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Comment Archives: stories: Last 30 Days

Re: “Protests, Arrests After Berkeley Approves Contentious Urban Shield Program

What this Council meeting demonstrated beyond all doubt was that public comments at Berkeley City Council meetings are merely a form of false empowerment. Council members pretend to listen, or listen for comments supporting their positions, but comments against their predetermined positions are totally ignored. This meeting had 400+ people showing up and nearly all were against the militarization of police. In the 3-4 hours of public comment, only two people voiced support for police militarization. As with the previous Bates Council, the fix was in, the vote predetermined. Berkeley public meetings are a farce. It will take a major effort on the Council's part regain the public trust and demonstrate they are actually a representative body who listens.

I'd like to know more about the political forces that determine how the Council arrives at their predetermined votes. Who are the lobbyists who have the Council's ears? Are Council members so dependent on staff bureaucracy that staff can dictate how to vote? Or are there political groups whose influence the Council fears more than the voting public. In this most recent case it seems clear that Council members that voted for police militarization do not have the courage to stand up to the police prison industrial complex. One of the primary lobbying groups for this growth industry is the Police Officers Association (POA). One question to ask our Council members is how much are they influenced by fear of POA money and influence. What political calculation are they making?

Police lobbying groups have far too much influence on government. (https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/the-per…) They promote a culture of police secrecy and impunity, rallying to protect officers in scandal after scandal. A representative scandal is the recent sex crime scandal in Oakland. (https://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/oak…) If we are ever to reform our police and create less repressive community policing that is answerable to the public, we must deal with this lobbying force. This lobbying is driven by investor interest in growing the police-prison industrial complex. That complex now imprisons citizens at more than 5 times the rate of the rest of the world. (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/23/world/am…) Perhaps it is time to take a look at police lobbyists and who funds them.

Posted by James McFadden on 06/22/2017 at 9:56 AM

Re: “Oakland Police Commanders Who Buried Sex-Crime Scandal Investigation Were Later Promoted

Well, look on the bright side. Our new Department of Violence Prevention is going to hire a few new overpaid city employees who will propose a range of feel-good projects that will need still more funding. Then all of them will be ineffective against such a profoundly corrupt police and city leadership. Oh, did I say bright side? Oakland is deader and less hopeful than ever.

Posted by Mike Elwin on 06/22/2017 at 9:39 AM

Re: “Oakland City Council Passes Divisive Proposal to Establish Violence Prevention Department

It seems to me that the sharks in the city's political machines are frantic to grab the increased city budget made possible by our real estate boom. A project like this useless department will produce a number of high-paying jobs with ridiculous expenses for things like crime-fighting conferences in Tahiti. Oakland has become more shameful than ever.

Posted by Mike Elwin on 06/22/2017 at 9:23 AM

Re: “Oakland City Council Passes Divisive Proposal to Establish Violence Prevention Department

Mr. Montague is clearly unaware of the massive reduction in violence in Richmond achieved over a five year period from 2005 to 2010 that they accomplished by NOT utilizing any of his recommendations.

Posted by j! on 06/22/2017 at 8:37 AM

Re: “Oakland Police Commanders Who Buried Sex-Crime Scandal Investigation Were Later Promoted

No surprise here. Mayor Schaaf and the City Administrator are on many levels over their heads in leading this city. It was obvious that Schaaf was more focused on the photo op of feigned outrage at the cops boys club out of control than she was about actually finding out what happened. When the warehouse fire came along, it was easy to pivot her attention because that was the story on the front pages. Her inexperience was evident because she did not understand that when you are at the top of the food chain as Mayor, you have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. The City Administrator has yet to demonstrate anything other than her ability to walk in a straight line behind Schaaf to the podium at news conferences. Even after this case, the ghost ship fire, the other warehouse fire on San Pablo and chaos in leadership in the Fire dept, Landreth's silence is deafening. Now there is a new Police Chief and so far she has shown the public absolutely nothing to demonstrate her competence or leadership. It looks like leadership in City Hall is now a girls club, which would be fine if they were qualified and competent. That does not seem to be the case.

Posted by Gary Patton on 06/22/2017 at 8:34 AM

Re: “Oakland Metro Operahouse Claims Harassment by a Neighbor, Who Says the Music Venue is Breaking the Law

When will these bozos get it? This is a city of Diversity! This is Oakland. This is us. The kids that longed to see other people express themselves in a no holds barred kind of way. The sounds, the excitement of being around the music and people that are deemed as different or dark or whatever:) For years people have traveled here hoping to see it all! Growing up in any small town in the us or elsewhere Oakland has long been a haven for artists, musicians, poets, light teachers, freak lovers of life and so on. There will always be an opposition to this in mainstream society. Always. There will always be some shady little creep with an overinflated sense of ego and a little money in the bank that owns a building or two that's very jealous he's not getting all the attention. Who goes out of his way to try and take culture away from kids and there community like that? A very unsavory individual that's who. Seems he likes to throw parties too so he's a bit "social" himself. This Paley guy is pretty much making a very big mistake by being so indecent and ridiculous as to putting the community at risk of losing a very much needed music venue. There's been countless times where some prick comes along buys up a whole block and poof done deal. This poor excuse thinks by hiring old school punk dudes that will give him credibility as well. That's pretty standard I suppose. But as a former artist and patron himself, to go out of your way, for a paycheck, to get rid of what and who you once were is the absolute bottom. It's everything that's wrong with the Bay Area now. And it's enough. I hate to say it, but Khama is very real. You have to put out what you want that's all real and good and that will come back to you! It's not coincidence when someone loses everything because they fought so hard to wrongfully take from others. Adolf Hitler comes to mind. And a few others as well. These types don't have a place in society so they buy one. But that doesn't ensure yourself a place forever. I think our actions as people show who we are and what we are about as an individual. And I hope that like other venues that have had these kinds of run ins, the venue holds some benefit shows to help raise funds for there situation. It might be a good idea to look for a space that's a little more secluded as well to protect your rights. Because as a venue they do have the right to not be constantly under scrutiny and the watchful eye of this mental dude Paley. He's grown himself a very unhealthy obsession with destroying something he's obviously jealous of and has no qualms about digging in his cookie jar whenever he gets that neurotic curiosity pang to interrupt as he finds necessary. This venue needs immediate protection and I hope all the patrons realize they should be more thoughtful and not provoke the other neighbors so as they don't also follow suit. I think we can agree that a good place near the waterfront is great place to have a music venue. In all city's in California north and south we have grown up frequenting music venues, variety shows, comedy clubs, and other establishments as well. As a free society we work or maybe not:) We and our children go to these places to release energy and hit our reset button. And to just exist outside the norm. To socialize and flirt maybe giggle a bit and throw on some outrageous outfit! How on earth could we be slaves all week and not have a place to go and relax. And float around. And twirl in the moonlight afterwards hoping you meet the singer for Black Flag or meet a new friend to play music with perhaps. People don't try to come here because they give one rats shit about some prick with a bank accounts petty behavior, but to enjoy! You can't take enjoyment away from a very free thinking and strong minded group that's when the real problems begin. Cheers!

Posted by Nat J Caudillo on 06/22/2017 at 8:02 AM

Re: “Oakland Metro Operahouse Claims Harassment by a Neighbor, Who Says the Music Venue is Breaking the Law

Also, yeah... Ben Delaney is an assh*le.

"Frankly, hes a carpetbagger...", he says of Professor Paley, who went to Berkeley in the '70s, got his start around here as a digital artist before working on visualization, interface, and design, who lived in the East Bay most of his life, owns a house in the East Bay, and is a distinguished artist and professor, who has had his digital art featured in MOMA and at The Whitney...

No, seriously. F*CK BEN DELANEY. And screw Sam Lefebvre for this seriously unbalanced POS article, written to please one of the East Bay Express' major advertisers.

Posted by Mark Kraft on 06/22/2017 at 7:56 AM

Re: “Oakland Metro Operahouse Claims Harassment by a Neighbor, Who Says the Music Venue is Breaking the Law

As someone with some knowledge of code compliance, it seems pretty obvious here that The Metro tried to pull a fast one by getting a cabaret business license rather than a nightclub business license, in order to get around a whole host of expensive requirements having a nightclub, a liquor license, complying with fire and noise abatement requirements, etc.

... and now they are paying for it. Not particularly sympathetic.

Posted by Mark Kraft on 06/22/2017 at 7:45 AM

Re: “Oakland City Council Passes Divisive Proposal to Establish Violence Prevention Department

Wow. How do you cut violence 80% in three years? In Oakland? Not by establishing a bureaucracy to give away stuff.

You do it by building business to provide jobs for people, and education for them. You do it by ending public housing that encourages people of color to live in ghettos of their own making, and making it possible for them to move into neigborhoods all over the city. You do it by ending "social programs" that create a heritage of dependence and need.

All this will do is burden the Oakland taxpayer further.

"The people did this." As they did Venezuela.

Posted by Ernest Montague on 06/22/2017 at 7:16 AM

Re: “Mills College’s Plan to Ax Jazz Legend Roscoe Mitchell Draws International Outrage

The extent to which this is bullshit by default puts everything legitimate about Mills into deep questioning. Roscoe Mitchell is everything that the Darius Milhaud Professorship is FOR. Jesus.

Posted by Jono Schneider on 06/22/2017 at 1:27 AM

Re: “The Truth is Out There: B4bel4b Exhibit Believe the Hype Exposes Ideological Battles Behind Neutral-Seeming Digital Age Info

This looks (to have been) fascinating! Too bad the story was published so late in the run of the exhibit, and so near to the time of the closing event!

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 06/21/2017 at 9:24 PM

Re: “Oakland Metro Operahouse Claims Harassment by a Neighbor, Who Says the Music Venue is Breaking the Law

I'm dissapointed in OX. Once upon a time you were a person whom I admired for their integrity. I understand it is a paycheck. But putting in work to shut down a venue like the Metro, in gentrified times like these, is pretty low.
Remember when there was no place to play at all in the East Bay? So bands had to play at UC co-ops and house parties. (not that those were not legendary shows).
I know you remember when Oakland was different. Don't be one of those guys that continues to turn it into San Francisco East.

Posted by Russ D on 06/21/2017 at 7:37 PM

Re: “Oakland Metro Operahouse Claims Harassment by a Neighbor, Who Says the Music Venue is Breaking the Law

I love the Metro. I have friends who've done shows there... but everyone in this story is fibbing. Oakland is a rude place with a lot of bullies that then hide behind some sad "Oh, me, I'm so put upon(sniffle)" story, because they're also highly skilled manipulators. So Oakland is just a live and let live city? Well, only if you're the type of person that can function inside a running clothes dryer -for the rest of us it's discomfort, inconvenience and ear plugs. The Metro is way too loud, the neighbor is being way too aggressive and Ben Delaney might be getting a summons for that libelous statement. Odd that after all the recent examples of city inspectors failing to see violations (REPORTED IN THIS VERY BLOG), EBX would then cite a city inspector not finding a violation as back-up for the Metro's claims. City inspectors rarely find a violation when reported by a citizen. They don't want the hassle of it all as evident in that I found *1* citation issued in 2014 for a citizen reported building code violation. Y'all should read the reports... it's really sad seeing some grandmother that figures out how to make a legit complaint online about a bully neighbor and then read the city inspector concluded "no violation found". OMG, their findings mean nothing. Anyway, if you love polemics more than facts or solutions -you're reading the right blog. I hope all these fibbers wipe off the crocodile tears and find real solutions to coexist.

Posted by Matt_Chambers on 06/21/2017 at 5:36 PM

Re: “Oakland Metro Operahouse Claims Harassment by a Neighbor, Who Says the Music Venue is Breaking the Law

Paley sounds like a pompous, self-entitled ass. And Orlando Xavier, way to turn your back on your community. Performing surveillance for Paley makes you a "snitch". You're the definition of a sellout.

Posted by PunksDead on 06/21/2017 at 4:05 PM

Re: “Oakland Metro Operahouse Claims Harassment by a Neighbor, Who Says the Music Venue is Breaking the Law

Invoking the Ghost Ship tragedy to further their agenda is about the lowest, scummiest thing one could do. How much of a loser do you have to be to capitalize off the pain and suffering of others just so you could put on some half baked, wannabe TED Talks? Disgusting.

Posted by chaki on 06/21/2017 at 3:34 PM

Re: “Oakland Metro Operahouse Claims Harassment by a Neighbor, Who Says the Music Venue is Breaking the Law

Seems to me like this Brad guy could've taken all the money he has spent trying to shut the Metro down, and sound proofed his own venue. It is clear to me that he is trying to eliminate competition. This seems so Draconian. I thought that there were laws against this.

Posted by Liana Smith on 06/21/2017 at 3:30 PM

Re: “Oakland Metro Operahouse Claims Harassment by a Neighbor, Who Says the Music Venue is Breaking the Law

Thank you for this excellent reporting. I'd prefer some vitriol aimed at Paley and Ox, but then, you can't have everything. The Metro is an excellent venue, the Deans have operated it fairly for years, putting their sweat and blood into it. The staff is great. They don't treat you like cattle. I've never seeb better security at a "legit" venue.

Posted by Todd M on 06/21/2017 at 3:16 PM

Re: “City of Oakland Poised to Give Public Land to Nonprofit that Improperly Received $710,000 in County Funds

Was Brooks operating in her professional capacity when she was alleged to have assaulted Brown ? If not, then I don't see how Brown would have any claim against the city.

Whenever land is sold off at below market rates there is always something underhand in the works.

Posted by alphie noakes on 06/21/2017 at 2:14 PM

Re: “City of Oakland Poised to Give Public Land to Nonprofit that Improperly Received $710,000 in County Funds

Something stinks about this whole business. The City of Oakland is once again skirting the requirements of good governance in the name of "providing affordable housing." Where is the transparency the public is entitled to and which the law requires? I call upon the entire Council to withdraw from this plan until all legal and financial qualifications have been established. The process should be thrown open to enable other qualified non-profits to make competitive bids. Chuck Johnston, Jack London Waterfront Warehouse neighborhood.

Posted by Chuck Johnston on 06/21/2017 at 12:51 PM

Re: “City of Oakland Poised to Give Public Land to Nonprofit that Improperly Received $710,000 in County Funds

Can we please take into consideration about all the homeless people living in tents under the underpass in West Oakland please it doesn't cost much put up a couple of homeless shelters for these people is making our city look so bad it's making us look bad we are now the world champions of the NBA but we still can't take care of our own people come on now please help us don't kill us if need be i will work my self to help these just give me a chance 5104593972 give me a call

Posted by loverboy12 on 06/21/2017 at 10:49 AM

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