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Comment Archives: Last 30 Days

Re: “Berkeley Progressives Have a Chance to Prove They're Not NIMBYs

This is not going to make the neighborhoods happy.

Wander through most any residential neighborhood in the flats, from El Cerrito to East Oakland, and you'll find block after block of pleasant, mostly well-cared-for older homes rich in character and variety while showing only one or two common architectural styles.

Then you run into an eyesore apartment building, probably from the post-WWII era. Usually cheaply built, out of character with the rest of the neighborhood, a profit-driven investment for non-resident owners. "What a shame," you say. "It doesn't fit in at all, does it. The rest of the block is so pretty."

City staff can't force a builder to respect a neighborhood; only an open political process can. Berkeley's City Council and affordable housing advocates just gave up on open processes. "But it's for a good cause!" It always is ...

Posted by MikeE on 12/06/2017 at 5:28 PM

Re: “Oakland Has Yet to Spend Soda Tax Funds

Read the study. It included a telephone survey that asked people about their beverage habits. The result was, "Changes in self-reported sugar-sweetened beverage intake were not statistically significant." That is, no change in behavior could be detected.
How does the survey of users square with the reported decline in store sales of taxed beverages? The decline was in Berkeley, but sales rose in stores just outside Berkeley.
Also, the survey found that corner grocery stores did not raise prices on SSBs, but there was too little data to say whether their sales went up or down or stayed the same. All the study really found was that the large chain markets in Berkeley passed on the tax and lost sales.
Some of the authors of the study campaigned for sugar taxes and donated to the campaign. It is no surprise that they do their best to spin their own results.

Posted by Charlie Pine on 12/06/2017 at 5:11 PM

Re: “Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Says: The Remedy is More Women in Power Now

Finally, Mayor Schaaf has made an honest statement to the public. She has never admitted it publicly, but it has been painfully obvious that her personal women empowerment agenda has been the driver of many management decisions she has made since coming into office. Her City Administrator, Assistant City Administrator, Police Chief and Fire Chief have ALL been women. Let's see how that has worked out. The City Administrator had no significant experience that demonstrated any ability to navigate a complex and challenged municipality like Oakland. Two years in Emeryville is just not enough. Ms. Landreth has been largely silent in her job and when she has made public appearances, it has been clear that she is over her head. The same can be said for the former Fire Chief, who was hired based on her relationship with the former City Administrator. She "retired" after getting into an argument with a member of the public about her departments failure to inspect the north hills fire zone adequately. It should have never come to that. She should have been fired immediately after the disappearing act she pulled off after the Ghost Ship fire. The Assistant City Administrator (Cappio) was hired by Schaaf to be the "development czar" who was going to make the the Raider deal happen. Moreover, how valuable was she when you Mayor Schaaf, ignored the City Attorney's advice and broke the law by initially pushing the city into a backroom deal with an unqualified developer of the E12th st housing project. What a waste of money. Your outrage at male behavior was particularly obvious in your selection of the Police Chief. Your whole public presentation was clear that the priority was to break up the boys club, not necessarily to hire the best candidate. I disagree totally with your premise that the only way forward is more women in power. While having more women in top positions is a good thing, the goal should be to have more qualified good people in leadership positions. That includes more well adjusted men, without the personal defects that have damaged the work environment in America for decades. If you say that only women are the answer for the future, you are no better than those who have oppressed women in favor of men for years. The right way forward is when gender is not a job qualification, EVER.

Posted by Gary Patton on 12/06/2017 at 5:01 PM

Re: “Wednesday’s Briefing: Peralta Kills A’s Laney Ballpark Plans; Berkeley Council Votes to Make Affordable Housing a Right

"The boards decision indicates that it has no plans to move forward with the As ballpark proposal. "

Excellent news. The community has stood up to the billionaire land grab.
What city needs sports teams to validate it anyway?

Posted by Vincent Blafard on 12/06/2017 at 11:20 AM

Re: “For a Lesson in Vietnamese Eats, Head to The Temple Club

That's a very well written review. I love the place and would eat there every night if I could. As for the inevitable "cultural appropriation" meme, I think that's a non-issue for a couple of reasons: First, Temple Club does the culture justice by being so loyal to the recipes. He hasn't watered the food down for American tastes, or used it for inspiration for a bunch of fusion dishes. Secondly, Geoff went all-in on the culture. His wife is Vietnamese, he spent 16 years there and he has adorable bi-racial children. What you're seeing at the restaurant is the result of a love affair, not a commercial grab.

Posted by Berkeley Choate on 12/06/2017 at 10:09 AM

Re: “Systems That Oppress Women Create Dangerous Circumstances for Girls of Color

Holly this is an excellent article. It defines and exposes the practices in OPD that, through the years, were normalized. I worked for OPD and saw, first hand, the mistreatment of females, both sworn and civilian. I heard about how female employees were sexually exploited. The culture at OPD was horrific for any woman that did not acquiesce to the patrichial environment which existed. Than you for exposing this culture, which hopefully, will create a new norm.

Posted by Sylvia DeWitt on 12/06/2017 at 5:25 AM

Re: “Town Business: City Workers Plan to Strike, and Oakland's Affordable Housing Fees Slow to Raise Money

Oakland resident and new employee here. As someone coming from the private sector with a heart for public service, I hear you -- "Your salary should be commensurate with your performance and City of Oakland employees generally are far from the top in comparison with other cities." Yet, how can we attract high performers and retain the best "top" employees for Oakland if we're not even close to keeping up salary-wise with our neighboring cities? And how can we deliver quality services that our constituents want or need if we're consistently understaffed and working 2 jobs on top of what we've been hired to do? It's true there's inefficiencies, red tape, dead weight. But there's so many great employees of Oakland, who are dedicated to making their city work, who work more than 37.5 hours per week without overtime pay, and who deal with a lot of the BS because they care. A salary equity study showed that city staff is making 10-25% less than their neighboring city counterparts. A majority of Oakland's workers are Oakland residents, or once were residents who have since been displaced. Despite the immeasurable benefits of contributing to your city, there's only so much the best, most caring employee, can take...

Posted by Love for Oaktown on 12/05/2017 at 11:21 PM

Re: “Why Derick Almena Deserves the Most Scorn

I understand the writer's perspective in this article. Almena just did video interviews where he basically states he's the victim and everyone else but him is to blame. That's not the truth. This is from a certified electrician who saw the building. "Robert Jake Jacobitz: On my contract with him and verbally I warned him of a fire argue with him about a fire more fingers than I have on my hand the last argument we had he finally finally had me cut a fire door in that he owes me for still and I understand he barricaded up that night. I've done my interviews with the FBI ATF DA's office got my subpoena I'm the one is going to be telling Derek he's going to s*** when he sees me in court do you don't know I'm coming. so you won't be able to play uninformed surprised victim he was well-informed multi times about the very real possibility of Fire as my second hand information from the horse's mouth not hearsay."

Posted by Mary Cummins on 12/05/2017 at 7:13 PM

Re: “Five Ways to Protect Future Generations from Sexual Harassment and Assault

In addition to the steps the author outlines, it is also important as we move forward, to focus on men to play their part in solving this problem. Men, starting with young boys, need to be shown the connection between sexual assault and harassment to their own mothers, sisters and female friends. If young men can get to a place where they value all women like they do their own family and friends, this will stop. The classic male paradigm that tells boys that all that matters is "scoring" at any cost has to change. That mindset diminishes the value of women as people and friends who can add way more to your life than sex. I have always opined that when men consider whether sex should be a part of a relationship with a woman, the question they should ask themselves is not should we do it. The question should be, if we do it, then what? Failure to have a cogent answer to that question almost always means that it is not a good idea. Having women as friends ads value to a mans life. Young boys need to be taught that as early in life as possible.

Posted by Gary Patton on 12/05/2017 at 7:04 PM

Re: “When Sexual Harassment and Violence Become Normalized

There is no doubt in my mind that at least 6 or 7 women of 10 in America have experienced sexual assault, violence or harassment at some point in their lives. This issue has been underground far too long and especially in families and in the workplace.The current wave of the "me too" movement is a good thing that is long overdue. Hopefully, it will change the way men are socialized in this country. Although men who are guilty of taking advantage of women have moms, wives, daughters and sisters, somehow there is a disconnect. These men do not personalize these assaults as having an impact on the women in the world that they love. In my own life, I was lucky enough to have a sister one year my senior. That meant two things. One is that she was my first best friend that I shared my life with every single day. Secondly, that my adolescent introduction to girls was initially from being around her friends. I learned to communicate, treat and respect females as people and friends first. On the other hand, most males are socialized and introduced to girls and dating by stupid boys their age or older boys who teach that all that matters is to somehow "score" as much and any way possible. This initial socialization of the male mind is not healthy and easily leads to the culture that we have always had in America. With that being said, I challenge women to pay more attention to the current impact of social media on the attitudes of young boys and girls. The internet is full of disturbing images of women and girls participating in pornography, music videos and sexual images that the girls themselves post. Because of the Kardashian gang and others, young girls believe that taking sexually explicit pictures of themselves and posting them to become an"internet personality" and getting paid is a valid career alternative. The combination of this trend along with the exposure of young kids to pornography on the internet does not bode well for healthy relationships in the future. Women, as a group need to be way more aggressive in calling out the problems with social media. You can't applaud the Kardashian gang as trend setting businesswomen and then fail to call them and others to task on the messages they are sending to young girls. So far, they seem to be getting away with becoming rich with no sense of responsiblity.

Posted by Gary Patton on 12/05/2017 at 6:48 PM

Re: “Food Handlers Cafe Merges Restaurant with Classroom

Wonderful article Rauch. You and your wife keep doing what you're doing. God bless you all.

Posted by Robynn Holloway on 12/05/2017 at 1:48 PM

Re: “Peralta Faculty and Laney Students Vote to Oppose New A's Stadium Plan

This is going to make traffic so much worse in Oakland. Commute times and crowded bart trains are already bad enough.

Posted by princessvee on 12/05/2017 at 12:36 PM

Re: “Town Business: City Workers Plan to Strike, and Oakland's Affordable Housing Fees Slow to Raise Money

Police and Fire uniformed employees are not allowed to strike by State law, but under a special Oakland charter provision unique to police and fire , all police and fire personnel issues including compensation are subject to binding arbitration. In practice, that means that OFD and OPD uniformed employees get paid the same as other Bay Area cities.

That same binding arbitration too often results in "split the baby" decisions on discipline matters with police officers, regardless of the source of the underlying complaint.

The arbitrator's decision overrules all police department and police review board discipline decisions.

Contract renewal time is the only chance the City will have until next contract time to negotiate clear, specific conduct standards for police officers so that the arbitrators have guidelines to either uphold discipline or overrule the discipline orders.

Posted by Len Raphael on 12/05/2017 at 12:06 PM

Re: “Meet Jerusalem’s Biggest Hipster: Victoria Hanna

Hipster? What's this have to do with being a hipster?

Posted by Vincent Blafard on 12/05/2017 at 10:43 AM

Re: “Free Salame-Topped Cheesecake and More: Gallo Celebrates Its Centennial

My uncle George owned gallo till he died can i get some free salami my name is tom Ramsey i live in Oregon now at 100 E Carolina apt# B1 Lebanon Oregon 97355 it has been a long time since ive had some good salami anything would be appreciated thank you and happy holidays

Posted by Tommy Ramsey on 12/05/2017 at 10:08 AM

Re: “Town Business: City Workers Plan to Strike, and Oakland's Affordable Housing Fees Slow to Raise Money

At the end of the day, you can't squeeze orange juice from a rock. The bottom line is that the City of Oakland is broke. For workers to expect to be among the highest paid public employees in the bay area is delusional. A 4 % initial and retroactive salary increase seems to me to be fair. To connect future raises to revenue projections seems to be a fiscally responsible approach.My question is where was the fiscal responsibility when the budget adopted in June of this year included no money for employee raises? Why would you do that unless you wanted to use that omission as a future bargaining tool to limit the scope of upcoming labor agreements. In my view, both city management and the union employees need a dose of reality. First of all, every time there is a budget problem in Oakland, the cuts seem to always be made at the lower staff levels. The city always seem to have money for high paid unnecessary managers in the Mayor and City Administrators offices. If times are tough Mayor Schaaf, you and Ms Landreth need start by looking around your tables and making some cuts. I read that the Asst City Administrator is retiring. There is one unnecessary position that does not need to be filled. That alone would save over 200 K a year. I am sure there are other high paid unnecessary managers organization wide who could disappear and nobody would know the difference.The bottom line would get much more bang for the buck if some of that level of staff came off the payroll. Secondly, as a group, City of Oakland employees are far from being the best motivated efficient and competent group in the bay area. There are some good employees, but the lack of leadership and proper training over time has left many who do the minimum and expect to get paid like top performers. Beyond the past and continuing inept bungling of the Ghost Ship fire issues, ask anybody you know who resides in Oakland. Whenever you contact the City about a problem, you can generally expect that your experience will not be good. What you get are bad attitudes, people who do not return calls, can't explain or don't know the policies and usually there is no follow up. Your salary should be commensurate with your performance and City of Oakland employees generally are far from the top in comparison with other cities. These folks need take the 4% retroactive for 2 years, negotiate the language of future adjustments now or later and get back to work..

Posted by Gary Patton on 12/05/2017 at 9:33 AM

Re: “Cheeseboard Alumni Launch Dimond Slice Pizza

Don't use the CB name to promote other businesses that are trying to copy CB. Do your journalism.

Posted by zetetic on 12/04/2017 at 11:21 PM

Re: “Monday Must Reads: Brown to Endorse Schaaf for Mayor of Oakland; Governor Rakes in Millions for Ballot Measures

This lady is tough, consistent, stands up for Oakland and really works hard on crime and homeless problems. She gets my vote and I don't live in Oakland. Best thing that has happened for Oakland in a very long time.

Posted by RLT on 12/04/2017 at 9:40 PM

Re: “Town Business: City Workers Plan to Strike, and Oakland's Affordable Housing Fees Slow to Raise Money

Oakland is a tough City to work in. There are too few staff to meet City Council/Mayor demands. We are paid less than our counterpoints in other Bay Area cities and have been for years. "Wait until next contract" is what we hear every time. Well, no more.

Posted by Veritegrity on 12/04/2017 at 8:32 PM

Re: “Alameda Health Systems Removes License Plate Reader Surveillance Camera from Highland Hospital in Oakland

Kudos and thanks to Privacy advocate and researcher Mike Katz-Lacabe !!!

Posted by Amelie Love on 12/04/2017 at 6:21 PM

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