Eric Arnold 
Member since Nov 15, 2011


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Re: “Why Oakland Lost the Coal Lawsuit

Gary is right about burden of proof. The methodology proposed by BRG has never been used in real-world conditions. So the burden of proof should be on them. Allowing them to potentially exacerbate existing conditions is just wrong, especially because there is no safe threshold for coal dust particulate matter. They can't prove their containers are safe under lab conditions. So what the law requires is zero tolerance. With coal dust, there is no margin for error. I think this decision opens up a potential class-action lawsuit against not only Bowie, but the courts. But i would prefer that air pollution in West Oakland not be made more toxic over suing due to health hazards after the fact. This decision not only violates CEQA but SB535.... to address Len's point, yes, the City could have closed the loophole when it awarded the contract. But they took Tagami at his word instead. While the City could tighten up its process, to be completely fair, cities like Oakland do not have unlimited resources to compete with expensive law firms hired by mercenary corporations. this extends to environmental studies and goes back to the burden of proof issue. We have laws in place to limit corporate bullying, but what good is a law if judges wont enforce them?

Posted by Eric Arnold on 07/25/2018 at 10:37 AM

Re: “A Path Forward

thank you Kathleen. I'm a bit relieved to learn this may have just been an unintentional glitch, although I never indicated i wanted my byline changed, and certainly didn't enter my name backwards into the system. For all intents and purposes, it appeared as if someone had deliberately tweaked the system so my name wouldn't appear. Happy to learn that may not have been the case after all. All's well that ends well, as they say.

Posted by Eric Arnold on 07/20/2018 at 6:42 PM

Re: “Turning the Page

On the topic of score settling, there is such a thing as restorative justice. there is also such a thing as karma. I sure hope that Telegraph Media will move forward with not just a code of conduct, but a commitment to diversity in hiring practices. , I would also like to note that if you have worked alongside Buel for 13 years, you surely must have witnessed or overheard some things which were clearly inappropriate. Yet you did or said nothing. If this is accurate, you're an enabler, as well as a benefactory. Most of the revealing stories about racial topics which have run in the paper over the years were not written by you. You endorsed Libby Schaaf as a progressive, yet her record is solidly regressive on OPD, particularly around misconduct, and she has done nothing to stem African American displacement while accelerating gentrification. Her sole progressive issue, defying Trump and ICE, is a politically-calculated PR stunt, as well as a position that CM Guillen took months before she did. Maybe it's a moot point if you're not writing anymore, but by Oakland standards, Schaaf is a moiderate at best until her record says otherwise. What isnt a moot point is that now is the perfect time to truly embrace progressive values and address displacement and gentrification in a way Telegraph Media has yet to do sufficiently.

Posted by Eric Arnold on 07/18/2018 at 7:39 PM

Re: “A Path Forward

is this a good time to ask the Express to restore my name to the "Search By Author" widgit that Buel angrily removed without notification--because i called him out on the paper's non-diverse corporate culture 13 years ago? Also, does anyone really think a white man from Arkansas who had been white all his life and is approaching his twilight years is really going to benefit from sensitivity training, after he has spent his entire life getting away with egregious acts?... While I think Kathleen is an appropriate choice to lead the paper's editorial staff, the lack of degrees of separation from the Buels--we used to call him Herr Buel--and Gammon does appear to likely remain problematic. Also, it is hard to believe that any of this is a shock to longtime Express staff, as these incidents clearly have been going on since at least the early 2000s. It's also really not enough of a punishment for Buel to be allowed to make money off of the sale of the paper and walk away--especially since he has other media holdings. One has to wonder about the objectivity of the rest of Telegraph Media and its commitment to racial equity in light of this situation. I'm not going to suggest readers boycott those papers (yet), but i think it would be a good idea for the Buels to consider leaving the publishing industry entirely, as well as making a generous contribution to Restorative Justice For Oakland Youth, Movement For Black Lives, Oakland Pride, and MISSSEY with some of their proceeds from when they do sell the paper. ... I can't say I'm happy this happened, but now at least Express readers know who was actually running the paper, which is something I've known for a long time. I am not saying it is not possible for people of color to be biased against white people, but reverse racism as a concept has been debunked, since if it exists, it is an effect of white people being racist colonizers in the first place. In this case, pointing out the lack of diversity at a festival doesnt pass the racism test--its an observation, not an invective. Overriding not one but two editors to stick up for white rights isn't just racist, its symptomatic of megalomania and the absence of perspective. As a former Express contributor in the pre-New Times era, and staffer under Buel, i feel I have the right to say everything I am saying. The disparity between the community it covers and its staff in terms of diversity has been problematic since Day One. Buel's departure needs to result in significant changes, not just the same people running things behind the curtain. So the Buels should also consider selling to a LOCAL buyer who will commit to equity and diversity, not another Lacey and Larkin. ANYTHING ELSE WOULD ADD INSULT TO INJURY IN THE EYES OF THE COMMUNITY.

Posted by Eric Arnold on 07/18/2018 at 7:12 PM

Re: “An Apology and a Pledge

@Dan Mitchell: i am aware that neo-liberalism is associated with Thatcher and Reagan, however, they were both conservatives, making the appellation of "liberal" oxymoronic. Thatcher in particular was more of a neo-fascist. My definition of neo-liberalism doesnt come from economists. It is when someone wants to be perceived as being progressive, yet at the core is solidly regressive. A person who professes to be hip by hanging Sleater-Kinney posters in his office, yet makes sexist remarks to women would be one example. Or someone who drives an old-school VW Bug, yet proudly serves corporate masters. in short, it is the affectation of liberalism, without even the dedication to liberal causes. I suppose I could have said faux-liberal or neo-centrist or wanna-be progressive or something to that effect. Apologize if my poetic license was confusing.

Posted by Eric Arnold on 07/14/2018 at 6:49 PM

Re: “An Apology and a Pledge

Buel has been problematic for a long time. When I was a staffer at the Express (2003-2005), he okayed a racially-insensitive "mug shot" of a Youth Uprising client for a cover story---and as a result, became the only person ever to be censured by the Bay Area Black Journalists Association. When called to their office to explain, he reportedly told BABJA he could only stay for 10 minutes because he was late for another event. While working at the paper, I often overheard him saying sexually-inappropriate things to multiple female staffers. He randomly told the married copy editor he had had a vasectomy. He inexplicably told a staff writer, "it's the power, baby," after she looked at him with a quizzical expression during a staff meeting. He once remarked to another young female writer, "come to daddy," before an editorial conference in his office. He took no measures to protect staffers' safety when one writer who had written a controversial story about an organization accused of rape and murder was being tailed by a white van which would frequently park in the lot across the street from the office, in direct line of sight to glass windows in front of our office cubicles. After a white female writer received threats of violence from a local producer upset with her depiction of him, which I believe was racially-insensitive, he had to ask me to mediate the dispute, which he believed to be a credible threat. When I mentioned the racially-insensitive office culture--I was the only African-American on editorial staff--he insisted that I was the problem, not his overwhelmingly-white staff, and demanded my resignation. I should have filed an EEOC complaint, but I was intimidated by their corporate lawyer and pressured into signing a severance package. Buel's animus didn't stop there, however. Despite the fact that I had more than 400 published bylines in the Express, he removed my name from the "search by author" widgit, for no apparent reason. This latest incident is nowhere near isolated and shows a clear pattern of inappropriateness and smug neo-liberal privilege-mongering. Equity and diversity initiatives at the Express are long overdue, but they are not enough. Buel should resign ASAP.

Posted by Eric Arnold on 07/14/2018 at 5:51 PM

Re: “Judge Rules in Favor of Oakland Coal Project

It appears that the judge has left the door open by outlining precisely how the City can appeal this decision. First, compare coal emissions to other pollutant emissions. Second, compile a thorough documentation of existing health risks, such as air quality, EnviroScreen scores for the impacted areas, asthma and respiratory rates--especially for seniors and children. According to the EPA, there is no safe threshold for coal dust, so unless Bowie Resource Partners have a 100% success rate, there will be adverse health risks even if mitigating measures are taken. This is where it gets tricky, because there is a loophole in existing EPA testing procedures which doesn't test for coal as rigorously as some other materials, despite the known hazards. This might require a federal lawsuit to change EPA testing procedures if they allow for pollution in violation of state laws AB32 and SB535, which mandate mitigation in vulnerable populations, i.e, zip codes with eviroscreen scores over 75% -- which is most of the area over where the coal would travel. Fourth, BRP should have to conduct a live test of its mitigation practices prior to any coal being exported. In this case, tie can't go to the runner. Lastly, the City should file a counter-lawsuit against BRP, OBOT and TLS for knowing exacerbating existing health and public safety conditions. Even if the appeal fails, a second lawsuit would start the clock ticking on a class-action suit if there are significant health impacts, which there will be. For the last two point, Libby and the entire City Council are going to need to prevail on Barbara Lee and Loni Hancock to put some pressure on Jerry Brown to use the powers of the state against his good buddy tagami. Since Jerry is leaving office, this is an opportunity to cement his once-glowing reputation as an environmentalist. Oh, and the lawsuit should be joined by Sierra club, Earthjustice, and WOEIP.

Posted by Eric Arnold on 05/15/2018 at 7:59 PM

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