Peter Stokes 
Member since Nov 10, 2013


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Recent Comments

Re: “Are Co-ops the Future of a Sustainable Restaurant Industry?

Richard Wolff, a well-known economist, speaks eloquently of what he calls "democracy in the workplace" (aka communal businesses) as a solution to our failed capitalist system. He comes to the Bay Area to speak several times a year and he can be heard at 10 AM Fridays on KPFA's Letters & Politics show. I find his insight into our current economic state quite illuminating, and I particularly like the things he has to say about coops.

Posted by Peter Stokes on 09/26/2017 at 8:19 PM

Re: “Oaklanders: Next Police Chief Needs to 'Clear Out Bad Apples'

Mr. Johnson,
Unless I misunderstand, the writer is reporting on the results of a survey, not advocating any particular approach. What combination of Gandhi and Patton would you like to see here in this age of police militarization, hyper-surveillance, unaffordable housing and progressive/wealthy population that is currently in place in Oakland? This is a multi-layered issued; for instance, the Oakland police have been operating under court order for how many years now - 13 (

Who would want the job?

Posted by Peter Stokes on 11/29/2016 at 10:51 PM

Re: “Town Business: Police Union Attacks Kalb and Gallo; Oakland Claims Garbage Contracts No Problem

So Let me get this straight: "Most Oakland cops live in the suburbs of Contra Costa County, or over the hill in towns like Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, and Livermore." If that's true, why are they spending their money (that comes from us) trying to influence elections in Oakland? Is this not like Chinese, Russian, Saudi Arabian sources running ads in favor of one or another party in US elections? How is it the same: foreign investors control increasingly massive investments in US real estate and businesses and wish to have a government in power friendly to their investments, just as the police wish to have legislators elected who support their freedom to operate in the protected environment they currently enjoy.
I have spoken to OPD officers who told me they live outside Oakland for the welfare of their families. I was stunned. What kind of attitude do they bring with them to "serve and protect" residents of a city that is not suited for their families to live in? Is that the attitude we want in our police?
When we see those who we have granted special rights - to use and carry weapons, to arrest and detain those WHOM THEY DETERMINE are violating the law - why would they resist the oversight of their actions by those whom they serve? Finally, the city council of Oakland has taken the first steps toward establishing a neutral body with the power to review police actions. I would suggest that those unwilling to have their actions reviews by those they "protect and defend" are not those who best serve the interests of Oakland.
There are various ramifications that emerge in discussing these issues, such as: what are the rules officers operate under, both written and unwritten; exactly how are officers regulated and reviewed; what is the power dynamic in Oakland that brings about such contentiousness between the police and the government?
But most importantly, why are we giving such power and influence to a group consisting largely of people that don't even live here and who don't fully understand Oakland for what it is?

Posted by Peter Stokes on 10/17/2016 at 12:03 PM

Re: “Experts, Grand Jury Ding City of Berkeley's 'Ridiculous' Email Policy

I see the problem as a lot deeper than email. At the base of it all is the 4 or 8 year replacement of elected officials who then have the power to replace department heads and other appointed employees of the [city, county, state] that they have been elected to run.
They and their appointed employees may or may not have any knowledge about the systems they are assuming the control of, and all too often, new administrators come in with "better" ideas of how to accomplish the work of the government that may involve thousands of employees and effect hundreds of thousands of people - think of Flint, Michigan.
These "executives" are responsible for determining policies, such as department email retention policy, but they may have little or no understanding of the workings of email and what the labyrinthine implications of retaining it involve, either technically or legally.
And then once these elected or appointed officials move on, what is their responsibility for the policies they have been responsible for enforcing?
The discussion of corporate and government responsibility for actions that have been taken by the organization is not taking place publicly in the manner it should. Email is one increasingly obvious manifestation of it, but, as usual, only the tip of the iceberg.

Posted by Peter Stokes on 06/26/2016 at 9:49 PM

Re: “Tax Evasion Is Not a New Technology

While I'm not sure about the title of this piece ("not a company not paying taxes"), I am in complete agreement that taxes should be payed by all who live, work and profit in Oakland to support the services they enjoy. To see companies like Twitter enjoy tax breaks from San Francisco while they occupy whole buildings on Market Street, or Boeing force tax reductions from Washington State while they roll in profits angers me. Why should they enjoy the benefits of an educated workforce, a peaceful environment and lucrative governmental contracts (at least in the case of Boeing) while they refuse to pay their fair share. Do they really think the American people will continue to support their profiting from our country while they do not contribute to its continuing support? While Ms. Kaplan is not necessarily the best to articulate these issues, I fully support the notions expressed in this statement.

Posted by Peter Stokes on 10/20/2015 at 6:50 PM

Re: “Oakland City Council Looks to Provide Support for Worker Cooperatives

Hey Len, in case you didn't know, non-profits (like Kaiser and Sutter Healthcate) are not the same as coops. I think that will be pretty obvious if you walk into Arizmendi and then go to Kaiser. If you want to understand the difference, look up where professor Richard Wolff will explain the difference quite clearly to you, as well as the various benefits to the community that a democratic workplace offers.

Posted by Peter Stokes on 09/04/2015 at 1:13 PM

Re: “A Burger for the End of Civilization

Hey Luke, did you ever SEE the mural? I have lived in the Piedmont Ave are for 30 years, and the mural painted by Rocky Rische-Baird in the same style as his other mural on the Gaylord's building on 41st St. was both visually impressive and a wonderful historical record for Oakland. There are many people in the neighborhood who are more than a little amazed by the arrogance of the new tenant who took it into his own hands to rip down a distinguished piece of local historical art without bothering to consult properly with representatives of the area. I would normally welcome a new restaurant with some well-prepared offerings, but in this case, all I have is a bad taste in my mouth. Some sort of public apology and good-faith offer to try and make up for what is clearly an egregious error would go a long way to fixing the rift that exists. All I have seen so far from the owner is defensive comments about how he did all he reasonably could have, which is has not served him well in the eyes of the neighborhood.

24 likes, 40 dislikes
Posted by Peter Stokes on 06/24/2015 at 10:06 PM

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