Mitchell Halberstadt 
Member since Jul 15, 2013


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Recent Comments

Re: “Homeless Crackdown by Caltrans Sparks Dialogue in Berkeley

We indeed have a critical lack (and catastrophic loss) of low-income housing. That crisis needs to be addressed immediately, with utmost urgency.

We're faced with another crisis, however -- involving the abuse of public space -- and an entire "encampment" subculture rooted in that abuse (and an entire cottage industry hell-bent on legitimizing that subculture and using it as a scourge, to promote its own political fortunes).

We need to stop to conflating these two phenomena under the rubric of "homelessnesss."

I've been homeless myself. There's always another place to go (and -- housed or not -- another way to approach life).

We're told to have respect and compassion for our "unhoused neighbors," but where's their respect or consideration for the neighbors on whom they foist themselves? Even an addict can can avoid getting in peoples' faces, or tossing used syringes into playgrounds or onto the street.

If these people have such deep roots in the community, why won't any of their supposed neighbors put them up? The answers obvious. Respect and consideration are a two-way street.

No more "whack-a-mole." Time to move on, for the better and for good.

PS to Sam Spade: My father arrived in this country destitute in 1934, in the depths of the Depression. He would never even have considered living in an encampment. Neither would my mother, grandmother, sister aunt, or cousin.

Take a tip from one who's seen (and lived with) this predicament from both sides. Now, THAT's empathy!

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 10/10/2019 at 4:48 PM

Re: “Slurping Snail Soup at R' Noodles

Please retire the word "slurp"! It was never all that cute, but by now its presence in food reviews is so stale and predictable that it's become more annoying than the sound of slurping itself.

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 08/04/2019 at 7:55 PM

Re: “Planners Look to Enhance Transit on San Pablo Avenue

Bruce Ferrell, what part of my call for "an urgent program to put the electric grid on renewables" did you miss? I never said it would be easy! Nonetheless, this is a matter of priorities -- of where the urgency truly belongs.

Meanwhile, as you yourself astutely observe, "All of this goes on while killer pot holes go unfilled, road surfacing deteriorates faster than it's laid down while planners wail 'But the bikes! But Amsterdam!'"

I've said much the same in my longer post.

I rest my case.

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 04/29/2019 at 11:03 PM

Re: “Planners Look to Enhance Transit on San Pablo Avenue

As for the problem of fossil fuels, the answer is an urgent program to put the electric grid on renewables and to electrify all cars.

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 04/27/2019 at 1:37 AM

Re: “Planners Look to Enhance Transit on San Pablo Avenue

Andrew Aldrich writes of a "nightmare [that] will not begin to go away until a sizable number of citizens decide to abandon the car and get around a different way."

Meanwhile, large numbers of those citizens continue preferring to drive, and would evidently rather be stuck in traffic than to walk to a bus stop and wait for a bus.

Who's Andrew Aldrich to tell them what's a "nightmare," and who's Ryan Russo (Oakland's Transportation Commissioner) to take it upon himself to "get people out of their cars"? Hasn't it dawned on these folks that people would rather come and go on their own schedules (traffic and all!) and improvise their own door-to-door routes?

Sidewalks and crosswalks are for pedestrians; the gutter is for cars. Stop trying to abolish passing lanes and to turn every artery into a one-lane stop-and-go crawl (putting more people in harm's way in the dogmatic name of "complete streets)!

What's the real nightmare? While these high-handed, self-proclaimed "urbanists" pursue their schemes, Oakland can't afford to fix its disgracefully pothole-ridden streets. (Try driving south on Telegraph from 40th to 27th for a prime example of this fiasco.)

Wanna flummox drivers (and meanwhile, leave the streets unrepaired) in order to "get people out of their cars"? Try putting it up for a vote.

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 04/27/2019 at 1:28 AM

Re: “In Praise of Oakland’s Koreana Plaza

The solution to pedestrian safety is simple: reduce potential conflict points; don't increase them. There's a sidewalk, and the gutter, and pedestrians use the sidewalk (and crosswalks), and don't play in the gutter. Two-wheeled gnats, impelled to keep moving to maintain balance, darting in and out of blind spots and buzzing pedestrians, don't even belong in the mix. (Climate change? That's why we'll soon all be driving electric cars, and there goes your talking point!)

Telegraph is a thoroughfare between Downtown, North Oakland, and Berkeley; the gutter is not a playground. "Road diets" (such as the one on Tele) deliberately abolish passing lanes, forcing drivers to creep along single-file and grind to a halt whenever someone needs to park, deliver, or turn.

Swat the gnats!

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 12/30/2018 at 7:27 PM

Re: “Federal Judge Says Oakland Can Close Homeless Camp on City-Owned Property

I'm skeptical (to say the least) of the notion that if the city can't provide housing, it must allow homeless people to camp wherever they choose (at the risk of being charged with "cruel and unusual punishment").

OTOH, if The Village has chosen vacant lots for its encampments, it's helping to keep its residents off the streets -- and away from more objectionable and dangerous locations. They might have an ideological axe to grind, but I would hope that they and the City can overcome their adversarial relationship and develop an alternative model for sanctioned encampments. Given the current crisis -- and the fact that the Tuff Sheds aren't for everybody --such a creative solution should be a priority on all sides.

Posted by Mitchell Halberstadt on 12/30/2018 at 12:53 PM

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