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Recent Comments

Re: “How Serious is the Wild Fire Threat in the Oakland Hills?

Hills residents have shown they are willing to pay for extra fire prevention services and will do so again when it's clear that the extra funds would be used effectively. For at least 9 years, OFD has been short-sighted about all fire prevention work. It took the tragic Ghost Ship disaster to expose the ridiculous lack of inspection services in Oakland and wake OFD up to their responsibility to inspect commercial properties. The 2017-2019 budget process being done now is adding at least a dozen fire inspectors, which is a good start, but is only designating one or two of those full-time positions for the vegetation management and wildfire prevention staff, where 3-4 would be more appropriate for our large city. Not until the vegetation management plan for Oakland's Open Space properties is completed and data entry systems are updated to enable City departments to coordinate their efforts better, can a new hills fire prevention taxation district move forward. I'm not convinced yet that the fire prevention efforts will have a high enough priority within OFD. Time will tell, but I am more hopeful that the next Hills wildfire prevention district will be more popular and effective than the one that just ended.

Posted by batya_lee on 06/23/2017 at 9:07 PM

Re: “Oakland Police Union Spending Thousands on Effort to Unseat Councilmembers Kalb and Gallo

I sure hope the voters in Dan Kalb's district vote for him. He's a good man who thinks deeply about issues that affect our city and works consistently to make the police officers more supported and the OPD more transparent and accountable to Oakland's citizens.

Posted by batya_lee on 10/10/2016 at 4:02 PM

Re: “#PhilandoCastile #AltonSterling #BlackLivesMatter — Share Your Words and Thoughts With the Express

Police need to be trained under fully adrenalized practice scenarios to minimize perceived threats to their own safety by methods other than murder, especially because adrenaline spikes are a huge contributor to nearly every circumstance of violence onto or by police. Police also need to see themselves as spokes in the wheel of society rather than a massive wrench that needs to bend the wheel to their own will.People of all backgrounds need to work together harder, teaching adults and people in power how to approach one another more thoughtfully. Some people say we shouldn't be prejudiced because we are all the same. That's a sweet idea, but really stupid. Because we ALL have prejudices that won't just disappear even though we want them to, we must instead constantly force ourselves to acknowledge and work with those prejudices instead of trying to ignore them.

Posted by batya_lee on 07/10/2016 at 5:04 PM

Re: “An East Bay Pimp Trafficked Her Daughter. And the Man that She Turned to For Help Exploited Her For Sex.

BAWAR needs to open up publicly about this terrible breach of ethics. Otherwise, how will anyone trust them after this?

Posted by batya_lee on 07/10/2016 at 4:26 PM

Re: “Oakland Zoo Expansion Won't Be Stopped By Knowland Park Referendum

More important than the wasteful expansion plans by the zoo is the fact that a majority of the city council, the planning dept, the city attorney and their support staff have ripped out the heart of the democratic process in our city. Oakland's City Attorney actually directed the city clerk to turn away the petitions with approx. eight thousand signatures on them -- AN ILLEGAL and UNETHICAL ACT BY THE OAKLAND CITY ATTORNEY. Though it was disappointing for volunteers, it is utterly irrelevant that the referendum attempt did not achieve the minimum number of signatures required to put the issue on a ballot. Those signatures represent an enormous outpouring of energy and attention from Oakland voters to insist on more citizen involvement where preservation of our public open space is concerned. As detrimental to wildlife habitat and Oakland open space as the expansion/destruction plans are by the zoo, the zoo is not the only entity that should have outrage heaped upon it. There is plenty of shame to go around.

10 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by batya_lee on 01/12/2015 at 12:53 PM

Re: “Knowland Park Advocates Launch Referendum to Block Oakland Zoo Expansion

Because the Zoo is a widely appreciated and well-attended attraction, it is disappointing to learn - that behind the scenes - the zoo's Board members not conscientious about habitat protection where they want to build a big project with great views. The paid "experts" who work for the Oakland Zoo are biased – tainted by big money – no matter how convincing they sound. There are TENS of MILLIONS of DOLLARS on the table. Of course, they will say whatever they must to get what they want. The finance/PR guy (Nik Dehejia) from the zoo has a talent for distorting and misrepresenting the science and policy so that City Council members, who are not environmental scientists, could be persuaded that the negative effects of habitat destruction would be erased by removing dozens of acres of open space from public access and by increasing attendance at the zoo, which they see as a public good. Also, his statement in the above article that there has been "significant open and public dialog" is simply untrue.

Let the people of Oakland finally have a real voice in deciding whether to keep or give away our wild open space to development. Sign the petitions! Let's fix this mistake.

28 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by batya_lee on 12/16/2014 at 3:56 PM

Re: “Oakland Zoo Expansion Passes City Council, Knowland Park Project to Move Forward

I am proud that two of our council members had the bravery to stand up to the political pressure by the formidable power and money of the zoological society: Dan Kalb and Rebecca Kaplan rocked it last night. They listened to constituents and did their homework about the environmental travesty that this land grab will create. The animals that already live in that space will have to try their luck elsewhere – never a great situation for them. Dan Kalb stated that the Oakland CC made a mistake in the past, not requiring a full EIR. He voted no because it was wrong to proceed further along the same path. I can't say the same for the other Council members. If you're not brought up with good environmental education or conservation values, these issues just don't seem that important and are difficult to understand.

27 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by batya_lee on 11/19/2014 at 1:21 PM

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