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Re: “Oakland Officials Are Divided Over a Proposal to Create a New Department of Violence Prevention

What? Another commission/ department to "study"an urgent problem? Perhaps energy and resources could be better utilized in making a serious attempt to get to the root of violent crime. Forming departments is taking the road of least resistence.

Posted by Tyron C. Jordan on 05/16/2017 at 10:15 PM

Re: “Oakland Officials Are Divided Over a Proposal to Create a New Department of Violence Prevention

While Oakland has one of the highest per capita violence rate in the country and something needs to be done, has this been done anyplace else? Is there any evidence that additional bureaucracy will be a solution or is this just theater to facilitate feeding money to council members pet projects.

We certainly need to stop the bullets flying.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 05/16/2017 at 8:39 PM

Re: “Oakland Officials Are Divided Over a Proposal to Create a New Department of Violence Prevention

Wait, what?

"citing the need for more evidence that the existing programs arent working..."

If Oakland has one of the highest violence and homicide rates in the nation, isn't that prima facie evidence that existing programs aren't working?

Posted by JP Massar on 05/16/2017 at 3:40 PM

Re: “Oakland Fire Department Hits Hills Homeowners With Erroneous Inspection Bills


I am not sure what a "bread and circuses mentality" is but I think I understand your difficulty in accepting any perspective which may differ from your own. I think the common term for what you are doing is "trolling."

I haven't made any claim regarding my expertise in fire prevention.

I live in a neighborhood which is subject to Fire Department inspections. I know my neighbors and their houses well. For many years I have read and understood the standards for landscape managment as stated in the flier which is distributed
to residents of my neighborhood and other such neighborhoods vulnerable to wildfire.

There is not a single house, among more than 100 nearby houses, which meets the standards defined in the flier. None is even close. Although I cut back my trees and shrubs each year, I don't meet the standards. My inspections each year invariably pass.

Thus this observation: the current system doesn't work. If the flier is to be taken at face value, houses in my neighborhood are quite vulnerable to wildfire. I am quite sure the situation is the same in other neighborhoods in and adjacent to the hills. Residents do not want to remove all the trees and shrubs which are close to one another and close to their houses.

Thus I suggest a redo of the wildfire policy. I do not have the answer and I think a committee of wildfire professionals could possibly come up with a more feasible plan which actually might provide some wildfire protection where the current policy does not.

You have a very hard head Mr. Troll. I hope that some other readers, perhaps some in city hall, will find my suggestions helpful.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 05/16/2017 at 10:46 AM

Re: “A New Plan For Oakland’s Planning Commission

The Planning Commission is definitely weighted toward developer interests, a reflection of Mayor Schaaf's open door policy for developers. But to think of Ms. Myres as being a community defender. I witnessed her on occasions to side strongly with developers despite strong neighborhood oppositions. Her support toward developers was even contrary to City policy as laid out in zoning policy. I also found that her "design" comments were shallow and showed a basic lacking in understanding of the principals of Urban Design. Its depressing to think that Ms. Myres is the best Oakland's got.

Posted by Charlie Chan on 05/15/2017 at 9:26 AM

Re: “Oakland Fire Department Hits Hills Homeowners With Erroneous Inspection Bills

Hobart, tell me... Where did you study fire prevention? And what EXACTLY do you propose as a "new approach"?

It's FAR too easy to say "We need something new... You come up with it and we'll take cheap shots, never offering a constructive critique".

Fire prevention professionals presented known to work methodologies to protect people and property. So far, I've seen NO suggested alternatives... Just "We don't like what there is so make something we do like".

BAH! Bread and circuses mentality.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 05/14/2017 at 1:43 PM

Re: “Oakland Fire Department Hits Hills Homeowners With Erroneous Inspection Bills

Yes the landscape control specified in the city's flier sent to those in the wildfire zone would no doubt be effective in reducing fire vulnerability.
That is not at issue.

The problem is that the actual implementation of such landscape control is not realistic. That means simply not possible. Thus, if Oakland is to be proactive in reducing vulnerabilty to wildfire, a new approach is needed.

Reality is the critical factor in much of Oakland's governance failure. When government fails, elected officials are, legally and rationally, those who need to shoulder the responsibility.

What happened in the fire in '91 is actually not relevant to protecting Oakland from wildfire in the future. For one thing there is the possiblity, even the likelihood, of ongoing very dry years and very wet years. Unless of course one's disbelief in global climate change is strong enough to affect weather patterns.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 05/14/2017 at 9:45 AM

Re: “Oakland Fire Department Hits Hills Homeowners With Erroneous Inspection Bills

Uhhh... Actually, they policies reflect a knowledge of what happens when vegetation is allowed to grow unchecked, resulting in a wild fire like the one in '91... Approximately 1.5 billion in destroyed property (over 2800 single family homes, over 400 apartments and condos) , loss of life (25 killed, 150 injured) and screams that the city is responsible.

Point in fact, it may have been called the Oakland Hills fire, but it was Berkeley FD that screwed the pooch on that one.

And again, home owner acting as if nothing they do effects anyone else (But I like the wild look).

Yes, OFD has a records problem... Very like the one that allowed Ghost Ship to kill over 30 people. Why? Plain and simple; The city doesn't have the revenue it needs.

When I see that Oakland collects 7 million annually for Raiders games and spends 8 million to support those games, I see red.

I see over the last 20 years, 20 million dollars for "civic pride"... And pot holes in the streets, record keeping undone, past and current city council members jockeying to be next pocket Boss Tweed in Oakland, pretending to be shocked that legislation they themselves wrote is ACTUALLY implemented as they wrote it...

"Oh MY what a scandal!" trumpets the EBX sock puppet, "Fire the Mayor!"


Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 05/14/2017 at 12:03 AM

Re: “Oakland Fire Department Hits Hills Homeowners With Erroneous Inspection Bills

The standards (as defined in the OFD flier mailed out each year) for houses in the potential fire area are impossible to meet without clearcutting all shrubs and trees around many thousands of houses.

The firemen and women who have to do the inspections have an overwhelming task. They are not arborists and even if they were very sophisticated in landscape analysis regarding fire potential, they have not nearly the personnel or the time to do the job.

Bottom line is that the legislation, like so much public policy in Oakland, reflects a Council and a Mayor absolutely out-of-touch with reality. The burden on both homeowners and the Fire Department is quite impractical and is absolutely ineffective.

The whole project needs a redo, with a clear idea about how much time and energy the Fire Department can devote to such a project and with a focus on eliminating only the the most important kinds of vulnerabilities to the spread of wildfire.

Will the redo be done? Like all the other needs we have for real problem-solving by city hall, we're strictly out-of-luck.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 05/13/2017 at 6:52 PM

Re: “Oakland Fire Department Hits Hills Homeowners With Erroneous Inspection Bills

I'd guess the city contracted with a third party to share revenue. If so, the third party would have no interest in fairness. Does anyone know?

Clearly few keep documents needed to prove whether who is in error beyond a year. Any fine not noticed to homeowner within a year should be invalid.

Allan Feinstein

Posted by Allan Feinstein on 05/13/2017 at 11:37 AM

Re: “Oakland Landlord Evicts Tenant, Then Hangs Pro-Trump Billboard on Building

I also got evicted on Christmas Day from my sweet Nob Hill flat, rent controlled with dirt cheap rent, when a new owner bought the place. I was devastated and inconsolable for weeks as I faced the daunting rental market. I ended up finding a great studio in rockridge area, at market rent but I could afford it. the landlord, Ed Lantz, didn't gouge me on the rent and eventually even mentored me on buying my own property. Things can seem terrible but if you can let go and open yourself to something new, you might find it Jahahara, take a deep breath, get what you can from the landlord, and move on. I think it would probably be worse continuing to struggle with him. As great as lake Merritt is, the world is full of so many other great places.

Posted by renterlandlord on 05/13/2017 at 7:16 AM

Re: “California Teachers Have Been Financing Evictions

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Posted by Gina Acampora on 05/12/2017 at 11:01 PM

Re: “Oakland Fire Department Hits Hills Homeowners With Erroneous Inspection Bills

These inspections where voted down by the voters a few years ago and yet the City continuous to inspect. Instead of abiding by the majority vote and halting this program which in reality serves no real purpose! The City does not maintain the City owned public lands, EBRP does not maintain theirs, CalTrans, etc etc!!!

How soon we forget who allowed the fire which started the Firestorm to get out of hand due to lack of training and expertise! Same almost happened last year off Keller till public phone calls reminded the OFD that they should get their --- back up to the site and monitor it!

This is discriminatory in nature by the City and the Fire Department. It is time that a Property Owners Association be formed, to represent the property owners throughout Oakland, with an elected board that can then represent the facts, educate and give political clout to the ones the City sees fit to gauge consistently. Because Oakland can't get it's act together and attract sales tax base businesses to fill the coffers in a cash strapped government we, the property owners, are expected to pay and pay while the different city departments do nothing and Oakland is depicted as a city from the third world!

It is also time to revisit all the Property tax assessments that Oakland property owners have been asked to pay over these many years and yet receive no services in return. The City is in a mess and the Leadership has not a clue, yet keeps coming up with "new" programs that return nothing to the City but line pockets of a few at our expense!

Oakland needs to be audited by an outside agency to find out where all our monies are going! The Oakland Fire Department has been flush with money from the many grants and millions given from monies voted on my voters, believing that things will change! The fire department does the footwork by going door to door to sell the various Measures that have been on the ballot over the years and reap in a fine share of the proceeds as their reward!!

Posted by Nancy Sidebotham 1 on 05/11/2017 at 9:19 PM

Re: “Oakland Fire Department Hits Hills Homeowners With Erroneous Inspection Bills

This is what you should do when you make a mistake, Campbell Washington said about the departments new plan

What they should do is compensate citizens for the systemic time-burn created by their errors and omissions. Only then will there be real change, as presently there are no consequences to their issuing false fines and fees. A citizen not having to pay an unjust fee or fine that they never should have charged in the first is hardly a win.

Here's a thought - work with your community and educate them on fire safety - and communicate clearly what the rules are. I am shocking how many up here are enraged, confused or stressed about this matter

Meanwhile - the City cannot fill pot holes, resolve homeless camps or illegal dumping or clean up their own lots, and we do not see them "fining themselves" do we? Instead we see their acting CEOs (Chief Excuse Officers) providing various "messaging" about why they cannot or will not fix things.

Posted by Bennett Hall on 05/11/2017 at 4:39 PM

Re: “A New Plan For Oakland’s Planning Commission

"We want an Oakland for all. Currently, planning commissioners are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by City Council, our elected representatives.

"Too often, these nomination decisions are made behind closed doors and benefit both their personal friends and political donors."

Well put. Oakland needs to elect a Mayor and Council Members who serve the ordinary people of Oakland, all of them, not just the wealthy and priviledged, out-of-towners and transplants. Those folks can take care of
themselves, and do.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 05/11/2017 at 9:51 AM

Re: “Supporter of Controversial Israeli Settlements Would Benefit from Exclusive Oakland Public Land Deal

+Mitchell Halberstadt
So what about nearly every israeli PM to date ? aren't they "an embarrassment to you, as a Jew" ? you should be getting used to it by now !
But apart from that, why are entities - people - not supposed to take a position on issues ? - particularly mass murder and mega-theft.
So Zimmerman's "little operation" supports the extreme right - what's new there ?
You sound such a well-intentioned guy.

Posted by Gerard Gilbert Vaughan on 05/11/2017 at 3:51 AM

Re: “Supporter of Controversial Israeli Settlements Would Benefit from Exclusive Oakland Public Land Deal

This article is another fantastic piece of journalism by Darwin Bondgraham. After winning a Polk award earlier this year, Bondgraham continues to inform Oakland/East Bay residents with writing that reflects humanity and mindfulness (not simple robot reporting).

Do East Bay residents want to know whether a local city government is making deals with a developer who is actively contributing large sums of money to efforts that undermine the security of Israel and Palestine and break international law? Why yes, they do!

Is this information relevant to all of us who want to know how and where our local community has an impact globally? You bet.

Should our local governments be making investments and property deals with individuals or organizations involved in efforts such as this? No, they should not. And thank you Darwin Bondgraham for informing us of this.

The settlement movement: is illegal, makes Israel less safe, makes Palestine less safe, and makes us all, in this hyper-connected world, less safe.

Investments are not simply business decisions they are connected to ethics and politics. Anyone getting upset at a journalist making ethical connections (and not reporting like a robot) echos the bully club of the Donald administration and their attack on reporters and news they dont want exposed.

Thanks for connecting the dots Darwin.

Posted by ZWEEN WORKS on 05/10/2017 at 4:53 PM

Re: “Loopholes in ADA Law Make "No Pets" Clauses Nearly Impossible to Enforce

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Posted by Austin Gift 1 on 05/10/2017 at 4:24 PM

Re: “Neighbors Along One Fruitvale Street Are Organizing to Stop a Controversial Eviction

Simon-Weisberg is right: the city needs to do more! This article is great, and reads like a crime story ... but what is the city doing to stop this criminal preying on innocent renters. This landlord is committing fraud.

Posted by ZWEEN WORKS on 05/10/2017 at 2:24 PM

Re: “Supporter of Controversial Israeli Settlements Would Benefit from Exclusive Oakland Public Land Deal

I don't think Oakland ought to be taking a position on the Israeli settlements -- but I'm disturbed that Zimmerman has contributed money to David Horowitz, a right-wing bigot that I consider an embarrassment to me as a Jew.

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 05/09/2017 at 11:10 PM

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