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Recent Comments

Re: “Survivor, Oakland City Hall: Power Struggle Led to Expulsion of City Clerk from Closed Session

Whoever had the courage and vision to share this information with the press, I am grateful. Of course, the news about giving away public land made the city look bad. That's because their actions were illegal & reprehensible. Duh! How stunning that these elected officials have made so many promises to improve transparency at city hall & now they're desperate to find out who's been sharing their embarassing secrets. Perhaps they were talking about switching from waxed paper to clear plastic wrap for their lunches. I hope that in November & other future elections, Oakland voters will not just vote for their old friends again. We so need new officials who will be honest, trustworthy, ethical leaders.

Posted by elisebernstein on 07/21/2016 at 4:15 PM

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

I understand the disappointment of the private operator's coordinator of this proposed expansion plan into the heart of Knowland Park; his job and career are at stake. How wasteful that the private operator has chosen to stubbornly pursue its quest for a "destination" restaurant on the valuable ridge line, with a fantastic view of the Bay. (And has spent several million dollars on that ego trip.) The city of Oakland owns Knowland Park, the zoo, its animals, and its buildings, and has always given to the zoo whatever they asked, spending millions of taxpayer dollars thus far.
In addition, any visitor to the current zoo will notice that the attention of the private operator has already been distracted from maintenance of the current facility. There are many empty cages, an observable pattern of walls needing patching and paint; old illegible signs on exhibits; an African village exhibit that is in an embarrassing state of neglect. Years ago, the private operator's Board decided to focus on providing financing for the expansion; consequently, staff salaries and the current facility have suffered since then.

That ridge location is also the chosen habitat of the endangered Alameda whipsnake, many wild rare and imperiled plants, and encompasses a favorite hiking trail for park lovers from around the Bay area. Knowland Park is also the city's largest, wildest public park and provides a good percentage of Oakland's limited Open Space, free for all to enjoy.

The Referendum seeks to overturn the council's vote to approve the so-called "conservation easement", and would let the voters decide if the private operator should be allowed to remove public access from 53 acres of prime ridge habitat. A professional poll of likely Oakland voters revealed that 75% of Oakland voters oppose the zoo's expansion in this proposed location, and favors the zoo's expansion within or near its current footprint. Off the ridge! Please sign our Referendum Petition when you see our volunteers at Farmers' Markets and other popular shopping areas. See saveknowland.org and Facebook.com/saveknowlandpark .

34 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by elisebernstein on 12/16/2014 at 2:20 PM

Re: “Oakland Zoo's Proposed Expansion Into Knowland Park Heads to Final Council Vote

Thank you EBX and Sam for again writing a thoughtful, honest piece about the pending terrible threat to Oakland's biggest and wildest open space. With the Oakland election now past, this vote may indicate the direction in which some officials will move. I hope that the remaining old-guard re-consider how the zoo misled them in the past, bringing them to this difficult decision. I hope that the councilors will come together, think independently in terms of the best vote for the entire city, and listen to the voice of Oakland voters. 75% of likely Oakland voters clearly stated that a zoo expansion is OK, but not on the valuable sensitive habitat of the Knowland Park ridge. The zoo should not destroy such a priceless ridge for a restaurant with a view. It is not right.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by eliserose on 11/16/2014 at 7:44 PM

Re: “Zoo Gone Wild

Investigative journalism lives! Thank you for such a thoughtful, thorough exploration of significant issues that have never before been aired. I remain concerned about the current shabby state of the existing zoo and I fear that the proposed luxurious, expensive expansion would cause further neglect of the old facility. On your next visit, note the many empty displays, the many unpainted plaster patches, a dry tiger pool, the sad lion house and some safety hazards such as untrimmed dead tree branches hanging over pedestrian walkways. We have a very good zoo. Let's maintain what we have. Maybe we cannot afford the ambitious, and unrealistic, outdated expansion that destroys the heart of a magnificent park and valuable habitat.

48 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by eliserose on 09/04/2014 at 12:08 PM

Re: “Jerry Brown's Assault on Transparency

When I phoned Sen. Lori Hancock's office to express my opposition to gutting the Public Records Act, I received an interesting explanation. Her Aide said that the state was simply trying to save money in its tight budget, and that the only change was that the state will no longer reimburse the communities for their activities under the PRA. The State will leave it to the communities to pick up the costs. I stated my strong belief in protecting the public's right to this info. I feel it is far more important that the state continue to cover the costs. Oakland is in far worse shape than CA, & I anticipate that communities would delay even longer or not respond to PRR, if not reimbursed by the state.
I stated my strong disappointment & opposition to this Democrat action.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by eliserose on 06/19/2013 at 4:36 PM

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