Narrow Search

Comment Archives: stories: Last 30 Days

Re: “Oakland City Council to Hold Hearing on Controversial ICE Raid and Oakland Police Misinformation

Just sick that some residents think it awful about rounding up illegal aliens. When there is a will (which there is) there is a way. And please quit calling illegal aliens as immigrants. They are not. Let's all pay more taxes and reduce this population in CA from close to 8% of the population by at least half....and defund all the activist orgs in Oakland and Berkeley for starters!!

Posted by Mike Mitchell on 10/13/2017 at 9:34 AM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

Apart from the failings of our current City Auditor, it helps to consider that of the last 4 City Auditors, only one of the them, Courtney Ruby, even came close to scrutinizing the politically powerful. I see her report on pension funding problems the high point of her term in office. The report was issued, Ruby publicized it well, spoke before Council, and that was the end of it. She gave it a good try and then gave up in the face of an unreceptive City Council and an electorate that was more concerned with how to save for their own retirements than worry about how the city would pay for its retirement obligations.

Roland Smith's most controversial audit was questioning the car allowances given to city officials.

Before Smith we had Norma Lau. Ms. Lau was elected to 5 terms in office. People often talk of the "beloved" Norma Lau. A former staff member of hers explained that Norma Lau often told him that to survive as Auditor you have "to go along, to get along." I asked him about the OPD overtime audit I had heard her office performed. He said it was effectively a whitewash.

Interesting thing is that Ms Roberts did hire some very "heavy" internal auditors, such as the former head of Kaiser's internal audit dept. The mystery is why Ms. Roberts would hire someone like that but not give them free rein to do their job.

I'm not sure what the long-term solution is to give our City Auditors the backbone to audit the heck out of city operations and contracts. Making it an appointed position under the City Administrator or Mayor would make any Auditor, even more, risk averse. Making Auditor a civil service position is worth considering but also guarantees the Auditor won't be answerable to the voters. It doesn't guarantee that they'll aggressively audit and earn the trust of potential whistleblowers that their tips won't get sent to the round file. Raising the compensation of the Auditor to that of the City Attorney is part of the solution to attracting qualified candidates. It's a lot to expect a successful CPA or Internal Auditor upper manager from private industry to take a job that pays less than private industry and rewards aggressive auditing with 0 job security.

(MJ, if I got the facts wrong about the procedures of the County Democrat endorsement process, blame my ignorance of the opaque process. I naively thought both of us would go to the full group, and get grilled about issues and platforms. That didn't happen. When Ms. Roberts turn came first, out came something like "I'm proud and gratified to be endorsed by...." and she rattled off virtually every well known elected local Democratic official. Ms. Roberts ignored the questions and repeated something irrelevant about how she supported Women's Rights and Equal Opportunity. I watched the delegates nod their approval automatically. I was disappointed and knew I was a dead man walking, but I kept on campaigning and educating voters about the issues. Plus I enjoyed talking with voters and learning a lot about Oakland issues from them. A couple of years after my route, I went back and ran for a seat on the Dem Central Comm. as a Berniecrat with a platform of requiring endorsed candidates to support repeal of the police officers bill of rights. I had thought people were uninformed about the job of Auditor. I found they were even less informed about the role of the Dem Central Comm. )

Len Raphael, CPA
Temescal

Posted by Len Raphael on 10/13/2017 at 2:32 AM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

Len -

I need to call you out on your statement that the full committee and Democratic Party endorsed Ms. Roberts. This is factually incorrect and you knew this. I pulled her from the consent calendar and this made sense to give you and her an opportunity to make your case. On that meeting I and other members made the case against Ms. Roberts. It just a fact. We are all entitled to our own opinion and you certainly are but not entitled to your own facts.

MJ

Posted by oaklandnow on 10/13/2017 at 12:44 AM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

Interesting that no one comments that Roberts is doing a good job.

Posted by Naomi_Schiff on 10/12/2017 at 10:59 PM

Re: “How Peet's Starbucked Itself

The Thrill is Gone:
I have drunk Peet's for 41 years. I still remember THE most ethereal cup of coffee I ever drank: Jamaica Blue Mountain, 1981. But I have drunk my last. For years, I lived in Berkeley and made weekly coffee runs to the original Peet's store at Walnut & Vine. The staff was knowledgeable, and proud of where they worked. And no matter where I lived in the country over the past three decades, I ordered Peet's coffee & had it shipped to me. No more. The quality of the coffee has plummeted from the lofty standards of Mr. Peet. And the stores look like they've been McDonalized. I loved Peet's. But the thrill is gone. Mr. Peet would turn over in his grave. DMD

Posted by Dogzz on 10/12/2017 at 8:40 PM

Re: “Oakland Police Chief Made False Statements About ICE Raid

Hi Bruce,

No, that's incorrect. Police Chief Kirkpatrick did state that she gave erroneous information to the OPD Public Information Officer and that information was disseminated by OPD and then later deleted. There were never any warrants or allegations of sexual trafficking, as OPD has confirmed.

Posted by Tracy Rosenberg on 10/12/2017 at 7:59 PM
Posted by RobertLauriston on 10/12/2017 at 7:50 PM

Re: “Young Professionals Only? Housemates Accuse Landlord of Rejecting Subtenant Applications in Hopes of Vacating Rent-Controlled Unit.

Linda Lonay was my landlord and deserves any negative press coming her way. When I lived in her place, it became infested by mice. When I complained, her and her husband simply dropped off mouse traps. After my roommate and I killed/disposed all of the mice, the master tenant moved out. She then proceeded to raise our rent by nearly $1,000/month, WAY above what that place was worth. This was actually highly illegal, as our communications would have legally qualified me as a tenant not a sub tenant. Still, the place was in such poor condition, infested by mold (which her and her husband just told me to "open the window to avoid" and didn't fix it), and in such a horrible neighborhood (crackheads EVERYWHERE) that I wanted to just avoid conflict and move out of there. All of the tenants who moved into the complex after me were white, Asian, Indian, or tech workers. Her and her husband are racist, greedy people. I was very happy to see this article, and hope they get what they deserve! Definitely rent from Linda Lonay and Muhammed Hooshmand if you want to pay $3300/month for a moldy 2 bedroom on 34th and Market in West Oakland!

Posted by Andrew Levin on 10/12/2017 at 4:13 PM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

Len, the Alameda Party Democratic Party did not "unanimously" endorse Brendra Roberts. I, for one, voted for you because you had an actual plan of which agencies you were going to audit and why. Roberts had platitudes.

Ironically, it was Sharon Ball, a member of the Central Committee, who argued that we should endorse Roberts and convinced many committee members to do the same.

Posted by Margarita Lacabe on 10/12/2017 at 2:09 PM

Re: “Fires Threaten California’s First Legal Pot Crop

Good.

Posted by Dan Olson on 10/12/2017 at 1:50 PM

Re: “Oakland Police Chief Made False Statements About ICE Raid

Sorry Ms Rosenberg,

Per this statement:

Among the issues raised by Hofer:
On the day of the raid, the OPD issued a notification saying ICE was carrying out a "sex trafficking" operation involving "juveniles."

But there is no evidence that the raid was conducted pursuant to any sex trafficking allegations. OPD later deleted the notification and issued a different one stating it was a "human trafficking" investigation instead.

In this article:
https://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/a…

There was in fact said statement made. You have alleged it was OPDs imagination with no supporting information.

The rest of your statement is seems accurate. There was no sex trafficking, but that SEEMS to be what they were told and what they reported.

I did in fact read the much earlier article. It does seem that OPD was manipulated by ICE, at least from the perspective of an arm chair quarterback.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 10/12/2017 at 1:05 PM

Re: “Oakland Police Chief Made False Statements About ICE Raid

There wasn't any sex trafficking alleged. OPD has acknowledged providing false information to the TV stations. The sex trafficking was a figment of OPD's imagination. It's not possible to be held responsible for condoning something that never existed in the first place. With regard to non-sexual trafficking, there were no victims, the non-juvenile (age 20) taken from the house was returned to it BY ICE, and the young man (age 25) arrested has been charged with nothing but being undocumented seven weeks later. The only thing OPD could be seen as doing is not participating in a civil immigration arrest. Both Oakland's sanctuary policy and OPD's own internal policy stat that OPD does not and should not participate in civil immigration arrests. It doesn't require any armchair quarterbacking. Getting the facts is neither demagoguery nor divisiveness. It's how you ascertain what actually happened apart from various people's representations of what happened.

Posted by Tracy Rosenberg on 10/12/2017 at 12:33 PM

Re: “Chilli Padi, the East Bay's Only Malaysian Restaurant, Closes

Noooooooooooooooo : (

Posted by Lisa Emily on 10/12/2017 at 12:23 PM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

Ms. Roberts changed her registration from American Independent to Dem on the day she registered to run for Auditor.

That's the offshoot of the segregationist party formed by the bad old George Wallace before he recanted some of his racism.

The Alameda County Dem Council knew both of our registration histories ahead of their vote.

They also knew that several years before I was a registered Republican who switched to Democrat and that I had contributed money and time to Obamba campaign.

Before the County Dems unanimously endorsed Ms. Roberts, one of the ACDCC members told me how the ACCDC was sure Brenda thought that American Independent Party registration just meant "independent."

For that to be true, Ms. Roberts for years would have had to have tossed the election mailers from the AIP without glancing at them.

Reading how she treated her black staffer like a slave, puts that American Independent Party registration in a different light.

Posted by Len Raphael on 10/12/2017 at 12:07 PM

Re: “Oakland Police Chief Made False Statements About ICE Raid

I'm LMAO at Oakland. As Chip Johnson said: "Everything in Oakland is a fight." (He said that from his new home far away.)

This Chief was appointed as the liberal dream chief. Female, sensitive, aware of diversity, open to social justice, and so on. The wolves have already circled her. Nobody in their right mind will ever run for this job.

Posted by Ernest Montague on 10/12/2017 at 8:49 AM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

Sadly, the City Manager and City Council will do nothing in this instance. They are afraid of another lawsuit, the second most popular sport of Oakland Employees.

Posted by Ernest Montague on 10/12/2017 at 8:35 AM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

Now we know why the Ghost Ship warehouse wasn't on the auditor's list of buildings in the cities inventory...
The EB-5 visa program has been turned into a criminal enterprise and properties are being "land-banked". Kickbacks are being given and property assessments are fraudulent.
The owner of the Ghost Ship is about to get a $3 million payout from the insurance company, for a fire at a building that had never been inspected.
The City of Oakland is a criminal enterprise!
Sincerely,
Allen Sanford
https://www.facebook.com/RealEstateFraudOr…

Posted by Allen Sanford on 10/12/2017 at 8:21 AM

Re: “Some Oakland Landlords Are Using a Legal Loophole to Exempt Housing from Rent Control

One of the tenants asks where to go to get clarification about the law. That is exactly what a lawyer does. Also, the law says that the landlord must substantially rehabilitate the unit it wishes to exempt. Rehabilitate, gpby its definition, means a great deal more than doing maintenance. If a building needs expensive maintenance, it only means that the landlord has not been maintaining the building up to this point or that the building needs something expensive like a new roof or heating system. However, just because something is expensive does not mean that it is part of a rehabilitation of the building. Buildings need new roofs periodically. This is the cost of doing business. Similarly, appliances occasionally need to be replaced or updated. Just because the landlord did not plan ahead to bank money for a major necessary expenditure or did not do it's due diligence of foreseeable immediate costs when purchasing a building, the landlord should not be allowed to game the system to get the tenant to pay exhorbitant rents. While I agree that rent increases should keep in step with inflation and not be limited too artificially, a landlord should have to truly rehabilitate a property that is otherwise "broken" (if such an exemption is going to exist at all) before s/he is allowed to jettison rent control. So, if you want to fight a landlord who is wrongfully seeking exemption from rent control, go talk to a reputable lawyer.

Posted by priorattorney on 10/12/2017 at 2:32 AM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

Call this sour grapes, since I was the other candidate whom Ms. Roberts trounced in the election. But the legions of well known public officials and the boards of the biggest Oakland municipal unions, got exactly the hear no evil, see no evil City Auditor they wanted.

In Ms. Roberts, they had someone unknown and unconnected to most of Oakland, who had lived all her time in Oakland in a gated hills community and commuted thru the flats to get to SF or Emeryville. They got someone completely dependent on their endorsements to get re-elected.

Background: Much more so than in the local district races or even citywide races such as Mayor which get decent media attention, the endorsement of the Alameda County Democratic Committee is essential to winning in low information race. That endorsement gets you on the relatively inexpensive mailing pieces Endorsed by the Democratic Party.

And most voters assume that if the Democratic Party endorses one candidate, then the other candidate must be a Republican, Green Party, or Peace and Freedom. In fact, the local branch of the Democratic Party had endorsed me over Ms. Roberts, but likely a few phone calls were made, and the full County Committee unanimously endorsed Ms. Roberts. In a prior interview, the politically influential Fire Fighters Association had flatly told me that did not want an Auditor on record calling for public discussion of city employee retirement benefits. The Police Officers Association board told me they would not accept an Auditor who both supported greater police accountability (Im still the Treasurer for the Coalition for Police Accountability, aka Measure LL) and questioned high police disability and overtime pay. Ms. Roberts, bless her, probably didnt even know what the issues were.

Most voters reasonably assumed that Ms. Roberts was the better candidate because she had years of experience as an auditor, where I was merely a CPA tax accountant with years of participation in Oakland civic and community activities. Hey, everything else being equal, theyd be correct.

The media never had the time to explain to voters that the City Auditor doesnt perform audits. The Auditor hires an Assistant Auditor who manages the staff of field auditors and others. The Auditor sets goals, selects some of the audit areas, and communicates findings to the public and Council.

I asked a TV reporter at a mayoral election event why no Auditor race coverage. She answered that her boss gave her 3 minutes of airtime to cover the Mayoral and all the Council races. 0 for Auditor race. The media did not bother even to verify the resumes of either candidate for Auditor. And the only checking that the City Clerk does is make sure the Auditor candidates have current CPA or management auditor certifications. People do more background checking on their dog walker.

But what made me laugh at one of the first forums were the words from Ms. Roberts surrogate, the Berkeley City Auditor. How Ms. Roberts must be the better candidate because even though she didnt know much about Ms. Roberts, she knew a lot about me. How I had been politically active for years. How that meant Ms. Roberts would be objective, not partisan like me.

Ms. Roberts took that cue and made her complete ignorance of Oakland into a strength, not a weakness. In the poorly attended, few public forums in which we both spoke, Ms. Roberts smoothly repeated the mantra how she would apply objective, scientific audit methods to determine which areas needed to be audited. That didnt work so well going to door to door, or face to face with voters when people asked for specifics, but the media swallowed it whole. It wasnt just the East Bay Express who endorsed Ms. Roberts; it was also the former Oakland Tribune.

Ironically, more than a few voters told me I was too combative and angry to be effective, while Ms. Roberts was so even-tempered and mild.

Posted by Len Raphael on 10/12/2017 at 2:08 AM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

"Not long after Roberts arrived at City Hall, the office's work slowed to a crawl" This is not unintentional. Roberts knows she only has one job - and that's to not rock the boat - dont investigate the city contracts (and upset the unions), don't make enemies with the mayor or city council members, and you can sail into office again with 80% off the vote. This is what she promised in 2014 - not to rock the boat - and she was endorsed by all the special interest groups.

But then how do you manage competent people working for you who feel they lack a sense of purpose or direction? Make them feel that the problem is them.

Posted by Clarence C. Johnson on 10/11/2017 at 9:40 PM

Most Popular Stories


© 2017 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation