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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Feature: Last 30 Days

Re: “Broken Pipes, Broken System

The Public Works department, like many, has seriously lacked competent people, systems and leadership for years. It is no surprise that they fail or under report sewer mitigation monitoring, this kind of willful manipulation of requirements or failure to disclose information to the public is business as usual to these people. In the mid 2000's, when confronted with the fact that they had mismanaged a parking contract by failing to collect millions of dollars for years at a city garage on Pill Hill (30th st), a Deputy Public Works Director responded by complaining that the information may become public. Really? Public Works staff in all areas reeks of incompetence and lack of leadership. It seems that the main priority for years has been to make as little noise as possible, keep getting paid and retire with full benefits as soon as possible. The former Public Works Director was not even a civil engineer and only had experience managing a creek program. Only in the City of Oakland is that even possible!

Posted by Gary Patton on 01/14/2018 at 10:59 AM

Re: “Broken Pipes, Broken System

Thank you so much Gabrielle Canon for writing this and other articles. Our NextDoor forum is discussing this. I made the following suggested reforms:
1. Restore Loren Little to his job as senior supervisor in the sewage department or make him the head. He was removed after becoming a whistleblower.
2. Get rid of Littles boss, the current sewage director Jason Mitchell, who transferred Little to the drainage department after he complained about sewage department practices
3. Recall or vote out City Auditor Brenda Roberts who didnt protect him, but instead notified his department, and he was suddenly transferred from sewage to drainage after 30 years.
4. Replace Oakland City Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington with someone more competent.
5. Andes Construction is spectacularly incompetent and should no longer receive the multi-million dollar contracts theyve received since 1986 whose work is so bad the sewage department often has to come back to actually fix the problem.
6. Make the sewer department fix the sewage running into Lake Temescal, and make them report the leaks to the public as they were mandated to do by the EPA
7. Get rid of the sewage department employees and supervisors who alter reports to underreport how much damage was done. When the city submits reports, department officials have to sign a certification statement under penalty of perjury. But Oakland has a history of failing to comply with regulatory standards and of underreporting sewage spills.

Gabrielle, or anyone else, have I missed anything? I've never received a reply, or acknowledgment of my letters from Dan Kalb the past few years, but he pays attention to NextDoor, and said "I have scheduled a staff report/response about these sewer-related problems to come to the City Councils Public Works Committee. Council members Campbell Washington and Guillen are co-sponsoring this with me." I asked him to do the above and keep us posted on nextdoor and his email list. Anything else I should add?

Posted by energyskeptic on 01/13/2018 at 7:23 PM

Re: “Broken Pipes, Broken System

I find this utterly and outright baffling that in 2017/18, in supposedly one of the most environmentally conscious states (CA) in the Union, this disaster can not be mitigated and resolved appropriately!

Did I miss if calls have been made to appropriate representatives or senators?

Follow the money indeed, or lack thereof.

Posted by aknature on 01/11/2018 at 7:55 PM

Re: “Broken Pipes, Broken System

Amazing investigative work Gabrielle Canon!

Posted by Kristina Molina on 01/11/2018 at 9:43 AM

Re: “Broken Pipes, Broken System

Is it true that we are living in the 21st century????
Sometimes I wonder!!!
I live in Australia and in some "outback" areas I thought we had problems.........apparently not, after reading this article!

Posted by John Barltrop on 01/11/2018 at 12:14 AM

Re: “Broken Pipes, Broken System

Id also like to know what ties this contractor has with the city or rather with WHOM. Why does Oakland pour our good money literally down the sewer time after time? Isnt anyone ever accountable? Consistently poor choices should be investigated and find out why the same poor decisions are being made!FOLLOW THE MONEY.

Posted by goldengate on 01/10/2018 at 8:17 PM

Re: “Broken Pipes, Broken System

Councilwoman Annie Campbell Washington says her only duty when constituents ask for help is to refer them to someone else--kick the can down the road, in other words. That's a lousy politician, I'd say.

Posted by MikeE on 01/10/2018 at 11:58 AM

Re: “Broken Pipes, Broken System

Oakland residence are subject to years of incompetent do nothing leadership, a sewage problem is likely the tip of the iceberg. Please hold them accountable, they shouldn't continue to operate above the law.

Posted by bloggermom2 on 01/10/2018 at 9:38 AM

Re: “Broken Pipes, Broken System

I wonder who the contractor has ties to at the city to get that type of work. Oakland being Oakland....

Posted by Robert Hope on 01/10/2018 at 8:48 AM

Re: “Broken Pipes, Broken System

Not the first time Mayorga has been mentioned in the EBX: https://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/pro…

Posted by Ralph Kanz on 01/09/2018 at 8:11 PM

Re: “Terror or Entrapment?

Great reporting!

Posted by Peter Byrne on 01/04/2018 at 5:08 PM

Re: “Terror or Entrapment?

The sad truth is that the FBI creates more US terrorists than ISIS does. They can't catch the real ones, so they find poor, dumb, mentally unstable young men and entrap them.

Posted by Ernest Montague on 01/04/2018 at 9:25 AM

Re: “A New Place to Gamble?

How much money do u have to give the police or the city to turn their heads the other way when they drive down 105 th Ave and east 14 th streets. And when the casino in San Pablo pays the mayor of Oakland to shut them down how much does the mayor get and how long before the city starts ignoring the cafas agian and when they do is the payoff the same as before or does it go up like inflation . Oh I'm sorry did I front u off , I'm thinking that's the case cause here we are 2018 and there still ripping people off from 10 am till 4 am 7 days a week over at 105 and east 14 street. Congrats to all the people who are exploiting the people in the surrounding neighbor hoods for as much money as they can get and rushing over there to lose 1000 s a day . Don't mind the fact that kids go hungry at nite as a parent rushes off to the web instead of going to the food Mart for dinner . Indispikable business . Bet you won't publish this one. Yours truly Ronnie Deane now what

Posted by Ronnie Deane on 01/03/2018 at 9:07 PM

Re: “Oakland Counseling Guru Accused of Sexual Assault

By all accounts, Steve Bearman was a charming and charismatic leader.
Charm and charisma are qualities people flock to for good reason yet if they aren't accompanied by humility and awe/delight in others the spiritualized ego will use and abuse. The energy of vengeance wants to send him to a prison where the inmates would show him the raw brutality of rape sans sacred substances which he turned into poison fueling his activities. My compassion feels sad he missed the divinity of the feminine, in himself and others.
Blessings to all those who were abused under the watchful gaze of a man lost from himself.

Posted by fogbridgesky on 01/02/2018 at 6:29 PM

Re: “Oakland Counseling Guru Accused of Sexual Assault

Apparently not, "by all accounts." What a lead-in. Is there an editor in the house?
Berman, rot in jail. Justice, throw away the key. He can have all the sexy time he wants in the big house.
There are billions of us. Whatever "good" he may done...We don't need him loose ever again. Recidivism is as real as rain.
Florid Wiley, you sitting in a heap of denial. Didn't 99% "love" ill Bill Cosby?Wait for it... yes.
And, he, Berman, is yet another poster boy for drug control. There he is, recruiting at Berman's Burning Man. Focking criminal azzhole, diminishing the reputations of responsible users, and those of the chemicals, too, at least at the expense of the general public's perceptions. Ghrr.
Most importantly, protect the victims.
And finally, don't be sexist, Feminists. Its not about gender per se, but abuse of power.

Posted by Vista del cielo on 01/01/2018 at 2:43 AM

Re: “Architect Eugene Tssui Might Be the Most Interesting Man in the East Bay

While I am impressed by Tssui's aesthetic vision, these all encompassing massive projects like the Ultima Tower are more suited to our current unsustainable political and economic system or Utopian fantasies like Star Trek rather than to any real future in which we should all have a stake.

The Ultima Tower suggests top down and centralized control, showing great disregard for the lives and needs of the people living in place now. Such projects would displace and disrupt and destroy the lives of huge numbers of people UNLESS an additional massive project simultaneously accommodated them during construction was also funded, and yet this would also disrupt other people and so on.

Far more interesting is architecture which is designed to be built, financed, maintained and operated from the bottom up rather than the top down.

Take a project like the Ultima Tower but consider it only public infrastructure, and design it to allow smaller scale building and development enterprises which constantly remake the city within it. Consider the current model of a highrise and subvert it to the form of a public street arranged vertically, each unit within it analogous to a separate parcel on a city street capable of being developed independently, the building providing all the infrastructure (like cranes, public utilities etc...) which are needed for a small enterprise to develop the parcel.

Then take the next step and consider the construction process and how you organize that to happen over a time frame which does not require an entire city to be wiped out and rebuilt in 25 years but instead can grow and evolve into such a tower over perhaps one or more centuries. Bringing the city into an arcology which resembles an ever evolving community structure more like a coral reef of many species living side by side rather than that of a community insect like ants or termites who all serve one individual.

You'd need public banking and worker owned and operated enterprises following charters written to keep us all on task for such a long term project while allowing the people doing the work to continuously adapt to the problems of their present. Our current model of development - private finance and crony capitalism for an election cycle or two - can not sustain this because it serves short term private interest rather than long term public interest.

And these huge projects as envisioned here would be controlled by the immensely wealthy/powerful. In addition their implementation does not consider the people of the present, nor of the future, but only that of the people who would be living within it upon the building's completion. I could be wrong but the Ultima Tower as presented in this article does not appear to be designed to evolve with its population or to adapt itself to accommodate the existing population during its construction. It is rather a fixed and lifeless thing like a work of art rather than like a city or living system which is in the constant flux of life. Again for a biological model, a coral reef is a better one than a termite mound because you have to consider the human systems within the structure rather than simply the physical qualities of the finished product.

In otherwords, while Tssui's work is indeed visually beautiful I don't see anything visionary about them. These are works of art in need of a patron which is more or less the model of market rate housing development except for projects like this the architect necessarily has more project control than the developer. I don't see that as particularly visionary, but rather as a doubling down on old ideas which are proven failures. His work is beautiful, but this is the work of a virtuouso rather than a visionary.

If I have mischaracterized his purpose I appologize. BUT the writer of the article has presented Tssui's work in this light, and that is what I am reacting to.

Posted by Aaron Parr on 12/30/2017 at 7:22 AM

Re: “Oakland Counseling Guru Accused of Sexual Assault

I dated Steve for 11 months and was never a part of Interchange. I stopped seeing him a few months before the lawsuit was filed. With me, Steve wasn't the narcissistic sociopath this article and lawsuit make him out to be. On the contrary, he was a wonderful lover, had a solid grasp of appropriate boundaries, was upfront about his new age lifestyle and found healthy ways to explore sex on psychedelics.

-- When I was exploring the idea of joining in Interchange, Steve told me explicitly that we could date or I could enroll. Not both.

--Steve was very upfront about his nontraditional views about relationships and sexual health practices (ie. he didn't believe in relationships or condoms). It came up on our first date, we didn't decide to sleep together until almost a full month later.

--The sex parties mentioned in the article were very specifically for exploring psychedelic sex. The dosages were flexible and it wasn't a problem for me to ask for substantially less than the 'mild' amounts.

--Steve and I did a small handful of psychedelic experiments on our own and if I wasn't there mentally, he backed off sexually. Unlike 100% of my other boyfriends, he took care to respect my boundaries when I couldn't speak up for myself. It made him a really safe person for me to explore with.

Of course, I have no idea what went on between Steve and the Jane Zoes that have come forward. My experience is just one of many and I hope that sharing it helps round out this ongoing conversation.

Posted by girlfriend#3641 on 12/29/2017 at 9:40 PM

Re: “Tia Katrina Taruc Canlas Holds Domestic Abusers Accountable

She is now defending an admitted abuser, Yousef Wally, in exactly this sort of tort action seeking to hold Mr. Wally accountable for his domestic violence.

Posted by Jason Cabot on 12/29/2017 at 4:53 PM

Re: “Far Right's Rise Brings Racist Vandalism to the East Bay

"You must be reading fake news, lady. Let's see some proof."

I know. I too have been kinda shocked. But I know of three cases around Berkeley where the culprit was actually identified by authorities. One incident involved hanging black bodies in effigy from Sather Gate, one involved a kid vandalizing several store windows on Solano Ave. and writing "KKK" and other vulgarities, and a notice in the Berkeley High library announcing a planned lynching on the BHS campus. And it appears to be a national phenomenon.

Posted by ann poster on 12/28/2017 at 5:41 PM

Re: “East Bay Cities Struggled as the Unsheltered Crisis Deepened

When it is a public health crisis, the city should have jurisdiction to supersede the public's Nimby outcry and build/provide cost effective affordable housing through the use of available land and properties, or to enter into agreements with housing developers to address the crisis and manage the city's resources. The city has an obligation to maintain public order and public safety, and dealing with homelessness through permanent affordable housing falls into that category.

Posted by lwest on 12/28/2017 at 10:37 AM

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