Eric Arnold 
Member since Nov 15, 2011


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Re: “Opinion: Why We, As Black Oaklanders, Are Voting for Libby Schaaf

without also including an opposing opinion, this article--published the day before an election--is a clear case of electioneering and attempting to dupe the public into not believing what they are seeing before their own eyes. This opinion piece is nearly bereft of facts, and the facts which are included are misleading. The numbers simply don't support the implication that African American displacement is due mainly to homeowners flipping their houses during the boom. For one thing, the majority of Black residents are renters. For another, African American displacement was well underway before the current boom. The loss of 25% of the population was a 20-year trend which was accelerated under Brown's 10k plan--which Schaaf was a major contributor to, as a Brown aide. That trend has continued under Schaaf, which 2020 projects showing an 11% further drop, to 15% of Oakland's population. The authors also conveniently omit any mention of the subprime mortgage crisis of 2006-2008 in which Black folks nationwide lost 50% of their wealth. Also, redevelopment wasn't eliminated by the state until 2013 -- so that can't be the primary reason Oakland only built 1000 affordable units between 2000-2015; a better explanation is that Brown didn't want affordable housing and didn't promote it as a policy. Furthermore, the current development boom literally coincided with Schaaf's election. While Schaaf as a candidate in 2014 promised to set a target of 28% affordable housing, there is less than 10% in the current development pipeline. Are two former Schaaf staffers really trying to tell us that when Schaaf set this target, she was unaware that redevelopment had been phased out over the prior two-year period? Or are they implying Schaaf knew this and set a target number she knew was unattainable? Schaaf is also on record as blaming "City Hall" for OPD's non-compliance with the NSA. Yet City Hall did not rape an underage girl and then try to cover it up and destroy evidence. Given that police misconduct in Oakland is rooted in racial inequity, this should be a matter of significant concern for Oakland's remaining Black residents.

Thanks for sharing the reasons the authors wanted to work for Schaaf, but such wide-eyed incredulity belies their apparent poor grasp of statistics and relevant data, not to mention selective memory around key issues like displacement. The tripling of the homeless population over three years can be directly linked to spiraling rents, lack of tenant protection, and ineffective or non-existent policies. The majority of Oakland's homeless and newly homeless are Black former residents. If the Mayor is not accountable for what the UN has called a "human rights violation," then who is? The impact fees thus far haven't resulted in significant construction of new affordable housing, nor mitigation of development impacts in neighborhoods being developed, because they weren't designed to do that.

To take this piece of well-timed propaganda with no rebuttal at face value is akin to tap-dancing while your house burns down. While Schaaf has surrounded herself with women of color, her policies haven't done anything to retain people of color in Oakland. And the fact this opinion piece is blatantly biased, and attempts to distort the Mayor's record through misleading statements, makes it more of a political ad disguised as editorial coverage than an actual article. Couldn't the Express have solicited an opinion piece from people who weren't dependent on the Mayor for their livelihood? And shouldn't we demand more objectivity and less spin/slant from a publication which ostensibly represents all of the East Bay? It looks like, for all intents and purposes, the fix is in.

Posted by Eric Arnold on 11/06/2018 at 12:39 PM

Re: “The Express' November 2018 Endorsement Guide

Your mayoral endorsement failed to note the scope of the displacement crisis facing Oakland, while giving the mayor credit for things she had little or no part in, and failing to mention she's over-promised and under-delivered in the past on the issue of affordable housing. Just the fact that OPD is still under the NSA should be more of a pressing issue. Also, there appears to be a reticence for the EBX to endorse an African-American candidate for mayor or Council. The same argument used to endorse Schaaf--she's an incumbent---was curiously not extended to Desley Brooks, who does have a track record of looking out for her District. All of which translates to, the Editorial Board of the Express is just fine with gentrification continuing at its current rate, and doesn't have serious concern or alarm at police misconduct or communities of color who face the most grave risk of displacement.

Posted by Eric Arnold on 10/18/2018 at 5:04 PM

Re: “Role Reversals in the Oakland Mayor's Race

im not sure how it can be said that Schaaf is "strong" on housing when there is only 2% affordable housing in the current development pipeline for FY 18-19 and 10% for 19-20. Schaaf is on record as setting a target of 28% four years ago. She was also a Councilmember and an aide to Brown and De La Fuente during the 15-year period when Oakland built just 1000 new homes and its population increased by 44,000. Don't reporters have an obligation to actually research candidates' track records before writing articles? And, while the regional tax initiative sounds promising, it is just that --a campaign promise which may or may not come to fruition. Especially since it would require new taxes. While the housing crisis would be challenging for any mayor, Schaaf should bear some accountability for being in a position to prevent the current situation, and not being proactive enough. It's a truism that incumbents can be judged by their accomplishments, not by their promises. The reality is that the numbers tell a story of failed policies, especially where housing is concerned, which date back to the early 2000s. Regardless of who wins the election, a more aggressive stance on righting this wrong needs to be taken.

Posted by Eric Arnold on 10/17/2018 at 1:08 PM

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

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