Hobart Johnson 
Member since Aug 1, 2014


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Recent Comments

Re: “Grand Jury: Oakland’s ‘Backroom Dealing’ to Sell City-Owned Land Is Systemic Problem ‘Vulnerable to Undue Influence’

In the past two years the city of Oakland has spent a great deal of time and money installing something called a Public Ethics Commission.

Designed according to its chief salesman, CM Dan Kalb, to improve confidence in city hall.

'Nuff said.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 06/19/2017 at 2:49 PM

Re: “Oakland to Congress: Investigate Trump's Impeachable Offenses

My symbolic gesture towards CMs Kalb, Guillen and the rest: find out what is going on in Oakland's meanest streets. Think about it. Do something new to try to protect the most vulnerable among us, our children.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 06/19/2017 at 9:58 AM

Re: “Crucial Legislation for New Oakland Police Commission Stalls in Committee as Activists and Councilmembers Fight Over Rules

One of the overwhelming problems of governance in Oakland is the failure to implement projects in a timely way. In addition there is all-too-often a failure to follow up to see whether projects are achieving their goals and then to modify them so that they do perform or perform better.

To put this all in perspective, the nitpicking on the methods for constituting the Police Commission is a class case in point.

Just possibly it would make sense to arrive quickly at a reasonable compromise so that at long last the Commission might (just might) go to work. If changes are needed, then changes can be made.

Another aspect of perspective: Oakland's police department is still in bad shape regarding critical aspects of performance and regarding morale; we haven't yet completed reforms mandated almost 15 years ago; crime remains far too high; the turnover rate for cops is far too high.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 06/15/2017 at 4:04 PM

Re: “Town Business: Oakland Discovers Extra $7.13 Million Hidden in Police Department's Proposed Budget

"The Public Bank of Oakland that the City Council so far has refused to sign off on...

"Based on the performance of the public bank in North Dakota, Oakland's bank should be able to generate...additional funds for the City of Oakland and its people."

The public bank idea may be a good one. Not for a city like Oakland I'm afraid.

A state like North Dakota has legal standing and other resources that a city like Oakland does not possess. Oakland has had a well-documented history of financial irresponsibility. A local public bank might work in another California city. Here it could be nothing other than another disaster.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 06/12/2017 at 12:03 PM

Re: “Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan Sponsoring Legislation to Cut Police Ties with Immigration Enforcement

While I think, as do many others, that there should not be coordination or secret agreements between ICE and OPD, going about establishing police policy in Oakland in a piecemeal way is a very bad idea.

Policing in general in Oakland is a terrible mess. Morale is low among cops, turnover is very high, costs to taxpayers are excessive and crime, especially violent crime is, at an intolerable level. This is not to mention a decade-and-a-half failure to meet Federal-court mandated reforms. A terrible mess.

Working our way out of this mess means developing a vision for what OPD can and must do, given all the existing challenges. A limitied, well-defined, positive vision for policing and public safety in Oakland is an absolute necessity. Specific policy follows but the vision is the critical element.

In terms of vision, Oakland is, essentially, nowhere. We need a holistic, reasonable and practical approach to what OPD must do for public safety.

What we have is a patchwork of many years' reactive efforts to deal with bits and pieces of public safety failure. This is not a useful way to proceed.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 06/09/2017 at 12:04 PM

Re: “Oakland City Council Fights Over How to Reduce Homicides, Violence

"Residents have long demanded officials to do more to quell violence, pushing for strategies that rely less on law enforcement and more on community engagement..."

That's what real community policing is all about. Establishing trust between law enforcement and a community which long has been abused by law enforcement. Without trust, the community, understandably, does not
offer the local knowledge which is vital to violent crime prevention.

Real community policing in Oakland would be a long, difficult journey. So we have ineffective groups called NCPCs with beat cops assigned. The beat cops change every few months. Last NCPC meeting I attended, the beat cop and his sergeant took the trouble to explain why they couldn't do anything for us.

City hall in Oakland just doesn't do the long and difficult. City hall likes to spend money on consultants and committees. This lets pols say they are doing something.

They aren't doing something. The violent crime and all its consequences--traumatized families with traumatized kids who can't succeed in school, lack of economic development where it's needed, etc.--will continue.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 06/07/2017 at 12:47 PM

Re: “A New Oakland A's Ballpark: Our Writer Looks At The Good, The Bad, And The Unknown Of Three Rumored Sites

Reality check. I know it's a hateful concept and nothing could be more inconvenient.

How is $200 million in infrastructure provision not a public subsidy to a private sports stadium?

I would like a reference to a competent, independent study which shows how much sports stadiums contribute to local economies. Or not. What I've read says not.

Opportunity costs. What else might be developed at each site with an economic comparision? The Port of Oakland is the main cargo port for
San Francisco Bay. How would expansion/improvement of the existing
port compare with a stadium? Ports are used 24/7; stadiums are used a few hours a week at most.

A 100 year stadium? I think in 100 years something called climate change might have much of that part of Oakland (all three sites) under water. Maybe a stadium/aquarium complex.

880 and BART are currently running at well over capacity, not to mention that they are physically in very poor condition. What is
game-day traffic going to do to an already difficult commute?

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 06/07/2017 at 12:30 PM

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