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Re: “Rooted or Uprooted in Oakland?

City of Oakland residents and sports fans endured farcical sports team owners like Lew Wolff (A's) and Marc Davis (Raiders). The A's should be applauded for it's obvious sincere effort to keep the team in Oakland. However, that should not be confused as support for how they are steam rolling the incredibly naive and irresponsible Mayor and City Council. It was clear from the beginning of this process that major league baseball and the A's are laser focused on the Howard Terminal site and will do whatever necessary to get what they and their advertisers desire. At the end of the day, the best site for a new stadium from an economic and fiscal responsibility perspective is the Coliseum site. However, that site as the primary location for a new park was never seriously considered. The A's floated out a score of expensive architectural renderings of a high tech Howard Terminal ballpark and are intent on making the conversation a beauty contest. In addition to the access and regulatory issues at Howard Terminal, workers at the Port of Oakland oppose the project. It will compromise the operation of the biggest economic engine in the City.The City is also prepared to ignore over 30 years of land use and fiscal decisions aggregating the Coliseum property for a new stadium. The mere fact that just this week, the City of Oakland sued the A's and Alameda County illustrates the level of political incompetence at play. In response to the lawsuit filed by the City Council, the Mayor makes public statements that clearly show that they are not even on the same page. This lack of leadership and incompetence at the top levels does not bode well for the ability of these people to negotiate a favorable community benefits package for the citizens. If they give away the store again (like the Raiders deal) they should all pay the price at the ballot box.

Posted by GPatton on 10/02/2019 at 6:08 AM

Re: “Reform of the Gig Economy A Wonderful Thing

Vulture capitalists like Udinsky are great at using all of the magic words to categorize people who know that this system, in it's current form is not working and is ultimately unsustainable. A system where 10% of the population controls 90% of the wealth is not what capitalism should be. It is people like Udinsky who have convinced themselves that their own brilliance at cheating combined with some social engineering and greed fueled by their white privilege is the only way capitalism can work. On a national level, we see this delusion in action. Every time progressives offer a new vision of economic or environmental justice in America, they are bombarded with assaults from people like Udinsky accusing them of socialism. People do not need to have run a business to see what is really going on in this country. Putting food on the table and making a buck is not what we are talking about here. Again, people like Udinsky are great at distraction by using language and narratives that change the conversation because they are threatened by reality. Somewhere in his twisted mind, if we have better wealth distribution with everybody plays by the same rules and is treated fairly, somehow he may have less and clearly something is wrong. The top 10% can never spend enough money to make the US economy healthy and strong. Even Henry Ford knew that if his own workers could not buy the cars that they made, he would never be successful. So what he did was to raise the salary structure in his factories way above the minimum wage. By Udinsky's definition Henry Ford must have been a communist of epic proportion.

Posted by GPatton on 09/20/2019 at 2:41 PM

Re: “Reform of the Gig Economy A Wonderful Thing

The writer of this article is right on point. This so called "new economy" is a smoke screen for a modern elite class of venture capitalists to take back basic economic benefits that American workers have earned through collective bargaining over the last 150 years. In exchange for services rendered, workers are entitled to receive a fair wage, safe working conditions and benefits. This whole notion of workers being contractors not employees is a concept contrived to keep all of the profits at the top of the corporate structure while exploiting low skilled working class people. These companies keep all of the money and take none of the risk or responsibility that comes with running a company. As a society, we cannot allow companies like Uber and Lyft to provide the exact same services to the public as a taxi cab company, but not be required to compete while playing by the same rules. This warped sense of competition should be branded for what it is, GREED. It is the kind of greed that is ultimately destructive and unsustainable. In fact, the participation in this farce by so many is a sign of just how broken this US economy has become. Corporate profits up, CEO pay up, stockholder share values up, worker compensation as a percentage of profits have been stagnant for the last 30 years. Just look at what happened with the Trump tax cuts for the wealthy. It did not stimulate the economy at all. Companies bought back their own stock and gave raises to executives. The jobs that were created in almost all case were low paying jobs that do not provide for a family in the world we live in today. Government is always a step behind technology, but I am glad to see California step up to the plate as it relates to this gig economy. Similarly, at some point the federal government will catch up to Facebook, Google and others and establish some rules of the road before their greed destroys not only the economy, cut the society as a whole.Technology and innovation without guard rails has never been good for capitalism and what we experience today is no different

Posted by GPatton on 09/19/2019 at 2:12 PM

Re: “Friday's Briefing: Ghost Ship verdict yields an acquittal and mistrial; Lebron James backs Skinner’s NCAA bill

Despite the consistent posturing of local politicians and prosecutors, several recent high profile legal cases illustrate for me that in the bay area, when cases go to a jury, they usually get it right. The examples are the Zarate case in SF, where an illegal immigrant was over charged and ultimately acquitted of murder and the Ghost Ship trial yesterday. For some reason, the Alameda County district attorney (Nancy O'malley) failed to hold the owner of the Ghost Ship warehouse property or the City of Oakland liable in any way for the death of 36 artists in this tragic fire. Instead, she pulled out all stops to charge the property manager and his assistant for the deaths and tried to put them away for life. What she should have done was to charge them with criminal negligence, which requires a lower level of proof to get a conviction. Upon review of the facts in the case, the jury obviously saw that the wrong people were on trial and that the charges were a reach from a legal perspective. The owner of the property is ultimately responsible for all activities occurring upon his or her property. Secondly, the City of Oakland and it's representatives had been at the Ghost Ship site and in the building on many occasions in the years prior to the fire. In fact, members of the Fire Department had actually attended some of the illegal parties held there. Despite constructive knowledge of the many life safety issues related to the use and occupancy of the warehouse, at no time did the City of Oakland issue the owner a list of violations and directions to correct or cease to occupy the property. The primary power granted to local agencies by the State is the duty to insure public safety. The fact that nobody in the Fire Department, Police Department or Planning and Building Department put the owner on notice and prevented this tragedy from happening is just plain negligence. I don't know what Mayor Schaaf and O'malley have in common, but both failed the public miserably in this case. For Schaaf to issue a public statement after the jury verdict congratulating city employees for their professionalism is not only tone deaf, but outright disgusting. It once again illustrates the lack of leadership in the City of Oakland. I only hope that the aggrieved relatives of those killed in this tragedy can find some relief in the civil cases, because the criminal cases were totally bungled by incompetence at the highest levels.

Posted by GPatton on 09/06/2019 at 3:44 PM

Re: “Friday's Briefing: Assault weapon seized from Gilroy shooter's home; Raiders owner has some profane words for A's management

The outright gall of Mark Davis is beyond belief. This pinhead idiot is the owner of a professional sports team and organization that is arguably the laughing stock of the sports industry. The Raiders have not been a winning team in 20 years. They have had at least 8 or 9 head coaches, pathetic drafts and countless front office and on field failures. Sports pundits currently speak of the Raiders only for comic relief. Davis personally is a joke and everybody knows it. On the other hand, once the A's departed ways with Lew Wolff, they have at least become relevant again. More importantly, the new owners have made a real commitment to Oakland and a devoted fan base for the last 50 years. In contrast, Mark Davis has continually lied and disrespected some of the best fans in sports in order to get somebody, anybody, to give his broke ass money. He has never shown good faith or gratitude for a loyal fan base that most sports teams would love to have. I hope the A's give you hell every single day and every single way they can in the next year. There is nobody in the sports world who deserves it more. Davis should do us all a favor and shut up, pack his bags and get out of town ASAP. Bye Felicia!

Posted by GPatton on 08/09/2019 at 9:38 AM

Re: “Thursday’s Briefing: SFMTA chief to become Oakland assistant city administrator; Richmond city manager is out after less than a year

Why does the City of Oakland need Ed Reiskin and why does Mayor Schaaf need to hire her old friends every time a job comes up? Reiskin worked in the City Managers office under Robert Bobb in 2000. Despite the fact that he was not a civil engineer and had no background or experience for the job, he was hired as the Public Works Director for the City of SF. Again, despite the fact that he had no transportation background, he was hired by the SFMTA and became one of the highest paid transportation officias in the country. He will now join Schaafs friendship club that included retired friend Claudia Cappio who was supposed to be the "development czar" who was hired to keep the Raiders in town (how did that work out?) and current City Administrator Sabrina Landreth who seems to be missing in action on every issue. All worked in the City of Oakland 20 years ago when Schaaf worked for City Councilman Ygnacio de La Fuente. While at SFMTA, Reiskin did not exhibit any management or leadership skills that demonstrated that he knew what he was doing. Almost all of the major efforts undertaken by his staff were mishandled. Projects were routinely late being delivered, over budget and clearly mismanaged. Reiskin's public relations assistant (Paul Rose) was a regular on the evening news explaining why something was screwed up. Reiskins office spent millions of dollars purchasing a new bus fleet. There was one major problem after they hit the street. The type of bus purchased could not go uphill, in SF, really? Reiskin is seemingly a nice guy. But has not been a shining example of municipal management or leadership. Who does he know and why does Oakland need this guy? It seems that Schaaf is intent on boosting all of her old friends retirement payouts. Why do the citizens need this?

Posted by GPatton on 07/29/2019 at 11:39 AM

Re: “As Housing Crisis Rages, Hayward City Council Prioritizes Large Estates

Unfortunately, in the times we live in, it is easy to misrepresent reality in a media headline that garners public attention, but at it's core really is fake news. This article is a great example of that affliction. The writer proclaims that the City of Hayward City Council prioritizes large estates. That could not be farther from the truth. If the person who wrote this article would have spent any time at all in Hayward, especially in the Downtown transit village, along the Mission Blvd corridor and around BART stations, he would see that Hayward is doing a better job than most east bay cities in the development of high density affordable and work force housing. The article says that these will be large quarter acre lots when the facts are that the lots will be 10,000 sq ft on average, after a substantial open space dedication, development of a public trail and improvements to existing neighborhood infrastructure. If the author of this article looked at the recently completed Downtown Specific Plan he would find not a City Council priority for large estate lots, but a real philosophical commitment to affordable and high density housing. There is no question that more high density and affordable housing should be built in the bay area. However, it is not appropriate everywhere. The Cal Trans parcels that are the subject of this article have limited vehicular and public transit access, poor access to commercial services and are located within the context of an existing single family residential neighborhood. To force high density housing into this site would be extremely poor planning. One size does not fit all and the City Council has a responsibility to provide housing at all affordability levels. That policy is in the General Plan. Perhaps the author should take a look at housing policy documents before writing a headline that is both untrue and unfair. I realize that EBX has recently reduced staff and cutback in other areas because of budget issues. However, your long time readers will be sorely disappointed if your paper is reduced to flashy headlines and sloppy reporting that twists the truth to fit the headline, instead of the reporting on a complex issue with a contextualized discussion that is warranted.

Posted by GPatton on 07/18/2019 at 9:20 AM

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