose to know the truth!!!…

Posted by Allen Sanford on 11/30/2017 at 6:50 AM

Re: “Evictions After Ghost Ship

Alot of the officials/employees shutting down spaces might belong to unions. You should talk to the boards of the unions and the Labor Council and get them to pass a resolution supporting unpermitted live-work spaces.

Posted by Gary Gregerson on 11/29/2017 at 8:48 PM

Re: “Evictions After Ghost Ship

OK, listen up snowflakes. I'm one of the few, the proud. Not JUST a California native, but born and bred right here in the East Bay.

Over the past few weeks I've gotten sick to death of hearing how you can't afford to live in the urban areas of the Bay Area.

As a child, I lived here without questioning much of anything. In my teens my family moved because it had become too expensive and to be frank, they were crackers (yes, THAT kind of crackers). I barely made it out of high school. I wasn't cool. I never had a "posse" and no one had my back. I didn't go to college; I wasn't good at much of anything. Just too damned dumb to quit.

As a young adult, there was NO WAY I'd try to raise my kids in the urban areas... It was both too expensive AND too dangerous, unless it was one of the enclaves and then it was monstrously expensive and even more out of the question.

Bottom line, there is NO right to live in any particular place. The Okies (my parents) found that out. They found out about "sundown towns" too... Just like the other people who came to California found.

The kids are grown. I've been through more life changes than I like. I did things and was someone no one would be proud of. I made it out and I'm better now; Not good, but better.

Oakland is better now too; Not good, but better. It's going to continue to get better too and not because it will stay as it is, but because of change... And a LOT has to change.

I love to live in Oakland and here in my home, the Bay Area.

It got bad. Now it's better. It could only do that because it had to change and it did change. Just like I had to. It's gonna suck for a while. Embrace the suck.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 11/29/2017 at 8:16 PM

Re: “Abalone Collapse with Kelp Forests

Phil Sammet is diving in or near Fort Ross? Isn't that area closed? That location was decimated several years ago from a red tide and no wonder he saw no abalone there. Not a fair representation of the healthier populations further north. The kelp growth has actually increased this year from last in the spots we dive in northern Sonoma and southern Mendocino counties. No question about the urchins though. Everywhere except the isolated rock outcroppings where the abalone have clustered in big numbers and the urchins can't migrate across the sand. Those isolated areas also have abundant kelp growth again.

Posted by Scott E. on 11/29/2017 at 4:18 PM

Re: “Evictions After Ghost Ship

Hopefully they will keep evicting until all the substandard and dangerous habitats are closed. We don't need another Ghost Ship.

Posted by Ernest Montague on 11/29/2017 at 3:00 PM

Re: “Why Derick Almena Deserves the Most Scorn

Dear East Bay Express:

Hire some writers who know how to write. And spell. Spell-Check isnt enough.

Posted by John Michaels Grabowsky on 11/29/2017 at 1:37 PM

Re: “Evictions After Ghost Ship

Bay Area politicians have had a decade and more to learn from NYC's example, this is what legislation to protect lives looks like:……

Its not knee jerk evictions, not banning tent cities from our delicate eyesight or ass-covering for the powerful. The viable solutions are political and economic. Blame lies squarely with political leaders who wont lead, only fund-raise; banks with no incentive to develop non-profit communities only to extract fees. And, present journalist excepted, news organizations that dont report, just peddle ad impressions. Not least, major arts organizations that offer only freelance work to local artists, little or no thought given to funding and promoting local grass roots spaces. The big give has been SFMOMA deigning to publish a web page, the Open Space blog. Compare that with the $305M renovation of the Fisher family art barn.

Let's hope city officials throughout the Bay Area read this reporting, or that new political leaders who stand for more than profitability can take their place.

Posted by Porphyry Group on 11/29/2017 at 1:12 PM

Re: “Why Derick Almena Deserves the Most Scorn

"Theres also strong evidence that the buildings owners, the Ng family, were aware of the dangerous conditions inside. " Yeah, but they received a $3 million dollar insurance payout. If they aren't charged they'll be off to China tomorrow.

Posted by Vincent Blafard on 11/29/2017 at 12:38 PM

Re: “Oakland Schools Grapple with Another Financial Crisis

Yet another f*ck- up brought to you by the City of Oakland. Self-serving, corrupt, and myopic. No wonder Betsy Devos is licking her chops.

Posted by Vincent Blafard on 11/29/2017 at 12:30 PM

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